What is a hot stone massage?

A common picture used in massage advertising is a person with stones placed on them.  They seem remarkably happy that somebody took the effort to lay stones on their body.  Apparently these stones have incredible qualities that allows them to relax completely and remove all of their stress and muscle pain.

There is usually no explanation of why there are stones on them.  Are they there for a purpose?  Is it for decoration?  Is it an inside joke by massage therapists to see how many people they can get to do it?  Let’s find out.

There many different methods of performing hot stone massage.  I’ll just talk about the way I use them here.

Hot stones do indeed have a purpose.  The advantages they provide are warmth, increased pressure, and increased accessibility to muscles.

Warmth is soothing and calming to your body and mind.  It helps you to relax faster.  While hot stones feel good any time of the year, they can warm you up quickly when you come in on a cold day.  You will absorb some of the heat from the stones which allows your muscles to relax and can make the massage more effective.

Stones are hard, so I can use them to add extra pressure if needed.  Some muscles are deeper and underneath muscles near the surface.  The extra pressure can help in working those deeper muscles.

Stones can make it easier to get to places near bones that are hard to reach with my hands, or hard to use much pressure on with my hands alone.

Your hot stone massage will feel a lot like a regular massage.  The stones fit into my hands so there is still contact from my hands.  One difference is that when the stones lose their heat I will put them back in the warmer and get new warm ones out.

Special stones of smooth basalt are used that work well with heat.  They don’t crack and hurt you.  They do get very warm so if it is ever too hot for you speak up immediately.  I’ll have them in my hands before they touch you and I can cool them off before using them if needed.

Hot stone massage is not for you if you are a very warm-natured person or have a medical condition that heat makes worse.

If you try it and don’t like it as much as a regular massage, that’s fine.  Just let me know anytime and I will continue with the rest of your time with a regular massage.  Your massage is your time to get what you want.  You are not stuck with having to do an entire massage with hot stones if you do not care for them.

Some time is needed to get the stones warmed and set up so they are ready when you come in.  Just let me know in advance that you want to use them and I’ll have it ready for you.

Barry is a licensed Massage Therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson, Ohio.  Find out more about him, his business, and massage at www.HudsonMassageTherapy.com

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Scheduling

When there’s an event that’s important to us we make sure to put it in our schedule.  We may put it in our phone, write it on a paper calendar, write a note, tell somebody to remind us so we don’t forget it, or all of the above.  It is important to us even if it doesn’t seem to be to somebody else.  Is a sixth-grade music performance important to the world?  Probably not – but it is to you and your sixth-grader.

We plan our lives around the important things.  We make sure we make it to work when expected.  Parents get their kids home in time for them to get them in bed and ready for school the next day.  They get them up, dressed, and ready and send them off to school in the mornings and go to as many of their events as they can.

We plan dinners and entertainment.  Some restaurants require reservations to get into.  Meals we make at home turn out better if we get the ingredients in advance instead of making a mad dash to the store.  If you are going to a concert, show, or sporting event you usually need tickets in advance.  You don’t want to miss on a fun night out so you make arrangements so you can be there.

Everybody loves a great vacation.  It’s good to get a break from your normal responsibilities.  It’s interesting to see new things and have new experiences.  It’s nice to see friends and family that you haven’t seen for a while.   You need to schedule time off of work, your trip, accommodations, and other details for while you are gone.

When  you don’t schedule in the important things, they get missed. 

It’s easy to fill up your life with smaller matters that seem important at the time.  When you look back at it later you realize you would have much rather spent your time on something else and with somebody else.  You realize that you would have been happier and better off if you would have gone on a vacation, spent more time with family and friends, and had a few more fun nights out.

People come in for a massage and they feel great.  They are reminded that they could feel this way more often and have good intentions about coming in regularly.  Some do and they benefit more from regular massage then an occasional one.  Others let time slip by and let many months go by between appointments.  When they come in they have a high level of stress and a lot of muscle soreness, stiffness, and pain that they could have been living without.

The people who get regular massage schedule it into their lives.  They are often busy people, working and with families, but they schedule time to get themselves taken care of.  They aren’t retired or living a life of ease and luxury.  They are a lot like you.  They just have made the choice that they want to improve the quality of their life and include massage and other activities in their plans.

One thing that can help is to schedule your next massage before you leave.  If you at least get it penciled in you are more likely to make it.  You can change it if you need and you will feel better knowing it’s already set and you can plan around it.

How important is how you feel to you?  If you haven’t been including massage and self-care in your plans, the good news is that you can start now.  Contact me and let’s get started.

