Injury Prevention Tips For Massage Therapists
Massage therapy can be dangerous to therapists if they do not take the necessary precautions when performing their craft. Carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, tendonitis and pain experienced from overuse of muscles are only some of the conditions massage therapists are subjected to if they do not take proper precautions. There is a great demand on the professional therapist to perform and produce at the highest level possible to stay at the top causing more and more massage therapists to experience acute injuries and general burnout.
Bearing this point in mind, large corporations, medical spas and even massage schools are installing ergonomic work stations to enable the students and the workforce to work comfortably. Such organizations have realized the importance of this to prevent absences and compensations claims by their workforce.
Here are some tips for massage practitioners to prevent work place injuries:
- Let yourself rest: Take ample breaks between massages. During those breaks, incorporate breathing and relaxation techniques to center yourself physically and mentally for your next massage. You may not perform as many massages in one day by taking long breaks, but in the long run you will be a better, more relaxed therapist with a longer career ahead of her.
- Keep physically active: A massage therapist should be physically fit. An exercise regime can help strengthen the muscles used during massage therapy as well as increase blood circulation throughout the body. Therapists should engage in aerobics, weight training, and stretching at least three times a week. These types of exercise can help in development of good body mechanics as well. Bodywork professionals also need to stand upright as much as possible during sessions, use their larger back-shoulder muscles and the body weight to create pressure, all the while keeping the joints in their hands and arms aligned. This strenuous protocol can be made easier with proper physical training.
- Use good massage tools: There are several massage tools that promise less strain on the hands and body of the massage therapist. Experiment with a variety of those and see which ones work best for you. These tools may not only preserve your hands but also allow you to perform a deeper, more effective massage.
- Stop the massage whenever you feel pain: Any technique that causes discomfort or pain should be stopped immediately by the therapist. It is also a good idea to vary massage techniques to avoid repetitive motion to one part of the hands and arms.
- Do not ignore pain or discomfort: A common mistake made by a massage therapy professional is to “work through the pain” when they experience discomfort during massage. Pain will not go away if you simply ignore it. In fact, it will get worse. Get treatment and rest whenever you experience pain. If you do not, you risk larger and potentially permanent injuries resulting in an end to your career.
Injuries incurred by a therapist during massage are a complex issue; several factors may be responsible for pain and bodily damage. There are several continuing education courses currently available that teach specific injury prevention techniques that you should use. It is up to you to keep yourself healthy with ample breaks, physical exercise, and use of proper massage tools. Always remember to stop when you feel pain and get your injuries checked out immediately by a professional. Keeping yourself healthy and free from pain will prolong your career as a massage therapist.
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