I'm Getting Married! (And Moving to Texas...)

This may not be a blog post properly speaking, but in addition to the email announcement I sent out to my clients, I figured this was a pretty effective way to spread the word.

I am overjoyed to announce that on May 5th, the love of my life proposed to me and I said yes! This is both wonderful news and bittersweet news for me to pass on to you. On the one hand, I am going to be marrying the man of my dreams, and am immensely looking forward to starting my new life with him. On the other hand, this means that I will be moving to Texas after the wedding at the end of October and will have to say farewell to all of my wonderful clients in California. I truly could not have made A Touch of Tranquility a success without you, and you will certainly be missed.

I also wanted to take the time to assure all of my clients that I will be actively trying to help you find new massage therapists before I leave. I have several colleagues and trade partners to recommend to you based off of your individual needs and which style I think you would most enjoy and benefit from. It is my pleasure to help you find someone else to help you feel at your best before I move on to this next chapter of my life. And of course you are more than welcome to keep seeing me until I close my doors! Following is a brief rundown of five therapists that I have personally seen and recommend.

For those of my clients who prefer light to medium pressure Swedish massage, I can recommend Lori Bartolomei, who also works in the same building as me. Having trained at Healing Arts Institute like myself, Lori has similar techniques and a very calming, healing style. Plus, she does amazing hot stone massages which I strongly encourage you to try! You can either leave a message with me when you come see me next or contact her directly at 916-207-6222.

For those who prefer medium to heavy pressure with some additional focus on problem areas, I can recommend Tasha Standridge, who is the owner/operator of Gold Country Massage Therapy and my valued trade partner. Tasha has a style very similar to my own (her Signature Massage is a blend of Swedish and some deep tissue techniques to work out any tight spots she finds and leave you totally relaxed), and she is only a little further down the road in Roseville. You can either book online at her website http://goldcountry.massagetherapy.com/ (and make sure you've selected Tasha as your therapist at the top!) or call her directly at 916-547-3730.

A wonderful all-around massage therapist who simply excels at both Swedish and deep tissue massage is Danny Klinger, a former teacher of mine from Healing Arts Institute and a dear friend. If you don't mind having a male therapist, I absolutely encourage you to go to Danny for a caring, customized massage that will address your problem areas and leave you feeling like new. Be sure to book with him in advance! He is quite popular amongst his regular clients and his schedule can fill up quickly. His number is 916-521-1291. Danny also works part-time at some of the Massage Envy franchises in the Rocklin and Roseville area, so be sure to look him up there if you are interested in joining a Massage Envy!

Finally, for those of my clients who need strictly deep tissue, I can recommend two therapists, both of whom are former teachers of mine and whom I encourage you to try in order to determine which one best fulfills your goals for your massage session. The first is Marylisa Correia, owner of the Blue Door Salon and Spa and Massage by Marylisa just a few buildings down from mine on Taylor Road. Marylisa does great deep tissue and as a personal trainer also has intimate knowledge of anatomy and physiology. Her phone number is 916-660-6798. The second therapist I can recommend is Johannes Jilesen. Johannes is an orthopedic massage therapist and neurokinetic therapist. Utilizing deep tissue techniques as well as specialized release techniqes and assessment tests, he can often pinpoint and bring relief to even the most stubborn problems. He can be reached at 530-770-1315.

Lastly, I would like to encourage all gift certificate holders to please use your gift certificates before the end of September. I will be closing my doors shortly thereafter in order to allow myself enough time to finish wedding preparations and will be unable to redeem your gift certificates once I have done so. If I have not redeemed your gift certificates by the middle of September, please expect to receive an email or phone call from me. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

If you have any questions at all or need assistance finding a therapist that I have not listed, please do not hesitate to ask me, as I am more than happy to help in any way that I can. And, if you ever are out in Texas, don't hesitate to look me up!

I wish you all wellness and peace!

Julia Shelton (soon to be Wilson!)

The Therapist's Touch

What separates an amazing therapist from a good therapist, or even from a bad therapist? Undoubtedly, certain characteristics come to mind. Someone who really cares. Someone who shows you the kind of respect that you deserve as a human being. Someone with the energy level and professionalism that helps keep you calm and relaxed. Someone with the intuition that helps them pinpoint and treat your problem effectively. Someone who takes the time to really listen to you and attend to your needs.

While these characteristics, as well as many others that I did not list, are applicable to any therapist, they are especially important for the massage therapist because we work with the body in such a unique way. When you go to any other therapist to sit with them and talk about your issues, they may give you a friendly pat on the shoulder, a sympathetic squeeze of the hand, or even a hug; but massage therapists have a license to touch. It is a sacred trust and one that most of us take very seriously. You are entrusting us with not just your bodies, but with your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. The therapist's touch can heal or harm in untold ways.

It is because of this profound effect that clients should be careful selecting a massage therapist. While it is true that most of us take the obligation we have been given with all seriousness and respect, there are some out there who practice massage therapy with other ends in mind – from desiring only to make a large amount of money to receiving sexual gratification from their sessions, at the client's expense.

