Tag Archives: massage techniques

How to (safely!) use your thumbs for massage

I know there’s been a movement to reduce thumb use in the massage world, but I think that there are a lot of effective ways to use them without risking injury.
The secret? Follow your natural ergonomics rather than trying to force your thumbs to do movements they don’t want to do:

Find positions of power and stability and let those guide your tool use and body mechanics. In the video, I demonstrate ways to strip, compress, and petrissage that should feel fairly easy and intuitive. Reduce or eliminate the effortful circular movements that seem to find their way into a lot of Swedish routines, and instead rely on stacked joints and body weight.

Something that I neglected to say in the video: Switch tools early and often. Don’t wait until you’re feeling fatigue in your thumbs or wrists before you switch. Instead, anticipate your limits and change things up frequently enough that your muscles never tire. By doing this, the only part of your body that should be tired at the end of the day are your feet 🙂 And that reminds me, I need to make a video on how to sit more during a session… ... 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?

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.

Massage Sloth Presents: Maria Natera’s Favorite Techniques

New massage technique video! I invited Maria Natera of Massage Therapeutics to make a video for us about her favorite massage techniques, and she knocked it out of the park. She demonstrates active engagement techniques for the wrist and forearm, big beautiful forearm carving techniques for the scapula and sacrum, and some lovely posterior neck work. Check it out, and then visit her channel and subscribe! I want her to blow up, and y’all gotta help me make it happen 🙂

Let me know what you think! Do you like this “Massage Sloth Presents” format? Also, keep your eyes peeled for another new video next week! It’s on communicating with clients on the table 😮

Massage Tutorial Video: 4 Myofascial Stretches

Want to make your massage client “feel taller,” all while delivering some feel-good meditative contact? Check out my new tutorial video:

Really, these are all just simple table stretches; the trick is in their delivery. They feel good done briefly, but interesting stuff starts happening when you slow down and let your hands do some listening. I find these to be opportunities to connect with my client, and they’re excellent ways of opening or closing a massage!

In fact, let’s talk more about how to end a massage. What do you do to let your clients know that the session has reached its end? This can be verbal or non-verbal. Looking forward to your thoughts!