Feel more calm and together in 2017
BCMB tutor, Sarah Hoare, interviewed Lucy Heard (pictured right) to find out why this creative arts freelancer regularly attends the BCMB Student Clinics…
SH: Lucy, thanks for sitting down with me today. Let’s crack on – when did you start having massage at the Student Clinic?
LH: 1912! Well, at least 2 years ago. I go weekly, as often as I can. I generally book a block of 5 then take a little rest and book another block. Apart from the time when I didn’t do any sessions, and that was just wrong!
It was difficult for me to go at first. Hard to let myself have that space. It felt very indulgent. Well, it still does, but now I let myself go anyway! I’ve learned the benefits outweigh the feelings of guilt and self-indulgence. When I tell other people I’m having massage most weeks they say, “What? Really? Can you DO that?” There’s a lot of permission giving going on within myself. I think it’s easier because I’m not spending £50-60 a time. The affordable price makes a real difference to me. When I started going I wasn’t earning much money at all.
SH: Tell me more about the benefits?
LH: I feel much more grounded in my own body. Let’s say I know when I DON’T go! It’s really noticeable when I don’t go. When I do though, I feel more calm and more together. And the benefits go on for days afterwards. It’s not just about having a nice time at the time. I find I continue to absorb and reflect afterwards. I’m in a different headspace.
I don’t get as angry. And I can see things in a much more orderly fashion. In exchange for an hour a week, I get to clear out my head. It just works.
SH: Has your experienced changed over the time you’ve been having the massages?
LH: In the beginning I used to spend time lying there feeling I didn’t deserve it. I’d be giving myself a hard time for having time out, time completely dedicated to me, as if that didn’t have any value in the grand scheme of things. Like I should be working or helping someone else or whatever.
SH: What changed for you?
LH: Ha! I told myself to get over myself and enjoy it! I also recognised that I am helping someone else by going. I’m helping the student to improve. I went round a lot of different students early on and that really helped me to trust the process. I would go and not know who I was getting each time, and I’ve never had an unpleasant massage. It became about trusting that everyone who’s there is there for a reason, and the variety’s given me an overarching experience of the training. The massage is never the same twice, but it’s coming from a consistent place, individual style with familiar elements. It’s a bit like my yoga practice – I do the same postures again and again, but I have a different experience every time. It’s not like BCMB is churning therapists out of a factory!
I feel like I’m learning massage from the inside out. I’m getting insight into what the students are learning, and it’s nice when they share that with me, whether it’s telling me muscle names or what a particular technique is for.
And I like to pretend I really don’t give a monkey’s about taking my clothes off, when really I do! It’s all interconnected with life. It’s all about being present and being seen, if It’s OK to get deep and philosophical about it!
When I first started going I felt they needed to beat the s**t out of me, like it needed to be painful with big pressure on the tenderest parts. Now, with the regularity and the experience, I don’t feel I need that level of force. It can be a really pleasant experience, not seeking to fix anything or change anything, it can just be as it is in that moment.
It’s learning about letting go. Learning I don’t need to ‘help’ by say holding or moving my arm for the student. I am getting better at letting go. And I notice when my mind wanders, and I feel my body respond to the thoughts. Sometimes I catch myself tensing up and realise my mind’s drifted back to some tricky moment from the day.
There are moments of revelation too, suddenly getting clarity, or solutions, realising , “of course that’s what I should do!”
It’s also just really nice to know you’ve got a warm, comfortable, safe space booked in once a week. That’s nice!
The only downside is just getting to develop little relationships over perhaps 3-4 sessions. I don’t get to experience an ongoing relationship with one person, but that’s a compromise I’m willing to make because I know the quality will always be there.
SH: How do you schedule the sessions into your life?
LH: I try to plan so I’m not doing anything after my massage. I like to keep my clear head afterwards. The massage is like a signal, “this is the end of my day”, so I don’t lie there thinking about all the things I need to do later.
SH: With all your experience, any top tips for first timers?
LH: Let the students practice what they need to – be open to it and you’ll get a better session as a result. There’s no need to fight what’s being offered. I haven’t gone in with an agenda of my own, say to sort my shoulders out, for a long time. When you get comfortable with letting the student practice what they need to, you get great attention because they are really into it, really appreciative and really focused. It’s an exchange. They’re there to learn, and you’ll be surprised how working in areas other than your shoulders can help so much!
And you get to see them progress and grow in confidence. They really change along the way, and there’s always an interesting mix of people on the course, from dance instructors to boxers!
SH: And if someone was thinking about going to the Student Clinic, what would you say to them?
LH: Do it! Get on with it! Stop wasting your life!
SH: Well, that’s a perfect moment to end on! Thanks for taking the time to chat, Lucy. Happy Massage and Happy New Year to you!
If you want to start attending the BCMB Student Clinics, contact the office on 0117 946 6371