Massage & Bodywork

July/August 2011

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q & art BY ART RIGGS DRAPING DILEMMAS Q Art Riggs demonstrates his preferred method of client dress for deep-tissue work. Images courtesy of Art Riggs. A DEAR ART My clients and I both love working in nonneutral and side-lying positions to release spasms and increase range of motion. But some very effective positions present difficulties with draping. How can I get better at draping? —DRAPING DUMMY DEAR D.D., This is a common challenge. The reality is that quick and effortless draping is simply impossible with certain positioning options. This assertion is in no way intended to minimize the importance of skillful draping. But, if draping prevents you from implementing the full range of your bodywork skills, then you may need to examine your priorities and possibly change your image of massage, rather than just trying to get better at draping. Proper draping is primarily for your clients' physical and emotional comfort—warmth and modesty. It also protects you from accusations of improper behavior or from the possibility of clients' exhibitionistic or improper behavior. My feeling: although it can be artfully done, for goal- oriented therapeutic bodywork, draping is not meant to be an art form where therapists can demonstrate their creativity—form over function. We're here to do bodywork, not wrap clients in swaddling clothes. It makes sense to be flexible and amend your views of draping to the type of work you perform, rather than attempting to compromise your skills to fit the limitations of draping. COMPLAINTS As important as it is, draping—and especially overly fastidious draping—does come with a price. Following are some complaints I hear from both therapists and clients. • Draping is time-consuming. I have had massages where virtually every new area being worked necessitates precious loss of time as the smooth flow of the session is interrupted like driving in start-and-stop traffic. Boost your practice with ABMP's Website Builder—free for members on ABMP.com 31

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