Hot Stone Face Massage

“Um, you want to put hot rocks on my face? Does that even feel good?”

That’s the reaction I sometimes get when I talk about this new massage service. Many people have never had a hot stone massage so they don’t know what to think about it. I mean, it’s rocks, how can that possibly feel good?

Hot Stone Face Massage uses hot*, oiled stones on the face to relax tense muscles. Jaw muscles are often wound tight like a rubber band. This could contribute to headache pain. None of us likes a headache. People with neck pain can get even more relief if a face massage and front-of-the-neck massage is included. All these muscles are either connected somehow or work together to stabilize the head, chew, move the neck, move the shoulder, etc. So it’s kind of “incomplete” if the front of the neck and face aren’t worked on at least a little bit.

Why Hot Stones on the Face?

Short answer: It. Feels. Awesome.
Better answer: The heat from the stones helps the face muscles to un-wind. They need to loosen a little bit. As these tense muscles loosen the pull they have on the skull softens. Less pull means less pain in the head. Slow circles and gentle pressure on the jaws helps loosen the grip there helping to ease neck pain. Massage on the forehead seems to be the thing that helps the rest of the body “let go.” It’s almost as if there is a button on the forehead that needs to be massaged in order for the mind and body to fully relax. It’s kind of amazing.

This type of face massage is slow, warm, specific, pain relieving and relaxing. Sometimes this 10 minutes added to the end of a relaxation massage is what puts a person into the much wanted massage coma. Adding a hot stone face massage to a deep tissue session for shoulder pain can really enhance the pain-relieving results. The neck moves better. The head doesn’t hurt. The million-and-one thoughts bumping around in the head quiet down a bit.

That’s why. It feels amazing and helps relieve pain. Will you try one at your next appointment?

*The stones are heated in water with a special Hot Stone Warmer. It has a digital thermometer. I initially heat the water to 135 degrees. Once the lid of the warmer comes off the water cools. The water is never too hot for me to put my hands inside. It is around 120 degrees. I cool the stones a bit before I place them on the face or body. I don’t have to wear a glove to get them out. If the stone is too hot for me to hold it is too hot for your skin and I will let it cool. Safety first, my friends!

Please visit my website for more information and an appointment!

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Frequently Un-asked Questions Part 2

I started a conversation in the last post about frequently unasked questions and massage sessions. Massage therapy isn’t scary but since massage on TV or in the movies isn’t exactly portrayed accurately there are many people who have questions. Sometimes questions can seem embarrassing. Years of experience has taught me people are afraid to ask. And if they are afraid to ask then they are afraid to schedule. We therapists write and talk about symptoms day in and day out, but sometimes neglect the “other” questions. Questions like, “Will you see me naked?” I hope I can help answer a few of these questions in these two blog posts.

What should I wear to my massage? 

I actually hear this a lot. What he/she really means is, “Do I have to get naked?!” Or, “Will you see me naked?!”
You may wear what clothes you are comfortable wearing. You are NOT required to get naked for your massage. You may undress to your comfort level. What, exactly, does that mean? If you want to leave on your underwear you should. If you want to bring shorts to change into you should. If you don’t want to remove your socks you should leave them on your feet. If you prefer to be nude that’s OK. You’ll be covered by the sheet and blanket.

The following is what I say to people who are about to get a massage: “I’m going to step out. You undress to your comfort level. Put your things here, lie down and cover up!” (I reach over and pull the sheet and blanket back.) Some people take everything off, others leave on underwear. A few people don’t take any clothes off.

You will be covered with a sheet and blanket at all times. Only the area being worked will be uncovered. Only the back will be uncovered while working there, one leg at a time, one arm at a time, etc.  I use sheets and blankets as the drape not towels like on TV. Your private areas will never be exposed!

Am I too fat to get a massage? 

You are not too fat to get a massage. I repeat, you are not too fat to get a massage.  People don’t actually ask this question, but they drop hints. They make jokes about themselves (not funny ones.) Sometimes someone will say, “I can’t get a massage, I’m too fat.” This breaks my heart! You aren’t too fat. You are muscles and bones and blood and nerves and skin. I’ve talked a little about this in another post. You can check it out here if you want. I’ve been a massage therapist for almost 10 years. After thousands of hours of massage I can honestly tell you that every body is different. I have clients of all ages and sizes. I don’t “look at your fat” I feel of your muscles with my hands. My massage table has a working weight of 450 pounds. You are awesome and should be able to feel the awesomeness of massage. Just tell me your concerns and we will work together to make sure you are comfortable.

