How to get the most out of your massage therapist

OK so the title of this post is a little misleading. It’s not about how to get the most out of your MASSAGE therapist. This is useful for any health care provider.

Replace “I read on the internet” with “I’m concerned about this; why is this your recommendation?”

With as many ‘Google accredited doctors’ as there are out there, it’s no wonder your Health Care Provider (HCP) may discourage questions. If you eliminate the word “internet” from your self diagnosis, you let your HCP know you are open to learning more. If you tell them what you are worried about, it gives them an idea of how much you actually know and whether they need to go into detail or just skim the surface. If you ask for their feedback, they don’t feel like they are fighting a losing battle against someone who has already made up their mind, despite all their best medical efforts. Even though it’s our job to give you the best care, it can be very frustrating, (and in a large busy practice, impractical) to argue with our patients or clients who refuse to listen.
CC Image Courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives

Tell us about ALL your care.

A client recently came in for treatment for constant low level headaches. There was nothing to indicate an obvious reason on his intake, so I started reviewing it just as normal. Suddenly he starts telling me about a major car accident “over 10 years ago” where he spent over a year in recovery. I realized that here was the probable cause of his headaches- lingering scar tissue and muscle trauma.

Often in our bodies, there is not an obvious cause for a problem. If you have had major concerns, even years or decades in the past, they may be affecting you today in minor ways that domino throughout the body. A comprehensive health history helps us find these causes early in your treatment, and reduce the chance of an oversight that would have been clear to us even though it seems unrelated to you.

Let us know whether your care is working.

Any HCP is going to give you a care plan that is based on the average response for someone of your age, activity level, injury, etc. But the average by definition cannot apply to everyone. Let us know if something works well, causes pain, changes something else, anything. We can’t fix a problem if we don’t know there is one. We aren’t mind readers either. As much as we care about your health, it helps to have a refresher when you come in. Sometimes the thing that triggers the memory of your last visit has nothing to do with what’s on your chart; sometimes it’s the fact that we talked about your trip to Italy while we were working with you. Sometimes a stray comment will give us a clue that isn’t recorded in your chart, too. Keep talking. We’re listening.


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