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During this time of year, I start seeing a lot of billboards along the highway from the massage franchises competing with each other for massage gift certificate sales. The thought occurs to me that, while they may be able to compete with each other over price, they cannot compete with us when it comes to quality.

Forget Black Friday frenzy, crowded parking lots at impersonal big box stores, and waiting in long lines. Relax in the comfort of your own home and shop Small Business Saturday online. Our online gift certificate purchase is easy and stress-free.

I love massage. I’m passionate about it. I think it has many benefits and a lot of unrealized potential. I think it’s so awesome that I see no need to exaggerate or make unsupported claims. I am also committed to client-centered practice and part of that commitment is providing honest, accurate information.

Our commitment to excellence and to a client-centered practice means that we make every effort to make sure the information we give clients is accurate and reliable. We spend hours every week reading research and discussing it with other well-informed professionals.

Many massage therapists are suspect of science. Some reject it outright, believing that somehow it will make massage therapy cold and take the sense of wonder and depth out of it. In fact, when I went to massage school in 1991, many massage therapists objected to learning anatomy and physiology because they thought it would ruin the therapist’s intuition.

Ever since I got a website, I see a lot more pregnant women for prenatal massage. I don't know if there's a baby boom happening or if it's just easier for them to find me. I have learned that a lot of massage therapists don't do prenatal massage and many of the franchises will not accept pregnant clients, either.

There is still time to register for the September and October Massage for Couples classes. 

People come to my office for a variety of reasons. Some come to relax and that’s great. I think if we all got a massage about once every three weeks, the world would be a kinder, gentler place.

 

I was recently contacted by Fiza Mahmood and Toni Kodner of the St. Louis Gateway Area Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and asked to speak on a conference call about massage therapy and multiple sclerosis. Although my familiarity with the condition and experience with clients with MS is limited, they thought my expertise with a variety of conditions and efforts to stay informed would be relevant enough, so I agreed and became very excited about this unique opportunity.

Registration is now open for the summer session of Massage for Couples classes. The first class will be held at the Forest Park Community College campus on Saturday, June 21, 2014. There will also be a class at Meramec Community College on Saturday, July 19, 2014. Class sizes are limited.

I’ve noticed a disturbing and recurring problem among some massage therapists, chiropractors, and other manual therapists: that of citing studies to support a claim which, in fact, do not support it, leaving the impression that either they did not read their citation or, if they did, clearly did not understand it. 

Most of us were brought up, professionally, with an idea of "deep tissue" and the need to "break up adhesions," "stretch fascia," and generally "fix" the meat and bones.

Many musicians live with chronic or intermittent pain as a result of playing their instrument. Pain is not only an annoying distraction, it can interfere with your playing. Pain inhibits motor activity, which means you have less strength and dexterity. Pain has prematurely ended the careers of many professional musicians.

About a week ago I put up a pain questionnaire.  


As promised, we're providing the answers, courtesy of Zac Cupples, PT.

How well do you understand how pain works? Answer these questions and find out. We'll publish the answers after the pain education class this Saturday.

Pain Neuroscience Questionnaire

True or False?

Chronic pain is epidemic. It is estimated that 25% of American adults live with chronic pain and the costs in terms of medical expense and lost productivity run into billions of dollars every year. It is impossible to calculate the cost in terms effect on the quality of so many people's lives. 

 Registration is now open for the Massage for Couples classes. The first class will be held at the Forest Park Community College campus on Saturday, February 15, 2014. This "Valentine's Day" class often fills up quickly, so be sure and register today if you want to get into that class! Class sizes are limited.

I had a couple of interesting conversations today that made me think about confirmation bias. Someone raised the question: 

How can you be certain you are not operating out of confirmation bias?

This is an excellent question and one that we should never stop asking ourselves. 

 A reader asked the following question:

How do you describe Craniosacral Therapy to a client who has never experienced it before and how do you promote it?

Sometimes an individual who has read one of my articles or stumbled across this blog is interested in reading more. I'm listing here the entries that I think are the most useful or the most representative.

When people say, “I have TMJ,” they usually mean that they have temporomandibular joint dysfunction, a condition that can cause jaw pain that can be difficult to treat. Chewing may be painful and it can lead to headaches and neck, shoulder, and upper back pain.

These are notes from a presentation given at the Skeptical Society of St. Louis Skepticamp on Saturday, September 14, 2013. Links to some of the resources and studies mentioned during the presentation, as well as additional links that may be of interest, are provided for those who would like to look at them.

 

 

"Did you hear about the study of the MRIs and herniated discs?" It was 1995, I was working at St. Mary's Hospital, and one of my fellow massage therapists had news about a surprising piece of research. In those days before the internet it was difficult for us to get information about studies of interest to us massage therapists. A juicy tidbit like this was cause for excitement.

 If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

There are many modalities in the field of manual therapy. All of them sometimes work yet many of their explanations contradict each other. 

Anxiety and depression are common yet serious disorders.  Massage therapy may help.

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