Let me know what you think! More like this? Stick to massage, for Heaven’s sake? These are the questions that keep me up at night.
I’ve spent the last year going slightly mad, and also watching lots of vocal coaching on YouTube. Over that time I’ve been using self-massage to keep my throat happy and healthy, which I talk about here:
Mostly this is an excuse to get back into gear with an easy video, but I’d love feedback from singers! For massage therapists: If you’ve got singers, public speakers, Twitch streamers, or other professionals who give their vocal cords frequent high-intensity workouts, just realize that you don’t need to target any muscles specifically, and that work in the area doesn’t need to be a direct confrontation. By engaging the superficial fascia on and around the anterior neck and putting it into traction, you’re sending powerful stretch signals to the spinal cord, both from the fascia, and from the embedded muscles. Just by dragging skin up along the track of the SCMs, you’re putting the extrinsic laryngeal muscles under traction. By going slowly here, you can send a signal that these muscles can reduce their tone — and in doing so, you can give your clients a better internal feel for these muscles. They might even use that awareness to prevent strain in the future!
Do you deal with self-doubt as a massage therapist? When you work with a new client, do you spend the whole time convinced that it’s the worst massage ever? Then this video is for you:
This is an edited version of a previous livestream, now with 75% fewer tangents and pauses. There’s also a nice guided meditation at the end, now with soothing music
I give tips on getting out of negative head loops in this video, but there’s something that I don’t really address: “What if my massage actually sucks? Like, what if I’m a legitimately bad massage therapist?” You know why I don’t address that? Because it’s not true. In fact, it’s damn near impossible.
Massage can be exceptional for a lot of reasons, many of them having to do with experience and intuition. But for a massage to just be “really good,” all you need are a few simple ingredients:
This is ostensibly about abdominal self-massage (it even includes 5 different techniques!), but it’s really about getting back into the therapeutic headspace.
As you might imagine, I made this one for myself. I haven’t started back yet thanks to some resurgence here in the South, but every time I get back to the planning phase I think, “do I even know how to do massage any more? Where would I start?” In my head I try to play back a whole massage all at once, along with all the techniques and draping and communication that requires, and it feels overwhelming.
But then I remember this: It all starts with one touch. If I can do that, then the rest follows. Trying to game out every moment, or imagine everything that could go wrong, those are barriers that we put up to flow. The essence of massage is self-sustaining and self-guiding, with the interplay of hand and body showing you the way. If we simply make that first contact and then get out of the way, the rest can easily follow.
In this video I talk about “floating” a lot. This is something that you’ll need to experience to appreciate. Have a friend or colleague apply some deep static pressure somewhere on your body (I demonstrate this on the low back), and then either swoop out, or take about 10 seconds to gradually decrease their pressure until they’re off the body. I think you’ll find that this second approach feels a lot different, and can leave you with a sense of buoyant freedom. It’s good stuff, and it’s great for creating that sense of finality at the end of a massage.
For the cranial cradle, this is another good one to try with a friend so that you can experiment with different approaches. Try varying degrees of finger curl and upward pressure. Try swooping in from the sides, or just creating strips up the paraspinals. Try supporting with your palms versus mostly leaving the palms out, etc. And once you’ve found your favorite approach, maintain it for at least 30 seconds and see what happens! This is another one that creates a floaty sense of freedom for me, and it’s one of my favorite massage techniques.