How to Eliminate Pain When Massaging: Adaptation

Pause that hand stretch video! There are reasons why your body hurts when doing massage. One might be because you’re not adapting in an effective way.

I know this sounds a little theoretical, but it’s not.

I’m talking about making adjustments when working through a massage challenge.

“Body Hurts When Doing Massage” Culprit #1—The Massage Table

For example, let’s say you need to ratchet up the pressure and your table is high. How do you adjust?

You push like a mofo using your upper body, right? (Been there, done that.)

Besides being an inefficient way to get the job done, pushing like a mofo stresses arms, shoulders and neck.

Low Table Adaptation Response

A better adaptation response can take place when your table is set lower. First, when your table is low you can lean and use your body weight to deliver deep pressure with ease.

The challenge with a low table is with light pressure, primarily because you can’t lean your body weight into the client. This means you’ll have to be more upright, and to get your hands on your client you’ll need to bend.

Can I get an order of back pain to go, please?

However, there’s another way to adapt instead of bending from your back. It’s “bend your legs”.

My back is pretty much neutral in the pic, right? You can also sit and lean. That’s easy on the back, too.

SCORE: Lower Table—2 Higher Table—1

So, with a lower table you can deliver deep pressure pain-free and effectively adapt for light pressure.

With a higher table you’re good to go for light pressure, but when you need to bring it the adaptation response (push like a mofo) kills your body.

Low table: lean for deep, squat for light. Click To Tweet

Don’t Need Fancy

By the way, you don’t need an expensive table to maximize adaptation. I can do 1000 massages on an expensive table, then 1000 on an inexpensive one and I’m not going to lose a client as long as my massage is consistent.

“Body Hurts When Doing Massage” Culprit #2: Adapting to the T-bar

Massage tools also require adaptation responses if you’re going to stay pain-free and improve massage efficiency.

In the video below, I’m purposely using a long T-bar in areas of the body I’d normally use a shorter T-bar.

The simplicity of the T-bar allows me to adapt to different situations in limitless ways. Specifically, I’m talking about the many ways I can hold the T-bar. Have a look:

How to Experiment with Adaptation

In massage, successful adaptation boils down to this:

  1. Use the strategy that allows for the best adaptation response.

A lower table strategy allows you to save your body when massaging in all ranges of pressure.

A strategy of using a simple, massage tool, like the T-bar, can save your hands because of the million different ways (alright…I’m exaggerating…999,898 ways) you can hold it.

Here’s how I determine if the adaption was a success. As I’m adapting, I ask myself:

  1. Am I pain-free?
  2. Is it now easier to get the job done?

Two yeses equals success.

If your body hurts when doing massage and you want to dig deeper into the table height strategy, start here: Table Height Is Everything.

For more on massage tools check out Massage Tools Will Save Your Hands.

P.S. If you need more guidance, sign up for my email group. I’ll let you know when new articles, tutorials, downloads and videos are out. The subscription is free and you can unsubscribe anytime.


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