Tips for Using a Foam Roller

To be frankly honest, I don’t really like foam rollers. Too often, I find that clients or friends will injure themselves by either too aggressively using this tool or simply using it incorrectly. (I mean, honestly, who thought it would be a great idea to put foam spikes on a roller?) I would much prefer that they go see a trained massage therapist or bodyworker who can work with their body to gently encourage it to let go of its adhesions rather than forcing it to do something it may not be ready to do. However, some people have to use their foam roller, whether because they cannot go see a massage therapist regularly or because they consider it a necessary part of their self-care routine, and I respect that. With that in mind, then, here are my tips for using a foam roller effectively and safely.

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The Vocabulary of Massage Therapy

When I had to “fire” my first client, it was due to a unique set of circumstances, largely centered around the language used in text communications with me. He spoke of feeling the “love through my touch” and that he wanted me to “engulf and envelope” him with my “soft and sweet sexy hands.” To his credit, he had been a complete gentleman while in his very first session, and may, in fact, have meant nothing but honest and sincere, if awkward, compliments by the words. But the fact that I had been made uncomfortable, even if unintentionally, by that and other text messages he sent, was enough to cause me to refuse to rebook him. The brand new and still fragile relationship of trust and safety between us had been broken.

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A Response to “Worshiping the False Idols of Wellness”

The New York Times published an article on the first of August which struck quite the cord with me, in both a positive and a negative way. Dr. Jen Gunter, an obstetrician and gynecologist in California, was the author of the piece, which can be read here. She has very obviously had some negative experiences with those in the “wellness” community, as is evidenced by her comments about them and some of the practices with which she associates them. I was honestly torn reading this piece. I acknowledge that Dr. Gunter has some good points about people who take advantage of the uneducated looking for simple health and wellness solutions in their lives. However, she also clearly misunderstands the very meaning of wellness itself as well as the intentions of the vast majority of people in the wellness community.

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An Inside Look at Massage Cancellation Policies

One of the hardest things that massage therapists have to deal with is clients who cancel their appointments, especially when it turns out to be a no-show who has given no notice that they were planning to cancel. It is for this reason that many massage therapists have had to enact cancellation policies for their practices. Some clients are surprised or offended that they will be charged for a missed appointment or last-minute cancellation, since to them it seems only a minor adjustment to the massage therapist’s schedule. In this post, I would like to give people an inside look into the process of setting up a massage room as well as how not showing up for an appointment or cancelling on short notice is truly an inconvenience to your massage therapist.

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Trying to Avoid the Term “Toxin”

In recent years, the word “toxin” seems to have become a very handy buzzword for companies selling natural products and remedies. Their wares or techniques are guaranteed to “flush toxins out of the body” or even prevent such “toxins” from entering it in the first place. There are entire Facebook pages and groups dedicated to “detoxes” and “cleanses” and the methods by which they can be accomplished, with everything ranging from drinking nothing but lemon water with a pinch of cayenne pepper for a week, to eating activated charcoal once a month. But what is the real truth about “toxins” and their presence (or absence) in the body, and do you really need to be that concerned with “flushing them out”? More importantly for the content of this post, can massage actually eliminate so-called toxins from your body?

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Why Lymphatic Massage Is So Gentle

The other day, I ran into an excellent question. “Why does a lymphatic massage require a soft touch? Wouldn't deep massage work as well?” This is a style of massage about which many people are confused and about which, sadly, some therapists don’t have a good answer to give. The simple fact is that the pressure of the massage has to do with the lymph vessels themselves.

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How Essential Oils Actually Work

Lately, I’ve had several people ask me what the big deal is about essential oils, whether they actually work, and (if they do actually work) how exactly they work. Some people hear about essential oils from friends or family, but may be skeptical because their doctor doesn’t recommend using them and says they are a “quack” remedy. Others may see the benefits of essential oils but want to know how to tell their friends and family about the benefits without seeming like they are snake oil salesmen.

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How Long Should I Take Getting Up From My Massage?

I recently answered an excellent clarification question on Quora:  “When massage therapists complete a massage and say, ‘Take your time getting up,’ do they mean five minutes, or fifteen?” For lots of clients, this is an area of uncertainty. Everyone wants to enjoy the luxurious feeling of a limber, relaxed body after a great massage, but no one wants to be discourteous to their therapist and make them run behind by spending too much time on the table. So what is the proper etiquette to follow once you’ve finished a massage session? Read my response to find out!

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Food As External Medicine

One of my favorite quotations of all time is from a movie which I, sadly, cannot remember. “Eat your food as medicine, or you will surely eat medicine as your food.” I learned later that it is a version of a similar statement attributed to the famous physician Hippocrates, who is also responsible for the Hippocratic Oath. Natural health trends nowadays strongly emphasize eating diets that are minimally processed, as natural as possible, and any number of other labels (keto, paleo, raw, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, etc.). However, I find that many people have a psychological barrier to overcome when they first start looking at food as medicinal in nature, especially when it is to be used in an external fashion. It may be easy to convince someone that eating eggs is good for their skin, eyes, and hair, but telling someone that combing an egg through their hair is equally as good or better for their hair health is when they start to balk.

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