Massage & Bodywork

SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2017

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72 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k s e p t e m b e r / o c t o b e r 2 0 1 7 In 1996, Ramit walked into my office. He was big, and he wanted really deep pressure. Oh, no, I thought, he's going to kill my body. And he did. Twenty years later, Ramit is still my client. His body hasn't changed, and he still wants deep pressure, but I'm not in pain when I work on him. (And, no, I'm not taking ibuprofen.) Now, I follow six steps that allow me to deliver deep pressure with the least amount of effort. 1. LEAN FOR LEVERAGE I embraced the idea of leaning to generate pressure out of necessity. In 2014, I was hanging on by a thread. The orthopedist diagnosed me with cervical radiculopathy, cubital tunnel syndrome, and an unstable left shoulder. These conditions started as old football injuries and were exacerbated by weight lifting and a higher-than- normal volume of massage clients. My doctor advised me to find a new career. But we've all been injured and had to work through things, right? I wasn't about to give up practicing massage without trying to find options. Since using my left forearm flared up my conditions, I needed a substitute deep-pressure tool. I tried knuckles and fists. But in order to generate any real pressure with my knuckles and fists, I needed to lean. Adjust Table Height This focus on leaning meant I had to lower my table. Why? At my normal table height, there wouldn't be enough distance between my fists and the client's body for me to lean my body weight into the client. Body size also plays into how I set my table height. Ramit is large. Another client of mine, Justin, is small. If Ramit and Justin were lying on a table side by side, the top of Ramit's body would be an inch or two higher off the table than Justin's. If I set my table height at Justin's level for each massage, I'd be giving up an inch or two of leaning leverage when working on someone larger, like Ramit. The best option is to adjust your table height according to who will be on it next. Also, when a client is lying on the table, body parts stick up at varying heights. For instance, glutes will stick up off the table higher than calves. If you're focusing on glutes and your table height is set for calves, you may have a leverage problem. By Mark Liskey Do Pressure (Using the Least Amount of Effort) Deep

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