Massage therapists are naturally nurturing, intuitive individuals. They dedicate their careers to helping others release pain and get their bodies back into balance. However, if a massage therapist doesn’t take great care to avoid it, they may be on a path toward the opposite effect on their own health.
Remember, you best serve your clients by putting yourself first. It’s hard to give a great treatment if you feel run down or have aches of your own. Hours of performing massage therapy can take a toll on the body. Prevent injury or weariness by following these simple steps:
(It’s a great idea to practice these tips with a fellow practitioner before using with patients.)
- It’s common to work with a client lying prone (lying face down) or supine (lying face up) on the table. However, these positions mean that the therapist must bend over the client (the angle can vary further depending on the height of the table). If sustained for long periods of time, this bent position can lead to back problems. Don’t be afraid to switch it up. Change your patient’s position so you’re not in one position for the duration of each massage. For example, you can try positioning the patient in the side-line position, which will allow you to remain upright. Depending on what technique you use, you can also have the client sit in a chair in front of you for a Tui Na Asian bodywork treatment.
- Also, feel free to alter your position in relation to your client’s (even if their position remains the same). It’s common to place yourself at the client’s head so that you’re able to provide long strokes down the back. However, the longer your reach the more you are bending at a ninety degree angle. Try a variation on your own position so that sometimes you are at the patient’s side.
- An electric massage table can work wonders. It will allow you to easily adjust table height per client (and prevent you from bending over lower than necessary).
- Remember to keep your wrists straight as you massage. This will prevent carpal tunnel and loss of sensation in the hands as you apply pressure (which can lead to nerve damage).
See how acupuncture, massage therapy, and Oriental medicine can benefit you! Pacific College of Oriental Medicine’s fully integrative clinics in San Diego, Chicago, and NYC offer affordable, holistic treatment plans personally tailored to fit your needs. Check out our video!
Are you a little “wound up” with comp exams? Treat yourself to an unwinding massage this week. You deserve it!
OM in the news this week. Check it out!
A recent fad has been sweeping the country: ionic foot detoxes. You may not recognize the name, but you probably have seen the infomercials about foot patches or foot baths that pull all the toxins out of your body through your feet, leaving you with a patch or bath full of brown liquid (aka the toxins). But is it all just a scam? Or is there actual scientific proof to support these claims?
I decided to try it out for myself with Pacific College Alumna and Oncology Specialist Christine Adamo, LAc, and see for myself what the scoop is all about. Christine is a supporter of “true” ionic detoxes and uses them in her practice, particularly with her cancer patients to help with the side effects of chemotherapy.
First off, I say “true” because Christine warned me upfront about the many false companies out there who claim that the brown water produced in their bath or patch is the result of toxins coming out of the body. “This is NOT true,” Christine said. The water changes color naturally because of the chemical reaction between the electricity and the salt water, not because of toxins. So, don’t be fooled by the infomercials. It’s actually, the debris that begin to form in the water that are the toxins.
Don’t just take Christine’s word for it; the scientific evidence speaks for itself. “We can do a test and you can see for yourself if you’d like?” asked Christine, before we began the detox.
“Why not!” I said. Afterall, what better way to determine a treatment’s efficacy than with a scientific experiment?
We decided to do a urine pH test before the detox and then another pH test after the detox to compare the results. My first pH test showed to be more on the acidic side of normal. I was ready to see if this detox would really change my pH level in just 30 minutes.
The main point of these detoxes is to make the body’s pH more “alkaline,” but what exactly is the importance of being alkaline?
An alkaline body is crucial to a person’s health. Diseases thrive in an acidic environment. So basically, the less acidic your body is and the more alkaline, the less prone you are to contracting a disease, such as osteoporosis or cancer, according to Christine.
The Center for Disease Control reports that up to 85% of all illness are caused by toxins and pollutants in our bodies. The human body functions best when the ions are balanced at 80% negative and 20% positive. So how do we achieve this?
What we put into our body, such as the foods we consume, have either acidic or alkalizing properties. Check out the food charts for yourself here. The more of the higher alkaline foods you can incorporate into your diet the better. An ionic detox, helps to facilitate the alkalization process through the process of ionization, which removes “free radicals” from the body.
How do ionic detoxes fit into Chinese medicine?
Traditionally, we think of acupuncture and herbal medicine as being the main components of Chinese medicine. The ionic foot detoxes we see today are a more modern invention, but magnetism itself, has been used to accompany traditional Chinese methods medicinally in China for over 2,000 years.
Acupuncturists use a variety of modern tools now adays, that weren’t invented yet back in ancient Chinese times. Tools besides the ionic detox machine, such as the electrical stimulation machine work to accompany acupuncture. Both of these tools work with acupuncture to clear heat in the body.
“Every physician has a set of tools in his/her tool bag; sometimes you have to branch out to find more tools,” Christine said.
So, the crucial question: Did it work?
OM in the news this week. Check it out!
Pacific College Academic Dean Bob Damone shares his experience with us from the desert this past weekend, where he studied nature’s herbal medicines with fellow colleagues and PCOM students!
In the early 1980’s, a few years before it ever occurred to me to pursue a career in Chinese herbal medicine, I became interested in “Western” herbal medicine. I read everything I could get my hands on, including “The Way of Herbs” by Michael Tierra. I immediately devoured it, and immersed myself in its fascinating descriptions of plant-based medicines. My kitchen cupboards quickly began to overflow with tinctures, powders, and poultices of various herbs. The rich earthy fragrances, tastes, and colors of various flowers, barks, leaves, and seeds became a part of my daily life. Valerian, White Willow Bark, Chamomile, Saw Palmetto, etc., became allies in my search for health and wellness. I was hooked.
This past weekend, I had the excellent fortune of sharing with several Pacific College students a medicinal plant study excursion to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park led by Sylvan Botanical Institute. Sylvan—a company co-founded by PCOM alum, accomplished herbalist, and author Thomas Garran—is devoted to teaching knowledge of herbal medicine in part by empowering practitioners to locate, identify, and harvest local medicinal plants. Among the several knowledgeable and approachable herb teachers on the trip, were Christopher Hobbs and Michael Tierra. I had not met Christopher before, but found him to be a veritable walking encyclopedia of ethnobotany, pharmacognosy, and botanical identification. As I mentioned above, Michael Tierra—whose book I had cut my teeth on in my herbal infancy—was also in attendance. If I have any heroes, he is certainly among them. What a thrill to meet and hang out with the man who had initially inspired my interest in herbal medicine!
My interest in Western herbal medicine eventually expanded to Chinese herbal medicine. Yet, I never lost my fascination with Western herbs. A number of Western herbalists in fact have followed a similar path. Many regard the solid empirical and theoretical foundation of Chinese herbal medicine, with its unbroken historical and textual record, as the most viable model for an integrative and globalized modern form of herbal medicine. This has sparked a very interesting dialogue, which was palpable during the duration of this desert trip: How can the theoretical foundation of Chinese medicine be applied to the study of Western herbs? Is there a benefit to using Western herbs according to the principles of Chinese medicine?
The resounding response to the latter question from the Western herbalists present in the desert this weekend was undoubtedly yes. And I tend to agree. I had the clear sense this past weekend that the zeitgeist now indicates a heightened readiness to engage in this important and necessary dialogue. I look forward to more trips with Sylvan and I hope to inspire the Pacific College community to engage in communion with the beautiful and rich natural world around us, which teems with medicinal plants.
Check out the video slideshow here!