Massage & Bodywork

November/December 2013

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education CLASSROOM TO CLIENT | PATHOLOGY PERSPECTIVES | BODY AWARENESS | FUNCTIONAL ANATOMY | SOMATIC RESEARCH Awareness Tips for Clients Everyday Insights for Use Between Sessions By Barb Frye Body awareness is as important for clients as it is for therapists. It is often the bodywork homework we give our clients that makes a significant difference in their lives. Most clients appreciate helpful tips to use during everyday activities around the house, at work, and at play. These insights will help increase your clients' overall body awareness. GENERAL QUESTIONS Start by asking clients a few simple questions. For instance, when standing, do they place weight over both feet, or do they primarily bear weight over one? Which leg do they lift first when putting on a pair of pants, or which arm do they use first when putting on a jacket? Awareness questions prompt your clients to become more selfobservant, and thus, more self-reliant. HYDRATION Explain to your clients the importance of drinking plenty of water after treatments. Give your clients a water bottle or mug bearing your name and business information. Not only will they be reminded to stay hydrated, they will never forget where they received such good advice! CIRCULATION Remind your clients to warm up before physical activities. This is especially important for elderly or fragile clients. Even if it means slowly moving the body for just a few minutes 48 massage & bodywork november/december 2013 before starting a daily routine, warming up can help increase circulation and decrease the chance of taxing stiff and sore muscles. HANDS People often use their hands, especially their fingers, with too much force and don't realize it (e.g., overgripping the steering wheel while driving, or putting unnecessary power into opening a drawer or door). Using the fingers with too much force can potentially lead to tension in the hand, arm, shoulder, neck, and upper back. Explain this concept to your clients, helping them understand how using less force during simple activities can reduce overall tension. FEET Many people suffer from stiffness in their feet. For instance, they have difficulty walking first thing in the morning, or their feet feel stiff and sore while sitting. The next time a client experiences foot stiffness, show him how to give himself a short and simple foot massage. It's empowering for the client to have this pain-management tool. STANDING If you have a client with back pain, notice if she has the propensity to lean her upper body forward or backward from the pelvis. The use of unnecessary upper-body flexion or extension when standing can put enormous strain on the lower back, causing discomfort and pain. Bring the client's attention

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