To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Ground Your Perception: Pour, Don’t Push,” by David M. Lobenstine, L.M.T., in the March 2013 issue. Article summary: As massage therapists, we work hard to try to perceive what our clients need. Our work requires us to see without seeing inside the body of another human being. We call this skill by different names. For some of us, it is common sense; others call it intuition. For others, this skill involves an alternate realm—seeing auras, or calling upon a spirit world—abilities I am alternately dubious of and moved by. For a growing number of us—in our wish to sound strictly scientific—we don’t call this skill anything at all.
Here are a few more ways to help your body pour rather than push:
1. Work lower.
Dropping your table by a notch or two gives you more leverage, making it easier to pour rather than push.
2. Use less.
With a smaller amount of lubricant you won’t add unnecessary tension trying not to slip across the tissue, and instead will sink into the tissue.
3. Slow down.
The easiest way to glean more information from the client is simply to linger.
4. Contract less.
Engage only the muscles you need at that moment. When using your thumbs, remind your fingers to remain floppy. When using forearms, envision your wrist and hand draped across the client.
5. Bend more.
It is easy to forget our lower body while we work. If you keep your knees slightly bent, you are more able to move from your center, and more able to pour your weight.
David M. Lobenstine, L.M.T., is a massage therapist, continuing education teacher and owner of Full Breath Massage (www.fullbreathmassage.com) in New York, New York.