Massage Technique: The “Sacrum Shaker” [SI Joint Mobilization]

Massage Technique: The “Sacrum Shaker” [SI Joint Mobilization]


– Hi, everyone, I’m Ian
Harvey, massage therapist. This is my friend Amanda, and today we’re going to be talking about a move that I thought was
too weird for YouTube. I had that thought, and I was like, why? Why does it need to be
too weird for YouTube? As long as we communicate things, then we can talk about serious
subjects, like the sacrum. So, the move that I’m going
to show you looks like this. See, told you it was weird. So, of course, I wouldn’t just jump directly into a move like that, so I’m going to show you how to warm up to this more extreme kinetic stuff, and also we’re going to talk about how to communicate
these things to the clients and how it can be beneficial
to mobilize this hip region. So, not only are we going to talk about this one particular move but just some more stuff that we can do with this triangle of bone. So the way I would communicate
this is something like this. So, Amanda, I’d like to
work with your sacrum. It’s this triangle of bone right here. Would that be okay? – Yes. – All right, and if I’m ever too far into your personal space or if there’s ever too much movement or you just don’t like it, please let me know, okay. – Okay. – Okay, and that’s kind
of how I like to work with these more sensitive areas is first getting informed consent, letting them know where
I’m going to work and why, and then giving them explicit permission to revoke that consent. So before we start, I wanna show you exactly where the sacrum
is on this client. So here are those two knobs of bone. At the very top, these are her PSIS, the posterior-superior iliac spine. We’re not quite on the sacrum here, but that’s an important landmark to let you know that
you’re just about onto it. And the SI joint goes down
at an angle to the tailbone. And the sacrum is triangular. It narrows as it goes down, and there is some movement
at these SI joints. The degree of movement is
in a bit of controversy. Some people say it moves
more than other people say, but there is a little
bit of rotation here, and it can rotate
independently on each side. And just as a note, pregnant clients and clients who are just postpartum will have looser ligaments
guarding their SI joints, so too much mobilization there can potentially cause harm, so use your clinical judgment when working with people
with lax ligaments. So if I want to work more
directly with the sacrum, I’ll usually do it as an
extension of my work with the leg. And I know I’m working on a
fully clothed client here, but this can be something
that you do through the drape, and I’ll show you what
that means in a second. So if I’m starting with an exposed hip where the drape is pulled back, I’ll do my work up through this area, and then I will redrape the
hip, leaving the leg undraped. By having this drape in the way, I’m able to get more
traction with the SI joint, and I really don’t have to worry about where the drape is or if
the drape is slipping. So to start warming this area up, I’m going to move the leg
independently of the pelvis. So I’m going to push on the SI joint as I’m rocking the leg away from it. And what we’re doing is we’re changing the relationship of the
femur and the pelvis, and that’s just getting a lot of this soft tissue nearby to start moving. And it doesn’t need to be perfectly one to one opposite. This can just be shaking down here. The more movement and the more unpredictable movement you’re creating, the easier it will be for
the client’s nervous system to let go of any residual tension here. And, of course, you can just go back into a nice rock that isn’t quite so random. And you can use fists here, you can use your elbows and forearms. And just make sure to
explore this entire ilium. So come around to the lateral region. Come down toward the tailbone, just don’t proceed too far inferiorly. We do want to respect our client’s space. And out toward the greater trochanter. And once I’ve warmed up
both sides like that, I’ve kind of acclimated the body to that more intense kinetic action, we get to the sacrum shaker itself. To do this, I’m going to place the heel of my hand along each SI joint. So here and here. And you can give this
some nice compression upward and inward, so
toward those SI joints. And then, using alternating motions, so one hand goes superiorly
while the other goes inferiorly and alternating in that
fashion, just give it a shake. You can start slow, and then speed it up. And ultimately, you want your hands to be moving faster than
the tissue is rebounding. So move fast enough that you’re
staying ahead of the sacrum and causing it to lag behind a little bit, and you’ll see what I
mean when you try this. And as you do this, think mobilization. We’re mobilizing this sacrum
in multiple dimensions. We are rotating it, we are tilting it, and we’re moving it in a way that causes it to change its relationship with the lumbar spine and with the femurs. And this will usually
be fairly brief for me, and then I’ll move on
to do some variations, moving outward onto the ilium, coming down toward the tailbone. You can go faster. You can go slower. This doesn’t need to be quite
this kinetic and dynamic, but I think it feels pretty good. And while we’re here, just realize that there’s a lot more that
we can doing with this area. The sacrum very much
likes direct compression, so I’m going to, just
using the palm of my hand, compress the entire sacrum. This is about the border of it right here. And I’m just pressing
down with my body weight. And I can, again, give
this a little movement, or I can just sit with this compression. This is going to create
a little bit of traction in the low back, but mostly
it’s just going to be a feeling of relief in the pelvis. And, of course, you can always feel free to check in with
your client about this. You can also be a little
bit more vigorous. So you can do some superficial friction, just moving your palm
over the sacrum itself. And, Amanda, is this
jostling okay for you? – [Amanda] Yes.
– Okay, great. And we’re just creating some heat. You can come out to the sides. And Amanda actually showed me this one. She’s a colleague of mine
and a fellow teacher. And you can come up
into the lumbar region. And just realize that every change that you make with the legs is going to change the feel of all this work. So by bringing the hip into
internal and external rotation, this will change the
length of these rotators. And all of this hip work,
all of this sacrum work will feel very different,
even if we’re just working directly with the sacrum itself. You can also abduct the leg
and externally rotate it. And if the client is comfortable doing so, you can just leave the leg here to sit. And now, this hip is cocked up toward you. Just realize that this can
cause some draping issues, so you might want to have the leg almost fully draped down to the knee. And you can compress toward that SI joint, and you can always stabilize
this leg over here. That might be a good idea. You can come down toward
the greater trochanter, kind of outlining it, and you can be more kinetic. You can always do half
of that sacrum shaker. You’ll still get a lot of
nice movement from this. And this is a topic for another video, but you can also grab the tissue superficial to the SI
joint, and vacuum it up using either a pinch grip or a duck grip. So I’m vacuuming up this
tissue and giving it a pinch. You can try to give it a
little traction upward, and you can give it a bit of a shake, just mobilizing all that tissue
right around the SI joint. So just keep in mind all the ways that you can mobilize the sacrum and also all the different
tools you could be using that you can work across the table that you can work both
sides at the same time. You can change the position of the legs. There are a lot of options here, and it’s all dependent
on your communication, So if you’re able to tell your client what you’re planning to do
and get informed consent, especially in the context of a strong therapeutic relationship, then you can work directly with this area that has so much important tissue and so much important vascular
tissue and nervous tissue. If someone’s having sciatic stuff going on and they’re able to
tolerate this movement, this mobilization, then I
have found it very useful. All right, y’all, let
me know what you think down in the comments. Was this weird, or am I just crazy? Let me know what you like to do with your clients’ sacrums and how you mobilize this
area down in the comments. Consider subscribing, and
I’ll see you next time. (light music)

