John was once such client. As he entered my home, I opened my arms and offered a hug. He accepted and I wrapped my arms around his torso. As my hands connected with his back, he jumped as if he was startled. I repositioned my hands and again he recoiled. I slightly moved my hands and yet again he flinched.
I knew I was about to experience an intriguing session.
In the pre-session consultation, John stated that he never had a massage and never really considered massage therapy as part of his health routine. In fact, he said, he really didn't like to be touched. But his friends had urged him to try massage ... and, here he was ... sitting in front of me, being open and honest as can be ... willing to expand his experiences.
Once on the table, I could feel his trepidation as he was unsure of what to expect. The first effleurage stroke down his back generated a response of hard muscle contractions that briefly contorted his body. Although I gently encouraged his body to find acceptance of touch, the balance of the session produced many additional severe muscle contractions.
While it appeared that he was uncomfortable with his experience, I have learned that clients find their own understanding in sessions. So, I didn't know how John chose to interpret his experience. He was quiet and appeared to be processing an abundance of new information as he departed my studio that day. I closed the door behind him and offered some short blessings for John as I prepared my studio the next client.
Many clients who experience these types of challenges during sessions may not return for another session. Instead, they may choose to interpret their experience as one they do not desire to repeat.
But, not John.
Five days later, he was at my door once again.
Seven days later, there he was at my door again, still choosing to be open to new experiences and stimuli through human touch.
Over the next year, John became a regular client of mine and I got to experience the sheer pleasure of bearing witness to a person in transition. As sessions unfolded, the flinching and muscle contractions subsided and he found the acceptance of fully allowing himself to experience the moment on the table.
I certainly did not do anything except 'hold space' for him to navigate his own way through the dynamics of human touch. I did, however, feel exceedingly grateful to be allowed participation in the journey that he was choosing to unfold before him.
Often our sessions involved much communication of a variety of subjects, including which direction John desired to take in his career. Because he was highly educated and able to parse thought, I believed that he had many options available to him.
To my recollection, we had never discussed a career in massage therapy. But, before a session in the Spring of 2006, one year after his first session with me, he boldly announced that he was planning on going to massage school to obtain his massage therapy license!
The news vibrated my entire being.
I sat in full appreciation and stunned silence before a person who had broken through so many barriers to boldly choose a new path ... a new light ... a new love.
John entered the massage therapy training program at the Texas Healing Arts Institute in the summer of 2006. He graduated, of course, at the top of his class. After a successful internship and passing the State exam, he obtained his massage therapy license.
Then, he chose to answer another calling and traveled home to Midland Texas to assist his mother for a couple of months. Upon John's return to Austin, we greeted each other with an embrace. This time, there was no flinching ... no muscle contractions. There was, however, a feeling of connection that comes from a person who has the ability to experience the moment for what it is.
Today, John Gipson has a new, fledgling massage therapy practice here in Austin. He is offering outcall services directly to client locations. I invite you to experience his light, gentle touch.
be found at the following URL:
Important Note About This Article: Client privacy is of paramount importance in my practice. Please note that these writings have been conveyed with the express written consent of John Gipson.
Thank you, John! And, congratulations ... I know you are on a path to your greatest good always.