Ten Things – (Part 1 of 2) From the Massage Therapist’s Point of View

I came across a hilarious blog named HaHasforHooHas.com, and a post written by Susannah named “Ten Things You’ll Probably Think While Getting a Professional Massage”. I loved it so much, I wanted to post my reply to her (and many of your) concerns. Here’s my response. Now mind you, this is my view on the subject, not on behalf of any other therapist.

1. I hope that I don’t fart. I promise you that as soon as we talk about what your needs are for the massage session, and I leave the room, both of us are thinking the same thing, “I hope that I don’t fart.” It’s a bodily function, and in most cases, when you are relaxed, is no longer in your control. Don’t stress on it. All it means is that your body is working.

2. This music confuses me. Here’s the thing – we listen to ‘massage music’ all day. When I worked at Logan Airport after 9/11, the owner had very few CDs, and one was Enya. Not everyone wants to hear the “Sounds of the Blue Whale” during their sessions, because they think it’s too ethereal. If you don’t like the music, by all means ask me to change it, or you can play your own.

3. Do I have a medical problem? Diagnosing anything is outside of our scope of practice. We may refer you to see your doctor if we see something out of the ordinary. Knots can be stiff, inflexible groups or parts of muscles that may take a little work to get back to feeling better. Just make sure you breathe when you getting it worked on. (Sometimes it can feel a little intense. Taking deep breaths can help to work through it.) Ask questions when you wonder what’s going on. It’s OK!

If you're making faces, the pressure is probably too deep.

If you’re making faces, the pressure is probably too deep.

4. Is this person trying to kill me? Trigger points and knots can feel really intense when they are worked on. As deep as ‘deep tissue massage’ can get, bruises don’t look cute on anyone. Deep pressure is relative; some people want to feel like they were run over by a steamroller. You, not so much. It’s okay, there is more than one way to address sore muscles. Let me know if the pressure is too much. I can’t see your face when you’re on your stomach, making squidgy faces, wondering why I’m trying to kill you.

5. Did I forget to shave my legs?  This should NEVER be a worry, unless you’ve actually cut yourself on your own stubble. Again, growing body hair is a bodily function. Here’s the thing – when you shave your legs, you remove the most superficial barrier of your skin, along with the hair you’re trying to get rid of. This barrier prevents bacteria and other irritants being absorbed into your skin, like a bouncer at a club. Although many therapists use hypo-allergenic, non skin-clogging massage media (Oil, lotion, or cream), some may not, causing more problems such as ingrown hairs and blackheads. Which would you rather have – stubble or blackheads? I’ll take Stubble for $200, Alex.

Now, this is half of Susannah’s list. I’ll be back next week to reply to the rest of her post. Make sure you read the other posts there; you’ll enjoy the posts!

It’s quiet…TOO quiet.

It’s that quiet time again. TOO quiet. Not quite in the holidays, but it’s getting close. The Christmas trees are ALREADY up in quite a few stores, and you haven’t seen frost on the pumpkins yet. PSL was already offered at Starbucks, two weeks ahead of schedule. Too many things are happening far earlier than they’re supposed to. You have enough time to plan to have a stress free holiday season, but you’re not ready yet. It’ll get here faster than you think!

null

Don’t let yourself get caught out there!

You have several weeks; let’s get a handle on your To-Do Lists, before they get a hold on YOU!

1. Finding meals on Pinterest can be the greatest source of new ideas for recipes. If you’re trying a new meal this year during the holidays, NOW is the time to try it out. You can make the mistakes ahead of time, and serve your new favorite meal with no worries. If you don’t have the skill to attack a recipe, ask someone who can help.  Also, do a quick inventory on all the spices and accessories that you’d need to do all the baking and cooking. Nothing is worse than finding out that you are out of baking soda in the middle of making cookies.

2. Even Martha Stewart has a team to help her have her house look fabulous. Find your own way to put your own fabulous spin on whatever holiday you wish to celebrate. The days of Norman Rockwell, although wonderful, can be a little canned and dated. Sometimes your best attempt at a traditional holiday event can look more like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

Ask for help, and make it fun – this way you all get to decorate, and still be able to get together. If you are in the habit of making cards, get together with friends, and collaborate and craft together. If you want to have a Wrap Party, have everyone bring a little something, so that you aren’t doing everything all by yourself.

Don't just get through the Holidays! Have a "Time Out' with your friends.

Don’t just get through the Holidays! Have a “Time Out’ with your friends.

3. Get together with your friends and have a “Time Out” for adults. Create downtime away from running errands and take care of yourself! I was invited to do chair massages for a group of great ladies at a church event last year, where they also had makeovers, facials and just fellowship among friends that hadn’t seen each other for a good portion of the season. Everyone had a great time catching up with each other, and was relaxed by the end of the evening. Making time for yourself, even just a little everyday, will go a long way to helping you thrive!

