There are many places to go and get a massage so how do you know if you're picking the right setting for you with all those choices?
In one of my first blogs, I discussed the fact that not all massage therapists or massages are the same. ***You can read it here***
Let me share some insight on the most popular massage settings.
Massage schools are a great option if you're on a budget and are okay with a hit or miss type situation.
The students in massage school clinics are practicing and are fulfilling the requirements to get their license so there will be heavy turn over. It's great to help these students out and get them their hours. You may also find your next favorite massage therapist!
These are the "massage envy" type places. You pay a monthly fee and in return you get a monthly massage at a low rate.
Chiropractic and massage go together like peas and carrots. Which is why you find them together a lot. It just makes since to relax the muscles that are pulling on bones before an adjustment. "Medical massage" is usually done in these clinics.
While a lot of people make the comment that spa massage is "fluff and buff", I've had some pretty intense deep work done in a spa. They have fun products and you can get many different treatments along with your massage too. Pedicures anyone??? Yes please!
Independent Massage Therapists:
This is what I am.
I run my own practice and book my own appointments. When you schedule a session at Gaia Bodywork, you will only work with me and I will be your only contact person. i have worked in all of the above places (except envy) and have honed my skills over the past nine years to create my special brand of massage.
What's your preferred massage setting??
Do you agree with my list of pros & cons or have I left something out?
I wanna know what you like so leave me a comment in my comment section!
Gaia Bodywork PLLC is the private massage practice of Hillary Arrieta and is located in Richardson, Tx. Visit gaiabodywork.com for more information.
I've been reading about massage myths, things that were once thought to be true about the benefits or dangers of massage therapy that have now been debunked.
When I was in school we were taught that massage for someone healing from cancer was inappropriate or possible harmful, that massage can cause a woman to have a miscarriage in her first trimester, and that water after the session is important to flush out "toxins" , a very vague and popular buzzword these days.
Things change as more and more research and studies are being done and our knowledge of how the body works changes. I've listed the benefits and some of the now known "myths" in a chart below. When I read the list of the benefits, I feel truly amazed! Everyone I know could benefit from regular sessions. I know I do- and my regular clients who are people who have a lot on their plates, know that making time for massage helps them be their best- More alert, clear-minded, happier people.
Reaping benefits does have one catch. You must get massage REGULARLY. It's not a one time deal and all your aches and pains are gone. It takes time but the results are better than anything pain pills can give you- just check out the list below! I suggest once a month for maintenance and more regularly (weekly) if you're in pain or needing to work on a specific issue.
There are many elements that make up a perfect massage session and one of the most important besides technique is the music! I think most people will agree that if the music is distracting or unpleasant it can really put a damper on the relaxation experience.
In the past, I've tried different types of music. Classical, New Age (which includes....Enya-I know...), Mellow indie rock, you name it.
I first noticed a problem with it when a client came and a pleaded with me NOT to play enya. He said "Everyone plays enya these days and I'm sick of it."
In the beginning, I only thought of it as background noise but music is a type of therapy all on it's own. With a little research, I found out that music can stimulate brain wave activity- intense beats can help you stay focused ( so THAT'S why I can take longer walks or stay focused on my work out!). Slower music, like the kind used in a massage session, can create a calm or meditative way of thinking and also help slow heart rate which means slower/deeper breathing!
Other benefits from listening to "massage" music are:
I've stopped exploring different types of music and have stuck with the genre that I KNOW works. My favorite artists to play during a session are Deuter, Dean Evenson, and Liquid mind.
I did a recent poll on a massage therapy group in Facebook and asked other therapists what kind of music they like to play during a session and got a very eclectic mix. Everything from from Bon Iver to classical music to Hawaiian key slack guitar.
Now it's YOUR turn!
What kind of music do you like to relax to?
tell me in the comments section!
Get out your smart phone and start taping! I want to know what you love most about massage therapy or how it's helped you in your life.
Post your video to Gaia bodywork's facebook page and be entered in to a drawing to win a $100 gift certificate to Gaia Bodywork! http://www.facebook.com/gaiabodywork
All entries must be in by 10:00 PM February 15th
The Winner will be announced on February 16th!!
The other night driving home from the grocery store, my husband asked me what made me want to be a massage therapist. He said "It's not the usual thing that kids grow up wanting to be." Nope- It's not.
Honestly, When I was about 19 or 20 years old, I was in boring community college trying to find out what I wanted to do with my life and was in the middle of my quarter-life crisis which was taking its toll.
