PT Classroom - Top Tips For Massage: Saving Your Hands  ׀ by Theresa A. Schmidt, DPT, MS, OCS, LMT, CEAS


Theresa A. Schmidt, DPT, MS, OCS, LMT, CEAS Theresa A. Schmidt, is the founder of Educise continuing education, based in in Long Island, NY. Theresa is a Boardcertified Specialist in Orthopedic Physical Therapy, a certified professional speaker, hypnotherapist, massage therapist, personal trainer, minister, and shamanic practitioner. Theresa’s work integrates the best of traditional and alternative medicine to help people achieve optimal wellness. Educise seminars empower health professionals with results-oriented evidence-based education and hands-on skills that enable them to make a real difference. Theresa received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from University of New England and served as faculty of the Physical Therapy and PTA Programs at Touro College in New York City. She also served as adjunct professor at Nassau Community and CUNY Queens Colleges. Theresa is a best-selling author and has published her research in MOJ Orthopedics and Fascia Research Congress III. Her website is:

Top Tips For Massage: Saving Your Hands

Give Yourself a Hand and Don’t get all Bent Out of Shape!

1. Before the session: practice mindful deep breathing and perform some gentle stretching warmup exercises to improve circulation and warmth. Reach arms overhead, behind your back, flex and extend elbows, wrists and fingers, open and close palms. Do some basic body stretches and limber up for the work.
2. Keep yourself hydrated and fit. Get plenty of sleep, good nutrition, and a regular fitness regimen to boost energy, endurance and power for more great massages.
3. Schedule a reasonable number of clients at a time, with breaks for rest or a nap between sessions to avoid fatigue.
4. Use proper foot placement and stance when massaging. Assume a neutral posture with one foot ahead of the other, as if taking a step, with knees slightly bent, spine with neutral lumbar lordosis, to enable you to simply lean forward to work into the tissues instead of curling your fingers and bending your wrists to apply compression to the muscles. Learn Tai Chi to master this type of posture and movement.
5. Use proper ergonomics when working: work on a high-low electric table, have plenty of room to move around the table, use bolsters and pillows to position clients for access to the body, keep the body part close to you to avoid bending and reaching.
6. Employ a large repertoire of techniques and vary the interventions to avoid repetitive strain. Take continuing education courses to maximize your selection. Clients will appreciate the variety!
7. Avoid overuse and awkward positions of your body: keep thumbs and fingers in neutral when gliding, do not hyperextend the thumb, fingers or wrist. Stack joints perpendicular to the earth to maximize efficiency and avoid strain to tendons and ligaments. Use gravity to do the work.
8. Have fun with massage tools such as foam rollers, handheld tools, balls and massage cups.
9. Avoid repeated or sustained positions and pinching or gripping. Alternate techniques and use both or alternating hands, elbows, knuckles, forearms to ease your strain.
10. Use less force. You can access deep structures with many techniques, including myofascial release, positional release/strain-counterstrain, craniosacral therapy and neuromuscular re-education work.
11. Be part of a support network, trade massages with other clinicians, be active in your associations.
12. You are a massage athlete. Just as professional athletes have a coach, you can benefit from the advice of an expert Ergonomic Coach. Schedule a consult today. You can send the consultant a video of your massage. The expert advice could be priceless for preventing injury and putting more power and longevity into the career that you love.
13. Are you part of a company or franchise? Improve quality and productivity, reduce costs, improve staff engagement and build a safety culture at your workplace. Make an expert Ergonomic Coach part of your team and the entire company learns to be proactive to prevent pain and promote the health of your entire team for fabulous results!

Dr. Schmidt is a board-certified specialist in orthopedic physical therapy and a certified ergonomic assessment specialist. Learn more with free videos, home study and live seminars with Educise at And on Facebook at


Last revised: December 25. 2020
by Theresa A. Schmidt, DPT, MS, OCS, LMT, CEAS, CHy, DD

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Please review our terms and conditions carefully before utilization of the Site. The information on this Site is for informational purposes only and should in no way replace a conventional visit to an actual live physical therapist or other healthcare professional. It is recommended that you seek professional and medical advise from your physical therapist or physician prior to any form of self treatment.