All posts by Massage Sloth

Massage Technique Video: Alternating Shoulder Press

This is a great way to start out your neck work, or to start your session. It’s a gentle way of introducing movement to the neck without saying a word, and it creates some myofascial stretching that feels really profound!

A couple of quick tips: Keep the palmar surfaces of your hands close to the client’s skin as you press and scoop. If you can keep your skin travelling along their skin, it will help this feel like a natural rock instead of a “press, press, press” sensation. Let this movement come from your hips, allowing your torso to rock from side to side.

This can also feel great without any oil at all, allowing yourself to move much more slowly and play with moving the fascia rather than doing much travelling across the skin.

Let me know what you think! Some cool things are in store, so stay tuned 🙂 ... continue reading.

Overcoming the Inertia of the Body

I’d like you to try a quick thought experiment: Imagine doing one intense workout in the course of a month. You charge yourself up, you break through your mental block, and you finally go to that fitness bootcamp you’ve been dreading. You lay it all on the line, and you kick butt. What effects will this have on your health?

Over the short term, there will be huge effects. Protein synthesis and catabolism will both be through the roof. You might burn in excess of a thousand calories, prompting significant lipolysis. You’ll spend a couple of hours bathed in adrenaline, and then you’ll get some feel-good chemicals in the aftermath.

Over the long term, what is the effect of a single intense workout over the course of a month? Probably… nothing at all. A single workout isn’t capable of moving the needle on your scale, let alone prompting lasting physical changes in your body, or biochemical changes in your brain. Why? Because of negative feedback. Because of the inertia of homeostasis. When your body notices big changes in your blood, it releases hormones to counteract that. When your sympathetic nervous system is in an unusual state of overdrive, it will tip the balance in the other direction until you can relax and digest. ... continue reading.

Massage Technique Video: The Lumbar Steamroller

Massage therapists, I present to you one of my favorite techniques. Why do I like it so much? Well, it’s easy to apply once you get the hang of it, and it gets me more “oh wow” comments than just about any other move. Give it a try, share with your colleagues, and let me know what you think in the comments!

I’ve got another technique video coming up next week, and then… I don’t know! What would you like to see me cover next?

Video: Massage for Fibromyalgia (With Interview and Demonstration!)

If you’ve worked on more than one client with fibromyalgia, you know that this isn’t a matter of saying, “if the client has X symptom, do Y technique.” It’s more a matter of knowing what questions to ask, which alterations might help, and knowing when to err on the side of caution.

The most important question, in my opinion, is “have you ever been hurt by a massage?” This is something that I ask anyone who is medically vulnerable or who has pervasive pain, and the answer is often “yes.” From there I want to find out more about how and why. While it’s often a matter of too much pressure or too much digging, it can also have to do with improper positioning, or even quirks of the client’s unique body. The only way to avoid repeating these past mistakes is to ask! ... continue reading.

Massage Technique Video: The Sacrum Shaker (SI Joint Mobilization)

Today I share with you my weirdest massage technique: The Sacrum Shaker.

The technique itself isn’t hard, and there’s really no wrong way to do it; when I was contemplating making a video about this, I realized that the most important aspect would be demonstrating how to communicate it. How can we work near the tailbone while being certain that the client is on board? How can we introduce big dynamic movements while being sure that we’re not disrupting the client’s state of zen?

As always, the answer is open communication within the context of a therapeutic relationship. This starts from the very first moment you meet a client, or even before (for instance, does your website answer some of their questions and allay their fears?). By the time I’m talking to the client about implementing specific moves, I want to have already opened highway-wide lanes of communication. ... continue reading.