100 thoughts on “Massage Technique: The “Sacrum Shaker” [SI Joint Mobilization]

  1. Want to see a blooper from this video? Follow me on instagram! I'm @massagesloth https://www.instagram.com/massagesloth/

  2. Excellent video. I also like to get on the table, pull the drape down to just below the sacrum, and glide up the length of the spine with medium pressure for some decompression.

  3. Good stuff as always! I like your style. Understated, never arrogant or grandiose, and always clear, concise and understandable. Thank you!

  4. This is actually what I do in my massages! I usedta think it was crazy til I witessed CONSISTENT SUCCESS with it. Good Stuff!

  5. Anyone with SI pain isn't gonna care how weird it looks.🤣 Trust me. The relief is worth it. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Hey Ian, you say massage is weird anyway 😁
    The weirdest thing I learned was shaking the pelvis in the sitting position, but at that point we were told that "it's in the books, but no one actually does that, there are things you can do, that will also work and don't feel as uncomfortable as this".

  7. You are both genuinely funny and instructrive. I love your videos!

    You are always so good at teaching massage and the ethics involved with it.

  8. This was not weird at all. I appreciate the education on more "clothed" massage techniques. You and your team are amazing

  9. Definitely not weird…it gives me a bunch of new/diverse ideas and possibilities for working with patients in the gluteal region to break out of my routine set of techniques. Thanks for the great instruction!

  10. Not weird at all so does that automatically mean you’re crazy?LOL I use this along with a few other Sacrum mobilizations to end treatment. Speaking from experience, the sacrum does move and when it moves incorrectly – it’s painful to leave like that. These techniques are an important and meaningful way to help relax the tissue around the sacrum and allow you to get it to move properly into place again! Well done I’d say!! Thanks!!! 🙏🏻

  11. Ian, I love your vídeos and I love your voice. I was laughing so hard when you shook your client's sacrum, it is just such an odd move, but I can see how beneficial it can be. We have such a weird and cool job. 😊

  12. Hey there… that's excellent. I can't wait to have a go! I would be quite interested to see you demonstrate this with draping – I'm a visual kinda gal…

  13. Me next !!no the glutes are too neglected by most therapist ..I too am very thorough and clients love it😄I tell them it's like getting an alignment on your car you track straighter after

  14. I was a doula and childbirth educator, and I’m now a massage therapy student. I love working this area, and have been able to utilize so many of the “labor relief” techniques I learned working as a doula on non pregnant people. The hip release is a favorite of mine, and even my massage instructor learned something new. I enjoy your channel and tips a lot. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Once again you have impressed me with you flawless knowledge of your craft! You truly have a gift! Mainly on observation and just simply performing what has to be done from that observation! I tip my hat to you fellow therapist!

