Category Archives: Massage Therapy

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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10 Things Massage Can Help You Achieve in 2014

Massage can help a body in so many ways, and it’s recently dawned on me that many of the benefits are linked to a lot of New Years Resolutions.

Through receiving massage and becoming aware of your body and how it functions, you can enjoy physical and emotional benefits to help you reach your goals. Here are some examples:

1. Stress Less
Massage, primarily Swedish Massage, is well known as a relaxation technique. It relaxes the nervous system, slows breathing, and can even give you the physical and emotional sensation of sleeping even if you stay awake. Once your body is in a relaxed state, stress levels naturally decrease. After your massage you may feel groggy, which is normal and will fade once you get moving again. However, even after the grogginess wears off your body is energetically in a more relaxed state and mentally you can feel more aware and less sensitive to your daily stressors.

Be sure to actively participate in your relaxation if that is your goal for the massage session. Inform your therapist that you want to relax, close your eyes, tune out the world, breath slowly and deeply into your stomach, and feel your body release all your stress tension. Once the therapist is done with an area, forget about it. Forget you even have an arm or leg once it’s been worked on. Just let it be numb for awhile. Fall asleep if that’s what your body tells you is needed. Just be.

2. Work Out More
Muscle soreness can be in part due to muscle waste, like lactic acid, remaining in the muscle tissue. Tight muscles are constantly in flexion, so are constantly producing this muscle waste. They are also literally squeezing out their own blood supply, which prevents blood from flushing out these toxins for your body to process and remove.

Massage relaxes muscle tissue, which increases blood circulation in the area. By doing so, the muscle waste is flushed out by the blood. Once this waste is removed that work-out soreness is greatly reduced as the lactic acid is not longer built up. Not sore = better and more effective workouts!

3. Take Better Care of Yourself
Many people have very little idea of how their body moves or where pain starts. When we ask some clients “What time of day does your pain start?” or “What movement causes you pain?” we often get a blank stare. They only know they have pain. There where or why is a foreign idea.

Touch through massage brings an awareness to an area. Your therapist may find areas of pain or tension you were not even aware of and so didn’t know needed treated. May times these areas are interconnected. Once you become aware of what starts and sets off your pain you can take preventative measures. You’ll know what you can and can’t do, and when to get treatment before the pain actually starts.

4. Address Cellulite
Cellulite is basically fatty tissue that us protruding through your fascia, the tissue that connects your skin to the muscles underneath. When this happens the fatty tissue pushes the skin out, and the areas where the fascia is connecting skin to muscle won’t stretch as far as the spaces under the skin. This causes the skin to pucker where the fascia is pulling on the underside of the skin.

A Cellulite Massage is a specialized technique that stretches the fascia and levels out the fatty tissue, reducing that “cottage cheese” appearance by smoothing out the area. The fatty tissue should still be addressed with exercise and a healthy diet, but it’ll be a lot easier to see the results of your sweat-fest when the area doesn’t look so lumpy.

5. Be More Active
If you have pain, being active can be…well, painful. Massage can release muscle tension and trigger points, strip adhesions and scar tissue, correct postural deviations, improve blood flow, release pain-relieving chemicals like endorphins and serotonin, and so much more.

Pain is many times a vicious cycle. You have pain so you’re less active, but not exercising causes more pain. Massage can help to reduce the pain to allow you to be more active and get some exercise, which in turn will continue to reduce a lot of pain.

6. Be Happier
Those with chronic pain know it can take an emotional toll as well. You’re in pain, which sucks. You can’t do the things you want to do, which sucks. The pain seems to either not be getting better or is getting worse, which sucks!

Reducing your pain and being able to go back to doing some of the things you’ve had to give up can do wonders for a person’s overall well being. And when you’re happy, your brain releases more happy chemicals that can also help reduce pain!

7. Better Rest/More Energy
Stress and pain are two major causes of people loosing quality winks. As we touched on earlier, massage can help with both of these which can go a long way towards a better night’s rest and more energy the next day.

