Why go to the same massage therapist?

I’m always telling you to get massages and providing you reasons why you should.  For those same reasons and the benefits it provides, I get massages too.  I really look forward to them and make sure if at all possible that nothing will get  in the way.  They are an important part of my self-care.  I get an additional benefit  in that I sometimes learn a new technique that I can include in my work to make your massage even better, and it helps remind me of how things feel while receiving a massage instead of giving one.

I get massages from a few people.  All of them are good, but I have one person I like the best.  I believe that the same things that help me get the most out of my massage by working with the same person will also help you.

My massage therapist knows me and my body.  I am far from perfect, but she accepts me and helps me feel better.  Massage has helped me feel better about my body by giving me a positive experience and remembering it can feel good.  By knowing I will be accepted and not judged, I am less self-conscious about my imperfections now.  She knows what needs work and what produces the best results for me.  Since she doesn’t see me daily, she can observe changes and potential problems that I haven’t noticed.

Since we have worked together for a while, we have better communication.  I can explain what issues I am having and what needs attention this time.  I can do this comfortably, knowing that she will take what I say professionally and know that it is intended appropriately.  I can speak up during the massage and let her know if I would like something to change (such as the pressure or the temperature), or let her know what she is doing feels great.  We can have a friendly chat during the massage, we can talk about something serious, or it can be quiet, and we are both fine with whatever amount of conversation occurs that time.  The amount of conversation during your massage is always up to you.

I also know what to expect during the massage.  This allows me to relax quickly and thoroughly.  I know that I am in good hands and that I will feel much better when it is over.  There is not a guessing game of wondering what will happen next, or if she is going to address my needs that we talked about before starting.

Much of this boils down to that we have developed trust.  We both know what to expect from each other.  A great massage requires great communication.  To fully relax, you need to have enough trust to let your guard down, which can make you feel a bit vulnerable.  Opening that gate can let out some of what is trapped inside and allow other good things in.  You can leave behind the negatives that you have been carrying around and become open to more positives.  You may be surprised at the peace that you can experience.

If you have been bouncing around among massage therapists, whether in a spa or chain environment, or purchasing daily deals, you may be missing out on the benefits you can realize.  Work with the same massage therapist and see if you can get greater results by developing trust with them.  I believe that is a major factor in much of the results I have helped my customers reach.


4 ways to improve your sleep

A good night’s sleep is very beneficial, allowing your mind and body to relax and get the rest they both need.  It allows you to get your day off to a good start, with energy and enthusiasm instead of dragging yourself off to your activity pumped full of caffeine.  Unfortunately many people have occasional problems sleeping, and some have issues that are longer-term.

Sleep issues aren’t just a seasonal problem, such as changing clocks ahead or back, or how much light there is at beginning or end of the day. It’s estimated that over 60 million Americans suffer from short-term (a few days or weeks) or long-term (more than a month) insomnia.  Most cases of chronic insomnia are secondary, which means they are the symptom or side effect of some other problem.

You have likely heard the standard tips to help you sleep, such as avoiding caffeine, using room-darkening shades, and going to bed at the same time every night.  Here are a few other helpful ideas that aren’t as well known.

Nap properly

Taking a nap during the day can be great for productivity and fabulous for health, but you’ve got to do it right.  Aim to nap for 20 to 25 minutes.  Nap longer than that and you’ll feel groggy when you wake up and you risk not being able to fall asleep when it’s bedtime.

Consider the temperature.

Take a warm (not hot) shower or bath about an hour before bedtime, and keep your room cool at night. The drop in body temperature signals your body to calm so you’ll fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply.

Turn off the electronics.

This is probably the most important and the least followed piece of advice.

Get an old fashioned alarm clock so you don’t need to use your phone. Turn off your phone, tablet, laptop, or whatever you’ve got, and put the devices in another room. Yes, a whole other room. You may think that a phone on silent, hanging out on your nightstand, won’t disturb your rest, but it will.  Just knowing it’s there puts your body on alert.  It’s far too tempting to reach over and ‘just check a few emails’ if you do wake up in the middle of the night.  Save yourself and break this habit.

Get a massage

Oh, yeah!  Massage can help with sleep issues. There have been several studies demonstrating how effective massage is in people with sleep problems, especially when treating secondary issues that may impair sleep, like back pain, pregnancy and migraines.

Make an appointment and get ready for a better night’s sleep.


Lighten up on yourself

I know something about you.

