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What about the glutes?

by Samantha Jenkins August 16, 2019

What about the glutes?

A worrying trend seems to be developing in our industry.... 

 

More and more we are seeing posts where therapists are struggling to encourage clients to enjoy the benefits of working on their glutes, despite being booked for a full body massage.

 

Facebook post from a massage therapist about clients declining work on their glutes

 

This got us thinking...what is the root cause of the issue here? Is it solely down to clients being shy or unaware of the benefits of massage to these areas? Or has there been a shift in the training massage therapists are receiving? Is this leading to a lack of confidence in treating these areas or in approaching the conversation of consent with clients? 

 

So why it is important to massage these areas?

 

There are several ailments that can be relieved by massaging the glutes as well as many benefits to including the glutes in full-body massage treatments. 

 

  • Massaging the glutes can relieve leg pain caused by inactivity, overstretching, tight muscles, sports injuries or bursitis.

  • Massaging the glutes can relieve back pain caused by a fall, sciatica, a herniated disc or tightness in the glutes themselves. 
  • Improved range of movement and circulation.

  • Improved athletic performance and faster recovery times.

  • Massaging the glutes can be especially helpful for expectant mothers who frequently experience problems with strain on the lower back muscles.


Many of you have had clients that have been pleasantly surprised by the benefits of having their glutes worked on during a massage. 

 

Facebook post from Holly Wilson about working on the glutes

 

By choosing to push through any awkwardness you may just be beating all the competition. Taking time to explain to clients how working on their glutes can cure their specific issues not just shows your clients your expert level of knowledge but will also help you stand out against more generic treatments. 

 

How can you relay this information to clients and make sure they are comfortable when massaging their glutes? 

 

9 times out of 10 your clients' aches and pains could benefit from some glutes work. But just casually mentioning this will probably have clients running for the door or stressing out about the practicalities of how this works during the massage. Having an infographic to hand which you can use to explain the areas you would like to treat can use to help reassure clients of the scientific nature of our work. 

 

Image of the muscles in the glutes and thighs

 

Your expert knowledge accompanied by the image above will bamboozle most people who have never studied anatomy, proving exactly why they need you and putting their minds at ease! 

 

We found many massage therapists were unsure of the best way to drape their clients during work on the glutes. This handy demonstration can hopefully bring to life this somewhat tricky process! 

 

 

Another point to keep in mind is that no one wants to be lying on the table worrying about what is coming up! What is normal to us can be daunting to our clients so take time to explain to your clients how this part of the massage will work. After this you may find clients, especially in the UK, can still be shy about being touched in these areas. If someone is still uncomfortable sometimes the most simple techniques can be the most effective to put them at ease. 

 


Facebook post from Raechel Haller Lmt about making clients comfortable when massaging the glutes

 

Something to note

 

It is important to remember that you may have clients on your books that have experienced sexual abuse or a trauma which may make them uncomfortable with having certain parts of their body treated. 

 

Facebook post from Sadi Taylor about addressing areas of the body clients would like to be treated before starting

 

Whilst some clients might be able to express their needs vocally others may find it difficult to discuss. Give clients a chance to tell you their needs on paper as well as in discussions together with a simple box on their consent form asking if there are any areas they would like to avoid.

 

We totally appreciate that these conversations can be difficult as some clients can be more open to advice than others. A negative experience can easily have massage therapists reaching for the easy option and leaving glutes out of their treatments! So we wanted to create a simple infographic you can download and keep to help navigate these discussions as easily as possible! 

 Infographic on how to have the awkward Glutes work conversation with your massage client!

 

 

Do you include the glutes in your fully body massage treatments? If not, what holds you back? Let us know in our Facebook thread.  




Samantha Jenkins
Samantha Jenkins

Author



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Massage Table Size Guide

Massage tables comes in many different shapes and size. It can be confusing for you, the customer, to choose the right one but we are here to help!

A lot of customers call us up after they have bought the wrong size massage table elsewhere and we would like to help you avoid this mistake. It normally goes something like this; they like the look of a picture of a massage table on a website, they like the low price and then they check the carrying weight is ok. If the carrying weight fits their needs they click add to cart and the new massage table turns up at their doorstep in a few days. They unfortunately assume all massage tables are pretty much the same width and size.

The standard size of a massage table is 28 inches wide (71cms) and 73 inches (185cms) long. One of the reasons many "lightweight" budget massage tables are so cheap is because

  1.  They are smaller in size (normally around 61cms wide) and as such have less materials
  2. They are sold by specialist retailers who also sell anything else they can import and turn a profit on. As such they just buy the cheapest massage tables they can find in China. They go for smaller sizes as they are cheaper.

Make sure the massage table is the right size for you and your clients as the narrow massage tables at 61cms can be very uncomfortable for anyone who isn't petite and many clients cannot relax with their shoulders and arms unsupported.

 

The Width of the Massage Table:

Almost all therapists choose the standard 28 inch wide massage table. All our massage tables are the same length so it is only the width and shape our customers need to decide on.

