Massage & Bodywork

November/December 2012

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education PATHOLOGY PERSPECTIVES | BODY AWARENESS | FUNCTIONAL ANATOMY | SOMATIC RESEARCH Your Body's Comfort Use All Your Massage Tools By Barb Frye Incorporating as many tools as possible throughout a treatment is a smart way to avoid repetitive stress injuries. Equally important is focusing your awareness on your body's comfort while using specific tools. The following Partner Practice exercises will guide you through several different tools and help you maintain a heightened sense of body awareness. There are several rest breaks throughout this 1 exercise. Use them as a way to stay mindful of your own well-being and to allow your partner a moment of rest before each transition of touch. PARTNER PRACTICE Ask your partner to disrobe and lie prone, under the drape, on your table. Once you have lubricated the back, begin to make long, gliding strokes using both hands (e.g., effleurage) (Image 1). Become aware of your hands, noticing where you place most of the pressure. Are you using the heel of your hand? Are you pressing with the palm? The fingers? Now, cover your 2 partner's back, and rest for a moment. Uncover your partner's leg. Using both hands, begin to knead the muscles of the upper or lower leg (e.g., petrissage) (Image 2). Notice how you are using your fingers and thumbs. Are they relaxed as you knead the muscles? Are the muscles of your forearm relaxed? Is there tension in your wrists? Cover your partner's leg, and rest. Now, uncover the other leg and begin to palpate for an area where light pressure is appropriate. This might be above or below the back of the knee. Once you find an area, begin to gently apply light pressure using the fingers of both hands. Notice how you are using your fingers. Are your fingers relaxed and in good alignment? In what position are your wrists? Are your arms and shoulders relaxed? Cover your partner, and rest. Now, uncover either foot to work deeper with your knuckles (Image 3). Notice how you are using your knuckles. Are the joints in good alignment? Are you gripping the fingers tightly? When you are finished, cover your partner, and rest. Now, ask your partner to lie supine. 3 46 massage & bodywork november/december 2012

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