A couple weekends ago I attended a side-lying and para-spinal class taught by Brian Utting. Before taking this call I was some what intimidated by side-techniques mostly because of The class came during a time where majority of my current clients were coming to me for shoulder pain. While majority of side-lying techniques are utilized for expectant mothers, massage while lying on the side offers an advantage to the shoulder girdle the typical face up/face down position does not.
Before taking this class I was intimidated by the idea of asking a client to roll on their side for a couple reasons. Properly draping a client so that they feel comfortable takes practice and when I applied the techniques it was difficult to judge pressure and keep consistent. After leaving Brian’s class I had all the confidence to bring these new techniques into my practice.
The biggest advantages of side-lying for shoulder pain are:
1. The ability to take the shoulder into full range of motion.
Because the shoulder is made up of three bones the collar bone, scapula and humerus side-lying facilitates taking the shoulder in front, behind, above and to the side of the body.
2. Access to the arm pit and rib cage is greater.
3. The client becomes extremely comfortable on the table allowing them to relax and receive the work. (Majority of my clients sleep on their side and once they are bolstered with a pillow between the arm and legs they are really able to let go of tension and stress.)
As I’ve been using these new techniques clients receive the shoulder in a deeper way while they remain relaxed on their side with the support of pillows. Not only is side-lying great for shoulder work, but it also feels great on the neck, low back and muscles along the spine.
Alex Stenger is a licensed Massage Therapist practicing inside BalanceDiet Billings.
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