When should I NOT get a massage?

If you have fever you should stay home. If you have the flu or flu-like symptoms I beg you to reschedule. A few more reasons to reschedule your massage are vomiting, itchy rash, virus, contagious conditions, poison ivy/oak, surgery, stitches, open sores or if your doctor advises against massage. If you are not sure call me, we will decide together.

Did I leave anything out? 

Is there something else you’d like to know? If you have a burning question please leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail.

www.thecomfortzonemassage.com

Frequently Un-asked Questions Part 1

Many people are curious about massage therapy. “What can massage do to help my lower back?” “I wonder if I would sleep better if I got a few massages?”  I hear questions related to specific complaints every week. People talk with me at length about various aches and pains, yet remain hesitant to make an appointment. Why? Apprehension. Anxiety. Unsure of what will happen.

Often times the most important questions are the ones left un-asked. Why is it so hard to ask  questions? If you have one small “thing” you don’t understand, why wouldn’t you ask? What may be simple to me could be a big deal to you, especially if the only information you have is from TV shows.  That’s what these two posts will address. The un-asked questions. They might seem silly to those of you who get regular massage, but to someone who has never had a massage every question is important. I’d like to help answer them if I can.  I eat, sleep and breathe massage, so sometimes I have to make myself step back and think when someone doesn’t understand what to do or not do.

FREQUENTLY UN-ASKED QUESTIONS:

Where will my massage take place? Is it out in the open?
The Comfort Zone Massage is located inside Shirley’s Beauty Shop just outside of Paris, AR. (If you aren’t from here your therapist’s location will be different but your privacy concerns will be met in much the same way.)
The massage treatment room has a door that closes for your privacy. Massage does not take place out in the beauty salon for other people to see. No one will hear our medical history discussions or know anything about your treatments. Your safety and privacy are top priorities. 

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What should I expect at my first massage appointment?
Arrive about 10 minutes early to fill out your health history form. We can discuss any symptoms, aches, pains, surgeries, medications or concerns you may have. You will be given a tour of the facility. We discuss your entire massage session so you  know what to expect.

How long will my massage last? What if I want to stop?
Massage sessions are usually 30, 60, or 90 minutes. This time is hands-on treatment time. Your massage minutes do not include filling out forms, using the restroom or preparing for the massage. If you buy an hour you get an hour.

Are you worried that if you don’t like the massage you will have to lay there the entire time? Please tell me if you’d like to stop the massage. Massage isn’t for everyone. If you are uncomfortable, in pain, or just don’t want to continue you have the right to ask me to stop. I want you to. Your comfort and safety are important to me. Sometimes people give massage as gifts to people who don’t really want it. It’s OK to not like it. Nicely explain that you are uncomfortable and I will gladly stop the session. No worries!

Anxiety is another reason someone may want to stop a massage. There are people who love massage but must get the shorter sessions. They are unable to lay there for a full 60 or 90 minutes. We can discuss these things and choose a length of time that works for you. All you have to do is ask.

To some it may seem silly to ask, “Do you do the massage out in front of everyone?” But if someone thinks this, he or she may not ever book a massage to help with his/her pain.

The next post I will answer questions about what to wear, will you be naked, and when you should not get a massage.

If you’d like to know more about the massage I offer please visit my website. You can read descriptions, see prices and even schedule your first (or next) appointment!

Q and A Health History Form Edition

Why do I need to fill out a health history form?

Many of you have received a professional massage. Many of you have been receiving professional massage for years. And many of you have looked at me sideways when I’ve asked you to fill out a health history form. If I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it one hundred times:

“Why do I need to fill this out?” “I’m just here for a massage, do I really need to answer all of these questions?”

Your safety is my number one concern. Your health and well-being are very important to me. I need a little honesty. There are certain health conditions in which massage could be harmful to you. There are certain medications that don’t mix well with massage therapy. My first priority is to “do no harm.” Here are a few of the questions and why I ask them.

