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A Massage therapist wants to know if it makes sense to play guided imagery while she works on client

08 Sep
A licensed massage therapist wants to know if it makes sense to play some simple, guided imagery, such as our General Wellness imagery, while she works on her clients…
Dear BR,

What do you think of using recorded imagery -- like General Wellness or Relaxation & Wellness, as background during massage?

Bonnie Jellett, LMT, from St. Pete





Dear Bonnie,

I think that depends. For many people, the most important thing they can do during a massage is to just focus on the sensations, get back into their bodies, breathe into their muscle tissue and increase sensory awareness. This enhances the therapeutic experience and allows people to benefit to the max from the massage. For them, playing a tape would only distract them from the main event, and take away from the experience.

In addition, some massage therapists like to do a kind of interactive conversation with their clients as they work, getting feedback from them as to what level of pressure feels best, what emotions or images are coming up for them and offering guidance around breathing or imaging. In this instance, playing a tape might interfere as well.

Further, some clients prefer silence or quiet music. So it would be a good idea to ask what their preference is.

On the other hand, I know of several people with M.S. who enjoy having their massotherapist play imagery for Multiple Sclerosis during their massage. Similarly, pregnant women sometimes like hearing our Healthy Pregnancy/Successful Childbirth imagery; and the same thing is true for Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel and Healing Trauma.

So I guess it just depends on the person and your style of working.

Thanks for the question.
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award