Different Strokes For Different Folks; Many Massage Modalities

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Whether your just a little stressed or having specific discomfort, it’s important to know what type of massage will best suit your needs. We’ve taken some time to give you a brief overview of a few of the most popular forms of massage healing. This is really just scratching the surface, but as always we are here to give you more information and to dicuss your specific needs.

SWEDISH MASSAGE

The primary focus of a Swedish Massage is relaxation using soft to moderate pressure and smooth flowing strokes to sedate and rejuvenate the body. A Swedish Massage is typically full-body with no clothing (or underwear only if preferred). Proper draping with a sheet is always used, and no private regions of your body will ever be uncovered. Creams, lotions or oils will be used unless you specify an allergy to the therapist. All therapists have their own technique, but for the most part you’ll begin on your stomach with your face in the cradle. Your neck, back and shoulders will be done first; moving onto the gluteal region, the thighs (inner and outer), lower legs and feet. You’ll then turn over (the therapist will help ensure that you stay properly covered) so your therapist can work the front of the legs, the thighs (inner and outer), the abdomen, both arms and hands; the neck, shoulders, and perhaps face/head and scalp. Swedish Massages are usually done for 60, 90 or 120 minutes.

DEEP TISSUE

Deep tissue focuses on  specific muscles and other connective tissue. This type of massage can be very effective for chronic tension or injuries. Adhesions often occur within muscle tissues due to stress, repetitive actions, or injury. The point of deep tissue is to specifically treat these hypertonic areas and release the adhesions and general tension. A session is usually limited to 3 areas of the body at most depending on your need. In some cases, a Deep Tissue Massage can be slightly uncomfortable due to the sensitivity of the area, however, a knowledgeable therapist will utilize many techniques to relieve the tension/adhesion with minimal discomfort. If your discomfort is not bearable to you, please let your therapist know right away. Areas may be tender for up to 48 hours after treatment, but rare to never should you experience bruising or hurt worse than before your session. Therapist may use ice or heat to assist, but typically minimal oil or lotion is used. Disrobing will be based on the areas in need and should only take about 15-20 minutes per area of focus.

TRIGGER POINT RELEASE:

Trigger Point Therapy is typically, but not limited to use, during deep tissue sessions. Trigger Point Release follows a set of specifically known referral pains or sensations that come from completely different areas of the body. It is highly effective for headache sufferers, chronic pain sufferers and people who don’t seem to get relief from pains via other modalities that focus strictly on the affected area.  As with Deep Tissue, it can sometimes be uncomfortable but provides tremendous results. Disrobing is based on the treatment area and minimal lotions and oils are used. Trigger points should be worked only a few minutes each, and good communication during the session is critical to proper treatment.

SPORTS MASSAGE:

Sports Massage can be performed before, during and after athletic activities. The techniques are blends of various modalities; depending on the athlete’s needs at the time of treatment. A  pre-event massage is very upbeat and helps to warm and loosen tissue in a broad aspect. This treatment usually is 15-20 minutes long, and provided at the location of the event;  immediately prior to participating in the sport. Events that allow the athlete to take breaks are good for another 15-20 minute session that helps maintain flexibility, mobility and circulation.  Post-Event Massage takes place directly after the event, and is critical for helping the muscles cool down properly, relieve cramping and provide circulatory and lymphatic balance. Maintenance massage takes places within days after the event, and specifically targets sprains, strains, soreness and mobility issues. Sports massage almost always takes place clothed.

MYOFASCIAL RELEASE:

“Fascia is the soft tissue component of the connective tissue that provides support and protection for most structures within the human body, including muscle. This soft tissue can become restricted due to psychogenic disease, overuse, trauma, infectious agents, or inactivity, often resulting in pain, muscle tension, and corresponding diminished blood flow.” – Wikipedia

Myofascial Release has proved helpful in chronic pain sufferers whom experience problems on a much deeper level have simply muscular. This modality treats several postural imbalances, pain, and pathologies. Technique is very subtle, with each movement lasting a few minutes. It is highly effective, and clients sometimes receive energywork as a secondary benefit due to the technique style. Treatments are 30, 60, 90, or 120 minutes, and most often performed with client in non-restrictive clothing. Treatments are very specific and we encourage you to research a therapist well before undertaking this, or any other form of healing.

