The question of what is Medical Massage has become the million dollar question in massage circles. And the question I just received is this "Is there a difference between medical massage and clinical massage?" For the first part of my answer I will defer to James Waslaski, a leader in the massage field, and a quote from his article in Massage Today from June 2004!
"The best short definition I gathered from medical massage therapists is: "Medical massage is performed with the intent of improving conditions or pathologies that have been diagnosed by a physician; a wide variety of modalities or procedures are utilized to focus the treatment based on the diagnosed condition." I was determined to prove that advanced disciplines, such as neuromuscular therapy, CranioSacral Therapy (CST), myofascial release, lymphatic drainage, massage for cancer patients, orthopedic massage, etc., fall under medical massage disciplines, and certification in many of these disciplines usually requires a minimum of 100 hours of training." http://www.massagetoday.com/archives/2004/06/03.html
Waslaski teaches an Orthopedic Massage class and has a book from Elsevier called Clinical Massage Therapy: A Structural Approach to Pain Management. I do not have this particular book but any other book from Elsevier is in the form of a textbook. Elsevier is a company that I dealt with when I was the Massage Therapy Chairperson at a private school in Florida. More about books in a bit.
So now that I have muddied the waters, let me address the Clinical Massage Therapist part of the question. I found the following quote:
While a massage therapist can work with clients who have tension, stress and pain, "more serious issues are often treated by a clinical massage therapist. This practitioner uses techniques specifically designed to help injuries heal, improve range of motion, and increase muscle function. Also known as medical massage, therapists who perform this work generally do so by prescription from a doctor." http://work.chron.com/clinical-massage-therapist-16412.html Please note that this person is NOT a massage therapist, but that does not make her remarks any less true.
About 10 years ago, I was lucky to attend a seminar at the Florida Chiropractic Convention in Orlando. This convention has in the past, and I would assume still does, hosted a Massage Therapist track as part of their training classes. At this particular convention I attended a CE Class about Medical Massage by Sandy Fritz. For those who do not know, Sandy is the main author of two textbooks by Elsevier/Mosby: Fundamental of and Science of Therapeutic Massage. In her lecture she feels the ALL massage is basically medical or clinical. Her reasoning for this is that all massage has some sort of "medical" benefit to the client regardless of why they are on the table.
But of course the massage industry as any other profession likes "labels". It makes for great marketing and sales for massage schools and continuing education providers. Don't get me wrong, I do believe there is such a thing as Medical Massage but contrary to some advertisments it is not a required "certification" to do that type of massage. (Disclaimer - My opinion and I do have a Medical Massage Certificate!)
The standard definition for Medical Massage is that it is an outcome-based, results-oriented specific treatment to a targeted area or problem. The treatment is by diagnosis and prescription of a physician and may follow their specific instructions after a thorough assessment or evaluation of the problem. It is also generally billable to insurance. Be aware that not all states allow billing to insurance companies by massage therapists, licensed or not. For more information about Insurance Billing for Massage Therapists please look up Vivian Madison Mahoney at www.massageinsurancebilling.com. I was fortunate enough to take her class and received great documentation on the insurance billing process. She does have an insurance billing seminar on DVD and if you take a class with Premier Continuing Education you can receive free CE hours from her. (Shameless Plug) www.premiercontinuingeducation.com
My personal opinion is that networking with a physician or chiropractor would be the best way to get into this type of massage. Advertisment and marketing to a specific client base would be another way. But first you need to have the training to do this type of work. Clinical-based massage is much more specific and requires the therapist to have more specific training and understanding of the mechanics of the human body. Back to that Anatomy and Physiology that you learned in school.
My recommendation and that of James Waslaski in his article mentioned above is to have training in as many advanced disciplines as possible. Recommendations include (but are not limited to): Myofascial Release, Neuro-muscular Therapy (NMT), Trigger Point Therapy, Cranio-sacral Therapy and Sports Massage/Stretching. Additionally more specialized Hydrotherapy applications, including Hot/Cold Stone and other more structurally-based modalities such as certain types of Lomi Lomi and Structural Integration techniques. You also need to know how to explain why/what you are doing to your clients.