Phone Number- If we have an appointment scheduled and something urgent comes up that I need to reschedule I would need to call you.  (I almost NEVER do this.) If you leave a piece of jewelry in the treatment room I would need to call you. I don’t call you to sell you anything. I don’t call you to chat. I don’t text you to advertise. I ask for your phone number “just in case.”

Birthdate- No pressure here. I like to send birthday cards.

“Are you under medical supervision?” This could mean a million different things. Is it necessary for you to see your doctor more than once a year? Do you have a medical condition that requires testing and medication? Answer that here.

“Do you see a chiropractor?” Massage therapy and chiropractic can work well together. Knowing what issues you see a chiropractor for will help me plan your massage treatments.

Medications-  Blood thinners could be dangerous. Narcotic pain medications are a no-no just before a massage. Statins have side-effects that can be painful. The list goes on. Please be honest. If you take medicine for depression but don’t want anyone to know, they won’t hear it from me. Everything on this form is confidential. Everything. (PS massage is good for people suffering from depression.)

I ask your occupation so that I can try to “see” what you do with your mind and body each day. Knowing how you use your body day in and day out could help plan your massage treatments. It could also explain mystery aches and pains. Knowledge is power, or so I’ve heard. 😉

This bears repeating: EVERYTHING ON THIS FORM IS CONFIDENTIAL. I don’t share information. I don’t sell information. I just try to give the best massage I can for each person, each situation, each and every day.

www.thecomfortzonemassage.com click Schedule Appointment 🙂

Hot Stone Massage Q and A

#21 of 31 posts in 31 days

Q:  What is Hot Stone Massage?

A:  Really awesome!

Hot Stone Massage is a unique blend of heat, relaxation,and muscle work tailored to your needs. Hot,oiled stones are glided over the body. The heat from the stones penetrates the muscles releasing tension loosening tight muscles. The movements during a Hot Stone Massage are slow and deliberate in order to induce your muscles and your mind to release and relax. The slow massage mixed with heat and aromatherapy allows your body to relax and your mind to let go. Ahh…

Aches and pains are melted away by specially trained hands. The stones are heated in water to 120 to 130 degrees in a special stone warmer. (Once the massage starts and the lid is off the water stays around 118-120) I am able to retrieve stones from the water without gloves. The stones are hot, but not so hot that I cannot hold them in my hands. After all, if I can’t hold them I won’t be able to glide them across your muscles. Safety first!

CAUTION:  May cause happiness 🙂

Q:  Why Hot Stone Massage?

A:  Improves mood
Reduces frequency of headaches
Comforts Arthritis Pain
Improved Sleep
Soothes Fibromyalgia
Eases Lower Back Pain
Provides Stress Relief
Moisturizes skin
Relieve Neck/Shoulder Pain

Even though Hot Stone Massage is extremely awesome it may not be perfect for everyone.

Q:  Why shouldn’t someone get a Hot Stone Massage?

A:   Pregnancy
Uncontrolled diabetes
Neuropathy or decreased sensation
Open Sores, wounds, rashes
Elderly
People who cannot tolerate heat well
Blood Clots

Q:  What are you waiting for?

A:  Schedule now! I can’t wait to see you!

Do you have any questions? I’d love to answer!

Fever = No Massage

#17 of 31 posts in 31 days

“I have a fever today and I feel horrible but I didn’t want to cancel my massage. Is that ok?” (Cough, cough, cough)

In a word? No. On the one hand I really appreciate everyone who keeps their massage appointments. I appreciate when someone calls to cancel an appointment a day or two in advance.

However, if you have a fever you shouldn’t get a massage. You feel awful, your head hurts, your body hurts and you *might* be contagious. You really aren’t going to enjoy your massage.  In fact, the massage could actually make you feel worse! I won’t be mad if you cancel last-minute because you are sick.

If you are sick you should stay home and take care of YOU. Rest. Watch TV. Play computer games. Sleep. If you are contagious you risk spreading your illness to me, my family, and every one that gets a massage after you. You wouldn’t want that, would you?! Of course not, you’re an awesomely nice person!

