Sitting Down on the Job

By Mandy Urena

(Author of If These Hands Could Talk: The Girl who Touched the World)



As a therapist who is on her feet all day long working at the spa, I look for ways to sneak in a cheeky little sit down during my work. I am now proud to say that I have wormed my way into sitting down on the job for a good 20 minutes out of an hour-long treatment—that’s 33.3% of the time. So, on a day where I have five back-to-back sessions, this translates into 100 minutes with my bottom firmly planted on my stool with wheels: my wheelie chair.


I feel like I’m getting away with something.


I sit when I am massaging the feet because I get much better leverage and there is no bending or squatting awkwardly on the floor. Then, I roll myself around to the head and sit as I massage the neck and chest, comfortably perched at a perfect angle to work the scalenes and SCM and slide under the trapezius to work the rhomboids. After the neck, I wheel around to the side of the table to do the arms. My stool goes up and down with a touch of a lever and I adjust it so I can knead the deltoids and biceps at the right height. Then I twizzle to reposition myself so I can comfortably wring the forearm flexors and extensors before finishing off with a relaxing hand massage—relaxing for me, that is. Massaging the arms in a seated position is a new way for me to work, but I have taken to it like a shopaholic to a clearance sale at Macy’s; I love it!


I almost feel guilty for sitting down; it is like I’m taking a clandestine break or being lazy. But, am I really being lazy? Does the client think I am being lazy and does the massage feel inferior? Personally, I subscribe to the adage of happy staff, happy customers. I am staff in this scenario, and I am happy because I am feeling no pain in my hips from standing all day long, and I’m giving my feet a well-deserved rest. Not to mention that my happy vibes are literally rubbing off on my client. Surely these are ingredients for giving a perfect massage?


I once received a full-body deep tissue performed by a therapist who sat on her wheelie chair for the duration of my treatment. I never even noticed because my eyes were closed and I was in some alpha state, completely unaware and undisturbed. It wasn’t until my second massage from her that I realized she was seated for the full hour working her magic. But what did I care? It did not detract. It was a win-win situation for both therapist and client. Plus, it was a “wheelie great massage! “


So please massage therapists, have a seat…