Massage & Bodywork

July/August 2013

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education Classroom to client | Pathology perspectives | body awareness | functional anatomy | somatic research Proper Body Mechanics in All Postures Fluidity and Joint Alignment Prevent Injury By Anne Williams During a session, therapists use a variety of movements and postures: standing, sitting, bending, and stretching, as well as pulling and lifting parts of the body. Performing these movements and postures from a properly supported position will conserve body energy and reduce your risk of injury. Students often take these body positions, hold them rigidly, and fix themselves to a spot in a particular stance. Instead, think of stances as fluid, and avoid situations where you plant your feet and remain fixed in a particular posture. The ideal is fluidity and joint alignment to prevent injury. (A) Using a symmetrical stance is appropriate when the work is directly in front of you, such as when doing petrissage or tapotement on the legs or back. (B) The asymmetrical stance is ideally suited to strokes that travel the length of a body area, like gliding strokes and some vibration strokes. Photos courtesy of Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 42 1 massage & bodywork A july/august 2013 Standing Therapists use two primary standing positions (Images 1A and 1B). In the symmetrical stance, the feet are shoulder-width apart with the toes pointing forward. The knees are slightly bent and directly above the feet. The back is straight and the pelvis is balanced so that it can shift side to side without restriction. The shoulders are relaxed, and the chest is open and expanded. The head is not laterally flexed or rotated. This stance is appropriate when the work is directly in front of you, such as when doing petrissage or tapotement on the legs or back. You can move up and down a body area by sidestepping, allowing your hips to sway gently with the movement of the stroke, which keeps your pelvis loose and fluid and the stroke rhythmic and energized. In an asymmetrical stance, one foot is placed in front of the other about shoulder-width apart; the stance may be wider if you need more stability. The front knee is flexed and the front foot points in the direction of the stroke. The back leg is straight with the knee slightly flexed and the foot slightly rotated laterally. The hips face the same direction as the front foot, with the weight predominantly on the back leg. The back is straight, with an imaginary line running from the heel through the glenohumeral joint to the ear. In this position, you can B lunge deeply, pushing off the back foot, to increase pressure. This stance is ideally suited to strokes that travel the length of a body area, like gliding strokes and some vibration strokes.

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