Injury is perhaps one of the largest threats to a massage therapist’s career. In a career that demands a great deal from its professionals both physically and mentally, keeping yourself healthy should be at the top of your priority list.
Maintaining good physical condition is a big part of being a massage therapist, and should be an integral part of your personal injury prevention strategy. As the hands and arms are overtaxed by the work you do as a massage therapist, the hands are a great area in which to start your conditioning. As in athletics, a massage practitioner must first achieve the appropriate level of fitness, then exercise adequately to stay in shape for doing massage. One cannot expect just doing massage will be enough stay fit or to prevent injury.
Self-care is important to massage therapists—critical to career longevity in a physically demanding profession like massage therapy. Despite the importance of self-care to the massage profession, confusion about terms and concepts surrounding self-care practices still abound.
Exercising with massage in mind is not just about massaging the fingers and hands, but also about consciously avoiding activities that may be damaging or painful.
You may have learned the importance of strengthening the muscles you use for massage work, such as doing grip exercises to strengthen the flexor muscles in your forearm. You might also have learned that stretching these and other muscles is important for maintaining flexibility and preventing injury.
It’s important when conditioning your body to look for exercises that suit your needs as a massage therapist. There are tons of core strengthening exercises out there that don’t strain the hands or wrists, including knee folds, forearm planks and oblique reaches.
To be effective, a good self-care program should be comprehensive, not just including bits of each of concepts, but integrating them into a unified whole.
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