This post is part of a series on using the theory of multiple intelligences to help you study. Miss the intro? Find it here.

“Know thyself” is the name of your game.  You probably didn’t even need to take an assessment to figure out your dominant intelligences; you reflected on your experiences and ranked them for yourself.  Massage ethics class gives you a tingle of excitement like nothing else, and you can’t figure out why people seem so hazy about who they are.  As a matter of fact, there’s no reason for me to keep writing this stupid introductory paragraph.  Intrapersonal learner, you can certainly fill in the blanks better than I am, so let’s get down to the massage therapy study tips for YOU.

First, let’s play a game.

Think back to your last massage.  That’s the last massage you received, not gave.  You being the intrapersonal genius that you are, you probably paid a lot of attention.  What felt good?  What didn’t?  Did you make decisions about what you might try on your own, or what you would differently?  What were they?  How much did you learn from the experience?  How much do you remember?

Now think about the last technique you read about in a book.    How much did you learn?  How much do you remember?

The moral of the story?  If you are dominant in intrapersonal intelligence, you also learn best by integrating new information with personal experience.  Why not take this knowledge about yourself and run with it?

Get an educational massage!

What’s an educational massage?  Let’s say you need to learn the muscles of the lower limb.  You find a knowledgeable individual who can give you a “massage” during which they work on these muscles while simultaneously explaining them to you.

  • Choose a person who really is knowledgeable.  It might be a classmate or more advanced student who kicks butt at anatomy, a professional, or even an instructor, but they need to know their stuff.  Get a recommendation from your anatomy instructor, if possible.
  • Choose somebody who loves to teach.  Most massage therapists are happy just to give massages.  Ditto on the recommendation advice.
  • Be VERY CLEAR about what you’re requesting.  This is not a typical request in the world of massage therapy.  Explain upfront that you’re willing to pay the going rate for a massage, even though the massage in question isn’t quite traditional.  (If the person is a student, this obviously doesn’t apply.  But do remind them of the yummy benefits they’ll get from reviewing the material this way.)
  • Provide a list, in advance, of the information you’d like help with.  List specific muscles and their origins and insertions, if that’s what you’re after.  ”Muscles of the lower extremity” just doesn’t cut it.  If you’re studying for massage class and want to experience certain techniques, write those down too.
  • Reflect on the experience immediately afterward, and record your reflections.  Regularly revisit these reflections and integrate new information gleaned from more recent experiences.

Other suggestions:

  • If you can hook up with a kinesthetic learner, the two of you can become an unbeatable study posse.  She learns from working on you while you learn from getting worked on.  You discuss, then trade.  Then you both challenge your new knowledge by approaching it from a different angle.
  • Consider keeping a journal to track your reflections from class, study, or just life.  You may be surprised what you learn when you look back on what you were struggling with two months ago.
  • Another idea you might want to try is tape recording your own guided visualization about the structures you want to learn.  This isn’t something I’ve tried personally, but I know others who’ve had great success with “study meditation”, as oxymoronic as the term might sound.  The different “trails” in Trail Guide to the Body could be a fantastic starting point for developing a visualization script of this sort.

So, my self-aware savants, what are your thoughts on educational massages?  Are you studying to your intrapersonal strength, or think you might like to start? Leave a comment and let’s talk it out!

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