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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A Pain in the Neck

A Pain in the Neck

Ever wonder why your shoulders and neck hurt so much? The muscles in steady use or overuse get trigger points, that refer pain to other locations. Sitting at your desk, leaning into your tablet or smartphone, getting into an accident and playing an instrument are among the causes for neck and head pain. The Xs in the photo are the trigger points, the blue areas are where the pain is referred. Take a break 2-3 times an hour to stretch, and give those muscles a rest. If the issues persist, a massage may be a great way to relieve the trigger points! Make sure if the area is sore, and you do get a massage, let the therapist know if the pressure is too much; they can always adapt to help you feel better. (Photo source: Real Bodywork app)

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5 Tips for Stress Relief at Work

You’re at work, and you’re feeling sore & stressed – that knot between your shoulder blades is trying to give you a headache, and that one co-worker that gets on your nerves is headed in your direction. What are you to do? Here are 5 quick tips –

1- Use a tennis ball – A great tool to soothe sore feet & massage unreachable knots. Check earlier posts to show you how!

2- Your favorite tea – Teas with low levels of caffeine helps reduce stress levels.  Using honey instead of sugar helps regulate your blood sugar and won’t contribute to a sugar crash. It also causes you to get up & make the tea. (Get the blood moving!)

David Lister using Tension Sheets (bubble wrap, painted red) to de-stress on UK's 'Red Dwarf'.

David Lister using Tension Sheets (bubble wrap, painted red) to de-stress on UK’s ‘Red Dwarf’.

3- A sheet of bubble wrap – or what the TV show ‘Red Dwarf’ calls a Tension Sheet. Popping the little bubbles whether one at a time, or all at once reduces stress level. I’ve even put a sheet down on a tiled floor & run an office chair over it. Yes, it looked silly, but I really felt a lot better when I ran out of bubbles to pop!

4- Aromatherapy – studies show using essential oils such as lavender and lemongrass reduces stress & increases calm.

5- Soothing music playlist– music soothes the savage beast, it can also reduce stress levels. I have a Silly Song playlist, so I can de-stress at the office or on the road. I even go as far as to give really silly ringtones to calls that can be stressful. That way when I hear them, it makes me laugh a little, taking the stress out of answering the phone.  Music that tends to have a faster beat in stressful situations, tend to drive up stress levels. (Besides, who listens to ‘Bodies’ to de-stress?) You wouldn’t have to listen to it all day; just a few minutes when you’re stressed goes a long way!

Seated Stretches

2 Great Stretches to help you throughout the day.

BONUS – A good Stretching routine- you’ve been sitting at your desk for a while, and you hadn’t stretched in a few hours, admit it.  Get your blood moving & loosen up those tight muscles!

Here are a few good ideas – what are YOURS? I’d love to know!

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