  16. Thank you for sharing. Very helpful and not weird at all. I will definitely will use this on my clients

  17. I like how you communicate the material…and I don't think the move is weird lol, but I can understand how clients who are not used to bodywork may perceive it that way (which is why I appreciate the way you communicate). Along with prone, I like to work the hips side-lying because I tend to use pin and stretch and other mobilizing techniques along with Swedish strokes. Looking forward to your next video!

  18. acho super importante comunicar o cliente sobre o trabalho que será realizado. adoro seus videos.

  19. That’s good to start to warm it up first for someone who have a sciatica problem then proceed to massage it. That I’m going to do thank u for sharing it.

  20. I really appreciate your guidance on communication regarding consent. It's a topic I take very seriously, but have a little trouble explaining concisely. Also, I can't wait to try this marvelous technique! I have someone in mind for whom it will be perfect.

  21. Thanks Ian, I like this technique I use it quite a lot, very effective and gentle on the therapist if used correctly. Keep sharing and inspiring. ✌️

  22. Can't wait to try this on my clients. I love giving and receiving sacrum work. Very therapeutic. I learn a lot from your videos!

  23. I have issues with this area, and I would NOT (*corrected myself)think twice about how it looks if it helps. People like pain relief and mobility!!! Thanks for sharing!
    (I need to read before I share…lol)

  24. An instructor early in my career taught me not to be afraid of working important areas of the body, but instead to educate yourself on what you're afraid of. Thanks for being brave enough to share on this platform. You are helping others understand that. I loved how your personality came through.

  25. I’ve fell through the rabbit hole of YouTube and trust me when I say there are far more things weirder than this lol

  26. It's not weird, man. Actually an area that doesn't get enough attention, so it's good that you included it

  27. Your amazing! Not crazy! God I need this so bad. My Lower back is so damaged from epidurals from childbirth. Some mornings are hell to get up from the lower back pains.

  28. Good stuff!! Love getting excited about new trick to open up areas where congestion just thrives. You are awesome i just subscibed! Hello from North Cali💞🌸🌺✌👏👏

  29. I think you took what could have been weird and made it 100% professional and educational. Thanks! I love your relaxed, sloth-like manor!

  30. I need someone to do this to me. I have a deformity at the sacrum, and I always have pain there, and sciatic pain down my left hip and leg.

  31. I didn't find it weird at all… But that's perhaps because I have been doing something very similar all along. It wasn't on the sacrum but right above it and on the hips. You just gave me the freedom to take my shaking even further! Thanks @Massage Sloth for your accustomed excellent help!

  32. This is great! I have found that compressions and jostling has been fantastic for clients that need the work done but aren't comfortable dis-robing. The rocking also calms the client and makes the work easier. Great video.

  33. Not weird – helpful. I've used this technique before, forgot about it, so thanks for the reminder! Those with sedentary jobs can really benefit from this technique to break up "stagnation" around the sacrum area. I also appreciate how you always explain to your clients what you'd like to do and why, get consent, and clearly let them know they can revoke consent any time they wish. This is how we build and maintain therapeutic relationships, which is as or more important than any technique. 🙂

  34. This is exactly what i think i need and my therapists are always so upset when i come up with ideas what could work….

  35. Shaking into the nervous system . A specialized kinesiology . Touch for health . This is one of our integrating moves . Ancient knowledge . I use it everyday . Weird means wired. To the source . Welcome to the the club . 🌞

  36. Hi Ian: sorry if you've already answered this question, but is this type of SI joint manipulation beneficial for a client with a herniated disc? Or should this be avoided?

  37. You might be a touch crazy in general Ian, ha ha, but your work is really great. I always look forward to see what you are sharing with us next. Thank you.

  38. No, of course its not weird. Such an important hard working area of the body, it makes so much sense. I work the glutes and sacrum of all my clients. They love it. A nice myofascial S1-L5 decompression is lovely too, and a nice way to integrate the shaking and compressing.

  39. Yes it weird, but not too weird. Especially the explanation before it helps let the client be prepared. Which is keeps it professional. If I had sciatica, and this worked I'd be very happy. 😊 good work.

  40. Oh god, someone please do this to me. My SI joints and low back were so messed up by pregnancy. I can barely move most mornings and PT and injections are just barely keeping me functional 😢

  41. Love this. Definitely not weird. Your right it's all about communicating! I think this is important work, I would love to have someone try this on me. My SI joints often get tweaked and will sometimes adjust when I'm getting massaged in low back, lying prone.I will be incorporating this technique in my work!

  42. It was defenitly not weard and not creazy 🙂 it is normal, you want to explein in an easy way to peopl, so they can understain it. it is interesting and good to know,learn and see from an other perspective. You can make more video like this. 🙂 so we can help peopl when they are in need.

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