"Simple techniques, when applied with intention, can have a big effect on the body" - Wow factor feedbackMay 09, 2022
We always ask "What's your Wow factor?" when done with our courses, because we want to know what made the lightbulb go on! What gave you that sense of "OMG" all the way down to your toes, and out to the ends of your hair? A revelation written over and over in the assessments is how impactful "less is more" can be.
The title of this blog was one of the "Wow" factor comments a participant in one of our courses gave in her post-program assessments. I thought it summed up what we are doing when working with folks going through breast and chest surgery so well that I decided to write a blog post around it.
So I'll ask you about your own practice:
Are you the type of therapist who over-functions? Who feels there has to be pain to get gain? Who believes that unless you're turning metaphorical cartwheels on the table, that your patient is going to walk away unsatisfied?
I know when I first started I put so much into every treatment that I'd be sweating like I just did a workout. I couldn't wear shirts with sleeves because they got too sticky, and I sometimes I would find myself surreptitiously wiping dripping sweat off my brow with the bottom corner of the patients sheet (yes, it's true, soooo sorry to those early patients!!).
In my mind I couldn't take my hands off for an instant or the patient would be disappointed. I had to be max effort, max-amount of the time, in order to feel like i was giving a good treatment.
What was the result?
Burn out within a few years of entering private practice.
It was very disheartening. And required some serious transformation in the way that I worked.
When I started working with breast and chest surgery patients, I was delightfully surprised to realize that less IS often more.
Recently surgicalized tissues do not need a hammer to them, there is no need for deep tissue. In fact, deep tissue is a CI and would actually bring harm to the patient. Plus, breasts themselves do not need vigorous work, they are made of soft sensitive tissue and the person can rebel mentally, emotionally and physically if treated too roughly.
Meeting the tissue at the level it requires for healing is a mindful practice, one where you need to be present in order to be able to read what the body is telling you.
So why did I single out this comment above all the others?
Let's break it down:
"Simple techniques" - this is key because a lot of effective techniques are not full of "pyrotechnics". They are simple, straightforward, not complicated. However, what makes them significant is the next phrase of the line:
"when applied with intention" - I think this is one of the most important parts of the whole line. Our intention as therapists can play a very impactful role in the experience our patient has.
It can set the stage for the atmosphere in the room, the way your hands move on the patient's body, the insights that tell you this technique is better than that one because of how your patient is presenting today.
It can provide the bridge between your knowledge and the patient's body. It can provide an "osmotic" vehicle for your techniques to filter past the barriers of patient guarding and resistance, allowing your patient to relax and absorb what you are doing in a far more comprehensive manner than they could do you if you were operating without intention, in a distracted, rushed, chaotic or even aggressive manner.
"can have a big effect on the body" - this is what we are all hoping for! A positive change in your patient's state that signifies their body has received what it needs to "unwind" and heal from whatever is distressing it.
This is when the patient has their "aha" moment, gets their "wow factor" and most likely has profound gratitude for the help they are receiving.
So let's put it all together:
"Simple techniques, when applied with intention, can have a big effect on the body"
When you apply what you know in a very mindful manner, you are meeting the patient at the place they are at, and choosing techniques based on what the patient is presenting with at that time. You do not need to be complicated or fulfilling an ego-driven need to "be the one".
In fact, taking a step back and offering up the techniques in a peaceful, non-dominant way can allow your patient to accept the invitation, absorb the effects of the techniques into their body and create a powerful inner shift that does not require a mass amount of effort on either part.
So I'll ask you again at the end of this article:
Do you want to be the therapist that is sweating all over the patient and, yes, even using the patient's sheet to wipe your brow because you can't disengage for an instant? Or do you want to be the therapist that is able to genuinely listen to your patient's body, to offer up techniques with intention that your patient can gracefully accept and create profound shifts with mindful, small efforts?
I know what I needed to do to create a lasting practice.
Without the changes I cultivated, I would have been long gone from the profession by now. And that would be a real shame because I'd have lost out on knowing all you fine people, and the many patients I've been privileged enough to meet over the years.
If you're interested in cultivating a new style of treatment that can create profound shifts with mindful, simple techniques, I'd love to see you in one of our courses one of these days!
We've got some coming up that may suit you - both virtual and in person - so please look into our website to learn more: www.mastectomyguide.com
Until then, ask yourself "what's my wow factor?" for my practice? If you don't have one, what would you like it to be?