Massage & Bodywork

July/August 2012

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technique CLASSROOM TO CLIENT | @WORK | ESSENTIAL SKILLS | MYOFASCIAL TECHNIQUES The Beauty of Breathwork By Anne Williams Using breathwork in massage is an important skill to learn early in your training. Simply asking clients to take three deep breaths at the beginning of the session can help them drop into their bodies, center themselves energetically, and consciously release unnecessary muscle tension. Breathwork supports pain reduction and can help as clients deal with the discomfort of a particular treatment technique. Breathwork also helps practitioners tune into the client's breathing rhythms and pace the massage to the client. Many people breathe with a disturbed pattern that can disrupt the delicate balance of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the blood. Proper breathing during a session revitalizes the body by ensuring the correct levels and restoring balance. The use of breathwork in a session helps clients become more aware of their breathing patterns and can lead to better breathing on a regular basis. CULTIVATE AWARENESS You may already know that the process of assessing clients for session planning begins the moment the client walks through the door, and sometimes before the client walks through the door. For example, a client who gets out of the car slowly, with head fixed, and wincing with pain provides some indication for the focus of the massage session (probably on the upper back, shoulders, upper chest, and especially the neck). The same is true with breathing. Notice how the client breathes while he or she is filling out paperwork and walking to the treatment room. Breathing patterns vary a great deal. In a normal breathing pattern, often referred to as diaphragm breathing, the abdominal area expands first on the inhalation, followed shortly by expansion laterally through the ribs, and finally a mild lifting of the upper chest. Other typical patterns include apical breathing, often called upper-chest breathing. The upper chest lifts with the inhalation, but the lateral movement of the ribs and expansion of the abdominal area are minimal. Paradoxical breathing is a breathing pattern in which the lateral movement of the ribs Classroom to Client is a new column that aims to support students and new practitioners as they develop the knowledge and abilities of a professional massage therapist, as well as help experienced practitioners review basic aspects of the work. These articles will enhance your knowledge by highlighting and reinforcing practical tips, solid techniques, and suggestions to polish your skills.

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