Massage & Bodywork

MAY | JUNE 2019

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Page 99 of 118

By angling your pressure and working broadly, your massage can have far- reaching effects that you might not expect from something that's so easy to do. 5. Hold both contacts for 5–10 breaths, maintaining the slight lift to their occiput along with the inferior pressure near their sacrum. 6. Slowly withdraw your pressure, letting your hands fl oat away over the course of several more breaths. Ask your client to let you know about any discomfort in their neck or low back as you fi rst try this technique. Reduce your pressure if need be; both contacts should be gentle and supportive rather than sharp. Notice how we're not targeting any specifi c muscles, and we're also working directly over the spine. Because we're working broadly and angling the pressure obliquely, it is possible to do some new things that don't come up in Swedish massage. In this case, we're using the superfi cial fascia to interface with the back on a deep level. By engaging the occiput and dragging tissue away, we're gently distorting the soft tissue of the spine in a way that doesn't happen on a day-to-day basis. By going slowly, we're allowing the client's nervous system time to process this new input. But really, this isn't about structure. If you ask the recipient, this is about the experience of becoming aware of your spine and how it relates to your breath. It's about someone taking your back in their hands and acknowledging it as a whole rather than breaking it up into pieces. FEELING FASCIAL FREEDOM Standing up from a long, slow, all-encompassing contact like this is an interesting experience, and it's something that's easy to incorporate at various points during your massage. Find an area of tightness that could use some metaphorical breathing room, make angled contact, and slow down. Client's posture got them feeling bound up? Apply some long, slow pressure to the pectoral muscles as they externally rotate their shoulder. Low back stiff? Sink some angled pressure into their glute while the other hand presses lumbar tissue superiorly. If it sounds like I'm telling you to "just experiment and have fun with it," that's because I am! Finding ways to apply myofascial stretch can offer a new experience for you and your clients, allowing you to broaden your perspective from hyper-focused work with muscles and their attachment sites. As long as you stay in good communication with your client and let their experience be your guide, it would be hard to go wrong. Think broadly, give it time, and see what develops. Ian Harvey specializes in myofascial-inspired techniques that are kind to client and therapist. He produces free massage tutorials on YouTube under the name Massage Sloth, and his blog can be found at Stop near L5 and wait. Slowly release your pressure. Ta k e 5 a n d t r y A B M P F i v e - M i n u t e M u s c l e s a t w w w. a b m p . c o m / f i v e - m i n u t e - m u s c l e s . 97 Watch "Four Techniques to Make Your Client 'Feel Taller'"

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