Don't shop for the cheapest massage you can find. Tips on finding the best massage therapist for you.
5 Reasons why you shouldnt shop for a massage by price - and why massage DEALS end up being dealbreakers
Actually I have no real idea how many reasons there are, but titles like these on the internet seem to want to have a number, so 5 seemed like a good one. Maybe there are many more, or maybe just one - You get what you pay for.
I was moved to write this post after looking at my ad-words and seeing that the most often used phrase that people search and click on is "massage deals near me" or something similar. Somewhere further down the list is "best massage therapist near me".
I know that for some people money is tight, and many view massage as an indulgence, but here is the problem - Let's say you have saved up, you money is hard earned and you are ready to book your "treat". You go onto a deal site, look for the cheapest massage you can find 'cause hey "a massage is a massage" and you leave disappointed that it was such a mediocre experience. What do you expect? If someone is offering you something that should cost $150 or $200 or more for $65, honestly, do you really think you are going to get that elevated experience? This is not to put down therapists who do heavy discounting, or those who use these deals as a way to meet new clients, but it has been my experience that the Group-on type client will just go from therapist to therapist, carrying his or her dissatisfaction with them to the next therapist, never landing on anyone they return to, but more importantly never discovering the experience they have been looking for.
It's a value proposition. Some clients would think nothing of spending $300 on a hair cut or color, $75,000 on a new car, $500 on shoes - but a massage ? Self care? Something that is experienced but can't be shared? Get the cheapest. NO. Many don't see the value in it and that is a shame - if this is you, you are missing out.
Having said that, an expensive price doesn't always equate to a better massage either. It is a mistake to assume that just because the massage is being offered at a luxury hotel or spa that you are getting a top therapist. The most expensive hotels and luxury spas hire the same therapists that the mass franchise chains do. And sadly they get paid the same. So if you are paying $300 for your upscale experience, the therapist is still likely only getting $35 plus tips. The principal difference being that it is a beautiful setting with wonderful amenities usually, but not always. No extra care is put on the quality of the therapists.
So what do you do? Look for an independent therapist or smaller company. . Someone whose website resonates with what you are looking for. Look for someone that will take a thorough intake, listen to your needs, and refer you out if they don't feel they are the best match. Look at their offerings? Are they all over the map or do they seem to specialize. Look closely at sites that are too generic or broad - Deep tissue, Swedish Relaxation, Sports, Injury & Pain Management, Emotional Well being, Stress Management. I mix a variety of modalities to create a unique experience just for you" is the most over used phrase in bodywork. Massage is a big word and it means many things to many people. Its difficult to specialize in deep or rehab work as well as relaxation, stress management and emotional well being. They are at opposite ends of a spectrum.
Next time you are ready to book a massage - try this experiment - Just once, look, really look for a therapist that stands out, look for the best fit, not the cheapest. I realize "the best" is subjective, but do a little homework, and search for someone, not based on price and book that one. Then see how you feel. AND - let me know here in the comments how it turns out.
MLD for Post Surgical Recovery - How to heal faster from your tummy tuck, mommy makeover, BBL, breast reconstruction or Lipo procedure
Within the past decades a whole new form of post-surgical healing has emerged – Post Surgical Manual Lymphatic Drainage.
While there are therapists trained to perform MLD for Lymphedema, and other health and wellness purposes, they are not necessarily trained or believers in applying MLD to patients recovering from cosmetic or non elective procedures. . Evidence of it's growing popularity is in the number of post op clients who call saying their surgeon "prescribed" MLD as part of their followup protocol.
The Lymphatic System
The Lymphatic System is a complex pathway of specialized capillaries, trunks, and nodes which assist in returning fluids back into the circulatory system. As a passive system, it has no central pump, like the heart, to move fluids. That task is left to the vein like structures to "pump" fluids,
The post-surgical case for MLD
Inflammation. (and fibrosis). It all really comes down to inflammation. Surgery is trauma. And trauma triggers a trauma response. Part of that response is swelling. Swelling is a normal part of healing, but it can be uncomfortable and chronic swelling can lead to other issues. Manual Lymphatic Drainage helps the lymphatic drainage system function at a peak level to draw fluids away from a swollen area. Stimulation of the lymphatic system increases the rate at which the body removes waste, dead cell particles, and inflammatory agents from our tissue.s Accelerating the lymphatic flow has been demonstrated to reduce swelling and bruising in the injured region. Studies indicate that as the volume of fluid at the injury site is reduced, rehabilitation time may be shortened. Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) can play an important role in post-surgery recovery to reduce inflammation but also by playing a role in the reduction of pain, stiffness and bruising,
You may receive Post-Surgical MLD treatments within 3 days after surgery.
