Tag Archives: for massage therapists

Massage Video: Working with Shoulder Pain After Surgery

Here’s a new video about how I work with postsurgical shoulder pain. I talk about my strategy, and I demonstrate specific techniques for working gently from a myofascial perspective:

I’d like to highlight something that’s changed for me in my practice: While I do explore the client’s range of motion, I do my best to avoid those painful end-points. Over the course of my career, I’ve found that mobilization can work just as well (or better!) when it’s done painlessly. If done patiently and with good communication, it can be a way of demonstrating to the client that safe movement is possible. I’ve frequently had clients stand up with a greater comfortable range of motion despite the fact that I didn’t try to increase that ROM on the table!

I’ve also started erring on the side of less specific work during that first session, especially in areas that are prone to guarding or spasm. That specific stripping and trigger point work can still be incorporated in future sessions, but by working broadly at first, I can help the client gradually get used to movement and contact without provoking spasm or next-day tightness. ... continue reading.

Is Your Massage Practice Sending the Wrong Message?

Here’s an important article about a negative experience that a client had while on the table: https://danceswithfat.wordpress.com/2016/03/20/dealing-with-a-fat-shaming-massage-therapist/

In a previous rant, I said that massage therapists causing pain—and making their clients think it was necessary—was one of the only massage-related phenomena that truly made me angry. Well, this counts as causing pain. If someone comes to me with a unique human body, anything that I say or do to stigmatize that person for their shape, or size, or sounds, or smell, is causing harm. They’ll leave that experience thinking, “I was wrong for putting myself in that vulnerable position.” In other words, they trusted us with their body, and we breached that trust.

Maybe you would never think of commenting directly on someone’s weight, which is great! With that as a given, I’d like to direct your attention to something that we’ve learned from psychological and medical studies: The power of words, and the power of symbols in general. How we speak, and even the signs and pictures in our offices, can communicate a powerful message of brokenness or wholeness to our clients. ... continue reading.

Massage Video: Wrist/Forearm Warm-Up for Massage Therapists

Want to keep your wrists happy and healthy as you massage? Start your day with a quick warm-up! In this video, I demonstrate two easy exercises that engage everything from your wrists to your elbows.

In the first, stay superficial. Think of moving and warming the skin, keeping in mind that you’ll be having effects much deeper than that. Be vigorous with this one.

In the second, we’re doing a series of brief pin and stretch techniques. There’s no need to be too specific with where you squeeze—grab a hunk of forearm and take your wrist through a gentle range of motion. You’ll be working with the flexors, extensors, supinators, and pronators, but there’s no need to hone in on them. Be gentle with this! We’re always harder on our own bodies than we would ever be with a client. ... continue reading.

Massage video: How to give longer sessions (90+ minutes)

This one’s on how to give longer massages without being bored to tears. In fact, once you start “exploring the space” that longer sessions give you, you might never want to give an hour-long massage again.

In the video, I talk about slowing down (my favorite thing, as you may have gathered), reintegrating large swaths of the body after you do specific techniques, and altering your techniques to make them feel new again. While making these little alterations might require some conscious effort at first, you’ll find yourself doing them automatically over time. Allow yourself to experiment, and your massage will evolve and grow in ways that you might not expect.

What other ways are there for stretching out a session? Do you do foot treatment add-ons? Hot towel applications? Tapotement drum solos? Tell me about it in the comments! ... continue reading.

Massage Malady #2: “Distractor Spinae”

Today’s massage malady: Distractor Spinae. This is the unfortunate condition in which massage therapists become SO ENTHRALLED by the spine and the surrounding tissues that other structures are all but ignored. Latissimus dorsi? What’s that? Rotator cuff… that’s in the ankle, right?

distractor-spinae

This happens for a reason, of course. There is a ton of feel-good muscle around the spine, especially if you count trapezius. When people think of massage, they think of getting their erectors ironed out and getting some superior trap petrissage. Your clients may have forgotten that they have other parts too.

All the more reason to branch out! If you can regularly include areas of the body that other massage therapists either glance over or skip entirely, you can differentiate yourself in a crowded market. If you’re just doing what everyone else is doing, why should a client request you specifically? ... continue reading.