When learning the defensive properties of karate, the practitioner is instructed in a variety of techniques referred to collectively as “Uke”. It is also a term used to refer to the person who will be the defender when working with a partner. Though English speakers usually call these techniques blocks, the significance of “Uke” is receiving. When a punch or kick is made, they are methods for receiving them. We often think of receiving as a passive action, and in many contexts it can be, but in the context of karate it is necessary to receive actively (the alternative being getting hit).
Massage straddles this world of receiving passively or actively. If you are looking for an experience where you are merely lying on the table, half asleep, while a therapist does their work, what you want is “Relaxation Massage”. It is a valuable service for generalized muscular tightness, poor circulation, and frayed nerves, and the client’s role is largely (but not totally) passive. If however, you come to see an MT about a problem specific to posture or difficulty moving, you will need to be a much more active participant.
Treatment massage should include an assessment in order to determine the source of dysfunction, and the client needs to be engaged in following a therapist’s instructions throughout these tests. A good treatment tends to include aftercare instructions involving stretching and strengthening exercises, suggestions for altering activities for daily living, or even instruction for self-massage. The application of the massage only makes up a portion of the actual treatment. Even the most talented MT can only assist the client up to a certain point, which has value by itself, but without the client’s communication and participation, therapy cannot take them further.