resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
Pain Underfoot: Metatarsalgia
Foot pain can interfere significantly with normal activities and severely limit participation in sports. Metatarsalgia is foot pain involving the metatarsal bones in the forefoot – the complaint of pain on the bottom of the ball of the foot.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
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.
MPA Media Wins 7 Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Dynamic Chiropractic and DC Practice Insights, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecedented seven publishing awards by the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
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 Vibrating Capsule for Constipation? Relevance to Your Chiropractic Practice
The relationship between gastrointestinal (GI) complaints and back pain is not typically written about or discussed.
Waking Up the Gluteus Maximus
In previous articles in this series, we expounded on the importance of the gluteus maximus (GM) in athletic performance and protecting the knee from injury. We also know there is a link between iliotibial band syndrome and GM weakness.
CCE Finally Takes a "Baby Step" Toward Reform
During a 16-month period from October 2010 to February 2012, I devoted four separate columns to the heavy-handed attempt by the Council on Chiropractic Education to radically change the chiropractic profession through the accreditation process.
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.
9 Common Causes of Thyroid Imbalance and How You Can Help
How you sleep, how easily you wake up, and how much energy and stamina you have during the day are directly related to levels of the thyroid hormones.
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.
News in Brief
National Chiropractic Health Month: Be Proactive; Collegiate Roundup: Academic Appointments at Parker, Logan.
Chiropractic Research in Review
Chiropractic Treatment of Lateral Epicondylitis; Cost / Benefit Analysis: Different Doses of SMT for Low Back Pain; Imaging for Occult Rib and Costal Cartilage Fractures; Treating Neck Pain: Thoracic Thrust Manipulation vs. Non-Thrust Mobilization.
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.
Why Young People Need Chiropractic Now More Than Ever
According to a recent study published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, "It is now widely acknowledged that neck pain (NP), mid back pain (MBP), and low back pain (LBP) (spinal pain) start early in life and that the lifetime prevalence increases rapidly during adolescence to reach adult levels at the age of 18."
Don't Turn a 2 Into a 10
The Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale1 is so useful because it can be used by almost anyone. Patients can use the numbers associated with the faces depicted on the scale or select the face that demonstrates their current level of pain from 0-10.
November, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 11
Body Mechanics: Back to Basics
By Teresa M. Matthews, LMT, CPT
Have you ever played softball or baseball? Have you ever heard a coach tell a young player the proper way to field a ground ball? If the young player does not continue with the fundamentals of fielding a ground ball properly, they might not make it in years to come as a ball player.At first, it might not be easy to get into the right body position, but the player needs to repeat the body mechanics to perform well. We are not much different from that ball player.
Many authors have written massage texts and other books about proper body mechanics for massage therapists. They are our coaches! Getting the basic fundamentals of a proper stance and application of the stroke will allow massage professionals to work smarter, not harder, while avoiding occupational injury, stress and burnout. The term body mechanics is used to describe the optimal alignment of our body for free-flowing movement. Ease and efficiency of movement will protect us from unnecessary stress and pain. Work-related injury is a major reason why bodyworkers drop out of the massage industry. I have seen bodywork professionals develop bad habits in their treatment room over years of practice and find themselves injured or even retiring.
As a general rule, your fingertips or first knuckle should reach the top of the table when your arms are hanging at your sides. If your table is a little short, you want to widen your stance. A bad choice is to bend at the waist and develop low back fatigue. A table that is too tall will cause you to use upper muscle strength. We do not want to muscle our strokes.
When clients ask for more pressure, it is more about the application of the force and using the least amount of physical effort, without poking and jabbing. The joints need to be stacked and stable. Instead of leaning at the waist and reaching forward, let your hips bring your hands through the stroke. I find that being low in your stance allows the stroke to be at the proper angle and the depth applied without muscling it.
What You Can Do
Using your body in the most efficient way might mean that we have to strengthen our legs and core. Having a solid base, our body mechanics will take the stress off our back and arms. Two of the most common stances are the horse stance and the lunge position. Using these stances, the power and balance comes from the legs and core. The horse stance can be strengthened by performing a wall squat. The lunge position can be strengthened by doing, that's right, a lunge. For core strength, I suggest a plank. This is an isometric exercise holding a push up position.
The Position of Your Feet and Head Does Matter
Your feet should face the same direction of force being applied to the body. Low back pain will result if your foot is externally or internally rotated, such that your pelvis rotates. Your head should not drop to look down at your work, as you will experience neck, shoulder and low back tension. If your torso is twisted, you could feel muscle ache, fatigue, shoulder or low back pain. You will also want to keep your shoulders square in your stance to avoid twisting your back.
Keeping a straight back and neutral neck helps you avoid injury. Many therapists bend over a lot during their massages and use their strength to apply pressure to their clients. If you're using good body mechanics, your pressure doesn't come from your strength, it should come from your body weight. If you're bending at the elbows, your strength is coming from the wrong place. Changing old habits can be difficult, but as you improve your body mechanics, you'll notice that you'll feel less fatigue while you work. Using good posture will help you have a long massage career ahead of you.
Appropriate body mechanics must be maintained to provide adequate pressure throughout the massage. A massage professional using proper body mechanics should be able to effectively provide 15-30 massage sessions a week without excessive fatigue or pain. Take appropriate action now so you can have the long career you desire.
Teresa M. Matthews, fitness expert and world champion athlete, has 30 years experience in the fitness industry. She is the president and founder of Health, Wellness & Fitness Professionals, Inc. and is the owner of Arlington School of Massage and Personal Training in Jacksonville, Fla. She is a sports massage instructor for the Florida State Massage Therapy Association and was awarded the FSMTA 2009 Sports Massage Therapist of the Year award. Teresa travels the country teaching self care and wellness classes. Contact her by e-mail at
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