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.

 

 

Neck Pain Management

It would be great if just getting massage would keep your neck pain away, but I’m not going to pretend that massage alone is some kind of magical cure.  Managing chronic pain of any kind takes diligence. As a sufferer of chronic neck pain, I’d like to tell you some of the things that I do to manage the pain. These are not prescriptions, just some ideas of things that you might try to help yourself at home between massage appointments (and I don’t get any compensation for any products I recommend).

Move EVERY day. If you’ve been following my blog at all, you’ve heard it before. If you missed it, click here.

Stretch. Especially the chest muscles. If you’ve been to my office for neck pain, chances are good that I’ve shown you the doorway stretch. If not, give me a call, and we’ll arrange something! One of these years I will get some pictures or videos of some good stretches posted.

For those of you who might like to venture into yoga, but don’t want to take a class, I highly recommend DVDs by Sara Ivanhoe. Her technique is very gentle and she usually has modifications for all different levels.

Along with the stretches, consider doing some strengthening exercises for the upper back and neck. Ask your favorite personal trainer for specific suggestions.

Create a goal to REALLY focus on better posture. Find ways to remind yourself. Put a note by your computer! Ask a buddy to give you a little nudge when they see you slouching. And be patient with yourself…bad habits are hard to break, but you can do it!

Heat packs. Or alternating hot and cold packs. Great for circulation!

Press on the knots. Your body instictively knows where to press. There are tools for the hard to reach places.

Try various shapes and densities of balls…tennis, bouncy rubber balls, lacrosse balls. I recommend sticking the ball in a long sock and draping the sock over the shoulder to reach spots on the upper back. Then stand against a wall to apply the pressure.

You might like a Backnobber or a Theracane, if a ball is not your cup of tea.  If you’d like to see how it works, just ask next time you are at my office!

Remember: don’t press so hard that it’s a “bad” kind of hurt. Don’t bruise yourself. Be gentle. Whenever you have a kink in your shoulder, be sure to work gently on the spot a few times a day for about a minute at a time.

TENS machines. I don’t even think you need a prescription for these any more, and I believe the over-the-counter ones are reasonably priced. Be sure to ask your doctor or physical therapist how to use these units.

Traction machines. I think you probably have to go to a physical therapist to get one of these. All I know is that my physical therapist made it possible for me to get one paid for by my insurance company, so it never hurts to ask.

Last, but certainly not least…get yourself on a regular (at least monthly) massage schedule. You knew that was coming…it wouldn’t be a proper massage therapy site without a plug for regular massage, now would it?

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.

Stretch and Strengthen

Just a little tip:

Did you know
that when you s t r e t c h one muscle,
that the muscles that perform the opposite action
are strengthened?
Just think about that for a minute and let it sink in.

Now, think about how that might help you in your health goals.

It is not within the scope of practice for a NYS Licensed Massage Therapist to recommend strengthening exercises, but that does not mean that we don’t want you to do them! So when your therapist recommends a certain stretch for you, keep in mind that part of our goal may be to strengthen the opposite (antagonist) muscle. We are striving for a healthy balance of the muscles.