Many massage and myotherapists are very aware of mindfulness practices. Some therapists even have their own mindfulness practice for self-care, such as yoga or meditation. However, including mindfulness with clients as part of a clinical practice is not common. Research has shown that mindfulness training can be clinically effective on its own, but until recently combining mindfulness and manual therapy had not been researched.
Published in the Journal of Pain Research, a recent study showed that adding mindfulness to massage in a physical therapy setting increased the effect of the massage treatment by reducing pain, both post-treatment and in a three month follow up, compared to just massage alone. How interesting!
It Only Takes 15 Minutes
The mindfulness component included performing a short 10 minute relaxation style massage over the client’s back. No special attention was paid to any particular area related to the client’s pain. The client was instructed to memorise the “pleasant sensation” during the short relaxation massage. Then, the client was given five minutes to focus on connecting the massage sensation with their site of pain. After the 15 minutes mindfulness exercise, the normal massage session was then resumed.
So, do you think this sort of mindfulness exercise could be integrated into your practice? If so, you can have the confidence that research supports the idea and it will also be enjoyable and effective for your clients.
Source: Zangrando, et al. 2017 The efficacy of a preparatory phase of a touch-based approach in treating chronic low back pain: a randomized controlled trial Journal of Pain Research Vol 10 pp 941-949
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