Massage therapy is one of the most rewarding professions, however, it is also one of the most physical. As practicing massage therapists and bodyworkers, we use our fingers, hands, forearms, and elbows as our “money makers,” so to speak. Not only that, we use other areas of our bodies to ground us, stabilize us, and help us really dig in when we’re doing deep tissue or sports massage.
That said, massage therapists as a whole are at a higher risk of suffering some kind of injury at some point in the career, but more often than not, we’re highly susceptible to repetitive and overuse injuries. However, by eliminating bad habits and replacing them with healthier ones, and being more mindful overall of our own bodies, we can protect ourselves from common injuries so we can continue helping others heal and having successful careers for years to come.
Preventing Common Injuries Sustained By Massage Therapists
Today, we are going to explore some handy (pun intended) tips massage therapists can use to prevent common injuries sustained in our industry. Keep reading to learn more, and visit Integrated Massage Therapy College (IMTC) to find helpful resources, or to enroll in our massage therapy school in Edmond.
Stretch It Out
Stretching is something we always tell our clients to do to prevent injuries, release tightness, and improve flexibility, but how often do you practice intentional stretching yourself?
Tip: A good rule of thumb is to stretch at least twice daily, but you can work mild stretching in in-between clients to stay limber. Always stretch your neck, shoulders, arms, and lower back at the beginning and end of each day. Pay special attention to stretching your hands, wrists, forearms, and fingers before and after each massage (or whenever you have time). While you’re giving a massage, be mindful of your breathing to help keep you relaxed and keep your neck and jaw relaxed to prevent discomfort and tension.
Practice Good Posture
Posture is extremely important for bodyworkers so be especially mindful of your posture when giving a massage.
Tip: Balance is key to optimal posture. When applying massage, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, engage your core muscles to help keep your back straight, and keep your knees slightly bent. As you begin working on your client and getting into the flow of your movements, shift your body weight between each leg in such a way that you rock softly. Keep your neck relaxed, but avoid slouching your shoulders or hunching over your client as you work.
Check Massage Table Height
One of the best things you can do for your own body is to set your massage table at a proper height.
Tip: Once you set up your table, stand next to it, and see where your arms fall. A good height is typically where your fingertips or wrist lands. If you practice deep tissue massage, you may want to slightly lower your table to give you additional space to leverage to assist with deeper bodywork.
Put These Tips to Use Daily
When it comes down to it, massage therapy is an incredibly gratifying career, but it can take a big toll on our bodies if we let it. By practicing mindfulness and good ergonomics in our practice every day, however, we can better protect our bodies — and better help our clients in their journey to healing and wellness. Apply these tips to your daily practice, and enjoy all the benefits of caring for your own wellness.
Join us for part two of this short blog series to learn more, and get in touch with your instructor if you have additional questions. If you’re not a current student but you’re ready to restore the balance to your career, then contact our massage therapy school in Edmond today to enroll in our upcoming programs.