Massage & Bodywork

September/October 2012

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The advantage of using the foot is that, unlike the hand, it is designed to bear weight. 3 pole or chairback, to maintain your balance. Creating a tripod effect with your working leg, standing foot, and third support piece will increase your sense of balance (Image 4). To avoid inadvertently slipping on your partner, use very little lubrication. You want to use just enough for a gliding effect, but not too much to create instability. Move slowly, checking in frequently with your partner's comfort level. Make sure your toenails are well-groomed, and always wash your feet thoroughly before starting your work. SELF-CARE TIP Many people suffer from stiffness in their feet, and this might be especially true if you're using your feet to work on clients. If you have difficulty walking first thing in the morning, or your feet feel stiff and sore while sitting, be sure to treat yourself to a foot massage. If this is your first time working with the feet, be patient with yourself, and take your time. Enjoy experimenting with your foot, trying out all kinds of possibilities. Your foot is a wonderful tool, and finding out what it can offer should be fun and playful. If you feel this type of work is for you, pursue a training program and incorporate it into your practice. 4 Barb Frye has been a massage educator and therapist since 1990. She coordinated IBM's body mechanics program and authored Body Mechanics for Manual Therapists: A Functional Approach to Self-Care (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2010), now in its third edition. She has a massage and Feldenkrais practice at the Pluspunkt Center for Therapy and Advanced Studies near Zurich, Switzerland. Contact her at Visit the newly designed Log in. Explore. Enjoy. 53

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