By Karrie Osborn
Each time we experience a national tragedy, each time we share a collective pain, the treatment rooms of massage therapists and bodyworkers become even more of a sacred space. In the quiet confines of these healing environments, the client feels momentarily safe. They are able to let their guard down, and they feel the comfort of another in the exchange of healthy, therapeutic touch. In this space, they become vulnerable in the act of letting another touch their pain, both literally and figuratively.
Remembering you may not know all that your client brings to the table is both essential and humbling.
As trauma flows freely through the undercurrent of our national discourse, it is also interwoven with the impact of events like Uvalde . . . and Sandy Hook, and Columbine. That is layered between the raw emotion collectively experienced as we’ve fought a global pandemic the last two years. And then, there is the deluge of uncertainty upon uncertainty. So many feel they are hanging on by the edge.
Your training gave you the tools to navigate these waters—when emotions are high, when stress is community-wide, and when tears flow with but the slightest trigger. But we encourage therapists to take an extra minute or two to ground yourself today, this week, this month. Take a moment to think through the verbal responses you can offer a client who might have an emotional release during your session together in the aftermath of this latest national tragedy. And above all else, find ways to feed your spirit well. You must have your own footing before you can safely bring comfort to those on your table.
Your clients may not show it, but they bring with them their own personal histories and their own personal pains. Some are more impacted by the tragedies of the world than others. Be solid and safe for them all equally. Bring intention and compassion into every session and remember your own self-care in the process.
Grounding and Centering
• “Heal with Your Presence”—a Massage & Bodywork article by Heath and Nicole Reed
• ABMP members can log in to their account for access to a variety of self-care content:
• Massage & Bodywork self-care issue:
• ABMP’s Meditate and Move—a series of guided videos to help MTs and bodyworkers find moments of reprieve and renewal:
• “Touching Trauma”—ABMP members can log in to take this 1-hour CE course for free:
• “Body-Mind Considerations for Hands-On Work”—ABMP members can log in to take this 1-hour CE course for free: