Three ways to save your thumbs when you give massage

Three ways to save your thumbs when you give massage

Today I’m going to show you three different ways to save your thumbs when you give massage. The number one complaint in giving massage is hurting fingers especially the thumbs. It’s because people tend to use straight thumbs to massage everything by circling their straight thumbs and often they are asked to massage the tight shoulders where people carry lots of stress. You work your poor thumbs harder if the target shoulders are tighter. When you circle your thumb you are putting a lot of strain on the base of your thumbs so of course they get tired and sore very quickly. I know it because I used to do it all the time before I went to a massage school.

1. Hooked thumb – You simply hook your thumb. You can press and circle the target area or give short strokes over a trigger point. Use a hooked thumb for the areas where you can put your hand around for additional support such as arms, hands, legs, and shoulders. You will notice your thumbs are much stronger and you can dig in easier when you hook them. Compared to a straight thumb, when you circle your hooked thumb you will feel much less strain on the base of the thumb partially because you have less range of motion and it’s a good thing.

2. Supported thumb – In Shiatsu which literally means finger pressure you use your thumbs to press the acupressure points. I’ve seen Shiatsu specialist of 50 years and his thumbs were huge with very thick pad and they were bent outward. If you don’t have the Shiatsu thumbs, use supported thumbs. Supported thumb is a thumb supported by the side of the index finger with the tip of the thumb sticking out just a little bit. Use a supported thumb for pressing acupressure points and finger springing. Your thumb becomes more stable as you lean in with your body weight and it prevents your thumbs from over stretching.

3. Straight thumb – Yes you can use straight thumb but not for circling. Use your straight thumb for gliding. When you use a straight thumb, try to keep the V shape between the thumb and index finger and keep the line from the elbow to the thumb straight by keeping the wrist straight. Don’t bend the wrist. If you are massaging somewhere that’s arm length away, keep the line straight from the shoulder all the way to the thumb by keeping the elbow straight and the wrist straight and glide from the shoulder using the upper body. OK if you still must circle with a straight thumb, you can but the key is to keep the V and use the entire arm to make the circle.

Happy Massaging!

7-15-13: Three ways to save your thumbs in giving massage
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