The amazing thing about the body is that it shows us everything that's going on with the inside, on the outside. That's to say that if you are working with sadness, or depression, anxiety, overworking, power struggles, WHATEVER it might be... it can all be seen by careful observation, and correct use of the senses, including the 6th sense which I believe we've all got (some more aware of it than others).
Yes, even using smell can tell a lot about what the person is working with... have you ever smelled your armpits when you've been stressed? It's usually more pungent, and has a recognizable sharpness to it. I've had clients who are not smokers who emanate a cigarette smell while working on them. Most of them are either around a lot of smokers, or had parents who were heavy/indoor smokers, and their bodies are literally detoxing from deeply stored toxins that were somehow held onto somatically.
Through observation/sight you can tell by gesture, posture, gait, expression how the person 'walks' through life. For example with shoulders rolled forward there is an inward aspect, or introversion, and depending on how that looks it may be sadness, depression, inability to open the heart, or a sense of intentionally closing off/guarding from the world around them. Posturally speaking sometimes it is just the posture that over time creates a sense of being, other times it is the sense of being that creates the posture. Either way the more we can focus on caring for our bodies by exercising and eating correctly, the better off we are internally as well. This (in a different way) has been proven over and over by science.
Obviously as a bodyworker my job is to cess out what's going on through touch. However, there's more than just if a muscle is loose, or tight. What's the reaction to touching a sensitive area? How does a person respond to sustained deep pressure? How/when does fear, anxiety, distrust kick in and how willing is the person to work with that? There is so much to check for with just the physical aspect that it's hard to go into the depths of what can be felt just by placing that hand gently on the body. It's not necessarily an intuition either. Over time, and with enough practice, and awareness you can begin to recognize patterns, the beautiful, and broad spectrum of each individual, and the way everyone carries things differently. It's really quite remarkable.
Listening to a person carries so much opportunity for understanding their being. Notice if there's a shake in the voice, notice tonality, pace, where they are speaking from (throat, chest, roof of mouth, nose), etc. This is all more information to tell a persons state, and what they're working with.
Now taste (like 6th senses) is kind of a hard one to fully explain. We don't normally taste our clients (although I think I'd make a scrumptious snack :) ) . However, every now and then when working on someone I begin to get a metallic, sweet, bitter, dry sort of taste/flavor/feeling in my mouth, sometimes it even happens where I begin to cough or burp because of more subtle things my somatic body is picking up. Again, I don't think this is some crazy, weird, hippie psychic thing. It's just another form of somatic communication that we (as well as many animals) possess in order to be able to look out after one another.
If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about this, or wants to have a session for assessment feel free to contact me, or sign up for a workshop coming soon!