Additionally, once the initial “massage drunk” wears off, may people feel an increase in energy and focus after receiving massage. They’re not as distracted by pain or stress, and they’re full of all those happy chemicals flowing through their bloodstream. Many people report having more energy for several hours, days and even weeks after their massage.

8. More patience
Admit it. When you’re tired, stressed, sore or in pain you’re not exactly Mother Teresa. Reducing these stressors can go a long way to helping you get through traffic, your co-workers, kids and daily life.

Additionally, we’ve become a quick-fix society with our health as well. It’s become preferred to take the magic pill or latest fad diet than get to the root of the problem. Massage can make you more aware of what’s really needed, and you can physically feel the difference it can make long term instead of settling for the quick cure.

9. Open mindedness
Alternative medicine, although becoming more popular and widely accepted, is still…well…”alternative”. Many will still continue to dismiss us alternative care providers as “witch-doctors” and “rip-offs”. Never-mind that what we now call “alternative” has been around longer than modern medicine.

Once you’ve seen the effectiveness of massage you may consider trying other forms of alternative care, like acupuncture or chiropractic. Maybe after that you’ll try energy work. Once you’re willing to be more open minded about things with less judgement in your eyes you might just realize there’s a wealth of knowledge and possibilities for you to discover.

10. Better Self-Image
Massage can help you get past body issues. We professionals do not hold judgement on any body shape, type, more or hair follicle. Many clients realize after being accepted by their massage therapist that they were making a bigger deal out of their body issues than what is actually there.

So you see, massage is much more than a glorified lotion application. I’ll admit massage cannot do all the work for you; but through massage, self care and self discovery it is certainly a viable tool to help you on your journey to what you might wish to accomplish.

Jennifer Parker, Body Harmony Massage
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(Image from nytimes.com)

Black Friday Sale on Massages? Whaaaaaat??!!!!

Oh yeah it’s coming up on Black Friday time. Highlight of a discount junkie’s whole year. When mobs of crazed shoppers stalk the Wal-Marts of the country like zombies at zero-dark-thirty in bunny slippers and curlers (I used to live in Kansas. I’ve seen it…super creepy).

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Scary huh! But you didn’t think we’d miss out on all the fun did you? HECK NO! And we’ll not only save you from the chaos in the streets by offering our deal exclusively online, but we’re also going to one-up those retail yuppies buy running our deal Friday through Monday. Boo-ya! Take that greedy franchisers.

We’re running a Buy One Get One 1/2 Off all gift certificates on our website from Black Friday all the way through Cyber Monday. Just head on over to the Body Harmony Massage website Nov. 29th-Dec 2nd and order online from the comfort of your home in your underwear, if that’s your thing. No judging here. Give them as gifts or use them yourself. Why not? They’re on sale!

On a separate note, pretty please consider buying local and supporting our local economy. The more dollars that change hands between local residents and local businesses, the more our beautiful Treasure Valley can flourish. Hit the mom and pop shops for gifts, get a mani-pedi or massage gift certificate from your favorite place or whatever. Just do your part to help out businesses in Boise, Meridian and all the other surrounding towns with so much to offer. We will be extremely appreciative of your support and able to continue to serve the entire Treasure Valley. We thank you!

Jennifer Parker, Body Harmony Massage
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(Image from nytimes.com)

Hot Stone Massage – Nov Tx of the Month

05The chill has hit the air so we thought this would be an excellent time to throw a Hot Stone Massage deal out there!

I’m usually a fan of deep tissue and really getting tension dug out when I receive massage, but this time of the year the cold really gets to my joints due to my hypermobility and I can never seem to get warm enough. Because of this, I tend to get a lot of Hot Stone Massages in the fall and winter. That’s not to say it isn’t awesome any time of year, I just feel I need it more now.

Hot Stone Massage has a couple different benefits, depending on application. It can be deeply relaxing, with the heat from the stones warming you and slow gliding strokes. It can also be beneficial for sore muscles as the heat penetrates deep to relax away tight areas. The stones can even be used as a tool by the therapist to really get into a knot if firmer pressure is your thing.