OTHER MODALITIES:

There are many other modalities that target a variety of healing for a variety of people.

  • corporate chair massage
  • pre-or-post natal massage
  • hot stone
  • ice therapy
  • herbal infusion
  • guided meditation massage
  • craniosacral massage
  • esalen massage
  • geriatric massage
  • pediatric massage
  • infant massage
  • lomilomi
  • lymphatic drainage

For more information on any of these modalities or to discuss your specific needs, please contact us at 630-246-0127.

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Adam Yauch. Beastie Boy, Social Activist and Freedom Fighter

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The name “Beastie Boys” resonates with every rebellious youth from the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s;  and will continue to do so into the future. Their simple yet pioneering style of hip-hop music set the precedence for today’s artists and helped to contribute to the soundtrack of many of our lives. But,  as many great accomplishments of true selflessness tend to go unnoticed,  I would like to honor Adam Yauch for his other contributions to humanity and life.

Fighting for your right to party wasn’t the only cause that Adam propagated. Fighting for the right to peace and life struck an even deeper chord with the lyricist. Although the demeanor of his words incited the urge to drink Brass Monkey and party all night, the deeper recesses of his heart bled for human rights concerns; namely the injustice of the treatment of the Tibetans after their hostile occupancy by China.

Adam was not an armchair activist; as he had traveled to Nepal and actively pursued ways to assist the simple, yet enlightened citizens of Tibet in their desperate plight to regain freedom. His past is checkered with meeting with various activists and leaders to help bring attention to this horrible situation, and help fund campaigns to assist in the goal of regaining independence for the Tibetans. He co-founded the Milarepa Fund to distribute royalties to Tibetan monks that were sampled on the Beastie Boys’ 1994 album “Ill Communication“.

He also organized the Tibetan Freedom Concert which was held in North America, Europe and Asia from 1996 til 2001, raising vast amounts of money to assist in the cause of peaceful freedom of Tibetans. His vision was shared equally by the rest of the group, and was also supported by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins, Bjork, Rage Against the Machine and more.

Adam Yauch always carried on his drive to help free Tibet, but also took interest in equality and freedom everywhere. Even when battling with his health, he went out to support and march with Occupy protestors for the cause of bringing the power back to the people of America.

Adam Yauch was an amazing soul who lived for others more than himself. His motivation in life was to help the world heal, love, live and prosper. As I have been blessed with the opportunity to sit before the Dalai Lama, learn from Tibetan monks as well as share the universal passion for healing the world (through sharing my touch and experiences); I can relate to Adam’s heart and feel his love for the world around us in a very personal manner. To me, there’s no greater qualities in a person, and he sits amongst the upper echelon of those who fight for world peace and equality. He was a true hero, crusader, and rebel with a cause.

Rest in peace, dear Brother.

Om mani padme hum

Expectations of a Great Massage Treatment

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Welcome back! Let’s take a look at what a massage session consists of, what to expect, and how to be best prepared for optimal treatment.

How your session starts will vary from place to place, as well as from setting to setting. For generalities, we will cover what to expect at a typical spa, clinic, or wellness center as these are the most common settings for one’s first massage treatment.

What you may need for your appointment:

  • Coupon or gift certificate (if applicable)
  • Address and phone number of the location
  • Payment for your massage
  • Cash to tip your therapist

Personal preparation for your appointment:

  • Don’t be over-caffeinated or you may not be able to relax and fully enjoy your treatment
  • Go minimal on make-up as it may very well rub off during treatment
  • Be showered and clean as good hygiene is not only appreciated but can help reduce skin irritations if you are sensitive
  • Wear minimal jewelry as you’ll need to remove this for treatment
  • Dress comfortably (we will be allowed the option to disrobe to your comfort level)

Upon your first visit, arrive 10-15 minutes early to complete an in-take form with your pertinent information. Complete this form as thoroughly and accurately as possible. Since massage affects all the major body systems, it is important to be thorough to not only receive the best treatment possible but to avoid any issues that could be relative. You may be given a form to complete that asks about your general discomfort or current pain; again this is important to receive the best treatment. It may seem like a lot of questions, but it not only ensures your safety but helps to create the best treatment for you!