Recommendations for books include (but are definitely not limited to): Anatomy Trains by Tom Myers, Kinesiology by Joseph E. Muscolino, A Massage Therapist's Guide to Pathology by Ruth Werner (who by the way will be teaching some classes at Sage Continuing Education in Lancaster, PA this fall! - www.sagecontinuinged.com), any of the textbooks by Sandy Fritz, Trail Guide to the Body by Andrew Biel, Basic Clinical Massage Therapy: Integrating Anatomy and Treatment by Clay and Pounds (an LWW textbook), and Fascial Release for Structural Balance by James Earls & Thomas Myers. I am currently taking the online course by Niel Asher on Trigger Points that I highly recommend (NAT) and any of the books by Clair Davies on Trigger Points.
I hope this addresses the question posed by my Facebook reader this morning. Obviously the best place to start is in the beginning and being a licensed massage therapist is that first step! Having the desire to "make a difference in the pain and posture of the body" is the next step. I hope this points you in the right direction. Please feel free to comment here.
References used: www.medicalmassage.com, www.massagetoday.com, www.mmpa.us
When I first started teaching pathology to massage therapists about 12 years ago I had to do my research on Fibromyalgia before I could talk about it. I really didn't know that much about it but I knew that people were being diagnosed with it. And then I found out that possibly some people were being misdiagnosed with it. Let me tell you what I found out back then.
Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) a chronic pain syndrome involving sleep disorders and a predictable pattern of tender points in muscle and other soft tissue. It is diagnosed after all other diseases are ruled out and when 11 active tender points are found disributed among all quadrants of the body. Nine pairs of tender points in total have been identified on the body.
Fibromyalgia often overlaps with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and during my initial research there was the possible association with Epstein-Barr virus as this is associated with mononucleosis, a disease noted for it characteristic symptom of tiredness. FMS also may include Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS), hypothyroidism, TMJ problems and myofascial pain syndrome. The pain is "invisible" with no outward signs.
At that time I also found that FMS sufferers may have the following:
I also found some things that at that time FMS was NOT:
What is was however was a combination of related sleep disorders, endocrine and neuro-transmitter imbalances and the emotional state of the patient.
In my original notes I have the following: May eventually be reclassed as a CNS disorder because of the presence of increased levels of 2 neurotransmitters in CSF of patients which may initiate nerve activity and lead to the pain.
I have always taught that massage is indicated but do not overtreat as clients are sensitive to pain. I also have always noted that clients may have been misdiagnosed in the past. I have experienced clients that would tell me that they have been diagnosed with FMS but want deep tissue work. I say (not to the client) that is NOT fibromyalgia.
Fast forward to the Winter 2015 issue of Massage Therapy Journal from AMTA. (Hey, I'm getting things out of boxes and so I found it!) The Right Touch - "With recent research suggesting fibromyalgia may be a central nervous system disorder, can massage therapy still help? The answer is - Yes." I feel vindicated in my research from years ago!
Have you ever googled or binged (I don't think I'm making up those verbs) the benefits of massage?
I'm sure there are thousands of pages out there about the benefits of massage and why you should have one. They are mostly the stuff of myth and legend!
I know that many of the people that know me are shaking their heads right now and many will not agree with what I am about to expound on, however what I am about to tell you is true. Even if when you were in my classes I told you some of these things. Believe me, I'm sorry. These were things that I was taught in massage school also and therefore was passing on to you as fact. It is time to change our beliefs about what massage is (and isn't)!
There are currently 5 generic claims about massage that you will find everywhere on the internet and quite possibly in your massage textbooks. They are as follows:
These claims start in massage school and are perpetuated by our instructors. I have already admitted to spreading them myself in my classes. Before I really start to sort of debunk these claims, I need to give you a little background on my information. I have been reading about these things not being totally true for quite some time now and recently as I have been cleaning and unpacking some things in my office at the new house I came across an article in Massage Today by Tracy Walton. She is a leader in the massage world when it comes to Oncology Massage and I have attended one of her classes on massage for cancer and the research on it. When I was in school cancer was a total contraindication for massage. The myth at that time was that massage spreads cancer cells. Research tells us that is not true. Therefore massage for cancer patients helps them fight pain, nausea, fatigue, anxiety and depression. Easing pain and improving mood for them is due to growing research support for these options.
