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Massage Today
August, 2014, Vol. 14, Issue 08

Understanding the Beautiful Choreography of Massage

By Caron Lerner

Given the choice, I would pick my own music when giving a massage. Now, I find myself working at a specific location where I don't have a say in the matter. The music that I work with is very calming, pleasant and wonderful.

Through the years I have worked with smooth jazz, head banger hard rock, sound effects such as waterfalls, running water (nowadays not my favorite, running water always makes me run to the bathroom), tribal drums and a host of others.

I have always said that when I give a massage I should get as much benefit out of giving the massage as the client on the table getting the massage. With the proper music there is a certain ebb and flow in the bodies movement making the treatment more of a dance than a clinical event. The smooth flowing long strokes, as well as the intense critical trigger point work all have a place in the surrounding music that accompanies a massage treatment.

As I listen to the music, my body begins to move in conjunction with the rhythm. It has the same effect as standing while holding a baby. There is a natural rocking/swaying movement taking place as the session continues. Even as the music changes from song to song, it's an easy adjustment to follow the rhythmical changes as they occur. To stoically stand from place to place as you work on your client will lead to poor postural habits, fatigue, pain and discomfort.

In my education, included in my curriculum was Tai Chi Chuan. It took me a few years to see the true benefits of using the long flowing movements, lowering my center of gravity and relaxing as I move through the treatment. Not only do I find a true connection with my client's energy, I feel that they can feel my energy as the rhythm flows through my touch.

The movements are slow and yet precise. I can deepen my breathing allowing for relaxation throughout the entire massage. This allows me to focus and regenerate during the massage making the treatment less fatiguing, allowing for greater energy to be dispersed.

After years of working in my own private practice, my husband and I relocated from Long Island to Charlotte, North Carolina. My best option for continuing my passion in massage was to join the ranks of therapists working in store front franchised massage businesses while building up a private clientele. This was quite an education. I used to design my own music and burn my own discs.

I went through a Yanni phase, classical music phase, melodic piano, guitar, folk and classic rock. My clients began to request a certain genre and my library grew. The best technological advancement came with Sirius Satellite Radio. I would go to my clients homes and tune into the meditation station or other stations conducive to massage. I am partial to piano or guitar music. Slow melodies in minor keys give the tempo of the massage a very relaxing, sedative almost tranquilizing effect. As I listen to the rhythm and melody of the music, my massage begins to evolve into a symphony and dance of flowing energy. Combining music with the movements of Tai Chi has allowed me to continue my massage for more than 20 years.

There is a certain meditative feeling allowing me to close my eyes and feel deeply into my client's muscles. I let my hands feel what needs to be felt. I let the music permeate the atmosphere allowing for the quintessential experience to begin. Each and every massage is a new adventure, a new exploration into a healing process. I take the journey with my client and together we work through a maze of stress, tension and medical issues.

In the medical field, there are few practitioners that have the privilege of an actual hands on experience with their clients from beginning to end. As massage therapists, we all but guarantee that the person walking into our room will feel better walking out of our room. Through a blend of ambiance, music, knowledge of our craft and empathy, we have the ability to significantly alter a person's day. This is a very satisfying experience. A challenge I accept every day.

Caron Lerner graduated from New York College of Health Professions 1993 and has been actively practicing massage therapy for more than 24 years. She is a licensed massage therapist in North Carolina and New York. Email her at: .


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