5 Effective Self-Care Tips for Massage Therapists

Working as a Massage Therapist can be a lot of things.

Fulfilling, Fun, a great chance to help people, but also exhausting and energy draining.

In order to do the job, you love, you have to take care of yourself. Physically as well as emotionally.

Here a few tips…

1.      Adjust your work environment to you! You MUST NOT adjust to it!

Adjust the massage table to your body height. Also adjust it to your methods. For example lower it when you need more pressure for that patient, so you can take advantage of your body weight. Set it higher for a light massage to rest your back.  

Don’t overlook this detail! And consequently set up your workspace ergonomically for every patient. You will feel the benefit after a long workday.

2.        Variation is your best friend!

We should not only give our patients the advice to move more, not to stay in the same position all day long, because that would cause muscular tensions and pain.

No, We too should move more and vary our position throughout the day.

For example with lowering the table for a bit, but not bend the core further forward then, no.
Go in a squat position for a while to give the hamstrings, glutes and back muscles a rest. Activate the core, quadriceps femoris and the calf muscles. This will increase the blood flow and lymphatic back flow.
Or stand in an abducted leg position with a straight back.

You can use a little step, to put one leg at a time up. It will change the pelvic and core alignment, which can bring relief as well.

For some technics you don’t have to stand facing the patient. Try a parallel body posture and place on leg in front of the other in a step pose. Now you can move from one lower limb to the other back and forward in a strike motion and use that for fluent massages of - for example - the spinal erectors.

With variation of your posture you activate different muscle-groups and -parts, at the same time you give others a “break”. With an active form of standing and working you increase the blood flow and prevent ischemia which can cause tension and pain.
Out of changing the angles of joints and the vertebral column results a variation in pressure on you discs, cartilages and meniscus, which increases its metabolism and prevents degeneration.

So you can actually do good for your muscle skeletal system.

3.      Use your body mechanics

As described earlier, take advantage of body posture and along with that your weight.
For more pressure you can lower the table, so you can put the center of gravity of your body over the patient and utilize it for a stronger impact on the tissue.

For fluent motions, for example a back massage or a relaxing treatment after sport activities on the legs, use the shift of your trunk from one leg to the other instead of generating the movement out of the shoulders and spine.

4.      Roll and Stretch it out

A great method to relax your myofascial system after work is to us a foam roll.
With the small one you can treat your arms, the tight extensor and especially flexor areas. The big foam roll or a duo-ball can be a wonderful option for the hard working posterior muscle chain - the spinal erectors, glutes, hamstrings and the triceps.

A good stretching session also will help to decrease the muscle tension and prevent muscle shortening.

Ten minutes a day will bring great benefits.

~ And when you experienced the relief yourself, you have another great advice for your costumers.

5.      Find a way to leave the patient and all attached emotions in the room

A good massage often “opens patient’s gates” and sets emotions free, makes people talk about things they usually would not tell a stranger.

It can be a great experience and a pleasure, but it can also be a burden and place a heavy emotional load on the therapist.

In such cases it is important to have a good strategy to not make those feelings and problems yours. They are not yours!

Some methods to ease the emotional load:

As you finish the massage, picture your thoughts and vibes and let them go.

Before you step out the room, look back and leave the emotions consciously there and close the door.

At the end of the day, if you feel the emotional loads continues in your thoughts, make yourself aware of it and connect it for example to your shoes or work-shirt. Now take that garment intentionally off to leave that negative sentiment behind.

When you leave your workplace and step out the door take your time. Picture the negative experiences and let them flow out of your body as you exhale. Inhale good thoughts and things you are looking forward to with the fresh air. Repeat that until you “got all the negativity” out and are “recharged”.

Take care! This is very important if you want to be happy in your job and be there for your patients with the same motivation and energy every day in the long-term,

Put yourself in the first!

Figure out, what helps you to recharge and get rid of the daily “emotional loads” of your patients.

Because you chose a wonderful career, help yourself work with joy and a smile on your face.

Blog Post written by:
Mariem Perez
Massage Therapy Instructor