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Now, we all know massage, itself, calms the nervous system through the power of our tactile sense, the sense of touch. Many massage therapists also use aromatherapy, applying or diffusing essential oils, because smell can be another way to help shift somebody into a healthier state. But what about sound? Music involves yet another sense, the auditory sense. It’s important to know that while, for some of us, it’s just pleasant background noise, there are others who are incredibly sensitive to music. It can have a big positive or, unfortunately, negative impact on their experience. Taking a quick moment to ask your client if they like the music can make a big difference, but when and how can you do that? One thing that has worked well for me, when practicing with clients, is to have different music options readily available. I find that if I turn on a track as I leave the room after we’re done with the intake, it allows the client to listen to the music while they are getting undressed and are on the table waiting for me to return. When I come back, I can very simply ask,

“How do you like the music selection? Will that work for you?”

Three out of four times, they will say that it’s fine, but once in a while, a client will say, “Thanks for asking. Actually, do you have something different?” or “I don’t really like vocals.” I can then simply switch to another track. Even for those clients who are not sensitive to music, this asking demonstrates care and concern for the quality of their experience, which is an important part of building their sense of your massage room as a place where their needs and preferences matter, leading to a more trusting client-therapist relationship.

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