Massage 101 for Newbies

Nice quick run through for any newbies left out there😉

Orchid Bloom Spa

We LOVE massage and immerse ourselves in it each day.  Many of our customers have been with us for years and have a deep appreciation for all that massage therapy can do for them.  But what if you are new to massage?  Maybe you’re a bit nervous or unsure of what to expect.

Don’t worry!  Massage is all about relaxation and relieving any stress that you have cooped up in your body.  When your mind is working like a steam engine, hauling around stressful cargo that you can’t seem to unload, you’re not functioning at your optimum level.  You may have trouble focusing or even sleeping.  Here are some tips for your first trip to the spa:

  1. Arrive as relaxed as you can be.  Make sure you arrive ahead of your appointment time so that you do not feel rushed. Listen to peaceful music on your way to the spa so that your…

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Holding your head high

Could this be where your headaches are coming from?

Body Poets Massage Therapy

Muscle of the Month: Suboccipitals

There are eight tiny muscles that have the huge job of keeping your head up, but they can cause a huge headache too! These are your suboccipital muscles. Resting in the nook at the base of the skull, these muscles are essential to fine head movements and in relaying proprioception of your head (where your head is in space and time) to your brain. When out of balance or strained, these muscles can cause temporal headaches and pain with neck movements.

Suboccipital - ottawa massage blog Rectus Capitis Posterior Minor

Suboccipital - ottawa massage blog Rectus Capitis Posterior Major

Actions – 

Rectus Capitis Posterior Major: Rock and tilt head back into extension, rotate head to same side

Rectus Capitis Posterior Minor: Rock and tilt head back into extension

Suboccipital - ottawa massage blog Oblique Capitis Superios

Suboccipital - ottawa massage blog Oblique Capitis Inferior

Oblique Capitis Superior: Rock and tilt head back into extension

Oblique Capitis Inferior: Rotate head to same side

Common pain culprit – Eye…

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Posture Ponderings

How’s your posture right now?

Stone Massage Health Benefits

Our own miss Michael gives the best Hot Stone Massage I’ve ever had! Just had me one yesterday😀

5 Things Your MT Reeeealy Wants You To Know

Sometimes we get in such a routine that we just assume someone else understands how something works. That some things are “a given”. Many times, though, this is not the case. With that in mind I wanted to share the following things that us as massage therapists may have mistakenly just assumed you knew, and hopefully now that you do know can receive a better massage experience.

1. We’re not miracle workers – When your MT says you need more frequent massage, or a series of massage sessions, they’re not just saying that to fill their schedules. It took you lord knows how long to get into the postural pickle and muscle mess you’re in. Hours, days, even years of abuse on your body have now caught up to you. We can help, but if it took you a long time to get that knot all cranky it may take us a few sessions to get it happy again.

2. Communicate with us – As awesome as it would be, we’re not mind readers. Also, EVERY body is different. What “medium” pressure is to one person may be feather light to the next. You may be chilly on the table but person before you may have been overheated. Please, please, PLEASE tell us if you’re uncomfortable, need more or less pressure, or could use an extra blanket. We promise we’ll do anything we can to make you happy on our table…but we can’t help if we don’t know.

3. Most of us are self employed – I say this because we’d like people to understand that if you decide to flake on your appointment and your MT is self-employed, that’s an hour of work that they showed up to do and are now not getting paid for. That being said, it’s only fair if an MT decides to have a cancellation policy and charges something for a missed appointment. If you get paid an hourly wage, go to work, and there’s nothing to do when you get there but you have to stay at work, you still get paid for your time there wether you’re playing solitaire or not…because you were there to do the work and are compensated for that availability. We made ourselves available for an appointment…if you don’t show up, that appointment (and our pay and livelihood) could have gone to someone else who values our time as much as their own.

4. Tipping – Is tipping our primary source of income? No. Is tipping appreciated? Sure. Personally, my tips go into a box that funds all my kids’ activities. Golf equipment, after school programs, instruments, soccer equipment, sports registration fees (man my monsters are getting expensive :p ), summer camps, school trips (holy cow!), school fund raisers and whatever else they get involved in…it comes out of my tip fund. So do I appreciate tips? Heck yes I do! Many of us use tips for these types of things, or for things to take care of ourselves (like massages for ourselves or a nice pedi).

5. NO Hanky-Panky! – Unfortunately, even in this day and age, there are still “happy ending” services available out there if you know where to look. Let me just say one thing about this: Those types of places make it VERY clear when you’re there that “sensual massage” is an option. They’re not shy about it! So if you go to a licensed and certified massage therapist and don’t get offered anything like that, you can bet your patooty that not only do they not offer it but they’ll also be VERY offended and will probably report you to the police if you ask. We are alternative care professionals…not hookers.

Hope these little insights improve your overall massage experiences.🙂

For the Mamas – Pre- and Post- Natal Massage

20130822-202909.jpgEveryone’s heard of prenatal massage, but not many know the importance of postnatal massage or the benefits and contraindications of either. With that in mind I thought it would be good to do a quick run through of each.

Prenatal Massage Contraindications (circumstances that would prevent you from receiving massage) – First off, massage is typically not recommended in the first trimester of pregnancy. The reason for this is simply because this time is the greatest risk of miscarriage and we don’t want to disrupt the body during this delicate time. Additionally if mom has suffered a prior miscarriage, preeclampsia (high blood pressure with pregnancy), or has any other medical concerns regarding the pregnancy we require a doctor’s approval before treating you. The chances of massage causing any symptoms or issues is minimal, but even a minute risk is not worth the chance when littles are concerned.

Prenatal Massage Benefits – Obviously, mom goes through a lot of changes while carrying baby. Between expanding, stretching and hormones mama just deserves a little pampering. I mean for pity sakes your growing a PERSON! That’s hard work!! And with all those body adjustments comes plenty of muscle tension and stress that needs to be addressed too. Massage can help with each of these needs to help make pregnancy easier for mama, which in turn makes it easier for baby.

Postnatal Massage Contraindications – In the case of c-sections or complications a minimum of 6 weeks of recovery and a doctor’s ok is necessary. If delivery was fine, 3-4 weeks of recovery is a good wait time.

Postnatal Massage Benefits – I recommend at least one postnatal appointment to my clients for two reasons:
1. To give mom a much needed break after many sleepless nights of newborn needs
2. To check that the body is realigning as it should after the pregnancy. At the end of pregnancy the pelvis really tilts forward. If the pelvis doesn’t shift back into proper position this can lead to low back problems, sciatic issues and SI joint problems (all of which can be painful). Also the “girls” tend to swell and get considerably heavier once engorged with milk, causing the upper back and shoulders to tense up to carry the weight (and let’s all admit there’s no good posture when it comes to nursing). Again, massage is very helpful during this time to help realign the body and ease any new mama discomfort.

Not that I’m partial, but I truly believe massage can make the whole baby growing process go much easier. But once your beautiful bundle of joy arrives don’t forget that you can’t care for others if you don’t care for yourself.

Jennifer Parker, Body Harmony Massage
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Giving Yourself A Break From Negativity

Good advice. Negativity can have many adverse effects. Be happy🙂