Tag Archives: massage techniques

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.

Massage Video: Deep Tissue Basics (Applying Pressure and Making Contact)

This one goes back to the basics. How to apply pressure during a deep tissue massage:

I’d like to talk a bit more about that “first contact” that I mention in the video. This is something that I discussed at length in my live Facebook video from yesterday: That first contact is an opportunity to set the tone for the rest of the massage, and for the entirety of your therapeutic relationship.

Everything else is important, of course. Your initial interview can do a lot to open lines of honest communication, which is vital if you’re going to give your client the best massage possible. The whole massage will tell a story and give the client a better concept of their own body. Your conversation afterward can make the client feel heard and fully considered.

But that first contact? That can be when your client decides, “okay, this is the massage therapist for me.” It can be the difference between a one-off session and a client for life. ... continue reading.

Massage Video: 5 Massage Methods I’ve Abandoned

New instructional video! This one’s on five massage practices that I no longer make use of:

Why? Some of them were a little more trouble than they were worth. As much as I love psoas work, for example, it takes a good 10 minutes of my session if I give it the time and consideration it deserves. I’ve found that I can accomplish much with low back and hip pain by working with related structures. While I don’t always contact psoas, I know that by working with its synergists and antagonists, I’m having a wide-ranging effect.

Some of my old methods may have even been causing harm. The extreme neck stretches/massage that I learned in many continuing education courses (and that I see in many YouTube videos) are asking a LOT from a collection of rather delicate and sensitive structures. As I say in the video, side effects from this work can range from pain to syncope, and there’s even a chance for tissue trauma in vulnerable clients. Does this mean I don’t work with the neck? Heck no, I can spend a good half hour there ūüôā I just work within existing ROM, and avoid techniques that might compromise the local nervous and vascular tissue. I’ll have a demonstration of a good myofascial technique for working with neck ROM up soon. ... continue reading.

Massage Malady #1: Invisible Jean Shorts Syndrome

Let’s talk about some common massage problems. First up: Invisible Jean Shorts Syndrome.¬†This is where a massage therapist conspicuously stops massage techniques far before their logical conclusion, as if the client were wearing a pair of jean shorts from the 1990s.

Massage Malady #1

Your massage therapist starts a lovely stroke down your back, your spine starts to decompress, the pressure is perfect and… they stop at L2, thwarted as if by a force field. They’re traveling up the hamstrings, really ironing them out, the world is wonderful, and… they stop 6 inches from your ischial tuberosity.

Now, I don’t mean to make you feel bad if you’ve got issues about the gluteal region. That’s fine, that’s not unusual, and it’s something that we’ll talk about in the future. If, however, you’ve got no issues with the glutes: There’s something uniquely frustrating, as a client, about a technique half-delivered! ... continue reading.

Massage Techniques for Posture (with video and gifs)

Do you have clients who complain of¬†pain related to poor posture? While we can’t directly fix how they stand (this is largely a function of their nervous system), we can give them the freedom to make gradual changes more easily.

This is a guide to accompany my video on massage techniques for posture:

A quick note¬†on communication:¬†If someone comes into your office with a major complex about their posture, the next words out of your mouth could either do a lot to help them, or to add to their self-stigma. This is just like any instance where a client disparages their “bad knee” or “bad shoulder,” as if that part were a villain that they would chop off if they could. You can either adopt their language, or you can use your own. ... continue reading.