I want you to see your smiling face. I want you to feel the awesomeness of a great massage. More importantly, I want you to get better. Please, if you’re sick stay home. What might feel great during a massage when you’re well could feel horrible while you are sick.

I repeat, I will not get mad if you cancel last-minute because you are sick! I will appreciate it. And I will encourage you to get better soon. 🙂

If you’re worried I might be left with nothing to do here are a few things that might happen if you cancel because you are sick:

I will call someone who is trying to get in for a massage.

I might write a blog post.

I could organize receipts.

I will peruse Facebook.

I could eat a snack.

I will fold sheets and towels.

I will wish you “get well soon!”

 

Q & A Running and Lower Back Pain

#15 of 31 posts in 31 days

Q- “Why do my hips and lower back hurt after I run?”

A- Running is a fantastic way to keep in shape. It engages the whole body, increases your heart rate and burns calories. (Yay!) My clients who run often tell me how great they feel after their regular runs.

They also tell me about their aches and pains. Running also puts strain on the body, especially the hips. Runners often complain of pain in the hip flexors. Hip flexors raise the thigh with every step you take. The most common cause for pain in these muscles is overuse.

So what are these muscles?

*Psoas Major
*Iliacus
*Rectus Femoris
*Sartorius

The Psoas and Iliacus are most commonly referred to as the Iliopsoas. They are located deep in the pelvic/abdominal area. They are strong muscles and get stronger with running. The Psoas originates in the lumbar region of the spine and attaches into the lesser trochanter of the femur. If these muscles are strained and pulling tight then it results  in lower back pain or pain in the pelvic area. The tighter the muscles, the harder the pull.

File:Anterior Hip Muscles 2.PNG

So what do we do?

First assess your training regimen. Are you running too much too soon? Consult a qualified trainer or running coach if you need help with this.

I work with this kind of hip pain with some massage techniques and some Active Isolated Stretching. Starting with compression, I begin by relaxing the body and the muscles. Compression is on the hips/glutes and down the back of the legs. Trigger points are next. I do address the area of and around the piriformis. I perform kneading  along the leg. I also apply friction to the IT band down the side of the leg.

Before you turn over we isolate the Iliopsoas with some AIS mentioned above. This means that you lift your leg against my resistance, hold for 3-5 seconds and relax. We do this several times with each leg. We also do this with other while face up.

Then I help you stretch your legs! This feels amazing! We talk about how you can do stretches at home. We talk about adjusting your run time. We plan your next massage session.

With a combined effort we can work to reduce the discomforts that develop from running 🙂

www.thecomfortzonemassage.com

PS This is my first time to add an image to my blog! (woo hoo) I have no idea how to tell you how I got it.  I found it on Wikipedia 🙂

PSS If you know a way for me to properly include that on or under the picture please email me!

Musical Magic

#7 in the 31 posts in 31 days.

Music is essential in my massage therapy room.  I simply cannot administer a fantastic massage without music.  (I think I probably could, I just don’t like it.)  I use the typical “spa” music.  The melodies are quite enchanting 🙂

When I receive a massage I like the music that contains ocean waves in between the songs.  And rain sounds, a gentle thunderstorm. Lately I have been so focused on growing my business, improving customer service, and thinking of new ways to make my sessions better that I have neglected to grow my music library.  I hear the same music all day long.

I would like to add to my music library, but I would LOVE to have your input.  You.  The people who spend time in my therapy room. You pay money to be there, what would you like to hear?  I have grand ideas of a vast music selection and giving you, the clients, a choice. “Would you like to listen to Bob Marley today?”  “Your Rainforest Thunderstorm sounds are queued up just for you!”  Maybe the sounds of Jimmy Buffet get you dreaming about the beach?  Does that make sense?

I guess what I’m asking is  What kind of sounds or music would you like to hear while receiving massage?  After 9 years of spa music, I’m up for suggestions.  I would listen to something different every time!  I want each massage session to the best one you have ever had.  If I can change the music, I will.  If I can give you options, I want to.  If you want spa music and nature sounds, perfect, I’ll go shopping.  🙂

I’ve used spa music for so long that I assumed that was the only thing I could use.  I read an article the other day about a spa somewhere advertising rock and roll music.   Hey, if it’s your favorite, why not?

