Sometime in the past year, I heard the language I was using with patients in a new way. When I explained what I was adjusting and/or why, I'd catch myself talking about "There were some areas in the low back to work on" or "I really focused on the neck and base of the skull" or "With the office work you do, it's common to find muscle and joint imbalance along the right side of the neck."
I realized, to this person in front of me, trusting me with their pain and their health, it wasn't "the" low back or "the" neck or "the" whatever - it was their low back, their very own neck, the whatever belonging very personally and uniquely and exclusively to them. And my language needed to reflect that.
So, I have been more intentional about answering questions or offering explanations that address the person directly. "There were areas in your low back that needed work." "When muscle imbalance disrupts your spine, it's necessary to address both alignment and muscle tone."
I'm not perfect at it every day, but I want people to know that I see them, and not just a faceless set of joints and muscles in front of me. And I have noticed the same sort of language glitches in other service professionals addressing me. It's good for me to be sensitive to how that makes me feel, because then I know this sort of semantical detail does mean a lot, it does make a difference. It is important for me to bring this into my practice and use it to serve people with more compassion.