NiaMassage

Musings from the Massage Chair & Table

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!

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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!

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?

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How to Ace Your Next Exam

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. There are even some campuses that have puppies to play with during a study break.

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!

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Just Blog It – My Favorite Quotes

Inspirational quotes help a lot to keep one’s spirits up, especially when it comes at the right time.

What works for me are the ones that have a little humor, because laughter is my favorite coping mechanism. Here are a few of my favorites-

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(Ed. Note- As I was writing this last night, a fight broke out on the train, so these 2 quotes were SO apropos! The fight just meandered from one end of the car, to the other, spanning several stations. It seemed as most folks in the cab weren’t immune to Stupiditis.)

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Tactical Operations Kit for Finals Week

Testing time, especially Finals Week can be especially stressful for any student of any age. Cramming over books or a computer doing research, can tie the calmest person in knots! It can almost feel as if the Hunger Games are a real event –

Sometimes, Finals week can feel like the Hunger Games...

Sometimes, Finals week can feel like the Hunger Games…

Here are some things that can help you not only stress less during testing time, but actually thrive-

  • Peppermint – This can be Essential Oil, candles, teas or candy. This can help with clarity, focus and concentration.
  • Lavender – This can be Essential Oil, lavender buds, teas or candy. This will help calm you, and relax.
  • Chamomile – This can be Essential Oil, chamomile buds, teas or candy. This also can help calm you.
  • Tennis Ball & Sock – This can help address knots that you cannot reach on neck & shoulders.
  • Golf Ball – Self massage for feet. Roll foot over ball to your preferred pressure. Pick it up after you’re done! 😉
These can help even the most stressed student stress less during testing period.

These can help even the most stressed student stress less during testing period.

Naturespace app for iPhone, Nature Sounds for Relax & Sleep for Android – Relaxing atmospheric soundtracks. You can ‘be’ at the beach or in the woods, for hours on end to help studying, or sleep!
My Thought Coach – Meditations, guided imagery and positive thoughts for varied occasions.
Get a Massage – You may not have enough time to get a full body massage during testing time, but getting a massage is a good investment on your stress level, and those knots you get from studying and doing research for hours on end. Check to see if your Student Activities Board has Massage Sessions set up at your college or university. If not, check out ‘Find A Massage Therapist’ on the AMTA or ABMP websites.

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Own Your ‘Tall’!

Unless you are the World's Tallest Person, there will always be someone taller or shorter than YOU.

Unless you are the World’s Tallest Person, there will always be someone taller or shorter than YOU.

We’ve all been there – the first day of middle school – and you look around the playground or cafeteria. Your friends, who you’ve just seen, only a few months ago that were your same height, have either grown taller without you, or, vice versa. It’s not even slight; it’s noticeable. You crave being back where you used to be, just so you don’t stand out so much. So, you slouch and shrink, just to fit in.

There’s only one problem. You are where you are, for the time being. You’ve either grown as much as you can, or have more growing to do. There’s not much you can do about it, except own your ‘tall’. Unless you are the World’s Tallest Person, there will always be someone taller or shorter than you.

You were designed to stand out as you are. So, why try to conform on something so arbitrary as height! Own every inch of height you have, and don’t ever let anyone make you feel little. (Or too tall, for that matter!) Own your own version of “tall”; better yet, celebrate it!

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I just had a panic attack.

I haven’t had one in ages. The last time I had a full blown panic attack was over 12 years ago, when I was lost in Seattle, and I couldn’t remember where we parked after the Seafair parade. It was absolutely debilitating, and I just couldn’t function. I had my daughter with me, and I must have scared her half to death.

I’ve since learned how to recognize what a panic attack ‘looks like’ for me, and to know how to combat the feeling before it gets out of hand. But this one, I didn’t see coming. I wasn’t looking for it, and it didn’t come on suddenly. It was one of those slow-to-boil panic attacks, very much like how one would put a lobster into a cool pot of water, and then turn up the heat.

Yesterday, I just couldn’t seem to get motivated to leave the house. I made all the tasks that I had to do be inside, and near my desk. I had calls to make, but yet, didn’t make them. I had family commitments to attend to, but didn’t go to them. I have several events the rest of this month I have to attend/run/work at, so it wasn’t an opportune time to ‘take a break’ from life. I got what I had to do in the house done, but not much else.

As the day progressed, I started to understand what was going on. I get on Facebook, and I start to see the 9/11 pictures go up on statuses and pages. I didn’t realize the date until last night that 12 years ago, we were in NY, visiting friends and family, quite by surprise (for them – we lived on the West coast, and moved back East a few days before), and we were on our way back home to Massachusetts. I was home by the time the second plane hit the tower after sending my then boyfriend to work, and daughter off to school. I remember being in the Towers 10 years before, on a date, pressing my head against the glass to look down, recalling how, even that far up, that ice crystals change over to rain, before they hit the ground. The hyperventilating began, and my heart began to race. Tears rolled down my face as I sat on the couch, just frozen to the spot, hands firmly stuck under my legs.