You’re not perfect.

All around us we are shown images in advertising and media of how we should really be.  We are to be in fantastic shape, marvelous health, stunningly attractive, with no physical flaws from head to toe.  Great hair, white and straight teeth, never having bad breath, and on and on.  We are to be successful, making loads of money, and have all the latest in fashion, electronic and technological gear, and on the right track to realize all of our dreams.

How are you supposed to feel when you look in the mirror are don’t see this fictional ideal looking back?

The messages we get are mixed though.  How can we be in great shape and health if we are eating the all the donuts, fast food, snacks, and drinking soda and alcohol that are being advertised?  How can we be financially set while spending our money on all of this must-have stuff?

Nobody is perfect.  Think of the people you care about.  Are you surrounded by perfect friends and family?  No – but you love them anyway.  Think about a fictional character that you admire, maybe from a book or a movie.  The ones you can relate to the best have some flaw.  Some have multiple flaws, and some have big ones.  By seeing them overcome their flaw or just deal with it and still succeed can give you hope and motivation to keep on going with whatever you are struggling with.

If there is some imperfection of yours that is bothering you, consider a couple of things.  First, you have people who care about you anyway.  Second, there may be something you can do about it.  Some physical things you can change, others you can’t.  Almost all personality traits can be improved on – you are not stuck with being impatient because your parents were.  That is a learned skill that you can improve over time.  People have made amazing changes as they learn new skills and techniques to replace one way of thinking with a new way.  Remember that important changes take time and effort, and keep in mind how rewarded you will be when you achieve the change you desire.

Massage helps with body image.  It gives you a positive experience with the body you have now and can help remind you that you can feel good in your body.  It also helps give your mind a break and you can walk out with a different, better perspective of the issues you face.  Those issues may not seem quite so big and scary as they did before.  Are you facing an obstacle or is it a stepping stone to greater things?  A change in your outlook can affect your life in a wonderful way.

So I know you are not perfect.  Neither am I.  Give yourself a break and lighten up on yourself.  You may find much more joy, peace, and love in life when you feel better about yourself.


Should you feel guilty getting a massage?

Sometimes when I am talking to a client and discussing how long it has been since their last massage, or when they want to set up their next one, they hesitate before responding.  They tell me that they feel guilty about getting their massage.  It’s not because anything inappropriate happens during their appointment, or that massage itself is a bad thing.  They are people who give of themselves a lot and feel like they could be using this time and money to be doing something for somebody else.

Guilt implies that something wrong has been done.  Perhaps, but not necessarily, something illegal or unethical.  People feel guilty when they believe they have done something that they knew they shouldn’t have.

Massage helps you to be unburdened from stress you have been dealing with.  It helps to relieve the physical pain brought on by stress, overuse of muscles, an injury or a medical condition.  The clamp around your head is loosened and your headache goes away.  You are able to turn your neck or bend your back without screeching pain.  Your mind gets a break and you get a new outlook on the issues you are facing, and solutions come a little easier.

Is there something wrong with any of that?

The people who discuss the idea of feeling guilty are usually those who are caring for others.  They are caring for family members, such as their children or a parent.  Some are helping a friend, a cause, or an organization make it through a difficult time or a big project.

If you are caring for somebody else much is being asked of you.  You are doing a lot of giving.  You can only give so much without the source being replenished.  Make the time to get yourself taken care of.  When you are well you will be able to continue with the care you are providing.  The quality of your care, and your life, will greatly improve.  You may find yourself with increased energy or have more patience and tolerance when you feel good and are not worn down.

Airlines instruct their passengers that in case of an emergency to put their own oxygen mask on first, then to care for others.  It is good and beneficial to take care of yourself.  It doesn’t mean you are selfish, but it lets you recharge and restock your reserves to continue to assist those you care about.  The people you are helping know you occasionally need some time to yourself, so enjoy your massage free from guilt.


Make a commitment to feeling good

Do you want to feel good, be healthier, do the activities you want, and have enough peace to sleep well?  Most people do.

Now answer this question – Are you interested or committed?

If you are interested, you will make some effort to be active, eat well, and take care of yourself.  You do things when it is convenient.  However, you get interrupted by events in life and get off track.  Your progress slows, may stop, and you may even feel worse.  You want to feel good but you don’t want to start over again.

