The Importance of Dexterity and Stamina for Massage Therapists
Published on August 5, 2020 by arothstein
Do you consider your health holistically? Interested in working in alternative medicine and becoming a massage therapist? In less than a year, you can complete an accredited program and start as an entry-level massage therapist. As a massage therapist, you enjoy the satisfaction that you are contributing to a person’s health and well-being. It is important to note that being a massage therapist requires strength, dexterity, and stamina. Not sure you have what it takes? Well, the good news is that there are ways you can build up your strength, stamina and dexterity to become a successful massage therapist.
Why Do People Become Massage Therapists?
In addition to the satisfaction of helping others, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the need for massage therapists is expected to grow by 22 percent from 2018 to 2028. This figure is higher than the average rate for many other professions.
More people are recognizing the need for a healthier lifestyle, and that may include massage therapy as an alternative healing method. More and more, medical professionals are turning to alternative medicine as a complement to traditional medicine. Many doctors even prescribe massage therapy for their patients. As the demand for more qualified professionals grows, the job market will continue to expand.
Finally, massage therapy is an excellent career for anyone whose goal is to help other people. Therapeutic massage relaxes people and provides them with a sense of well-being, which has a positive impact. The abilities a successful massage therapist will need include dexterity and stamina.
What Is Dexterity?
Dexterity is the skill of performing a task, specifically with your hands and fingers. As a massage therapist, you must use acute, slight motions with the hands and fingers. This helps identify muscles that are tense, sore, or painful and allows you to apply the proper amount of pressure to relieve the muscles. You must have strong hands and fingers to manipulate soft tissue to alleviate any pain or discomfort.
What Is Stamina?
Stamina is the ability to withstand prolonged mental or physical activity. As a massage therapist, you must possess strength and energy. Treatments require you to stay on your feet for long periods, stand in place, reach and bend, and perform treatment for as long as an hour. Fortunately, stamina can be built up over time.
How Can A Massage Therapist Prepare for Stamina and Dexterity?
While working as a massage therapist, you may care for people all day. You will need stamina and dexterity to alleviate their stiff, sore muscles, so it’s crucial for you to keep yourself healthy. Staying fit is essential to physical as well as mental health. When you’re healthy physically and mentally, your outlook is more positive. Being healthy makes it easier to face daily challenges and stress. What can you do to increase your stamina and dexterity?
- Go to the gym for a workout whenever possible. Exercise is a good way to stay physically fit.
- Take regular breaks to stretch your muscles and get your blood flowing. Standing up and stretching a few times a day can help you avoid lower back pain.
- Take an exercise class instead of going to the gym. An exercise class keeps your mind fit as you listen to instructions and remain focused. It’s often easier to make the extra effort when you’re exercising with a group.
What is the Proper Technique for Giving A Massage?
You must have the stamina and dexterity to give a client a massage treatment for an hour. To be effective as a massage therapist, you must:
- Learn all the principles of practical body mechanics
- Be able to assist elderly patients on and off the massage table
- Keep from getting fatigued at the end of the day
Effective body mechanics includes making healthy choices about your diet and exercise after a long day. Healthy lifestyle choices have an impact on your body mechanics. The proper techniques for a massage therapist include stamina, strength, balance, breathing, foot stance, groundedness, and stability.
Technique #1: Stamina
One of the most effective ways for you to have enough endurance and stamina to treat clients throughout the day is to take care of yourself. The best way to increase stamina is cardiovascular training. It is important to keep your heart rate up for intervals of 30 minutes, a few times each week to increase stamina. A proper amount of sleep and hydration are also necessary. Drinking plenty of water and fluids keeps you hydrated and reduces fatigue.
To improve stamina, do a warm-up before you start a massage session to increase blood flow and reduce the risk of injury. Take time for regular stretching of your whole body including hands and fingers. When you’re treating a client use the proper stance and positioning. When lifting a client, stay as close to the table as possible to avoid injury.
Technique #2: Strength
Strength training and proper nutrition can help you avoid fatigue. Massages require physical ability. Strength training builds muscle mass, making it easier to manipulate soft tissue. Resistance and weight training help to build your muscle mass offering additional stamina and dexterity.
Technique #3: Balance
Using a balanced posture during a massage therapy session reduces fatigue and energy loss. Exercise regimens that promote excellent balance are yoga and Tai Chi. Taking a class in either of these exercises teaches you the basic moves to increase stamina.
Technique #4: Breathing
Using the right breathing technique makes you more adept at pacing massage movements. Proper breathing helps send oxygen to your muscles, which reduces fatigue and makes you more relaxed and focused. Proper breathing technique also enhances physical and mental health.
Technique #5: Foot Stance
The way your feet are placed provides a stable base and influences the direction of your massage strokes. This also has a significant effect on the alignment of your body. The two standard foot stances used by massage therapists to provide stability and balance during the treatment include bow stance and warrior stance.
Bow Stance – used when you are standing at the head or the foot of the massage table and are applying strokes that proceed from one point on the body to the next. Your feet are positioned at a 30 to 50-degree angle. Your lead foot points forward with the other foot pointing to the side. Knees should be flexed, and the weight will shift from one foot to the other.
Using the Bow Stance allows you to maintain contact with the client while maintaining a consistent flow of therapeutic touch. It’s important to bend at the hips rather than the waist when using this stance to avoid any back injury. Bending at the hips also aids in keeping your balance.
Warrior Stance – used when performing short strokes that cause friction on the body, this helps you reach to the far side of the client while maintaining balance and stability. Using this stance allows you to face the opposite side of the massage table while keeping your feet approximately hips distance apart. Your toes should be pointed straight ahead, and back should be kept straight. Your hips should point toward the table to reduce the risk of injuries.
Technique #6: Groundedness
When you’re grounded, you have a strong connection between your mind and body. Being grounded is an essential principle emotionally, physically, and mentally. Taking the time to be grounded makes you more compassionate and better at providing healing. You can learn to be grounded by practicing yoga, Tai Chi, and meditation. This groundedness will greatly improve your stamina and dexterity.
Technique #7: Stability
Your feet are the foundation for all movement during massage sessions. Using the lower portion of your body during the procedure is more powerful. This provides more stability than moving the upper part of the body. Standing and applying an equal amount of weight to each foot and shifting a substantial amount of pressure to the lower portion of the body reduces the risk of injury.
Anyone who wants to enjoy an active lifestyle at work is an ideal candidate to work as a massage therapist. During a session, you will use your hands, arms, and feet for treatments. Not only do you help clients to heal, but the strenuous activity helps to keep you in excellent physical condition.
If you have the strength, stamina and dexterity to work as a massage therapist or need to improve your skills through proper techniques, becoming a massage therapist is a great career path. Not only will you be helping others, but you will work in a growing field that is only becoming more popular every day.
Do you have the stamina and dexterity to help others with massage therapy? Ready to start a program to become a massage therapist? Broadview University developed the Massage Therapy certificate program with your future in mind. The certificate program is designed to emphasize skills and knowledge for entry-level employment as a massage therapist. The Massage Therapy program at Broadview University prepares students to take the MBLEx licensing exam offered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Board (FSMTB). Upon completion of the program, students will be eligible for professional membership in such associations as the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) and the Association of Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP).
Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist.
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