First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

Portland, Oregon's Cancer Survivorship and Bodywork Zine by Compassion Arts PDX, LLC

Can personal injury improve your massage therapy practice?

Sprains, strains, cuts, contusions, breaks, concussions… There are so many ways to get hurt! Massage therapists know, because we see the gamut of ways human beings get injured in our bodywork practices. But, what happens when a massage therapist gets injured?

How can a personal injury improve your massage and bodywork practice?

I’ve been exploring this topic, having recently been in an auto accident. Fella from Kansas, decided to make a right turn from a middle lane and got me good. It was his first day in Portlandia. Bygones.

Improve your body mechanics. An injury forces us to reexamine our habitual body mechanics that might leave us sore or tired at the end of the day. A personal injury provides an opportunity to create mindfulness in our stance, awareness in our grasp and more easeful ways of doing bodywork. By working lighter, you might even become a more effective bodyworker, finding enhanced connection with the person on the massage table.

Listen to your own advice. Become a model for self-care in your community and do all of those bits of wisdom you share with your clients. Take more time to rest. Drink more water. Eat well. Shut off computers, smart phones and tablets an hour or two before sleep. Get to bed early. Be gentle with yourself. Talk a stroll. Enjoy nature. Listen to music. Dance. Laugh with friends. Find a mindful breath. Enjoy the day!

Create your wellness team. Find healthcare practitioners you enjoy working with, who listen more than assert, with the skill and expertise to back it up. In my motor vehicle accident case, I work with a chiropractor as my team lead, an osteopath, an acupuncturist, a physical therapist and two massage therapists, with different styles of bodywork. It’s all covered under my PIP. Your body may need different levels of manual therapy intervention at different times of the healing process. Going to the highest level of local practitioners, each with their own integrative perspectives ensures I am always learning and understanding more about my body throughout the healing process. I take responsibility for my own healing and value the guidance, reflection and knowledge of our community. Wonder Twin powers…. Activate!

A time for introspection. How can you strengthen and grow from your personal injury, physically, mentally and spiritually? Sometimes, an injury is so severe, it changes our direction completely. But, if you can heal and stay in the field, find patience with yourself. Give yourself time to heal. A personal injury may take your massage therapy and bodywork practice in a refreshing new direction.

Hamid : )

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7 comments on “Can personal injury improve your massage therapy practice?

  1. Nye Walker
    March 30, 2014

    Thanks Hamid. Great post!

  2. cambridgearomatherapy
    April 2, 2014

    I like it!
    Four and a half years ago I tore my ACL when my circus skills partner landed on my knee. You can see what I was doing here. I am still able to do other classes such as acrobatic balancing and in the early days after the injury when turning on that leg without being mindful was painful and would cause something to pop in it, during classes because I was using mindfulness it was never a problem.

    I guess the other message should be to use mindfulness and follow the advice we give our clients even when we don’t have an injury!

  3. Emily Bilodeau, LMT
    April 3, 2014

    I “perched” my right GH joint in a sudden fall a couple of years ago: it left me with a Hill-Sachs lesion and six months of PT, but thankfully I avoided surgery. I went through much of the same process you mention above, with one additional dymamic–my own recovery process deepened the patience and compassion with which I now communicate with injured clients.

    I wouldn’t have identified this as a deficit in my practice before, but the frustration of the pain, the physical limitation, and the normal plateaus in my recovery gave me better insight into my clients’ experience, both physically and emotionally. In the long run, this has certainly made me a better LMT.

  4. sightandseenblog
    April 4, 2014

    Well written article with good principles.
    I wondered with all that wonderful therapy you are receiving who is your PIP (primary insurance provider?) and how much do you need to spend for it?
    Also, how many of your clients pay out of pocket vs through insurance claims?

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Compassion Arts PDX, LLC

Hamid Shibata Bennett, LMT, CAMT (OBMT #301)
Advanced massage therapy and bodywork
3810 SE Belmont ST
Portland, Oregon 97214

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