Advantages of getting a massage at a small business

You have many choices on where to go for a massage.  You can go to a local or national chain, a spa or resort, or a small business.  The biggest advantage of going somewhere other than a small business is availability.  The bigger the business, the better your chances are of getting in on late notice.  That convenience typically comes with a trade-off of a higher price or not getting your favorite massage therapist.  I discussed the question of if massage chains are a good deal for you here.

Why get a massage at a small business?

You can get your massage from the same person every time.  The more I work with you, and the more I know about what you do and what has helped you before, the better results you will get.  You won’t have to fill out new paperwork and explain your health background every time.  I’ll keep notes on your history so I can know what happened in previous visits and your results.  I will learn your preferences and use the pressure, temperature, and music that you like.

A small business will do their main service very well.  I do massage.  I don’t do nails or hair (well, I will if you want, but I don’t think you will like it).  I focus my attention and continuing education on how to provide the best massage I can.  I learn new techniques and investigate and experiment with new tools.  When I notice a trend of a condition that people have, I review more anatomy and methods to help.

My attention is not divided on multiple choices.  When a business invests in something new, they want to get a return on that investment.  Your cost at a big business may be higher and you may be paying for services that you are not using.  I want to take care of your main problem when you come in.  If I succeed in that, you will come back.

You are an important person – not a number or a 3:00 appointment.  Since there are so many options for massage, small businesses must provide great customer service.  I care about you as a person and I want to help.  You are not just another customer.  When you call, you will talk to me and not be directed through a maze of phone options.  Your emails are answered by me – a person, not a big company employee.

Small businesses are important to your community.  Your money goes to a local business, which then gets spent locally.  Supporting one small business helps to support multiple businesses in your area.  The money doesn’t go to a corporate headquarters in another state or even another country.

If getting a massage from somebody who cares about you, gives you great customer service, and does an outstanding massage sounds good, check out a small business like mine.

Barry is a licensed massage therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson Ohio.  You can learn more at www.Hudson.MassageTherapy.com

Big changes made easy

Our mainstream media is always suggesting to us that we need to look and act a certain way to be happy, successful, popular, and important.  They are not always right, of course.  Advertising is set up to make you want to buy their products, so if you are not, they must create the impression of a need.

Nobody is perfect.  All of us know there is an area or two that we could and should improve on.  Sometimes the distance seems large when we look at where we are and where we would like to be.

Change is hard.  Our bodies and minds have a comfort zone they like to stay in.  They will resist even when you are trying to make a change that will make you feel better.

Fortunately once you do make a change, it becomes a new comfort zone and you don’t want to go back to where you were.

Thinking about big changes can be intimidating.  Looking at a large goal can be so scary that it looks impossible, or highly unlikely that you can do it.  It’s tough to get started when there is so far to go.

So how can you tackle a big change?  Make it a bunch of easy little ones.

If you want to lose weight, losing 20 or more pounds seems like a lot.  But what if you lost two pounds?  That’s not so hard.  You would feel a little better and your clothes would fit a little better.  You would recognize some progress which makes it easier to lose another two.  Do that a few times and people around you will notice and you will be on your way to getting to your big goal.

What about improving on a personality habit, such as complaining?  Can you go one minute without complaining?  Of course you can.  That’s easy.  Next try a longer but still manageable time, such as five or ten minutes.  Eventually you will create a new habit and build a new comfort zone that make you a more positive person.

It’s hard to clean up your whole house at once.  Instead, tackle one area at a time.  Clean up one closet or one room.  You will see progress and will feel motivated to continue.

Some people want to feel good again with massage.  Some say they can’t afford it.  What if you set aside one dollar a day?  That would let you enjoy a few massages a year.  When you see the benefits you get from lowering your stress and that you can do more of what you want when you feel better physically, you will want to continue.

Chances are good that the situation that you would like to change didn’t happen overnight, but gradually over a period of time.  To get where you want to be, start small.  Those small steps will take you to your goal.

Barry is a licensed massage therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson Ohio.  You can learn more at www.Hudson.MassageTherapy.com

Massage and the magic wand

If you could wave a magic wand and all of your pain were gone – what would your life be like?  What would you do that you don’t do now?  What would you do more of?  What would you do less of (sitting and taking pain pills maybe?).  Use your imagination and picture yourself doing the things you would like to do.  Go down memory lane and think of what you used to do that you enjoyed but don’t do anymore.  Have you grown accustomed to the pain you have, thinking it’s just something you have to live with?

