Sunday, May 8, 2011

On Being Unique

My college students are required to attend dance performances and submit written responses describing what they have seen.  I was noticing that the word "unique" was coming up again and again.   This made sense to me, but I also found it annoying.  For many of my students a dance concert is a novel experience so everything is they see is "unique."  But without explaining why it is unique, the word held no meaning, so I started outlawing it entirely in an effort to get them to describe what was happening on stage and how it amazed them, moved them, inspired them, confused them or exactly why it bored them to tears.

The other night I was at a gathering full of people I didn't know and I found myself in a typical cocktail party conversation discussing what it is that I do.  "I am a massage therapist," I explained.  Going to massage school was a dream come true for me and I find helping people in this way to be an incredible honor.  So, when I tell people that I do massage and bodywork, it is with a certain pride.  But, let's face it.  There are a lot of massage therapists out there, especially in this town.  And furthermore, there are some very good ones.  Why should you come to my modest office for a massage when you could go to a ritzy spa?  Why should you come see me for bodywork when you could get a cheaper massage from a student therapist at the massage school?  What makes my practice unique?  What should I tell this person who is asking me what I do?  What should I tell her sets me apart?

My bodywork treatments are unique of course; all body workers offer up something of themselves in their practice.  We, as clients, relate differently to different people and I believe that you have to trust and resonate with someone in order to open up fully to treatment.  This makes it important to find a therapist that you respect and trust and with whom you feel connected.  The most important thing that I have to offer, besides my training, skill and intuition, is my ability to be present, to listen, and to respond.  I do not do cookie cutter massages.  Each session is tailored to your needs and designed collaboratively, based on your goals and preferences for treatment, combined with attentive hands that listen and respond to the wisdom of your body.  Nurturing, nourishing and effective,  sessions are designed collaboratively, based on your goals and preferences, combined with expert hands that listen and respond to address pain, tension and movement restrictions. Each session is truly unique.

I would never say that other therapists don't do this.  Many do, I am certain.  I can only promise that this is what I believe in and therefore it is what I do.  

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