NiaMassage

Musings from the Massage Chair & Table

My Response to Some of the ’31 Thoughts During a Massage’

I recently read a hilarious blog post called “31 thoughts during a massage that everyone has, because it’s truly a bizarre experience“, by Kara Weymouth Although, they are 31 thoughts in this article, I will only answer a few of these, because I’ve already covered most of this in previous blog posts. Now again, these responses only apply to me and my business. Other therapists and businesses may think and do differently.

  1. Do other people neatly folded and stacked their clothing here? Whether you fold your clothes or just drape them across the chair, it makes no difference. So as long as my feet are not tangled in your clothes, it should not be a problem.
  1. This really hurts, but that means it’s working. Not in every case. Definitely let your
    If you're making faces, the pressure is probably too deep.

    If you’re making faces, the pressure is probably too deep.

    therapist know if the pressure is ever too much or too little. They can always adjust to your best pressure so that you don’t feel as if you have been run over by a steam roller, if you don’t want that. Bruises don’t look cute on anyone.

  1. Wow, she’s really digging in there. Please don’t bruise, skin. Again, please tell your therapist if the pressure is ever too much or too little. You don’t want to be bruised; the therapist doesn’t want to bruise you.
  1. I hope the massage oil she’s using doesn’t make my back break out because I really want to wear that new silk cami this weekend. If you prefer, you can bring your own massage media. If you have a preference of lotion over oil, you can ask that prior to your session.
  1. Does she get grossed out by people with bacne? Oh no, she just kneaded around a pimple on my back. This is a good thing. You don’t want the bacteria from the pimple to be spread across your back. That is something an aesthetician should take care of.
  1. This calming music really makes me anxious. Where’s the soothing Taylor Swift? If you prefer your own music, you should be able to bring it, and ask if you can use it, especially if you’re in a spa. Not everyone is able to relax to Megadeth or the soothing sounds of Black Sabbath.
  1. Can she really feel a pressure point on my shoulder and relieve it by pressing one on my hips? That doesn’t seem possible. More than likely, you have some referred pain going on. It is possible to touch one area, and relieve another. Ask your therapist; they should be happy to answer that question for you.
  1. OMG, does she think it’s strange that I left my underwear on? I would think it strange if you had scuba gear on, but not really your underwear.
  1. God, please don’t let me fart right now. You and me both, sister; you and me both. During this whole session, I’m sure were asking God the same thing for both our sanity sake. If it happens, it’s a natural reaction of muscles relaxing. Relax.
  2. Did she just use her elbows? It hurts so good. Ask. They’ll be more than happy to answer that question for you.
  1. Do massage therapists get massages after work? Yes, but not always.
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This is NOT what Sheryl Sandberg meant by “Leaning In”

With so many young people using cell phones, texting has exploded with expanded data features, and addictive interaction on social media. With prolonged use of cellphones, tablets and laptops, many chiropractors and massage therapists are treating ‘Text Neck’, or leaning into the screen.

Before this happens to you, these are tips that you can do to help deal with it –

  1. Dial the font size up on your screen. Whether you use your tablet, laptop or cellphone most often, sometimes the font size will cause you to squint or lean in to the screen. This isn’t what Sheryl Sandberg meant by the term. On your computer, Hold down CTRL + the dial on your mouse, and dial to your preferred size of font. On the tablet/smartphone (Apple), go to General > Accessibility > Larger Text > Drag Slider Right. Check your Android phone or tablet in the settings area, for similar prompts.
  2. Take time to look away and focus. Leaning into the screen also affects your eyesight, akin to moving to movie projector closer to the screen. It also puts a ton of pressure on your neck, as it’s holding up your head in a position that it was not really designed for it to be. For every inch you lean into the screen it adds 10 pounds of weight to your head and neck. Take a few minutes to look away from your screen, and focus on a faraway object.
  3. Look up. When you lean in to your screen for a prolonged time, it is about the
    Take a few moments to look away from the screen.

    Take a few moments to look away from the screen.

    same as repeating the same action over and over. This contributes to headaches and stiff necks. Allow your head to loll back, and lower your shoulders. Don’t worry; your head won’t fall off, even though it just may feel like it. Close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. Definitely do this several times a day – It gives your neck and eyes a break.

