Massage & Bodywork

September/October 2010

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Ask. What happened to your balance? Did you begin to fall into your partner's body? Action. Now, replace your hands on your partner's lower back still using his or her body for your support and begin to pull your hands up his or her back (Image 2). Feel. Sense the effort it takes to return from your stroke. Ask. Is the effort centered in your neck and shoulders? Is the effort centered in your back? Do you sense the effort in your hand and wrist joints? Again, ask your partner for feedback regarding your quality of touch. Rest for a moment. Action. Stand vertically aligned and in a stable stance. Begin to bend forward from your hip joints, knees, and ankles. Be sure to keep your feet in full contact with the fl oor and your spine in a neutral position. Now, slowly push your hands down your partner's back. When you reach a comfortable point, stop and remain in this position for a moment (Image 3). Feel. Sense the amount of sensitivity and control you have in your hands. Ask. How much control and sensitivity do you have in your hands? How comfortable do your hand and wrist joints feel? Do you sense stress in your hands when pushing in this way? What would happen if you were to quickly remove your hands from your partner's back? Feel. Notice the response in your neck, back, and shoulders. Ask. Is there a decrease of muscular effort in your neck? Your back? Your shoulders? Feel. Sense the amount of control and balance that you have in your legs and feet. Ask. Are your feet able to maintain contact with the ground? (You may fi nd that you lift your back heel away from the fl oor. This is fi ne; just be aware of it.) Do you sense a decrease of effort in your legs? Do you feel balanced and in control? Can you breathe comfortably? Action. Now, quickly remove your hands from your partner's low back. Ask. What happened to your balance? Did you maintain your balance over your partner's body? Do you feel self-supported? Action. Now, replace your hands on your partner's lower back and begin your return stroke by initiating the movement with your pelvis, legs, and feet. Push your feet into the ground as you retract your body (Image 4). Feel. Sense the response of your body when pulling your hands up your partner's back. Ask. Is there less effort centered in your hand and wrist joints? In your neck, shoulders, and back? Are your legs and feet able to facilitate the pulling? Do you feel self-supported? Rest. By pushing in a self-supportive manner, you rely on your own body to push with stability, increasing your overall control and sensitivity. Give yourself some feedback. What did your partner feel when you used his or her body for your support? How much control and sensitivity could your partner sense in your hands when you used his or her body for your support? What qualities changed when you became self-supported? and therapist since 1990. She coordinated IBM's body mechanics program and authored Body Mechanics for Manual Therapists: A Functional Approach to Self-Care, 3rd ed. (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2010). She has a massage and Feldenkrais practice at the Pluspunkt Center for Therapy and Advanced Studies near Zurich, Switzerland. Contact her at barbfrye@hotmail.com. Barb Frye has been a massage educator connect with your colleagues on massageprofessionals.com 103

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