5 Things Every Massage Therapist Should Do to Prevent RSI
As a Massage Therapist, you are an athlete. Just like an athlete, a Massage Therapist has attained a high level of conditioning and skill. A Massage Therapist does not compete but does push his/her own physical limits and likelihood of injury is high. Keep in mind that how you prepare your body, deliver your techniques, and cool down your body can influence your chance of injury. What you, as a Massage Therapist, do before, during, and after a day of massage can keep you healthy or lead you down a road paved with pain and/ or injury.
- Prior to Performing Massage: Do a 5 minute walk or jog and then perform joint ROM and stretching before you start your day of work.
- During the performance of massage: Pay attention to your body and how you use it while performing each technique.
- After performance of massage: it is important to cool down and stretch each part of your body to reset the muscle length and increase flexibility.
Stretching before activity helps you to avoid injury and stretching afterwards will increase flexibility. Holding a stretching position for 20 seconds is efficient to encourage blood flow and holding a position for 60 seconds encourages the body’s flexibility. When you stretch, hold the position for several seconds, relax, and slowly return to the starting position. Do not force your body into a stretch because forcing yourself into a position can damage and stress the joints and muscles.
It is essential to keep the muscles flexible and free of adhesion. Micro tearing happens while you use your muscles and you must get proper nutrition and adequate sleep to repair. It is also important to relieve inflammation that has occurred during your day of work.
You can Prevent RSI by working out tension and releasing adhesions. RSI is very common in the manual therapy field. It is important to take preventative measures by putting a self care routine in place. Receiving massage and taking time to do self massage can help decrease the risk of RSI.
A repetitive strain injury happens from repetition and overuse of a certain body part and is cumulative. The most important factor in preventing this type of an injury from becoming chronic is to notice the first warning signs, get treatment, and rest the area. Warning signs can be subtle but if you take notice and get treatment, you can prevent further damage.
Massage therapists think of themselves as caregivers and do not focus on the physical strain their body goes through while they perform their work. Self-care is done in one’s “free-time” when it should be considered as something that must be done to prepare and heal the body from physical activity. Injuries do happen. It is important to realize how physical your job is and have body maintenance steps in place before an injury occurs. If an injury does happen, take the time to heal completely so you can enjoy this career for many years to come.
T spheres® aromatherapy massage balls are great for Self-Care:
- Use the rolling technique on the side and back of neck, chest, upper arm, and forearm.
- Utilize the myofascial technique on the forearms
- Apply the direct pressure technique between shoulder blades
5 Ways to Help Prevent RSI:
1. Stretch before work, after work, and in between clients
2. Use your body properly during massage
3. Do Yoga
4. Release muscle adhesion in neck, chest, and forearms
5. Have a self care plan set in place
Across Body Stretch
Gently pull your arm across your chest
as you reach your fingertips to the opposite wall. Hold for 15-30 seconds.
Behind the Back Prayer Pose
Place both of your arms behind your
back with the palms facing each other. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds.
Modify by placing your arms behind the back and wrapping your hands around your elbows.
Bend your elbows in front of your chest with the palms facing each other. Place your right elbow on top of the left and touch the left fingers to the palm to the right hand.
Modify by holding a strap or towel with both hands.
Visit my education site at www.igetintouch.com. Stay Healthy! Karina Braun, LMT, E-RYT