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  • Effective Deep Pressure Massage


    Yesterday I saw a new client, an acupuncturist who used to play a lot of soccer. She is having neuralgia in her hands and fingers, as well as neck, shoulder, and upper back pain. She has seen numerous massage therapists and receives consistent acupuncture treatments. She absolutely loved the SMRT work, which I did without much other bodywork combined. Her comment was, “I have been to other massage therapists and they just use a lot of pressure. I come out exhausted and worse than when I went in.”

    The other thing that happened yesterday was that one of my teaching assistants, a man who began his massage therapy career 2 years ago working at a chain spa, asked for my advice. This TA began working in a chain spa doing mostly deep tissue. When I met him a year later he had constant pain in his hands and forearms. He had been seeing one of his instructors for massage treatments. Myself and another TA did a 1-hour tandem SMRT session on his arms and hands. His pain has never gotten that bad again. He has transitioned out of the chain spa and has his own practice. Yesterday a new client had filled out his electronic intake and requested “deep tissue to get rid of the pain in my neck and upper back.” He panicked. I think he felt pressured to return to doing deep pressure work that garnered limited results while destroying his body.

    Both of these experiences had me thinking about the differences between true deep tissue bodywork and using deep pressure massage without clear purpose. This is what the acupuncturist was having a negative reaction to in other therapists, the therapists need to force their way into her body in order to give her relief. I relieved almost 50% of her tension in the first 5 minutes of the session by using SMRT to correct the opposing twists in her shoulder girdle and ribcage. SMRT did this without pain, pressure, her resistance, or my insistence. In the other situation, I reminded the TA that “deep tissue” is code for “please help my pain,” that her definition of deep pressure was likely much different than his, that her comment on her intake about receiving regular massage meant that her pain was not being controlled by deep pressure work alone. I suggested that he combine slow, deliberate deep pressure strokes with SMRT, which allows us to quickly and painlessly access the deeper tissues for more thorough treatment.

    The acupuncturist has made weekly appointments with me, even though I am 45 minutes from her house, and the TA’s client has become a standing weekly appointment for him. Join the SMRT bodywork movement by registering for a class or purchasing a video at https://efullcircle.com/