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Posted by Anna Anderson LCHE, Feb 5 2011 3:41PM

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Protecting therapists joints

Hi does anyone else experience elbow aching after giving massage? Think originally I was not taught great techniques to prevent this. Sincethen have learnt to use elbows and forearms mostly but still feel some strain.
Love giving massage but want to protect myself, any hints and tips?
Many thanks
Roushan Martens
Feb 5 2011 3:57PM
I had an elbow problem last year, and getting really good massage for myself helped - you do this, right? ;) If you look in the Trigger Point Therapy workbook by Clair Davies, there are various muscles which may be tight around your scapula from doing your work, and lead to pain in the elbow - supraspinatus, subscapularis, serratus posterior superior mainly, I think. You'll need a massage or a thera-cane (big crook-shaped self-massage thing) to get at them, mostly! Hope that helps.
Mike Colquhoun
Feb 7 2011 10:37AM
Hi Anna
Up to 80% of Massage Therapists suffer from this which is a terrible indictment of our industry.
I’m sorry to say it is basically bad practice and ignorance that are the causes. To avoid this problem there are two important steps.
First proper stance, all movement must come from the floor so adopt the classic fencer pose with one foot forward and the front knee bent, back knee straight along with the pelvis and back, then move from the ankles allowing the hands and forearms to be soft enough to mould to the shape beneath them but all the strength and weight is from the floor and is really just your body weight, always move your feet rather than over-stretch. This is your ‘dance’ and done well will prevent most problems from arising.
Second you have to know how to release the tissues that have got caught preferably as soon as you become aware that you have a problem. The cause normally is that a small section of the joint capsule round the elbow has become caught into one of the three joints at the elbow. The humerus/radius, a ball and socket joint; the humerus/ulna joint, a hinge joint or the radius/ulna joint, a sliding joint. The best way of releasing this is to use the lost art of mobilisation, a true advanced massage technique that is safe and gentle, combined with muscle contraction.
There is an explanation of how this works on my website, try the patient’s page and click on ‘2’ also go to the Sports Injuries page & the Sports Injury Treatment page explains how to treat it after you have released the problem. For how to release it I need more space than here so if you email me or ring I’ll gladly explain.
There is also Gerry Pyves ‘No Hands Massage’ a system of massaging that ‘does what it says on the tin’ This he developed precisely to overcome this problem which is fine if you want to massage by not using the best piece of equipment ever developed for doing the job.
Hope this helps
Yours aye Mike
Angela Rawlins
Feb 7 2011 5:22PM
Perhaps there should be classes specifically training people how to actually look after them selves first!
Stephen Campbell
Feb 8 2011 5:07PM
The are excellent training courses to help therapists look after themselve's.
I highly recommend the - "Limbatics Forearm Technique".
Angela Rawlins
Feb 8 2011 8:01PM
There is also No Hands Massage, but I think the trainers should teach you when you're learning massage! I don't do massage by the way. I' a reflexologist, just as important to look after your hands, which they didn't teach either when I was a student.
Urvashi Patel
Apr 28 2011 2:35PM
I do Reflexology and have found my thumb and hand joints are sometimes painful. It would be great if someone could advise if I'm doing something wrong.

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