Did you know there are times when you should NOT have a massage? Trained and certified massage therapists know a lot about pathologies (diseases) and other conditions where massage isn’t recommended. They also know the difference between two very important types of contraindications. Do you?
While massage has been practiced for thousands of years, medical science and research really woke up to the benefits beginning in the 1990s. As more studies about substance abuse have emerged, it is clear from the findings that massage can have significant and lasting benefits for the body. Those benefits extended well beyond simple relief from aches and pains to dramatic positive effects on mental state and positive attitude. It was only a matter of time before massage became a tool for helping alleviate symptoms arising from depression. Recently, massage has begun to appear as a regular beneficial treatment for those who suffer from addictions.
How addiction works
Massage is gaining popularity fast. More people than ever are making appointments and more are talking about the positive benefits. It is no longer a surprise to see a massage station at an airport or gym or to talk to people who incorporate massage into their monthly wellness routine. With the increase in access to massage, however, many business owners see a need to differentiate the customer experience by offering “unique massage experiences” to grab customer eyeballs and increase sales.
Enter the massage menu
Just about any massage establishment features a menu of services featuring your choice of Swedish, deep tissue, hot/warm stone, Shiatsu or other modalities. The challenge is that the average consumer a) is unfamiliar with the differences, and/or b) is unfamiliar with which service to choose for the particular massage goal they are seeking. That means people are choosing right sometimes, and wrong sometimes. The result could be an ineffective, unfulfilling massage session. Luckily, the fix has an easy two-part answer: better client education and trained reception staff.
What to do to get the right kind of massage for you?
Our massage clinic has seen thousands of clients in our nearly five years in business. While we have a menu of services, about 60% of our clients came to us with a specific goal such as relaxation, pain relief, increased flexibility and mobility, or pre- or post-event sports massage. Our guest services team adeptly steers clients toward the therapist that can best meet their needs and we charge the service accordingly.
The remaining 40% came in with a less clear idea of what they want. They got the massage as a gift, or they wanted to treat themselves to some “me time” but don’t know exactly what that looks like, or perhaps they are getting their first massage. With each of these scenarios, the pre-massage conversation skills of the reception desk and therapist really come into play. For most who aren’t used to identifying a goal, the answer is a personalized, multi-modality service performed by a qualified massage therapist who has created a plan for the service based on discussion with the client and information on the client intake form.
To help make our clients more comfortable about the process of selecting a massage, we we introduced the “Signature” massage. This therapeutic massage is essentially a “massage therapists’s choice”. That means the therapist uses their knowledge and experience to custom design a session using whatever massage techniques they believe will most help the client achieve their goals. Our expert therapists are completely free to use any tool or technique at their disposal. They educate the client as they work and identify massage modalities and techniques most effective for the session. And the clients are completely pleased with the results. Our rebooking rates for these “signature” massages are sky high.
When you first meet Alex, you are struck by his calm confidence. He smiles easily and radiates with positive energy. As you get to know him more, you find a bright, thoughtful man who takes his role as massage therapist very seriously.
Alex works hard to understand the “whole client” – their complaints, their daily activity, their environment, and elements in their life that can manifest in aches and pains. He uses his knowledge and skills to design a massage session to maximize relief from pain and spends time educating clients about the interconnected body, mind and spirit. He’s an intuitive teacher.
Believe it or not, sometimes the “holiday season of joy” brings on a surprising sidekick. Stress and depression. It kind of makes sense… there are things to prepare for, shopping (and worries about money), entertaining, travel and many more behaviors that are confined to a very short time period once a year. Holiday depression is more common than you might think. It’s also something that, with a little forethought, you can eliminate or at least control holiday depression.
Twenty years ago, it was almost impossible to find a place to get a massage. Small massage studios were pretty much non-existent and massage was billed only as a pampering treat and relegated to high end spas or found in very low-end and very sketchy red light hovels.
Fast forward to today and it’s a very different picture. Now massage is available in many more places. Literally everything about massage has changed, from the people giving the treatments to the readiness of the clients. Here’s a short list of five reasons why the massage you get today will likely be a LOT better than one you received 20 years ago.
Hormonal ups and downs can wreak havoc on your life. They can affect your mood, your weight, your food cravings, even your desire for sex. For many women, hormones balance normally and it’s smooth sailing–but for others, any imbalance can be a train wreck. And guys, you’re not immune either, recent research suggests your hormonal imbalances can be just as crazy.
Enter massage therapy. Among the many benefits of massage therapy are those related to the body’s production and regulation of neurohormones. Neurohormones are produced by the nervous system and affect an individual’s behavior and general well-being. Recent studies have solidly concluded that massage can help balance mood levels by moving your body toward homeostasis (a naturally balanced state). And the story’s even better! Research conducted at the TOUCH Research Institute at the University of Miami suggests that massage increases the availability of all neurohormones affecting brain chemistry.