In the article and in her e-book "5 Myths and Truths About Massage Therapy", Tracy Walton looks at the 5 generic claims mentioned above and also talks about the difference between the clinical vs. mechanistic outcomes in any type of therapy, treatment or drug program. Clinical outcomes are those things that create a change in the signs and symptoms of the client or patients problem. Did massage help or work? Examples are a change in their stress level, or pain level or with their range of motion. Mechanistic outcomes create a change in a biological substance. The examples here are changes in hormone levels, blood sugar, endorphins, cortisol, etc. These changes must be measured in saliva, blood, urine or tissues.
As you have probably figured out by now the 5 claims above are more mechanistic outcomes that none of us as therapists are trained to report. Also, clients are coming to us as massage therapists for clinical outcomes; they want to reduce stress, decrease pain and soreness or just be relaxed. The fact that massage may reduce stress DOES NOT equate to massage lowers cortisol. To paraphrase Tracy, "massage works, just not the way we were taught". Clients DO NOT come to us for mechanistic outcomes.
So what is the research and what about those 5 generic claims? I will summarize Tracy's book.
Massage increases endorphins - studies are inconclusive. Massage does reduce pain and makes the client feel better and relaxed but is not proven to increase endorphin levels.
Massage boosts immunity - this is hard to prove. The immune system is very complex and massage could influence immunity over time but mainly massage promotes relaxation and reduces stress.
Massage decreases cortisol (just one of the stress hormones, but the one with the most press) - again, this has not been proven and in fact was disproved in one study! Decreasing stress and increasing well being is still what we do as massage therapists.
Massage increases blood circulation - the questions here are where, how deep, arterial or venous, for how long and does it matter? Results in studies are inconclusive as to this issue. We do know that hyperemia is present locally with certain strokes thus promoting tissue health in that area. But the lowering of blood pressure or increasing the actual circulation systemically is that proven.
Massage releases toxins - just what are these toxins of which we speak? I have always hated the word toxins - there are by-products of the metabolic process, but sometimes these are good by-products that go out in the blood stream to affect another part of the body. Even lactic acid has it's uses. Lactic acid becomes a fuel when oxygen levels are low in athletes and dissipates in the body with normal breathing. We could just as easily say that breathing releases toxins in the body. Either way there is absolutely NO RESEARCH to suggest that this happens more during a massage. And blood or urine would have to be measured to test this. (Oh, and water after a massage DOES NOT flush out these "toxins" either!)
Not enough overall studies have been done to prove many of the claims that massage therapists and educators have made over the years. The thing that I think would also be hard to do with any massage study would be measuring the effects of the massage because every massage measured must be exactly the same. And we all know how hard that is to do!
So please don't start a rant on me here ( or go ahead - it will increase my blog traffic - LOL) but these are the actual facts based on research or lack thereof. For more information go to www.tracywalton.com or Google (or Bing) 5 Myths and Truths About Massage Therapy. It is a pdf download so you can read it at your leisure. There are some other links within the ebook that you may find quite interesting also.
You read it here! Massage is good for you regardless of any research.
I'm beginning to feel like there should be a group for CE Providers where they could come together and share their stories. The ones and the horror ones!
You know the ones, they go like this:
Wow, you've got a good thing going, how can I do that?
How can you charge so much for CEs?
XYZ Provider only charges half of what you do.
How do you get to be an instructor/CE Provider?
Massage Therapists don't make enough money to pay for these classes every two years AND pay for their licenses.
That's not the way I was taught to do that in school.
Let me show you how I do it.
Or the students who constantly have to tell you a story about their mother, or brother or second cousin or something else that they think has to do with what you are teaching, but really doesn't in the end.
Or the ones who are only there the month before license renewal because they need the credits.
And then there are the ones who would like to pay you for the credits, not attend the class and get the certificate anyhow!
The ones who ask inappropriate questions, the ones who tell you that you don't really know the modality you are teaching because they saw a You Tube video and it wasn't like that, the ones who show up at a class 6 months pregnant and can't participate because the first part of the hand's on section has them laying face down for an hour or the modality itself is a total contraindication to massage, the ones that already know everything but again needed the credits, the ones that need to have their phones on because there just might be an emergency at home, work, whatever!
I've seen a lot of all of this and I'm still a CE Provider because I love to teach. I love to share my knowledge with others who want to learn from me. But I am tired of those who think it is easy and an easy way to make big money. It's not!
