Why You’re Not Using Your Massage Tool

Are you using your massage tool? Hmm…let me guess why you’re not.  Maybe it’s because that hunk of wood or piece of twisted plastic doesn’t let you feel anything, and you have no idea how hard you’re pressing. I hear ya, but hold on, there’s a way around these problems. Use a guide finger next to the tip of the massage tool.

How to make it past 5 years in massage: use a massage tool with a guide finger. Click To Tweet

Before I get into the how, let me introduce four pressing tools that are dying to have a guide finger next to them.

Starting at the left and going to the right we have TheraPress, massage stick (Mu-Xing Pointer), T-bar (my massage therapist friend, Matt, makes T-bars–I’ll have more details soon) and Jacknobber II. Here’s how I use a guide finger with each of them:

How to Use a Guide Finger

  1. With your guide finger palpate to find the area you want to work.
  2. Once you find the area press to determine the pressure you want to apply.
  3. Now you’re ready to press the massage tool into that area.
  4. After you’ve pressed that area with the massage tool, put your guide finger back on the area to re-establish sensitivity and recalibrate for the next press with the massage tool.

Alright, let’s take these tools out for a spin.

What a Guide Finger Looks Like in Action

Here are some action shots of a guide finger next to the massage tool.

Mu-Xing Pointer







Jacknobber II









You’re guide finger could be a knuckle.

Or it could be a bunch of fingers, bent, also known as a fist.

Essentially, any part of the hand that’s not holding the massage tool can be a “guide” for the massage tool.

Okay, that’s a wrap…not quite…

The Little Bit Extra

There’s a process here that you’ll need to refine. You remember that the guide finger finds the tight spot and figures out the pressure that needs to be applied, then in comes the massage tool, right?

Well, there’s a little more to it. To a large extent you can sense how much pressure you were exerting with your guide finger and then try to match that with the tool in the other hand. But you do have an object in your hand that’s not neurologically wired to your brain. Some guessing is required.

You’re going to make up that guessing gap by getting feedback from non-paying and paying clients when you’re practicing with the massage tools.

For paying clients, the feedback will come in the form of reactions, like the verbal “Wow, that feels good” or the more subtle fidget because something is off.

Also, with paying customers use the massage tool in short spurts in case your pressure is off.

Lastly, have someone work on you with the massage tool so that you get a firsthand feel. This way of learning works best for me.

Don’t Sacrifice Your Thumbs

If you’ve come this far in the article, you’re probably in pain or sick of sacrificing your thumbs to the massage gods.

If you’re ready to make a change, it’s time to break out that massage tool. Get comfortable with it by using a guide thumb, finger, or hand. Get you reps in by using it in every massage (30 seconds or more). Remember to:

  1. Use the guide finger to find the tight spot.
  2. Establish pressure with the guide finger.
  3. Press the massage tool into the tight spot.
  4. Re-establish pressure and sensitivity with the guide finger.

If you’re new to massage tools, I would do this:

  1. Learn the fundamentals: Massage Tools will Save Your Hands
  2. Tweak the fundamentals: How to do very Precise Pressure
  3. Tweak some more: Massage Tools—Working in Light to Medium Pressure

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