Thursday, February 26, 2015



Increasingly, fibromyalgia is making the news and within my own practice, fibro is a pretty common occurrence among my clients. No two clients have the same pain patterns, need the same kind of massage and from visit to visit, what a client needs can, and often does, shift dramatically. To take the best care of my clients, education about chronic pain has become paramount and right at the top of the list is fibromyalgia. So, what is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is an arthritis related condition, with the most common symptom being widespread musculoskeletal pain, affecting both women and men with the current number standing between 6 and 12 million sufferers. Women are ten times more likely than men to have fibromyalgia, especially in the 25-60 year old age range. (1.) While it is related to arthritis, there is no joint deterioration or inflammation brought about by the fibromyalgia itself. A definite cause is not currently known for this chronic pain condition. The possible causes, though not exhaustive, include trauma, repetitive stress injuries, lupus, central nervous system issues, or gene pain regulation. (2.)

Anyone that has fibromyalgia will attest to the negative impact that it has in their lives and that management is often very difficult. Unfortunately, with no known cause and such a wide variety of symptoms, learning the best ways to manage fibro is the only recourse that you have. With any kind of chronic pain, alternative medicine provides an array of pain reducing possibilities. Results will vary per person so the goal is to try as many as you can or are comfortable with, keep what works and add it to your tool box of pain management techniques.

A 1996 study published in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology (3.) found that people receiving ten 30 massage sessions reported a 38% decrease in pain,  anxiety, and depression; better energy levels and improved sleep quality. The results of this study are extremely impressive and the reasons for these results are due to the muscle relaxation, decrease of joint pain, flooding of tissues with oxygen, increased circulation and finally, the overall state of relaxation that massage induces.

As with any treatment, patience is key. In an age of instant gratification, remaining with a treatment long enough to see marked improvement can be a trial. One thing that can definitely help is to keep a pain journal. This can be any kind of notebook that you like or an online pain tracker but the end goal here is to monitor your pain levels day by day. Chronic pain is by nature demoralizing and it can feel as though your treatments aren't getting you anywhere unless you have something tangible to measure it against. A pain journal will provide you with a clear picture of what is working for you and what is not.

For further information, I absolutely recommend checking out this article by the ACPA. They are a reliable source for additional study as well as offering tools for tracking pain, lifestyle checklists, etc. There is definitely hope for getting fibromyalgia under control and massage can help get you there. Find a therapist that you click with, one who listens and please don't give up on your goal of managing your pain. It can be exhausting and, as one client once stated to me, "damned unfair". You won't get an argument from me but I will tell you that there is hope for keeping the pain levels under control and there are people out there willing to help you do it. That is where your power is.

(As always, this article does not diagnose and if you feel you need a diagnosis, go visit with your doctor. Massage should be additional care to whatever medical care you are already engaged in with your physician. If in doubt if massage is right for you, ask your doctor.)


3. Fibromyalgia 
    Sunshine, W., Field, T., Schanberg, S., Quintino, O., Kilmer, T., Fierro, K., Burman, I.,          Hashimoto, M., McBride, C., & Henteleff, T. (1996). Massage therapy and transcutaneous electrical stimulation effects on fibromyalgia. Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, 2, 18-22.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Innovative Style...

There is nothing especially new about the concept of mobile massage. To a certain extent, even I offer mobile services with the chair massage contracts I accept and the handful of outcall clients that I still maintain from when I first began life as a massage therapist. There is something about being able to take massage out to the people that feels particularly satisfying, as though you are crusading forth into the world to spread the message of healing through touch. Does that sound poetic or pompous? I'm thinking both but the truth is, mobile massage is an extremely positive part of the massage industry because it does, in fact, take massage to people who might not otherwise be receiving it.

The RelaxMax new massage truck

Maxime Raux has launched a mobile massage service in Luxembourg that is a bit similar in presentation to a food truck, mainly (and only) because a truck is what he works out of. However, that is where the similarity ends. He takes his massage truck to different business districts on a regular basis and provides massage mainly to the time-crunched corporate set. He did say that he met with some doubt when clients who had known him for a decade were suddenly presented with a truck to step into for their massages but they were sold once they stepped through the doors. Check out the link by clicking here to read all about it yourself.

The RelaxMax new massage truck

Personally, I love anything that gets more massage out into the world and that does it with creativity. This accomplishes that on both counts. So what do you think? How would you feel about a massage truck or are you more comfortable with the idea of walking into your favorite establishments massage room?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Good vibrations...

My new banner that came in this morning!
One of my very favorite things about the coming of a new year is all the things that I look forward to doing for my clients and in my practice.  As each year goes by, I learn more and I grow more - new skills, new information. As a matter of fact, the reason that I titled this post "good vibrations" is because I am so excited about the positive energy that is going on with the growth of my massage practice, something that is only possible because of my awesome clients.

One of the new features that you can look forward to this year as a client is that you will be receiving a birthday postcard in the mail from me that will include a little something special. This was an important thing for me because I really want to give something back to the people who put so much faith in me and have no reservations when it comes to recommending me. You are great and I love you!

Another thing that is happening is the focus on a couple of new treatment items. Specifically, the feet and the head. These are two areas that may not pack as much punch in terms of muscle mass as other areas like the legs back or even arms but you better believe that they are just as important as those larger regions. If either of those two places hurt, you're in misery and this year is about dealing with some of those chronic pain issues, so the feet and head were a perfect fit for specialized treatments.

For those hard working feet there is either a foot soak or hot towels. Aromatherapy is added once we do an intake and go over your preferences. Both treatments end with a killer foot massage that work gently but deeply into the soles and around the Achilles tendon and finishes off with a cooling mint foot cream that I create myself. It's really good stuff.

The head is another area that frequently needs tlc. Headaches, stress, TMJ dysfunction...there are a lot of things that frequently go on upstairs. I usually incorporate some head massage no matter what but the more in depth work will get you on your way to feeling like a whole new person. A full treatment of cleanser, clay, and moisturizer are applied; a thorough neck, scalp and face massage are then given. This ensures that the muscles of these regions are receiving all the great benefits that massage can give to them and your stress levels are being addressed as well. All very important things. Chronic stress equals chronic pain my friends. It's a proven fact.

Those of you who happen to drive past the shop will also notice the new banner that is up! Crick and I hung that baby up today. I am super proud of how well it turned out and I am also really happy to continue breathing new life into my marketing. I chose a lotus to go onto this banner (seen at the top of this post) because I really love the proverb "no mud, no lotus". It's a pretty strong idea about perseverance and all the reward your receive for your efforts. My career is definitely one of my rewards.

There will also be a few new goodies appearing in the shop this coming up week and I will post about them as they happen. I am loving all the good vibes that I am creating - that my loyal clients and I are creating together. 2015 is shaping up to be an excellent year for Hands with Heart Massage.