I've spent a lot of hours creating handouts, updating handouts, redesigning handouts and in general making my handouts! Creating the documentation that you need to get nationally certified to teach my courses is an exercise in itself! I've been Florida certified, Pennsylvania certified and now Nationally certified and each one wants a specific set of documentation. And this doesn't include the amount of time spent in the actual class or classes to learn the modality and the time spent practicing and then implementing the modality on clients in order to hone the skills to be able to teach it. (And by the way, knowing something does NOT mean that you can teach it responsibly!)
My biggest pet peeve right now is that I have a 20 page Ethics document that the National Board will not approve as an online CE, however I just downloaded a 4 page document that would probably take me 20 minutes max to read that apparently has been approved by the Board for 4 hours of CE! And the online Ethics class that have used for the last 12 years has not changed since I first took it and also is less pages that the document that I submitted. But I digress!
Teaching Continuing Education to massage therapists has been very rewarding to me but students need to understand that for the most part CE Providers have a lot of time and effort into creating their classes, preparing for their classes and teaching their classes. We (as CE Providers) need the same respect that hopefully was given to the instructors in your original Massage Therapy Program at whatever school you attended.
Oh, and the money part? Remember that as instructors the amount of money we are paid depends on the location where the class is being held. Each venue has its own percentage that they give a CE Provider and some locations pay by the hours on site or by the CE hour. When you factor in travel and expenses it is not really as much as you think. So stop wondering why a class may have been cancelled. An instructor that has to travel and stay overnight at a location for only a few students is losing money! So when your instructor shows up and there is a very small class count yourself very lucky indeed.
I guess the comment that gets me the most has to do with the price of classes. I have taken classes that required me to travel and pay more that what most would think is fair, however they were classes that I wanted to experience more than just needed for licensure. These were classes that have been something that I have added to my massage toolbox. Modalities that my clients have benefited from not in direct proportion to the monies that I had spent in learning them. But if they are also classes that I benefited from in being with the instructors. Classes that I have in turn gotten "stories" from and grown as a therapist. Every instructor we meet on our journey has a story and gives a little of themselves to each and every class - good, bad or indifferent. We have instructors we loved and ones not so much. Hopefully we learned something from each one. What to do and what not to do. The cost of the class was the price to learn that lesson.
The comment that massage therapists don't make enough for XYZ class is a result of the industry overall not paying therapists enough and therapists not being willing to charge enough for their service and knowing their worth. I know that this is harsh but as a group we sometimes find it hard to charge money for something that we love to do. As a therapist we need to make the decision that we are worth what we charge (remember the expenses part of the job) and that it takes work outside of the therapy room to have enough clients to make a living. If you aren't making enough to take the classes required in your state or pay for your license you need to step back and take a look at your practice or the place you are working. Are you being paid fairly at a job or are your expenses too much for the number of clients you see in a week? If you need more clients then go out and get them. Having a business requires more work especially in the beginning to get a client base. And if you are working for someone maybe it is time to start looking for something better. BUT, the bottom line as far as having money for classes really comes back to you. I would like to share a post from a Facebook group that I belong to about just that! And as one poster said - this applies to massage for you as a therapist also! If you are going to do the work you have to get the work! Here it is:
"Usually it's about 24 CEs every two years. CE classes can range all over the place in price, but you want to be able to take classes you're actually INTERESTED IN, and those won't always be the cheapest, particularly if you're traveling to a magical venue like Bali, or Hawaii. Now I'm not going to suggest that's where you take your CE's, just opening that possibility, because manifestation begins with potentiality. What I will do, is the math. 24 CE over two years give you 2 years or 104 weeks to pay for them. Lets' round that to 100 and you can take 4 weeks off. If you look, plenty of QUALITY CE classes in your local area are priced between $20 and $30 an hour. That means with 100 weeks to pay for them, you need only put aside $4.80- $7.20 each week from tips. Skip one trip to Starbucks each week, tip yourself instead. Get an envelope."
This is an excellent summary of what is needed to be able to "afford" those "costly" CE classes!
The rest of the stories will be for another blog post! You can see what I teach and the exorbitant prices that I charge on my Current Classes page on this website!
This was the question I posed to my students in the last 3 classes that I taught.
After some thought I got answers of the back and the legs. My response was that they are both.
Technically they are transitional between the trunk and the lower extremities. Anatomically they are generally referred to as part of the trunk. Functionally, because of their actions, they are part of the lower extermities.
