Posture and Health
Becoming a body work therapist is a rewarding and exiting carer, being able to work in a relaxed environment and meeting new people that you can help everyday is fantastic but working possibly up to 40 hours a week on your feet is going to take some extra stamina and good health.
So whether you’re working towards, or are a massage therapist, aromatherapist, sports therapist or reflexologist you now need to look upon yourselves as therapist athletes.
What can you do:
Fuel your body: Eat healthy, balanced and nutritional food to feed your muscles and fascia, you will be moving and using your muscles every day.
Stay Hydrated: Top up with water, at least 1 ½ litres of water per day, our muscles, brain, fascia and body systems all need to stay hydrated to work at optimum levels.
Take up Yoga: Just like any other job we end up moving in the same body patterns and this can lead to repetitive strain injuries. Yoga ensures our fascia lines are fully elongated and stress patterns within the muscles are less likely to grow.
Exercise: Humans were designed to move, good health means that we need to move regularly improving blood circulation and efficient use of energy. Staying physically fit and improving the tone and strength of our muscles will improve our overall physical and mental wellbeing.
Schedule a massage: Practice what you preach and get into a regular habit, we need therapy too!
Stretch: Your job can be physically demanding so before and at the end of your day, plan time to include a 5-10 minutes stretching routine, your working body and mind will thank you kindly for this.
Posture: Your posture is the way in which the body keeps itself upright against gravity. All the muscles of the body are continually adjusting to keep you upright so using the correct posture with the least amount of strain is key to being able to give treatments every day. If your posture is not correct then the techniques you use will not be performed with efficiency and the end result will be pain within your body.
Stance: When performing your treatments it is important to spread your weight evenly between both feet this will help to maintain good posture. There are 2 main stance positions for body massage- Stride stance and Walking stance , it is important to move around your client to get the best angle when working and practice with both of your arms, hands and thumbs equally.
Force: Use your own body weight to assist your treatments, use the couch for leverage and your body to rock back and forth to create the movements. Good body mechanics will ensure a healthy and established career as a therapist.
Stroke: Keep your hands, wrists, arms and shoulders relaxed, using our own body mechanics takes a bit of practice so in general a massage stoke is performed in an uphill stroke with one foot in front of the other but once over the hill you will lose your momentum and the possibility of over stretching starts. So reassess and take a step forward so you don’t over stretch, overstretching will start to put a strain on the lumber area of the back, glutes and legs and also change the effectiveness of your technique.
Using our mobile devises: As therapists we spend an increasing amount of time on our smart phones, tablets and laptops. ‘Text neck’ is quickly becoming a modern day epidemic so ensure you are not putting un-necessary strain on your body
Pictures: An holistic guide to Massage- Tina Parsons, Massage and Aromatherapy- Lyn Goldberg
Table/ couch height: Adjustable couches are best for a number of reasons- a therapist needs to have the couch at the correct height to ensure the least amount of strain is put on the body when working. Too low and the therapist will stoop and develop back problems, too high and the therapist will have to stretch so you will be unable to use your body weight
Sitting stance: Ensure both feet are flat on the floor and legs positioned in a gentle V shape, the stomach should be pulled in and bottom tucked under to help keep a neutral spines. Keep the hands, wrists and shoulders relaxed and pay attention to the tilt of your head.