Massage & Bodywork

January/February 2013

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education Pathology perspectives | body awareness | functional anatomy | somatic research Safety in Spas Task-Oriented Body Mechanics By Barb Frye Massage therapy is the most requested service in spas. From cruise ships to five-star hotels, the opportunities for practitioners who want to work in this setting are endless. However, to stay healthy when working in a spa, there are specific, task-oriented body mechanics to keep in mind. Bath Therapies Water-related therapies are the defining treatments offered at spas. In this world of water, bending and lifting are movements of which to be mindful. Standing: If floors are wet, pay attention to your skeletal alignment and maintain an appropriately wide, stable stance. Nonskid footwear is essential for spa work. Bending: When bending down (e.g., to a whirlpool or bathtub), be sure to bend from your hip joints, knees, and ankles, keeping your back in a neutral position. Lifting: Get as close as possible when assisting a client out of a bathtub or whirlpool. Lift from a squat position, maintaining a stable stance. Steam and Sauna In 100 percent humidity or zero, working in the steam and sauna environment can be fatiguing. Focus on breathing and hydration. Breathing: When walking in and out of steam rooms and saunas, make sure to maintain a healthy breathing pattern. Hydrating: Drink extra liquids. Dehydration can occur when you move repeatedly from a hot environment to an environment with a moderate temperature. Water Effusion Water effusion (known as hydrotherapy) is becoming more integrated into the spa environment. Along with bending and standing, pay particular attention to the use of your hands. Bending: Bend from your lower joints, especially when using an effusion hose for long periods of time. Holding: Holding an effusion hose requires strength and can lead to stress in your hands and arms. Work with your arms close to your body to reduce muscular effort. Keeping your hands and arms as relaxed as possible, hold the hose securely, but try not to overgrip. It also helps to vary your movements. Standing: Secure footing is imperative when using an effusion hose with a jet nozzle. Maintain your stability and alignment. 46 massage & bodywork january/february 2013

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