The Power of Intention

Bring Your Clients to a Deeper State of Healing

By Grace Dobosz

Do you have clients who just can’t seem to get long-term results? Maybe they have persistent or chronic pain that is relieved after a session but returns repeatedly; perhaps you just can’t get those kinks out of their necks; or maybe they have progressed but then reach a plateau or even regress. Let’s look at the potential reasons why they are stuck and ways you can adjust your massage sessions to take your clients into a deeper release.

Cellular Memory

As a professional massage therapist, you know emotional stress can cause physical tension, sometimes to the point of serious dysfunction. A recently published book, The Biology of Belief (Hay House, 2011) by Bruce Lipton, PhD, suggests that our thoughts and emotions have a direct impact on our cellular structure, as well as our ability to effectively respond to our environment. In other words, our thoughts and emotions direct many of our bodily functions and malfunctions. The concept of “cellular memory” has long been experienced, studied, and handed down through generations of energy healers. Cellular memory is the idea that our life experiences and emotions are stored as genetic memories in our physical cells, passed down from cell to cell through replication. In fact, Louise Hay, author of You Can Heal Your Life (Hay House, 1999), asserts that specific types of organ cells have affinities for specific emotions. For example, the colon is affiliated with the inability to let go of the past, which can afflict one with chronic constipation, diarrhea, or inflammation.                                  

For decades, therapists have explored the process of storing and releasing emotional cell memory, and developing different releasing therapies and technologies. One of the oldest treatments is acupuncture; this ancient division of Chinese medicine releases blockages and balances the body’s energies through the use of needles inserted along meridians, or the energetic lines of the body. As more consumers begin to explore alternative therapies, an even greater diversification of mind-body treatments is emerging. More recent therapies such as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), otherwise known as “tapping,” and the Release Technique provide the client with a simple and easy way to self-release emotional patterns from the mind and body. But how can you effectively—and appropriately—integrate the basic concepts of release into your practice to bring clients deeper into release?

A Simple Shift in Intention

The common thread in all metaphysical healing is intention. A slight shift in your own personal intention, as well as that of your client, can make a significant difference in results. Intention is defined as an “aim or a plan that guides an action to reach an objective.” In alternative therapies, meditation, yoga, and other practices, intention is the foundation and the guide for creating desired outcomes in healing. Energetic therapies are based on the theory that human beings are energy, that we create our own reality through energetic intentions, and that an emotional attachment to the outcome alters our freedom to create our desired reality. Therefore, when we speak about intention in the context of healing, we refer to setting a specific desired outcome and then letting go and allowing life to guide us in unplanned and unexpected ways to reach that goal.

Being clear about your intention and clarifying your clients’ intentions are essential to deepening their healing, as well as your own. When you begin a session or a series of sessions, take a few minutes to explore what you would like to learn or experience, what outcomes you would like to see for your clients, and what results you would like to see for your business or practice. Then, before beginning the massage, and in addition to the questions you regularly ask, find out from your clients what results they would like to see in their bodies and in their lives. Allow them to express anything on their minds and validate their desired goals. Acknowledge even lofty goals or outcomes they mention that seem irrelevant to the massage. Set aside your personal stories, and refrain from giving personal advice or indulging in your clients’ dramas and stories. Remaining objective and nonjudgmental will allow you to successfully bring your clients deeper into relaxation and release by providing a safe place for them to be vulnerable. Let them know you are honored to be a part of their life path and will assist them in creating the life they want by facilitating their body to heal both physically and mentally through your massage.

Keep in mind that you must remain emotionally detached. Intention is powerful when you can be completely nonjudgmental and let go of emotional attachment to the outcome. For example, your client may express a strong desire to have a better relationship with her children because when they are around she feels stressed. Acknowledging her desires and letting go of your obligation to do something about this situation—fix it, understand it, or change it—will allow your massage to address what the body needs in order to release the relevant emotional or energetic barriers to her success. You might be surprised to find that acknowledging and aligning with her intention, letting go, and then proceeding with your therapy as usual will facilitate releases needed for her to achieve her personal goal. When your clients are clear about what they want, the body follows. Your job is simply to facilitate release by getting out of the way (not judging, adding to, or changing clients’ intentions) and doing what you do best—massage.