Now is a good time to start thinking what you want to get out of the season – rushing around, stressing out or to be able to enjoy the time. What are you tips and tricks for dealing with holiday stress?

How to Ace Your Next Exam

Exams are stressful. Studying doesn't have to be.

Exam time is approaching for many students of all ages. Everyone knows that this time of year can be very stressful for anyone cramming for multiple midterms, all to be completed in a very short period of time. It doesn’t have to be a time filled with hair tearing, energy draining, long sleepless nights it may have been before. Here are a few tips to ace your next exam.

Studying for Exams doesn't have to be a chore. Use these tips to ace your test!

Studying for Exams doesn’t have to be a chore. Use these tips to ace your test!

1. Use Peppermint – In either an essential oil or edible form, peppermint helps you to de-stress, as well as concentrate. Take a few pieces of peppermint candy when you are studying, and a few to your exam.

2. Study in Chunks – Studying everything all at once will not help you at all with preparing for the test. Your facts become jumbled, and the what you studied will literally go in one ear and out the other. Study several days before the test, and not the night before.

3. Write It Down – (I am NOT talking about a cheat sheet!)  As much as I hated it, out 7th grade Math teacher had us repeatedly write down tautologies and math rules. I’m also sure that you’ve had homework assignments where you had to write your vocabulary words multiple times. Oh, that was a pain in the butt, but there is a reason for that. The things your write down, you tend to remember.

4. Take a Stress Break – Get up from your desk that you’ve been poring over for hours, and move your body! Getting that blood moving will help improve oxygen circulation throughout the body, and dancing will help! Getting a Chair Massage will also help reduce stress, and get those knots out that you’ve

You’ve been studying for hours. DANCE IT OUT.

acquired during your study session. Ask your Campus Events Coordinator if they’ll have Stress Break Sessions on the calendar. If not, ask to have Chair Massage events throughout Testing Week. A few minutes of massage in your day will help immensely.

5. Get Adequate Sleep. Getting a great night’s sleep is essential, natch. But even taking a nap during the day, even for 30 minutes, can help with your alertness, and energy level.

You need all the positive vibes you can get. So, chill out, get a few Zzz’s. You’ll do great on this test. May the odds be ever in your favor!

Reasons for Chair Massage in the Office

Although many offices do have some type of Wellness Sessions occurring at the office, many don’t see it as a true benefit to the workplace. Here are 3 quick reasons to have Chair Massage as a part of the workday-

1. It takes the excuse of “I don’t have time” out of the equation. The chair is already there, and you have a few minutes in your day to take care of yourself. It is a matter of priority. Where are you on your Priority List?

Your ears and shoulders should be like exes; they should be aware of each other, but nowhere near each other.

Your ears and shoulders should be like exes; they should be aware of each other, but nowhere near each other.

2. It reduces pain in tension areas of the body that tend to be overused – the head, neck and shoulders. Leaning into your computer screen, peering into your cell phone, poring over paperwork, or even cradling the phone between your neck and shoulders all contribute to sore muscles that can create headaches, eyestrain and afternoon lethargy.
3. It creates a refreshing afternoon break in the day. It’s after lunch, and 5 PM seems like a LONG way away. What do you have to look forward to- Going home? With that last break of the day, getting a quick massage can give you a calorie free quick burst of energy and a well needed (and well-kneaded) stress break! Adding peppermint (essential oil or even candy) to the session can help increase concentration on tasks.

Of course, there are many more reasons – what is your reason to have Chair Massage at your office?

Stress Free Tips for the School Year

School in the South has already started! It shouldn’t be a stressful time for parents and children alike, so here are some tips to take some of the stress out of the school year –

1. Plan ahead – No one Expects the Spanish Inquisition, but expect that kids will leave things until the last minute. Create a basket or bulletin board in a common area to hang all permission slips, reports and assignments due.

2. Keep in touch with the Teacher(s) – Make sure your child’s teacher can get in touch with you so that your kid’s ‘last minute’ assignment isn’t actually last minute. If your child knows that his or her teacher is a speed dial or click away, the less likely it is that they will try to get away with something. This also goes for parents of the friends.

3. Have the kids take ownership of their OWN homework. – When I was in school, twenty (cough, cough) plus years ago, homework took forever. I don’t think it has gotten any easier or less stressful for kback-to-schoolids to do their assignments. Kids are going to get frustrated, which will result in YOU getting frustrated. Doing their homework for them doesn’t solve their problem, at all. It saves tears and late nights, but it doesn’t solve the problem. There are a lot of apps, and free videos (especially Khan Academy) that can help your students in subjects that even you needed (or still need) help in!

4. Take a break! Taking short breaks throughout homework time lets the body relax a bit and move the blood around, giving you more energy and creativity.  Skipping breaks tends to wear you down, because the stress level never really abates. Even if you take time to do self-massage, meditate or have a dance break, all of these will help reduce stress.

These are only a few tips, but I’m sure that you have some great ones! What are your best ways to get the School Year off to a stress free start?