Fall and catch massage sounds very judo-y. But I promise that you won’t have to make your client tap out.
Fall and catch massage is a way to do massage without squeezing and pressing a client’s muscles with all your might.
Instead you “fall” into the client, and the client’s body “catches” you.
Your body weight provides the pressure. And with good body mechanics there’s minimal strain to your neck and shoulders.
I should mention that we’re talking about controlled falling. No black and blue clients.
Here’s what I mean by controlled falling.
You’re going to…
1. Initiate the fall with your feet.
By simply shifting your weight from your heels to the balls of your feet you begin the fall.
In this pic I’m positioned to fall with my fists. My weight is towards my heels.
Here I’ve fallen by shifting my weight to the balls of my feet.
2. Catch your weight on the table and/or client.
The catching part is practically imperceptible because the body parts you’re massaging with (palms, fists, forearms, thumbs, or knuckles), should be in contact with the person.
You’re simply transferring your body weight forward by shifting your weight from your heels to the balls of your feet.
Light to Medium Pressure
To do light to medium pressure, direct some of your body weight into the table as well as the client.
See my leg leaning against the table in this pic? I’m primarily leaning into the table and exerting light pressure through my forearm. (80% into the table; 20% into the client).
For deep pressure direct all of your body weight into the client.
If you “fell” too deep, shift some of your weight back off the balls of your feet.
Here are some other keys for deep pressure.
Fall and Catch Massage Stances
When using fists, thumbs, palms and knuckles, a narrow stance will allow you to transfer all of your body weight onto the client.
Whereas, a wider stance won’t.
Also, in general, for deep pressure step farther away from the table.
For light pressure, step closer.
You can also fall into your client with one hand.
Here’s a little fall.
A bigger fall.
You can see in the picture that my back heel has come up and I’ve shifted my weight to the front of my feet.
And a client-wants-ridiculous-pressure fall.
Here I’ve switched stances so that I can get directly over the area I want to lean into with my body weight.
Falling Sounds Like Leaning
At this point, if you’ve read my other articles, you get that I’m using “fall” and “lean” interchangeably.
But there’s a reason I chose “fall” this time.
To me, “fall” conveys the feeling of letting go.
Watch out below! Here I come with my fists!
Okay, I’m not talking about jumping out of a plane letting go.
I’m talking about the more subtle letting go that happens when you’re in a good mental space.
Here’s how it works for me with fall and catch massage.
The Zen of Fall and Catch Massage
Once I got a few reps in of falling, I got good at controlling the fall (and landing).
In other words, I became competent with (1) transferring my weight on my feet, (2) being in the right stance to deliver the desired pressure, and (3) knowing how to direct my body weight into the table and/or client.
The result was that massage suddenly became easier to do. I went from eyeballs-popping-out-of-their-sockets strain to effortless work.
And when massage is that effortless to do, it’s almost impossible NOT to completely relax.
Definitely a “wax on, wax off, grasshopper” moment.
Pardon the mixed analogy, but fall and catch massage gets me stoked. Cuz it’s a little slice of zen while you’re on the clock.
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