Monday, October 3, 2011

Keep it simple

I presented at the Michigan Association of Chiropractors conference this past weekend. The topics were career longevity, ethics and head and neck pain. Attendance was good- about 30 massage therapists who all work with Chiropractors.  Two past graduates from Health Enrichment Center who have gone on to become Chiropractors were there and took the time to come in and say Hi.  That meant a lot to me.  There were past graduates from HEC in the class as well. That was fun. 

Interesting national trends emerged during discussion in class.  There was confirmation that the $40-50 fee for massage was found to be sustainable both for insurance unit billing or cash for services.  It is necessary to document clearly and concisely in the chiropractic environment  and people are seeking specific outcomes from massage.  

I was very pleased to  have quite a few of the DR.'s stop by and listen to the content and observe the demonstrations. I asked them to comment on what they felt were important skills for a massage therapist to have to work effectively and the ability to communicate was top of the list.  Body mechanics concerns topped the list for issues that would affect career longevity.  This is also an ongoing concern for me that massage therapists are hurting themselves while helping others.  Here are a few simple suggestions to make performing massage easier and safer for the massage therapist:

Raise the massage table.  Just try it OK.  Bring the table height up so you don't bend over.  The beginning point for table height is one half of your body height.  So if you are 5'8" or 68 inches the table should be 32 inches high. If your legs are longer than come up one more notch.

Use your forearm.  This is nothing new. Doing massage with the forearm was presented in the very first edition of my Fundamentals of Therapeutic massage book 15 years ago.  If you don't feel comfortable with forearms than get the most current edition of the Mosby's Fundamentals of Therapeutic massage book and use the DVD that comes with the book to learn how. The DVD will also show you how to work with the client in many different positions that maximize forearm massage application.  Draping techniques are presented for side lying draping.

DO NOT USE YOUR THUMBS - Not only will you hurt your thumbs but your wrist, elbow,shoulder and low back as well.

Where rubber soled shoes and avoid stools or chairs with wheels unless the wheels lock.