December 9, 2019
Chair Massage: Rib Release Techniques for Rib Pain

Chair Massage: Rib Release Techniques for Rib Pain

BROOKE: Tell me when. CAMERA: You go ahead when you’re ready. BROOKE: Alright, so this tutorial is gonna be on rib release um it’s a big thing that clients
are very impressed with, so— and it’s super easy and it’s going to be kind of
a quick training so if anyone else has techniques on rib release please feel
free to share afterwards. So typically when you get a client and they and you
do that first verbal assessment and you ask where they have restrictions more
often than not somebody’s not going to typically come in and say “oh this rib.”
You know, I want you to—I think I have a rib out or something like that. That’s
not what they assume is going on so the symptoms that somebody might have is:
painful, sharp pain while breathing, sharp pain
near the spine while moving their arms around or limited mobility in their neck,
painful movement of the neck. Those are common symptoms for rib restrictions but
they’re not the only ones that can be. There can be many others. So the way I
start most of my sessions, just because this kind of addresses a wide range of
restrictions, I always start with my forearms on either side of the spine,
right in the belly of the erector spinae group, and if I knew my chair better I
would have raised this a little because it’s a little short. CLIENT: we can!
BROOKE: but we’re
good. Ok so I have my forearms on either side of the spine and I just wait for
her breath. If your client is breathing kind of shallow and you don’t feel it
you can call for breath. But I just wait and I’m feeling where the breath is
moving. Is it moving up towards her head? Is it moving down her spine? Is it moving
sideways? And where is it not moving? Is it in one side of her spine but not
the other? So I’ll wait until I make that assessment. Takes maybe two to three
breath cycles. So in Janelle, she has pretty good breath but I’m going to
guess because of the limited motion of her breath that there’s more restriction
this side. So then I’ll do some compressions down the spine and right
now I’m feeling for a rib restriction. Now what you might feel is—so ribs they
lay generally pretty flat like this and then when you breathe they move like the
venetian blinds like this up and down so if a rib is stuck, it’s going to be
sideways like this and you might feel a sharp edge similar to your the blade of
your forearm. It’s going to feel kind of predominant comparative to the other
ribs and you’re going to feel a sharpness like a, like an edge. So what I
do if I find a rib and I’m not finding anything particular on Janelle, but I’m
going to pretend. So I’ll find that little sharp piece of rib and then I’ll
give it a spring test. So a spring test is not like a bounce like this and it’s not
anything where you’d see your client move so it’s not that either. Sorry,
Janellle. CLIENT: THat’s alright. BROOKE: so what it is is just a little bit of weigh in and then a back
off and what I’m trying to feel for is does this rib spring? Does it move? And if
it does you can test the one above it or below it just to compare. Is it moving? Is
it not moving? Is it moving just as well? And so if you determine, yeah, that rib
doesn’t move as good as the one above and below it so then I would ask my
client is this a tender spot for you? Does this have a quality to it? And more
often than not they’re gonna be like— before you even ask, while you’re pushing—
they’re gonna be like oh yeah that hurts. That’s a good spot. Or their answer could
be “no I don’t feel anything.” So if a rib isn’t painful and it’s just in this
position and more than likely it’s not stuck, it’s just in this position and it
just moves differently. And if that’s the case don’t worry about it. We don’t care
if things are nice and flat and pretty. We just care if they’re moving okay?
Because movement is medicine. So we don’t want to just like jam her rib back into
the spot where it’s not used to. So she’s like “yes there’s pain” and and you can
determine it’s not moving so the next thing to intervene is—so you want to
determine is it stuck open or is it stuck closed? Nine times out of 10 it’s
going to be stuck open but in either way you have a 50-50 chance of guessing. I
can go over a whole spiel of how you can really determine but in a chair massage
you don’t have really that much time to do that much of an assessment and the
client is going to be like “stop assessing me! Just massage me!” So a quick
intervention for this is you would take the clients arm and you would place it
on your own leg like this and say, “just let your arm be heavy.” Right here. So you
just want their arm to line up with their side. Okay? It doesn’t really matter of
the position rotation. I prefer elbow out but that’s just me. And then I’ll find
that restriction again and I can either use fingertips or elbow. And you don’t
want to do this this. I’m doing this for camera you want to be more here or
here—just whatever your body mechanics likes to do. So I’m on this rib and I’m
giving it just some pressure and then I’ll instruct my client “Janelle, I want you
to take a deep breath in and then on your exhale I want you to blow out
your birthday candles and reach down to the floor with your arm.” And that’s going
to compress the ribs closed and now take a breath in and then you’re going to
encourage the opening of the rib and then do one more of those out reach
reach reach reach reach reach more breath out. And breathe. And rest. And you
can shake out her arm and put it back and then reassess. Hmmm is it still there?
