Sleeping, snoring and other “embarrassments”

During my time as a massage therapist, I have had many people sheepishly say to me, “I might fall asleep during the massage”, or with some embarrassment say to me, “I’m sorry if I was snoring”.

Although I have heard of the occasional therapist who is somehow offended by a sleeping client, I just want to give you my personal opinion. I personally take it as a great compliment that you feel so comfortable and relaxed with me that you  can drift off to sleep. I think that it is a great honor to have my clients trust me enough to relax to that degree! Snoring during a massage lets me know that I am doing my job of helping you to relax. So, snore away!! It’s music to my ears :) !

 

While I am on the subject of possibly embarrassing situations, let me try to put your mind at ease about a few other things…

Shaving legs

I’m not just trying to be nice when I tell you that it’s okay that you didn’t shave your legs for this appointment…It REALLY is okay! IN FACT, it’s probably BETTER if you don’t shave, simply because stubble that has grown for a day or two is much sharper and actually can cut into my hands. Trust me, I am not offended by hairy legs.

Bodily noises

There are all sorts of sounds that the body makes when it is relaxing. Remember in Science class when your teacher talked about the “Fight or Flight” response? It is activated by your Sympathetic System. Well, your body also has a Parasympathetic System which triggers the “Rest and Digest” response. When you are getting a massage, this system is activated. A number of digestive functions are taking place, some of them more audible than others. So, if these noises occur when you are in a massage with me, and you feel embarrassed, you can do one of two things: Ignore it, and I will too. Or say “oops” and we will both laugh about it.  

Other body reactions

Occasionally, your body may react to massage in other unexpected ways. Again, it’s all part of the relaxation response, and it is fine as long as there are no inappropriate behaviors accompanying the response. Ignore it, and I will too.

Dirty feet

If it really bothers you that your feet have accumulated some dirt or odor before you come in for a massage, I keep wipies and washcloths available in the room. Feel free to use them. 

 

Above all, if you feel embarrassed by anything, please don’t just leave and never come back! Talk to me! You won’t be the first person to have felt worried about these things and I want to take that worry off your mind.

 

 

Therapeutic Massage as a Preventative

     I don’t want to sound like I’m just trying to get you to buy more massage, but it may come off sounding that way, because, after all, what is good for you, is good for me too.  However, I have another sincere goal here. And that is to help people understand what an amazing thing they will be doing for themselves if they use consistently scheduled therapeutic massage as a preventative technique to help them manage pain.

     When you get massage on a regular schedule, the beneficial effects that you gain will build with each session. It will have a cumulative effect. You all probably have experienced how pain builds on itself and continues to get worse if not treated. Well, if you consistently treat pain, the positive effects of that treatment can also build.

     In your everyday life, you experience a variety of different stresses. Stress causes your muscles to tighten (contract). Too much stress can cause too much contracting. Too much contracting has multiple detrimental effects, among them high blood pressure and stress on the joints. When muscles are tight, they are placing a lot of force on other structures of the body, such as joints, blood vessels and nerves. That force not only causes pain, but it can wear down protective structures such as the discs in your spine. That force can raise your blood pressure and lead to heart disease. That force can cause inflammation in your joints. The body tries to protect itself from too much force in any way that it can, which often leads to imbalance.  If you have a chronic illness caused by stress, you KNOW what it does to your quality of life.

     Now, think about what your quality of life would be like if you had less pain. I can’t take away all the stress in your life, but I can help you to experience the benefits of relaxation. Massage can help by loosening tight muscles and toning lax muscles, thereby helping to create balance in the body. Balanced muscles will not exert excessive force on other structures in your body. Believe me when I say that balanced muscles feel so much better than unbalanced muscles!

Studies have shown that massage reduces the levels of stress hormones in the body.

 It also increases white blood cells, which play a major role in your immune system and fighting off illness.

It also increases oxytocin, endorphins, dopamine and serotonin, all of which make you feel good. 

Studies have also shown that there is a cumulative effect of the benefits, when you continue with regularly scheduled sessions.

      And you might keep this in mind too…massage is a NON-invasive method of dealing with pain.

     Just a note here about what I’m talking about when I say “consistent” massage. This can vary from person to person and from situation to situation. At the least, a monthly massage would be very good for you, but if you can manage bi-weekly or even weekly, I’m sure you will not regret the investment of time and money. People ask me how often I receive massage. Since opening my private office, I have been able to be fairly consistent in getting a massage every other week, and I can honestly say that I feel like I can function so much better than when I was not consistent.  I would love for all of you to be able to experience the benefits of regular massage appointments. I hope you will give it some serious consideration.

     *I know that affordability is an issue for many people, so please check out my plan (HERE) to help make regular appointment affordable.