Whatever your preference, a Hot Stone Massage is worth trying at least once. This month we’re offering 90min Hot Stone Massage Sessions for only $70, so now is the perfect time to give it a shot! Give us a call at 208-887-9566 or book online on our website.

Jennifer Parker, Body Harmony Massage
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Couples Massage – Our October Tx of the Month

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Couples Massage Sessions are great for many reasons. It’s a great date night for some quiet time together, if you’re nervous about receiving a massage a trusted companion will be right there with you, and it’s perfect for some much deserved pampering time.

We like to approach couples massage a bid differently at our office though. We customize each individual’s massage to their needs even though they’re sharing the same massage room. One person wants a hot stone but the other wants deep tissue work? Done! One wants to relax while the other wants to try Chinese Cupping? No problem. Even though you’re experiencing it together, it’s still your massage and we want you to receive the best treatment possible…for you.

Many spas are geared toward the female experience, and if you’re getting some girl friend or mother/daughter time (which are both very popular) that’s fine. We have a divider in our couples room to undress behind so everyone stays modest. You each get the massage, treatment and pampering add-ons you’d like for your session.

However, the guys are sometimes a bit put off by fu-fu stuff. I see many an intimidated husband drug into our office by his giddy wife…fearing a dreaded eyebrow wax or something else unmanly will happen to him. Relax guys. We’ll talk to you individually and find out what goals you have for your massage. Just because honey is getting a Cellulite Massage or Body Wrap treatment doesn’t mean you have to join in if that’s not your cup of tea. No judging here…and we don’t even do eyebrow waxing 😉

Interested in trying a couples massage? Our October Treatment of the Month is Couples Massage! For the whole month of October you can schedule a 1hr Couples massage, or purchase a gift certificate on our website, for $85 per couple.

Jennifer Parker, Body Harmony Massage
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Cupping – Our Sept. Treatment of the Month

20130822-201106.jpgRecently I’ve realized that we have several awesome services in our office that many of our clients have never tried. It seems they’ve found something they love already and don’t really want to venture into new massage services. I really feel it’s important to try new things every once in a while, so we’re starting our new “Treatment of the Month”. Each month we’ll run a special on a specific service we offer so you can try it at an affordable price.

And we’re starting with Cupping! I’m currently the only therapist who offers this at the office, but I have a feeling the other girls will get trained in it soon. I received Cupping one time and fell in LOVE! I immediately set off to learn this awesome treatment.

Let’s run through a quick description. Think Deep Tissue Massage results, but in reverse with significantly less pain. Awesome right?!

Basically, a cup is applied to the skin and then a vacuum is created to pull the skin up into the cup. This is not painful when done properly. The suction stretches the underlying connective tissue and fascia, and holds that suction for a time which allows the tissue to stretch and release. This is similar to when you are stretching a muscle and must hold that stretch for a few moments to get the full benefit.

After a few minutes the cup is gently removed. This leaves you with two things:

1. Lovely suction marks making you look like you lost a fight with a giant squid. These marks are not bruises, are not painful and fade (some in a few hours, some in a few days depending on how tight the muscles & tissue was in the area). Ah the marks of a healed body 🙂

2. The connective tissue & fascia, which is many times the most sensitive, is all loosey-goosey now. This desensitizes the area which allows me to work with much more cooperative and less tender tissue, resulting in greater relief during the session.

I’ve treated everything from knotted muscles to fibromyalgia to plantar fasciitis with this treatment with fabulous results. The area is less sensitive so I can make real progress in the treatment and give my clients greater relief from their pain.

Interested? Click here to be taken to the special for this month – A full 90min session, which includes a full one hour massage session with additional 30 minutes of Cupping work, for only $75 OR a 30min Cupping Only session for $25. You can schedule your session now or purchase a gift certificate for later to take advantage of this deal.

See you soon!
Jennifer Parker, Body Harmony Massage
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