There are benefits for you as a therapist to go slow. There is less force on you when you engage the tissue and sink in as the body allows you instead of forcing your way in. The amount of energy you are using is just a fraction of what most people would use in deep tissue massage.
When you go faster while treating a patient you have to control your own movements more. This in itself takes more muscle energy on your part. If you go super slow, it’s easier to follow where the body is letting you in, and you don’t have to control your movements as much. I often spend more energy stopping myself from going too deep too fast than I do trying to go deeper into a patient’s tissue.
Develop your Intuition
Perceiving subtle changes in the body is so important. This goes along with developing your intuition as a therapist. If you are a newer therapist, you may not have developed this intuition as much as someone who has worked on hundreds or thousands of patients.
However, you will never be able to develop your intuition if you are not at least putting yourself in a situation where it is easy to feel. It’s like being in a noisy crowd and trying to hear someone whisper. In order to develop your intuition, you have to get rid of all the background noise.
Going too fast covers up the subtle feedback and cues that you get from the body, making it harder to listen to the body and develop your intuition. Sometimes you might miss very subtle tissue changes. You might go over an area and feel release or resistance, but you moved on too quickly to identify the exact spot where it happened. Then you have to spend more time going back over the same areas to determine where exactly the reaction occurred instead of feeling it as it happens which is the result you get when you slow down.
Read the Body’s Feedback
Another subtle feedback you can learn to read tells you that you are in the right spot, but maybe you need to change the angle or adjust your depth to really get to the area that needs work. These are things that are just harder to pay attention to when you go too fast whereas when you go slow, you can again, recognize them as they happen.
Going slow in your orthopedic massage treatments is easier on your body and allows you to deliver more effective treatments to your patients. Come back next week for some great tips on how to develop slower techniques in your practice. I have a great group of orthopedic massage therapists that are learning and growing together. We would love to have you join us here.