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  • About... Your Questions, Finally Answered!

    There are so many various questions people have about receiving Massage Therapy, but they don't ask because they are too self-conscious or embarrassed. Hopefully this forum will alleviate the silence that accompanies peoples' reluctance to schedule an appointment.

  • I have had so many massages where the therapist talks the entire time! I hear about everything from their marital problems and neighborhood gossip to their political views and religious beliefs. Will this be my experience with you, too, at MASSAGE CdA?

    This is the #1 complaint I hear from clients about other therapists, and to be honest, I'm embarrassed for our profession because of it.

    There is an amazing internal process that happens when you receive massage therapy. Most people want to get quiet inside themselves. There's a level of processing that happens--whether it be relaxation and letting go, awareness of tissue restrictions and pain, realizations of emotional holding patterns related to your issues, or even spiritual information that gets "downloaded" when you're in that state. From my own experience, I understand and deeply appreciate the necessity of creating an environment that can "hold" this space. 

    I participate in verbal conversation only as much as the client directs. Often I go entire treatments with the only words being spoken are to instruct the client to turn over and that the treatment is over. During advanced treatments I check in more often if I need information about the pressure, their experience of the restriction I'm feeling, or other things pertinent to the treatment.

    I am comfortable with quiet--external and internal--and I extend that to my clients, who regularly express their appreciation for it. If I need to change anything to respect this more completely, please let me know and I will do it! 

  • To tip, or not to tip? What are the standard guidelines?

    Whether or not to give a gratuity can indeed be very confusing! But I think you'll find these guidelines helpful:

    • If the therapist is in business for him/herself, they are setting their own rates. Gratuities are completely optional.
    • If the therapist is an employee, perhaps at a spa or a similar facility, then a gratuity of 10-20% is expected. 
    • For therapy addressing medical issues, or if you are using your HSA to pay for these services, gratuities are not recommended. Do you tip your chiropractor or physical therapist? No. If the massage treatment is for medical reasons, treat your therapist like your other health professionals. 

    If you use your credit card to pay for services at MASSAGE CdA, you will have the choice to leave a gratuity. I include this option because so many clients requested it! But gratuities are COMPLETELY OPTIONAL at MASSAGE CdA. 

  • I keep encouraging my husband to come in--I think he would benefit so much! But he won't. Is this a common complaint from other women? Are most men this reluctant?

    This is not at all uncommon! You are definitely not alone!

    I am not completely sure, but I think there are two primary things your husband--or men in general--are concerned about:

    1. Some men are bothered with the thought of another woman touching his body--even if it is completely professional. He may feel that he is "cheating" on you.  If he can come in even one time and leave having had a great professional massage experience, this concern is almost always completely dispelled. He will "get it."
    2. Some men are concerned they will have an erection during the treatment--and again, he may feel that he is "cheating" on you, or he might be concerned about knowing how to handle his embarrassment if it should happen. If either (or both) is his concern, he will find it challenging to relax. Erections do happen, but probably not nearly as often as one would expect. If a client has an erection as I'm working on him, I make no mention of it. I find that by not acknowledging it, I don't feed the concern. If he mentions it (ie: apologizing), I don't make a big deal out of it. After all, it is a normal, physiological response to touch. It will pass! He can also consider wearing boxers or briefs, which may alleviate some of his concern. Once again, just coming in for even a single treatment and getting over that concern is often all it takes.

    Invite an open, non-judging conversation with your husband. It could be the magic ticket!  

  • I am overweight and self-conscious about it. I don't want someone looking at my body, but yet I want to get massages!

    You are not alone in this. I think both men and women are plagued with this same concern. But as with the question above, I think this is the #1 reason women don't schedule massages--most women are self-conscious about their bodies, regardless of their size.

    One of the benefits of regular massage therapy is that it can help you accept the body you have, just as it is now! (In my opinion, this is important if you want to make any change at all--acceptance of where you are right now.) It can also help you overcome the body image criticisms you hold on yourself, which is often the emotional constraint that keeps you from having the body you want to change into. Touch therapy can help you with these emotional restrictions. Touch therapy alongside psychotherapy or hypnotherapy can help move you forward faster with your goals. 

    After I give a treatment, I can tell you about the restrictions I found in the fascia. I can tell you the areas of greatest sensitivity. I can tell you what I see might be contributing to some of the pain or issues you're dealing with. What I can't tell you is what your body actually looked like! Yes, it's true. I don't look at bodies... I feel the tissue. It's a big difference. 

