If you were to ask a room full of Certified Massage Therapists what the most frequent complaint among massage clients is, your answer would be unanimous; pain, tightness, and restricted motion in the neck shoulders and upper back. Why does this happen to so many massage clients regardless of their size, shape, age, occupation, or activity level? The answer, according to Paula Curtiss, Founding Director of Healing Hands School of Holistic Health, is “a client’s habitual posturing”. In other words, the reason so many people experience neck and shoulder strain/pain is because they have unknowingly adopted “bad” postural habits, like slouching, when standing or sitting, not realizing they are causing their own pain.
What massage therapists see most often is a client’s slouched posture forcing their head forward straining their neck muscles, destabilizes the shoulder blades and distorting spine- alignment. Spinal mis-alignment then strains back muscles and can potentially affect internal organs as well as breathing. In fact scientific research supports the fact that for each inch your head leans forward off its supporting structure- the neck, the force needed to support its weight increases by ten pounds. At 3 inches forward (as in the example), the average 10 pound head feels like 30 pounds (Citation: Cailliet).
“The good news,” say’s Paula Curtiss, “even chronic, long-standing postural issues can be greatly improved and often completely corrected with the help of a knowledgeable massage therapist and the conscious practice of perfect posturing. Even a few months of diligent attention to posture along with corrective bodywork can profoundly benefit your body long term. Some of these benefits include: diminished back, shoulder and neck pain and fatigue; a reduction in the frequency and severity of tension headaches; a more open chest cavity that allows for deeper, better breathing and oxygenation of muscles and body tissues; enhanced digestion & elimination, and an over-all increase in energy and feelings of wellbeing. Best of all, perfect posture can improve anyone’s appearance as it optimizes height and reduces the ‘pot-belly’ look that occurs when we round our shoulders and sink into a slouching position”, she continued.
To understand how your body might be out of balance, you need to understand the characteristics of a balanced body structure. A quick way to “feel” perfect posture is to stand against a wall with your feet just a few inches out. Now, allow your head, shoulder blades and butt to rest gently against the wall. Adjust your hands to fall to your sides and position your feet so they are pointing directly ahead. If you’re like most people, perfect posture feels uncomfortable and foreign at first. With practice, however, it becomes easier to achieve and maintain.
We have many classes training a Massage Therapist to specifically work with a clients body posture, including: Deep Tissue Manipulation, Myofascial Meridians for Pain Release, Structural Integration, Somatics, Therapeutic Mobilization, Therapeutic Stretching, and Yoga Therapy. To find out more about Massage Therapies for the Upper Body, or any of the other 80+ Massage and Holistic Health classes offered at Healing Hands School of Holistic Health, please visit us on-line at www.HealingHandsSchool.com, or call (949) 305-2722 / Laguna Hills or (760) 746-9364 / Escondido.