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Monday, October 10, 2011

Using the Right Body Mechanics

Being a Massage Therapist, using the right body mechanics while giving massage is so important. I can really tell the difference when I don't keep up on the right movements, stances and alignment of my own body. If I am in pain from doing massage I must be doing something wrong !!!
When I practice good body mechanics,  my body is aligned in a posture that places the least amount of stress on my muscular & skeletal system and my movements stay in a more comfortable range that is much more beneficial to my health.
Knowledge of my body mechanics will help me to avoid a lot of physical problems.Take for instance, the fact of just keeping a wallet in your back pocket can throw your back out of alignment because of the way it changes your body mechanics when you sit.
Using Body awareness and being mindful of my body’s movements, responses, sensations and feelings, I become aware of subtle patterns, the shifting of my weight when using the correct stance while keeping proper posture and alignment to expel pressure and control my movements, the position of my shoulders kept back and relaxed never hunched. Keeping my wrist and hand relaxed while working, Using the force of my entire body weight, not just my upper body, never hyper-extending my fingers or thumb while performing any massage therapy strokes. My fingers and thumb always a continuation of my shoulder and body. These subtle patterns make for an easy flowing motion while giving a massage.
Standing is the basic position from which all other body mechanics are performed.My body needs to continue to move or sway in varying degrees in order to keep itself balanced, so I use its natural movement. Trying to stand straight takes my skeleton out of its natural alignment and requires my muscles to work harder to hold a straight posture, so I relax and use the natural shape of my skeleton for support.  When standing, I keep my upper body vertical and balanced over my pelvis, legs and feet, and I keep my center of gravity over my feet and let my upper body move without restriction, allowing my shoulders, arms and hands to move more freely.

There are two main stances  used in massage, they help to move and control the application of massage. One is the Horse Stance and the other is the Archer Stance, both give the body a good base of support and facilitate the transfer of bodyweight to the hands minimizing the use of upper body muscles when applying massage. The use of these two stances enables you to use the strength and momentum of your entire body to create movement.
The Horse Stance, sometimes called the warrior stance you mimic how a person would sit on a horse. The legs are slightly flexed at the knees with feet parallel and back straight. The back remains erect and relaxed the shoulders comfortably dropped and back.
The Archer Stance, the stance most commonly used in massage your lead foot points straight ahead in the same direction as your face with your knee slightly bent, your other foot points off toward the side at a 30 to 50 degree angle.
 In massage therapy, body mechanics is being able to position and move my body to give the most effective massage possible with very little effort and strain to the myself. Injury is perhaps one of the largest threats to a massage therapist’s career. In a career that demands a great deal from its professionals both physically and mentally, keeping myself healthy should be at the top of my priority list and using the proper body mechanics is the best way to help prevent injury to my own body which in turn helps to keep me healthy.
Body Mechanics are one of the most important tools I use. By integrating them into my massage,  my client and I will benefit greatly.
Blue Pacific Massage & Bodyworks


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