Panic attacks were a daily thing for me and my health had really started to go down hill. I was a chain smoking insomniac with peptic ulcers and a major caffeine habit. It was a mess.
I began working at a very posh day spa in Addison, TX and had the opportunity to meet lots of massage therapists. They all seemed HAPPY and BUSY- massage is the #1 service booked in a spa-of course there are other options such as facials, waxing services, nail services, hair and makeup but massage was where it was at!
I loved the idea of working in a peaceful environment and working one on one with others so I decided to check it out. I was super lucky to find The Asten Center of Natural Therapeutics which was an amazing massage school in Richardson TX. They were in business for over 20 years but closed around six or so years ago. Anyways, I signed up at one of their open houses- that was almost nine years ago and the rest is history.
Being a massage therapist has inspired me to take better care of my health and kick some of my unhealthy habits (especially the smoking one). It's made me smarter- I really excelled in understanding anatomy and physiology and all of the other things we have to know. Being in a career that makes me think on my feet, problem solve, and use good judgement and interpersonal skills has made me sharper and more compassionate and has introduced me to thousands of people that I would have never met otherwise.
I started thinking about my massage friends so I asked my friend Cindy, Co-owner of my fabulous scheduling software, Bodywork Buddy and Owner of Bodywork By Design in Battle Creek, Michigan to tell me about her decision to become a massage therapist and wanted to share it with you.
"That is what I LOVE about the field of massage therapy: there is always something new to learn. Always." Cindy Iwlew
"When I was a kid, I had horrible allergies with constant sinus pain and congestion. My Aunt was actually a massage therapist, and while I had no concept of what that really was or what she did, she showed me some acupressure points I could do on myself. It was Ah-maz-ing.
I still had no real grasp of what my Aunt did for a living. I just knew that she held some kind of secrets about the body that my parents, doctor, and allergist did not know. I worked these sinus points on myself all the time, even after entering my teens, but kind of forgetting all about the fact that my Aunt was a massage therapist.
Flash forward 15 years: an immediate member of my family and household was diagnosed with cancer (Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma) at age 29. He’s a career military man, and right from the get-go had the attitude of “we’re gonna fight this, and we’re gonna win”.
His tumor quickly shrank and disappeared, which was pretty amazing given the 50/50 chance the doctor gave him in the beginning. I couldn’t help but think that his mindset had a lot to do with the success of his treatments. (Although I’m sure being young and relatively healthy otherwise played a huge role too!) He’s still cancer free to this day.
Watching that experience made me think about nursing. But I knew that nursing really wasn’t for me... I was more interested in the mind/body connection and the holistic side of things. I had already grown up watching my Dad deal with chronic back pain and endure many surgeries for herniated discs. Some of the surgeries didn’t even help - and I think that may have planted a seed in my mind of the limits of medicine. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying anything bad about Western medicine or saying that massage could have fixed him). But I am saying that through all of that, there was nothing holistic in the treatment of his pain. And it was obvious that back pain was still quite a mystery and guessing game to the medical community.
I started looking into fields that worked with the mind/body connection and was immediately fascinated with acupuncture. But hm... the schools I looked at required a Bachelor’s degree before starting the program for acupuncture. And let’s just be honest here: I’m not a big fan of school in the traditional sense. Some people are made for college. I, however, am not one of those people.
And then I came across massage therapy. I went and got my first massage, and it was all over after that. It wasn’t even until I had announced to my family my decision to study massage that they reminded me that my Aunt was a massage therapist! Crazy. I had just tucked that away in my mind and forgot all about it. Makes me wonder what else is in that head of mine that I’m not remembering...
At any rate, it’s kind of funny that I originally stumbled into this with such an interest in mind/body connection and Eastern philosophy, because now, after 14 years in the field - I’m much more into the muscle and tissue aspect of it and less the energetics. But that is what I LOVE about the field of massage therapy: there is always something new to learn. Always."
Cindy Iwlew is co-founder of Bodywork Buddy Massage Software, a complete online management solution for independent massage therapists that includes online scheduling.
She continues to operate her own private massage practice of 14 years, and has been an associate instructor for Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy since 2007.
I love her story- It's so real and I totally can relate to disliking school in the traditional sense and wanting to see a more holistic health care system.
So, What's your dream job?
Are you doing what you want to do?
Leave me your comments below.