resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
An MD Who Understands the Opioid Epidemic
Doctors of chiropractic have an important role to play in ending the opioid epidemic and dealing with chronic pain by conservative means (see our top story in this issue) – but who's to blame for opioid dependence and abuse in the first place?
What You Say Isn't Always What Patients Hear
A few years ago, my aunt Edna (name changed for the purpose of this story) suffered a stroke. After a short hospital stay, she was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. When she arrived at the nursing home, Edna requested a private room.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
Acupuncture Muscle Trigger Point and Oriental Medicine Sports Therapy
It is difficult to ascertain the internal condition of professional basketball player Lebron James during game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in which he developed debilitating muscle cramps that led to his premature removal from the game.
Kansas Achieves Licensing Law
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed House Bill 2615 into law on Friday, May 13, 2016. HB2615 includes provisions for the licensure of acupuncturists in the state of Kansas.
The Pertinent Negative
We all have to perform evaluations on patients. Most of us don't like doing it – exams take time, and worse it takes even more time after the evaluation to put together a narrative summary of the findings. Sometimes, this process becomes downright tedious.
Treating Hip & Groin Pain With Abdominal Release of Upper Lumbar Nerve Impingements
Have you encountered patients with groin and hip pain you can't seem to solve? You know it's not a worn-out hip; you suspect the pain is somehow connected to the spine. But somehow, you just can't help them break through.
Increasing the Value of Spine Care: CMS Approves New Low Back Pain Registry
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the Spine IQ Low Back Pain Registry as a qualified clinical data registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016.
A Long-Overdue Win for Oregon Medicaid Patients - and the Implications for Other States
Beginning July 1, 2016, Oregon Medicaid patients with spinal pain (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic) who are determined to be low risk based on a biopsychosocial assessment tool (STarT Back – Keele University) can receive four chiropractic visits per episode.
Beating the Odds: Interview With Para-Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta
Since October 2015, the FICS Foundation, the charitable organization affiliated with the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS), has been supporting disabled athletes internationally.
Sit or Stand? Analyzing a Mixed Message
I'm more than a bit confused. At my age, that seems to be a rather common occurrence. However, today more than ever, I'm getting a mixed message.
Insuring Quality Control in Herb Importation: An Interview with Wilson Lau
Wilson Lau is the vice president of Nuherbs, a Chinese herb importation company based in San Leandro, California. Before joining Nuherbs, he trained as a lawyer specializing in FDA law.
How to Stay Sane During the Elections: Understanding Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine philosophy, everything consists of Yin and Yang. The law of polar opposites – one cannot exist without its opposite.
Tai Chi Documentary Premier
First Run Features recently announced the world theatrical premiere of Barry Strugatz's documentary The Professor: Tai Chi's Journey West, which premiered last month at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.
Acupuncture's Impact on the World
For several years, I have been hearing about the town of Rothenburg, Germany. It seemed just a dot on a map until I arrived. It is the home of the TCM Kongress which began in 1968. It has been held annually for 47 years and it has only missed one year.
AOM Hospital-Based Practice: A Future Reality?
The natural evolution of health care on the planet is integrative health. We may have some challenges ahead, but based on my research, all indicators are pointing in a positive direction. There seems to be an evolving consciousness among our patient population that is "getting it."
An Emerging Partnership Model
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has educated integrative health and wellness practitioners for the last 40 years, originally as an acupuncture clinic and school. The institution's transformative, relationship-centered programs integrate traditional wisdom with contemporary science
Chronic Pain: Become Part of the Solution
I have lectured to more than 7,000 chiropractic physicians over the past five years regarding the chronic pain and opioid epidemic in this country.
Three Tips to Help You Analyze the Acupuncture Case Studies of the NCCAOM Exam
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Case study:
After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third
session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse
during cold weather.
Believe it or not, an estimated one-third of your patients have eaten some form of fast food within 24 hours of their appointment with you.
Adventures with the San Jiao
Those of us who have been in practice for several decades relish the way meridians and points reveal new diagnostic clues and new insights. I love to encourage my students to see this as an adventure that goes way beyond the textbooks.
What's New in Phytonutrition: Mangifera Indica, "The King of Fruits"
One hundred percent pure Indian green mango fruit (mangifera indica), harvested at a special degree of ripeness for efficacy and taste, can now be concentrated as a phytonutrient nutraceutical powder.
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
with questions or comments.
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.