Massage & Bodywork

MAY | JUNE 2021

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L i s te n to T h e A B M P Po d c a s t a t a b m p.co m /p o d c a s t s o r w h e reve r yo u a cce s s yo u r favo r i te p o d c a s t s 33 4. Ha Breathing This is a Hawaiian breathing technique used for increasing vital energy while relaxed, as well as enhancing healing work during bodywork sessions. It can be done seated prior to a bodywork session or lying down during the session. The key to this technique is to make the exhale twice as long as the inhale. 1. Instruct your client to begin breathing slowly in and out through the nose, directing the breath into the belly so that it moves outward like a buddha belly on the inhale and deflates on the exhale. 2. After two or three simple breaths and at the end of an exhale, instruct the client to inhale to your count of four seconds. Say aloud, "Inhale 1, 2, 3, 4." 3. Allow a short pause. 4. Instruct the client to exhale through the mouth while making an extended sound "Haaaaaa" to your count of eight. Say aloud, "Exhale 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8." 5. Allow a short pause. 6. Repeat 3–5 rounds. JUST BREATHE It is reported the average human uses only 25 percent of their breath capacity. By simply supporting improvement in the efficiency and capacity of the breath, you can begin to heal all areas of your physical body as well as support the same in your clients. Movement, by way of the breath, supports life. 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 cynthialynn@massagetherapy.com. outward like a buddha belly on the inhale and deflates on the exhale. 3. At the top of the inhale, ask the client to retain the breath for 3–5 seconds. 4. Then, ask the client to exhale. 5. Repeat. 2. Square (or Box) Breathing This technique, known as sama vritti pranayama in Sanskrit (sama vritti means "same or equal fluctuations") is excellent for bringing balance or equanimity to the body and mind. 1. Instruct your client to begin breathing slowly in and out through the nose, directing the breath into the belly so that it moves outward like a buddha belly on the inhale and deflates on the exhale. 2. After two or three simple breaths—and at the end of an exhale—instruct the client to inhale to your count of four seconds. Say aloud, "Inhale 1, 2, 3, 4." 3. At the top of the inhale, instruct your client to hold their breath for four seconds. Say aloud, "Hold 1, 2, 3, 4." 4. Instruct the client to exhale to your count of four. Say aloud, "Exhale 1, 2, 3, 4." 5. At the bottom of the exhale, instruct your client to hold their breath for four seconds. Say aloud, "Hold 1, 2, 3, 4." 6. Repeat 5–10 rounds or until the client signals to you they feel complete. Note: You should determine a signal, such as a slight hand raise or opening the eyes, during the session intake. 3. Exhale-Crunch Breathing This technique stimulates the cisterna chyli, which supports lymph movement from the lower extremities. 1. Instruct the client to begin taking slow, deep breaths into the belly. 2. On an exhale, instruct the client to "huff" the air out (as if they are blowing out birthday candles) while simultaneously lifting the head and shoulders off the table in a slight abdominal crunch. 3. Release back to the table on the inhale. 4. Repeat up to three times. hands-on work in supporting healthy change and unwinding constriction. These bullet points only scratch the surface of the physiological effects of deep breathing. Additionally, the breath is intimately connected to the mind and emotional state. When the breath is agitated, the mind is agitated, and the body follows. But that is a story of its own for another day. INCORPORATE DEEP BREATHING INTO YOUR SESSIONS Following are four breathing exercises that are easy to incorporate into your sessions. I recommend informing your client you will be using breathing technique(s) in your session and demonstrate the technique prior to them getting on the table. This way, they can remain in a calm and peaceful state of mind rather than reverting to their thinking mind in the midst of the session. If you feel any trepidation around verbally guiding a client through breathing exercises, practice on a client with whom you feel comfortable or with a trusted colleague, teacher, friend, or family member until you feel confident in your communication skills. 1. Basic Diaphragmatic Breathing This breath practice can be maintained throughout the session, or as the client desires. Of course, attention to the breath will come and go. However, the client can return to this breath as they wish. You can encourage the breathing by engaging with it yourself. It is wonderful for creating a rhythm to your strokes, encouraging the client to breathe deeply, and creating a grounded, centered, present energy to your work. 1. Instruct your client to exhale fully before beginning. 2. Next, instruct your client to inhale deeply through the nose, directing the breath into the belly so that it moves BACK TO BASICS

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