Releasing the Lower Back

Deep massage and mobilising techniques

NEXT WORKSHOP: See the Diary for workshop dates, cost, locations, etc

The focus is on expanding the massage practitioner’s range of techniques for working effectively on this common area of stiffness, tension and discomfort.

1 day course – working with the client prone

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This position enables you to work on many of the muscles that relate to the lower back and the back of the pelvis.

The day begins with a review of the relevant muscles and their actions, with hands-on identification to help understand  how they function. Then we’ll work with partenrs prone. You’ll learn deep massagevibration and pressure techniques for releasing tension, and softening and energising the muscles. And we’ll also look at promoting flexibility in the lower back and hips with applied stretches and mobilisations.

2 day course –  extend your skills further

The first day is the same as the 1 day course.

On the second day, we focus on working with the client

  • supine – for massaging on the front of the relevant lower trunk and thigh muscles, and applying leg stretches for the lower back and hip joints
  • and in side-lying position – which provides 360° access for massaging and mobilising the lower back and around the hip joints.

Both of these courses include instruction on

Prone lumbar mobilisation
  • choosing appropriately from these techniques for the individual client
  • ‘listening’ with your hands – monitoring and adapting to the client’s responses
  • how to moderate the pressure
  • smoothly blending the techniques into massage treatments
  • using your body well and looking after your hands (being effective with minimal strain)
  • offering the client relevant ‘homework’ exercises for self-maintenance

“Lots to take away and build on”

Note: This course and the Freeing the Shoulders course are each taught as stand-alone courses. However, they also complement each other if you attend both for an integrated training.

NEXT WORKSHOP: See the Diary for workshop dates, cost, locations, etc

Releasing the Lower Back- More workshop information

The Releasing the Lower Back day is designed to help you understand more about the lower back and to increase your skills to work on this area. It is designed for people who have basic massage skills. Because of variations in massage training levels, this, in practice, means a range of skill levels – but, in my experience in running this course for over two decades, what I’m offering expands the skills of all who have attended (apart from one very experienced sports trainer who’d worked on sports teams for a long time).

We begin the day by looking briefly at the main groups of muscles of the lower back (and feel them hands-on on fellow participants – what they feel like relaxed, in action and tensed up, and on different builds) to make some sense of what’s going on in this area and some of the reasons why the common tensions arise. Then, for the rest of the day, we work with partners – giving and receiving – with me demonstrating and then coaching you in a range of techniques for the lower back, with the client prone – primarily strong petrissage techniques (to stretch and move the muscles), deep tissue type of techniques, helpful percussion and vibration techniques, and passive stretches and mobilisations.

It is NOT a sports massage course – we are not trying to jump around and just focus on particular ‘problem’ areas. Instead the aim is to expand your repertoire of techniques for generally releasing lower back tension and for working more specifically on knotty/tight areas within general massage sessions. 

The techniques are ones that you can easily incorporate into familiar sessions (with a little practice). You can use them in a general full body massage session, or to spend more time easing up those tight areas (and therefore spend less time on other body areas), or do sessions where you primarily focus on the lower back. I coach you on how to work in a ‘fluid’ way, so that you can use them in a relaxation massage (without breaking the mood) or in a sports massage session, how to apply them in ways that put the least strain on your hands while being most effective, including how to use your body most effectively to support your hands. (A crucial aspect of my teaching is how to work most effectively with the least strain on your hands and body – the subject of my book “Dynamic bodyuse for effective, strain-free massage”.)

In the past, I found that if I threw a large number of techniques at people, they tended to feel overwhelmed, didn’t consolidate many of them and forget many of them by the end of the day. Therefore my teaching now involves covering less techniques more thoroughly. My teaching style is to demonstrate one technique at a time. I then move around the room and coach each person individually (as needed) to consolidate the technique (including coaching on how best to adapt the technique to suit your own body – your hands and your build). This gives people more time to practice and consolidate each technique (to really get a handle on them). I also demonstrate and coach on variations on the technique, and ways of adapting to different client’s builds and tensions.

Towards the end of the day, I like to do a demonstration of how to integrate what we’ve covered within a general massage of this area.

The overall aim is to give you both more specific techniques and more confidence and familiarity with working on each client’s lower back.

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