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What am I, a sadist or something?

Actually, no, despite what people accuse me of when they find out what I do.  I don’t enjoy hurting people.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  I do feel a little surge of satisfaction when a client walks in to my office claiming “you can’t hurt me,” and then I make them cry ‘uncle;’ but I have a bit of a spiteful streak, just ask my mother.  Generally speaking, I don’t want to hurt you or anyone else.  The goal of every session is to help, not hurt; unfortunately, sometimes they’re one and the same.

So, how can you decrease your chances of feeling pain during a session?  Every once in a while, it’s completely unavoidable.  Breaking up scar tissue isn’t fun for anyone; and everyone’s got an extra-sensitive spot, whether it’s the IT bands, or the ilio-psoas, or the bottoms of your feet.  However, most pain can be avoided with two little tricks.

First, there’s water, water, and more water.  Dehydrated tissues are like glue that’s begun to dry out:  it’s really thick and hard to move, and I’m in the business of moving tissue.  Well hydrated tissues are like, well, watery glue:  runny and extremely pliable.  I can tell as soon as I start working who’s a big water drinker and who’s chosen diuretics for their liquid intake instead.  Diuretics are anything that cause the body to expel water; such as caffeine and alcohol.  Sugar requires so much water to process that it also causes dehydration, so even caffeine free pop and juice can lead to gummy, sticky tissues.  I cannot tell if you just chugged a bottle of water before your session, unless I start pressing on your bladder.  Nor can I tell you had three cups of coffee this morning, except by the fact that you’re having an awfully difficult time lying down.  What I can tell is what your patterns are.  When you’re thirsty, do you reach for water or pop?  Do you start every day with a pot of coffee or a cup of herbal tea?  The more hydrated you are habitually the less pain you’ll experience during your sessions.

The second little trick is talking to me.  Everyone has different sensitive areas.  And everyone has a different pain threshold.  Until you let me know where your boundaries are, I have a hard time reading your mind.  Sure, there are clues people give off, that I’m well-trained to pay attention to.  Holding your breath, clenching your jaw or fists, and a fluttering of your eyelids may all indicate that we’re working in a place that’s not at all comfortable.  But it’s better for me, and you, if we don’t get to the place where you’re holding your breath at all.  And since you’re the expert on your body, you’re the only one who can tell me “we’re getting close to the edge of what I can take.”  So please do!  Communicating with me about what areas are sensitive and when you’d like me to slow down or ease up can go a long way in making sure you’re not jumping off the table.  You’ll also get better results if we’re not causing problems in your jaw while working on your IT bands.

While I try my best not to cause unnecessary pain, much of the responsibility lies with you.  So quit assuming it’s fun for me to see you jump, please.  I’m only here to help.  I promise.

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