Oxytocin instead of Oxycontin!

Oxytocin instead of  OxyContin!

Did you know?

Oxytocin is a hormone released by your own body that helps you feel good.

OxyContin is an opiate painkiller that can be highly addictive.

So, maybe you’d like to try a little Oxytocin before you resort to OxyContin. How?

I bet you can guess what I’m going to say.

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

Oxytocin is released during massage!

And as a bonus, a rise in Oxytocin levels can relieve pain!

There are studies going on that are showing the part that Oxytocin may be playing in reducing stress and anxiety levels.  Be sure to go do a little research about it if I’ve sparked your interest. It’s actually pretty fascinating!

Oxycontin

Oxytocin

 

 

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Come in to Juniper Therapeutic Massage and try out the Integrated Massage  or the Orthopedic Neck Treatment that I offer…

*Integrated Massage :

Integrated Massage takes into account what your needs are based on discussion between you and your therapist. A few of the techniques that may be used in your session include: the traditional relaxation massage, deep tissue techniques, stretching, hot or cold therapy, trigger point therapy, deep breathing, and energy work.

 

*Orthopedic Neck Treatment (80 minute minimum)

This treatment focuses the whole session on the neck, upper back, and chest using special orthopedic techniques. Hot stones and ice massage may be included. It is recommended that this treatment be done for several weeks in a row, with a treatment at least once a week, followed by a maintenance schedule of once a month.

Massage can help arthritis pain!

Arthritis is a PAIN! Massage can help to manage the pain!

Research supports the idea that regular massage helps manage arthritis pain and stiffness, and helps to improve functioning of the joints. If you are interested in reading about some of the research in this area just head on over to the website for the Touch Research Institute.

I think the most interesting aspect of this idea is that massage can help to break the pain cycle. Pain makes it harder to sleep and harder to move. When you don’t get enough good sleep and/or you don’t move enough, that leads to more pain. Pain makes it harder to sleep and harder to move. And on and on and on and on! If you live with pain, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about! 

You’ve probably heard of the “fight or flight” response. That is the sympathetic nervous system kicking in. BUT, there is also the parasympathetic nervous system which is otherwise known as the “rest and digest” system. When you get a massage, your parasympathetic nervous system kicks into gear.

Increased parasympathetic nervous system activity=Your body relaxes

Your body relaxes=Better sleep and Easier movement

Better sleep and Easier movement=Less pain

Less pain=Your body relaxes

Your body relaxes=Better sleep and Easier movement

Better sleep and Easier movement=Less pain

Less pain!

Also, when you get a massage your body produces more of a hormone called Oxytocin, that makes you feel good. (Massage also decreases certain stress hormones).

Increase of good hormones=Your body relaxes

Your body relaxes=Better sleep and Easier movement

Better sleep and Easier movement=Less pain

Less pain=Your body relaxes

Your body relaxes=Better sleep and Easier movement

Better sleep and Easier movement=Less pain

Less pain!

 

 

So, the only thing left to say is:

Give massage a try!

 

 

Receiving a massage? How to make it even better!

You can make your massage better! Yes, you can! I know some of you have fabulous massage therapists and wouldn’t believe that your massage could possibly BE any better, but I’m here to let you know about some simple things that could improve your massage.

1.   Plan to arrive a few minutes early, particularly if it is your first appointment and paperwork needs to be filled out.

2.   Call if you are going to be late, and understand that the therapist may not be able to give you a full session.

3.   Silence your phone. While it may not bother your therapist if the phone rings during your massage, it WILL take away from your ability to relax. If you feel anxious about silencing your phone, please keep it near you (perhaps on the table), so that the distraction is minimal.

4.   Put the electronic gadgets away. Remember, this is YOUR time to relax. Your massage will be better if you can disengage from gadgets that don’t let your mind rest.

5.   Avoid awkward situations. Whatever items of clothing that you choose to leave on, please be sure that they don’t interfere with access to the muscles that will be getting massaged. If you wear boxer shorts, please roll the legs up enough so that the thigh muscles can be accessed. If you leave your bra on, please unhook it, or be prepared that the quality of the back massage will suffer. If you want to leave your socks on, please discuss with your therapist if you still want foot massage.

6.   Stay hydrated. Your muscles will be much more receptive to the benefits of massage if they are not dehydrated.

7.   Breathe! It helps you to relax!

8.   Perhaps, above all these other suggestions, the most beneficial thing you can do to make your massage the best it can be, is to communicate your preferences with the therapist. Don’t worry that you will be insulting the therapist. As long as you remain matter-of-fact with your words, no reasonable therapist is going to become upset with you. A good therapist will use your constructive feedback to improve the work that they do.