Which body part do you favour when you are treating?
Do you use your elbows? Your thumbs? Your knuckles? Or something else! Any hands on therapist will be hugely aware they need to look after their own body, otherwise they will have a very limited shelf life in this profession. But how can we stop ourselves getting pain when we treat?
Do you use your hands for all your treatments? Because this is the first thing to think about. I remember my first year treating clients. My hands hurt all the time and I thought, crikey I won't be doing this job for long if this continues! But of course my hands strengthened up, and I learn't how to be clever. Now if you are only treating a few people a week, your hands will probably cope with the workload, but between us we probably see 40 odd clients a week in our clinic, that is a lot for your hands to cope with. To make a viable business that can truly support you, you need to be seeing a good quantity of clients, so how do we protect our hands?
Firstly, experiment with other body parts, in all honesty I rarely use my thumbs any more, I tend to use my forearm and elbows. I now have the same ability to feel with my elbows, that I have in my thumbs, so if you give it time the sensitivity will grow. When loosening legs, backs, forearms etc I always use my forearm to treat. I save my thumbs for those areas that elbows won't fit, or it isn't practical to use. Wouldn't put my elbow into someones scalenes for example!!
For me personally, I am not a fan of using tools for trigger pointing, you can't feel with a tool and you can unintentionally go too deep without noticing. I know this works for some, but for me, part of massage is the sensation of touch for both the therapist and the client. Without feeling, how do we know how the muscle is reacting?
Secondly, I have found, that over time I have learn't that I don't need to use as much pressure. Due to greater sensitivity I can now pinpoint the troubled areas much better, so can use less pressure, better for my client and for me! To build sensitivity, place a needle under some sheets of paper and see how many pieces of paper you can add before you can't feel it any more. My husband and I had a little competition doing this... I'm pleased to say I won!! 😀
Thirdly, treat yourself! Either buddy up with another therapist or pay for a monthly treatment session focussing on your hands, forearms and shoulders. After all what would you advise to your clients who do physical jobs?
Want to use this for CPD?
Take a look at your own practices, do you stoop when treating your clients? Do you have any sort of self treatment, or can you think of any you can implement? How can you change your practices to give you a longer shelf life?
Write it all up in your CPD log. For your Free Reinge Education CPD logbook, click here and sign up for our newsletter.