Deep Tissue Massage: Ease, Patience, Sensitivity and Presence

By Val Nardo, PhD, LMT

Deep Tissue Massage is generally viewed by both receivers and givers of this modality as an aggressive therapy. Most believe that in order for a deep tissue treatment to be meaningful or effective, pain and effort must be involved. Since January of 2008, over four and a half years now, I have been presenting a live 6 hour seminar on the subject of deep tissue massage and the pain and effort concepts have proven to be a prevalent principles among the attendees.

Questions Answered

In July of 2008 an article appeared in an issue of Massage Magazine addressing these two concepts, penned by Sean Riehl, a noted massage therapy authority, author and teacher. He was answering a question inquiring about how one might apply deep tissue massage techniques without fatiguing or injuring themselves. Mr. Riehl's answer eliminates the pain and effort concepts and offers four simple words that define the process very specifically: Ease, Patience, Sensitivity and Presence. His article was short and to the point and focused mainly on what deep tissue massage is and very little on the how and why. None the less the article provided me with answers to two important issues that I was dealing with since the inception of my Deep Tissue Massage program; I was seeking a more concise and accurate definition of what deep tissue massage is and validation for the process that I had been presenting all these months. Mr. Riehl's article did both. I now had some words, ideas, principles that I could easily plug into my application ideas. Mr. Riehl's article provides the what for Deep Tissue Massage and the program that I have been presenting live for four and a half years provides the how and why”for Deep Tissue Massage. This program has now been adapted for home study through and is titled Treating Common Problem Areas With Deep Tissue Massage.

Treating Common Problem Areas With Deep Tissue Massage

In this program I used a different approach to the more conventional aggressive one that we have become so used to and accepting of. We, as both giver and receiver, have to be willing to look at this modality in a different way. My program explores the concept of fascia and the evolution of how it has been viewed over the centuries as a functioning tissue in the body since the beginning of Western medical development. So I chose to explore the concept of energy as a viable factor in the healing process and its relationship to the fascia factor. Together we will examine how to apply the effective techniques with ease, which lessens the risk of injury to the giver and the receiver of this modality. We will also discuss the concept of depth of tissue and what this really means before moving on to examine the vital flow systems in the body and how important these systems are not only in the healing process but also in maintaining balance in the body, mind and spirit. We will explore how we can achieve a soft touch that penetrates deep into the tissue and encourages optimal healing effect. Therapists will learn where the true power comes from that provides the energy to apply the techniques of this modality and will also learn how to connect with this power source in the body efficiently and correctly. We also delve into the meaning of awareness and how, with its use at the highest level, it heightens the healing process. By the conclusion of my course, the therapist will gain and understanding of the importance of communicating with the patient/client and it's importance in the healing process. The major goal of this program is to offer the professional an opportunity to learn ways to apply massage techniques that are safe and effective for both the giver and receiver. The process may feel a little uncomfortable in the beginning if we are used to the concept of having to apply a lot of force to achieve what we perceive to be the goals of Deep Tissue Massage. It becomes imperative that we commit to the concept, help our patients/clients to understand the what, how and why of the process (communications) and practice the course principles and techniques consciously on a daily basis. As we do this, we will release the old, more risky processes and begin to take hold of healthier less risky processes and deliver a more safe and effective service.

About Val Nardo

Dr.Val Nardo, PhD, LMT, was a former vocational consultant for nearly 30 years. He is currently a professional massage therapist, personal trainer and stress management educator and consultant. He holds a Masters in Education from Coppin State College in Baltimore, Maryland and a Ph.D. in Natural Health from Clayton College of Natural Health in Birmingham, Alabama. Dr. Nardo obtained his massage training through the Academy of Healing Arts in Lake Worth, Florida. He is a Licensed Massage Therapist and a Certified Personal Trainer and is also a Reiki Master. HomeCEU is pleased to offer several massage courses by Dr.Nardo. Treating Common Problem Areas With Deep Tissue Massage, Qi Gong and Tai Chi : Self Care for the Massage Therapist and Eastern Medicine Energy Principles: A Practical Application are all currently available in our continuing education course catalog.

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