  4. Use the dictation feature. One of the great things you probably never use on your phone is the dictation feature. As often as I am live tweeting (#Gladiator4Life), I have learned that dictation helps to keep up with the program, and keeps you from looking down SO often. I use the mic, and clip it in my ear. Just make sure that you proofread what it is writing, on your behalf. (Dang autocorrect!) Once the software gets used to your style, it tends to make corrections on its own.
  5. PUT THE PHONE DOWN – I get it – when I was in junior high (mumblemumble) years ago, I had classes with my best friend on EARTH all day for a year. I LOVED it; School was a daily hangout all day long. Then, we’d get home, and then get on the phone for hours. We even watched Jeopardy over the phone. This was back in the day when even the house line had a minutes plan. I truly understand what it means to just want to share every single thought with your friends all the time. But at some point, you just have to put the phone down. It’s hard to disengage at first, but actually talking in person does have its’ perks.
  6. Get a massage – Of course getting the muscles to relax increases flexibility, range of motion
    Prolonged texting with your neck craned forward without taking a break can cause a myriad of problems.

    Prolonged texting with your neck craned forward without taking a break can cause a myriad of problems.

    in your neck and relieves headaches. Prolonged texting with your neck craned forward without taking a break can cause pinched nerves, arthritis, and over time, disc degeneration. You are far too young to have to deal with that. Get a massage, or maybe an adjustment, if the problem cannot be solved with just the massage. These treatments are a great compliment to each other.

Note – This blog post is dedicated to Michele McDonald, who gave me the inspiration to write this post. If you have any questions about massage, please feel free to ask away!

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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 Deep is TOO Deep? NiaMassage FAQ #1


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Many times, when I talk to potential clients and they ask what types of massage that I do, one of the modalities I mention is ‘Deep Tissue Massage’. I can already see a wince of pain crawl across their faces. They are visualizing steamrollers running over little marshmallow Peeps, wondering if that is how they’ll feel after getting the same massage. I’ve even read articles that people have written, alluding the same feeling after getting a deep tissue massage.

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Some people LOVE feeling like a lump of clay after getting a Deep Tissue Massage. It doesn’t have to be painful to feel that way.

What I try to explain to them is that everyone’s pressure tolerance is different. Some clients may LOVE feeling like a lump of clay after getting a deep tissue massage, and that’s absolutely perfect, for them. Bruises don’t look cute on anyone. I encourage everyone, that if you are not comfortable with the pressure, definitely speak up – This is YOUR session. There are different ways to address your goals for your session.

Now, in some cases, it is going to be painful – gluteal work is literally a pain in the butt, and axillary massage is uncomfortable because, well, how often have you gotten a massage where the therapist worked in your armpit? In these cases, I’m going to let you know so that you are prepared, and that we can work together. This way,you still get your best massage session. There are coping mechanisms as well as techniques that I can show you, so that you are able to still enjoy the massage, and get what you need done.

So next time you’re getting a Deep Tissue Massage, and you’re not getting the pressure you need, let the therapist know! They’ll do their best to accommodate as well as they can.

 

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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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You Haven’t Had a Massage? Why?

According to the American Massage Therapy Association, 15% of Americans have gotten a massage to reduce pain or manage stress, and only 7% got massages to relieve muscle pain and stiffness. That made me wonder about the rest of you, and I just had to ask – What is it about getting a massage puts you off about getting one?

Many people responded that they didn’t know enough about massage to even want to get one themselves. And then, the questions came! So here are the top questions you wanted to know about a massage, but were too afraid to ask:

  • Does the pressure have to be so hard?! – Not always. Relaxing massages can be slow, and light to moderate pressure. Not everyone’s pressure needs are the same, so if the therapist is pressing too hard, and you’re making faces, let them know. On the other hand if you have some knots that you want out, it can feel a little achy, some of my clients call it a ‘good hurt’. Taking deep breaths can alleviate the ache, and help dissipate the knot.

 

  • Do I have to be naked? Here is a question that I get often. In the case of therapeutic table massage, not completely. The blanket covers the body, and the part of the body to be worked on is uncovered. The sheet is tucked in, to allow for modesty and mobility of the limb. If I am working on your glutes (your backside, and YES you can get knots there), and you’d prefer that they stay covered, by all means, let me know, and I can work through the sheet. Once that area is done getting worked on, the blanket and sheet can be put back. For pregnancy massages after the first trimester, you will be put in the most comfortable and modest position that is possible for you.  Your underwear can stay on, but if I’m working on your back, it’s best to take your brassiere off.  In the case of chair massage, you keep your clothes on, and I can work through the clothes. If you have a short skirt on, a jacket can be placed over your lap for modesty.

 

  • What happens if I fall asleep? If you fall asleep, you fall asleep. I can still work on helping you feel better. The way I see it is this – two things are going on when you fall asleep; either you feel so comfortable that you are able to relax and receive a great massage, or you are too tired to care. Don’t feel bad if you fall asleep. You are rejuvenating the body, and getting a great massage. Just think of it as recharging your batteries.

These are just a few questions that I answered, I’ll answer more next time! Feel free to leave me a comment, and don’t forget to chime in on the poll below!

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