Tagged: massage

Jim Gaffigan’s neck is still a little sore.

As I tend to sit on Sunday mornings, I was watching my favorite show CBS Sunday Morning. Toward the end of the program, an opinion piece by Jim Gaffigan was being teased for the next segment, on how he feels about getting a massage and massage therapy in general. As a therapist, I naturally perked up, and waited, with anticipation, what he was going to say. He’s a comedian, after all; this should be funny.

As I sat and listened to his opinion, I was horrified by what he said. He compared massage therapist’s appearance to “an orderly in a mental ward”. According to him, we are emotionless people who a) like to rub strangers for money and b) murderers.

Now, I understand that he’s a comedian, and it’s HIS opinion, but I’m sure he isn’t alone. As of October 2016, only “19 percent of consumers surveyed reported receiving a massage from a professional massage therapist in the past year.” (AMTA Consumer Survey) I know I can’t change everyone’s mind, but I can challenge his opinion with knowledge from the other side of the table.

Massages are decadent and weird.”– If you expect an excellent massage for a small amount of money, you may be in for a disheartening experience. Not only are you paying in part for the therapist’s experience by the way of consistent training and classes, you are paying for treatment or relaxation, depending on the wants of the client. If you are not getting either, please speak up. We cannot read your mind; we can read some body language, to a degree.

They are always from strangers” – If you don’t have a person that gets massages, find a person that gets massages. They tend to know WHO to go to, to make sure that you have at least a good massage session. If that doesn’t work for you, massage referral services are a great way to find out who you want to get a massage from. The American Massage Therapy Association® (AMTA®) has a massage locator service called FindaMassageTherapist.org. Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP) has their own Massage Therapist Locator service, as well. Both pages have therapist’s background information, such as licensing, specialties, environments that they work in, and the areas they serve. Massage therapists have a code of ethics that they have to follow to belong to each association. Their contact information is there; call the therapist and ask questions about the session you would like to get.

We get massages from strangers because we can’t count on the people who love us to touch us.”- Positive touch is something humans have been craving since humans walked the earth. The problem is, not everyone knows (or wants to know) how to give a massage to their partner. To some, it’s a little too touchy feely, or they don’t think they would give a good one. Body image issues can be a reason as to why one doesn’t get a massage from a stranger. “What will they think my body?” That’s what a Couples Instructional Massage session is for. You learn how to work with what you have to give a massage to your partner. It’s one of the best kinds of sessions to have because it gives you a little more confidence in how to take care of your partner.

“… why don’t I get in the most vulnerable position I can think of?” While I can understand that being in a state of undress can stress folks out with someone they are unfamiliar with, you do realize that YOU, the client are the most POWERFUL person in the room. You can ask for more or less pressure. You can ask as to why the therapist is working in that spot, even though you mentioned it hurt somewhere else.

Sy Syms, an awesome businessman once said, “An educated consumer is our best customer.” ASK those questions about your massage session. Ask them before, during and after, if necessary; that’ll cover your “I don’t know what to say!” portion of the session. If you’d prefer a quiet session, convey that to the therapist. Chatting helps the stress level lower somewhat. Oftentimes, once you turn over, you tend to fall asleep. If you feel extremely uncomfortable, and you’d like them to stop, say something.

One client on my table clamped her arm to her side because I was about to work on her arm, exposing her unshaven armpit. I replied to her that it’s not an issue for me; I didn’t have a problem with it. With that understanding that I had no opinion about her choice to not shave, she relaxed her arm, and the massage continued with a relaxing pace. We want you to be relaxed so that you can have the best session possible.

What do we know about massage therapists? They like to rub strangers for money while they listen to the “Avatar” soundtrack. That’s a red flag. Those are the traits of a serial killer.” As a kid, I was told that I had such nice hands for massage, I should go into doing massage. I was 8; I wasn’t comfortable with my own body, much less touching anyone else’s aside from my own Nana and Aunts. It put me off from doing massage for years after.

I wouldn’t say that we like to rub strangers for money. I would say that we like to get a person back to a sense of well-being through positive touch. As for the “Avatar” soundtrack, I’ve never seen the movie (That may be a red flag in and of itself, but that’s another story.).

Not everyone likes the sounds of the Blue Whale. Enya, though relaxing can become repetitive to therapists, and the sounds of running water make me want to use the restroom. In some cases, the client brings the music they want to listen to, sometimes, I do. I try not being boring with the music, as that’s as important as the massage itself.

 

They never laugh. You know why? ‘Cause they’re busy imagining making a suit out of my skin. ’cause they’re murderers! They already put the lotion in the basket.” I’ve been accused of laughing too much; I have rather interesting clients come across my chair and table. As far as references to being Buffalo Bill from “The Silence of the Lambs”, EW, no! Please keep the dermis you came in with; it looks so good on you.

Now, with all that being said, I may not have changed his mind or yours. I really do hope that this post has given you something to think about and resources to use in order to have a better massage experience. I’d really love to work with Jim about his issue; it can sometimes feel like a real pain in the neck.

This is NOT what Sheryl Sandberg meant by “Leaning In”

With so many young people using cell phones, texting has exploded with expanded data features, and addictive interaction on social media. With prolonged use of cellphones, tablets and laptops, many chiropractors and massage therapists are treating ‘Text Neck’, or leaning into the screen.

