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AMTB Blog 12.9.14

The benefits of massage therapy continue to be supported by research. More and more, clients are taking advantage of the many benefits of massage therapy in their daily lives. Massage has been helping so many people with stress relief, chronic conditions, and pain management. This is why it is so important, as a massage therapist, to continually find ways to improve therapy sessions with clients by continuously learning and using new techniques.

Incorporating active movement into massage involves having the client perform a movement while the therapist performs a muscle broadening or lengthening technique throughout the course of that movement. As passive movement is used, the therapist moves the muscle through its phases.

Using movement in massage has a lot to offer both massage therapists and their clients. A massage therapy session that includes movement helps the client learn how to start moving his or her body in ways without experiencing pain or restrictions.  There are many benefits to adding movement to massage therapy. Movement is extremely helpful with assessment. It becomes a tool for the therapist to assess the condition of the client, determine the best approach and technique to use, and monitor improvement.

As part of an assessment, movement can help massage therapists determine what tissues and muscles are most impacted by specific massage techniques.  Massage therapists can also get a good idea of what is working and what isn’t, by looking for improvement in the range of movement, the fluidity of that movement, strength of movement, and level of pain with movement. All of these observations can indicate whether a specific technique or treatment is effective or if adjustments need to be made.

Movement can also increase a client’s awareness of their own movement patterns, which can help them to better understand where restrictions in movement exist and encourage them to take a more active role in their treatment plan. Clients may often not be aware of how their body is moving (or is not moving).  They may have patterns of movement that are causing them pain, and they are unaware of this.

Massage sessions using movement are especially beneficial for athletes because they often push the limits, and seek relief from deep tissue aches and pains through massage therapy. Movement is also beneficial to clients who have soft tissue injuries or restrictions that limit proper body mobility. Clients with acute or chronic pain and/or limitations in range of motion and mobility can benefit from movement in massage. Active movement techniques allows massage therapists to focus on a problem area and get very specific which can speed pain relief from soft tissue injuries or orthopedic issues.

It’s imperative for massage therapists to actively engage clients so that they participate fully in each session.  This enables the therapist to learn how each movement and motion makes the client feel, in order to better target problem areas to help speed relief and recovery from pain.

©The Academy of Massage Therapy and Bodyworks
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