This is probably the most over used term when describing massage.
Most massage professionals would struggle to really define the term, if they had to actually think and describe it because it comes instinctively in doing the work.
According to Webster’s Dictionary -
Intuition n. the immediate knowing of something without the conscious use of reasoning.
Instinct, inspiration, sixth sense; presentiment, premonition, foreboding.
So how or why does intuition have anything to do with massage?
A professional massage therapist has several hours of training in anatomy (structure), kinesiology (movement), and Physiology (function). They learn how these components work together for a healthy, pain free body. Massage therapists also study pathology (disease) and dysfunction of components to better understand how they fall out of balance to help them get back in sync and working efficiently.
Many massage therapists are trained in more than one style and can use whatever they feel will work for the problem. This is the “Intuitive” part of massage. When a therapist begins working on a body, they begin to feel what is going on under the skin. By having training in different styles and having a strong understanding of the body, they begin to instinctively address what they find and pull various trainings from their “tool box” of knowledge.
For example, if I find the skin and/or fascia (connective tissue) is tight and feel tension in the tissues, I will use Myofacial release to loosen things up before applying more pressure. Once I get the top layer loose, I will work on the next layer using friction, Swedish techniques or sometimes just applying pressure and holding will cause release.
I also do a thorough interview of the client, so I can better understand the problem and what pain or discomfort they are experiencing. Exploring the mechanism of injury; how it happened, what angle it happened, how fast, etc., I get a clearer idea of what muscles are involved and how mis-alignment might be affecting other areas. In truly listening to the client, I also get an understanding for how they feel about it. I find that a client’s perception of what is going on plays a big part in their healing. By my use of words, I can also influence the healing and try to use words that will help the client believe in their own healing and pain reduction.
So, the whole subject of “Intuitive Massage” is actually more than most people realize. The therapist not only uses what knowledge they have to instinctively address issues on a physical level, but a truly intuitive therapist will also be aware of their language and the emotional and mental aspect of injury and pain. If I believe in your healing, my intention for the work is about your healing and you believe in your healing…your healing will happen.