Friday, May 2, 2008

Massage Therapy Session: Using the face cradle to ensure client comfort

I want to discuss two important factors often overlooked in our day-to-day practices involving the face cradle.

Just yesterday, I received a massage and found that as I lay prone ready to relax, the cradle cushion was moving. Trying to adjust it, the Velcro strip was completely missing and I spent the rest of the session moving the padding every few minutes. The first thought that ran through my head was, “How many massages have been given here with this broken face cradle?”, and then it turned to, “What is the status of my face cradle at my practice?” It is a good idea to view your practice from the eyes of a client every couple of weeks. While there are numerous angles that you can come at this from, take a minute to lay on your table and ask yourself the following questions about your face cradle.

  1. Is it comfortable?
  2. Is it adjustable?
  3. Are there any pieces or parts that need repair or replacement?

Tying to relax in a broken face cradle is never comfortable for our clients and the truth is, many of them will never complain. Even more reason to run a quality check from time to time.

The second point involves the angle of the face cradle when the client is lying prone.

Surprisingly, improper adjustment is one of the most common mistakes I see therapists making during our classes. Ideally, the angle of the client’s head should not force the cervicals into compression, thus jamming the facet joints closed. Instead, look for length through the cervicals with the face cradle angled slightly toward the floor. This will call the neck into slight forward flexion, elongating the spine. A bolster is recommended underneath the chest in situations where the cradle is not adjustable.

Take a moment to observe the following photos for optimal cradle placement.

Angle uncomfortable & Angle more optimal

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