Many new classes are starting this fall at ITM and with the influx of students coming to the school, starting a career where they will be helping others, we thought to write a blog about how students can help themselves-self care 101 for the new massage therapist. The reason most massages therapists “burn out” is injury and fatigue.
Meditation is one of the oldest types of complementary therapies. We all know what meditation is (think: man with a beard sitting on a mountain top), but are you aware of all the benefits of meditation? www.mayoclinic.com/health/meditation/HQ01070 lists many conditions that meditation can benefit; including allergies, cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure. Getting started is easy: sit comfortably on the floor or a mat, close your eyes and then open them part way looking up towards your eye lids. Breathe. Count from one to ten and then start again. 1-10. If you feel yourself counting to 20 simply start at the beginning again. If you find yourself thinking of the worries or your day, start counting again. Sit in meditation for 10-20 minutes if possible. For more information, including guided meditations visit the website www.freemeditations.com
Yoga goes hand in hand with meditation. Yoga is a moving meditation, exercise combined with breath work (pranayama). Studies have shown that yoga helps alleviate stress, wrist and back pain, insomnia and much more. Don’t be intimidated by pictures of yogis holding what seem to be impossible asana (poses) for in definite periods of time; Yoga can be as simple as sitting and breathing. www.yogajournal.com is a good online resource for yoga education.
Regularly receiving massage and giving self massage is vital to maintaining a massage career. Over use of the muscles of the forearm and wrist lead to repetitive motion injuries, chronic inflammation and pain. Regular massage keeps the muscles that are most often strained in massage soft and stretched; leading to a decreased incidence of injury. Here are some tips for performing self massage to the hands from WebMD (from the website www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/features/massage-therapy-stress-relief-much-more).
Stretch your hands and fingers out. Rub each finger from the base to the tip, gently pulling and twisting each finger as you go.
Next, rest your left hand, palm upward, on your lap. Squeeze the fleshy part of your palm between your right thumb and index finger, moving from your wrist to the base of your thumb.
Now squeeze that web between your left index finger and thumb several times, looking for any tender points.
Then rub the entire palm with your right thumb, applying firm pressure and using gliding strokes from the wrist to the base of each finger.
Repeat this process on your right hand.
The article goes on to talk about care for several different areas of the body, and the internet is loaded with different techniques that are just a quick Google search away. Be well.