To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “The Role of Massage Therapy in Addressing Chronic Pain,” by Whitney Lowe, in the June 2011 issue. Article summary: To help clients with chronic pain conditions, it is helpful to understand how the conditions come about and the client’s experience of the pain.

by Victor Francs, Ph.D.

One of the greatest challenges massage therapists face is keeping their bodies healthy. Low-back issues, foot pain, repetitive use, carpal tunnel and thoracic outlet syndrome—these are just some of the potential insults to a busy therapist’s body.

Giving massages all day requires a lot of physical effort. Stretching and strengthening exercises are important to help a therapist withstand the rigors of our profession.

Self-care therapies that can be done in a swimming pool address many of the physical conditions attendant with a massage therapy career.

Additionally, water-exercise sessions offered by a massage therapist can eliminate the strain on the therapist’s body while treating the client to a body-and-mind-expanding experience. Very little physical effort is required, but the effects on your client can be life changing.

Stretching in the water can be effective for massage therapist self-care. By eliminating gravity, the body expands measurably, taking pressure off the joints and opening the tissues. Weightlessness allows the muscles to stretch in a safe and often pain-free manner. Anyone, from an elite athlete to a geriatric client, can benefit.

By immersing yourself in comfortably warm water, using specific floats and stretching in a zero-gravity environment, the body cooperates in a manner that is startling.

Stretching in the water has the potential to easily open your body. Many of my clients claim, “It’s easier than yoga, but with the same results.”

Victor Francs, Ph.D., has developed two water therapies: AquaBliss, which is a system of exercises a therapist can offer to clients, and Aqua Stretch Kinetics, a self-care protocol. For more information on Francs’ trainings and to order a DVD, visit