When you go to a massage therapist for the first time, listen to your instincts. Do they seem as though they are interested in listening to your needs, or are they just interested in getting you on (and back off) the table as quickly as possible? Do they take the time to go over your intake with you and offer to answer any questions you may have? If you express concerns over having certain areas worked on, do they really listen to your concerns and either offer to avoid those areas completely or work on them in a way in which you are comfortable? Do their actions towards you make you feel as though they are flirting with you or attempting to sexualize the therapist-client relationship? You must be comfortable in order for your massage session to be effective, so if something is making you feel off kilter, first ask the therapist to adjust or fix it. If they refuse to do so, you have every right to end the massage session, whether you have already started receiving work or not.

The therapist's touch is powerful. It can bring tremendous relief, tranquility, and healing; or it can bring suffering, turbulence, and damage. Be sure that you are going to someone who will truly treat you as the amazing person that you are.

To Tip or Not to Tip?

I'll never forget my first massage. I had experienced a particularly trying finals week during my last semester of senior year at college and my dear friends all decided to chip in and purchase a 30-minute massage for me with the local massage therapist. I was quite thrilled, having never had a full body massage before and I was not disappointed by the massage itself. By the time I walked out of the therapist's office, I was on cloud nine. One thing did strike me as odd, though, as I shook her hand and thanked her for the delightful massage she had just given me. There was a certain hesitancy there, as though she were expecting something. I had handed her the gift certificate, however, so I knew that she had been paid. Shrugging it off as my imagination, I went home and profusely thanked my friends for having bought me such a wonderful gift.

It was only a year later, when I was receiving my own massage therapy training, that I realized the poor woman must have wondered if I had forgotten to tip her! If I could go back now, I would certainly have given her a gratuity for the wonderful massage she gave me, but alas, time cannot be rewound. The experience taught me some important things, however. Chief of these was the fact that many people, especially those new to massage, may not necessarily know that it is customary to tip your massage therapist. Frankly, I can understand why they might think that, especially having come from that group myself in the first place. The massage is already a fairly expensive investment for an individual to make, with most of them averaging around $65 per hour; and I know for a fact that many people either do not consider massage therapy as a service in the "service industry," such as waiting tables or being a bellhop at a hotel, or else assume that we charge enough to include whatever tip they might give us.

With this in mind as I started my new practice, I had to learn to make the decision whether or not I would gently nudge people in the direction of adding a tip or not. In school, we were encouraged to ask "Would you like to add a gratuity today?" While that sounded polite and not too pushy, I never liked the idea of asking someone that as they were preparing to check out from a relaxing treatment. It seemed too much like springing hidden costs on them at the last minute. I know that, had I been asked the same question as a new massage client, I would have been totally flummoxed to find myself without any cash (remember, I was a starving college student and didn't know that tipping was customary) and embarrassed to be unable to tip my therapist. In addition to that, it may have taken my massage-clouded brain a moment or two to remember what exactly a "gratuity" was, since that term is so seldom used nowadays.

So, I decided that I would not suggest clients tip me at all, nor would I treat the ones that didn't tip me any differently than those that did. If a client doesn't tip, I assume that they don't know any better or perhaps feel they cannot afford the additional cost and leave it at that. Most of the time, though, I find that my clients do know that it is standard practice to tip and are quite generous, recognizing that we are providing them an important service and are using our bodies as our tools. For those reading this post, do be sure to learn from it, spread the word to your friends, and please tip your therapist at the end of your session. The tip need not be $20 every time you see them (that's considered the maximum amount for an hour Swedish massage in the trade), and it need not even be in cash. Many therapists offer the ability to add the tip to your credit card if you are charging your massage session. Even $5 is appreciated and encourages us to continue doing the important healing work that we do. And we certainly thank you very much!

Hot Stone Massage: What It Is, and Why You Might Need It

Like many other massage treatments traditionally offered in a spa, hot stone massage is often viewed as a "fluff" treatment. Something for which you are paying more money without any additional benefit just for the "spa experience." This is decidedly untrue, as hot stone massage has many therapeutic benefits and is not limited to being used only in a spa setting, despite the fact that it is most commonly found there.

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Lotions and Oils and Creams and Gels (Oh My!)

In massage school, students are encouraged to work with different massage mediums (the term used for the various lubricants placed on the body) so that they learn what works best for them. But what is the big difference between all of these mediums? To the uneducated, they might appear rather similar in function, but the fact is that different mediums can make a significant impact in how well a practitioner is able to perform a massage. In this post, I'll give a brief examination of each of the more common massage mediums and demonstrate why they might be preferred for certain styles of massage.

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Music in the Massage Room

Okay. I admit it. I really detest most "music" that you will hear in a massage and spa setting. I find that the nearly nonexistent beat, the notes just sort of flowing wherever they will, the instruments coming in and out at random times, and the apparent rule that you must use a flute and/or chanting at some point drives me up the walls, especially when I'm receiving a massage. 

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Massage and Insurance

Wouldn't it be lovely if insurance covered all forms of massage therapy, from the most intense Myofascial Release to the epitome of relaxing Swedish massage? Alas, such is not usually the case. While there are a few insurance programs that do cover massage therapy, even they are generally selective regarding the modalities for which they will agree to pay, opting to cover only those that have some perceived medical benefit, such myofascial or orthopedic. If you happen to desire a modality that is not in this list, you are seemingly out of luck.

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