Neuropathy is a fairly common condition that involves problems with nerves, primarily “peripheral” nerves, like those that run through your arms and legs. Some people with peripheral neuropathy don’t even realize it. Others are debilitated by pain and numbness. Either way, the tingling sensations, itching, burning or “pins-and-needles” sensations in hands or feet, are worth a look by a medical professional.
While there are several types of neuropathy, the two most common are diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) and chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). Both involve damaged and painful distal sensory and motor nerves. In DPN, the cause is uncontrolled blood glucose (diabetes), while CIPN is a side effect of chemotherapy.
Summer’s over and you’re heading into a busy season. Chances are you might have let things slide a bit. Maybe things were super busy. Maybe summer is about relaxation, regardless of what’s on the list to do. Now’s the best time to take stock of where you are and take control over your own wellness.
It turns out nobody is more in control of your renewal, rebirth and recovery than YOU are. The Fall and Winter can be a great time to contemplate and resolve to get in touch with yourself again and reach out to seek your passions, your purpose, your dreams, work on your relationships, make job changes, and, most importantly, think about your wellness.
Here are a few things you can do to help rebalance and regain control after the lazy days of summer subsides: Continue reading “Taking Control of Your Wellness”
Think about the last time you made a decision about something. It may have been something trivial, like taking a different route during a morning bike ride. It may have been something major, like reaching out to someone with whom you’ve had an argument to patch things up. It may have been health-related, like giving up sugar for a week. Decisions, however trivial, can have a huge impact on your life. And your process for decision-making can dramatically affect the impact of the change created by your decision on your mind and body.
The process of getting your head around the challenges and opportunities presented by life’s choices usually begins with your method for decision-making. Some people run away and avoid the decision, and it usually comes back to haunt them. Others seek advice and counsel from others. Some make decisions quickly, some slowly. Still others find a way to hear and listen to their own inner voice.
During a recent visit to a discount store to buy some batteries, I stopped to hold the door open for a young mother and her 4 year-old daughter. Right behind them was a businessman carrying a large box. I held the door for him, too. Each said a polite “thank you” as they went through.
As I entered the store I noticed the mother and daughter still standing near the door. The daughter asked the mother why I had held the door open.
“He is a nice man,” replied the mom.
The daughter looked around, stared at the door, and replied “Oh.”. Continue reading “Make Kindness a Habit”
Like any fast-growing profession, the field of massage therapy is evolving all the time. As licensing and certification standards rise, and more and more massage therapists graduate from education programs that treat massage as a holistic skill, the profession is gradually expanding from a focus mainly on relaxation and overall wellness to a focus on outcome-based treatments.
Outcome-based treatments allow qualified massage therapists to use evidence-based analysis to create highly personalized session strategies focusing bodywork on achieving a specific goal or goals. Clients report longer lasting relief from pain and therapists get intense satisfaction knowing they have created real and positive change.
How is it outcome based massage different?
When you seek out a massage therapist, your goals for the session can vary widely. Sometimes you want to relax, sometimes you have a specific complaint about an ache or pain, sometimes you’ve been referred by a medical professional or physical therapist.
Ahhhh STRESS. Everybody has it, but few know how to deal with it Many different things can cause stress — physical elements (illness and injury), psychological elements (such as fear of falling or snakes) and/or emotional (worry about your family or job). Identifying what may be causing your stress is the first step in learning how to better deal with it.
Here are four common sources of stress: Continue reading “Four Kinds of Stress”
Licensing and certification are important for any profession. They indicate levels of education, knowledge, and experience that the public can trust. We license drivers for safety. Your architect is licensed. So is your doctor. Your contractor is too. These licenses give us a little peace of mind that the practitioner actually knows what they are doing and, at minimum, has demonstrated that knowledge. Many times, that demonstration of knowledge comes in the form of an exam. It’s the same for massage therapy.
In massage therapy, a professional exam is now required in many states (but not all) in order to become a “Certified Massage Therapist” (CMT) and to get a license to work or do business. The nationwide professional exam is called the MBLEx, an acronym for Massage and Body Licensing Examination. It’s a challenging, well constructed evaluation tool created with input from many medical and wellness professionals (including experienced massage therapists) and governed by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB).
What does the MBLEx exam cover?
The MBLEx checks knowledge, comprehension, and application focused on eight areas:
Having trouble finding the time to take care of yourself and get the exercise you need? You’re not alone.
Most non-parents think “summer break” means mom (or Mr. Mom) can kick back and do what they want while the kids entertain themselves. Not always true! In fact, pretty much never true.
No matter what, most moms have trouble finding time for themselves while the kids are out of school. And that lack of “me-time” can have pretty significant impact on your mental and physical wellness.