According to the Mayo Clinic, mindfulness is a type of meditation. Those who practice this type of meditation focus their awareness on what they’re sensing and feeling in the moment. The key is not to interpret or judge senses or feelings, merely observe.
Recommended course: Massage Therapy and the Stress Epidemic
A popular practice
In a 2020 study, 84% of respondents said they meditated to help reduce stress and anxiety. 53% of people used this method to help improve concentration and memory. 52% of people used it to improve performance at work and/or school.
In addition, the mindfulness meditation app market is predicted to reach $2.1 billion between 2020-2025. (KD Market Insights, 2020) Currently, the top 3 mediation apps are Calm, Headspace, and Mediotopia. (Priori Data Statistics, 2020)
Using mindfulness as a massage therapist
Mindfulness is a great tool not only for clients, but also for massage therapists. A quick and easy way to incorporate this form of meditation into a daily routine is to start each morning with mindfulness. When waking, take stock of the current state of both body and mind. This practice sets the tone for the day and allows the therapist to meet their clients where they are.
Before entering the room with a client, take a moment to practice grounding and centering techniques. Centering calms emotions, where grounding focuses on slowing down internal and external emotions. Here are some simple techniques for both practices.
Breath: Breath is so important to health. It has the power to focus the mind, steady a racing heart, and ease nervousness. New clients may often feel nervous at the start of their session. Breathing in through the nose for a count of four and out through the nose for a count of eight can help them bring down their stress levels.
Acknowledging the senses: If a client is experiencing stress, another calming technique involves naming six things that pertain to what they are sensing at the moment. Visually, what’s around them? Are there any notable sounds? Smells? What can they feel? Can they taste anything? A series of questions like these can help calm their mind by giving them something to focus on.
Guided meditation: This technique is great for those that have difficulty quieting their minds. Whether via an audio meditation track or a live conversation during the massage, guided meditation allows clients to keep their minds on relaxation.
Walking barefoot: From stress relief to improving sleep, there is tremendous value in feeling the earth beneath one’s feet. It is, quite literally, grounding.
Yoga: The combination of holding a pose and focusing on breathwork can help calm and focus the mind. The breathwork used in yoga can easily be transferred to the massage session. By giving the client something physical to focus on, breathwork can help calm a nervous client’s nerves.
Additionally, yoga has the benefit of building tone and flexibility. Practicing yoga principles is a good element of self-care for both clients and massage therapists.