Summer/Fall 2017 Newsletter

The Busy-ness of the Massage Room:
To Cell or Not to Cell?

Is it just me or… have you noticed that clients do not actually turn their cell phones *off* during their massage therapy session? Oh, yes, I request that they do so, and the client agreeably shakes their head: “yes, yes, it’s off, I’ve shut it off”. And then, working on their body and 30 minutes into the session, while my mind is trancing out in its own world, (the way I prefer to be when I’m working on a client), I’ll see it: the flash of light. The thumping of their phone against the ceramic dish where their jewelry is lying. The buzzing, thumping, jumping, flashing apparatus of technology: the cell phone.  Not off. Not silent. It’s alive and well and disturbing my mojo!

In fact, many clients have confessed that they didn’t even know how to turn their cell phones off…because they never have!

This is a disturbing trend in our business, not just because it disrupts the flow of the massage work we are giving and the alpha stage/relaxation level of the client, but because it shows an increasing lack of consciousness of our species being too connected. We seem to have lost the memory of the days before these devices were happenstance in our daily lives, and many appear unwilling or unable to dis-connect, even for 60 minutes.

And yet, what is our role as massage therapists, in assisting the client in achieving stress reduction, relaxation, and a quiet mind?

I stand resolute on this one: turn off the phone. I encourage my clients to practice disconnecting for the one hour we are together, and to practice doing this more and more in their lives. After all, you never know who is listening and whether HIPAA is being violated!

Think I’m kidding? Someone may be listening more than you want to know!  From The Guardian: “Samsung sparked controversy last year after announcing a television that would listen to everything said in the room it’s in and in the fine print literally warned people not to talk about sensitive information in front of it. While Samsung took a bunch of heat, a wide array of devices now act as all-seeing or all-listening devices, including other television models, Xbox Kinect, Amazon Echo and GM’s OnStar program that tracks car owners’ driving patterns. Even a new Barbie has the ability to spy on you – it listens to Barbie owners to respond but also sends what it hears back to the mothership at Mattel.”

Barbie is spying on… me? Lordy, Lordy: it really IS a Brave New World.

Regardless of whether Big Brother is actually listening in on my massage therapy session with clients, I’m concerned more with this our sacred healing art being given what it needs to best heal the client and the practitioner: quiet times to achieve quiet minds.

Insist your clients turn off the phone. They need the time to unwind and ultimately, it’s what they are paying us for. It’s a form of tough love, that’s for sure. You may have to show them where the *off* button is, but that’s par for the course in a profession that cares for the client like no other.


SJ Seymour is the Vermont Chapter 1st VP , Public Relations Chair and the proprietor of Planet Massage in Colchester. In her spare time in the summer, you can find her around the campfire with her 2 cats, with her cell phone in the *off* position.