So just what do the gluteal muscles do? Their main actions are extension of the hip as in standing or walking, especially in climbing or stairs. They also help to perform lateral rotation of the hip (maximus), abductions and medial rotation of the hip (medius & minimus). Their major synergists (helpers) are the hamstrings and piriformis along with tensor fascia latae.
The attachements of these 3 muscles, maximus, medius and minimus are on the illium along the crest and then along the body of the illium moving inferiorly. The distal attachments are into the IT Band and the greater trochanter of the femur thus the hip movements which each of these muscles. The gluteals are stretched by their antagonists, theilipsoas, tensor fascia latae, the adductors and themselves in some cases.
So how does this affect your clients? Think of what they do for a living. How do they use their bodies? Or even what do they do occasionally that may affect their muscles? Of course anyone who walks or stands at all during the day will be using these muscles and/or overusing them. Conversely if they are not using them they could also be affected.
Low back pain may be associated with gluteals as well as any of the other muscles that attach to the illium at the iliac crest. Piriformis syndrome or sciatica may also be related to tight gluteal muscles since they sit superficial to piriformis. Skiers, runners as well as truck drivers and couch potatoes all may end up in your office with gluteal issues. Don't ever let them tell you that they don't use their glutes! Work them! They can be worked over the sheet without any embarrassment to your client!
I was contacted recently by a current student (not one of mine) with some Lomi Lomi questions so here they are and here are my answers.
Q. How often do you perform Lomi Lomi massage or how often do clients request that service? What type of clients typically see you for Lomi Lomi massage (specific issues or more spiritual or do they just find it relaxings)? Is Lomi Lomi massage more stressful on your body than Swedish massage? Do you typically perform this massage at a client's home or in an office space? What about Temple Lomi draping? What kind of draping do you use for Lomi Lomi massage? And finally what are any common misconceptions about Lomi Lomi massage?
In answer to how often I perform Lomi Lomi, I would say every day. After I learned Lomi Lomi it became a part of every massage that I do. I may not do an entire Lomi protocol at every session but every client gets some part of Lomi as part of my regular massage now. It is not necessarily a requested service but I have had clients call me specifically for Lomi when they find out that I do that type of massage. I would say that the ones that do call me for Lomi are looking for a different type of massage experience outside the standard Swedish relaxation massage experience or even the deep tissue massage experience. Most people have seen the videos online or have had someone come back for Hawaii and tell them of their experience of having a Lomi massage. Not everyone however understands that there are as many variations of Lomi as there are of Swedish massage.
I must say that I do not do Temple-style Lomi which is a more modern take on Lomi and not necessarily what would have actually been practiced by the Kahunas and Kapunas of old. The Lomi practitioner of the Islands would have been skilled in more than just the manual manipulation of tissue but also would have been knowledgable of herbs and the skillful manipulation of joints and other areas of healing. My tradition of Lomi comes from Aunty Margaret lineage as my original instructor studied directly with her on the Big Island - Hawaii. The Lomi protocol that I do is not more stressful on my body than Swedish massage or any of the other modalities that I know. In fact, I would say that it is probably less stressful based on the movements and body mechanics I have learned to use with the Lomi that I have learned over the years.
I do work out of an office or my own home and rarely do out-calls any more. And my method of draping is pretty much the same as any standard Swedish massage. I modestly drape and always use a bottom sheet for my Lomi massage. As I said before I do not practice Temple Lomi. I have had students come to my classes expecting Temple Lomi but have not gone away disappointed with what they have learned.
I think that the most common misconception about Lomi Lomi massage is that it is ALL Temple Lomi since that is what they see most on the Internet and You Tube. I have had my class cancelled at a spa because that is what they thought it was going to be and would not even give me a chance to do a practical demonstration! There are many books available to you and many versions of Lomi, if you are interested then take some classes. In fact I would love to come to Michigan and show you my version of Lomi!
Please come back to my website as I am currently in the process of creating some videos of my Aunty Margaret style Pololei Lomi and would love for you to see them. I love Lomi Lomi and the results that I get with clients - both relaxation wise and structurally. I hope that you give it a try in a variety of its different styles.
And thanks for the question!
I'm looking to getting back to massage on a professional level but I'm unsure where to begin. I'm only looking to do massage 2 days a week and wondering if that is even possible.
