Massage therapy is a demanding job. It’s physical. And you need to be in your best physical state in order to ensure your clients are getting the best possible service.
But looking after yourself whilst improving your strength and wellbeing isn’t as easy as it sounds. Lucky for you, we’ve got some tips and tricks to ensure your hand, neck and shoulder strength are top notch.
When you’re a massage therapist, your hands are your livelihood, so if they’re injured or struggling, you won’t be able to do your job properly, if at all. Importantly, it’s not uncommon for massage therapists to suffer from injuries, especially in your hands, wrists and arms. This is simply because of the nature of the job and the physical strain your hands take.
According to a recent survey, the areas where massage therapists felt the most amount of pain after giving a massage were in the wrist and thumbs. While this is often caused by improper technique, it can also just be your hands tiring from the amount of pressure you’re putting them under. That’s why it’s so important to ensure your hands are as strong as possible.
As the saying goes, the best cure is prevention, and there are plenty of things you can do to ensure you don’t end up with injured hands.
By incorporating some simple exercises into your daily routine, you can strengthen your hands and arms to ensure you don’t fall victim to injuries.
How massage therapists should care for their neck and shoulders
Any good massage therapist will tell you that most of their strength comes from their legs and core. However, as a massage therapist, you’ll still be using your neck and shoulders during every single appointment.
Given massage therapists spend so much time on their feet, it’s easy to slip into bad posture which can result in discomfort and indeed, injury.
There are, of course, several things you can do to ensure you avoid any injury to your neck or shoulders.
Throughout the day, perform chin retraction exercises. Pull your chin directly back towards your spine. Put simply, make a double chin.
After each massage session, stretch your neck to each side of your body, like you’re trying to touch your ear to your shoulder. Then, try to touch your chest with your chin. If necessary, you can use your hands to help pull your head gently. It’s also a good idea to do an alternate neck stretch which basically means pulling your neck forward as if you’re trying to look at your armpits.
A good shoulder roll can also work wonders in between appointments. Standing with your back straight, and your shoulders down, lift your shoulders towards your ears and roll back. Do this 10 times. Then do the same, but roll your shoulders forward.
Remember, ensuring your body is agile and injury-free is important, but don’t take exercise too far. Exercising with your job as a massage therapist in mind if important, but it’s just as vital to avoid exercises that can be damaging or painful. Generally speaking, avoid exercises that put too much pressure on your body, require repetitive movements or put your body into awkward postures.
On top of the exercising and looking after your body, there are things you can do to strengthen your body and hands during the day.
It’s all about working smarter, not harder.
Ready to take the next step in your career as a qualified massage therapist? the Australian Institute of Fitness offers several massage therapy courses to provide our students with a practical and comprehensive education. You can choose to study one of the following massage courses: