Whatever is safe and accessible to you

Posted on November 7, 2023 by Allissa Haines

“Maybe you reach with your whole arm. Maybe you lead with your elbow or shoulder. Do whatever is safe and accessible to you.”

This is the kind of encouragement I hear frequently during my virtual yoga class with my friend Annalisa. Maybe I need a prop or an adjustment or to simply opt out of a pose. I do what I can do, and it’s just right. For me.

Likewise, I’ve had a lot of massage appointments lately that include various adjustment and accommodations to keep the client cozy. Sometimes the adjustment is flipping the client back to face-up and draining the sinuses at the end. Or lifting the head of the table to a semi-reclined position.

Some clients aren’t cozy laying flat on the belly, so we use props under the shoulders or hips, or a side-lying position with a snuggly pillow to hug while supporting the knees and hips. Clients can remain fully clothed, remove all their clothes, or choose any option in between. We’ll make it work.

I’ve gotten several “Thank you for accommodating my needs” sentiments after these appointments and a few almost-apologetic ones.

That makes me think we all need a reminder: Your needs are never a bother, never a thing that you need to apologize for. In fact, I love making these adjustments and accommodations. It’s fun too add a little variety to my day and deeply rewarding to know that I have helped make you the most cozy that you can be.

The best massage for you is the one that makes you feel safe, comfortable and is accessible for you. Just as you are. It is my job and my privilege to create that massage experience for you. It is my goal to create that experience for the you that you are in that moment.

So the next time your feet are a little cold or you just want different music or whatever isn’t quite right, speak up. I’ve got a solution for that, and it’s truly my pleasure to make your massage the most safe and accessible and enjoyable for you.