Self Care Gameplan
As healthcare professionals who use manual therapy, we generally are good with prescribing homecare to our clients and helping them with what they need to do to get better, improve and achieve their treatment goals. However, what if one time one of our clients turned the tables on us and questioned us on our homecare? What would your answer look like? Would you be at a loss for words? With completing school and becoming a Massage Therapist in 2022 I started asking around to different Massage Therapists, Chiropractors, and Physiotherapists I knew that had been in their profession for several years to find out about the wear and tear of their profession on their bodies and what they do. Because in school it was made out to seem it wasn’t a matter of “if” our bodies will break down but “when”, and the advice being to limit the number of treatments to help delay this and extend our careers as long as possible; which did not sit well with me. Fortunately, the people I asked gave the same advice, you must take of yourself and make it a priority. No one provided any specifics on what to do, just that I needed to do something that worked well for me. Here is my current self care gameplan that I am following.
Percussion/Vibration – I will use my massage gun or more recently my RockWave over my arms and chest for 2-5 minutes as I find this helps get them prepared for treatment
Trigger Point Massage Ball – If I notice any areas feeling exceptionally restricted or tight, I will target those with my massage ball
Stretching – After using my massage gun I will complete stretches for my forearms and chest while adding in stretching for any other areas that I may notice are feeling restricted that day
During the week I aim for 5 workouts which are a mix of cardiovascular and strength training. Life does not always allow for 5 weekly workouts, but over time the key is consistency.
My arms and chest tend to take the most wear and tear so when my forearms are feeling beat up, I will use my RockPods on my forearms by having them on while I continuously put my hand through all the different movements it makes.
For my chest I will put RockPods on it, I tend to place two on my sternum and one around the front of each of my shoulders. From there I will go through a couple of chest and neck stretches with them on, and then do a couple of sets of rows with free weights or suspension trainer.
Moving poorly throughout your day as you treat will inevitably lead to injury or chronic areas of pain and tension. Treating with using my whole body cuts down on the wear and tear of areas like my hands and forearms, while at the same time incorporating more movement. It’s common throughout a treatment that I will be kneeling or squatting down when treating a specific area instead of bending over, and I even avoid having an electric table to promote moving more throughout the day.
Providing manual therapy in whatever your profession may be takes its toll on your body, much like an athlete needs to train and recover to perform at their best, so do we as healthcare professionals. Our game plan cannot be to simply continue limiting our treatments more and more, so what is your self-care game plan? Comment below to share your game plan or if you have any tips on what you have found works well for you.
Tyler, Massage Therapist and RockTape Ambassador