Doctors who know of Post Surgical MLD will sometimes suggest treatment as soon as 3-days after surgery. This early intervention assists with helping to minimize bruising and swelling. However, some doctors suggest or even mandate patients wait from 2-6 weeks after surgery before receiving treatment. With a Doctor's permission, I will work on clients generally beginning 3 days to a week after surgery. No work will be done on or near an incision this early - only after it has healed. Generally after 2-3 weeks all work is safe unless there are complications with your surgery.
Your MLD Therapist should have wound care or medical training if you have issues with your surgical site.
One current trend we are seeing is that patients are flying out of state or out of the country for cosmetic procedures that are more affordable. Often the client returns home with a paper of "instructions" and there is no real medical followup. MLD itself can only do so much, and some Doctors are simply passing the patient responsibility forward. If you are experiencing any issues such as abnormal oozing, sharp pain. redness that is abnormal or other signs of infection, please seek competent local medical care or see your doctor if local. MLD therapists only do what they do which is limited.
Pushing fluids and tissues out from unhealed incisions is NOT MLD
There is a "understanding" in various places in the United States and abroad that the way to get lymphatic fluid out of your body is to reopen the incisions and push fluid out manually. First, this process is outside the scope of practice (100% illegal) for any massage therapist or MLD therapist in any of the 50 United States. Unless the person performing this process is a nurse or similarly licensed healthcare worker in a clinic with biohazard bags, gloves, face shield, gowns, etc., they should not be doing this. If you are a surgery patient and someone wants you to do this, or to do this to you, run.
YouTube videos are NOT an alternative to hands-on MLD - But I can show you Self Care MLD strokes you can do at home
When time and budget allow, MLD is best performed by a trained therapist, however not everyone has the time or budget for a series of visits. One challenge with online videos is that you never know what you are getting. I see massage videos all the time that contradict the actual work. Further it is easy to "mimic, " maybe, but if you don't know the "why" behind what you are doing, or know if you are doing it right, you may be doing things contrary or ineffective to the healing process. If you want to do MLD self care at a minimum, book a treatment with some extra time and go home with a self care routine that you know will be effective.
MLD does NOT use brushes, tools, cupping, bamboo sticks, rollers, or creams.
MLD uses only the hands and is performed without oils, lotions or creams. It involves movement of the skin in particular directions, and gentle pressure toward the body. Any other technique, tool, cream, or even cupping, is not part of the Post Surgical MLD process and should be avoided. If you have a therapist who is insistent on using creams, tool, cups or rollers, just say “No!” and tell them to use hands only. If they refuse, simply end the session and leave. There are instances where cups and tools can be used during the healing process, but it is not for lymphatic drainage.
You Deserve a Better Healing
In all cases, a post-surgical lymphatic drainage session should be gentle and complete, Post surgical MLD is an excellent way to help promote the healing process and is appropriate for almost any surgery or procedure.
I treat clients in my Needham, MA office who have had procedures such as lipo-360, mommy makeover, breast reduction or augmentation, Brazilian butt lifts, abdominoplasty (tummy tucks), cool sculpting, brachioplasty, facelifts, hip replacements, shoulder surgeries, lumpectomies, mastectomies and reconstruction, gender affirmation surgeries. . If your situation involves Lymphedema, active cancer or is in general more complex, my colleague, Virginia Murphy, is available to handle almost special care cases from her nearby Hanover studio, She has hundreds of hours of training in oncology massage, lymphatic systems and manual lymphatic drainage. We would like to be your healing partner. Together, we see clients on Martha's Vineyard as well, me year round, Virginia from spring to fall.
First, if you have found this blog post - Congratulations!
This is probably one of my least serious posts, massage wise, but it does speak to a larger worldwide problem, which is the domination of the online universe by basically 1 - 3 companies, principally Google, Facebook and Apple And the advertising world is at their whim. This briefly chronicles the difficulties and challenges I have had this past 10 days simply trying to get my couples workshops ads to run Ads that have been running for 2 or more years were flagged for censorship Try as I might, I have been working day and night to figure out what Google finds objectionable (s****ally ex***cit) about these phrases What makes it even more frustrating is that many of these phrases - Google itself is suggesting to make the ads better. More frustrating still is that when I put them in the ad strength goes from poor to excellent, yet the ads get disapproved. So now I am stuck with an ad rated as "poor" and does not read very well simply to get it to run So here are some of the terms they rejected.
"fun date night activity"
"learn equipment basics and professional techniques from a licensed professional"
"Couples Massage Workshop" (Couples Massage Class was allowed)
"read what others say"
"therapeutic workshops for couple"
There were hundreds of combinations, all rejected, but I won't post them all, you get the idea.