If you are committed, you keep in mind what it is you want.  You set goals, make a plan, and look at the progress you have made instead of how far you have to go.  You keep your eyes on the target and work consistently to take you toward it.  You see obstacles as a challenge to overcome – a hurdle, not a brick wall.  You start feeling better which makes working on your commitment easier when you don’t feel like it at the moment.  You feel terrific when you achieve your goal, or even small steps on the way.  It gives you confidence to reach higher and you realize you have even more potential within you.

People do this in many other parts of their lives.  You may plan and budget to be able to buy something (a house, a new car, or something smaller).  It’s easier to pass on the gourmet coffee if a beach vacation is in the plans.  You may work on learning something for school or to achieve a career goal.  You may help another person, or a group, or a company reach their goal.

The committed person makes real identifiable progress.  Time has a way of slipping by quickly and life can keep us busy, often with small and relatively unimportant things that distract us from doing what we really want to do.

I’ve heard many talk about making massage part of their regular wellness plan.  Those that do come in regularly realize great benefits.  They make a commitment to themselves.  They make the time instead of waiting to find time for a massage.  If you don’t make the time, your schedule will get busy and fill up and before you know it many months have passed since your last massage.  You end up with the same physical problems and stress levels as before.  The people who do commit make noticeable improvement in their physical issues and stress; the ones who do not commit feel good briefly and then fall back to where they started.

What is it that you really want?  What is on your mind? What do you think about getting or achieving?  What are you committed to obtaining?  What would you do if you had more energy, felt good, slept well, and had a handle on your pain and stress?  What could you do with if you had fewer headaches or less neck or back pain (or whatever is bothering you)?

It’s your life.  Nobody can do it for you.  Even if you are busy caring for others, you need to take care of yourself so you can continue to care for them and to give.  The best part is all you have to do is make the appointment and show up for it.  I’ll do the rest and your body and mind can relax, recover, and recharge.  You will find that regular massage helps you to feel better longer than the occasional massage.  You will experience the effects longer and will have your next massage to look forward to when pain or stress starts to return.

Make a commitment to feeling great.  You will be glad you did.


Asking questions

You may have noticed that when you come in for your massage, even after you explain why you came in that day, I ask questions,.  Sometimes it’s just a couple and other times quite a few.  You are ready to get started with your massage but here I am asking you questions.  It’s not because I’m nosy or curious (although I do have a lot of curiosity).  It’s because I want to take care of what is bothering you.

If nothing is out of the ordinary for you then there won’t be many questions.  Massage is a great part of getting and keeping you feeling well.

If you come in with pain then I’ll start asking until I am have a good idea of what the problem may be and how to treat it properly so you get some relief.

Let’s say you mention that your back hurts and thought a massage would help.  Your back is a complex structure with many muscles involved that attach to other parts of your body including your hip, neck, and shoulder.  I’ll want to know what part of your back hurts (upper, middle, lower?).  Did you do something to it that caused it to hurt (exercise, yard work, taking care of your kids?).  Does it hurt all the time or do certain movements cause it to hurt?  Do you have sharp pains or a dull ache?  Do you have a condition that you are living with that this is related to?

You may be feeling pain in your back, but the source may be elsewhere.  Since the body is so intricately connected, another area may be the real problem.  Let’s say your knee has been sore.  That will make you walk, stand, and sit differently to compensate for the pain.  That will affect your hip, which may affect your back.  I could work on your back and help it to feel better, but if the main problem is not addressed, the pain will return.

There are other questions also, but my point is that I need to know the best way to help.  If your lower back hurts and I spend most of the time on your upper back, you won’t get much relief and will not be satisfied with my service.

Finally there may be an issue that would make massage a bad idea.  In some situations, massage should not be performed because it may make things worse or lead to more problems.  I do not want to do any harm, so I need all of the related information.

I want to make sure you get what you came in for so you walk out feeling great.  A few questions can make a big difference in the results you feel.  As always, if you have questions any time, please ask.


Should I get a massage from just anybody?

You would like some relief from your pain or discomfort or your stress.  You think a massage is a good idea to help you feel better.  There are lots of choices to pick from when you are looking for a massage.  You may find a daily deal online – but there are issues that you can read about here.  You could also go to a massage chain – but you can read here why they are not for everybody.  Some people wonder if they can go to just anybody for a massage.

The short answer is yes.  There are people who will take your money and work on your muscles.

The full answer which I think you are really interested in is more involved.

