Massage Mouth

#11 of 31 posts in 31 days 

-Or the language of the massage coma-

One of the things I love about being a Massage Therapist is helping people to feel great.  People say funny, nice and weird  things when they’ve had a fantastic massage session.  Here are some of my favorites in no particular order. 🙂

*(Groan……) It’s not over yet, is it?!

*(Snore…….)

*Don’t ever move away!

*You are my new best friend!

*When you push on my shoulder like that I feel it in my toes!

*You make my muscles feel like mush.

*I don’t think I even remember my own name!

*You’re going to have to pry me off this table.

*I don’t want to get up!

*Sorry, I think I tooted just now.

*Whoa! I put my shirt on backwards!

*I slept through the night after my last massage.  I haven’t done that in two months.

*My fingers don’t tingle at night anymore.

*I’m not sure, but I think you just rocked my world.

*(Snore…….)

*Can we start over?

*I wish I could get a massage every day!

*Who massages you?

*HOW do you know where push??

*How does a girl that small have  such strong hands?!

*Can I take you home?

*(Groan, sigh, smile….)

www.thecomfortzonemassage.com

Pregnant Pause

#10 of 31 posts in 31 days

The last two weeks I have had the honor of working with a few expectant mothers.  Two are somewhere in the middle of their terms and two are in the very last days of pregnancy.  Excitement overcomes me as I work on these women.  In a very short time each will get to meet her sweet baby.

I am truly honored to be able to work with  them.  Lower back pain, shoulder pain, and headaches seem to be their main issues.  Sometimes we talk and sometimes I work in silence, but there always seems to be an essence in the room with us.  It’s like there is a big ball of “something”, maybe it is the nervous energy?  The anticipation?  There are so many emotions sharing a body with the mother and baby.   Excitement, joy, impatience, longing, happiness, worry, fear, exhaustion, and probably a million more feelings are experienced in any given moment.   I try to make my place a safe place for all of these feelings.  Sometimes we don’t want everyone to know that we might be worried about labor and delivery.   We might not want everyone to think we look weak or small.  After all, “women have been doing this since the beginning of time.”  When I hear of someone telling one of my mothers this I like to comfort them, but sometimes I just don’t know what to say.  I tell them that, yes, women have been having babies since the beginning of time. Yes, our body was made for this.  But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t scary. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t feel worried about things.

In the Comfort Zone there is room for worry.  I provide quiet support.  In The Comfort Zone there are tissues for tears.  I buy the good kind with lotion on them.  I provide quiet support.  In The Comfort Zone I get to hear the questions that you don’t want to ask anyone else.  I listen intently and give down-to-Earth answers.  More so there are conversations about after the baby is born.  “I can’t wait to hold her!”  “We have her crib in our room so she will be close to us!”  “Our friends have given us so many diapers!”  “Does the poop really stink that bad?” “I hope she sleeps well.”

You may be as happy as you can be, or as scared as you don’t want to be, I will lay my hands on your back and shoulders.  I will comfort you.  I will let you be ‘you’ for a little while.  And we’ll laugh, I promise!  You may even fall asleep for a little while!

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.

My Down Time

This is #6 of 31 posts in 31 days.

It’s Monday!  Most of the time that means that it’s my day off work. Which, of course, translates into banking, paperwork, writing, reading, laundry, housework, business-work, and all things mom-related.  Some days are busier than others.  Often, my Mondays are devoted to business-building or financial work.  Nevertheless, I usually end up doing laundry. (Will it ever end?!)

Since school is still on summer break my Mondays have actually been “true” days “off work.”  All three of us are home!  Today, I have spent my day off mostly in my pajamas!  (I’ve had a shower and been to town, I just changed back to be comfy.)  My five-year-old has pretty much led our day in pretend play.  I love it!  My brain has been needing a little break and following her lead is fun way to accomplish that!

So far today I have taken my pretend-kitty to the pretend-vet, watched Olympic diving, read a library book, danced around the living room, and I *may* have unveiled my old Karate Gi and practiced a little Gung Fu with my daughter.  It’s quite liberating to dance like a crazy lady and then giggle uncontrollably!

Do you ever get days off?  How do you like to spend your down time?  I plan on enjoying the rest of the day/evening with my daughter. What might we do, you ask?  Supper, coloring books, puzzles, massages, and reading.  And whatever else she might dream up!

Down time is important.  It isn’t always easy to find it, but if you can schedule it or discover it by accident, you should enjoy it.  Take advantage, even if it’s only 10 minutes.  Recharging your batteries often is a lot better than crashing and burning!

PS. Downtime is my specialty!  Visit www.thecomfortzonemassage.com to see the different ways you can relax with massage 🙂

Why Should You Get a Massage This Week?

5th post of 31 posts in 31 days

Why should you get a massage this week?

