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?
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?
Moreover, you’ll be helping your client gain some new body awareness. Over the course of the massage, you’ll be telling a story about their body that they’ve never heard before: That the shoulders are connected to the neck, and the scapula is connected to the ribs!
Of course, this will require stepping out of your comfort zone as you experiment with the more lateral portions of the back and shoulders. It may also be a bit scary to work on areas that clients aren’t expecting; this will pass as you start getting good feedback, usually in the form of, “wow, what is that? Why does no one ever work there?” Start with friends who aren’t afraid of speaking their minds.
Do you regularly work with the rotator cuff, quadratus lumborum, latissimus dorsi, and the lateral ribs? If not, why not? Hit me up in the comments!