Please take a moment to use the restroom before entering your session. Even if you don’t feel the urge to go just then, you may once you are lying down and the massage begins.

The following may be done prior to meeting your therapist and entering the treatment room:

  • Put your hair up if applicable
  • Remove all jewelry
  • Wipe off make-up to avoid smearing and smudging on your face and the linens
  • Turn off your cell phone to avoid ringing or vibrating

Your therapist will greet you when they are ready for your session. Your therapist may be a male or female. Don’t worry, gender does not change the quality of treatment as we view you as a person, and approach each client with dignity and respect. We discourage anyone from picking one gender over the other since our profession trains us to treat each client with whatever pressure and touch they need.

Once in the massage room, the therapist will review your medical information with you. Be forthright with your therapist in order to ensure safe and adequate treatment. Everything discussed is held in complete confidentiality and your privacy will be respected. After discussing these matters your therapist will provide you with your options for your treatment.

If you choose to receive a full body Swedish massage, understand that the therapist will touch: your neck, entire back, gluteus region, thighs, lower legs, feet; you will then turn over for further work on the thighs, legs, abdomen, upper chest (above breast tissue), arms, hands, neck, face, ears, and scalp. If you are not comfortable with any of these areas being touched, make sure you tell your therapist in advance.

Your therapist will use oils, gels and/or lotions for your session, so make sure you share all allergies concerns with your therapist. If you are prone to acne break-outs, let your therapist know, so they can avoid the use of oils and lotions in sensitive areas.

Your therapist will leave you to disrobe to your comfort level. The more skin we can come directly in contact with, the more effective treatment we can provide. (The exceptions to that rule include but are not limited to craniosacral, myofascial, Reiki, energy work and sports massage techniques.) Optimally, it is best if a client is completely disrobed under the sheets. If you feel more comfortable leaving underwear on; that is fine. Bras are terribly hindering to effective back and shoulder massage, so please remove them if you are comfortable enough to do so. A therapist will NEVER undo your bra for you or pull down your underwear to get to an area. We consider these items being left on as your indication that these areas are “off limits” and will not be treated. Based on your type of treatment your therapist will instruct you as to which way to lie to begin your session. They should also instruct you where to put your clothes and valuables.

During the massage, feel free to tell your therapist if you wish to have more or less pressure, or if you do or do not like a certain technique. Everyone’s comfort threshold is different so vocalize anything you wish so we can attune the session to your needs. Your body will give us queues to how you feel, but it is best to speak up in order to get the greatest treatment. Other than it relates to your comfort level, try to avoid conversation – this is your time to relax. When you are on the table, nothing in the world exists anymore. It’s just you and your massage. Let all else go.

Breathe slowly and deeply, and keep your eyes closed. Relax and focus on the positive feeling of the treatment. If your therapist comes across a tender area, remember to breathe. Slow, deep breaths help ease the muscles and relax the body. You may find yourself feeling sleepy. That’s a great sign of effective massage. Don’t fight any relaxing feeling that comes to you. Massage can cause the body’s digestive system to be proactive, and may result in flatulence. It’s ok.  It happens, and we are all human. Just let it go, or if you aren’t comfortable with that, ask the therapist to excuse themselves from the room for a moment and release the tension then. Trust me; it’s a common occurrence, and we aren’t offended by it. We would rather have you comfortable than trying to restrain something that’s a natural body function.

As the therapist moves from body part to body part, they will utilize something called draping techniques. Keeping a client covered is not only ethical, but it is a legal obligation. When the therapist is done working on your back, they will cover it up, and then expose the leg and/or gluteus region for work. They may uncover your “cheek” but will never expose the cleft or your genitalia. The draping is done a certain way to make you feel safe and secure while keeping you covered where you need to be covered. If you feel uncomfortable, please say so. Any good therapist will happily accommodate you.

When turning over to work the other side of the body, the drape will be lifted in manner as to create a screen between you and the therapist. Carefully turn yourself over and the therapist will put the drape back on to cover you. If at any time you feel the draping is loose or inadequate, immediately speak up. This is your session and is all about the maximum amount of comfort, trust, safety, modesty, and relief that is possible.

