Ask the Massage Therapist

Massage Therapy Research and Education blog, by Dr. Christopher Moyer, Interviews Us!

Christopher Moyer, Ph.D., is a psychologist who has done research in massage therapy and meditation. He recently began a blog on research and massage therapy and I was honored that he asked to interview me for his blog.

I first got to know Chris when I heard that he’d done a metaanalysis that overturned what a lot of us thought about massage lowering cortisol. Curious, I looked him up on the internet and sent an email asking about his paper. Shortly after, I encountered him again in online discussions and it led to a friendship that was both professional and personal as we discovered we had many common interests.

The first principle is not to fool yourself . . .

In 1974, Richard Feynman delivered the commencement address at Caltech. The speech has endured and is often referred to as the "Cargo Cult Science" speech.

I love this speech. It's about intellectual honesty and integrity. It's about how not to fool yourself.

I've referred to it many times and read it over and over. If I were fond of memorizing, which I am not, I would memorize sections of it. I've thought of having, "The first principle is not to fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool," painted on my wall so I'd see it every day.

At the end, he wishes for the students that they always have the freedom to maintain the kind of integrity he describes. I would also wish, for myself and my fellow massage therapists, that we always strive to maintain the high standards of integrity he describes.

2015 San Diego Pain Summit: or What I Did on my Winter Vacation

In late February I went to the first San Diego Pain Summit: Clinical Applications of Pain Science for Manual Therapists conference. Professionally, it was as if I’d died and gone to heaven. It was off the scale amazing.

When Rajam Roose, who deserves the highest praise possible, first announced the event, I decided immediately to do whatever it would take to be there. First, there was the keynote speaker. I have been a fan of Lorimer Moseley, who I describe as a “pain science missionary,” for quite some time, and when I heard that he would be the keynote speaker, I could not pass up an opportunity to hear him in person. Brilliant, funny, personable, and an engaging storyteller, he makes learning pain science fun and painless. I've referred countless clients and massage therapists to his videos and no way would I miss him!

Massage & Fitness Magazine Raises Massage Therapy and Fitness Publication Standards to a New Level!

Massage & Fitness Magazine, a science-based magazine focused on massage therapy and fitness, went public with its pilot issue yesterday. Within a few hours, we received our first review from Working Well Resources and it's a great one!

I say "we" because I'm one of the contributors. Managing editor Nick Ng, who has put a tremendous amount of work into this, asked me to write an article on prenatal massage [p. 15] and, in particular, to lay to rest a couple of myths that continue to circulate in the massage therapy community. I also covered some things we can say with confidence about prenatal massage.

Don't Let Chronic Pain Hurt Your Love

Clients never mention it, but occasionally in more personal conversations someone will bring it up: chronic pain can interfere with intimate relationships.

Most clients would not mention it to their massage therapist and it is not within our scope of practice to treat. However, since February is the month of Valentine's Day, I thought it would be an appropriate time to bring up a pain topic that may hurt your love, is rarely discussed, that many massage therapists may not know exists, and that many people may suffer with silently without seeking help or getting proper treatment.

Common chronic pain problems can hurt your love.

Chronic low back pain and chronic headaches are two common pain problems that can interfere in intimate relationships. It's hard to feel romantic when your head hurts and low back pain may make physical intimacy difficult. When chronic pain interferes with your love life, it can erode the closeness of your relationship. This is just one of many reasons why chronic pain should be treated and not just assumed to be an inevitable part of life. The deterioration of the quality of one's life can be far-reaching.

Easy Online Purchase of Massage Gift Certificates!

Online purchase of gift certificates is easy! It only takes a few minutes, a laptop, and a credit card. Print it out yourself or have it emailed directly to the recipient. You can send a gift certificate for massage from anywhere in the world!

The simplest instruction is to go to our home page and click on "Buy a Gift Certificate Online Now" located at the top right corner. During the month of December you'll also see a red bow there. Follow the prompts on the following pages.

If you get lost or confused anywhere along the way, easy step by step instructions are given below.

We really thank you for your business and we'll take very good care of your recipient!

~ Alice Sanvito, Licensed Massage Therapist

To purchase gift certificates online:

Go to the home page and click on "Buy a Gift Certificate Online Now" in the upper right hand corner and follow the instructions. (During December, you'll also see a red bow.)

We Give You What Massage Franchises Cannot

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. I began to think of all that we're able to offer our clients that the massage franchises cannot.

Over twenty years of experience and expertise

Most of the franchises are staffed by therapists recently graduated from massage school. There's nothing wrong with that; everyone has to start somewhere. However, after twenty-three years of practice and an uncommon level of training achieved by few therapists, we can offer a quality of experience that an unseasoned therapist cannot. Whether you are coming for relaxation or pain relief, prenatal or sports massage, we bring a depth of experience to the table that few can touch. And even after all these years, we have not gotten bored yet! In fact, we spend hours every week reading research and academic papers, discussing pain rehabilitation and related topics with a variety of other informed professionals. 

Massage Therapy and Weight Loss

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.

The world of weight loss is, unfortunately, full of misleading, exaggerated, and completely bogus claims. There’s a large population that struggles with weight and it’s an easy population to exploit for profit. As a result, fraud is rampant in the weight-loss industry. Unfortunately, predatory misinformation offering false promises of easy weight loss has spilled over to include massage.

I hate to disappoint anyone but there is no evidence to support the claim that massage will cause you to lose weight.

Keeping It Real: Busting Massage Myths

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. We read extensively to understand how pain works, how the body works, and what we, as manual therapists, can do to help our clients. When we discover that an idea we held to be true turns out to be wrong, we change our thinking to conform to the best available evidence. We work at keeping it real so that we can best serve the needs of our clients.

Our FaceBook friend Nick Ng recently quoted us at length in an article he wrote about Massage Myths That Need To Be Trashed. We really like his article and we're flattered he liked what we had to say about the need to support our claims with evidence and to welcome honest inquiry.