resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Unlevel Pelvis in the High-School Athlete: Exploring Causes and Effects
The unlevel pelvis is all too common in the high-school athlete and if not detected, will likely cause a lifetime of musculoskeletal issues. Any provider who doesn't look for this common finding is missing critical information.
Reflections: The Art of Teaching Asian Medicine
Over the past three decades, my global workshops have been translated into German, Swiss German, French, Romansch, Spanish, Lithuanian and Xhosa. Time to offer you new teachers a few tips!
Acupuncture and Homeopathy: Bioenergetic Brothers
Acupuncture and homeopathy share an important healing principle: bioenergetics. "Bio" means "life," so bioenergetics is literally "life energy."
Leaving Footprints on Capitol Hill: Tribute to Dr. Kenneth Luedtke (1930-2014)
It was with great sadness that I heard of the passing of Dr. Ken Luedtke.
Neuroscience: Where Western Medicine and Chinese Medicine Can Come Together
The recent advances in neuroscience are truly incredible. With this expansion of scientific knowledge, I would like to see even more research into the neuroscientific basic of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.
Case Histories from Bali: Treating Balinese Chidren with TCB and Shonishin
When I moved to the island of Bali in 2005, I offered my services in Bumi Sehat, which means Healthy Mother Earth, a free birthing center for poor and disadvantaged local women located in Ubud.
The Top Seven Website Mistakes Clinics Make
The majority of acupuncture clinics finally have a website for their business. Having a website is crucial for being found online through Google, Facebook and review sites like Yelp.
Let's Speak With One Voice in 2015
For the longest time, the chiropractic profession has attempted to achieve some form of unity. On a political level, this was characterized by an ultimately unsuccessful two-year merger effort between ACA and ICA leadership from 1986-1988.
The Conscious Evolution of Healing, Part 2
The idea of transmission is very important in the Chinese medical classics. According to author Claude Larre, the ancient Chinese were highly interested in the connection between things. Nothing was looked at as an isolated entity.
Help Your Parents Stay Engaged
As much as parents may wish it were so, children do not come with an instruction manual. There's no "how to" that can be followed and no two children are alike, so what works with one generally won't work with the next.
Cell Health (Part 2)
Dr. Barsten, your book is about restoring "cell vitality." Can you briefly define the term? Cell vitality is more than the mere absence of symptoms or pathology, but optimum structural, physiological and energetic health.
It's Time to Create a Strong Acupuncture Footprint
Footprints in the sand. Footprints in the snow. Where do these footprints go? Some are big, some are small, but footprints are made by all.
News in Brief
An Encouraging Sign at Palmer; NBCE Announces Retirement of Longtime Director of Testing.
Are You Really a Healthy Eater?
I always giggle a little bit (to myself) when someone comes into my office and informs me that they are a healthy eater. What exactly does that mean? Does that mean they eat sugar in moderation? And what's that, exactly?
Old TCM Sayings: Treat the Front to Treat the Back
Chinese medicine college was, and always will be, a memorable time. It was a time of massive personal and professional growth.
It might have been a miserable start to the day in the heart of downtown San Diego. A heavy rain had soaked the large homeless population congregating near the intersection of Third Avenue and Ash Street as they waited for a free breakfast to be served at the First Lutheran Church on the corner.
Finding Balance in the Clinic
This past December, I celebrated 11 years in practice. I seriously don't know where the time went. I feel beyond blessed and grateful to be practicing our profound and beautiful medicine and to be helping guide my patients restore a state of optimal health.
Connecting the Dots
In 2002, I published a book on patient examination procedures that included information on the procedural coding of the recommended examinations. The book should have been published in 2000, but I had trouble finding a publisher. Why?
The CDC came out with a report in March 2013 that suggests 1 in 50 children will be diagnosed somewhere on the autism spectrum – significantly higher than the 1 in 86 figure that came out in 2007. What does this mean moving forward, particularly for children?
Put the Social Back Into Social Media
Social media is more than a passing fad, it is definitely here to stay. Social media apps and channels of distribution may evolve, but the concept of social media is now big business and a part of all our lives.
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.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.