Massage & Bodywork


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The massage therapy profession has changed, primarily due to COVID-19. Although to a lesser degree now, lack of a sense of safety caused many therapists to choose to leave the profession—not just short term, but indefinitely. The silver lining is that those of us who stuck with it and are still (or back) in practice are likely booked out weeks in advance because there are more clients to serve than there are practitioners to serve them. The not-so- silver lining is that we are seeing a lot of clients, often back-to-back, which can be extremely challenging on our bodies. In school, you likely learned the importance of self-care before and after a work shift. However, it's just as important to rebalance your body between each session. Even if you do back-to-back sessions (especially if you do back-to-back sessions!), you must take a minimum of five minutes to unwind the tension patterns that are likely produced as you work. Even with the best body mechanics, you are still performing taxing repetitive movements. Just as you would advise self-care between sessions for your clients that involve lengthening areas that are contracted and strengthening areas that following two exercises can be performed while standing or sitting with spine erect. Radial nerve • Place your arm straight out to the side at a 90-degree angle to the body with the palm facing toward the ground. • Keeping your fingers straight, bend up and down at the wrist. • Achieve fuller access to the entire nerve by laterally flexing the head to the opposite side (ear to shoulder) as you extend the wrist, then returning to neutral as you flex the wrist. • If this movement fails to elicit sufficient sensation, reposition the arm slightly behind your body and repeat the process. • Perform up to 10 movements on each arm. Ulnar nerve • Touch your index finger to your thumb while holding the other three fingers in the air (as if making the OK sign). • Bring your hand toward your face, leading with the pinkie finger, and place it at the lateral edge of the eye socket. 86 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k n ove m b e r/d e ce m b e r 2 0 2 2 essential skills | BACK TO BASICS Essential Recovery Supportive Movements to Balance the Body Between Sessions By Cindy Williams are overly lengthened, you also must keep your body balanced—ideally, between every session. It's one of the best ways to avoid pain, injury, and burnout. Plus, it demonstrates to your body that you love and care for it and that your relationship with it is significant. Your body will undoubtedly respond to that! ESSENTIAL MOVEMENTS To that end, following are five brief and effective movements that will address the most common work-related musculoskeletal complaints in massage practitioners, as recently reported in a 2022 PubMed study. 1 UPPER EXTREMITY NERVE FLOSSING Nerve f lossing is a gentle exercise designed to mobilize a nerve along its path with the goal of breaking it free from adhesions or entrapment, reducing pain, and increasing range of motion of the extremity within which the nerve resides. It is also referred to as neural gliding or nerve glides. The

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