Why Add Kinesiology to Your Massage Practice


You’ve heard the expression that “knowledge is power.” As a massage therapist, it makes sense that the more knowledge you have, the more powerful you become in healing clients. Your reputation also grows, and that helps attract more clients, which adds to the bottom line. Here’s where kinesiology comes in as an additional body of knowledge to help you improve or repair clients' mobility, whether it’s caused by severe pain, stress, injury, or a chronic condition.

Understanding Kinesiology

Kinesiology is the study of human movement.  With every movement we take, whether it be brushing our teeth, moving a piece of furniture, or loading groceries into the back of the car, various muscles need to interact with other parts of the body. Kinesiology looks at the skeletal muscle groups involved in movement and focuses on the effects that movement has on numerous regions and systems of the body.

There are hundreds of different muscles involved in mobility and physical force. However, kinesiology focuses on the main muscle groups covering large areas and not each of the individual muscles themselves. Among these large muscle groups are:

  • Shoulder girdle
  • Shoulder joint
  • Elbow joint and arm muscles
  • Wrist and hand muscles
  • Knee joint muscles
  • Muscles of the hip and pelvis
  • Lower leg muscles
  • Neck and back muscles

Kinesiology Enhances Massage Therapy

Since massage for many clients aims to restore or enhance movement, kinesiology is naturally suited to massage. By knowing how muscles move and how they affect the body, massage therapists can better determine where a problem is located in a muscle group and potentially how it got there to help prevent more damage.

Some of the key objectives of kinesiology are:[1]

  • Correcting body alignment and posture
  • Increasing joint mobility
  • Increasing muscle strength
  • Increasing muscle endurance
  • Coordination, control, and balance
  • Relaxation

Massage therapists who add kinesiology to their practice can work any muscle group to aid relaxation, loosen contracted muscles, and soothe an overworked body. Today, kinesiology is being applied to treat client pain, such as back pain, injuries, and stress. Still, it is also sought after for improving physical activities, exercise, dance, and sports. 

Add Value for Soft Tissue Massage

Whitney Lowe of the Academy of Clinical Massage explains how understanding the three components of kinesiology can help you add more value as a provider of soft tissue massage to address pain and injury. [2]

Musculoskeletal anatomy (form):  Not only do you need to understand the muscle names and muscle attachment sites, but you also need to understand the other soft-tissues - ligaments, tendons, nerves, and fascia because muscle pain is not the only cause of soft-tissue pain.

Physiology (function): Neuromuscular connection is the second key element to know relative to kinesiology. We move because neurological impulses delivered to our muscles cause them to contract. Disruption or irregularity in neuromuscular activity or control can result in movement disorders and pain.

Biomechanics: Evaluating a soft-tissue injury requires exploring the physical forces, direction, velocity, and intensity, that have been applied to the body during injury or activity. This mechanical analysis helps to determine whether those forces were responsible for the specific tissue injuries and, as a result, how those tissues should be treated.

Incorporate Kinesiology in Your Practice

Your clients will benefit from your understanding of how the various muscle groups function. More importantly, you’ll be better able to determine the muscle region(s) where pain or tension is coming from during certain movements so you can be more precise in providing treatment.  And your expanded knowledge of human mobility enables you to provide clients with advice that can help them avoid injuries, increase mobility and flexibility, or deal with a chronic problem.


[1] “What is Kinesiology and Why Study a Kinesiology Degree in 2021?”, December 21, 2020. https://www.mastersportal.com/articles/2734/what-is-kinesiology-and-why-study-a-kinesiology-degree-in-2021.html
[2] Lowe, Whitney, “Kinesiology – May the Force Be With You,” Academy of Clinical Massage,” December 5, 2018.
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