resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Curbing Label Overwhelm
For the average consumer, reading a food package can be overwhelming: natural, organic, non-GMO, gluten free, free range ... you get the picture.
Remembering Clarence Gonstead and 50 Years of the Gonstead Clinic
Dr. Clarence Selmer Gonstead (1898-1978) took chiropractic practice from back-alley bone setting to an understandable biomechanical science. His life was dedicated to clinical competency.
Are You a Bad Chiropractic Patient?
My father was a great DC. In fact, as you might expect, he was the doctor of chiropractic I measured all other doctors against. Sadly, he died at age 61 when I was in my early 30s.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
Fibromyalgia: Put the Pain in Its Place
While some fibromyalgia patients respond favorably to regular chiropractic care, others experience minimal relief. Unfortunately, many of these patients must rely on pharmacological management to relieve their constant pain.
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
Immunizations by Colorado DCs: Really?
You probably didn't hear about it, but back on Nov. 21, 2013, the Board of Directors of the Colorado Chiropractic Association (CCA) adopted "immunization authority" for Colorado DCs as its No. 2 legislative goal.
Vaccines and Chiropractic: Evidence-Based Medicine or Medical Dogma?
Right or wrong, the chiropractic profession has historically been against vaccinations. However, a growing trend within the profession is seeking to reverse this position.
Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
Physical Exam 101: The Hands
I am sure you are familiar with the old adage: "When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail."
The Science of Stretching
In 1986, Rob DeCastella set a course record by running the Boston Marathon in 2:07:51, just 39 seconds off the world record.
Coding for the Subluxation: ICD-9 vs. ICD-10
When I attended chiropractic school, I was taught that chiropractors approach health care differently than the traditional medical establishment.
By the Numbers: 3 Common Financial Mistakes With Major Consequences
Warren Buffett is on record for sharing the hidden art of becoming wealthy and making it simple enough for anyone to grasp.
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
Knee Pain From the Kinetic Chain
As practitioners of manual medicine, chiropractors often treat patients suffering from knee pain.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
Why You Should Include the Single-Leg Stance Test in Every Patient Assessment
The single-leg stance (SLS) test, also known as the single-limb stance test, unipedal stance test or one-legged stance / balance test, is often used in the geriatric population to assess static postural and balance control.
March, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 03
Body Mechanics and Continuing Education
By Sandy Fritz
Editor's note: Sandy Fritz, a practicing massage therapist for over 20 years, is the author of Mosby's Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage and co-author of Mosby's Basic Science for Soft Tissue and Movement Therapies and other massage textbooks such as Mosby's Massage Therapy Review.She is the owner and director of the Health Enrichment Center, Inc., School of Therapeutic Massage in Michigan, and maintains a private practice for professional football players. Sandy also provides consultation to many massage schools in development. I've spent many hours pondering how I could encourage practicing massage therapists to improve their body mechanics. Because proper use of body mechanics can enhance the longevity and success of your career, continuing education regarding body mechanics should be stressed to all massage therapists.
Most research in ergonomics had focused on elements of lifting and motion. Massage application is more about the application of compressive force. Adaptation of biomechanics for those who lift and move is counterproductive for massage application. Over and over, I hear clients ask for more pressure without being poked and jabbed. The major goal for massage is to apply an appropriate broad-based compressive force to soft tissue, using the least amount of physical effort.
Massage has become a system unto itself. The historical basis for massage was as more of an integrated system utilizing movement, exercise and massage. Seldom was massage applied for a full hour. Now the one-hour massage is the expected standard for massage professionals. Five massage sessions per day is necessary for most to achieve financial stability in a typical workweek. No wonder that a recent study by Watson (reported by Gerry Pyves in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, vol. 5, no. 3, July 2001) showed that 78% of massage professionals have experienced a work-related injury. Something must be done to help our profession. A change in paradigm about how massage is delivered is necessary. The idea that the hand is the primary delivery tool is outdated. The forearm, the flat space below the knee and the foot are better suited for sustaining the abnormal loading of the joints and repetitive movement strain on the joints and soft tissue required when giving massage.
Compressive force is applied 90 degrees in relationship to the body contact. This means that the client needs to be positioned so that you can lean against an upward slope on the body and maintain about a 45-degree angle at the shoulder. When the knee and foot are used, a 90-degree angle against the tissue can be achieved easily.
The joints need to be stacked and stable; the gliding motion should be provided by moving the feet in a forward position, instead of leaning at the waist and reaching forward. Avoid petrissage or kneading movements. The same effect can be achieved by applying compression to the tissues, then moving the adjacent joint actively or passively.
Are you asking yourself, "What can I do to improve my body mechanics?" First, be aware that there could be a problem, and the problem may not be apparent to you. Just because you have your education under your belt and practice massage does not mean you are using your body in the most efficient way.
There are many objects to consider when discussing body mechanics, including the massage table, floor mats, stools and chairs.
Is your table the proper height? As a general rule, your fingertips or first knuckle should reach the top of the table when your arms are hanging at your sides. This varies depending on if you have a long or short torso, legs or arms. If your table is a little short, you will be able to accommodate by widening your stance, but will often end up bending at the waist and developing low back fatigue. A table that is too tall will cause you to use upper muscle strength instead of leaning and using leverage to apply the compressive forces. Test your table. Are you thinking it's too tall or too short? If so, experiment to see if it feels more comfortable set at the suggested height. If it was too tall and you adjusted it, at the end of a day of practice you may feel less lethargic because you used less upper body strength. If it was too short, your back will ache. More often than not, raising the table a bit helps.
One way to notice incorrect body mechanics (besides the pain you may be feeling by the middle or end of your day) is by using a mirror to check yourself frequently in different positions:
If you were unable to notice incorrect uses of your body mechanics and think you are doing just fine, wouldn't you rather be safe than sorry? Ask a few other massage therapists to get together so you can evaluate each other. Watching each other will provide more objective feedback. If you are only doing two or three massage sessions per week, you may be able to get by with bad body mechanic habits, but if your are doing two or more massage sessions per day to total 10 massage sessions or more per week, injury will likely result.
Here are some ways to do a self-test:
You should have answered yes to the above questions. If these tips don't help, check out continuing education providers that offer classes in body mechanics or related classes. Choose your course carefully. You do not want to replace one set of bad habits for another. One place you can locate classes is on NCBTMB's website: www.ncbtmb.com. You can also call (800) 296-0664 to find CEU providers in your area.
Remember that the human body is designed for movement and range of motion, not for the compressive forces required when giving a massage. Appropriate body mechanics must be maintained to provide adequate pressure throughout the massage. Body mechanics systems that are based on movement, such as dance and martial arts systems, are not designed for the delivery of compressive force required for massage. Learning to effectively use your knees and feet while working on a mat as part of your massage applications can allow you to rest your arms and hands. Some applications of shiatsu and Chinese massage systems incorporate these applications of pressure delivery.
A well-trained massage professional should be able to effectively provide five to six massage sessions a day, five days per week, without excessive fatigue or pain. If you are unable to maintain this type of work pace, your body mechanics is the most likely cause. Take action now so that you can have the career you desire.
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