To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Bamboo-fusion: Heated Tools for Client Care,” by Nathalie Cecilia, in the July 2011 issue. Article summary: Bamboo massage can help keep clients satisfied with deep pressure and the benefits of heat, as well as prolong the therapist’s career by reducing stress in key areas.

by Karin Hampton

Massage therapists see clients with chronic conditions that need to be addressed in order for the clients to function without pain. Sometimes these conditions are so set in that it takes several clinical sessions and a lot of physical work to fully address and relieve the symptoms. Bamboo and rosewood tools are effective in diminishing symptoms, such as the trigger-point formation that often accompanies many chronic pain conditions.

The warmth of the tools helps relax tense muscles and allows the therapist to work deeper with less effort. Therapists who are trained to work with bamboo and rosewood tools will find they can address pathologies with greater ease while minimizing the risk of injury and fatigue.

Many therapists are afraid to use massage tools, and rely only on their hands. They may believe using a tool will take away from their ability to feel; however, tools made from rosewood and bamboo, particularly those made without lacquer, allow the therapist to feel the tissue through the wood. Such tools help the therapist locate and address ischemic areas in the body.

In addition, the wood itself has natural healing properties and has been used for healing purposes in many cultures throughout history. Wood carries the energy of spring, which symbolizes renewal of energy, strength, prosperity and peace.

Bamboo tools can be an excellent support for modalities like acupressure, shiatsu and reflexology. Therapists are taught to use their fingers and thumbs to apply pressure along meridian points, which can cause stress and injury to the hands and wrists. Bamboo and rosewood tools offer therapists a safe and effective way to apply pressure and minimize the risk of injury.

Massage therapists must take care of their bodies if they are going to enjoy their work and remain in the field for any period of time. There is an ancient form of self-shiatsu called do-in that is used to stimulate the flow of ki (energy) throughout the body. Bamboo tools can be used in this way on the body, from head to toe.

There are a variety of specially crafted tools that give therapists and clients the ability to treat address own trigger-point areas with ease, assisting in addressing conditions, such as tension, headaches, neck-and-shoulder issues, and low-back and joint pain.

Karin Hampton, L.M.T., has been an educator for more than 15 years. She co-created Mu-Xing Therapy, a treatment using warm bamboo and rosewood tools to perform therapeutic massage. Mu-Xing LLC offers continuing education courses in beginning and advanced Mu-Xing techniques. For more information, visit