Learning self massage techniques for yourself is a great first step to taking care of your arms, your hands... and your future. But, learning how to avoid potentially dangerous situations with others (clients or potential clients) is equally important for the safety of yourself, your business and your family.
The best way to avoid injury in massage is to use a self-care techniques that have been practiced by therapists for years. Learning good body stances, in addition to arranging your massage room to prevent the injuries that can occur with repetitive movements.
Here are a few tips for taking care of yourself, in addition to self-massage.
1. Listen to what your body is saying. If your hands begin to ache, learn stretches that keep them loosened. Ice them at night after several massages.
Seek medical attention if you start to experience symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome, or neck pain.
Medical attention should be sought early, and along with rest, ice and anti-inflammatory meds, you can often avoid serious injury.
Treatment is always easier on your body, less expensive, and will get you working again sooner if you seek it early. Some common disorders that therapists have require long periods of recovery, sometimes even surgery, if they are allowed to worsen.
Symptoms that require attention:
Take at least 30 minutes in between massage appointments. Take longer breaks after two appointments, and drink plenty of water throughout the day. Try to schedule only 4-5 massage appointments per day.
3. Practice good self-care, in addition to massage. Exercise and be careful when working in the same position all day.
4. Learn massage therapy techniques that are less demanding, such as positional release techniques
5. Use massage tools to help you work deeper muscles or muscles that are hard to get to.
Save Your Hands!: The Complete Guide to Injury Prevention and Ergonomics for Manual Therapists teaches how to prevent injury and proper ergonomics to protect the body and prolong a massage career. This book has tips for how to save stress on hands, back, neck and shoulders of any bodywork professional.
Self care: Protection from Others
Learn about what massage therapy insurance is best for you and your practice. Don't risk not having this to protect yourself, your business, and your family.
You will also need to know how to protect yourself from inappropriate behavior in the massage session to prevent a dangerous situation. Learn the warning signs of danger, and when to exit the room!
Learn how to recognize contagious and non-contagious skin conditions so that you can avoid any type of skin infection, and embarrassment for you and your client.
Self massage is an important part of having a life-long career in massage therapy, and learning how to perform these self care techniques properly is critical.