NiaMassage

Musings from the Massage Chair & Table

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!

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How often should I get a Massage?

By far and away, the question of how often one should get a massage is the most common one that I get on a daily basis. I think, as so many people have different reasons that one would NEED a massage, the answers are never the same, or easy to answer.

How often you get a massage all depends on YOU, and what you need to get out of the sessions!

How often you get a massage all depends on YOU, and what you need to get out of the sessions!

Here is my best recommendation – it depends on you! If you’re athletic and just trying to maintain good muscle tone, the frequency and type of massage would be different than someone that is completely stressed all the time. If you are sedentary, and sit at your desk all day, your massage regimen would be different than someone that would be in a surgery theater. I am not trying to be vague; if you have a specific treatment that you need to feel better, I’d be able to give you a better idea as to your frequency of sessions, because it would be contoured to your need. 

If you have any questions about massage, let me hear them! I’d love to know what you are wondering about!

 

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Why do I like doing chair massage?

I’ve been asked by many people why I like to do Chair Massage over Table Massage. As often as I’ve answered this question, I hadn’t answered with the same singular answer. Here are a few of the reasons that I’ve given –

1- It’s a non-invasive way of getting people to enjoy a massage without taking off all of one’s clothes. You get pampered, fall asleep and feel better all in one session. It is the most fun you can have while your clothes are on.

Not at all. If you have several layers, you can take a few off, but you can keep your clothes on.

One of the biggest fears of people have about getting a Chair Massage.

2- I enjoy the traveling of it all. I used to work in a spa, and as much as I liked it, I didn’t get to travel. I was new to the area, and I didn’t get to see but for what in the area of the spa and home. Being able to travel gets me out of my comfort zone and I see more of Atlanta and the surrounding area.

3- It takes the excuse of ‘I don’t have time to take care of myself‘ out of the equation. If I come to you, you are able to de-stress and not have to travel to the spa to do it. Not only have I done massages in the office, I’ve done chair massages at several networking events, launch parties, airports, hospitals, parks, garages (yes, garages – Outdoor event in Atlantic Station – it rained cats and dogs!) and stadiums.

4 – It allows you to get together with your friends and have a great time! When you get together, it adds another level of care to your event. During the weekend, especially during football season, if you aren’t into the game as much as your partner is, you both can have a good time – you are getting a massage and relaxing with your friends; your partner is watching the football game. Everyone comes out a winner (unless your team loses!)

5 – It gets what you need done in a short period of time. Don’t have time for a full body massage, but your neck and back hurt? Get in the chair and take a 15 minute vacation! You’ll wake up refreshed and revived.

6 – It helps you to understand why your body aches the way it does. I try to explain your knots in layman’s terms, so that you are able to do self-care, between your massage sessions.

7- I get to go to the AmericasMart at least twice a year. Store owners and buyers come in from all over the world to buy products for the upcoming season for their stores. It combines my loves – seeing new people, food, shopping and massage.

What questions do you have for me in regards to massage therapy? I’ll do my best to answer any questions you send my way!

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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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What ‘NOT’ to Say to a Therapist (part 2 of 3)

This is the second part of the series. If you’ve missed part one, you can click here.

People tell me some interesting things...

People tell me some interesting things…

9.            I ache all over; Can you fix everything in one session? I could try, but it wouldn’t be a great massage. We’ll target the areas that hurt the worst, and address the rest, in the time allowed. It’s not a ploy for more appointments; it is a plan to get you feeling better.

10.         What is Qi, Xi? Pronounced, chee, it’s an Eastern term referring to energy flowing through everything. (This is a very simple description to the question. I’ll get to that in a later post.)

11.         So, what exactly does a ‘full body massage’ include? If you’re asking this question, please refer to question 5.

12.         Is it weird to rub naked bodies all day? When I was 13, and I had people tell me that I had ‘good hands’ and I should be a massage therapist, yes, the idea creeped me out. But, after all, I was 13; I didn’t even have a positive body image of myself. Now, it does not bother me at all.

13.         I’m a regular; can you cut me a deal? There’s no problem in the asking, but expecting for a ‘deal’ to be cut is presumptuous. If you’re a true regular, I’ll already be letting you know when the ‘deal’ would be coming.

14.         I want a deep tissue all over for two hours. It’s a grand plan, a 2 hour massage, but in most cases, not a good idea. It can become energy-draining to the therapist, and after about 90 minutes, not as fun as you’d think.

15.         Go as deep as you like – I can take the pressure! Please let me know as the session progresses if the pressure isn’t enough; bruises don’t look good on ANYONE.

How deep is TOO deep? Bruises don't look good on anyone.

How deep is TOO deep? Bruises don’t look good on anyone.

16.         You actually had to go to school for massage? I sure did, and I still do, to maintain my license. It keeps my training sharp, and I learn new techniques to help you feel better. Would you want someone to perform surgery, and has no proper training?

Next week is the end of this series, so far. Are there any questions that you’d like to have answered? If they aren’t covered in next week’s blog post, they will be added!

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