Self-Care for Massage Therapists: Body Mechanics

Self-Care for Massage Therapists: Body Mechanics

Author(s): Sandra Anderson and Joe Muscolino

3CE credits 12 Lessons Text

Massage therapists, like athletes, rely on their bodies to produce results and perform at optimal levels. Sustaining a high level of performance requires training, conditioning and body awareness, allowing for recovery time, proper nutrition and regular maintenance.

A solid understanding of body mechanics—or biomechanics—gives massage therapists the tools to provide effective massage therapy with efficiency, reducing the impact to their body while delivering therapeutic care.

Efficient body mechanics help massage therapists apply pressure evenly without muscle strain or compromising the joints, and with sufficient breath to ensure career longevity by decreasing the risk of injury. For peak performance, massage therapists should work smart rather than hard to avoid career-ending injuries.

Free Self-Care for Massage Therapists

This course and Self-Care for Massage Therapists: Injury Prevention are free to all massage therapists. Learn more about this self-care program

The study of body mechanics helps massage therapists deliver both effective and efficient massage therapy, while helping reduce the impact on their body while delivering therapeutic care. Learn body position guidelines to help deliver massage strokes efficiently and minimize bodily stress. After completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Define the role of body mechanics in massage therapy.
  • Describe how the delivery of force in massage therapy is affected by gravity.
  • Describe how to effectively bend via a squat bend.
  • Describe how the position of your feet and the orientation of your trunk affect the force of a massage stroke.
  • Explain stacking joints and how it affects the delivery of a massage stroke.
  • Describe how the use of larger muscles and a larger contact area improves the delivery of massage therapy or skin care service. 
  • Explain why regular maintenance of your own body is important for massage therapists. 

  1. Introduction
  2. Massage Therapy, Body Mechanics and Body Awareness
  3. Equipment and Body Mechanics
  4. Bending and Massage Delivery
  5. Body Alignment and Force Delivery
  6. Positioning to Reduce Injury and Maintain Force
  7. Stroke Performance and Massage Delivery
  8. Contact Area
  9. Maintaining the Body
  10. Improving Your Body Mechanics
  11. Summary
  12. Resources

Sandra Anderson has certifications in massage therapy, shiatsu, and Thai massage. For 12 years she instructed at the Desert Institute of the Healing Arts in Tucson, AZ. For five years she served as chair of the Examination Committee for NCBTMB. She has authored five textbooks.

Based on original content by Joseph Muscolino, DC

Joe Muscolino is a licensed chiropractic physician and has been an instructor of musculoskeletal and visceral anatomy, physiology, kinesiology and pathology courses for more than 20 years. He is an NCBTMB-approved provider.