Massage & Bodywork

March | April 2014

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48 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k m a r c h / a p r i l 2 0 1 4 Body Mechanics Adjust and Thrive By Barb Frye education When you find yourself in a situation where your body mechanics feel uncomfortable or painful, you need to be able to immediately identify and solve the problem. Overuse is the primary reason for work-related injuries among massage therapists. If you repeatedly use the same positions, sequences, and techniques, you run the risk of developing dysfunctional patterns of movement: from habitually using the same part of your hand for performing techniques, to the way you position yourself when working. The sad truth is, many therapists continue to follow the same routine again and again, despite the fact that it causes them pain. Changing the way you work (i.e., a position, part of the hand you use, and/or a technique) is the best strategy for solving uncomfortable body mechanics during a treatment. In other words, you must stay constantly aware of all your options. This awareness of choice allows you to develop a wide range of comfortable and effective alternatives for any given situation. If your treatment plan is flowing smoothly and your body feels comfortable and pain-free, well done. But when something doesn't feel right for your body—for example, your back starts to ache or your hands start to hurt—it's time to start problem solving. Massage therapy is an organic, dynamic process in which you and your client work closely together to create the best possible outcome. Thinking about your process like this will help you realize there are many different ways to work. If a certain technique is causing you discomfort or pain, chances are it is not the best choice for your client, either. Keep an open mind to a wide range of possible solutions, remembering that if you are working comfortably and pain-free, your body, and ultimately your career, will remain healthy. Whenever you feel discomfort arise during a session, or when something creative is called for, use one or more of the following options. CHANGE YOUR POSITION If working in a certain position doesn't feel comfortable to you, change it. For example, working with a client's neck from a standing position may cause tension in your shoulders or back. In this case, consider sitting while working with the head and neck. In general, sitting is always a good option, no matter the situation. BODY AWARENESS

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