RS: When people tell me they go to a chiropractor regularly, but then say they still have pain or they still aren’t feeling as best as they’d like, I ask them “did you ever have your muscles worked?” Again, only by my experience, I find if you’re not gaining results with chiropractic, then most likely its musculoskeletal. Muscle is attached to bone so if your muscle is tight, then that bone may be coming out of alignment so no matter how many times you get adjusted that muscle is still going to pull that bone. Now those who come in and we aren’t seeing results with muscle therapy or massage, we then suggest the client seek a chiropractor. Most likely in that circumstance, it may be that the bone is out and no matter how many times we release the muscle that may be giving them an issue, that bone will still be out. It works both ways.
If a muscle is the cause of the problem, you must treat the sessions as a physical therapist or chiropractor might suggest which is a series of times at first then maintenance sessions. Too many people think coming in for one session will solve all their muscle issues. Your muscles did not get like that overnight so be patient and after three to six sessions of massage or muscle therapy you will see a significant improvement in your issue. If not, then most likely there might be something else going on.
When you hear someone say: I’m going for a massage today or I am having a massage today, is there a massage that is considered standard and /or who decides the type of massage? The therapist, the condition or …?
RS: Both therapist and client. I call each massage customized because that’s exactly what it is. My deep tissue may not be like another therapist’s deep tissue. So basically communication is key between client and therapist. I like to hear clients share what pressure they prefer, what they like in a massage to what they don’t like. Some want to relax while others like their knots worked out with deep massage. In summary, I hear what their goal of the session is and then I give suggestions on what I think the session should consist of.
CS: Are there any times such as certain health conditions that muscle therapy or massage regardless of the type should be avoided?
RS: Touch is a powerful thing. In my career I’ve worked with and on those who are pregnant, who have cancer and other diseases to athletes and came to the conclusion that massage does not have to be “an hour session.” It doesn’t have to be a full body massage. It doesn’t have to be a therapy that is black or white on what to do or not do. What it does have to be is intentional, meaning that yes you need to be aware and mindful not to harm someone, but in all those who I have worked on since 1994, I never remember telling someone they were a contraindication or that I can’t work on them. For example: a cancer patient – they may not be able to respond well with a full body massage, but how about a hand massage and an ear to listen or a word to encourage, or a gentle neck massage for 5-10 minutes. Touch is powerful, I think a positive touch shouldn’t be avoided.
CS: That was nothing, but beautiful. Excellent. I so agree Renee. This is very helpful information and the questions and incidences just keep coming to mind, such as: someone has a great vacation planned and they are so excited about getting away and looking forward to spa treatments and massages. Good idea or not Renee?
RS: Unless the group you’re going away with are all going golfing and you hate to golf, then get a massage! Other than that, my opinion is, the best you can do for your body is get a massage in the “real world” when you’re stressed and need that “time out” during the week or month. When your away on vacation, your body is already in time out mode so save that money you would have spent and support your local therapist and give your body a “time out” in the midst of the stress. Your body will thank you for it!
CS: How should our listeners or anyone choose or find a safe and licensed massage therapist or specialist?
RS: Ask family and friends who they recommend, call offices around your area, ask your chiropractor or a chiropractor or physical therapist; look up insurance sites. There are sites you can go to such as ABMP (associated bodywork & massage professionals) where you can locate a therapist near you. There are others as well.
Also when you do call a location, ask if they have had experience with the condition you are seeking help with and if they have had results. At that point, you can choose whether you are interested or want that office or not. The other point and what I suggest to our clients is when they first come in, to work with each therapist because someone your friend may like or may have recommended may not be who you are comfortable with. Even though they each can have the same training, every therapist is different. I also only suggest 1 half hour when testing this out because that way its only 30 min, not an hour. This way not wasting time or money. We are really big at our office about this.
CS: Are there any specific questions a client should ask when scheduling a massage for the first time?
RS: There are and maybe we can delve into those in a future interview. One may be: am I completely undressed or partially undressed. The point is you need to feel comfortable with that initial call. I feel the office should be asking you questions such as: what is your goal? What are your concerns? What do want to get out of this? It’s about the results you experience.
Also, as I previously mentioned, if you are calling because of a specific condition, then ask the office if they have ever treated that condition and have had success with it.