Unexpected lessons from being a Client

By Master Tigger MacGregor

Female massage therapist, Master Tigger MacGregor, using forearms to massage a client's back

“Learn as a client”

This is one of the core 8 Minds of NO HANDS Massage – and it’s one I take very seriously. I receive treatments from fellow NO HANDS Masters, from NO HANDers who aren’t yet Masters, and from people who haven’t even heard of NO HANDS, let alone trained. After every treatment I receive, and I mean every treatment, I have MASSES that I’ve learned. And this learning? It informs and sometimes changes how I interact with the world. As a person, as a Massage therapist, and as a Massage trainer.

I am also a senior examiner for fellow therapists who wish to be recognised as a NO HANDS Master. I’ve been examining for over a decade and know without a doubt when what I experience as a client is Masterful – and when it’s not. 

When it is Masterful – what bliss! What utter UTTER bliss. 

If you’ve experienced a Masterful treatment, you’ll know what I’m talking about. For me I experience it as feeling “held” on every level of my being. I drift – completely – and lose chunks of “actively conscious” time on the table. It’s like floating in a world of golden clouds, totally supported, totally free, with an incredible lightness. Trust me, I understand my massive good fortune to have experienced this not just once, but on many occasions.

Even more magical is receiving a Masterful treatment from a NO HANDS therapist who hasn’t yet been recognised as a Master – but is already working at that level. Most recently I had that experience from a therapist who I had seen grow and develop and invest in themselves year after year – most recently on the NO HANDS Mastery Programme. It was a joy to receive both as a client and as a trainer who had been involved in supporting their development.

Fast forward 12 months and I was back seeing this therapist again. How excited was I?! Rubbing my metaphorical hands with glee, I was looking forward to another Masterful treatment. Because once a Master, always a Master – right? Yes, but…

Maybe you can see where this is going. The treatment I received was powerful. It was a solid NO HANDS treatment. But was it Masterful? No. 

After 12 months of being cut off from the immense support, inspiration and “reality check” of live, in-person, courses – plus all the stress of lockdown and the scope for Script to kick in – had taken its toll. I was disappointed, as you’ll understand. But on this occasion, learning as a client taught me one lesson, and reinforced another.

Lesson 1: It taught me that Outstanding Support is ESSENTIAL for every therapist

The buzz of a NO HANDS course

It was only by experiencing this subtle but significant drop in competence that I truly understood how important top quality, LIVE support is. This, after 15 years of learning – and teaching! – about how key SUPPORT is. Talk about slow learner (me, that is!)

By support I mean more than an email newsletter or a Zoom call. I mean in the flesh, in the same room, breathing the same air (with appropriate risk mitigation strategies in place, of course), energies mingling. Able to respond to every piece of communication that’s going on: every muscle twitch, every flick of the eyes, every withdrawal into self. 

Within NO HANDS this is offered at the Mastery Programme for practitioners who have completed the NO HANDS core syllabus. Even for practitioners who are still travelling through this core syllabus, we offer Master Support Sessions – the opportunity to get completely tailored, supervision-style clinical support from an experienced NO HANDS Master. 

Support is not a nice to have: it’s ESSENTIAL.

Lesson 2: It reminded me that Masterful treatments happen BEFORE a therapist is a Master

New NO HANDS Masters in 2017Remember I said this therapist hadn’t yet been recognised as a NO HANDS Master? I know many NO HANDS therapists who are incredibly close to being a NO HANDS Master – and I know that there will be times when they deliver a completely masterful treatment. I happened to be in the room (and on the table) on one of those occasions. 

The difference is that to be recognised as a Master takes more than one Masterful treatment. Specifically, it takes two. Back to back. Maintaining your Adult, keeping your Script at bay, honouring the client, honouring your NO HANDS training. For two treatments. The first is witnessed by your peers and several NO HANDS Masters (way to add the pressure!) The second is witnessed by two examining Masters, with a third Master in the room as your client. 

And if you can do this – if you deliver two Masterful treatments back to back – you will be awarded the golden certificate that states you have been recognised as a NO HANDS Master. And once a Master, always a Master. 

Comments ( 2 )

  • Beth Lloyd

    Super read, thank you Tigger.

    After the 4th or 5th read through. Yes it had so much content, I wanted to reread.
    Such a profound reminder of support and it’s many levels/forms.
    Also for me, it’s how we learn by feeling as a client. Gives the unconscious brain the opportunity to learn and grow.

  • Beth hunt

    Yes yes yes Tigger! Well said. Been feeling the lack of support recently ( all my own doing) and totally agree! I need to remedy this.

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