Massage & Bodywork


Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 37 of 117

Yo u r M & B i s w o r t h 2 C E s ! G o t o w w w. a b m p . c o m / c e t o l e a r n m o r e . 35 5–6 compressions. Compressions can be applied with both hands simultaneously, or with one "mother" hand and one working hand. Then, when you get to the hand or foot, use the "breaking bread and milking" or "pumping" techniques detailed below, or simply hold it between your palms, take a deep breath, and send thoughts of loving kindness. The arm and hand or leg and foot feel addressed even in this short period of time. A little bit goes a long way. 3. HANDS, FINGERS, FEET, AND TOES Hands and feet (and their corresponding fi ngers and toes) are not independent body parts. They are parts of a whole arm and leg, which are parts of a whole human being. Even if you don't have time to massage every single fi nger and toe, don't leave those little piggies out! There are several ways to include them in a matter of seconds. Surprisingly, I have experienced this many times as a client, so I can attest to the sadness my hands and fi ngers or my feet and toes feel when a stroke ends at the wrist or ankle for the sake of saving time. There is also a sense of incompleteness when a stroke on a limb falls short. Try these 10-second strokes instead. "Breaking Bread" and "Milking" Strokes The "Breaking Bread" technique involves grasping the hand or foot between your hands with your thumbs meeting in the center of the dorsal surface. Then, slowly squeeze and spread bilaterally as your thumbs and palms create space between the metacarpals/metatarsals. Lastly, "milk" fi ngers or toes in pairs, which involves simply squeezing from base to tip, starting with fi rst and fi fth digits and working in toward the middle digit. "Pumping" the Foot Grasp the ankle posterior to the malleoli with one hand, then place the palm of the other hand against the ball of the foot. As you press into the ball and move the client into passive dorsifl exion, pull down with the hand on the posterior ankle to create lengthening of the posterior leg. This results in a pumping action of the foot at the ankle joint that feels very soothing, while also encouraging build-up fl uid in the leg and foot to return back to the heart. Dual-action goodness in seconds! 4. THE CLOSING Every session must have a clear opening and closing. If you did it right, you opened the session with a few deep breaths and a resting hold (or some other approach that settled the client into a state of presence, safety, comfort, and connection). However, when pressed for time, it might seem like the closing is an easy omission. Imagine for a moment being the receiver of a session that started off solid and connected only to end abruptly due to faulty time management. Just as creating connection intentionally at the start is important, disconnecting slowly and gracefully is equally as important. All it takes is a 10-second hold to both feet; a long, slow, deep, audible breath; and holding a vision of your client's whole body being relaxed, supported, and complete to effectively end a session. The difference is signifi cant. 5. THE COMMUNICATION Rarely have I experienced a practitioner verbally admit they are short on time. Instead, it is felt through the quicker pace, incomplete strokes, and disconnection of presence, which is counterproductive in massage therapy. If you feel rushed or anxious, trust me, your client feels it too. So just tell them. Calmly and confi dently state that, because of the time you spent doing therapeutic work to a specifi c area or line of tension that supports the type of relief they requested from you, you will have to spend less time on other parts of their body. Let them know you will still address and touch the whole body, unless they prefer that you skip, for example, the front of their legs. Some clients will have no problem with arms or legs left unattended as long as they are given the choice. For other clients who still want their whole body touched, at least they will be aware the session is coming to an end sooner than they may have realized. This gives them a chance to soak up the remaining work (especially if you deliver it slowly and with complete presence) and not feel surprised or disappointed. While it's preferable to manage time effectively in a session and not run short, it is easy to get lost in the work and be surprised when you look at the clock. If this happens to you, know that there are graceful ways to keep the slow fl ow and complete feeling of a whole, well-rounded session intact. Since 2000, Cindy Williams, LMT, has been actively involved in the massage profession as a practitioner, school administrator, instructor, curriculum developer, and mentor. She maintains a private practice as a massage and yoga instructor. Contact her at If you feel rushed or anxious, trust me, your client feels it too. So just tell them. "Massage Techniques" Watch Cindy's video by scanning the QR code or go to this page in the digital edition to view it.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Massage & Bodywork - JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2019