What if you were having a bad, really bad day?  What if in one hour you could have a completely different outlook on life?  How about of instead of continuing with a rotten day, the rest of your day were now terrific?  You would feel better, and your friends, family, and coworkers would also be grateful.

What if you didn’t have to take so many pills for pain?  What if you didn’t have a recurring headache?  What would it be like to get out of bed and not think about what part of your body is hurting?  What if your muscles didn’t feel wound up tight and instead you could move freely, fluidly, and gracefully?  OK, so some of us are not that graceful – but I am more graceful when I feel better.

What if – you didn’t have a knot in your back; that you could bend down easily; that you could turn your neck without turning your whole body?  What if you got a really good night’s sleep?  Do you remember what it feels like to not wake up in pain?

Sometimes we have a problem or an issue that is befuddling us and try as we might we just can’t crack it.  What if in just one hour your mind were open to new possibilities and solutions started coming to you?  The solutions were there the whole time but couldn’t find their way through the tangled labyrinth of your stressed mind.  They are so obvious and simple you wonder why you didn’t see them before.  What if with new clarity your productivity and creativity soared?

What if these things were available – and getting them felt so good as well?  Massage is a time just for you.  You can relax on a comfortable, warm massage table.  You can let your responsibilities go and let your mind drift.  Tell me what pain you have and then let me take care of you.  I’ll use my training, skills, and knowledge to help you feel like yourself again.

What if you make an appointment for a massage already?

Massage is not magic, but sometimes the results can feel magical.  If you have an injury or medical condition, massage may be able to help but it can’t cure everything.  See a doctor or other medical professional if needed.  Massage has a lot to offer in just a little time.

If you want, I’ll use a bamboo piece as a magic massage wand and mutter the secret magic massage words.  Then let everything go, enjoy your massage, and walk back out to the world with a new outlook full of new possibilities.

Barry is a licensed massage therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson Ohio.  You can learn more at www.Hudson.MassageTherapy.com

Advantages of working with a male massage therapist

Given the choice between a male and female massage therapist with similar skills, most people will choose to go to a female.  Have you have ever thought about getting a massage from a male?  There are some benefits that you may not have considered, so give these ideas some thought.  There are exceptions to the generalizations I discuss.

My main point here is this – don’t let the gender of the therapist be the deciding factor of whom you get your massage from.    Men and women go to the same schools and get the same education, go through the same licensing procedure, and must obey the same laws and ethical principles.  Their skills, not gender, will determine the quality of massage you get.

Some people prefer male therapists, thinking they may be stronger.

When I talk to people about their massage experience at other places, the top complaint is that the therapist didn’t use enough pressure.  They left feeling like they didn’t get enough out of their massage when it was over.

If you take an average man and woman, generally the man is stronger.  There are techniques for using more pressure when needed that anyone can use, and I have had great massages from women who don’t appear to be very strong.  Strength lets me use a firmer pressure that feels like a regular massage movement, and not like digging in with an elbow.

I also have touch as well as strength.  Just because I can use a lot of pressure doesn’t mean I will on every part of your body all of the time.  I will use the pressure necessary to help you.  You shouldn’t be in pain during your massage and be sore for days after.

I can do a 90 minute deep tissue massage without tiring out at the end.  Concerned that your massage is just after I’ve done a 90 minute deep tissue massage?  Have no fear, I will be able to give you what you need in your massage too.

Some people prefer male therapists, thinking they understand pain from activity.

Again generally, men do more physical things.   We move furniture and refrigerators.  We shovel snow, dig holes, chop firewood, carry heavy things, play basketball, and other very strenuous activities.  This is not to say that women can’t, don’t, or shouldn’t do any of these, but usually men do them more.

If you are sore from something like this, I have a good understanding of how you feel.  I have had that sore spot in my lower back so I know what feels good and what will help it.

Of course, the opposite is true.  I can read and talk to people about pain from pregnancy or wearing heels, but since I haven’t experienced it I can’t completely understand.  I do a lot of research and discuss how things feel with people, but if a female therapist is a better fit for you because of an issue like this that they understand better, then you may be better off working with her.

Men have to be very good.

There is a bias against male massage therapists.  People wonder about the motives of a male therapist – are they a creep or a pervert, or worse?  Looking for cheap thrills?  They wonder if they can trust a man to massage them without anything more happening.

