Massage & Bodywork

SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2022

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16 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k s e p te m b e r/o c to b e r 2 0 2 2 TECHNIQUE By Allison Denney KEY POINTS • Incorporating self-care into daily life is an important task for career longevity. • Taking the time to discover the most effective ways to avoid your specific pain points is key to true self- care. In most of my YouTube video tutorials, I lean pretty heavily on my thumbs. I get a fair amount of commentary about it, ranging from genuine questions like, "How might you address this area using knuckles or an elbow?" to more assuming accusations like, "What is this lady thinking? She clearly won't last long as a massage therapist." All of which are fine and good. YouTube comments are an entirely different and somewhat entertaining conversation. But they do indicate, along with the plethora of emails I have received over the years, that self-care for our hands, and most specifically our thumbs, seems to be a mystery. If our thumbs are our most used tools, how do we care for them so we don't have to stop doing the work we love or, even worse, end up with arthritis or some other thumb impairment? There are the tried-and-true basics, and, of course, knowledge of thumb anatomy and physiology is a plus. But when it comes to bodyworkers, the increasing quest for how to care for our abused hands and help prolong our careers involves a (kind of ) new definition of self-care. What Has Two Thumbs and a Propensity to Overuse Them? Me! THE REBEL MT A QUICK REVIEW OF THE BASICS Stretching, icing, heating, hydration, nutrition, exercise, sleep, body mechanics, and, of course, massage are the basics of self-care. I know I'm preaching to the choir here, so elaborating on the details is unnecessary. Instead, I will highlight these bumper stickers of thought: • Lazy stretching only scratches the surface. • Ketchup is not a vegetable. • Arizona Iced Teas are not hydration. • A 5-minute walk may not be a marathon, but it's leaps and bounds better than doing nothing. • Ice and heat are both great. Pick one. Or both. Just don't do neither. • Both sleep and body mechanics can be convoluted. Just don't give up and give in to the idea that dysfunction in these areas is "just who you are." Movement through the challenging aspects of our own physical obstacles is at the core of what we do for our clients. Treat yourself with the same respect and keep trying. • And so many massage therapists are preaching the benefits of bodywork yet go months without getting some themselves. I admit it—I have traveled down this dark path. Deciding between getting a massage and catching up on Breaking Bad was not always the easiest choice to make. But, just like Walter White, we can all take a little more stock in our own future. A QUICK REVIEW OF THUMB ANATOMY It's easy to see how this awesome opposable appendage is one of the cooler things humans get to brag about. (OK, so do chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, baboons, koalas, pandas, possums, lemurs, and waxy leaf tree

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