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I recently received a massage in Avon Park, FL where the LMT did not use a Bolster. In school we were taught to never go without one. He told me that a Bolster was a blockage to the flow of the massage. What are your thoughts and experience with or without a Bolster?

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@ Lara, you may be experiencing tight quads or iliopsoas that is aggravating the knee in that position, or your hamstrings don't like being shortened at all, or the popliteus as mentioned before. Extremely difficult to say without looking at you. Definitely try forgoing the bolster prone and see if that helps! It's all about YOU being comfortable on the table-- not the therapists' personal opinions on the validity of bolstering or pillows!

 

I think that all massage therapists should offer the option of bolster or pillow or not. I've had many new clients (who became regulars) sigh in relief and thank me for making them feel comfortable on the table when I offered bolstering or pillows. They would mention that other therapists didn't use them or offer and they would end up feeling uncomfortable during the massage and then told me they actually thought that was normal!

 

And then there are the clients that don't like bolsters or pillows and then there's the clients who have certain health issues where bolstering or pillows actually cause aggravation to their condition. The key is flexibility and being able to accommodate the various needs of your clients, which is why I keep bolsters and pillows of various lengths and shapes at my office.

I so enjoy that work Flexibility Rejam!
Sometimes we need to remember it is their massage.  The more flexible we are making available to them our knowledge, skill, and variety the more we can answer their needs.

Rajam K Roose said:

@ Lara, you may be experiencing tight quads or iliopsoas that is aggravating the knee in that position, or your hamstrings don't like being shortened at all, or the popliteus as mentioned before. Extremely difficult to say without looking at you. Definitely try forgoing the bolster prone and see if that helps! It's all about YOU being comfortable on the table-- not the therapists' personal opinions on the validity of bolstering or pillows!

 

I think that all massage therapists should offer the option of bolster or pillow or not. I've had many new clients (who became regulars) sigh in relief and thank me for making them feel comfortable on the table when I offered bolstering or pillows. They would mention that other therapists didn't use them or offer and they would end up feeling uncomfortable during the massage and then told me they actually thought that was normal!

 

And then there are the clients that don't like bolsters or pillows and then there's the clients who have certain health issues where bolstering or pillows actually cause aggravation to their condition. The key is flexibility and being able to accommodate the various needs of your clients, which is why I keep bolsters and pillows of various lengths and shapes at my office.

I use bolsters on most people, and I promise you I can push just as much energy whether i use one or not.  Can moving them in & out take time & energy, well, yes.  Depending on a person's size, I'll use an 8" 1/2 round or an 8" 3/4 round under their knees.  For someone with lumbar issues, it's very helpful.  I do a lot of work with damaged knees, and I always use a bolster with those clients, especially those with ACL or PCL issues.

Well, in every place i worked i prefer to use a bolster. It's comfortable, allows the lower back muscles to relax while we wrok that area and, when the person is laying on her/his back it allows to diminute the hiperlordosis that some of us experience in the lower back.

 

As a client, i experience this kind of feelings so i try to minimize it for my clients. Unless they prefer without. It all depends on the type of massage we are doing also.

 

 

 

 

I always used a bolster...and only had about one or two clients not want one...

I like to use a bolster or rolled towels under the ankles when someone is prone so that I can get a better sense of their alignment. Without the lift of a bolster it seems to me that the feet tip one way or other and can influence how their legs lay on the table. Some people's feet are much bigger than other's, too, and I encourage my clients with larger feet to accept the support.

 

Supine it makes sense to me to use support because of the lower back. And there's something I like about working on the front of the upper leg with that slight angle created by the bolster. I reach around behind the leg when I do effleurage and it helps to have some of the weight of it already off the table.

 

That said.......I almost always ask the client what they would like, and don't do it if they don't want it. Even then, there may be a particular technique I want to use where I think the bolster would help, so I tell them I am going to add a bolster, then remove it when I'm finished with that stroke.

 

I havent read the other replies yet..But, Its whatever feels more comfortable to the client.. My experience is that most want a bolster...However a few dont...Comfort is very important.  Your school and that therapist in Florida are both wrong...Its up to the client weather they want a bolster or not.

