Doctor, heal thyself is a mantra that applies to all professionals whose job is to heal and give care to others. If you’re a massage therapist, this definitely applies to you. Your job is to massage one client after another using your own muscle strength and massaging techniques, but what if you are the one who is in pain? You probably can work with a friend therapist to give you the same healing service that you provide to your clients. But on your own, there are things that you can do for yourself to take care of your own body, which we will learn more about in the next section.
Self-Care Tips for Massage Therapists
Let’s say that you have been providing massage therapy services to a regular stream of clients for the past week. You feel that the joints in your hands and wrists are aching because of the pressure being exerted when massaging clients. You also have aches and pains at certain parts of your back. How can you relieve these, and what can you to do make sure that you are ready to massage clients for the upcoming week? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Don’t hesitate to switch positions when working on a client.
Massage therapists work with clients who are lying prone or face down, and supine or face up. When massaging the back, your tendency is to position yourself at the head of the client so that you can reach all the way to the lower back. This, in turn, stretches your own muscles because your body stretches at a ninety-degree angle. Instead of always doing this, switch positions and stand up at the side of the bed so that you can easily reach the client’s back.
When performing other massage techniques, you can lessen the pressure from your back by asking the client to use a side line position, or have him or her sit in a chair in front of you for some Asian bodywork treatment.
- Invest in an electric massage table and hand tools.
If you’ve been massaging clients for a long time, use an electric massage table which allows you to easily adjust the table height depending on the height of the client. It will also prevent you from bending over lower than necessary. You can also invest in hand tools which help prevent hand strain and thumb injury.
- Try to keep your wrists straight when administering a massage.
To prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, keep your wrists straight when massaging a client.
- Hydrate and stretch.
Don’t you always tell your clients to hydrate after getting a massage? Do the same because as the deliverer of the massage service, your own muscles will be stretched taut after working on several bodies per day! Perform some stretching exercises at the beginning of the massage session, and make sure to hydrate even while you are doing a massage, especially if you have been seeing one client after another.
- Know where the pressure comes from.
As a massage therapist, you should be conscious of where the pressure is coming from when you’re administering a massage. Don’t use pressure from your hands alone – apply force from your shoulder, back, and your entire body weight.
If all else fails, ask another therapist to give you a free massage in exchange of your own services. Your strength and well-being are very important if you’re a massage therapist because these are your primary tools when dealing with clients. By taking good care of yourself, you can provide the nurturing and care that clients are looking for when booking your massage services.