Over the many years of practicing massage, I've probably learned at least 15 modalities. I think as massage therapists, it's important to keep learning in order to stay inspired in our practices. The question becomes: which modalities to use, and when? The most important thing is truly listening to the needs of our client and delivering techniques that meet those needs. It's great to have a thousand tools in your toolbelt, but choosing the appropriate one to use in any given circumstance is key. Also, cultivating your style, your niche is also super important.
My style has evolved over the years. I love deep fascial work, and I also love the flow of Swedish and Lomilomi. My techniques involve both. For me, I am always seeking to work with a person on all levels: mind, body, and spirit. The relaxation of the nervous system is totally key for any of my more "clinical" work to be effective. I am so grateful that my massage education included the spiritual aspects of bodywork, along with the technical. I see too many therapists who think it needs to be either one or the other: either spiritual "fluff" or evidence-based treatment focus. While I respect the more "technician" approach to bodywork, for me, my approach is so much more than fixing a physical problem. Loving, intentional touch can bring about so much healing, emotionally and spiritually.
I have observed that there are certain "families" of modalities that blend well together. In my practice I offer 3 different focuses, and let the client choose the intention of the session. One type of session focuses on Deep Tissue, Myofascial work. In this session I will usually include cupping, hot stones, and hot towels. The next type of session is my Lomilomi-based flowing integrated massage. This type of massage definitely includes deep work, however the main focus is flow - moving stuck energy in the fascia, the meridians, and energy centers. In the video below I am demo-ing this style of massage. It also can include cupping, hot stones, aromatherapy, sound therapy, and hot towels. The third type of session I offer is a more energy-based session. This session would include the use of vibrational sound therapy, cranialsacral, polarity, and reiki. The intention of this type of session is to move a person into deeper awareness of the energy body, to become aware of, and release stuck emotions. With any of these three approaches, the client is invited to enter into a deeper state of presence and relaxation. Creative ideas, problem solving, and Ah-ha moments are pretty common while on the table, or in the subsequent 48 hours after the session.
When integrating different modalities, make sure you are keeping an1bh1=gbbbO/// over-arching intention for your client in mind and heart. I believe in being in the moment and moving according to your intuition. Just make sure that your clients needs, goals, and desires are at the forefront.
In the session shown below, I am working on a friend, and I am showing (in double time, because I actually work pretty slowly) how I integrate cupping into my massage sessions. This is not meant to be an instructional video, just a fun and hopefully inspirational. Please get training from a reputable instructor if you want to integrate cupping into your massage practice. Enjoy!
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