This reply comes almost a year later. I have been practicing massage for 14 yrs.

My practical experience has allowed me to be a substitute massage instructor and manage 65+ massage therapists for a busy day spa for 7 yrs. I also practice Reiki and Energywork. For 6 yrs I worked on a geriatric until she passed away in her early 90's. The geriatric bolsters are bigger and softer like a pillow and the vinyl makes them more sanitary then using a standard pillow even with a case on it. I currently work in a World Class 5 Diamond rated resort and these are the only bolsters used for the clients. Several of the services or modalities there incorporate lower leg stretches or are combined body treatments like scrubs which are not always practical to use bolsters. Bolsters are all about the comfort level of the client specifically if there are low back issues and face down under ankles with high arch issues. I find it hard to believe that someone would sacrifice the client's comfort because they felt it messed with their flow. As for interupting the energy flow in Reiki it would seem these individuals are claiming to have control over it. As an energyworker you are like a cord from the power source to the radio. Essentially a conduit not the radio or the electric source.

 I say enjoy the music and keep the Ego out of it and when your resources allow.... get a great geriatric bolster.

 My private clients love it which includes my Pro Hockey guys

Yes it is for the client, and how much good are you doing if at the same time you hurt the low back or cramp a foot. The key to massage is adaptability in my opinion. Do you have a link to share for the geriatric bolster? I use both soft and firm depending on client need. Time to add/replace a few.

Glenda Bisbee said:

This reply comes almost a year later. I have been practicing massage for 14 yrs.

My practical experience has allowed me to be a substitute massage instructor and manage 65+ massage therapists for a busy day spa for 7 yrs. I also practice Reiki and Energywork. For 6 yrs I worked on a geriatric until she passed away in her early 90's. The geriatric bolsters are bigger and softer like a pillow and the vinyl makes them more sanitary then using a standard pillow even with a case on it. I currently work in a World Class 5 Diamond rated resort and these are the only bolsters used for the clients. Several of the services or modalities there incorporate lower leg stretches or are combined body treatments like scrubs which are not always practical to use bolsters. Bolsters are all about the comfort level of the client specifically if there are low back issues and face down under ankles with high arch issues. I find it hard to believe that someone would sacrifice the client's comfort because they felt it messed with their flow. As for interupting the energy flow in Reiki it would seem these individuals are claiming to have control over it. As an energyworker you are like a cord from the power source to the radio. Essentially a conduit not the radio or the electric source.

 I say enjoy the music and keep the Ego out of it and when your resources allow.... get a great geriatric bolster.

 My private clients love it which includes my Pro Hockey guys

Hi 

glenda,

 

Thank you so much for your sharing. I would be interested in knowing how to purchase a geriatric bolster as well. 

Glenda Bisbee said:

This reply comes almost a year later. I have been practicing massage for 14 yrs.

My practical experience has allowed me to be a substitute massage instructor and manage 65+ massage therapists for a busy day spa for 7 yrs. I also practice Reiki and Energywork. For 6 yrs I worked on a geriatric until she passed away in her early 90's. The geriatric bolsters are bigger and softer like a pillow and the vinyl makes them more sanitary then using a standard pillow even with a case on it. I currently work in a World Class 5 Diamond rated resort and these are the only bolsters used for the clients. Several of the services or modalities there incorporate lower leg stretches or are combined body treatments like scrubs which are not always practical to use bolsters. Bolsters are all about the comfort level of the client specifically if there are low back issues and face down under ankles with high arch issues. I find it hard to believe that someone would sacrifice the client's comfort because they felt it messed with their flow. As for interupting the energy flow in Reiki it would seem these individuals are claiming to have control over it. As an energyworker you are like a cord from the power source to the radio. Essentially a conduit not the radio or the electric source.

 I say enjoy the music and keep the Ego out of it and when your resources allow.... get a great geriatric bolster.

 My private clients love it which includes my Pro Hockey guys

I use bolsters , or pillows , or body support system, or no support what so ever...Whatever makes the client comfortable.  Thats it.

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