To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “The Auth Method of Forearm Massage: Massaging the Hips,” , in the February 2011 issue. Article summary: The Auth Method of Forearm Massage teaches an effortless technique for massaging the hips. Because the hips are some of the largest and strongest muscles in the body, they are no match for the massage therapist’s comparatively smaller and more fragile thumbs, fingers or hands. Big jobs require big tools. The forearms are perfect for working the vast terrain of the hips and the many layers of tension that can develop here. This is probably the most important area to work with the forearms. The tissue is the thickest here, and the bigger the tool, the better.

by Val Guin

Massage therapy is a demanding profession, physically and mentally. Therapists sometimes produce unnecessary tension in themselves when giving a massage.

Forced to get in touch with my physical and body dysfunctions, I instinctively developed Forearm Dance as a tool to cope with my handicap. “Forearm Dance” literally meant dancing out of harm’s way. What I created was a technique that not only prevents excess tension, waste of energy and likelihood of pain and injury, but also single-handedly prolonged my career as a massage practitioner seeing eight to 10 clients a day for 30 years.

The roots of Forearm Dance are twofold: The bodyworker comes up and under tissue, lifting it up, and body stance is key. The forearm movement originates in the foot and moves from foot to pelvis to tool (forearm).

The techniques of Forearm Dance create a lift and separation to the tissue. We address not only the muscles, but also the fascial layers. Instead of coming up, over and then down into the tissue, you can go up and over and sink into the tissue after you have lifted into the edge of the muscle creating separation.

The body stance basics are: modify the bow stance from tai chi into the table lunge. This stance allows you to get close to the table, so you can use the table as extra support or keep your tools closer to your body for greater control and strength.

Many massage modalities use the forearm as a tool. Correct body usage allows you subtle differentiations of depth, speed, rhythm and pressure—so you can be conscious of why you are choosing what level of tissue to work with, such as superficial fascia or trigger points; lifting a muscle or separating a muscle.

For more information, visit www.ValGuin.com.

Val Guin developed Forearm Dance.

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