Figure 3.4

Ensure that the client is safe at all times. Help the client onto the couch.

Position the client correctly on the couch. A correct, well-supported position will ensure that the client is comfortable and will aid muscle relaxation. If the client is not well supported and comfortable, the muscles will be tense and will contract to hold the body parts. S/he will become restless and unable to relax and the massage will be ineffective. The position of the client must also allow the therapist to reach all areas easily without stooping or over-stretching.

Ask the client to lie centrally on the bed.

Ensure that the client's body is straight.

In the supine lying position (on the back) offer the client one or two pillows under the head for support. Another pillow placed under the knees will help to flatten the lumbar spine. Some clients like this knee support and it is particularly beneficial for those with back pain. This pillow must be fairly small and firm so that it does not hinder the leg massage.

In the prone lying position (face down) the head is usually turned to one side, with or without a pillow under the head depending on client preference. A pillow placed under the abdomen will round out the lumbar spine, which will make those clients with lordosis more comfortable. A small firm pad or tightly rolled towel can be placed under the ankles. This ensures that the anterior tibial tendons are not over-stretched. Alternatively the feet may just hang over the edge of the bed. The arms may be placed down along the body or bent and placed on either side of the head.

Cover the client with two towels: one placed across the upper trunk from neck to waist; the other placed lengthways from the waist to the feet.

Each part is uncovered when being worked on and then re-covered as the massage moves on.

Always ask if the client is warm and comfortable.

Figure 3.4

Client in supine position for massage.

Figure 3.5

Client in prone position for massage.

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