Speak Your Mind

By ABMP Readers
[Speak Your Mind]

Is it part of a practitioner’s job to exhibit (outwardly for clientele and inwardly for self) a healthy lifestyle—physically, mentally, and spiritually? Why?

ABSOLUTELY! I have made it my life’s work to find new ways to be healthy. I implement each new health hack into my massage practice—either on the table or off. Health isn’t static or perfect, but I believe our energy affects our clients, and the healthier we are, the better we are with them as well.
Tobi Lessem

For me, exhibiting a healthy lifestyle shows my clients that self-care is important. When my clients see that my body is healthy, and that the massage therapy session is focused and addressing their needs, it gives a sense of discipline. Also, my work reflects treating the whole person for mind and body. So, when my mind is healthy and clear, it shows that I am knowledgeable and prepared when I talk with my clients about at-home care and how it has helped other clients.
I feel that spirituality is an individual practice; with that said, for me, meditation, prayer, and practicing gratitude enhances my life and work. I believe clients can feel/sense that through my touch.
Aliya Baskerville
It’s definitely the practitioner’s job to work on the inner self—spiritually and mentally—because the landscape of your mind and spirit have a subtle effect on your client. If you have chaos on the inside, you can bet your client will not be falling asleep on the table, no matter how slow and relaxing your touch may be. A centered and calm spirit creates a centered and calm space for your client to go deep and feel safe.
Miinkay Yu

Learning to respect and honor my body during the process of healing an autoimmune disease has made me more intuitive and compassionate when working with my clients’ bodies. It’s as if their bodies respond to my touch differently because I am better at listening to my own. The more I learn to care for my body and commit to my own healing, the better I am able to hold that space for my clients and their bodies. I think it is important that anyone in a healing profession be committed to living this way, knowing that “healthy” encompasses a spectrum of experiences and views. We can only go with others as far as we have gone ourselves.
Sydney Kranz

From Facebook
We need to be human. Period. Authentic humans, yes, but humans. I’m a damn good therapist, regardless of my weight or nutrition or whether I am vegan or carnivore or eat organic or drink soda or have tattoos, and I can see more clients in a day than my yoga practitioner coworkers, while still doing a great job. If your clients see you as perfect (or perceive that you think you are perfect), then your practice will shrivel up and die. Most of my clients aren’t in perfect health, and they are still loved and accepted. It’s certainly not my job to make them feel bad in any way about who they are.
Nobody’s coming in because we “look” a certain part—people come to us because we are high-quality professionals who do our jobs well. You can be the thinnest, healthiest, most nutrition-minded person in your entire city, but if you’ve got a bad attitude or suck at your job, it doesn’t matter. 
I find this kind of thought hilarious from a profession that keeps trying to make strides into being recognized as Western medicine, like doctors or nurses. How many unhealthy surgeons have you seen? Nurses who smoke a pack a day? Yet, I don’t see this being a question for them.
Becky Hillman Magill

Of course not. I am not a role model; I am a care provider. What I “preach,” to use the term some have used here, is “I will give you massage if you like.” Not “You should live your life in a specific way.” And so many of the practices labeled “healthy lifestyle” are (a) untested fads, (b) available only to the rich, and (c) far outside our scope of practice. 
This question has gotten me hopping mad on many occasions during my 20-plus years of practice. We owe our clients good clinical care, not a model of behavior for their lives.
Beccy Bayne  

As the saying goes, you should practice what you preach, but honestly you also need to let your clients see that you are human and sometimes forget to take care of yourself too. Be real and not afraid to admit that you are a work in progress, just like your clients.
Michelle Moberg

I consider it my job (and privilege) to hold space for whatever state my client’s mind/body/soul may be in. They are exactly where they need to be on their path to wellness. I try to be “happy and healthy” when I show up to work, so my best energy is available to them. If they ask about my habits, I’m happy to share—but there is no one “healthy” way to live. My goal is to empower them to love the body they’re in and to celebrate their self-care successes. Each person’s “healthy” looks incredibly different, and it is a powerful learning experience to just allow it. Creating a space for a person to just be without judgment is a gift we could all use.  
Misty Gibbs

In a perfect world, yes, we should practice what we preach. But sometimes life happens and we’re all human. How many doctors or nurses do you know of who are not in ideal health?
Sandy Gallimore  

It’s a practitioner’s job to be authentic, whatever that means for that individual. While we are obligated to guide our clients to their healthiest self, we can best achieve this through modeling vulnerability and honesty. Trying to force a certain projection creates a barrier to connecting with our clients. When we are authentic to ourselves, including our limitations and challenges, we silently give our clients permission to do the same.
Alexia Jenkins  
I feel it’s important to do my best in those three aspects. Physically, I have an obligation to have the strength and stamina to offer the best of my work to the first client of the day and give that same effort to the last of the day, and the last one of the week. Massage is hard work at times. I want my physical body to be able to handle the rigors. 
Over the course of 17 years of having a practice, there have been difficult periods, where my emotional and spiritual self has had to endure through crisis. Those have been the trying periods where I just wasn’t sure I could put out the effort to work with a client. But having a foundation and philosophy of good health allowed me to muster the energy to do the job at hand and quite often gave me the space to do what comes naturally—bodywork, which offered clarity for me as well.
Matthew Gibble

Do nurses play cards all day? Public perception is very important. We are in a wellness profession, and to be professional, we should be an example of wellness. Physically, we should not smell like smoke or be caught with a soda in our office. Our job requires stamina. We need to feed and nourish our bodies (and minds) to keep up. Mentally, if we are in a constant state of stress, lack, or scarcity, how can we market our businesses, earn a great living, or care for others without feeling drained? Spiritually, if we don’t have strong boundaries and self-worth, we won’t attract good clients and will work ourselves to death. We need to do our own healing so we can effectively heal others.
Stacy Olinger

One hundred percent. I think it’s important to exhibit a well-rounded healthy lifestyle. I have been on both sides of the coin. I used to be overweight and wasn’t in a good place in my life. I was exhausted in every aspect—kind of had a bad attitude and had TERRIBLE posture! Even though I was doling out massages and heath tips, you could see I was not following my own advice, and I wasn’t taken seriously.  
Now, I practice what I preach. I exercise and meditate daily, and it shows. My niche is working with athletes, and now clients not only ask for advice but seek me out as an LMT who is an athlete—a.k.a. “one of them.” It makes me more relatable to the clients I seek out.
Marcy Bowman