First of all, let me say that anything that you desire from your massage career is possible. Secondly, what you put into something is what you will get out of it. If you want to only work 2 days a week then you will need to get out there and find the place that is the right fit for you to do that or start marketing yourself as a therapist to build your own client base in your own business. There is not really a “cookie-cutter” approach to building a massage career, no matter how much or how little you want to work. But it is my opinion that massage is a wide open field with endless possibilities.
There are lots of “advice” blogs out there but my response would be to get out there and “pound the pavement”. In my experience if you want something bad enough you will figure out a way to make it happen. Create some business cards and start handing them out if you want to work on your own. If you want to start in a spa, ME (Massage Envy) or a Chiropractic office that is great too! Get out and start talking with the places where you could work. Let them know what your goals are as far as when you could be available and if they are hiring. Most places do hire part time therapists. Have your resume ready and up to date when you do go out to places. Call around first and see who might be looking for someone. As we have often said in Professional Development classes go into the places you are thinking about and see what it is like to see if you could envision yourself working there.
Take the time to make a list of the things that you want in your massage career. You started by saying you want to work on a professional level. Does that mean in a spa or in a Chiropractic office? Where is it that you could see yourself working? Put that on your list. What days would you be available to work and what hours? Put that on your list. And then add anything else that would define the perfect job for you right now. Or do you want to work on your own? Could you do this from your house? What would that look like to you? Would you have the space to do this? Find out what the restrictions and regulations would be for where you live. Or would you travel to your client’s home or place of business? This is normally called on-site massage. Would you feel comfortable doing this? How would you screen your clients?
After you make your list of your requirements for the job that you would like to have then take some time to imagine that job/career. How does it feel? Where are you working? What days are you working? What population are you working with – seniors/elderly, pregnancy, work-injuries, sports massage, spa clients, etc.?
So what I’m saying is that the place to begin is to define what you want in the most exacting way that you can and then go out and make it happen. And you make it happen by keeping to your dream and going out there and finding the place that is right for you. I’m not exactly sure what area you are in but there are many places out there that I’m sure you can find one that will work within your requirements.
And get out your Pro D book to review some of the things that I mentioned!
And check out this link from the American Massage Therapy Association
Everyone should have a list of their favorite quotes. Those sayings that lift you up when you are down, push you on when you are slowing down or just make you laugh.
Well here are some of my favorites - I hope that some of them either are or become yours.
Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself. George Bernard Shaw
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler. Henry David Thoreau
Don't look back, you're not going that way. Unknown
If you think you can, you can, if you think you can't, you're right. Henry Ford
Not all who wander are lost. J.R.R. Tolkein
All that you are is a result of what you have thought. Buddha
Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine. Ralph Waldo Emerson
You can, you should and if you're brace enough to start, you will. Stephen King
When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. Wayne Dyer
Life doens't happen to you, it happens for you. Jim Carrey
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened. Dr. Seuss
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. Oscar Wilde
A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetsone, if it is to keep its edge. Tyrion Lannister
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Eleanor Roosevelt
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same results. Unknown
Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn! Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind
Hope spings eternal. Alexander Pope
There's no place like home. Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz
More is not better, it's just more. ME!
Not being a follower does not make you a leader. ME!
Tomorrow is another day. Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With The Wind
Don't take life too seriously, you won't get out alive. Elbert Hubbard
And no wishing for more wishes. Genie in Alladin
And I'm sure there are more that I use on an almost daily basis, but those are the only ones I could think of right now. Those little blurbs that you see every day, the ones on fortune cookies, the ones from movies, the ones that just stick in your head from whatever source, they are the ones that have meaning to you for whatever reason. Whatever they are you keep them and use them all the time. Just remember to get rid of the negative ones and stick with the positive ones!
What is it that is really important to you? Why?
So I spent 10 hours yesterday attending a class that I originally signed up for because I needed the Continuing Education hours to renew my Massage license and because my daughter works with Autistic children everyday. What I came home with is a new understanding of the word Autism and the feeling that what I felt was important in life was nothing compared to what the instructor of the class KNEW was important in her life. I am a little humbled and feeling exceptionally blessed to have the two children that I have knowing that the issues and concerns dealt with when raising them were nothing compared to this mother's struggles raising her autistic child.
During the class we learned of her struggles to help her child and the politics of our healthcare and education systems in this country that seemed determined to keep her from getting the correct diagnosis and subsequent help in dealing with her child's condition. But most importantly learned that people in my profession, massage therapy, can have a profound effect on the Autism community through the use of touch therapies and most specifically Craniosacral Therapy (CST).
