A regular posting on massage facebook groups goes along the lines of
I had a new client today. After the session she commented that no-one had ever massaged my butt/glutes before. Doesn’t everyone include glute massage as part of their normal routine?
The comments typically follow along the lines of
Well I always include the glutes
Yes, I hear that all the time
or similar such comments.
At which point someone will chime in with
But that’s crazy…everyone therapist knows that you have to include the glutes as releasing them is essential if the client is suffering from lower back pain
There is typically now a chorus of “hear hear” and the like
However, is that really the case? They argue that tightness in the glutes leads to strain in the lower back and ‘releasing’ the glutes can reduce pain and restriction. However, the fact that they tend to overlook is that for most people, their gluteal muscles are what is known as weak and inhibited ie they are like a big rubber band that is already being stretched. They do not need to be stretched any more.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that there are no benefits in including your butt within a massage. To be honest when it’s done only averagely well then glute massage feels great and I would always encourage you to make sure a therapist includes your glutes within a massage (so long as you are comfortable having a stranger massage your bum). It feels as though there is a release of tension through the interaction between the massage and the nerve cells in the surface layers and the perception of reduced tension is an effective outcome. The fact you are sitting on your butt for extended periods of time can mean that an effective buttock massage may help relax your whole body (or probably more to the point is that if it is neglected then there will be a feeling that something was missing from the massage).
There is always an argument about undies vs no undies and glute massage but this is really just down to you and your comfort level. If you want your glutes included within a massage with me then just let me know and whether you are wearing undies or not will make little difference. Some therapists advocate using compressive massage strokes through clothes and/or drape but personally when receiving massage, I prefer a therapist to work directly on skin.
I have included a Youtube video below showing a demonstration of how therapists may massage your glutes – in them you can see that there is always appropriate draping
From “Massage Sloth”