Massage & Bodywork

NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2021

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Freedom in Motion Reviving the Use of Joint Movement Techniques By Cindy Williams education | BACK TO BASICS I love receiving massages that include joint movement techniques. There's something about the surrender that is required to allow it to be most beneficial to the session; it invites an open body and mind. It's also informative—certainly to the practitioner regarding the quality of the tissue that surrounds the joint being mobilized, but also for the recipient when it comes to being aware of how they might be holding a joint or region in protection. Then, when the recipient shifts into that state of surrender, trusts the practitioner, and allows the joint to open, they will likely feel their body say, "Yes . . . ahhh . . . thank you!" as a shift from sympathetic response to parasympathetic response occurs. Often the difference is dramatic. So, why don't more practitioners incorporate joint movement techniques into sessions? Here, we will explore the benefits and effects of these techniques (also referred to as range-of-motion techniques), propose reasons why these techniques are underutilized, and make a case for bringing them back. JOINT MOVEMENT DEFINED Let's start with defining what joint movement is. Although it may sound straightforward, it's important to be clear that joint movement involves working with a specific joint—either passively, actively, or against resistance— within its available range of motion. Of course, not all joints have the same range of motion. Some are structured to abduct/adduct, some flex/extend, some rotate, and some are jacks of all trades (so to speak)—capable of all possible movements. So when you are incorporating joint movement techniques, be sure you are knowledgeable about the joint's capability and only moving it within that container. Otherwise, you could cause harm. 32 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k n ove m b e r/d e ce m b e r 2 0 2 1

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