Not everyone who does massage has the same training, and not all are licensed.  Here in Ohio a person with massage education and training with a license is called a licensed massage therapist (LMT).  Most people who are LMT’s will make that known in their advertising, web site, and marketing material.  As a side note, massage is regulated by each state, so you may see something different than LMT in other areas.

There are many reasons to look for a LMT to work with as you make your decision.  A person practicing massage without a license may have had no massage training at all – they may have been shown some things or learned on their own.

LMT’s (and I am one) have been educated in the following areas.

Ethics.  There are a lot of situations that need to be considered.  Nothing out of the ordinary may ever come up in your massages, but circumstances occur that we need to know how to handle.  It could be serious (such as keeping all of your information confidential except as required by law), or something simple that people are unsure about, and being able to handle it professionally while keeping you at ease.

Training.  I have studied muscles, soft tissue, and bones and how they work together and affect each other.  I studied the physiology of the body to know what effects will occur from what I am doing.  I had hundreds of hours of hands-on training to learn the proper massage techniques and worked in a school clinic under the supervision of an instructor.  My training was massage specific and didn’t include other things such as haircuts and manicures.

Prostitution and sex.  Yes it’s true that some people use massage as a cover for prostitution.  Others, while not engaging in prostitution, will pursue sex with their client, and vice versa.  As with any group of people, there are a minority who will bend the rules (of law or ethics) and those who will do whatever they think they can get away with.  Sex with a client is illegal and an ethical violation, and a person with a license is jeopardizing their license, livelihood, reputation, and career.  Besides knowing that it is wrong, we have too much at stake.

On an even more serious note, human trafficking still goes on partly under the heading of massage.  Young girls are taken far from their homes and forced into prostitution.  If you suspect this happening around you, please report the establishment to local and state authorities.

Insurance.  I have liability insurance for my practice.  Massage and some of the tools used can cause damage to your body if done incorrectly.  If you have a problem, does the person working on you have insurance?  You don’t want to walk out of your massage in worse shape and have a possible legal battle also.

Finally, as with so many other things in life, you get what you pay for.  If you want to be cared for by a properly trained and licensed professional, do a little checking.  It won’t take long.  I will carefully listen to you and ask questions so you can walk out feeling great and knowing you got what you really needed.  You can relax completely knowing that I have your best interests in mind and that I have the skills developed over many years to help you.

Do you let just anybody work on your roof, plumbing, or vehicle?  Do you follow investment advice from some guy in a restaurant?  Do you get legal advice from a baker?  It’s your one and only body, so get it taken care of by somebody who knows what they are doing.  The price in dollar terms should only be one of the factors you use to make a decision.  Click here to read more about massage and price.



I didn’t hear the news when it happened.  I learned about it a couple of months later and was surprised.  An author whose books I have enjoyed, Vince Flynn, had died.  He was only in his forties.  His books had a series that followed a main character.

My son also read his books.  He had read most of them and was looking forward to more.  He asked me if he had finished writing the series.

That question struck me and has been rattling around in my mind.  It made me think of what I have not finished yet.

I have things I want to do.  There are places to go, things to see, experiences to have, people to spend time with, books to read, goals to reach, and on and on.  I’m sure most of us won’t be able to do everything they wanted in life – I’m always learning of something new that sounds interesting.

Are you waiting for the right time for get started?  I wondered  – what if the time wasn’t quite right for Flynn? If he had waited, he may never have written the books he did and enjoyed the accomplishments.  According to the typical life span here, he should have had many more years to live and work.

Is there a relationship you want to have?  Maybe you need to open up more to let them in.  I have discovered that no matter how many people I love, there is always room in my heart for more.  Let your guard down a little and allow yourself to be more vulnerable (not to everybody, of course, but to those you believe you can trust).  I know, it’s a little risky and scary, but the rewards can be so fulfilling.

Is there a relationship you want to be better or to repair?  Apologize or make it right if you need to.  Forgive if you need to.  Don’t let past unhappiness take away the joy you could be having today.  If it doesn’t work out the way you want, at least you did what you could.  It’s a chance worth taking and you won’t have to live with the uncertainty.  Be kind and give more and generally you will find that returned to you.

While you’re at it, make peace with yourself.  You have made mistakes and done dumb things.  So have the rest of us.  Forgive yourself and resolve to learn from those things and do better.  We all tend to be harder on ourselves than other people are.  You have friends and family that you look up to and love even though they aren’t perfect, right?  Do the same for you and enjoy the liberation.