Barry is a licensed Massage Therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson, Ohio.  Find out more about him, his business, and massage at www.HudsonMassageTherapy.com

Strangers

We all have things that we rely on others to do for us.  Some may be things that we can’t do for ourselves and others are things that we could do but we are willing to pay for the skill, knowledge, and expertise of another.  They can do a better job and get it done much faster than if we did it all ourselves.  We even rely on people that we don’t know – strangers – for very important matters.

Let’s consider a few examples.

“I needed a hair cut so I let some stranger cut it.”

“I had a problem with my car so I let some stranger work on it.”

“I took my money to the bank and handed it over to a stranger.”

“I had an important legal issue so I talked to a stranger about it and followed their advice.”

“I wasn’t feeling well so I went to see a stranger.  They examined me and told me what to do.  They gave me a prescription which I took to a stranger at a pharmacy.  They gave me a bottle of pills that were made by strangers in a company and approved by a group of strangers in the government.”

“I was hungry so I went to a restaurant.  A stranger prepared some food for me, which had been grown and processed by other strangers.”

“I was in a dangerous situation so I called for a stranger with a gun to come and help.”

Hold on!” you say.  “I can’t know everybody who has an impact on me.”

“Well”, I say, “why do you trust these strangers with such important things like your money, legal issues, your food and health?”

Because,” you say, “they are professionals, have training, and are qualified.  Their reputation and business depends on them treating me properly.

Aha.

One objection to massage I hear is that people are hesitant in trusting a stranger to touch them.  We have just seen though that you let other strangers touch you.  Massage Therapists don’t have as much training as doctors or some other medical professionals, but we there are educational requirements to allow us to be licensed.

Wait,” you say.  “Some massage businesses and individuals do more than just massage.

That’s true.  But like any industry just because one person does it doesn’t mean everybody does.  Please,  if you know or suspect that is happening turn them in.  Make a call or send a message to the police or the state licensing board.  My fellow legitimate massage therapists and I want those places and people shut down.  They hurt my business and keep people who need a real massage away.

Of course massage is not the only industry with people who break the law.  The news is filled with businesses who try to take advantage of people.  Highly trained people such as lawyers and doctors get caught in scandals.  Companies such as banks, food producers, and pharmaceutical companies have been caught performing illegal or unethical practices.

If you want a massage, what can you do?  The same things you do with anything else important to you.  Get recommendations from friends.  Do some research online about the person or business.  Ask questions by calling or emailing.  I am happy to answer questions so you can feel comfortable when you come in.

I believe in massage and in the many benefits it provides and I want to help you.  I work hard at being somebody you can trust.   Let’s talk, or make an appointment, so I won’t be a stranger any more.

Barry is a licensed Massage Therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson, Ohio.  Find out more about him, his business, and massage at www.HudsonMassageTherapy.com

Get untangled and cleaned up

Imagine that you walk into your home one day and you notice how messy it is.  There are dirty clothes laying around and all tangled together.  There is clutter everywhere you look.  Somebody has been using things and not putting them away.  Somebody else hasn’t been doing enough cleaning and washing the dishes.

So you call your expert service to help you out.  You take some time for yourself while they get things back in order.  Sounds terrific, doesn’t it?

When you come back, you realize the mess had been bigger than you thought.  Not only were the big problems taken care of, but other smaller things that hadn’t been as noticeable before were also.  Your expert service providers were thorough and everything now looks great.

You realize it has been quite a while since everything was cleaned and put away properly.  You like it this way and decide to stay on top of things and not it get so messy again.

Now instead of your home, think about yourself.  Your muscles are all stiff, tight, and feel all tangled and knotted up.  Your mind feels cluttered which makes it hard to concentrate.

So now call your other expert – your massage therapist.  Again you can have some time for yourself with no responsibilities while I do the work.  Your muscles will find relief and can go back to their natural positions.  The quiet time for yourself can help you clear the clutter from your mind, providing stress relief and allow you to think clearly again.

I will give attention to the areas you say need it, but you may find that other areas were in need of work too.  You just weren’t aware of them since the main problem bothered you so much.  I will be thorough and when you are done you can feel much better.

Regular massage helps you to keep feeling great.  Just like your home, a big tangled mess and lots of clutter takes longer to clear up.  Once you feel good after a massage, keep it going by coming back on a set schedule.  A nice bonus is that you always have your next massage to look forward to.

Are you ready to start?  Contact me and you can get untangled and the clutter cleared.

Barry is a licensed Massage Therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson, Ohio.  Find out more about him, his business, and massage at www.HudsonMassageTherapy.com

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.  Find out more about him, his business, and massage at www.HudsonMassageTherapy.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.  Find out more about him, his business, and massage at www.HudsonMassageTherapy.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.  Find out more about him, his business, and massage at www.HudsonMassageTherapy.com