Before this happens to you, these are tips that you can do to help deal with it –

  1. Dial the font size up on your screen. Whether you use your tablet, laptop or cellphone most often, sometimes the font size will cause you to squint or lean in to the screen. This isn’t what Sheryl Sandberg meant by the term. On your computer, Hold down CTRL + the dial on your mouse, and dial to your preferred size of font. On the tablet/smartphone (Apple), go to General > Accessibility > Larger Text > Drag Slider Right. Check your Android phone or tablet in the settings area, for similar prompts.
  2. Take time to look away and focus. Leaning into the screen also affects your eyesight, akin to moving to movie projector closer to the screen. It also puts a ton of pressure on your neck, as it’s holding up your head in a position that it was not really designed for it to be. For every inch you lean into the screen it adds 10 pounds of weight to your head and neck. Take a few minutes to look away from your screen, and focus on a faraway object.
  3. Look up. When you lean in to your screen for a prolonged time, it is about the
    Take a few moments to lean away from the screen.

    Take a few moments to look away from the screen.

    same as repeating the same action over and over. This contributes to headaches and stiff necks. Allow your head to loll back, and lower your shoulders. Don’t worry; your head won’t fall off, even though it just may feel like it. Close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. Definitely do this several times a day – It gives your neck and eyes a break.

  4. Use the dictation feature. One of the great things you probably never use on your phone is the dictation feature. As often as I am live tweeting (#Gladiator4Life), I have learned that dictation helps to keep up with the program, and keeps you from looking down SO often. I use the mic, and clip it in my ear. Just make sure that you proofread what it is writing, on your behalf. (Dang autocorrect!) Once the software gets used to your style, it tends to make corrections on its own.
  5. PUT THE PHONE DOWN – I get it – when I was in junior high (mumblemumble) years ago, I had classes with my best friend on EARTH all day for a year. I LOVED it; School was a daily hangout all day long. Then, we’d get home, and then get on the phone for hours. We even watched Jeopardy over the phone. This was back in the day when even the house line had a minutes plan. I truly understand what it means to just want to share every single thought with your friends all the time. But at some point, you just have to put the phone down. It’s hard to disengage at first, but actually talking in person does have its’ perks.
  6. Get a massage – Of course getting the muscles to relax increases flexibility, range of motion
    Prolonged texting with your neck craned forward without taking a break can cause a myriad of problems.

    Prolonged texting with your neck craned forward without taking a break can cause a myriad of problems.

    in your neck and relieves headaches. Prolonged texting with your neck craned forward without taking a break can cause pinched nerves, arthritis, and over time, disc degeneration. You are far too young to have to deal with that. Get a massage, or maybe an adjustment, if the problem cannot be solved with just the massage. These treatments are a great compliment to each other.

Note – This blog post is dedicated to Michele McDonald, who gave me the inspiration to write this post. If you have any questions about massage, please feel free to ask away!

10 Things – (Part 2 of 2) From the Massage Therapists’ 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. The first half of this post is here, if you missed it.

6.  What if someone secretly slips into the room, murders the massage therapist and then proceeds with my massage, all the while I have no clue because my face is buried in this terrycloth donut hole? Your mind had a tendency to roam when you want it to be quiet, even to the extreme, sometimes. The trick is to nip these thoughts in the bud as soon as you can, so that you are able to enjoy your session. There is a very low likelihood of a murder happening during the session, so just take a nice deep breath, hold it a sec, and exhale.

7.  I wonder if my body feels weird. This is the last thing you need to worry about, yet everyone worries about this very thing. Everyone’s body – even twins – is unique to itself. Each body feels weird, yet none of them are. Loving the skin you’re in is the trick.

8.  I bet my feet stink. Unless I’m passed out on the floor, with my nostril flaps bolted shut, your feet are fine. If you have malodorous feet, there are things that can be sprayed on them, such as wintergreen or lavender, that smell wonderful, and clean your feet at the same time. If you are truly concerned about The State of the Feet, here is a recipe to treat them, from Aura Cacia, or your could buy my Diva’s Bathtime Tea, on Etsy. Just do me a favor; please don’t walk through any garbage dumps barefoot. That will help both of us.

9.  Would it be weird if I moaned? No, so as long as it doesn’t go any farther than that. I used to have a regular client getting chair massage at when I worked at Logan Airport, who sounded like he was straight out of an Herbal Essences commercial. This was at a booth that had a modest privacy screen, meaning that you saw my head, when I stood up to work. You should have seen the faces of the people that walked by that heard the client, and saw just my head, until they walked around the wall, to see what I was doing. He didn’t care; he was getting his back taken care of, so that he would be able to enjoy his flight. Sometimes, clients will cry or laugh uncontrollably during a session. Emotional releases tend to be spontaneous and not always controllable.

10.   Will I ever shut off my mind and relax? You are not the only one with this challenge. Mindfulness is something that we are all challenged with. Your mind shoots off in so many directions, never wanting to be quiet. It’s called ‘monkey mind’ in many circles. Again, catching runaway thoughts and nipping them in the bud helps. Refocusing on quiet, calming thoughts takes practice and diligence, and always is a work in process.

I’m sure that you have more things on your mind than just these 10. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. I’ll do my best to to answer them!

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!