Is there something you want to do?  It doesn’t have to be big like a career change or space travel.  Do you want to learn to play an instrument?  Travel (even somewhere close)?  Learn to cook?  If you want to practice making lemon meringue pie, I’ll be happy to test them for you and cheer you on.

What is stopping you?  In the future will you regret that you never did it?

I had a job that I was good at and the pay was good enough.  Eventually I had too many mornings that I didn’t want to go to work.  I began to dread Sunday evenings, because that meant Monday morning was next and it was back to more of the same at work.  Now I love what I do as a massage therapist.  Yes, there are challenges of having my own business.  A lot, actually.   But I am getting to spend time doing what I love, making a difference in the lives of the people I touch, and enjoy the accomplishments I realize.  Do you start your day with excitement and anticipation or with dread and apathy?

What do you want to do?  What do you want to have finished when it’s time to go?  Have you said “I’ve always wanted to …”

Do those things.


* If you have read some of my other posts, you will notice that this was a very different post for me.  I usually talk about massage and health and business.  It was inspired by a combination of things I have read recently, including this intriguing post on opening up by Kate Bartolotta (such a wonderful writer).  Also this one on choosing what you carry by another great writer Allissa Haines, who I am lucky to have as a friend.  It’s also been a tough stretch with the loss of some family members.  Do you want to see more like this or do you want me to stick to massage?   Let me know what you think in the comments.

Find your comfort zone with massage

We all have comfort zones.  They can be really useful by allowing us to do some things out of habit and repetition.  It’s something that we don’t have to consciously think about and one less decision to make.  If we had to think of everything we do each day all day long and decide what to do, we probably wouldn’t make it until lunch time.

For example, think of your typical morning.  You probably get up around the same time, hit the bathroom, get dressed, and eat something before you head off to work.  You can do a lot of these half asleep – because you are.  You may drink the same coffee or juice and eat the same brand and type of breakfast food most days.

Comfort zones can limit us however.  They keep us from trying something new, even if it a good thing.  Stepping outside of our comfort zone makes us, well, uncomfortable.  How long does it take you to try something that your friends are raving about?  Once you do try it and like it, do you find it aggravating that you didn’t do it sooner?  How much have you missed out on because something wasn’t in your comfort zone?

When you think of it, almost everything was new at some point.  All of the products and services you use, benefit from, and enjoy now were once new to you.

Since they are a part of daily life, we usually don’t think about our comfort zones until something changes (eek – they stopped making your favorite flavor!) or they get challenged.

Some people allow pain or stress into their comfort zone.  It happens gradually so it’s not noticed.  After a while, part of your routine is taking pills for headaches and pain and you are not sleeping well.

Some people have not included massage into their comfort zone.  Let’s consider a couple of possibilities on why.

For some it is new.  Maybe they have heard about it from family or friends but since it’s new they are reluctant to try it.  If this is you, do a little research.  Check out some local massage web sites where you’ll find some frequently asked questions.  Talk to your friend and ask them about it.  Since they are a fan of massage and have experienced it they can help you feel more comfortable.  Call a massage therapist and ask some questions.  They understand the issues people have (and it’s usually the same set of questions most people wonder about).  The therapist will be happy to answer your questions and won’t be pushy – that’s just the way most of us are.

Click here to read more about what to expect from your first massage, from my friend Paola.

Some are hesitant because of their body image. Massage therapists understand this.  Most of us have had to deal with our own body issues when we began in massage.  We have learned that bodies are wondrous and amazing creations.  We truly, honestly, genuinely, sincerely, indisputably, unquestionably, 100% do not care what you look like.  You are not here to impress us.  You will be draped the whole time, except for what is being worked on at the moment.  We want you to feel better so you can enjoy your life.  Imagine how much better you would feel with a good night’s sleep, less stress, and relief from headaches and other pains.

Reach your new comfort zone by breaking out of your old one with massage.  It will be a very comfortable one.  You’ll be glad you did.


Revealing the secret Massage Code

Everybody likes some inside information, having the scoop, and being let in on a secret.

Massage Therapists, like Magicians, have their own code.  Have you ever wondered why they ask the questions they do and what they really want to know?  Here’s your chance to learn more.

I revealed it on another blog that I contribute to.  Click here to read all about it while you can (it may disappear if the wrong people find out what I’ve done).

What other questions do you have about massage and massage therapists?  Leave a comment and I’ll address those also.



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