Ask the Massage Therapist

Smoking, Depression, and Chronic Pain

If you need one more reason to quit smoking, add this to your list: smokers are more likely to have both acute and chronic pain. In fact, even after they quit, former smokers tend to have more pain than those who have never smoked.

Researchers have long known about the association between smoking and chronic pain. However, there is an important question to consider: is smoking the cause of the pain or do those who are in pain turn to smoking to self-medicate?

How Massage Therapists Can Work Smarter Instead of Harder

It's no secret that being a massage therapist is physically demanding. Many therapists leave the field prematurely while others work in pain, leading to job dissatisfaction, resentment, and possible injury. Beginning therapists often ask what they can do about work-related pain and how to avoid it. They are often told to "work smarter, not harder," but are seldom told exactly what that means. There are many ways in which a therapist might "work smarter" and probably many suggestions that seasoned therapists could give newer colleagues. These are some of my own ideas, given in no particular order.

Show up ready for the job

Gift Giving Made Easy: 15% Discount on Massage Gift Certificates!

Almost everyone enjoys massage but many people won't do it for themselves. You can make it easy for them: give them the gift of massage!

During this holiday season, take advantage of our 15% discount on massage gift certificates! You can purchase gift certificates for massage online at any time of the day or night using your credit card from the comfort of your own home. The gift certificates can be emailed to you directly for you to print out and give to the recipient yourself or you can have them emailed directly to the recipient. It's easy! Just click on the red bow on the home page and follow the prompts. If you run into any difficulties, you can find detailed instructions on this page. If you still have questions or can't find the options that you want, call us at 314-609-2693 or email us at Please note that we'll probably be able to respond to a phone call more quickly than an email.

Why Massage With Warm Flax Pillows?

Whether you call it thermal therapy, Hot DNM, or Pillossage, using warm flax pillows for massage is absolutely delicious!

Those who know me will know that I don't go for fads or gimmicks, but when I recently got to spend a week giving and receiving massage with warm flax pillows in a Hot DNM class, my reaction was, "Oh my goodness, this is amazing!" It feels really, really good and it is great for places where you feel tight and achy.

Pillossage is the brainchild of Karen Kowal, a registered nurse who became a massage therapist. A number of years ago she began to make flax seed filled eye pillows and larger flax seed pillows to be used for hot or cold packs. She called her pillow making business Mother Earth Pillows. Somewhere along the way, she got the idea of using the pillows for massage and Pillossage was born.

"Deep Tissue" Massage: How much pressure is too much?

A 38 year old woman suffers permanent shoulder drop after a "deep tissue" massage caused damage to a spinal accessory nerve.

A 59 year old man suffers a deep hematoma, numbness, and swelling after being injured by a deep tissue massage to his hip.

A client tells a massage therapist that he wants more pressure. She complies. He again asks for more pressure. She complies. He again asks for more pressure. Unable to exert any more pressure with her hands, she resorts to using a hand-held tool to apply more pressure without hurting her joints. Shortly after, she receives an email from her employer that the client is suing their business, claiming that he was injured by the massage.

Peter O'Sullivan at the 2017 San Diego Pain Summit: A Paradigm Shift in Understanding and Managing Low Back Pain

Last Sunday, three St. Louis area massage therapists met to watch a video recording of Peter O'Sullivan's keynote address at the 2017 San Diego Pain Summit. The subject of O'Sullivan's address was A Paradigm Shift in Understanding and Managing Low Back Pain.

Massage, My Friend, and Cancer

My friend recently died of breast cancer. She was an amazing woman who lived fully until the end. Everyone who knew her loved her, she made everyone feel special. I hadn't known her all that long or even that well but she had an impact on my life out of proportion to our time spent together. When her cancer recurred, I wanted to do whatever I could to help. One of the things I was able to offer was massage.

Our first massage was a general full body relaxation massage. She loved it. She had been having trouble sleeping and it left her feeling so relaxed that she felt as if she could fall asleep. I told her I would come and give her massage whenever she wanted. She stayed pretty busy in spite of the illness and so several weeks passed before I gave her massage again.

Some Essential Information About Essential Oils

The increasing use of essential oils has been accompanied by an increasing number of poisonings, especially of children, and other adverse effects. Unsupported claims about their purity and medicinal properties are made. Buyers should beware of fraud, get reliable information before using these highly concentrated oils, and keep them out of the reach of children.

How Does Massage Work?

"How does massage work?"

My late Russian Massage teacher Zhenya Kurashova Wine asked this question at the beginning of my first class with her. We sat and looked at her blankly. No one raised their hand, no one offered an answer. What kind of a question was this, anyway? We never thought about this. You know, you put your hands on people and then . . . well, massage happens!

When it became apparent that no one was going to attempt to answer, Zhenya finally said, "I'll tell you how it works," and then went on to explain.

Please Note Our Location as of Jan. 1, 2016!

We've moved, but not far. If you've been with us for over three years, you'll recognize that we are back in the buildings on Clayton Rd. at Hanley where we had previously been for thirteen years. We're in the West Building of Clayton Plaza in a small suite of our own. When you get off the elevator on the first floor, we're almost at the end of the long hallway. Note: the numbers on the suites are in absolutely no order! When you exit the elevator, walk down the long hall and we're the second to last door on the left. Entrance to the parking lot is a little easier now.

For those not familiar with it, we're on Clayton Rd. immediately west of Hanley on the south side of the street. There are two three story tall white brick buildings. We're in 7750, the West building. You'll see the words "Clayton Plaza" on the side of the buildings.

Our new address is:

7750 Clayton Rd., Suite 112
St. Louis, MO 63117

Here's a view of the building from the west side.