At the end of the session, the therapist will politely notify you that the time has ended. Take your time getting up, as massage lowers blood pressure. Sit up slowly, and sit there on the table for a couple minutes. Let your brain come back into focus, and slowly get up to get dressed. Make sure that you gather all of your belongings. Take your time getting ready, but please be mindful of how much time you take. Usually there is only a fifteen minute window between appointments, and the therapist still needs to review the next client’s information, sanitize and remake the table for the next session.

If your therapist instructed you to wait for them, open the door so they know you are ready to wrap up. Sit back down on the table or in a chair, relax and await the therapist. They may want to talk about your session and provide you with feedback and self-care techniques. When the therapist returns, listen intently, and if they explain a stretch or technique to you that you do not understand, ask them to demonstrate it. They may greet you with a bottle of water or tea; feel free to partake. It is very important to drink lots of water after a massage session. Now is a great time to ask any questions or provide any feedback for your therapist.

At this time, it is customary (but not required) to provide a gratuity for your therapist. Some places do not allow tipping, but that is rare. Just like a hair stylist or limousine driver, the therapist only makes a portion of the amount charged for your session, and relies on tips as part of their income. If you received a discounted rate on your session, the therapist will most likely be compensated at a much lower rate than normal as well. It is customary to leave 20% of the full service cost. If you do not know what the full price of the treatment is, simply ask. Try to remember that most therapists provide their own oils / lotions and they purchase and wash their own sheets. The economy is rough, but we all need to do what we can to help each other through these times. Your therapist gave you their best, in whatever way you can thank them; please do so.

Lastly, when leaving, check that you gathered everything one last time. And if you still feel a little lightheaded, relax in the lobby and drink more water until you are more alert. We want you to be safe when you leave, so take your time and make sure you are feeling cognitive enough to drive. On your way out, please tell the receptionist if you enjoyed your session, and consider scheduling another appointment while you are there. It is no greater compliment to a therapist than to become a repeat client. This, by no means, requires you to see that same therapist. Feel free to visit other therapists so you can experience other techniques. We all use different methods and have different styles of treatment. Give a few of us a try, and become a therapy connoisseur. Your mind, body and spirit will thank you for it!

Please join us next week when we discuss, “Different Strokes for Different Folks; the Various Massage Modalities to Experience”.

Welcome to the Healing World of Massage Therapy

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Welcome to the healing world of massage therapy! We are going to take you on a series of tours to get you familiar with massage therapy including what to expect, massage etiquette, massage modalities, safety and hygiene and more. Massage therapy is just the beginning to a world of healing, so let’s get started shall we?

Massage is defined as” the working of superficial and deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue using various techniques, to enhance function, aid in the healing process, and promote relaxation and well-being.”  To a dedicated therapist, there is much more than merely that. Massage is the gift of touch. It is non-verbal communication, healing and release of the things that burden us on a physical, mental, emotional and even sometimes spiritual level. When you receive a massage there is a connection that takes place between you and the therapist for that period of time. Your body will communicate your feelings, needs and conditions in ways that your mind and voice do not. There are autonomic responses to touch that queue the therapist in on what’s going on with you. At that point, the therapist truly begins to wield their craft; by helping, healing, and easing. Massage is an ancient tool for healing, communication and becoming whole with one’s self. To think it’s just some person rubbing on you is to miss the entire point. A therapist holds every thought, feeling, action and memory of yours in their hands when you allow them to touch you. Your body is your scroll of your legacy. Every lump, bump, scar and bruise is a mark on the timeline of your life; and we see it, cherish it, honor it and help heal from it. We are healers and we take pride in helping you overcome the obstacles that create barriers in your everyday life. We may do so through helping you in a very clinical way, like clearing out scar tissue around a damaged joint, or by providing you with the feeling of safe, healing touch when your soul is in need of it the most. That is the core of massage therapy as seen by therapists that truly love their craft and their clients.

