Monday, November 11, 2013

Introvert or extrovert? Yes! Or, 5 Reasons Why Ambiverts Make Great Massage Therapists

Vase or faces? Yes!
+Kat Mayerovitch  and +Allissa Haines wrote a pair of articles called 5 Reasons Introverts Make Great Massage Therapists and 5 Reasons Extroverts Make Great Massage Therapists. And they're great, as far as they go. Heck, they were so great I recognized myself in both of them.

And why shouldn't I? The world is not in fact divided into two distinct and distinctly dissimilar groups, whether we're talking gender or sexuality or social interactions. "Introversion" and "extroversion" both represent traits (or rather, collections of traits) that all humans can have in varying amounts. Some of us may have so little of one set and so much of another that the identity "extrovert" or "introvert" makes sense -- for them.

But for many of us, when asked if we'd rather spend time at a party, or alone in our homes; whether we get energy from a vigorous discussion with our peers, or feel overwhelmed at the back-and-forth of ideas; whether we like to speak up or enjoy the silence: the answer is "yes!" Or "sometimes". Or "it depends".

For many of us, the answer to "introversion or extroversion?" is "ambiversion please!"

And so, here are my five reasons why ambiverts make great massage therapists:

Ambiverts are energized by interacting with other people, especially one-on-one

For someone strongly at the introvert end of the scale, any interaction with others, such as a long intake interview, may leave them drained and in need of alone time to be shored up. For someone much more on the extrovert side of things, the mostly quiet, low-interaction environment of massage may leave them feeling lonely and craving interaction. For an ambivert, though, moving in and out of silence, and interacting intensely with one other person, can be just right, nourishing our needs for both solitude and community.

Ambiverts balance learning and intuition

Extroverts may thrive on the promises of exactitude found in textbook knowledge, or may be great empaths able to "read" other people. Introverts may find themselves open to others' energies, or retreat into the solitude of book learning. But most people at the far ends of the spectrum find the method that works for them and stick with it (and make great massage therapists, if in very different ways, because of it!). Ambiverts, though, thrive on BOTH book learning and interpersonal learning, on academic knowledge and the subtle senses we can't quite follow consciously. Or, as one person explained her experience of my massage recently, ambiverts often have "a balance between treatment and presence".

Ambiverts answer questions without being pushy

Introverts, though they may be profoundly expert in their field, can struggle to find a way to express the answers they know when put on the spot unexpectedly. Extroverts know the answer before you ask, and want to help by making sure you hear it. Ambiverts are excellent at waiting until you're ready to hear about recommendations for home-care stretches, or how a Health at Every Size approach to food and movement can help you get off the dieting roller coaster, and then at giving you just enough information to satisfy your curiosity.

Ambiverts can match your energy

Whether you've come in for your massage off a high-intensity workout or already chill and serene from sitting meditation, ambiverts can meet you where you are, reflecting back your joy and syncing with your slow wave with equal ease.

Ambiverts can help moderate your energy

Sometimes massage comes at the end of day filled with crises (or what people around you think are crises -- the red sippy cup is dirty! The Anderson file is due next week!), and you haven't yet shaken the anxiety and adrenaline that have allowed you to run from one situation to another. Or you're in a funk and haven't yet figured out how to explain what it is you need from that day's session. Ambiverts have a lot of practice moving from one emotional-energetic state to another, as we switch from energizing off chaotic groups or calm solitude, and we can use that to help bring you back to center, or draw you out of yourself.

There you have it: 15 reasons total why great massage therapists come in all flavors, ensuring that there is definitely a massage therapist out there for you.

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