I experience this on occasion.  Somebody calls for an appointment and we get a time set up.  Then they ask if there is a female therapist.  When I say no, some just hang up and some say they will get back to me – which they never do.

I understand some people have had something happen to them in their history that would make getting a massage from a male difficult and unproductive.  If going to a woman is best for them, I’m all for that.

Since I’m fighting an uphill battle from the start, I have to be very good at everything I do.  I have to provide top-notch customer service, make sure the draping is always right, and give you an exceptional massage experience.  I am continually adding to my education and trying new things to improve your massage.

I have to treat people professionally but also in a friendly and caring manner.  I need to make you comfortable and put your mind at ease and allow you to wear whatever you want in your massage.  I want you to come back and recommend me to your friends and family, so I must leave no doubt at all that I can be trusted and I know what I am doing – and that it’s worth trying me out.

I’m not asking for sympathy here – just some understanding.  Do some checking and find answers to your questions.  You may find that you get better results from a male.  What other advantages have you noticed?  Let me know in the comments below.

Barry is a licensed massage therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson Ohio.  You can learn more at www.Hudson.MassageTherapy.com

How to receive a great massage

When you make a massage appointment, do you want a so-so experience or a great one?  Try these tips for making the most of your massage.

Part of a great massage experience depends on the massage therapist.

Do some research.  Check them out online, talk to a friend, or talk to the massage therapist before your appointment.  Ask questions about things that are important to you, such as a condition or pain you are having.  Explain what you want.  If you leave something unsaid, it will likely be on your mind during the massage – which prevents you from relaxing as much and getting all of the benefits you can.

This is your time and when you walk out the door you should feel much better.  I am happy to spend a few minutes before we start to understand exactly what you want and to answer the questions you have, so your mind is at ease with no nagging questions or issues.  Don’t worry about what I will think of your questions, concerns, or your body.  Many people have the same common concerns, so you probably aren’t the first one to ask.

Part of a great experience depends on you.  What can you do to make your massage great?

Arrive a few minutes early.  Try to schedule your massage so you are not rushing to get there, or having to hurry somewhere else immediately.  Sometimes unexpected things happen that keep you from arriving as early as you want.  If you come in just after racing out of work and fighting traffic, it will take longer for you to relax and put those things behind you.

Wear whatever you want for your massage.  What you take off and leave on is your choice.  You will be draped with a sheet the whole time, except for what I am working on.  I really don’t think about what you do or don’t have on.  It’s not an issue for me, so don’t let it be one for you.

Now that you are on the table, here are a few things you can do to make your experience better.

Breathe deeply.  As we get busy, our breath can become shallow.  Draw deep breaths that you can feel all the way into your abdomen.  In just a minute, you will begin to feel more relaxed and peaceful.

Let go of the world.  This is your chance to escape for a while.  Turning off your brain can be difficult for some people, so concentrate on the moment.  Feel your breathing.  Focus on the feel of the strokes and stretches.  Feel the warmth from the table warmer.

Allow yourself to go limp.  I will move you around a little, and I will ask if I need some help from you.  Some of the massage movements and stretches are more effective if you don’t try to help out.

Communicate during the massage when needed.  I’ll adjust the pressure, temperature, and music to how you like it.  They are easy changes to make.

Finally, a couple of more suggestions.

Get regular massages.  I have noticed that the people who come in regularly have longer lasting effects than those who only come in on occasion.  Also, work with the same massage therapist.  The more you get to know each other, the more trust you will have in them and the better results you will enjoy.

When you get a massage, get a great one!

Barry is a licensed massage therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson Ohio.  You can learn more at www.Hudson.MassageTherapy.com

Massage is like having a personal chef

A good massage is like having a meal prepared for you by a professional chef.

If you don’t have a personal chef today, then imagine what it would be like.  Let’s give your cook a chef-like name, like Pierre, or Bubba.  He is professional, highly skilled, and it makes him happy to see you enjoying his cooking.

First, Pierre would talk to you about what you want.  He would get what he needs and make the preparations and work to have the meal ready for when you want to eat.  You are ordering just for yourself today, so you don’t need to be concerned with what your friends or family want.

Pierre will cook it and season it how you want.  He is not cooking for himself – he is cooking for you, so what you want is what matters.  You can order a steak rare or well done, and that is what you will get.