1.  I have a few openings 🙂

2.  A half-hour massage is like a super-charged power nap.  You get to rest for 30 minutes AND get your neck, shoulders and feet rubbed.

3.  You battled massive, cranky school-shopping crowds in order to save the sales tax.  Let’s face it, even though you saved a bundle, scored some deals, and made it through alive, an hour vacation from people just sounds AWESOME.

4.  You’ve been working in the yard or garden and your legs hurt.

5.  Hot towels nestled atop your shoulder muscles for a bit feels AMAZING.

6.  A ninety minute massage can melt your stress, make you  drool, work out your muscle knots, stretch your muscles, relax your mind, recharge your batteries and renew your spirit.

7.  Massage feels good.  Especially on the scalp.  And neck.

There you have it!  7 good reasons you should get a massage this week.  There are many more reasons, but I need something to write about later 😉

Choose a reason and schedule an appointment.  I’ll be at  The Comfort Zone Massage Therapy  all week!

Love and Hugs

#4 of 31 posts in 31 days

I am a massage therapist.  I talk A LOT about massage every day.  I think about it, I read about it,  I talk about it, I practice it.  I touch people.  Healthy, nurturing touch, in my opinion, is one of the most essential basic needs that humans must have to thrive.  Tiny babies come into the world needing to be held, needing to be touched, needing to be nurtured and fed.  Nature’s way of feeding babies involves skin-to-skin contact.  We want to hug and snuggle our toddlers and small children.  We wish our teenagers would hug us more often.  We wish our hugs could fix our teenager’s “problems”.  When we fall in love we lavish attention upon each other.   Couples hold hands, hug, kiss, sit arm-in-arm, and sleep close together.

We crave healthy touch.  We need to feel loved, secure, happy, and not alone.  I am attending a wedding today.  The bride and groom are well past seventy years of age.  Each has been married before.  The groom was married for more than 50 years to the same woman. He cared for her when she was sick.  From what I understand he never left her side, except for work.  They lived a happy, committed married life.  The bride started a life and family with her first husband, only to lose him to cancer at the young age of 38.  She worked, raised children and cared for him when he was sick.  She went on to marry again.  They were married for 29 years, committed and devoted to each other.  He suffered poor health and she never left his side.  She loved and cared for him, as his wife and care-giver.

I am honored to attend this union.  I enjoy seeing the hand-holding, the hugs, and the smiles.  I’ve heard laughing that I haven’t heard in a while.  I see joy.  I see the human connection that we all crave, need and deserve.  I am happy to know that these two people will not have to spend another night alone, wishing for a hand to hold, or searching for a kiss good-night.  Their lives will be enhanced by companionship, their sorrow soothed with hugs, and their future filled with laughter and joy.

As I think about these two people and the benefits of healthy, nurturing touch added to their lives, I look to my own life.  I think I will give my 5-year-old some extra hugs, and hold my husband’s hand while we watch TV.

Progressive Relaxation Exercise

This is post #3 in the 31 posts in 31 days challenge!  

Progressive Relaxation is a fantastic process to learn.  You can use progressive relaxation to reduce stress, pin-point and prevent muscle tension, relieve muscle tension, fight insomnia and help with anxiety.  It is a simple process that requires you to slow down and focus on each different muscle group slowly.  By taking the time to focus and exert control over your muscles, over time you may be able to notice when you are holding tension in certain areas when you are working.  Maybe you shrug and tense your shoulders when you are angry.  You might clench your teeth and jaws while typing a report.  The sooner you notice these things the sooner you can relieve the tension and hopefully prevent or reduce painful symptoms.

I found the following Progressive Relaxation Exercise at Natural Touch Marketing.  I use the exercise myself and I recommend it to my clients.

Lie down or sit in a chair, wherever you are comfortable.  You will tense and hold each body part for about 10 seconds and then release it completely for at least 10 seconds.  Count to yourself silently from one to ten.

1. Clench your right fist, tighten the right arm and hold them tight.  Completely relax them, and then clench again.  Relax.  Now clench and relax your left arm in the same manner.  Now observe how your hands and arms feel.

2. Stretch your right leg out.  Draw the toes of the right foot toward the knee, tighten the whole leg, and hold.  Relax and then stretch and tighten again.  Relax completely.  Now do the left leg.  Now point the toes of the right foot, tense and hold.  Relax.  Left leg next.  Relax completely and observe how your legs feel.

3. Draw together the shoulder blades.  Tense and hold.  Relax completely and tense them again.  Relax.

4. Exhale and pull the abdomen in tightly and hold.  Inhale, and relax completely.  Again exhale and pull the abdomen in tightly and hold.  Inhale and relax.  Now observe how your back, chest and abdomen feel.

5. Tighten the muscles around your eyes and mouth, and hold.  Relax and repeat.  Relax completely.

6. Now breathe and observe your body.  Notice how you feel.  Do you feel differently?

This is great for those times you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep.  I also recommend doing this exercise regularly when trying to figure out why a certain muscle group always hurts or becomes tense.  Try it and tell us what you think!