Is it moving? How does that feel now Janelle? Does it feel amazing that your rib that wasn’t
stuck is now unstuck? CLIENT: It was amazing BROOKE: Good. Okay so that’s um that’s a quick
intervention for it. Now, if the rib was stuck closed—so let’s
say you did that and it didn’t work like oh no it still hurts and it’s still not
moving—so you could do another assessment or sorry—intervention—where
you place the clients arm above their head like this. Now only do this if their
shoulders are happy and healthy and you’ll learn that in your verbal intake.
So you’ve got it this way and you’ll take your clients hand like this just as
a support and then you’ll say “shallow breath in and big breath out and big
breath in,” and then you’ll just apply some pressure and then rest. That one
doesn’t happen very often. More often than not they’re not closed, they’re stuck
open. But that’s that’s how you would do a stuck closed rib. okay? So those are the
two main interventions—quick interventions for a chair massage for a
rib. Now for the first rib. So you’ll have your client sit up and place their hands
on the chest rest for support. The first rib is when a client feels like they
have a stiff neck. They can’t move it very well and when they do it’s painful.
So the first thing that you want to look at is the trap area and is one higher
than the other?So you kind of eyeball and assess be like “hmm a little higher
than the other.” Now, if somebody has a rib that’s like up here then that’s not your
scope of practice, okay? That—that’s actually something like a cervical rib
or something like that. But if it’s just slightly above then what you want to do
is instruct your client to do a shoulder roll. “move your shoulders up and back and
rest your scapulas or shoulder blades on your spine there. Sorry, your rib cage.
and let your scapula just kind of melt down your back. Good.” And now I’ve
got her traps and I’m just kind of peeling them back
And I might do a little finger compression, grab those traps and peel
them back. Okay. And then walk your fingers a little bit
forward and now you’re going to feel those ribs—those first ribs. So I’m doing
this little spring test I decided—her first rib is awesome.
They’re both springy. They’re both happy, healthy first ribs. But if there was one
that was stuck one would be bouncy and one would be not bouncy and that means
it’s a stuck first rib. So that first rib if it’s higher, scalenes could be pulling
it up, right? So some scalene work,soften to soften a scalene, but again you want
to be really gentle. You don’t want to mash on these things because there’s
that big bundle of nerves back here called the brachial plexus! Okay? And
nerves do not like to be mashed on. They like to be treated nice so you’ll do
some of your own scalene work. Get that all done. And once you’ve assessed the
scalenes and gotten them nice and soft you can either—depending on who you
are and who your client is—you can get back on that rib with some finger pressure or
you can drop an elbow, but if you do, make sure that it’s gentle and keep in mind
that the harder you press the less you’re going to feel and you need to
feel this rib move. So I’ll instruct Janelle or your client to “tuck your chin
into your chest. Give yourself a double chin, and now let your eyeballs fall
down to your lap and your head to fall down a little bit more. Good. And now let
your eyes rotate your head to look at your knee on the same side. There you go.”
And they’re just going to hang out. I felt her rib move. I can apply a tiny bit
pressure. How’s the pressure Janelle? Is that ok? and then move your eyes back to
your lap and bring your eyes back up to horizon. There you go. And then reassess.
Yeah, now we got some more movement in there and if you got yeah some movement
or not as much movement the next thing you can do, same thing.
Peel the traps backwards, get an elbow on there, tuck your chin into your chest or
give yourself a double chin, is that the same thing? And then let your head fall down
towards your lap and then let your opposite ear go to your opposite, to the
shoulder. Sorry, side bend your neck. There you
go. Okay, so this is awesome. So your clients would be going to be like “what?
What are you saying?” So you can even say alright so just down at your lap. Side
bend to your shoulder. Okay? and you got to keep your head down the whole time,
rather than looking up. Okay, let’s start over. Get your elbow in there. Tuck
your chin, eyes down, here to shoulder and that’s a stretch.
and then eyes back to lap and then up to horizon. Ooh we got a pop! That was good right? and
I was like—how much pressure was I using? CLIENT: Not a lot. BROOKE: Like none right? CLIENT:Like medium
pressure. BROOKE: Yeah. And then I say something cute like chiropractic
adjustments are free. I don’t say that. CLIENT: Oh I have this knot in my neck right there. No. BROOKE: Yeah, Let me just get that for you. Okay, so that’s Rib release! Client: Cool! BROOKE: That’s all there is to it!

5 thoughts on “Chair Massage: Rib Release Techniques for Rib Pain

  1. I cannot lay on my stomach for massage because those rib muscles snap or pull and I have excruciating pain with every breath. She doesn't even touch me yet and the muscle snaps. So, if my masseuse puts me in a chair to do the back massage will she be pushing hard enough to snap the intercostal muscle? Do you think I could use a rolled up towel under my collarbone to keep my chest off of the chair chest pad? Could you suggest something else I could try to use in the chair to keep the rib cage off of that pad.

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