Let’s say Pierre has some specialties.  He makes outstanding crepes.  What if you want an omelet instead of crepes?  Then that’s what he will make.  He has the capability to make an entire gourmet meal, but if you want something simple, he can do that too.

Pierre won’t do anything to harm you.  If you ask for something dangerous to you, he may warn you or refuse for your safety.  Since he is a trained professional, he may have more knowledge about food than you.  He may offer suggestions of something that you hadn’t heard of before that you may enjoy.  You can try it if you want, but it’s your decision.

Pierre won’t blab on and on about his problems, or ask you a lot of questions.  He will be happy to talk to you if you wish, but if you just want to relax for a while as he works, that’s fine.  You are not here to entertain him.

You can relax free of guilt while he prepares it.  Pierre is an experienced and skilled professional, so everything is great and you can leisurely enjoy the experience of eating.  It brings him satisfaction to know that he has done a good job and provided what you needed.  Finally, when you are done, he will do all of the clean up.

A good massage therapist approaches your appointment the same way.  I am here for you to give you what you want today.  I will be ready for you when you come in.  I’ll adjust the temperature to how you like it, and I will use the amount of pressure you want.  I want to know how to give you what you need today, so communication is important both before we start and during the massage.

You are getting a massage for a reason – and it’s not to make me happy.  It’s all about you.  I’ll spend more time on a problem area if you want and adjust your massage each time according to what you need.

I’ll keep your safety in mind.  There are a few conditions that massage can make worse, so as we talk I will advise you of that.  I also have experience with working with a lot of bodies, so I may notice something and offer a suggestion to help you with the pain you have.

This is what I do and I love it.  I want you to walk out thinking what a great massage you had and look forward to coming back again.  It’s your time to just relax and be taken care of, so there’s nothing to feel guilty about.

Are you ready to order?  Think about what you want, then give me a call.  You don’t have to do anything to prepare, and I’ll take care of the clean up afterwards.

Barry is a licensed massage therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson Ohio.  You can learn more at www.Hudson.MassageTherapy.com

Letting go with massage

We like to be in control.  Some people want to be in control of just about everything (just try prying the remote away from them), but all of us want to be in control of the important things in our lives.

It could be why some seemingly minor things upset us, such as being stuck in traffic.  We can’t do what we want and don’t have much power to change the situation.  Obviously there are times we need to be somewhere important, but many times it is just an inconvenience.  We arrive grumpy but looking back at it we realize it wasn’t that big of a deal.

Being in control, though, brings the weight of responsibility with it.  There are times that we want somebody else to take control of a situation and solve it, deal with it, or just make it go away.

Getting a massage is a passive activity.  You are allowing somebody else to take care of you.  There is very little for you to do during a massage, and in fact the less you help the better your experience is.  The feeling of needing to be in control decreases the more you are in the moment – being aware of the sensations and how the movements feel.  If you can let yourself go limp and allow me to move you without helping, you will probably enjoy greater results.  You can put down both the problems of the past and anxiety about the future.  Those are outside of your control for the most part anyway.

When I’m giving you a massage, I observe your reaction.   I see your breathing slow down.  You take deeper, fuller breaths instead of shallow ones.  I feel the resistance in your muscles soften.  I see the tension drain from your face.  When I hear an unprompted deep breath – my favorite sound – I know what I am doing is working for you and you will feel much better when you leave.

Of course, you are still in control of your massage.  It is all about what you want.  Tell me before we start what needs more attention and I’ll adjust the massage to give you what you came in for.  Let me know how the temperature feels – it doesn’t matter to me and it’s an easy adjustment.  The pressure should be enough to be effective without hurting, so let me know how it feels and I’ll use more or less as needed.  Even though you are in control, you can let your public guard down a bit by knowing you are in a safe place.  You are not here to impress me.

It is a great relief to not have to be in control, even briefly.  Massage is your time to get your body cared for, with the benefit of giving your mind some time off from its responsibilities.  Let the world go for a while and enjoy just being yourself.

Barry is a licensed massage therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson Ohio.  You can learn more at www.Hudson.MassageTherapy.com

Pillows and Pain

When you think of things that cause you pain, pillows don’t usually come to mind.  They are usually light and soft, and we look forward to finding ours each night.