In any event, I do offer number of wonderful couples massage workshops. Most of the workshops are private and can be done in my studio or in home. On occasion, I do offer group workshops at a lower cost. The workshop topis generally fall into 3 categories:
Deep Tissue Update
In an effort to streamline my website, I have removed the deep tissue offering from the menu since it was informational and I generally do not offer it. So for those who are interested or looking for it, the wording has been moved here:
Deep Pressure / Deep Tissue Massage (update 11/2020)
The Deep Tissue work is not really its own massage, but rather the incorporation of deeper pressure wherever is needed to obtain the desired result. I have decided to remove Deep Tissue as an option from my offerings for the moment. Mostly because I don't believe in it, and it is not my strong suit. Deep Tissue started as a marketing gimmick (the term was invented by a therapist to differentiate his practice from the pack by way of ads and flyers) and remains so. However, it remains a popular request; every client should receive the work they love. It is often sought out and this is not to take away from any of the talented therapists who specialize in deep pressures. My work is unique, and extremely well received but it is more mind body focused and relaxation/stress management oriented. I love that every therapist is unique and every client should get what they love. That said, deeper pressure can be incorporated into any treatment, particularly the custom massage option.
Would you like to learn how to incorporate full chest and breast into your wellness massage sequence?
Do you have clients that would benefit from this work? Is it legal in your area? The answer here may surprise you - read on.
Why include chest & breast massage in a full body massage?
After all, we were taught "Stay away from the chest", "it is illegal" "It is or could be considered sexual".
The fact is - breasts are a healthy and normal part of our bodies. Massage can reduce pain and swelling, support range of motion, and promote circulation and relaxation.
Further - It feels wonderful to receive and helps receivers experience innocence in our body that we may not have felt since early childhood. It is non-sexual and it is an excellent and wholesome component of any wellness massage for men and women..
Why not provide our chest and breasts with the same benefits that we give the rest of the body?
Massage of the full chest supports easy breathing, relieves tension, assists with back, neck and shoulder pain, relieves chest tightness and reduces tension in the rib cage, neck and throat. Easy breathing leads to physical, emotional, mental and spiritual stress relief. Massage of the chest is also useful in treating shoulder and neck injuries.
Massage of the breast tissue itself can aid in lymph flow, help relieve congestion and discomfort related to menstrual periods, fibrocystic conditions and lactation.
After open wounds have healed, massage also helps relieve restrictions and scar
tissues post-surgery, including open heart surgery, mastectomy, breast reconstruction, breast reduction and breast augmentations.
In May 2021, my friend, sometimes mentor and colleague Barbara Helynn Heard, LMT announced that she was going to step away from teaching and massage practice to devote more time to living end enjoying life. Barbara is an amazing person and an inspiration. She was one of the first people I met professionally as I contemplated embarking on my Lomi journey and massage career. Her kindness and spirit were and are an inspiration. Barbara had made it a mission of her later career to normalize full chest and breast massage within the context of a therapeutic treatment. She created the first class in Seattle on full chest and breast massage and when she offered me the opportunity to carry on with this teaching, I said yes.
As of May 2021, I have been offering a Full Chest & Breast Massage Class as a 16 hour Continuing Education Class. As well., I offer a 4 hr "Intro" class that is suitable for all schools across the county. In the "intro class, we do not work the chest undraped, it is merely to introduce the concept, answer questions and to help guide students toward the 2 day course if that is what they choose.
BOTH courses are NCBTMB approved as continuing education and the 2 day course is accepted by the State of Washington to satisfy their requirement to work in that State.
I generally offer this course in Boston a few times a year. In addition, I am available to teach it anywhere in the country if you know of a facility that would like to host it, or if you can generate enough student interest.
Also, it is a mixed gender course, open to all Licensed Therapists with a sincere reason to want to learn, and provided it fits or could fit into their current offerings. Every student is vetted, however and not every person is able to be admitted. The proportion of male to female students is very low, similar to that of the therapist population, about 1 in 10. That said, I do my best to keep a ratio along those lines.
Lastly, in recognition of the number of female therapists who may have women only practices, or may wish to learn this material in a single gender environment, I do offer the course in a singe gender version a couple of times a year also.
If you are interested and would like to learn more about the class, please go here
If you would like to more more about the practical benefits, read testimonials, see if it is legal in your area, you may go here
I’ve been devoted to learning, and now teaching this alongside my Hawaiian Lomi work
for the past many years. I would be delighted to introduce you to this wonderful world of healing touch to share with your family, your community, the world !
Again, I am also available to bring this teaching to you, worldwide. If you would like to organize a facility and a small group of students in your area, or at a retreat site, simply email me and I would be happy to talk with you about bring the training to you.
What are your thoughts? Please leave them here !
A Really Good Massage Blog
I write about things that I myself need to be mindful of. ways in which I would like to improve. It is not from the perspective of preaching - but rather writing helps me work out what I myself need to do - we are all in this together.