Tag Archives: massage basics

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?

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.

So, no matter how busy your day is or how rushed you’re feeling, take your time with that first contact. Take that time to center yourself and do some breathing as your hands melt onto that unique body in front of you. Resist the urge to move on to the “real massage” as soon as possible. There’s plenty of time to get to the other stuff, so allow that first touch to have meaning.

I also talk about how to apply pressure in a way that feels confident and profound, but I don’t feel like waxing poetic about that right now 🙂

Let me know what you think. Do you find yourself rushing through the introduction to your massage? Do you get caught up in the “short and sharp” style I mention in the video? Let’s talk about it in the comments below.