Massage & Bodywork


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• Achieve fuller access to the entire nerve by laterally fl exing the head to the opposite side (ear to shoulder) as you bring the pinkie toward the eye, then returning to neutral as you extend the arm back to the starting position. • Reverse the movement after a brief hold. • Perform up to 10 movements on each arm. SPINAL EXTENSION/FLEXION • Sit in a chair with your feet fl at on the fl oor and your spine lifted in a neutral position. Place your hands on your knees. • As you inhale, extend your spine. Lift your head up and slightly back and lift your gaze without overextending your cervical spine. Retract your scapulae by pulling them back and down your rib cage. Your arms will be bent. • As you exhale, reverse the movement. Flex the spine, making sure to contract the abdominals. Push the back body toward the space behind you. Allow the scapula to protract. Drop your chin toward your chest. Your arms will be extended. • Repeat each cycle 5–10 times. A complete cycle involves extension and fl exion. WALL ANGEL • Stand with your entire back body against a wall. Extend your arms out to each side with palms facing forward (hands will be at hip level). • As you inhale, slowly raise your arms overhead while maintaining contact with the wall. • As you exhale, slowly lower your arms back to the starting position while maintaining contact with the wall. • Repeat each cycle 5–10 times. A complete cycle involves raising and lowering the arms. KNEE ROCKING • Lie on your back with your knees bent. Keep knees and feet together. Feet can be touching the fl oor or suspended in the air. • Bring your arms out to a T-shape along the fl oor with palms facing down. • Rock your knees from side to side as far as possible while keeping your shoulders in contact with the fl oor. • As you rock your knees, rock your head from side to side in the opposite direction of the knees. • Exhale as you rock to one side; inhale as you return to neutral. Each movement is performed with your natural breathing rhythm, so the pace of the movement from side to side will vary per individual. • Repeat each cycle 5–10 times. A complete cycle involves rocking the knees to each side one time. THE SELF-CARE SANDWICH While this article focuses on movements to engage between each session, it's also important to warm up and cool down at the beginning and end of a work shift. The following sequential set of movements, which I like to call the "joint journey," is excellent for warming up and cooling down all your joints. This sequence is excellent for lubricating the joints, reducing adhesions, and increasing range of motion. Starting at the feet, progress through each major joint of the body, taking it through its available range of motion. Repeat each movement 5–7 times. For example, begin with the talocrural (ankle) joint. Take the joint through dorsif lexion and plantar f lexion 5–7 rounds. While the next movement is at the subtalar joint rather than the talocrural joint, you might even incorporate inversion and eversion for 5–7 rounds, and so on. Similarly, perform active range of motion for the tibiofibular (knee) joint, coxal (hip) joint, spinal column, glenohumeral (shoulder) joint, humeroulnar (elbow) joint, distal radiocarpal (wrist) joint, and the temporomandibular joint (jaw). FIVE MINUTES TO FREEDOM Freeing our muscles, connective tissues, nerves, and joints is essential to longevity in a career that is highly physical in nature. It's far too easy to simply move from client to client without taking the time to care for yourself, recover from the work you've done, and negate pain and injury before they happen. If you work in an environment where five minutes between sessions is not available, seriously consider renegotiating your schedule. Your health, fitness, and physical recovery as a massage practitioner is of the utmost importance and is worth your self-advocacy. Note 1. Elena Sirbu et al., "Work-Related Musculoskeletal Complaints in Massage Practitioners," Work 72, no. 3 (2022): 901–7. Since 2000, Cindy Williams, LMT, has been actively involved in the massage profession as a practitioner, school administrator, instructor, curriculum developer, and mentor. In addition to maintaining a part- time massage and bodywork practice and teaching yoga, she is a freelance content writer and educational consultant. Contact her at L i s te n to T h e A B M P Po d c a s t a t a b m m /p o d c a s t s o r w h e reve r yo u a cce s s yo u r favo r i te p o d c a s t s 87 TAKEAWAY: For long-term health, massage therapists should take a few minutes between clients to stretch and rebalance their bodies. VIDEO: "SUPPORTIVE MOVEMENTS BETWEEN MASSAGE SESSIONS" 1. Open your camera 2. Scan the code 3. Tap on notification 4. Watch!

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