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Permission: the key to effective massage

From my Judo days there’s an old terminology of great importance … Jita Kyoei … it translates to something like “mutual benefit and prosperity.”  It describes the meeting of two samurai from different villages sent to negotiate with each other.  There was an understanding that if the villages could reach mutual terms then both would prosper.  It was a better outcome than resolving matters by force.  The result … together we are stronger.  In judo we meant it as a great equaliser between teacher and student – whatever the lesson, it should be of benefit to both, neither one nor the other elevated to any point of power.

There’s three ways to gain entry to the home of another:

  • Kick the door down and force entry;
  • Ring the door bell and lie; and
  • Ring the door bell, establish credential, establish trust, seek permission and wait to be invite in.

Breaking the door down might be fast.  Using lies and deceit might benefit you.  However, only option 3 results in long term outcome of mutual benefit and harmony … Jita Kyoei.

In a previous post I wrote whether massage should hurt to be effective.  Time and time again I hear “no pain no gain.” For a fit healthy person seeking rapid recovery from a sporting injury or following exertion an invigorating massage might be just what the doctor ordered.

However, the truth is that not all persons like, need, want or can tolerate heavy, deep and aggressive massage.  Particularly where reduced movement or increased sensitivity is the result of a trauma be it from an accident, assault or illness.  Such treatment could be like kicking down the door of the house and demanding rights to entry.  You can only imagine the resistance that this will be met with.

In my practice I work with a lot of vulnerable people.  People with significant life experiences some with physical pain, others with emotional pain – some who are burdened and weary.  Sometimes we agree to work on structures of the body that are in sensitive areas and require careful navigation– like the deep muscles of the abdomen.

If I were to push hard, poke and prod and force an outcome towards a quick win then I can expect to be met with conscious and subconscious resistance – the tissues simply resisting and rejecting any massage work until they eventually give in.  Such work can be traumatic.

There’s one word that enable effective work and that is permission.  I’m not talking about conscious verbal consent but physical consent.  Permission that can only be granted by the formation of trust, and subconscious acceptance by the entire body.

The work is slow and patient with soft hands and we wait on the tissue to yield and to grant permission and only then do we go deep.  The body itself accepts the work and the result is typically profound.

The therapeutic relationship is proven as an important aspect to gaining great outcomes.  Two people, one requesting assistance, the other giving assistance, build trust and relationship, permission is exchanged and a positive outcome is the result.

What I’m talking about here is not the long and fancy techniques of a therapist, but the raw intention of that therapist, towards an outcome of mutual benefit and prosperity.  Jita kyoei.  At the point where therapeutic intention is met first by trust and then by permission, this is when great things happen.

Are you struggling to live the life you were destined to live and want to know more about how massage can help? Call or leave a message below. I’d love to talk with you.

David Clayton is the Principal Remedial Therapist at Myomasters Massage located in Hope Valley in the north east of Adelaide.  He has a passion for supporting humans to live the lives they were to born to live using massage and soft tissue therapies.  He has a particular interest in assisting people to recover from stress, anxiety and trauma using compassionate and nurturing touch.