CST works through the Neurological System, the brain, which is where the disorder originates. It is a developmental disorder that most often appear between the ages or 2 and 3 according to the website autismspeaks.org. Since this is Autism Awareness month it is therefore appropriate to speak about it. According to the website Autism affect 1 in 68 American children with is a 10-fold increase over the past 40 years. Someone you know most likely has a child with some form of the Autism spectrum.
Do the research and you will find that there are as many sides to Autism as there are children and now adults with the disorder. And as many variations of what is believed to cause it. That is not for my discussion here. My thoughts are more on the line of "How can I help", "How lucky am I to have the children that I have" and "How important really are my minor life problems"? When I compare the now small problems I had raising my daughters to the issues that parents of Autistic children face everyday I am humbled in comparison.
Each and every Autistic child is unique, interesting in how there mind works differently from ours and mysterious for the same reasons. I don't really think that we know how the "normal" mind works so unraveling the Autistic mind is even more mysterious. But by spending the time and effort to work with these children and young adults can have a very profound effect. On them and on us. As a body worker I look forward to the honor of working with some of them.
Moving forward I want to look at my priorities in my massage practice and spend some time reviewing my CST training and give some time to those children my daughter currently works with to see if we can indeed make a change in their lives. What really is important to you?
No, I don't do infant massage but the look on this baby's face reminded me of the 3 happy clients I had this morning.
What is it that we need to do to make all of our clients this pleased with their massages? Let me tell you about the ones I had this morning.
My first client this morning is a regular client who started coming in to me about 4-5 months ago. What makes her a happy massage client? The fact that I listened to her from the first time she contacted me. Frozen shoulder is not pretty and the treatment plan is not one that many massage clients would enjoy. There is pain, there are trigger points and there are "stuck" muscles that don't want to do what they were meant to do any more. I have done some NAT training and I have had frozen shoulder, medically called adhesive capsulitis, so I am familiar with the symptoms, the pain and the long, slow process of healing. This client knows that I understand and that I care about her getting better and back to being able to use her arms. We have been working at this a long time - every week! What made this morning different was that I have one client today who had scheduled at hot stone massage. Without knowing it that one client made each of my other clients massages different today. In order to help my first client to loosen up a little faster this morning, I got out a couple hot stones and used them on her back. Her comment was, "Wow, how are your hands so warm this morning!" She hadn't realized that I had gone to get the stones. When I told her what I had done she said how good that felt. I know that the warmth helped her muscles relax just a bit faster this morning.
My second client this morning was also a regular who had just come in for what we call a Stress Buster Massage. It is a 40 minute head, neck shoulders, back and arms massage mainly for those folks who sit in front of a computer all day. But she had also been to the dentist before her massage and has trouble relaxing on my table normally. When she was having trouble letting go for me to work on her neck, she made the comment that she must really be uptight since she didn't even realize that she wasn't relaxing and even mentioned that the dentist had to tell her to relax her tongue earlier. My comment was "I think I can fix that!" So again to the stone roaster and 2 more stones came out! She loved it! Used those two on her neck and then 2 more on her back before I ended her massage. And guest what, before she left I verified the date and time of her next appointment and she said, "Could we make that a hot stone?" Absolutely! Another happy client!
So my third and last client of the morning had actually scheduled the hot stone massage because he wanted to be a little more relaxed before traveling later today. So it was his first hot stone massage and didn't know what to expect. He normally has a Deep Tissue Massage with lots of Sports Massage type stretches since he swims every day at the gym. He was concerned that the stone massage would be able to address his normal issues and help him relax. As I started working on the backs of his legs he commented that he hoped the stones and heat would relax his back as well as it was doing on his legs. I assured him that it would! He was quite pleased with his first time stone massage and left the office with that "stoned" look that many client get after their first Hot Stone Massage. The third happy client.
So how do you make your massage clients love you? Listen to them, be responsive to what is going on with them during the massage and give them what they have asked for that is therapeutic and meets there rehabilitative needs. I believe with massage and my clients as I do with all things in the Golden Rule. Do as you would have done to you.
Paula J Kaprocki, LMT
I am a Licensed Massage Therapist with thoughts, aspirations and opinions - much like any other person on the planet!