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How Massage Therapists Can Work Smarter Instead of Harder

It's no secret that being a massage therapist is physically demanding. Many therapists leave the field prematurely while others work in pain, leading to job dissatisfaction, resentment, and possible injury. Beginning therapists often ask what they can do about work-related pain and how to avoid it. They are often told to "work smarter, not harder," but are seldom told exactly what that means. There are many ways in which a therapist might "work smarter" and probably many suggestions that seasoned therapists could give newer colleagues. These are some of my own ideas, given in no particular order.

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Self-Help for the Hand, Wrist, Elbow, Forearm, Through Novel Movements

Musicians. Computer users. Massage therapists.  What do they have in common? They all use their hands and arms a lot in very repetitive ways. Anyone suffering from tight forearms, carpal tunnel syndrome, elbow pain, or wants to avoid those problems should take note.

We have habits and tend to move in limited ways. Our muscles develop habits. We use muscles in certain ways and neglect other muscles by not using them. Those unused muscles can end up going "dormant." If you've ever been in physical therapy, you may have had the experience of your PT giving you deceptively "easy" exercises that are impossible to do! That's because some of your muscles have become inactive. Those exercises are designed to wake them back up, to neurologically program them to start functioning again.

Our muscles are controlled by the nervous system. Every movement we make, every muscle fiber that is fired, is caused by the nervous system instructing it to contract or relax. Ultimately, the brain controls everything.