Get Your Feet on the Ground and Your Head on Straight, Carole Osborne, MASSAGE Magazine Self-Care TipOnce you relax into upright, grounded and energized body use, you’ll be able to use less effort and be more effective in your massage sessions.

Upright posture, with bipolar extension into the head and down toward the earth, is fundamental. Avoid collapsing your cervical spine by thinking about everything behind your ears moving posteriorly and the back of your neck lengthening. Keep your lower spine aligned by imagining you have a tail tucked gently between your legs.

Pressure and momentum for techniques come from shifting your weight from your lower body into the client’s body. Try planting your feet, with one ahead of the other by a foot length or two. Gather your weight in your rear leg, and then shift it into your working tool, rather than your front leg. Let the direction of your movements originate in and be directed by your lower belly. Your weight and energy can then flow into your relaxed torso, through your heart center and into your hands. 

Maintain all of your joints in open, stabilized and relaxed positions. Driving your strokes from your feet and pelvis makes releasing all unnecessary upper-body tension easier. Feel your serratus anterior like fingers grasping your distal scapula, stabilizing your pectoral girdle. Relax and slow your breath, allowing it to originate from deep within your lower abdomen, expanding and contracting your torso in all directions. Feel the support and power of your feet on the ground, and your head lifted toward the sky.

Carole Osborne is the author of Pre- and Perinatal Massage Therapy and Deep Tissue Sculpting (Body Therapy Associates, 1998, 2002). She is a contributing author to Teaching Massage (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2008), and has been in practice since 1974. She is the 2008 recipient of the AMTA Jerome Perlinski National Teacher of the Year Award. For these books and information about her certification program, Pre- and Perinatal Massage Therapy, call (800) 856-8322 or (858) 277-8827, e-mail or visit