"I'm good, how are you?"
You've probably had the above exchange innumerable times. It is a standard greeting etiquette, and yet it is rife with dishonesty: often the person asking does not really have any interest in how you are doing, or even if they do, they likely do not have the time to listen to an honest answer. Likewise, the person responding is often not good or fine, but will answer in such a way because they understand that the question is a matter of formality and a pleasantry, rather than an actual inquiry into your well-being.
As massage therapists we are no less guilty than others of using this worn-out small-talk. When you come for your appointment, however, and we ask you "How are you doing?" it is anything but a formality. We genuinely want to know, at least physically, how you are doing as knowing will help us assess your condition, the appropriate treatment to provide, and the progress of any ongoing issues you are being treated for. Typically, the response we get is of the formality type - even if our patient is not doing fine, they'll say they are. We do know this, however it is still easier to ask one question hoping to solicit any relevant feedback, rather than using your time to ask any number of more specific questions to hunt for the relevant feedback which may not exist. When your therapist asks "How are you doing?" we are really asking:
"How are you feeling?"
"How did you feel following your last massage?"
"Have you had any changes in your health since last time I saw you?"
"Has there been any improvement of your injury/condition?"
"Is there anything new that you'd like me to work on today?"
We really do want the answers to these questions, even if we encapsulate them in a simple "How are you?" which in other situations is just a formality. And if you want to complain about things we can't help you with, like your mean boss or misbehaving children, we've got time to listen to that too. Approximately 60 minutes.