Holistic Massage Therapy

ashu

Jedi Master
Hello

I have just recently embarked on a holistic/swedish massage therapy course here in the UK as it is my way of getting out of the toxic cooperate environment. I dunno, I thought I was immune to this environment, but over the years I have just felt the stress pile up and up. Not to mention the radiation from wireless technology is my kryptonite...I feel super drained and exhausted and so I have to shoot out of the office just to get some air.

I was wondering if any massage therapists have any tips they are able to share?

Much appreciated.
 

Jenn

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
First of all congratulations! It's certainly an interesting subject to study and opens up lots of different possibilities for future employment.
How far into the course are you? As was mentioned to me when I began my studies, it's really really important to get a good grasp of the anatomy and physiology, maybe more so the anatomy initially- muscles and bones. I have found this invaluable when trying to understand a client's current symptoms, for example, what muscles might be tighter because of occupation/ activities and what impact this has on surrounding muscles, joints and their emotional health too.

So I'd say:
1. Get the muscles down! Find out what kind of learner you are eg. visual/ kinesthetic etc. find a study technique that works for you. I made flashcards, practiced locating them on a skeleton, practiced locating them on a real person and spoke out loud. Little and often works for me (and I am still having to go over them now!) Trail Guide to the Body by Biel is great and is even used on my Osteopathy degree. Netter's Colouring Book is good if you are a visual learner.

2. Practice as much as you can. I do massage swaps with a local massage student as he wanted to get some experience, and he informed me that he was waiting until he was better at doing massage before practicing on any of his friends.... bad move IMO. It is definitely a skill that has to be developed, even after three years I am still finding my feet (hands):lol: and it was only practicing, practicing and more practicing and receiving constructive criticism that helped me improve. If you are short of willing guinea pigs, I put a post up on my facebook asking for volunteers for free massages (obviously exercise this with caution- at the time I just had friends of friends on facebook- don't go to random people's houses etc), but it's a good way to get your practice in.

3. Stick with it when times get tough (which they may do). I got a bit hung up and felt pretty rubbish about not being able to do it perfectly straight away... If I could go back and give myself some advice it would be: it is a constantly evolving process, feedback may hurt self-esteem initially, but is a JEWEL, if you reflect on your practice, are truly open to feedback and willing to grow- you will improve.

4. Look into fascia when you have gotten over the hurdle of muscles ;-) it's super interesting and one BIG piece of the puzzle for alot of people, in my experience anyway.

Anyway, those are just my thoughts for now, were there any specific questions you had?

Added: what also helped me was receiving massages from a variety of local practitioners to find out what I liked, didn't like etc. Such as rolfing, holistic massage, hot stone, sports massage. Everyone works differently and it can also give you ideas for further training you might like to undertake.
 
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ashu

Jedi Master
Thank you Jenn, much appreciate your feedback.

I started my first practical last Saturday and I have 5 more full intensive days to go that are spread out until April. It was fun and tricky at the same time as it was all new for me (a change from sitting all day getting my head fried at a computer).

Yes I have also been reading the A&P material which was given months in advance - 13 modules covering the different systems. I am also familiarising myself with the muscles and bones. And thank you for the heads up on learning those muscles - I find as we started the practical last week, it was easy to learn this way rather than look at a sheet of paper.

Homework is to practice on 5 people and then write these up. I have noticed a lot of people have gladly come forward as guinea pigs - which is good. As a woman, I will only massage on women. Men is a no go as I have heard some horror stories. Although I will use men (family/friends) as guinea pigs - any strangers, no way Jose!

I have recently massage 2 friends and noticed my lower back hurting a bit - is there a specific height you have the couch at?
 

Jenn

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
Thank you Jenn, much appreciate your feedback.
Homework is to practice on 5 people and then write these up. I have noticed a lot of people have gladly come forward as guinea pigs - which is good. As a woman, I will only massage on women. Men is a no go as I have heard some horror stories. Although I will use men (family/friends) as guinea pigs - any strangers, no way Jose!

I have recently massage 2 friends and noticed my lower back hurting a bit - is there a specific height you have the couch at?
While this is a personal choice and I can understand the reasons for this, don't forget that men can benefit from massage too! I personally have not had any issues YET in the two years of practicing, I have had dodgy phone calls and texts but just reply courteously and leave it at that.
However, it's interesting that you bring this up as my parents recently discussed this with me because I do mobile massages. I admit I have become a bit complacent and safety is not always at the forefront of my mind, as all the men I have worked with so far have been fine.

A few things that we discussed and I'm currently looking into:
  1. Having a WhatsApp group with your family/friends where you post the address of where you are going, the timespan of the massage, so someone always knows where you are, you then "check-out" when you are finished. If for whatever reason you don't check out, someone always has your last location and can contact the police.
  2. SOS apps where you tap certain buttons and it sends a message to police/ trusted contacts.
  3. What can be legally carried as a defense eg. pepper spray, loud alarms
  4. Self-defense class
Working in a clinic with other practitioners is a safer option (but I do both as it brings in extra income). Ultimately this is not something you have to worry about now, just something to think about for the future, if you were to decide to work with males.

Yes table height is very important, I was generally taught to have it so that when you are standing up with your arms by your side, they can graze the table if that makes sense? Here's a video demonstrating what I mean:
Movement helps, my tutor always used to compare it to tai chi, to keep moving, to make sure your body is in line with the direction of your strokes and the power is coming through your body rather than your arms.
-
 

ashu

Jedi Master
Thank you Jenn.

Yes those are good points when working mobile. Ah and interesting video - she says knuckle height, I will adjust it for this. As my tutor said if you stand up straight with palm facing down? I'm sure I'll figure it out.

Yes my tutor likened it to tai-chi too. I just massaged my mum and noticed that I was using my arms more than my body - so its something that I need to keep reminding myself to do - use the body. There is a lot to think about - learning is fun!
 
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