Massage & Bodywork

July/August 2010

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AUTH METHOD Because the forearms are more durable than the hands, fingers, or thumbs (and with practice are just as sensitive), they are a bodyworker's most prized tool. Although I didn't receive enough training to diagnose such things, and didn't think this limited training allowed me to put reflexologist on my business card, I did come to know that I could give a great foot massage. I could work out "crystals" on the sole of the foot, stimulate nerve endings and all the organs I could remember from the reflexology map, and turn tired and achy feet into light and happy ones. The only problem was that all this work was done with my thumbs. If a client came in with really tight feet—or even worse, plantar fasciitis—I would diligently use my thumbs to break up the tension on the sole of the foot. Although this was effective and felt good for the client, it was exhausting for my thumbs. I knew from massage school that one of the more common injuries among massage therapists is a thumb or thenar injury. There had to be an easier way to do this work. Massage is a labor-intensive Photos courtesy of Shari Auth. profession. The key to longevity is learning how to work smarter— meaning clients get the relief they are looking for and the practitioner uses as little energy as possible to fulfill this goal. There were a few factors holding me back from giving an effective yet effortless foot treatment to my clients. First was the position. The supine position allowed me no leverage to work the sole of a client's foot. Second, the thumbs are not an adequate tool for performing massage long-term; they are too fragile. And finally, I wasn't doing enough massage on the muscles of the calf that attach on the bottom of the foot. I decided to have my client lie in the prone position so I could use my body weight to drop down onto the sole of the foot. I couldn't use body weight to engage the sole of the foot with my client in the supine position; 64 massage & bodywork july/august 2010

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