Beware of Repetitive Strain Injuries, MASSAGE MagazineYou may think an injury couldn’t possibly happen to you. That’s what I thought, too. I kept my body healthy and strong. I iced my arms when I performed more than three hours of massage a day. I did yoga every morning, consumed nutritious foods and received eight hours of sleep every night. What went wrong? I had a predisposing factor I was not aware of in my spine, and I was performing unnatural and repetitive motions with my feet and ankles.

A repetitive strain injury happens from repetition and overuse of a certain body part and is cumulative. The most important factor in preventing this type of an injury from becoming chronic is to notice the first warning signs, get treatment and rest the area. Warning signs can be subtle, but if you take notice and get treatment, you can prevent further damage.

Massage therapists think of themselves as caregivers and do not focus on the physical strain their body goes through while they perform their work. Self-care is done on one’s “free-time” when it should be considered something that must be done to prepare and heal the body from physical activity. Injuries do happen. Realize how physical your job is and have body maintenance steps in place before an injury occurs. If an injury happens, take the time to heal completely, so you can enjoy this career for many years to come.

Warning signs for a repetitive strain injury include:

• Stiffness

• Weakness

• Fatigue

• Difficulty using body part

• Waking up with pain

• Tingling, numbness and burning

• Recurring pain

• Lack of endurance

• Feeling of heaviness in body part

Karina Braun, MASSAGE MagazineKarina Braun wrote the innovative book, Creating Peace with Your Hands, which includes insightful strategies for self-care and injury prevention. For more information, visit