Posture and Movements when Giving a Massage
A good posture while giving a massage is essential. When you perform a few massages per day, if you don't have a good posture, you will end up by wasting way too much energy, and you will start thinking about giving up your massage career. The rules for positioning, moving, and body kinetics are different for various modalities.
Posture and movement for Swedish Massage
- Move your whole body
Every move should be a move of the entire body. It shouldn't be just a hands' job. At the beginning, it will require some extra effort, but in time will be easier if you use proper movements and use your entire body while giving a massage. Using your arms and shoulders alone is guaranteed to exhaust you very quickly.
- Maintain a good balance
Don't lose your balance. Position yourself so that it's difficult to knock you over, with your knees slightly flexed.
- Do not bend over
Instead of bending over for your strokes, you rather spread your legs and flex your knees more.
- Massage with your lower body
Generate your movements from your lower body - the legs and the hips, not just your upper body.
- Stand straight
Stand straight and keep your feet spread apart at shoulder length. Focus on your vertebral column position and readjust several times per session, if needed. In time this will become a reflex and you won't have to think about it.
- Maintain straight lines with your strokes
Apply pressure in a straight line without bending your joints, this allows you to use more your weight instead of muscles.
- Take care of your thumbs and wrists
Thumbs and wrists are the most worked parts of your body. Do not rely only on them to do your massage work; alternate by using your knuckles, forearms, elbows, etc...
- Lean a lot with your strokes
Use the leaning while you are massaging, use your weight and gravity instead of muscles. This will save you a lot of energy.
- Adjust your massage table
The massage table needs to be adjusted for your height and for your client. Many therapists adjust their tables at the hip level. Others prefer that the massage table is setup so that their fist touches the top of the table when standing beside it. Our bodies as massage practitioners are different hence the debate. You can even need to adjust the table according to your client. For instance, if you have a large client, such as a weight lifting athlete, you need as much power as possible to work the massive muscles. In these cases, you need to adjust your table much lower than normal, so you can use your weight as much as possible.
Other massage modalities use this type of setting, for example amma massage, office massage, etc...
- Adjust the chair or client's position so that their head is around your chest or abdomen level.
- If the client is sitting on a normal chair, make the adjustments so that he or she can lean on your abdomen when you perform techniques that are more vigorous. A symmetrical palm effleurage on your client's forehead or pressopuncture on face are good examples.
- On an ergonomic massage chair, these are almost unnecessary, and the therapist's position and body kinetics will be very similar to massage performed on a table.
Posture and Movement for Thai Massage