Body Sense

AUTUMN | 2015

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12 Body Sense WHAT DOES GLUTE WORK LOOK LIKE? The way massage therapists approach your glutes is no different than how they address any other part of your body, with the exception of some additional draping considerations. And, as with any other part of your body, your therapist may work your gluteal muscles with his or her forearms, knuckles, or elbows, and utilize techniques like pin-and- stretch, kneading, acupressure, cross-fiber friction, and traditional Swedish massage strokes. Therapists addressing these muscles are looking to not only strengthen the gluteals, but to relax and align them, too. DRAPED OR UNDRAPED? There are two ways to address the gluteal muscles in your massage session. Some massage therapists prefer to work the glutes through a sheet, allowing them to use a more aggressive therapeutic approach on the muscle group. Other therapists prefer working on exposed skin, using a secure gluteal drape, to really meet the tissue head-on. And some therapists incorporate both ways of addressing these strong, dense muscles. As with any massage or bodywork session, the client maintains control of his or her own body. If you want to leave your underwear on during a massage session, you are more than welcome to do so. Therapists will still be able to address your gluteal muscles, although clothing can inhibit the quality of the therapist's work. Regardless, your therapist will be able to adjust his or her technique to accommodate your modesty needs. { { Karrie Osborn is senior editor for Body Sense. SPEAK UP Finally, while your gluteal muscles should not be ignored, you might find that in some sessions you're not comfortable with work in that area. At any time you can ask your therapist to stop what she's working on and move elsewhere. This applies to any part of your massage and at any point during your session. You can also discuss your goals with the therapist before the session begins. Remember, you're in charge during your massage session, so don't hesitate to speak up if the pressure is too deep or not deep enough, if the room is too warm or too cold, or if you'd rather he not work your glutes (or your feet, or your face, or …) that particular day. Our gluteal muscles are more important than we might think, and although they spend a lot of their time being sat on, their role in the human body is integral and complex. In your next massage session, make sure they get the attention they deserve! B S

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