Your massage table should be wide enough to cater for the wide variety of shapes and sizes of your clients. It needs to be wide enough to comfortably accommodate your treatment style, while being narrow enough to ensure you don’t have to strain your own back during treatments.

Each therapist's postural training and ability is different, so only you will know what massage table width you can handle. We have spoken to therapists who are five feet tall and get the wider 30 inch massage tables, and we speak to six foot therapists who have back problems and go for a 25 inch wide massage table. Everyone is different.

Generally speaking, if you are of smaller stature, you may do better with one of the narrower 25-inch massage tables. If you're quite tall, or are particularly keen to offer your clients a very spacious experience, a 30-inch massage table might be more suitable.

If you are in doubt, see if you can go into your local training college and see whether the massage tables there suit you. However, there is another way to get a feel for what will work of you don’t have access to a couch when you are deciding:

Cut out a piece of cardboard to the dimensions of both sizes you are deciding between. Put it on top of the kitchen table and lean over it. Visualise a client lying there, and see which width will suit you and your client best.

measuring the width of a massage table


Make sure you can get close enough to the table that you can pivot at the waist and have your shoulders squared to the clients hips, with your hands parallel to the clients' spine. Working in this position will ensure an injury-free career, so it's an important factor in your decision.

The most popular massage table widths are 28 and 30 inches. We sell 25-inch massage tables but you should really only choose this width if you are shorter in height and having a wider massage table might put your own back at risk over the course of your career.

You can also choose the 25-inch if you want to have the lightest massage table possible. By reducing the width of the massage table, the weight is also reduced. Now, this can mean a trade-off of some client comfort, but this trade is often worthwhile if you are a fully mobile therapist and use public transport frequently, where saving a kilogram or two will make a difference to you over time.

 

The Height Of the Massage Table

Nowadays, almost all portable massage tables come with height adjustable legs. Whichever massage table you choose should come with a large height range to accommodate you, and to cater for a broad range of therapies.

A common height range of massage tables is between 60 to 80cm, and this height range should cater for everyone. To check which height you need your massage table to be at follow this rule of thumb:

1. Stand up straight with your hands by your sides. Clench your fists.
2. Measure the distance between the floor and your knuckles
3. This distance should equal the height of your massage table.
4. Add a few inches in height to allow for the body of the patient on the massage table.

The height of a massage table is usually only adjusted when different therapists are using the same massage table, or if you have a client that is outside the average size you normally treat. So for example, if someone with a lot of body depth comes for a treatment after an average size person, you may need to adjust the height a notch or two.

You should be able to adjust the height of a massage table in just 2-3 minutes. Even though you mightn't adjust the height very often, the faster the better when you do have to!

There are 2 types of height adjustment mechanisms found on modern massage tables.

1) Twisting knobs (found only on wooden massage tables):

If you are working with a wooden massage table, it is better to have two knobs on each of the four legs for greater strength and reliability. When buying online, make sure to check how many knobs are on the legs. Cheap massage tables often only have one knob, and when you raise the legs to the highest heights they are less stable and have been known to snap.

2) Telescopic push-buttons (found only on aluminium massage tables):

The mechanism to adjust the height of an aluminium massage table is much the same as the push-button method on aluminium crutches. It only takes a few seconds to adjust each leg, and the mechanism is very reliable. Check out the video to see how it’s done.

 

Massage Table Shape:

The following are the different shapes of massage tables on the market.

1. Rectangle shaped with square corners 

This is the traditional shape of a massage table and the one you are probably familiar with seeing. Our Combi-lite 3 in 1 and Affinity Portaflex are shaped like this.

2. Rectangle shaped with rounded corners

Same as no 1 above in every way except the corners are rounded. Does not affect function in any way, just a different design/look.

 

3. Hour glass shaped with gradual gradient 

A fabulous massage table innovation in recent years, which solves a lot of the problems around choosing the correct width is the hourglass shaped massage table.


This style of massage table is wider at the ends, and tapers somewhat at the middle. This provide a spacious and comfortable experience for your client (as the shoulder and feet area are 30 inches wide) without compromising your own posture and health, as the middle of the couch where you lean over is a much narrower 26 inches wide.Having recently upgraded to one of these hourglass massage tables myself, I can vouch that my working days are much more comfortable, and many of my clients have commented on the extra comfort from the wider shoulder area.

 

4. Hour glass shaped with sharp gradient
Same as point above but instead of the it gradually going from wide to narrow, the massage table changes quickly from normal width to narrow width so people of very short stature can get in close.
5. Oval Shaped

 The name says it all! There are no corners on the massage table. Therapists normally choose this for one of two reasons. They simply like the look of this massage table and it is aesthetically more pleasing in their treatment room and/or they find it easier to move around the massage table during the treatment without having to side step the corners. This is particularly handy when space is limited in your treatment room.

oval massage table

 

Have any questions or comments about anything above? Please let us know in the comments below!