We mentioned many illustrious responses to the definition of massage therapy and what all is healed through it, but who is this strange person that is performing the work? Here in the United States, a massage therapist is a LICENSED PROFESSIONAL that met or exceeded the state requirements for licensure. One cannot simply decide that they are a therapist one day and start working on people. It is a legally regulated profession that requires a rigorous amount of training, continuing education, and a dedication to ethics, safety and healing. For example, Illinois requires 500 hours of approved education as a minimum, as well as a criminal background check and a passing score on the national exam. Additionally, an Illinois therapist must complete a minimum of 24 hours of continuing education prior to each renewal, including a minimum of two hours of ethics classes. A therapist is also expected to become a member of a massage trade organization such as the AMTA, ABMP, or other organization. All therapists are required to adhere to a code of ethics that is laid out by their parent organization and could lose accreditation for violating their code. Additionally, if a therapist is found guilty of felony, a violent crime or sex crime, they lose their license to practice for good. So, the person working on you is certified, licensed, background-checked and constantly monitored and also required to stay up to date on the newest techniques and medical information available.

Let’s talk about what a massage therapist is NOT. They are not escorts, prostitutes or “masseuses”. The word “Masseuse” is a dirty word in our business which dates back to the days of “massage parlors”, which were little more than brothels. A massage therapist will NEVER offer any sort of sexual service. A therapist will never work nude, in a state of undress, or provocative dress. They will not uncover a client’s genitals, with the exception of certain RARE clinical medical techniques that are specifically ordered by a doctor and performed by a specially trained therapist in that doctor’s office whilst supervised by the doctor themselves. There are modalities of massage that do target scar tissue, and may be used to help heal scar tissue on a breast cancer patient, or to help with pelvic floor injuries, but these techniques ONLY take place with complete permission of the patient, and within a clinical medical atmosphere. Additionally, a massage therapist is not a counselor, psychiatrist or life coach. They may practice such professions as well, but that’s a whole different specialty. So, when working with a professional therapist, you can expect your modesty to be ensured, your session to be professional and yours and theirs boundaries to be respected.

How to know if your therapist is a professional? It’s easy for someone to claim that they are trained and some people attend schools that “certify” them, but may not meet the legal requirements of practicing as a therapist. Additionally, someone may assume that they know what they are doing because they read a few books or rubbed the shoulders of a friend that said they were good. The best way to ensure you are getting proper professional treatment is to ask for credentials. Every state issues a hard copy of the license for display, as well as offers the availability to check with your health departments or professional regulation departments for legitimacy. They must be able to produce their licensure information upon request, and show that it is clear and valid. Ask the therapist what school they attended. You can research that school and see if they are accredited. Ask the therapist if they are a member of a massage trade association like those listed above. Almost every therapist belongs to one or another. Lastly, ask about their national certification exam. It’s a requirement for most states to pass this, and they should be able to produce some sort of record of it. All of this is typically required to practice in most states, but there is one exception that I know of that is DANGEROUS and UNETHICAL to professional therapists. In Illinois and some other states, any regular person can be hired by a Chiropractor to practice massage therapy under their supervision. These type of chiropractors aren’t the ones that you want to see, because they are cutting corners to keep costs down while risking your safety. There are many amazing chiropractors out there, and chiropractic care is a great compliment to massage therapy, but there are some unscrupulous doctors who will hire someone that’s untrained just to make a quick buck. So, if you do go see a therapist at a chiropractor’s office, ask about their training. If all they have is what the doctor gave them, run away and never look back. A pinched nerve in your neck could quickly become the biggest nightmare you’ve ever had; all because someone wanted to save a few dollars.

There are many settings in which a therapist can work and do so effectively. Spas, professional offices, salons, your home or their home can all be great venues to receive the treatment you need. Many therapists such as me see clients in home settings. There are a few reasons for this: mainly convenience for the client and also economics for the therapist. What we receive in compensation from a home session belongs to us and we are not splitting that fee with another business owner. My town allows this since I am licensed and legally able to practice. No matter the venue or the therapist, your best course of action is to simply ask for the therapist’s credentials. Any dedicated therapist will be happy to oblige.

This knowledge is invaluable as this is your safety, health and even life that are in our hands. Make sure whatever therapist you seek is licensed and accredited.

Please join us next week for Part 2 of our series: “What to expect at a session”.

Namaste

Namaste – My Blogging Has Begun

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Thank you for visiting my first blog post. I’ll be using this blog to inform and educate on many aspects of massage therapy, wellness, energy healing, and natural living.

I offer massage therapy, Reiki, and crystal healing sessions in-call and out-call; meaning I’ll come to you, or you’ll come to me.

Please feel free to leave me comments on topics you’d like to know more about. Also, visit our Facebook page and LIKE us.