What's different about working with the obese?
There are physiological considerations when working with an
obese person. Large people are often in constant, chronic pain;
their joints ache, their muscles are fatigued. They are used to
ignoring their body and its pain - they want to fit in, be 'normal'
and often under-report discomfort because they don't know its O.K.
to say that they are in pain.
Fat people are strong and have normal flexibility but may have
trouble reaching their full range-of-motion (ROM) unassisted. Large
people benefit from mobility work for their joints and muscles.
Many obese people suffer from sleep apnea, asthma and other breathing
problems. Many are unable to lay on their back or stomach for extended
periods of time. If you can't breathe if you can't relax! I will work
with you to find positions that are comfortable and effective.
The benefits of massage for the obese include: reducing chronic pain,
inflammation and swelling; improving mobility and circulation. Massage
can help increase the amount of exercise you're getting by helping your
body recover from exercise faster. It can reduce physical and emotional
stress and improve sleep.
For people who are more than 300 pounds, lying on a massage table may be
uncomfortable. Even though my table is wider than average, it may be too
narrow for a large person to get really comfortable. That's why I give
my clients the option of working on the floor. Floor work greatly
increases our options with regards to positioning, bolstering, and the
amount of stretching and mobility work we can do. The important thing
to remember, regardless of whether we're doing table or floor work is
that the more comfortable you are, the more effective the massage will be!
I have clients who are active in the Fat Acceptance movement, others who
have had the bariatric surgery to effect weight loss. In my opinion,
there's value in looking at both sides of the question. So here's links
to two organizations: