Massage & Bodywork

MARCH | APRIL 2022

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Seated Body Mechanics Applying Core Principles of Movement When You're Not on Your Feet TECHNIQUE By Cindy Williams FEET, KNEES, AND HIPS Principle 1: Balance weight above and between the legs Principle 2: Hips face in the direction of your movement Principle 3: Power comes from the feet and the core While standing, a practitioner would use a symmetrical stance, such as a horse stance, when the work is directly in front of them. An example might be working the head, neck, and shoulders from the top of the table. When the work is off to the side, such as when working an arm or a leg, the practitioner would use an asymmetrical stance, such as bow stance (also known as lunging). In both cases, the core of the body is constantly balancing above and between the legs. This leads us to the next principle. To move forward and backward or side to side, you need power behind the pressure. The choice to use horse stance or bow stance is determined by which direction the stroke is being applied. Therefore, if you are working directly in front of you, use horse stance with hips facing directly forward. In contrast, when your work is offset, you must place your hips in that direction by way of a bow stance, otherwise you'll be twisting your spine and causing a huge amount of stress on your body. KEY POINT • Performing massage while seated—and applying proper body mechanics—can extend your massage career. BACK TO BASICS One of the gifts of giving massage is being able to freely move your whole body around the massage table in a flowing dance. For many, it is one of the highlights of being a massage professional versus being in a profession that requires sitting all day. But what happens when you have a packed day of massage appointments and standing for long periods of time is causing stress or fatigue? Or, what if you have sustained an injury that limits your ability to be on your feet without pain and you don't want this to compromise your ability to practice massage? Fear not! There is a solution. When you apply the same core principles of body mechanics and movement while seated that you use while standing, you remove limitation and revive freedom to practice healthfully. Let's review the core principles of alignment by body region (which is always a good reminder anyway!). For each one, we will consider how you might apply the principle from a seated position while still delivering a massage with exceptional quality and healthy movement. 20 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k m a rc h /a p r i l 2 0 2 2

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