As a massage therapist, you're going to come people with a wide variety of occupations. As you work with each, you'll learn how they use their bodies and how what types of complaints are common for the industry. One such is the cooking industry, and you might be surprised at how common aches, pains, and industries are among those most loyal to your food.
Standing in the Same Position
First and foremost, chefs tend to have very limited movement in the kitchen. They hit their stations and start working and once the busiest part of the day or night begins, have very little reason to move. They are on their feet (impacting their feet, legs, hips, and lower back) and hold the same positions while cooking (impacting their shoulders, arms, and hands). As the shift ends, they dream of going home and getting some rest, hitting a position in the bed and staying there all night. From one position to another, both held for long periods of time. Their muscles are screaming for circulation and relief from the compression standing creates.
What are some of the most common injuries you'll see with chefs? Neck pain is a very frequent complaint, as most tend to look at and focus on their work - looking down into a pain or down onto a counter. A lot of professional chefs complain of tennis elbow, which is a repetitive motion injury. This can be caused by holding pans, mixing,and using a whisk all the time.
Shoulder pains are also common. These can come from posturing, but also happen when chefs are cooking in bulk and try to move items that are too heavy or not at the right level for the motion.
Almost all will have lower back, hip, knee, and ankle pain. This comes from standing all day, from slipping on wet or greasy floors, or from squatting up and down while working.
Talk to each of the chefs you work with about his actual routine. Ask him to explain what he does daily in great detail. If you try this method of assessment, you'll find you're better able to focus on your client's unique needs and will offer him a more relaxed session and a greater sense of relief. You might even eventually consider becoming certified in Kinesio taping to help lessen the burden from repetitive motions.