MASSAGE THERAPIST SELF CARE ROUTINE Self care program for massage therapists

self care Feb 24, 2021

As a massage therapist, you know how it feels after a full day at work.  It's fulfilling because you helped a lot of people and made good money, but your body is TIRED. 

It's more than tired; your hands hurt, your low back needs an hour of yoga, and your thumbs feel like they're going to fall off. OK, maybe I'm exaggerating, but you're familiar with the aches and pains. Am I right?

Let's look at some perfect massage therapist self-care routine ideas you can implement to feel better today.

Massage therapist self-care routine idea #1

Ice- your overused hands need this

You probably recommend icing to your clients, so it's time to practice what you preach.  That fatigue you feel in your hands, neck, back . . . you fill in the blank, is from overuse.

Two main reasons you feel this are poor body mechanics in that area and/or lack of strength and conditioning in that area to complete the workload you're asking of it.   

There is some good information about using your hands safely (linked here) and tips for good body mechanics while seated here.

When you feel an aching or definite pain in an area, this is the time to listen and ice for 10-20 minutes.  Remember to ice after every massage shift. One day of icing isn't going to help when your workload continues the same. 

You also need to add strength to the area you're having problems with.  Consider hiring a personal trainer or get the Body Mechanics Secrets Guide here to strengthen the muscles massage therapists use most.  

Massage therapist self-care routine idea #2

Stretch- full-body stretching daily 

Stretching is something everyone can do, and you don't need a lot of knowledge to achieve results. 

I'm a firm believer that you can sit on the floor and begin moving your legs and arms to places that feel good and hold. 

Yes, that's super-simplified, but you've seen enough stretches in your life, done some of them, have your favorites, and can modify from there.

Yoga classes are a good example of full-body stretching, but you don't need a gym membership or yoga studio. 

If it's your low back, a supine knees-to-chest works well. 

If it's your neck, moving your head in all six ranges of motion works, and hold at each.  

If it's your hands, extending each finger individually to open the palm works.

For the regenerative properties we are looking for, static stretching is better than dynamic. 

In other words, take a muscle into a comfortable stretch and hold for 15-30 seconds.  You can repeat it up to 3 times.  

Massage therapist self-care routine idea #3

Self-massage with tools- to target those aching areas

Tools for self-massage can be as easy as tennis balls.  Foam rollers are versatile and easy to come by. Read about more self-care tool options here

The benefit of a tennis ball is they are inexpensive, small to pack when going out of town, and are very versatile.

Uses for a tennis ball can include massaging those hard-to-reach areas on the back, glutes, and hips. 

Lying on the floor with the tennis ball placed in the area of concern is one option, but if less pressure is needed, using a wall and leaning against the ball is a good alternative.

The tennis ball can be doubled up and used as a relief for headaches on the sub-occipital muscles.  Put two balls at the end of a sock and tie a knot to keep them together, then place the balls at the base of the skull while lying on the floor.

The foam roller can be used for the whole body, while the tennis ball is perfect for spot treatment. 

Massage therapist self-care routine idea #4

Get bodywork- you know you should  

I would be surprised if, while in massage school, you weren't told you should be receiving massage yourself as you step out into the working world.  

You know it helps your clients, and of course, it will help you keep those aches and pains at bay.

Find the frequency your body needs, and as you get busy with your own work schedule, do not let your own massage time get pushed to the side. 

Twice a month massages will keep your muscles feeling loose, any tightness away, and your body feeling its best.

Plus, you'll be reminded how good certain strokes feel or pick up a new way to do something.  You can always refresh your own massage sessions with a new idea or two. 

Bonus idea: every time you are away on vacation, get a massage.  Look up a business or individual and schedule a massage.  You need the bodywork, and you might learn something. 

Massage therapist self-care routine idea #5

Rest- 2 days in a row if possible

You may feel like working 6 days a week, and your body will do it for you, but eventually, something is going to give.  This overwork mentality is the recipe for injury.  

Workaholics, I can relate; when the work is there, take it, right?  Yes and no.

Massage therapists building their own businesses work hard to get enough clientele to pay the bills.  An already full day may turn into an extra-long day when a new client calls or someone "needs" to get in because they're in pain.

Massage therapists are generally in the industry to help people and it's hard to say no to these clients when you know you can help them.

Here is where boundaries come into play.  Set good boundaries and stick to them.

Remember, you aren't good to any of your clients if you're tired, overworked, and have aching hands. 

  • Set your limit for the number of clients to see in one day or for those who do longer sessions, the number of hours you work per day.  
  • Decide which days you will work and stick to those days only.  No putting one client in on your day off because "it's only one massage." 
  • Rest on your days off.  If you have a hobby that uses the same muscles that massage uses, your muscles aren't really getting the rest they need.

Take two days off in a row if possible.  Whether you are setting your own work schedule or you work for someone else, try to take back-to-back days off.  These 48 hours are best for resting and rejuvenating your body so you can do your best work.

The most important part of your business is YOU, and everything you put into your self-care routine will come back to you tenfold.  When you are feeling your best, you do your best work, clients rebook and refer friends to you.  This makes you more money and allows you to work in the field of massage therapy as long as you choose! 

Until next time

Be fit, be strong, and please, please get your self-care routine in place

The massage industry needs you 


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