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 🙂 

Relaxation Massage

I have taken a challenge from a fellow blogger to post 31 times in 31 days!  Let’s hope I can make it!  Please, if there is a question or topic you want to know more about e-mail me or ask it in the comments.

I am a full time Licensed Massage Therapist working with different types of people.  I believe that a fantastic relaxation massage is a great foundation to have when addressing common aches and pains, shoulder pain, lower back pain, headaches, and stress relief.  These issues are the issues that are presented to me every day.  How do I begin to help these people?  Relaxation massage.  Almost every one I see has some sort of “problem area” or area of discomfort.  I pay special attention to these areas and utilize many techniques for pain relief.  At the core of it all, though, are my relaxation techniques.  It makes sense to me to relax the whole person, as well as “dig in” to the problem areas.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to have an entire hour (or more) to receive a blissful, relaxing massage, complete with a scalp massage AND some trigger points, friction, and deep kneading on tight shoulders?

The National Institutes of Health has written a nice article about massage therapy.  It is a general description with some positive statements.  Humans have a basic need for touch.  Massage Therapy is a great way to administer and teach healthy, nurturing touch.

Well, how is my first post of the challenge?  Please put post ideas in the comment section!  I can’t wait to see what I write about tomorrow!  (That’s right, I am going to fly by the seat of my pants!  Not too much planning…)

PS.  If it’s been a while since you’ve had a Fantastic Relaxation Massage, visit my website and schedule an appointment!

www.thecomfortzonemassage.com

The Great Divide

There seems to be a great divide in the world of massage therapy.  Relaxation massage vs. therapeutic massage.  Is there a difference?  Is one more important than the other?  Is one BETTER than the other?  I spend quite a bit of my time reading discussions, debates, and comments about massage therapy by massage therapists.  We, the Therapists, seem to be entrenched in an epic battle trying to decide which is the better massage.  I don’t participate much in the dialogue, but I read every word that I can find.  (Often these discussions are what lead me to learn things about new research, good policies, business advice, etc.)

The terms differ a little but the sentiment is the same: “My massage is better than your massage and anyone who chooses to do something different is somehow inferior.”  To be fair, no one is really saying these specific words, but the tone is ever-present.  When did this divide occur?  Why is a relaxing massage not as good as “medical” massage?  Why can’t a “relaxation” massage be a “therapeutic” massage?

Massage therapy is used in many settings including, but not limited to spas, beauty salons, stand-alone places, chiropractor’s offices, doctor’s offices, hospitals, physical therapy clinics, dentist offices, and others.  All of these are different working environments with different training requirements and expectations.  But they are all administering massage therapy.  It seems that the people who are working in contrasting environments are trying to tear down the other.  I’ve seen comments from either side, as well as the middle.

I say, “Why can’t ALL massage be considered good therapy?”  

My massage style is a manifestation of both “medical”* massage and “relaxation”** massage.  I work in a salon and I don’t file insurance.  I give one-hour, ninety-minute, and hot stone massage.  My massage sessions are tailored to what the client needs that day.  I have some clients who want to “check out” for an hour, relax, revive, and feel good.  These are people who come in on a regular basis, some with pain issues, some without.  We talk about what they need that day, I turn on the music, they lay down and I give an awesome massage.  (They tell me it is awesome, so I’m taking their word for it!)

I also have people who are in pain.  They have an injury, a condition, or chronic pain that massage therapy can help.  I use different techniques, I focus on the painful areas, and put all my effort in to pain relief.  I have become really good at using relaxation techniques followed by muscle specific work to relieve pain while (gasp) simultaneously relaxing the person.  Bam.  The best of both worlds.

I think that relaxation massage IS therapeutic.  There is a lot of talk about the effects of stress on the body.  We Therapists are always talking about stress relief, lowering blood pressure, getting rid of headaches, relieving stress-induced muscle tension, and improving lives.  There are tons of articles circulating talking about all the health problems resulting from stress.  So WHY is a stress-reliving, relaxing massage not considered therapeutic by some?  A relaxing massage contributes to stress relief.  Stress symptoms can go away. Health problems that result from  excessive stress could improve.  Sounds therapeutic to me.

My clients don’t seem to have a problem with my location or massage style.  They know that if they always get general massage but one day have an injury or issue that I can change what I do to address the problem.  What is so wrong with that?

I don’t think one is better than the other.  I also don’t think that any style is more important than any other style.  It’s what is important to the client on the table.  That is the most important, the best.

Why can’t both be the “best?”  Aren’t we all just trying to help people?

* I am calling general massage relaxation massage, also known as Swedish massage.

** I am considering medical massage to be the people who self-describe themselves as that.  They may work in a hospital, or with doctors.  Often not in a spa or salon.

What do you think?

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