Jenni Asher is a massage therapist, musician, and teacher. She obtained her Certified Massage Practitioner (CMP) status from Hands On Healing in California and Myofascial Release Advanced credentials from MFR UK. She also holds a Bachelors is in Music (BMus) and Teaching Licentiate (LRAM) from the Royal Academy of Music, and Masters in Music Leadership (MA) from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Musician Bodywork exists to treat musicians with injuries and help them to achieve a level of pain-free playing and through the development of healthy self-care routines. It also hopes to shed light on the problems that performing artists face (as Sports Massage Therapy does for athletes). These problems include:
• Where to go for help!
• How to prevent Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI)
• How to continue being a musician (practising and performing) with uncomfortable tension or injuries
• Awareness of harmful postural or technique habits
The need for Musician Bodywork has arisen from the number of musicians who cannot practice as long as their commitments demand because of physical discomfort, tension, or pain. Practically, this is devastating because a few hours of personal practice a day is typically necessary for the career, in addition to orchestra or chamber music rehearsals, private lessons, and/or concerts. Psychologically this is damaging because the musician begins to sense that their longevity in their career is in danger, and there are few places that they can seek treatment from practitioners who are well informed about their lives.
When notable physical tension or injury takes place, a musician may go to their doctor, who may inform them that they need to take time off to heal. In one of the best case scenarios, the doctor recommends a physical therapist, who can give the client exercises and stretches to aid in the healing process, or a massage therapist. But in this recommendation is a missing component, crucial to their recovery. None of the typical recommendations observes the way the client plays their instrument or sings. If the recommended practitioner does not look at this crucial aspect of the client’s condition, the client will maintain the same practice habits (bad technique, bad posture, or unrecognized tension) that contributed to the condition in the first place.