Simplicity is the hardest thing of all to achieve
To develop as a manual therapist, you acquire knowledge from various sources and then you use this knowledge as a treatment language. And like any other language, it becomes special when a person is doing his own interpretation: there is the accent, or the way you speak. It’s individualistic.
We communicate through our treatments every appointment.
The language of touch is a unique experience to which two organisms are communicating. To facilitate the most optimal conversation by where healing is at the forefront of the conversation, the patients’ organism must lead the conversation. It is an all-knowing system of information that wants only to convey a solution to someone who is listening. We as therapists must be the listener in the conversation, not just with your ears, but with your wholeness.
Your eyes must “read” the patient upon introductions. Posture, skin tones, level of keptness, eye color. Your nose also plays an important part. Different pathologies have certain smells. As pharmaceuticals are introduced, the environment changes and these smells change like cooking ingredients change the flavor and smell of a recipe. Your ears must listen to their voice, it’s inflections, tones, level, volume, the effort it takes to form words.
Your “gut” must be finely tuned to pick up the ever so subtle emotions, intentions, wants and needs that the patients’ organism is telling you…. not always what their mouth is saying. Our ability to infer is an art and a skill and is life long. In order to become attuned to these subtleties, you must first learn to control your own and remove them from the conversation. We all have a “graving” for importance, within a conversation and must remain humble and selfless. The only single importance at the moment is the other organism in the room and what it is conveying to you.
Making “first contact” with your patient is a skill that requires far more education that what is currently instructed.
How aggressive, harsh, cold, inconsiderate, rushed, uncaring are you? What are you trying to convey to your patient. Would you rather be elsewhere or on your smart phone? Are you tired of them complaining about the same thing over and over and over. Are you tired?
Maybe you need a break… a holiday to return to your core beliefs about why you got into this profession. Don’t worry, it happens to all of us. We need to keep our selves in check also. It’s important to have a support group of others who understand you and have your best interests at heart.
Interested, gentle, caring, calm, warm friendly communication is what we all wish for not only in verbal conversations, but also more importantly in physical communication. Create a conversation environment conducive to providing the best opportunity for healing and change to occur.
What are their tissues telling you through your amazingly sensitive interested calm hands? Can you feel their level of tension, blood pressure, physiological changes that tell you there is a systemic process at work?
Hypertension feels different than cancer. Work stress feels different than family stress. Emotional abuse is different than emotional support. Many times a patient will schedule a 90 minute session, yet my gut and all my senses tell me at 45 minutes that time is up. Patients appreciate that you are present and aware of their changes.
They are the most important person in the room after all!
With all this communicating, one thing we must always be aware of is our self-preservation.
Do not take on their issues. You have enough of your own! Leave it all at work. It’s a hard lesson to learn, and some of us have learned the hard way. It gets easier. It doesn’t make you less caring, interested or capable to helping, but just the opposite.
You still have to leave the office to return to love ones who have their own needs from you. Being drained at the end of the day doesn’t serve anyone. After all, we got into this profession to serve right?
Take care of yourself.
Be present with your patients
Be present with your life
Make a difference in someone’s life today!