Assembling an Aural Atmosphere
Choosing music that is appropriate to you and your practice leaves a subtle but lasting impression, and will help draw the type of patients that you want to work with.
One of my favorite parts of association meetings and conventions is seeing other RMT's. We come in all shapes, sizes, and philosophies - clinical, alternative, sports, or a mixture of everything. Scrubs, chinos, jeans, yoga pants, we choose what we wear, but do we put the same amount of thought into the soundtrack of our work day?
When in treatment, the purpose of music generally twofold:
- Mood - Relaxation is usually a priority for massage, but that doesn't mean you're limited to trees, waves, and synthesizers. Choose music that targets your patients, feeds your soul, and helps you get through the day. It may just be "background noise" that you don't even hear after a while, but if its background noise that irritates you, its not going to make you a better therapist. There are a variety of approaches to set the mood. You can take your patients to another country with a more ethnic sound, or leave them in the bush with the rain. There are also a selection of CDs specially designed for affecting the brain and nervous system. A word of caution - Be conscious of your own reaction to the music. I once lost twenty minutes in an hour long massage, totally zoned out doing effleurage on one side of the patient's back!
- White noise - Where is your treatment space? Whether you're trying to cover over the thud of weights dropping on the powerlifting platform, the click of high heels and whine of hairdryers in a salon, or the salesman on the phone in the office beside you, music is an efficient way to establish aural boundaries. If your work space is quite loud, look for a something with a more complicated sound. Stay away from single instrument recordings, as they may not give enough background to cover over your neighbours' noise pollution.
Keep variety in your office. Depending on treatment schedules, you may see people twice or three times a week. Don't make their visits boring. When appropriate, you could even ask them what they prefer to listen to. In addition to the more traditional CD's, there is also much available for downloading onto devices as well as internet radio stations.