Tag Archives: massage basics

Video: 6 Tips for a Better Massage

Here it is: A distillation of everything I’ve learned about massage since massage school, and how to really nail down that feeling of “flow.”

These tips might seem rather simple, but I invite you to take them, one at a time, into your upcoming sessions and see what changes happen.

These are all really about giving a mindful massage. What message are my hands sending when I place them on the body? When I remove them? How am I allowing my focus to change the quality of my touch in areas that I’m thinking about versus everywhere else?

My favorite tip, and the one that is probably most difficult to implement, is the last one: “Put yourself in your client’s place.” This one is difficult to describe because it feels like being in two places at once. While staying connected with your hand and its actions, what is their shoulder feeling? Can I feel it in my shoulder? ... continue reading.

Massage Tutorial Video: Talking to Clients On the Table

New video! This week we’re talking about talking. More specifically, what can you do to maximize your time with a client on the table? Especially in a time-crunch environment, finding little nooks and crannies to fit client education into can be invaluable.

I find this especially useful when I’m dealing with areas of heightened sensitivity. If a client comes in with a painful sacroiliac area and sciatica symptoms, for instance, I try to talk them through the treatment as I deliver it. I want them to know what I’m trying to achieve with my slow steamrolling, and I ask them to let me know their experience. Does it feel like we’re in a relevant area? Do you feel this referring pain anywhere else? As I gather information, I can also deliver some, telling them about their posterior pelvis and where relevant muscles attach. When you live with chronic pain, learning more about it can be a relief in itself! ... continue reading.

Massage Video: Full Back Massage Routine

This week I demonstrate my general back massage routine:

I did something a little different with this video. I start with my usual lengthy explanation as I show techniques, but I also include a real-time demonstration (with obligatory relaxing music) afterward. What do you think of this format? What’s your typical back routine like, and is there anything you’d add to mine? Tell us about it in the comments!

P.S. I’ve got a video on scapula mobilization ready for next week, so keep an eye out!

Massage Video: Deep Tissue Massage Basics (Working with the Whole Body)

This week’s video is another deep tissue basics tutorial: How to work with the body as a whole.

One thing I love about massage is how it can make me feel more deeply connected to my body—and, as a client, an occasional frustration I have is leaving a session feeling cut into pieces, or treated like a flat surface.

In this video, I emphasize four ways of highlighting the interconnectedness of the body, hopefully in ways that are easily integrated into any modality. Let me know what you think, and what you’d like to see in the future!

Massage video: How to keep clients from helping with limb movement

It can be hard to work with a massage client’s limbs if they’re trying to help you move them, or if they’re unconsciously holding them in place. Here are a few strategies for dealing with this phenomenon:

I think that communication is key, which brings me to an important point: The word “relax.” This is something that I’ve been commanded to do on more than one occasion as a massage client, and… there’s nothing relaxing about it. It can actually make me feel a little indignant, because I thought I was relaxed!

Instead, I like to focus on the body part, and acknowledge that tension is often unconscious. “See if you can let this shoulder be loose. You might not even know that your muscles here are contracting, and that’s normal.” If it’s impeding your massage, you can try having them consciously contract those muscles before releasing them, allowing your hands to sink in as they do. “Did you feel those muscles let go?” Over time, you can help your clients become more aware of their own chronic contraction.

Let me know what you think! Do you have any tips for working with helping and holding?