A Masseur’s Ingenious Technique


After a release of the knot on my back, I no longer have a hard time making my fingers hold each other at my back as part of my shoulder stretching.

When we had our training in Tuina therapy five months ago sponsored by the Department Of Health of the Philippines, I had a chance to meet massage therapists from the remote places of Cordillera.

During our breaks, we had a chance to ask the others to give us treatment, like, when one have headaches, back-pains, and other physical discomforts.

I found that most of those attendees were novice; however, a few I can consider as closed to experts due to their experiences they told and the cases they encountered. What’s interesting is that each one have their own ways to treat they developed in their course of helping people. The techniques vary but the most common hand tool being used is the thumb. However, there is one fellow, a practicing priest, whose technique is unique. He uses his elbow to release knots especially on the back.

He said he learned the trade by just doing it to people whom he saw needs help to ease their pains. He did not go to a formal training in school or learned from any expert masseur. And those people he treated and more people are calling him for his service during weekdays to treat their body pains. He said his hands especially his thumbs gets tired easily, so, he uses his elbow to press on muscle knots he found at the back.

I learned to use elbow when we were just kids in the farm, but I am not a fan of elbow technique so I don’t use it much as part of my technique and procedure in massage – probably I used it but maybe on about 5 people out of 100 patients as far as I remember.

I saw him how he uses his elbow treating the others on their back while they are sitting on their chairs. I figured it is like finger pressure using the elbow instead of the thumbs as a main tool for applying concentrated pressure.

I thought I was just an observer of what he was doing, but on the fourth day of our training, I just felt his elbow on my back pressing on the muscles. It felt good so I positioned myself better on my chair, so, he can have a better reach on the muscle knot, at the level of my scapula that was bothering me for years. It took a few moves then he just rested his fantastic elbow on the right spot. He gently pressed then twirled on top of the muscle knot. He concentrated on the point for ten minutes then he went back to his seat when he probably felt the knot was already released as I felt a big load was removed from the area.

The area he treated was bothering me on and off for ten years but no masseurs I asked to treat it can give the proper pressure it needs. The problem made my right shoulder joint tight whenever I tried to reach at my left fingers at my back as part of my stretching.

From that moment he treated me, I felt a released on my shoulder, and until now I can reach and have my fingers of my left and right hand meet at my back and hold each other without any struggles. Before that time, I had to stretch them regularly to maintain the elasticity of my right shoulder, else, the tightness comes back and having them hold each other at the back was very, very hard and painful.

What do you think?

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