Massage & Bodywork

May/June 2011

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body awareness BY BARB FRYE PRIME YOUR BODY Taking yourself through a short mobilization routine makes all the difference in keeping your muscles and joints primed for the work ahead. As the weather starts warming up, so should we. Actually, warming up should be a year-round and daily part of your routine. This exercise needs to be as basic as charting your treatments and changing your linens. Taking yourself through a short mobilization routine makes all the difference in keeping your muscles and joints primed for the work ahead. Mobilization is also commonly referred to as dynamic stretching. It helps increase circulation, range of motion, and flexibility. It can also reduce your risk of injury. Unlike static stretching in which a muscle is lengthened and held, mobilizing moves your joints through their range of motion, both warming up your tissues and getting them ready for the physical activity of your work. From the psychological point of view, warming up gives you the opportunity to free your mind of other thoughts, allowing you to become focused on the day ahead. It is an excellent time to ground and center yourself, letting the movements of the body lead you toward a focused, yet relaxed mental and emotional state. Remember to start slowly and never move through pain. Most of all, enjoy yourself. If you don't look forward to warming up, you probably won't enjoy it. The following sequence of 10 mobilizations is a good place to start. Begin by standing comfortably, with your feet approximately hip-width apart. Focus on increasing your body's circulation and flexibility, and allow your mind to become relaxed and calm. 1. Begin to slowly side-bend your head toward one shoulder, and then toward the other. Each time, increase the bending so that you begin to feel an increase in your flexibility. Perform this movement 10 times to each side (Image 1). 2. Roll your shoulders forward 10 times and then backward 10 times, gradually increasing the range of motion (Image 2). 3. Swing one arm at a time, up and down. Start with small movements, increasing the swing each time. Make this movement 10 times (Image 3). 4. Circle your wrists in one direction 10 times and then in the other 10 times, increasing the range of motion with each circle (Image 4). 106 massage & bodywork may/june 2011

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