By Master Sophie Atkinson
I was recently invited by a client to give ‘a talk and demonstration’ of NO HANDS Massage to a local group of over 60’s to which she belongs. It was a small group and there were only nine of them including my client in the audience, but two immediately booked in for a treatment and both expressed interest in signing up for my standing order scheme, even though they hadn’t even felt it. This is a pretty cool response from a marketing point of view but the reason why I’m sharing this is not because of the marketing potential for new clients (which is significant) but because of the impact the event had on my existing client, and how it has made me think about how I can use this format for both marketing and essentially teaching new and existing clients more about NO HANDS!
I’ve been doing NO HANDS long enough to be choosey about the type of client I work with. I want to work with new clients who are open to the transformative potential of massage; who understand that massage only works if it’s regular and who want to be involved and committed to the process I offer. I don’t want drop-in clients who turn up thinking I can ‘fix them’ and who don’t want to engage in any exploration of why they are there.
So I used my over 60’s event not just to inform them about the history of NO HANDS and why zero strain is such an important issue for therapists, but also as an opportunity to explain how and why I work the way I do. I talked about the seven stages of a treatment and how each stage is as important as the Touch, I talked about PEEMS and the transformational potential that massage has to offer and I talked about the Client Hub. I wanted any potential clients to know that when they come to see me, this will be different to a ‘traditional’ massage, not simply because of what I’m doing but because of what I believe about what I’m doing. The more explicit I can be about what I do before the client comes, the easier my job in the treatment room will be.
Back to my over 60’s event… so my client, who has been having NO HANDS once a month for the past 8 years was utterly blown away by what it actually looks like. Why was I so surprised? NO HANDS is immensely powerful to feel but what I had forgotten, or become blasé about is that it’s also really powerful to watch.What is even more interesting is that it appears to be infinitely more powerful if you are watching your own therapist working. I was reminded of when I had recently watched my own therapist give a live treatment. On the Mastery Programme NO HANDS has often been described as “love in action”, and seeing the absolute commitment, softness and focus that my therapist showed to their client made me feel really special. I remember thinking “that’s what they do with me” and I felt a huge emotional connection to my therapist as a result of watching them work.
Without a doubt NO HANDS is quite simply beautiful to watch. We don’t often see one person giving their utmost focus, care and attention to another and this can be an emotional and almost spiritual experience. In witnessing a massage we are offered a privileged peek into a connection between two people that is safe and respectful; joyful and creative. We are able to see both the strength and the vulnerability of both parties and that is a life-affirming glimpse into humanity. It is like watching all the best bits about being a human in action. And I had forgotten that my clients don’t ever get to see this!
My client’s immediate comment was “This will definitely change how I think about my massage from now on. I never knew that’s what you did.” And how could she? She hasn’t had the advantage of being on any NO HANDS courses. But in light of this positive reaction from her (although she has yet to come for a massage so I don’t yet know how it will change her massage), I started wondering whether this is something worth pursuing. Whether I should be offering this opportunity to all of my existing clients (‘bring a friend’ of course!) to come and observe what they are so used to feeling. It is also a great opportunity to revisit the theories and core philosophies behind NO HANDS that I take for granted but which I may not have actually ever explained to my clients other than in passing. I know all about the power, the theory, the philosophy behind NO HANDS but I’m not sure my clients do, and if I don’t tell them or show them then who will? And how much of a missed opportunity would that be? For them and for me.