Going slow in massage therapy treatment is more difficult than going fast, and it requires you to spend more time with each patient. Many therapists have no idea that they need to go slow because massage school does not teach this. Usually, the first thing you learn in massage school is how to complete a full body massage in 50 minutes. That’s a lot of areas to cover in such a short time. The majority of employers for massage therapists are establishments that are marketing these full body wellness sessions and expect you to have this skill.
It is hard to re-train yourself to slow down when you have been taught to go fast. You have to accept that you won’t be able to touch as much of the body in the same amount of time when you slow down. It is time-consuming, painstaking work and can mean some areas that need to be addressed as well get skipped that session.
Also, if the patient is paying by the hour, it can be hard to convince them that you are doing a good job when they are paying more for less coverage, especially if that’s what they are used to at other establishments. If your client is paying with insurance what can be challenging is that insurance won’t pay for more than an hour in a day. So, you only have one hour to get the work done, and once again you have to pick and choose what you focus on.
To be successful with slow treatments you have to triage and plan. Take care of the most important or productive for progress things first and have a very clear treatment plan in place to make sure your patient is getting the benefits they need.
Another challenge you will deal with when going slow is impatience. You may be rushing when you think you are going slow. The first thing I do when I teach a therapist to go slow is have them find a spot that needs to release. I have them close their eyes and count to 20. It is amazing how long 20 seconds can feel when you are not moving.
Once a therapist gets a feel for 20 seconds I have them move up to 60 seconds. I slowly increase the intervals until my therapists can spend 5 minutes not moving more than 1 square inch on a person’s body. This is SO HARD at first! It’s something you have to practice and develop. Eventually, you will find that the time flies by.
What really helps you develop the ability to go slow is seeing the benefits that result from it. There are no absolutes. You don’t have to apply this to every single person on your table, but often times going slow will give you more successful results with you orthopedic patients, particularly acute patients.
If you want to learn to slow down your practice and really get the results you are looking for I have a super supportive group of therapists that can help you. Join us here. I look forward to getting to know you!