To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Tame Your Monkey Mind: Meditate,” by Karen Menehan, in the July 2011 issue. Article summary: Meditation is a spiritual practice in religious traditions including Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, New Thought and Islam. It helps the meditator feel calm, be present and fully inhabit her body in the now moment. It might be used as a time of prayer, focused contemplation, breath work, chanting or visualization.

by Karen Menehan

Meditation helps keep a person calm, even long after the meditation session is done. Massage therapists who meditate are finding the effects of this self-care practice often follow them into their massage session rooms.

Timothy Seaton, a massage therapist in Wheatridge, Colorado, says meditation helps him in his session room because he is able to remain a present observer rather than immediately believing his own thoughts about a client.

“Like if someone says ‘I have sciatica,’ instead of putting into your mind that it is sciatica, let that stuff go,” he explains. “Do the intake, but release any attachment to the sciatica and really attune yourself to the body and focus on what’s going on in the moment.”

Meditation helps Angela Loehr, a massage therapist in Oakland, California, be a better massage therapist, she says, because it has a grounding effect on her massage practice.

“In my massage practice I find myself approaching each session in much the same way as I approach meditating, with deep reverence for the process that is about to unfold and no expectation regarding the end result,” she says. “This approach allows me to be deeply grounded and in tune with each of my client’s regardless of the length of the session.”

Loehr also uses meditation techniques, such as visualization, in her sessions as tools to help clients relax more deeply.

“This has been an invaluable part of my practice working with business professionals in an office setting,” she says. “I have found that in these times of uncertainty, the benefits my client’s experience from being able to deeply relax and get in touch with themselves is equal to the relaxation of a massage.”

Karen Menehan is MASSAGE Magazine’s editor in chief.