    When you receive therapy from me, it is my hope that you feel absolutely comfortable in the way I work with your body. I hope you don't feel judged. I hope you don't feel compared. I hope you don't experience whatever it is that holds you back from coming in. I want my work to be as compassionate and non-judgmental as it can possibly be, and for you to feel good about who you are... exactly as you are. 

  • I have left so many massages laden with massage oil. It stains my clothes and sometimes it really stinks. It leaves me reluctant to get massage.

    I hear your frustration, and I guarantee you will NEVER feel oily when you leave my office! And here is why:

    The standard oils used in the massage profession are almond and grapeseed. They are comparitively less expensive, but ALL nut and vegetable oils go rancid very quickly. Imagine a therapist buying a gallon of this and it sitting around for 6-12 months or more! This is what's being put on your skin.

    When rancid oils get in the fibers of the sheets, it takes effort to get it out, and most therapists don't take this extra step. The sheets might be in great physical condition, but they are ruined because they stink. I am personally very selective where I go for bodywork because I am sensitive to and get nauseous laying on rancid sheets, not to mention I don't want rancid oils on my skin! They absorb into the body and are toxic. This is the antithesis of the health I am working to create!

    I use Organic JOJOBA as my primary lubricant. It is a quality lubricant, and well worth the pretty price tag:

    • Jojoba liquid is extracted from the seeds of the Jojoba cactus. Jojoba is not technically an oil because it doesn't have triglycerides like vegetable oils. For this reason, when stored properly it doesn't go rancid like vegetable oils.
    • Jojoba is also a favored ingredient in quality beauty supplies. Good to know it doesn't go rancid.
    • My sheets don't get rancid and therefore don't stink. And they last years.

    I also don't use a lot of Jojoba, unless a client requests an extra layer to accommodate their dry skin.

    I learned early on how and why to use lubricant sparingly:

    In my 3rd week of Massage School I gave one of my teachers a massage. I was so proud--it was such a great treatment! When I left the room, I looked back and saw his skin reflecting the dim light... it glowed. He looked so relaxed. Afterwards, he gave me great feedback about the massage, with only one criticism--a criticism I am so thankful he gave, because it forever changed me as a therapist. He said, "I have so much oil on me, I feel like the Valdez oil spill."

    I quickly learned that it's hard to work with a lot of oil; it's extremely counter-productive because I can't palpate properly. My treatments use only the amount of lubricant needed to work with the tissues, just enough to glide, but not slide, just enough to pick up the muscles without them slipping out of my hands. Offering effective therapy is impossible if I have to palpate through an oil spill! 

  • The Deep Tissue massages I've had have been painful, and every therapist insists that the pain is necessary. It has turned me off to massage in general. Is this a common experience? What do you think of it?

    Yes, unfortunately, this is a common experience. And in my opinion, so unnecessary!  

    When people who have had your experience receive a treatment from me, this is their response when they get off the table: "Your pressure was perfect--but yet it went really deep. It wasn't painful at all! How do you do that?"

    These are my "secrets" to deep pressure without the pain:

    • I have a verbal contract with every client: "Hurt so good" is okay, but pain is not. If my pressure is painful, YOU MUST INFORM ME. I firmly believe that if my pressure is causing you pain, I am not doing your body a service. PERIOD. 
    • I go slow. I yield to the pace of each layer of tissue, and I progress to the next level after I've been given access. When I teach this concept to beginning students, I give a visual of knocking on the door of someone's house and waiting patiently until I've been invited in... establish trust and progress to each room until you get to the kitchen where the fresh baked cookies are! You may not get to the kitchen the first time... Be with your client's tissues. Establish trust. Be patient. Be with "the conversation." 
    • My pressure is not straight down into the muscle and bone. (I think this is what most therapists do.) THIS IS PAINFUL.  My pressure is at an angle to the body. I can "anchor" into the tissues and hook fascia--it might be uncomfortable initially, but NEVER PAINFUL. And I use my body leverage, not my strength, to propel me. This approach is at the core of effective massage and manual therapy.
    • I am present to the subtle and obvious changes under my fingerpads, and I respond accordingly. I am having a "conversation" with your fascia and muscles, and based on this conversation I am adjusting my pressure, pace, and technique every single millisecond.

    I would not be going strong for 22 years doing this work if I did not offer therapy in a way that works for my body as well as yours!