I’ve been having sports massages for quite a while and I have to say I’m a little stunned at what happened today. It’s going to be difficult to cut a long story short, but basically since I’ve been pregnant my massage therapist has become a little “strong” in her advice/opinion/orders about what I should or shouldn’t be doing.
One thing that happens during pregnancy is that you get lots of unwanted advice. You get used to that pretty quickly, but this has been a little different. Initially she annoyed me, telling me I must drink 4 glasses of milk or I won’t be able to breastfeed, hounding me about getting enough iron and lecturing me on my eating (I won’t even comment on her own diet). I’ve been pretty happy with my pregnancy so far, since I’ve had next to no morning sickness and my diet is probably healthier than most of the population. I’m fit, healthy and I listen to my body.
At 6 weeks pregnant said massage therapist was concerned about me even laying on my stomach. I said that I was still comfortable to lay on my stomach and would continue to do so till it was no longer comfortable. I was a bit annoyed when I found out that this massage therapist then complained to my friend that what I was doing was unsafe………my friend also sees her for massages, but just cuz she’s my friend doesn’t give a professional the right to talk about me! But I didn’t think too much of this, I just let it go.
When I was 10 weeks pregnant this massage therapist tried to tell me that I’d have to stop doing ab work, since my Rectus Abdominus was beginning to seperate. Since this kind of issue is part of my job I’m well aware of the impact of this, and I know that this doesn’t occur until around 24 weeks or thereabouts.
Over the next few weeks she began to annoy me a bit. She called me selfish (I never figured out exactly what for? Presumably cuz I didn’t cut down enough classes to her liking, but I didn’t quite figure it out?), told me I needed to go to pregnancy yoga, insisted I don’t do weights above my head and various other “advice”.
I was getting so sick of it that tonight I decided I wanted to make it clear to her that I was going to her for just a massage.
Due to my issues I’ve been having with my pelvis and laying on my back, I’ve discovered that I can lay on my back relaxed by putting a towel under my butt, tilting my pelvis back slightly and flattening my back a bit. When I asked to do this she wasn’t impressed and started prescribing walking in water as an exercise for me. She explained that the towel was bad for my back cuz it was creating too much lordosis in my back and putting too much pressure on my spine. She rambled a bit about how the placenta was probably at the front causing extra weight there and creating lordosis.
I calmly explained to her that actually, the towel was tilting my pelvis so that there was LESS lordosis and that I’ve had 10 years of back issues (read “My Story” if you’re interested) and that my spine actually has too little lordosis, so a little bit there is probably a good thing. She argued and insisted the towel was bad and I said “look, it’s the only way I can lay on my back without pain, I’ve been managing my back problems for 10 years, I’m a qualified fitness professional and I think I have a pretty good idea by now how to manage my problems”.
She got pretty uptight at some point, and said that she couldn’t “manage me” if I didn’t do what she said, and I explained “you’re not my obstetrician, and I don’t come to you for fitness advice, I come to you for a massage and I’d appreciate if you’d just do what you’re good at”. She continued to say that if she couldn’t “manage me” then she’d recommend another massage therapist to me.
I felt pretty surprised at this point. I spoke calmly and I explained to her that I felt she needed to update her pregnancy knowledge, since much of it was out of date and that I’d appreciate if she stuck to what I paid her to do.
At the end of the massage I didn’t see her as I came out, I have no idea if she was avoiding me, but I got a call 10 mins later from the receptionist explaining to me that my future appointments had been cancelled and asked me if I needed any recommendations for another massage therapist. I said that wouldn’t be necessary.
I can’t quite believe how she reacted. Feedback can be pretty upsetting, and in my position I’m particularly aware of that since in my job it’s something you always get. However as a professional you have to remain professional about it. There was nothing professional in the way she reacted whatsoever and it concerns me the way she was so strong willed in the way she gave her advice.
On top of this, being pregnant I felt more upset following this encounter than I normally would have. It sucks being so fragile, but it makes me even more annoyed that she’d treat a pregnant woman in this way, when we need a little bit more tenderness and understanding during this time.