To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Practice Building: Take a Seat—Use On-site Massage to Promote Your Practice,” by Paul Lewis, in the November 2010 issue. Article summary: Seated massage represents both a stand-alone practice choice and a great way to generate table-massage clients and promote yourself to large numbers of people—while getting paid to do so. There are benefits and challenges specific to seated massage, and by gaining insight about them, a massage therapist can use this form of massage to reach new and diverse markets.

by Patrick Ingrassia

If you’re working with clients who are dealing with spinal mobility and flexibility issues or such problems as sciatica, consider having 10 minutes or so of each treatment in your massage chair. Why? Working relatively upright using the massage chair gives you an opportunity to fully utilize spinal range-of-motion work with your clients.

Your ability to fully articulate the spine using a massage chair is unparalleled. Add a torso twist to feed the discs and relax the small muscles in the back and try a spinal flexion technique. Remember to use your body weight and momentum rather than muscular strength to deliver pressure effectively.

Here are a couple of techniques to get you started:

Technique No. 1: Spinal Flexion

Begin in lunge position behind the client with your arms straight in front of you, fists parallel. Fist press and rock together up the erectors starting at the L5/S1 junction to the mid-thoracic area, articulating the spine. Rock your body in and out and have the client exhale with each compression. Perform alternating fist swirls back to the sacrum. Fist swirl together into the hips and sacrum.

Watch a video here.

Technique No. 2: Assisted Torso Twist

Bring the client up out of the face cradle to a vertical position and have her lace her fingers behind her head, elbows out. Ask the client to rotate in one direction as far as she comfortably can. Reach around with one hand and clasp at the front of the client’s elbow. With your opposite hand, place the heel of your palm on the client’s erector spinae at the mid-thoracic spine with your fingers parallel to the floor. Simultaneously pull back on the elbow and press with the heel of your palm, assisting the rotation. Rock your body and coordinate the movement with your client’s breathing. Repeat on the opposite side.

Watch a video here.

Patrick Ingrassia is the founder of the Nayada Institute of Massage and inventor of the BodySaver “No Thumbs” Massage Method and the BodySaver Massage Bench. Ingrassia teaches internationally, providing cutting-edge continuing education for massage in multiple modalities. Visit for his live course schedule, online courses, e-newsletter and free videos.