Painful Memories and Emotions

As a massage therapist, you have an extraordinary ability to access triggers to emotional releases. Pain in the muscle tissue can be an indicator of where emotion may have built up in the body. These triggers may or may not be the direct site of emotional or energetic storage, but they will most likely be the doorways to release. You can promote release by imagining healing energy coming from the center of the Earth, through your feet and body, out of your hands, and into your clients’ bodies. When you begin work on these sites, ask your clients to share any emotions or memories that may come up. If your clients are not comfortable doing this, just ask them to process their emotions or memories in their own way. Let them know these emotions are simply old energy being released. They can work through feelings by deep breathing and reminding themselves that it is only energy in motion, or “e-motion,” leaving the body.

Clients may have an emotional release or they may not. You may even experience their emotions for them. If you do, simply allow the feelings to pass through. Do not hang onto the feelings or analyze them. Notice them and move on. Your clients may also experience a simple energy release in the form of heat, buzzing sensations, or slight vibrations felt in the body or in your hands. Again, just note these sensations and allow them to pass. In many cases, there will be no notable release, yet something significant has occurred because the tissue you are working on softens and melts into a normal or near normal state.

Remember, massage therapists do not have license to psychoanalyze or explain the emotions a client is experiencing, so refrain from discussing the emotion during or after the session. In fact, focusing on the emotions—trying to understand them or where they came from, sympathizing, and empathizing—are all barriers to a complete release, so avoid this tendency. Instead, allow the emotions to be released by acknowledging their presence and by letting your clients know they are doing excellent work. Remind them to breathe and to allow the feelings to pass through like mist burning off on a cool summer’s morning.

After the session, clients might want to understand more about what happened or talk about what they experienced. This is OK; you can allow them to express what they thought and felt by being an active listener without intent to change, fix, or give advice. Avoid psychoanalyzing; remember that’s not within your scope of practice. Remind your clients that we store emotion in our tissues and when ready to heal, those emotions release. There is no reason to hold on to the emotion or to get tied up in the story about a memory. If at any point you feel the client needs counseling, be prepared and provide a therapist’s contact information as a recommendation.

When your clients have released the emotion or experience, encourage them to explore what emotion or experience they would like to create in the space where their previous experience was housed. For some, this may be peace of mind, love, or joy. When pondering the replacement experience, have your clients think about what emotions or experiences they are missing in their lives and ask if they would like that missing feeling to replace what was released. You can help them set an intention to have their minds and bodies begin to generate a new and desired life experience. Tell your clients that more emotions may rise and be released, so it is important to take care of themselves by getting plenty of rest and by practicing relaxation exercises such as meditation, or by taking Epsom salt baths. Drinking plenty of water each day and eating nutritional foods, including foods rich in protein, also helps emotional and physical healing.

Finally, and most importantly, ask your clients to come back. Emotional injuries take years to produce physical dysfunction, so clients cannot expect to find complete relief in one session. Generally, 6–12 sessions are enough for clients to begin seeing significant progress, including shifts in their external lives that align with their intended outcomes.

Safe Space

Bringing your clients into a deeper state of healing can lead them to releasing old emotions, fears, and memories that block them from emotional and physical well-being. Creating a safe space for your clients to release stored emotions by setting aside your personal issues and refraining from giving advice, indulging their stories, and making judgments is essential to a deeper release. Setting clear outcome intentions with your client informs the body about what it needs to release during the session. When you let go of being responsible for changing, fixing, or healing them, this healing is more likely to occur. When your clients do release emotions, remind them that it is just old energy in motion passing out of the body’s tissues. Breathing through the emotion and allowing it to pass opens up space to intend a new and desired experience or emotion be created and stored in its place.

Grace Dobosz is a registered nurse and intuitive healer. For more information, visit her site at or call her at 303-945-9006.