Real Life Stories: Clients Who Don't HealPin it

Submitted By Mary Lea McKennan, CMT

One of the most challenging situations for me has been from repeat clients who hurt all the time. When leaving after a session they feel much better, yet it doesn’t last long, maybe a day or two. As a caregiver, this is disheartening. Early in my career I took it personally, questioning what could I do differently to help them.

If you were confronted with the same situation again, how might you handle things differently?

Response from Mary Lea McKennan, CMT

Through personal research and continuing education, as well as experience, I’ve found that by empowering them to be personally involved in their own healthcare is the best medicine/modality, or whatever term you wish to put on it. I keep regular SOAP notes on all of my clients. For clients with these chronic ailments or pain, I encourage them logging or journaling changes in how they are feeling, focusing on the up times rather than the down. Identifying, if possible, what they are doing, eating, etc. prior to a good day or week.

This has been so overwhelmingly successful, that I have put together a Personal Wellness Plan eBook that I email to certain clients in this category. Along with suggestions on journaling are simple tennis ball therapy exercises that allow them to work on troubled areas between sessions. It has been very rewarding for me as a massage therapist, and caretaker, knowing that I’ve assisted them positively. But more so, to see these people light up when they feel better, because of what they are doing to help themselves.

Response from Institute for Integrative Healthcare Studies

It can indeed be disheartening to have a client who appears to have unending or chronic pain. In some cases, this may be influenced by psychological factors but, in many, cases it can be due to a chronic pathology, such as fibromyalgia.

While massage therapy is good for many things, such as improvement of circulation, relaxation, enhanced toxin removal and so much more, it is not necessarily a cure. When a person leaves our office, he or she often returns to the same stresses, strains and activities that may have caused the pain and discomfort. This is just one of the reasons it is beneficial to have regularly scheduled massages, whether that be once a week, twice a month or even just once a month. Bob Hope was known to have a massage each and every morning!

You have met your challenge with some excellent ideas, especially the eBook. They are tools that give empowerment to your clients and offer them to fully participate in their own healing.

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