I had to tell myself that these events are two separate incidents, and it’s OK to be upset, but it’s not OK to stay upset. I shook myself, to bring me to the present. All I could do is sit and just be aware that it’s 2013, not 2011. I’m not in Massachusetts, by myself, glued to the TV. I closed my eyes, pried my hands away from my legs, and placed my right hand over my rapidly beating heart, and the left one over my stomach. Take a deep breath, I repeated to myself. As I got more and more calm, and aware of my surroundings, I got up and shook that mess (for the lack of a better word) off. I realize that it isn’t as easy for those who actually lost friends, family and colleagues, but sitting in that space of fear and despair wasn’t going to serve me today. What I need to do today is serve others.

As I sit here, finishing this post. I feel much better. I have clients to serve, and will shift my focus on how to help, as opposed to feeling helpless. Now that I know what was going on, and how I can do better, I think this 9/11 will be better for me than the last 12.

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Be Your Own Cheerleader

When things don’t go your way, disappointment does happen. When things don’t go your way for a LONG time, depression and stress can set in. As much as you’d like to have others cheer you up, sometimes you have to be your own cheerleader.

Instead of focusing on the failure, focus on what you have learned instead. The more likely you learn the lesson, you are less likely to repeat the outcome.

Are you standing in your own way?  Self-doubt and negative thinking can help you create your own obstacles.  As soon as you recognize your thoughts going negative, catch yourself. Never get into the habit of rooting against yourself! 64 year-old Diana Nyad finally made her goal of swimming from Cuba to Florida – that’s 103 miles in jellyfish and shark infested water. She started at 28 years of age; It took her FIVE times to do it, and she never gave up!

Cheerleader

Are you trying to please other people, or listening/ worrying what other people are thinking? Everyone has haters, they’re there to let you know you are headed in the right direction.  Listen to your inner cheerleader – at your center, your own soul is rooting for you to succeed!

You have your own cheering section. Don't root against yourself!

You have your own cheering section. Don’t root against yourself!

Also, quit comparing yourself to anyone. This race you are running, your competitor is yourself and time. You have the same amount of time as everyone else; how you use it makes the difference. (This is a reminder to myself as well.)

I hope that these help you change the way your see your situation, and begin to cheer yourself on!

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What ‘NOT’ to Say to a Therapist (Part 3 of 3)

This is the final part of the series. If you’ve missed part one or two, you can click here and here.

What NOT to say to a massage therapist

17.         I don’t drink water. Before I was a massage therapist, I was in the same camp. I didn’t drink water AT ALL. My body let you know I didn’t either – my skin was compared to elephant hide, and I had severe acne. During a massage class, my classmates were brought up to look at my back, to see what dehydration looked like. (That really happened.) Now that I drink much more water than I have in ages, my skin is much better, and although my acne hasn’t completely cleared up, I cannot be mistaken for what high schoolers would call a ‘pizza face’.

18.         I’ve been told I give ‘pretty good’ massages. I’m glad other people think you have good hands. It’s a very good talent to have, but a few classes under your belt would not hurt! This way, you’ll know how to help someone, as opposed to making a situation worse.  Hey, people may just say that you give excellent massages then!

19.         I just came in from work; Sorry I didn’t take a shower. Unless there is thick green smoke wafting from you, body odor can be dealt with. Now with that being said, don’t jump into a porta-potty on the way to your session.

20.         I didn’t shave. I would SO rather massage a hairy body, than a stubbly one. But that’s just my preference. When you shave, you remove a layer of skin cells. You have no idea what media the therapist is using for your massage. As a result, you may end up with clogged pores or blackheads. What would you rather have – a hairy body, or backne (back acne)?

21.         Do I ‘have’ to tip? This is a *very* sensitive subject among Massage Therapists. Some therapists get fairly upset by not getting a tip. Talking to a therapist that I look up to, he put it this way –

If you’re paying full rate for a massage — tip or don’t tip, it doesn’t matter to me. I set the price at a livable wage for myself.

If you’re getting a discount because you’re on a fixed income — don’t tip. Treat your family well — except maybe at the holidays (nice, but not necessary).

If you’re redeeming a gift certificate that someone else bought — well, the buyer should have included the tip.

If you’re redeeming a gift certificate that I donated to a non-profit — definitely tip — there is still overhead associated with that massage and the opportunity cost of working for ‘free’ vs working for a paying client.

As far as I’m concerned, tip if you feel that you’ve gotten a good massage. If you can’t afford to tip, don’t feel bad about it, please. I’d much rather you feel better, and tell others about your experience. You won’t get a lesser experience because you don’t give a tip. But this is my personal opinion, based on my own experiences.

Well, what do you think? Do you have any questions or comments that weren’t covered in these past posts? I would really LOVE to know!

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Hug Someone!

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