August 03, 2017 by Jordan Nunziato
Receiving massage therapy can be extremely relaxing and therapeutically beneficial for the client. For the massage therapist, however, giving massage can be a strenuous physical activity.
Over time, an accumulation of physical stress can begin to take a toll on your muscles and joints. Overuse of muscles can cause them to become chronically tight and sore; and compression and torque forces on the joints can lead to joint dysfunction and pain. In turn, joint pain can lead to further tightening of the muscles via protective muscle splinting and the pain-spasm-pain cycle. Tight muscles can then further limit joint motion, leading to fascial adhesions. This cycle, once begun, can be difficult to stop.
In a recently published article entitled, “ 4 Reasons Why You Need to Warm Up Before a Massage,” author and expert, Hanna Morley, writes:
“Like athletes whose sport is their livelihood, massage therapists rely on high-performing bodies,” adding that integrating a warm-up, a cool-down, the principles of progressive loading and resetting your mechanics throughout the day will give you great return on investment.
“As massage therapists, we must take care of our hands and forearms. We should also be checking that our shoulders and upper body are well-positioned. Hip and lower body mobility is also vital. You want to ensure your pelvis has the ability to maintain a balanced, strong position while we work,” she writes.
The key is to be proactive and practice self-care so that we prevent problems from occurring in the first place. One aspect of self-care for the therapist is to employ good body mechanics. However, even the best body mechanics do not eliminate physical stress to the therapist’s body; they simply minimize it.
“Practicing self-care makes for a happier workplace and a more lucrative business. Good self-care gives you longevity, meaning you can see more clients to the best of your ability,” writes Morley.
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