What’s overlooked, misunderstood and is as important as the massage tool itself? The way you hold a massage tool.
Here’s what I mean.
This is a t-bar.
My neuromuscular massage instructors told me that the t-bar would save my thumbs when doing precise work.
They were right. It did save my thumbs.
But, unfortunately, it made my fingers cry.
Crying fingers meant I used the t-bar sparingly, and I never got confident with it.
It’s Not the Massage Tool
For a long time I thought the massage tool was the problem.
But it turns out that this wasn’t true. I was the problem–specifically, how I held the massage tool.
Here’s how we were taught to hold the t-bar in neuromuscular massage training.
You can see that my fingers are doing a lot of work at the end of the tool.
Hmm…was there a way to hold the t-bar that wouldn’t stress my fingers?
My options increased once I lowered my table so that I could pin the tool between my hand and the muscle I was working on.
And here’s my go-to hold now:
My hand looks pretty relaxed, right?
How to Hold a Massage Tool
My go-to massage tool hold may not be your go-to hold. You’ll have to experiment.
It’s not hard. Just keep in mind these two things.
1. Keep the tool upright with no/minimal strain to your hands.
In other words, stabilize the tool. Don’t grip it
A second hand will help you stabilize the tool:
2. Use minimal effort when delivering pressure.
A lower table allows you to effortlessly deliver pressure simply by transferring your body weight onto the client. And when you pin and brace the massage tool you’ll hardly feel that you’re working at all.
Once you find your go-to massage tool hold don’t stop experimenting.
Using only one hold sets you up for an overuse injury.
Here are some variations of my go-to hold.
Once you have 3 or 4 holds down pat your massage world will change.
Your hands won’t burn out. You’ll be able to increase your massage max. And you won’t fear deep work.
Here’s the short version:
How to Hold a Massage Tool In a Nutshell
1. A go-to hold should cause no/minimal strain.
Think brace NOT grip.
2. A go-to hold should require minimal effort.
Lean (lower the table), pin and relax your hold hand.
For more about saving your body, check out: How to Eliminate Pain When Massaging: Adaptation.
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