Working as a Thai Massage practitioner can be very rewarding and fulfilling. It is blissful to receive and give a Thai massage, yet as a practitioner, you need to be acutely aware of postures and stretches that your client’s hyper mobility can pose a safety concern.
In stretches such as a hamstring stretch the practitioner needs to be aware of a client’s tendency toward hyper mobility. If a client seems to hyper extend through the knees during this or any given posture there is a need to modify. Sometimes simply keeping the knee bent will prevent this. A good test is to ask the client to point where the stretch is felt. That way as a practitioner you can determine how best to modify.
Being aware of one’s own hyper mobility as a practitioner is equally as important. Luckily, in Thai Yoga Massage we tend to move away from using thumbs and implement other body parts: knees, elbows, forearms etc. However, there are times when a thumb works best. Being aware of how to modify or brace a thumb against other fingers during a session will save a thumb from quick burnout. Other things to be aware of as a therapist include hyper extension of knees during a table practice and hyper extension of elbows and fingers during nearly all bodywork.
For ourselves and clients, as hyper mobile individuals the most important thing is to remain fit. Our workouts and health regimens may need to me more rigorous and frequent than other people. Weight bearing exercise will help provide the stability of muscle surrounding hyper mobile joints. Pilates, Yoga and Tai Chi can help to create stable muscle memory while avoiding the possible injury that a high impact workout can cause. Physical Therapy including Thai Yoga Massage is also a great way to treat and become aware of our own body as a practitioner or client.
Being aware of hyper mobility is an important part of self awareness. The ability to educate clients on this and other aspects of self care will only create a better rapport and healing environment. At Denver Integrative Massage School we put emphasis on teaching students that feeling good in our body as a massage therapist is just as important during session as a client’s comfort. Due to body awareness and the partnership of movement during a session, giving a Thai Yoga Massage is nearly as beneficial to the body as receiving.