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What Next? Massage Therapy After the Coronavirus

I'm in a few excellent massage therapist groups on Facebook. These are usually the more dedicated, well-trained therapists who know that what we do matters (but it can't cure diseases), and are willing to put a lot of effort into our practices. Right now, many are saying they're going to quit. They're saying that our society will never again want our services; that touch will become a thing of the past. They are asserting that with a global pandemic in our recent memory (when, knock wood, it's all settled down), there just won't be a market for our skills. At first, I was depressed, swept along by the sheer number of massage therapists agreeing. I began to think of other careers I could expl

Hilarious, Wrong, or Awkward Massage Stories: Slippery Stones

Friends, things are weird everywhere, and I can only post so many "inspirational, we're all in this together" things before I get annoyed with myself. SO! With details rearranged and some people made from a composite of several, these stories are at least MOSTLY true. The basics are real, but obviously, to protect privacy of everybody involved, yadda yadda, you get the point. SLIPPERY STONES I was in my first couple of weeks as a Licensed Massage Therapist. I had done the requisite (and super brief) training on hot stone massages, and lo and behold, there on my schedule was a 90-minute Hot Stone Massage. Eep. Ok. I knew the rules: Keep the stones at the correct temperature. Use lots of lotio

Three things you can do while you're stuck at home and can't get to your massage therapist

Hello, and welcome to The Weirdest Time Ever. Spring is here, flowers are trying to bloom, the sun is peeking out at us, and ... we're all stuck. Because I can't help you relax your muscles and reduce your anxiety from my lovely massage therapy office, I'm going to try to help from my computer. ONE: Run your fingers through your hair (if you have hair!), along your scalp. Grasp the roots of your hair and GENTLY pull and/or clench your hands to create gentle traction. The critical word here is GENTLE. Please don't snatch yourself bald, ok? Re-position your hands to another spot (maybe the back of your head, your crown, or just above your ears). Grasp, pull, traction, release. This can help r

The Many Levels of Pressure Levels (yes, I meant it that way)

Luckily for all of us, there are smart and practical people in the world. One of my favorite smart and practical people is Tracy Walton over in Boston. She taught me Oncology Massage Therapy, but has standardized Levels of Pressure for the entire world of massage therapists. She had the incredible good fortune to work with Gayle MacDonald and Dawn Nelson, who conceived of the idea and especially described the first two levels. For those of you who have been sadly bereft and don't know about her levels of pressure, let me enlighten you. TRACY WALTON'S LEVELS OF PRESSURE: Level 1 is considered "Light Lotioning." Autocorrect simply does not accept the the word "lotioning," but it also doesn't a

Two Things You Should Do to Give a Great Massage (and One Thing You Shouldn't)

You're new to the massage business, and you're headed into a session. Suddenly, all of the techniques you learned in school have flown from your mind, and you feel a trickle of sweat behind your ears. WHAT TO DO? 1: Breathe. Really. Before you walk in, take at least two deep breaths. Feel your heart beat. You know that your intent is good, and you're well trained. Calm yourself and realize that you'll be fine. Then, during the session, remind yourself (and your client!) to relax by taking deep breaths. No need to say "Ok, now take a niiiiice deeeeeep breath...." Just breathe yourself, and you'll be surprised by how often your client will do the same, a moment later. 2: Slow Down The single

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