7. Have MTs use sustainable body mechanics. It’s easy to find a massage therapist who complains of chronic lower-back pain. But with good body mechanics, this therapist can feel good even after a full day of massaging. At the beginning of my workshops I teach simple qi gong exercises for better body mechanics. Qi gong is an ancient movement system from China that couples movement with breath. It teaches practitioners to think of the body as grounded in the lower body like a tree trunk, while the upper body is soft and fluid like tree branches. Legs are grounded and strong, knees slightly bent, back straight, chest open, shoulders relaxed and the core engaged. Practicing massage with good mechanics is a therapeutic workout that makes the practitioner feel better, not worse.
✷ Healthy advice: Encourage MTs to participate in dance, yoga, Pilates and/or martial arts, which teach conscious movement and can help therapists develop better body mechanics.
Using the above tips, MTs can do great work with less burnout or injury. For your day spa, that translates to less turnover, more productivity, happier clients and a healthier bottom line.
✷ Recognizing MT Burnout
Think one of your massage therapists may be burning out? Here are the typical signs, according to Auth:
• Starts sessions late or ends early.
• Frequently looks tired.
• Seems unenthusiastic.
• Is uninterested in taking additional hours.
• Resists performing deep-tissue massage.
• Exhibits unhealthy weight gain or loss.
Shari Auth is a licensed massage therapist, acupuncturist, CE teacher, NCBTMB-approved provider for Florida and New York states and founder of the Auth Method.
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