The following is an excerpt from an article for massage therapists and clients which illustrates a simple yet very effective technique to increase the benefits of a massage session. I invite you to give it a try during your next massage!
The Beauty of Breathwork
by Anne WilliamsBreathwork is essential to deepening a massage therapy experience. Working with our clients breathing patterns has great physical and psychological benefits. Breathwork helps the client manage pain reduction during the use of some techniques in a massage treatment. Such as trigger point work and myofasical release. Having a disturbed breathing pattern can disrupt the balance of carbon dioxide and oxygen balance in the body. Corrective breathing restores balance and proper levels.
A simple yet effective technique for client and therapist is pursed-lip breathing. Pursed-lip breathing tones and strengthens the diaphragm. This technique may be used at the opening or closing of a massage treatment and our clients may continue to practice this at home. Exhale with taut lips, the diaphragm contracts on inhalation, and relaxes on the exhalation. This technique keeps the diaphragm working at the same time it’s relaxing. The therapist, with permission, places their hand on the client's abdomen and instructs the client to raise your hand with each inhalation through their nose lasting 2-4 seconds. The client then exhales through the lips slowly for 4-8 seconds count. This technique is done a few times. This technique has been documented in clinical research to help decrease low back pain when done regularly.
Breathwork is key for the therapist as well, by supporting our good body mechanics, thus reducing the risk of injury.