Tag Archives: Massage

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. 🙂

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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)

“Resolutions” Are For Sissies – Commitments Are For Real

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Happy 2014! The new year is here and everyone wants to start out on fire, right? So why not get serious about it folks?

I’ve recently been thrusted into a little journey of self discovery. I spent the last month of last year thinking about myself for a change and what I’m going to do about some things I’ve discovered about myself and ones closest to me.

While on this little journey, with some wine in my empty kitchen on New Years Eve, I had myself a little epiphany. I decided resolutions are for sissies! Resolutions are usually thought up around 11:50 and fizzle out shortly thereafter. Like that glass of Champagne at midnight after an evening of hard liquor; a good idea at the time that leaves you with a headache of regret after, realizing you didn’t really think that one through.

Commitments, however, are hard and usually require forethought and continued effort. So I thought, instead of a “resolution” that will loose it’s thunder somewhere around Valentine’s Day at best, how about a “New Year Commitment”. A solid commitment to and for yourself.

Run with me people I’m on a roll here…I’m telling you this is gonna be a hot trend!

Be specific. Generic and general statements like “get in shape” won’t motivate you or keep you accountable. This is a COMMITMENT! You know, like “I swear to love, honor, cherish, blah blah blah for the rest of my days until I die” type thing.

Basically, search your soul a little here. What’s REALLY important to you? A fitness goal? Quitting a bad habit? Having a better relationship with the honey, kids or friends? Accomplishing a goal (even a small one like kitchen tile 😉 )? Taking better care of you? Once you figure that out, think of at least one specific thing that can get you there. That’s the commitment we’re making this year – the specific thing. Not the grand end goal that’s to daunting to tackle, but accomplishing the baby steps to get there so we stay motivated by milestones!

Again, be specific. I commit to:
Go to the gym every Tuesday and Thursday
Do a sugar cleanse twice this year
Do something for only myself at least “x” times per week
Only drink coffee on Mondays (because Mondays suck 🙂 )
Get a massage every three weeks
Go on a date with my partner, kids, friends, etc. once a month
Tile my kitchen by June
Run “x” miles per week by August

Now we’re going to treat this like a marriage license, or better yet a mortgage! I commit to pay “x” every month until “x”. No getting out of this one baby! Write it down and keep it where you’ll see it everyday. Heck make it look pretty and put it in a frame if you have to! Now put up your right hand and say it with me now: “I (state your name) am making a commitment in 2014 to (blank)”.

The idea here is to keep it on the forefront of your mind. You don’t need to do a daily affirmation (not that it would hurt) but if you can see it everyday you’re more likely to keep it up. If you read it everyday it remains important.

Stew on it for a few days before you decide on something concrete. Then come visit me here again in a few days for the next post on how we’re going to make this sucker happen!

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)

Tibetan Healing Sounds

I found this exceptionally relaxing to listen to during my nightly hot bath and thought I’d share it with everyone. I use this time to release the stresses and negative energy of the day. I soak in warm water with Epsom salts, breathe deeply and slowly, and listen to music or sometimes read. It helps me relax and sleep better 🙂

Zen Flash

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If You’re Sick Stay Home

20131002-182225.jpgWith the cold and flu season kicking off I feel compelled to give this advice. All the crappy symptoms you’re feeling are your body’s response to an infection. Your fever is to burn it out, your sore throat is your immune system killing off infected cells, and your grogginess is because your body is literally waging war on your tiny invader.

It takes alot of energy to wage a war. GO TO SLEEP! Let’s face it, are you really all that productive (or friendly?!) when you’re trying to power through a cold? Wouldn’t it be more efficient to get over it faster so you can be fully present at work instead of distracted by your currently miserable body? Of course it would.

Rest is key here folks. Go home and sleep it off for a day or two.

And a little tid-bit from the rest of us…we love you, but we don’t want your cooties. Get that business contained in a hazmat suit and stop spreading that particular love around. Also…NO massage while you have symptoms! For one, we don’t want it. For two, massage increases blood flow which could actually spread your infection. Please just call us to cancel asap and go to bed. We’ll understand 🙂

Jennifer Parker, Body Harmony Massage
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