Help me out here!  Tell me what you like to hear during a massage.  Let me improve your experience if it isn’t just what you want!

PS.  My Massage Therapist/Blogger/Advice-Giver/Friend Allissa told me about a website that rewards you with a picture of a cute kitten for every 100 words you write.  I.Love.It.  WrittenKitten.net full of some cuteness! I draft my blog posts there now.  And my gratitude journal.

Migraine Q & A

This is day 2 of the “31 posts in 31 days” blogging challenge. 

 Q- I know there are many things out there for headaches, but I’d like to hear what you have to say.  I have recently weened myself off of my Topomax due to the negative findings related to the drug for migraines.  I am having headaches almost everyday but not at all like the migraines before.  What do you recommend I do between massages? 

A- I visited MayoClinic.com to research this question.  I work mainly with tension headaches so I wanted to get accurate information about migraines.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that some of the same things that I recommend for tension headaches are recommended for migraine headaches.


Please consult with a doctor before using or discontinuing any medications.  I am not suggesting anyone stop medications, simply suggesting a few things to do at home to hopefully prevent headaches. 

These tips are taken from the website http://www.mayclinic.com, but they are also things I recommend to people suffering from headaches.

*Muscle Relaxation Exercises- Progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, and yoga.  You may also try spending at least a half-hour per day doing something fun!

*Get Enough Sleep- The average adult needs 6-8 hours of sleep each night.  Your body likes to go to bed and wake up at the same times, too.

*Rest and Relax

*Headache Diary- Keeping a headache diary is great way to figure out headache triggers.  You may discover a food trigger or hormone trigger.  Learning these things may make it easier to adjust things to reduce headaches.

*Manual Therapy- Massage Therapy and Chiropractic treatments may help reduce the frequency of migraines.

In between massage sessions, you could practice progressive relaxation techniques (tomorrow’s post!), and self head and neck massage.   If you work at a computer take frequent breaks, adjust your chair and monitor, and move around as much as you can.

Do you suffer from migraines?  Do you have a way to prevent or relieve the pain? Please share in the comments!

PS.  I fight headaches with my bare hands atwww.thecomfortzonemassage.com 🙂 

Should I Drink Water After a Massage?

Since I have encountered a minor case of The Writer’s Block, I asked the land of Facebook to present me with questions for a Q & A post.  Only one person responded, but with a FANTASTIC question.  A question that is important, as it addresses one of the many “Myths of Massage.”

Q: “Why is it important for me to drink plenty of water after getting a massage?  What will happen if I don’t?  What will happen if I drink other fluids?”

A: It is not important to drink water just because you got a massage.  If you don’t drink water after a massage you probably won’t die or suffer in any way.  If you drink other fluids, you will be fine.  Coffee will keep you awake and too much alcohol will get you drunk.  

OK, I can hear you freaking out over there, but I’m serious.  It is a common “Myth of Massage” that a person must consume water after receiving massage.  It has been passed down through the “generations” that massage therapy somehow releases “toxins” in the body and water will “flush it out.”  I will admit to you all right now, I was taught this.  I repeated this to clients for SEVEN AND A HALF YEARS.  I wrote about toxins for two years in another blog.  (I deleted it when I discovered I was passing on incorrect information.)

I must interject, WATER IS NECESSARY FOR LIFE, I am NOT saying that water isn’t important.  I am saying it isn’t ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to drink water to flush toxins after a massage.  I offer water to each and every client at the end of his/her massage because I tend to be thirsty after a massage.  My mouth gets dry, much like after a nap.  I offer the water because he/she might be thirsty.

The last year or so of my life has been dedicated to learning more about the body and massage.  I have discovered a science-based person who wrote a great article, full of chemistry, biology, anatomy and physiology to fully answer this question.   This article has a lot of science in it, but he throws in a little sarcasm and humor.  You can check it out here .  And I must say, the video he links to by Laura Allen is awesome!  She is one the greats in the massage world!  She is someone I look up to, I even have one of her books.

So, I’ve admitted to be wrong, rocked your world about toxins and water, and let someone else answer the question.  How’s that for my first  Q & A?!  This question is asked by hundreds of people every day, so I hope I have helped spread the truth a bit.