If you are a massage therapist, your arms and your hands are your primary tools and they must be treated as such. But this can be hard to remember when you are busy running your practice! How ironic it is that ridding your clients of muscle pain and restriction can be the very thing that brings your own career to a painful halt.
I personally neglected my own needs until I developed severe tendinitis in my own arms, wrists and elbows and had to stop working. (The upside to that was that it prompted me to invent Armaid, a leverage tool to easily apply, in my opinion, the world’s greatest therapy technique to yourself.)
To avoid this outcome, it is essential that you come up with a simple set of easy-to-apply self-care techniques, lest you have a shortened career due to overused, chronically tight muscles.
For myself, I started with the work of Ida Rolf, the founder of Rolfing, who gave the therapy world several approaches to help release the bound-up nature of muscle and fascia. This tight myofascial matrix restricts the muscle’s ability to move and can adversely affect alignment and posture.
My favorite of her techniques is what she called Client Assisted Release. Pressure is applied by the therapist onto spots of bound-up tight muscles and fascia called trigger points. The client is then asked to slowly stretch and move the tight muscle while the muscle remains under pressure at the trigger point. Nowadays this technique is called Tack and Stretch, Active Release, and Myofascial Release.
This accurate pressure coupled with movement acts to break up the adhesions in the muscle fibers and fascia that limit the muscle’s natural full range of motion. Remember to always look in the flexors and extensors first for the answers, not the place where there is obvious pain in the joints.
Regaining full range of motion means the muscle can return to natural levels of strength and endurance, and you can continue to help others through your massage therapy.
Thank you Ida!
Best of health everyone.