How could such an innocent item be a cause of pain?  Pillows flatten out and their shape changes with use over time.  How long have you had your current pillow?  That pillow that was so nice when it was new has put in its time and may need to be retired if it is not as fluffy or firm as it once was.

Is your pillow causing you pain?  Neck and shoulder pain is the most common complaint that I hear from people coming in for a massage with me.  I like to ask questions to understand what has caused the pain.  Of course stress and posture are big factors with many people.  People also say they slept funny or they woke up with more pain than they had the night before.  If your neck didn’t hurt when you went to bed but is does in the morning, something about how you sleep may be causing it.

Typically people don’t think much about their pillow and bed.  We have enough other things to occupy our attention.  Even if everything isn’t perfect, it is nice to crawl into bed after a long day.  We do notice differences when traveling and sleeping in a new place.  Usually we look forward to getting back into our own bed.

We like our rest and a good night’s sleep. We should feel better, not worse, in the morning.  While you are checking things out, examine your mattress also.

Pillows don’t cost a lot, so it is not a big expense to try a new one.  If a few dollars can prevent you from waking up with pain, it is money well spent.  Mattresses and beds are of course more expensive, so be sure to do your research and get one that you will be happy with.

You have enough other things that cause you pain.  If a pillow is a problem, replace it.  It may be hard to let go of the old one, but you will learn to love your new one too.

And no, I don’t sell or have stock in pillow and mattress companies.

Barry is a licensed massage therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson Ohio.  You can learn more at www.Hudson.MassageTherapy.com

Being content with enough

In case you start wondering what squirrels have to do with massage – this one is not about massage.  I occasionally write about other things in life.

I have a few hickory trees in my yard.  They are mature trees that produce nuts (hickory nuts that is), so I therefore have quite a few squirrels in my yard too.

One pleasant early fall day I was sitting on my deck enjoying the nice weather and trying not to think for a while.  The squirrels are busy in the fall gathering and storing the nuts.  The trees make more nuts than the squirrels eat and collect.  I always find plenty on the ground in the spring, and living in northern Ohio there isn’t anything growing over the winter.

As I was sitting on the deck I heard two squirrels squawking at each other.  One was in a tree, with a nut.  One was on the ground, with a nut.  Their argument went on for a while.  I wanted to tell them (if only I could speak squirrel!):  ” Hey you silly squirrels.  There are plenty of nuts for both of you.  There are plenty of trees too.  Why are you arguing?”

I don’t know what the argument was about.  It could have been the nut one had and the other wanted it, or the tree one was in, or some perceived squirrel insult.  Maybe one was having a bad fur day.  But to me it looked silly.

It made me reflect that we look silly to others sometimes with our arguments and how we treat each other.

If you have enough, with plenty more available, are you content?  It is a peaceful feeling to know you have enough.  I’m not saying  you should not be ambitious and have goals of what you want to accomplish in the future.  Just as the squirrels were collecting the nuts for the coming winter we have times we need to be busy providing and storing up what we will need.  But for a moment each day be grateful that you have enough.  When you have enough, you can share some of what you have or share your knowledge and experience on how you got to that point with somebody who needs it.

Our society through advertising doesn’t want us to be content with what we have.  We are told we need the latest cell phone, electronic gadgets, vehicles, and on and on.  You don’t have to listen to them.  People work extra just to buy more things and they miss out on having time to do what they want to do in their life.  You can buy more things and get more money but you can’t get time back or get more of it.   Use it the way you want.

What do you do on a bad fur day?  It happens on occasion.  Know that it happens to the people around you too and their turn is coming.  It’s also a temporary situation that you will forget about soon.  Don’t make it memorable by taking your frustration out on somebody else who had nothing to do with causing your problem.

There are plenty of trees and nuts out there.  Stop for a minute, catch your breath, calm your mind, and appreciate what you have.  If you have enough, be content, at least for a while.

Barry is a licensed massage therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson Ohio.  You can learn more at www.Hudson.MassageTherapy.com

Benefits of a 90 minute massage

Massages are usually scheduled in blocks of time.  A 90 minute massage has its own benefits, which are discussed in the following post.

The Benefits of a 90 minute massage

90 minutes out of your day can make a big difference in your life.  It can give you pain relief and lower your stress so you can be more productive and better able to deal with what life brings to you next.

Barry is a licensed massage therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson Ohio.  You can learn more at www.Hudson.MassageTherapy.com

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