To talk, or not to talk during a massage; that is the question.
Actually, it is the wrong question and this is the reason why.
When I’m out and about, people naturally ask me questions about massage, muscles, their sore neck and this weird thing that their thumb has doing since that fall… all sorts of things. And I am happy to chat, discuss what you can do for your stiff neck and suggest a professional if needed for that unusual injury.
A friend recently asked me how much are you meant to talk during a massage? What is the rule here? How much chit chat does a massage therapist want?
It’s not an unexpected question, as I have heard of some massage therapists sharing how they tell their clients to shush, or on the flip side how hard it is to get people to open up.
But Woah, Nelly! That’s a great, big, nasty red flag waving in front of my eyes!
And this is why it is the wrong question.
We are all different beings. And we all respond to our environment in different ways. We all relax and calm down in different ways.
I have some clients who barely utter a word during their massage treatment. Outside of medical necessities, I barely know a personal fact about them. Which is totally OK as long as they walk out feeling their needs were met. People who talk all day in their job, and introverts in particular, can find chit chat exhausting. Having to make small talk distracts them from the joy of shutting out the world while they calm their central nervous system. To be given the freedom to connect with another person without small talk is absolutely heavenly for some.
I have other clients who talk like they are a solar charged toy bunny on a sunny day; it doesn’t take long for me to hear the details of their life history. Yet at the end, they report how much better and relaxed they feel. Some people can’t relax until they feel a personal connection with their massage therapist. And some extraverts can’t unwind until they get all the thoughts bouncing around in their head out of their head.
And then there’s the combination person. The one who begins with talking a mile a minute, and then suddenly, they stop. Their breathing changes. There may or may not be an occasional snuffle or snore-like sound of contentment and deep relaxation. And I know I have helped them to switch off, to shift from riled up to relaxed. By the way, snores, tummy gurgles and crazy post-massage hair are all positive signs to a massage therapist.
The key thing is it doesn’t matter if I want you to talk a lot or not at all once your massage has started. It is about what makes you comfortable. My only requirement is that you give me feedback about pressure or if an area is painful to help me give you the best possible massage experience. And we do need to consult before your massage starts to plan the best treatment for you on that particular day.
It makes me sad to hear some massage therapists have a talking or no talking rule. If yours says you MUST talk more or be silent, it might be time to find a more accommodating therapist. One who is willing to tune into your individual needs, not just make their own day comfortable.
If “to talk to not to talk” is the wrong question, then what is the right question?
I believe the right question is “will my massage therapist care either way if I am feeling chatty or not today?” Or maybe even “do they care about my needs or am I just getting a one size fits all treatment?”
I wonder, are you the Silent Client? The Chatty Chiller? Or are you more of a Massage Mood Mixer?