Massaging the armpit

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Massaging the armpit

Postby jbo5 on Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:52 pm

I started going to a new place for massage that is a larger place with a number of MTs late last year. I loved the chest/ab work the MT I got did, but sometime later I scheduled an appointment with the Mt, but there was a mixup and it turned out she didn't actually work that day so I got someone else. The MT I got was exceptionally good and did chest and abs just as well, but she also massaged my armpits during the upper body work for quite some time. I never asked for this of course. First with each arm at my side and then she positioned herself in front of me and did both at once. I loved it immensely. My local deep tissue person does some trigger point type things in the armpit briefly, but I've never had someone do it with the gliding and pressure of a Swedish type massage just like any other part, nor for such an extended time.

So after back from vacation in January I call to make an appt with the MT who also did the armpits again, and they said she was no longer working there. So I book with the first MT once again at the same place and I asked her during my massage if she ever did the armpits, and she said no. How common, or rare, is it for an MT to massage the armpits? I'm scrupulously clean and not very hairy at all, and I'd love to have that on a regular basis, but I'm not sure how likely that is. But for the one MT is was clearly standard treatment and important to her (she chatted extensively about health issues the whole time) to do it, so I don't know.
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Re: Massaging the armpit

Postby RowanB on Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:04 am

We're not really going down the same "what requests are appropriate road" with this guy again are we?!
:shocked:
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Re: Massaging the armpit

Postby JLWmassage on Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:39 am

I work in the arm pit to help with upper back, neck and shoulder issues. It is not a common place for other therapists to work in
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Re: Massaging the armpit

Postby moogie on Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:37 am

The axillary region is normally only worked if the client is seeking therapeutic massage for a specific problem involving the shoulder girdle. I have never in 20 yrs had anyone ask for general work in that area.

That said, if a client request work there, there is certainly no reason to say no unless the therapist does not feel that they are suffiently trained to do so.

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Re: Massaging the armpit

Postby Pete on Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:07 am

I have to agree - I will work through the armpit to access the subscapularis muscle but it's very specific work (and not very pleasant to receive.) In over 10 years as an MT, I've never had anyone ask for armpit work for GP (general purposes.)
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Re: Massaging the armpit

Postby riversinger on Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:11 am

I agree with Moogie & Pete - in 22 years I've never had anyone ask for armpit work. I only work along the lateral border of the scapula for those in need of subscap work.
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Re: Massaging the armpit

Postby jdcan on Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:03 pm

I had a request for one, another LMT. I also aimed specifically for subscapularis. And I dropped the arm off the edge of the table to glide over the teres and lats. I like it as well, though of course, the subscapularis TrPs are no fun!
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Re: Massaging the armpit

Postby jbo5 on Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:40 pm

We're not really going down the same "what requests are appropriate road" with this guy again are we?!


RowanB: You act like George Costanza's mother. The others gave an honest answers to an honest question prompted by real life experience, and my thanks to them. The question was prompted by what another MT did as a part of her standard practice, and I appreciate that they answered. But the intentionally and bitter alienating snark from such as yourself in this forum is pretty amazing. I knew I'd have to take some of it to get an answer from the more serious folks here so it was expected, but I think it's rather sad nonetheless. My dad always told me his dad told him not to trust people that don't trust people. Never a truer word said.
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Re: Massaging the armpit

Postby katamay on Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:35 pm

I do deep work on the pectorals where they form the anterior wall of the axilla, and my clients love it. The pecs don't get nearly enough attention it seems, especially in people with upper back pain.

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Re: Massaging the armpit

Postby GreenDragonfly on Sat Feb 04, 2012 11:02 am

katamay wrote:I do deep work on the pectorals where they form the anterior wall of the axilla, and my clients love it. The pecs don't get nearly enough attention it seems, especially in people with upper back pain.

Kat


I also feel that way Kat. Any time I'm addressing the upper body for problems, I make sure to work the front as well. So that people don't think I'm not listening to them, I always briefly explain what I am doing and why. If relief is the goal, we have to look at a wider picture!
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Re: Massaging the armpit

Postby healingfaerie on Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:12 pm

Working the axillary area is amazing. I have clients who have severe carpal tunnel and other nerve-related syndromes with their arms and there is a massive nerve plexus in that area. so working on the soft tissues (muscles) there is immensely helpful. Clients often ask it of me. I wouldn't call it common in general, however.
And I would say that it should be, because this area is so overused and so under-treated. It's a great spot! I believe all therapists should be trained to work this area.
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Re: Massaging the armpit

Postby kathryn on Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:43 pm

I've never had anyone ask for the work either, but I chalk that up to the fact that clients aren't generally aware of the benefit of working around the axillary region.

I work the teres, infra, triceps, lats, serratus muscles while the client is prone and then when they are supine I put their arm in external rotation and abduction (unless they have impingement syndrome or shoulder bursitis) and work the teres, lats from there as well. Not to mention I work other muscles of the anterior shoulder, subscap and pectorals but with arm in a different position. When one side is worked in this way, I can see a big difference in the way the shoulder lays on the table compared to the other side. I use that kind of work for every client that comes in with neck, shoulder or back complaints.

Once a client experiences that work in my office, they remark how pleased they were with the results. But I doubt they would specifically ask for it if they saw another mt, simply due to not understanding the kinesiology of the shoulder girdle.
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Re: Massaging the armpit

Postby EgoMagickian on Sat Apr 14, 2012 8:13 pm

While I have never had any clients specifically request it (probably simply due to widespread lack of experience with it on the part of massage clients), one of my favorite massage therapists asked me once about this, if I tended to work the armpit or not in relaxation work, and told me how much she loved receiving it. Perfectly legit possibility.
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Re: Massaging the armpit

Postby JasonE on Sat Apr 14, 2012 9:48 pm

I work the axillary area in most sessions. I tend to use a lot of positional release and DNM, with MFR or other work as needed. I prefer to work this area with the client supine, before turning them prone.
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