July 19, 2011

The Light in the Eyes

Sad Sack-like, this client came in not expecting much. After a hellacious car accident a decade ago, she had developed pain throughout the left shoulder girdle and felt restricted and unable to do much. She had cut down work to two days a week. Her husband drove her in to the office because she hasn’t driven a car since the accident. She looked a bit down-and-out in sweats, no makeup and expression-less.

There is no better place to be a massage therapist than when you get a challenge. Could I help this lady feel better? After a decade of pain, stiffness, guarding and avoidance, what could I possibly do?

Well, off we went. Swedish, lots of Swedish, to warm up the area and get the blood and lymph flowing. Gently into deeper techniques, starting with the most irritated point in the trapezius and into the cave of forgotten TrPs, the lower traps.
Lymphatic spinal massage with moist heat. Manchurian acupressure. Russian sideline sports techniques adapted for fibromyalgia. Over the course of about four sessions, I pulled every little technique out of my hands that I thought would help.

So much and many that I was humming a song before her fifth appointment…."I’ve been working on the railroad.."

When she came in the office, she surprised me. She was wearing colors, a pretty blouse, makeup and had earrings on. She greeted me with enthusiasm, her eye lit up and shining. She skipped off to the ladies room. Actually skipped. I looked at her husband. We shrugged together and smiled.

In the therapy room I asked her how she was feeling. “The spot is still there, she said. “Better, but still there.” We started with some Swedish, and I asked her again if the main “spot” was better. She turned to her side, raised her left arm and did a perfect range of motion for the anterior serratus, a kind of a “locomotion” move drawing her arm back and forth across her midline.

Aha! Ask and the client will tell you! While she went through her range of motion, I added some active myofascial release to chase down the last bit of the “stuck” spot.
Yeppers, it is a blast to get a real live thank-you from a client. I’ll find out this week if the spot is finally “gone.”

1 comment:

Heather said...

Great story! It's feels wonderful to know that your work has really helped someone.