Online massage booking        Find us on Facebook    Google+    twitter RSS

Baker’s Cyst and Massage

A Baker’s cyst is an uncomfortable condition that most often occurs in adults over 55 or in children between around 4 and 7 years of age. It is estimated that around 20% of people with other knee problems may end up suffering from a Baker’s cyst. Generally symptoms of a Baker’s cyst are relatively slight unless the cyst becomes so large as to extend into the calf muscles or if it bursts. Massage therapy can assist those suffering from a Baker’s cyst by relieving the swelling and discomfort associated with the cyst.

Baker's CystA Baker’s cyst is a swelling at the back of the knee. The entire knee joint is enclosed within a capsule which is lined with a membrane and filled with synovial fluid that lubricates the joint. It is suggested that some people have a small pouch at the back of the knee with is created by extra tissue. When these people suffer a knee injury, then the body’s response is to secrete more synovial fluid into the knee which tends to accumulate and fill this pouch causing the Baker’s cyst.

Baker’s Cyst – Symptoms
In some individuals, a Baker’s cyst causes no discomfort or pain and has no obvious symptoms. When symptoms do occur then the most common ones observed are:

  • A round mass or swelling behind the knee joint which may be soft or hard and is most apparent when the person is standing.
  • A sense of pressure behind the knee which may go down into the calf muscle.
  • Pain in the knee and a restricted range of motion.
  • Persistent pain and tenderness post exercise.

Causes for a Baker’s Cyst
The most common cause of a Baker’s Cyst is after an injury when damage to the knee capsule results in a build-up of synovial fluid as referred to above. The specific injury can include a torn cartilage, arthritis or even an infection in the knee joint. For those children who develop a Baker’s cyst occasionally there may be no obvious reason for the cyst to have developed.

Diagnosis of a Baker’s cyst
Suitably trained medical practitioners use a number of tests that are used to diagnose a Baker’s cyst. These include:

  • A physical examination of the knee + medical history.
  • A popular easy diagnostic tool is to turn off lights and shine a flashlight through any lump. Presence of a red glow indicates that the lump contains fluid.
  • Magnetic imaging resonance (MRI).
  • X-rays of the knee do not show a cyst but can indicate other trauma or arthritis damage to the knee.

Treatment of a Baker’s Cyst
If there is little or no pain then there may not need to be any active treatment and a doctor will just monitor the cyst over time. If treatment is indicated then the options include:

  • Treatment for the underlying cause, such as medication for arthritis or surgery for torn knee cartilage.
  • Avoid doing anything that can aggravate the knee joint.
  • Injections of Cortisone.
  • Aspirating the cyst with a needle to drain off the fluid.
  • Surgery to remove the cyst entirely (extreme cases).

  
With any treatment plan for a Baker’s cyst then rest and elevation is generally recommended to reduce the chance of the cyst returning. For children then the approach of watching and waiting is recommended as the cyst often subsides spontaneously.

Massage Therapy and Baker’s Cyst
As the cysts are normally located in the popliteal region which is generally considered as an area contraindicated for most massage techniques then a massage therapist should not apply any deep pressure directly onto the cyst. The role of the massage therapist is more aimed at alleviating the underlying knee problem.

Massage to the area superior to the cyst can have therapeutic benefits i.e. balancing the muscles that influence the knee joint such as hamstrings and adductors. It is suggested that lymphatic drainage techniques may assist in reducing swelling and facilitating recovery through increasing the rate of absorption of the excessive synovial fluid.

By Richard Lane

Sciatica and Massage

Many people claim to suffer from sciatica but what is sciatica?

Put simply, sciatica is a pain, usually in the back of the leg caused by compression, irritation, or inflammation of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerves are the longest and largest nerves in the body, running down the back of each leg and are about the diameter of your thumb.

The sciatic nerve is actually composed of four or five smaller nerves that leave the spinal cord from the lower spinal column, join together and then travel down each leg. It then divides into numerous smaller nerves that travel to the thigh, knee, calf, ankle, foot and toes. When these nerves are irritated or affected by the inflammation of nearby soft tissues, then this is referred to as sciatica.

There are several reasons why the sciatic nerve could become compressed, entrapped, or irritated. In “true” sciatica, the nerve roots can be compressed by herniated, degenerated or displaced lumbar spinal disc(s). This can be exacerbated by tight muscles and soft tissues in the lower back, buttocks or leg.

sciaticaThere are also other conditions which can mimic sciatic symptoms such as Piriformis Syndrome where the sciatic nerve is entrapped by the piriformis muscle in the buttocks. Piriformis Syndrome is sometime referred to as “back pocket sciatica” as pressure on the piriformis muscle and sciatic nerve can be caused by sitting on a wallet in the back pocket of a person’s pants. Another problem that can imitate sciatic pain is trigger points in the Gluteus Minimus muscle. The trigger points in this muscle can refer pain sensations down the back of the leg along the path of the sciatic nerve and also on the outside of the leg.

People with sciatica suffer from a wide range of symptoms. The pain may come and go at different times, it may be a constant problem and then it may subside for hours or days for no apparent reason. Some people may feel only a dull ache travelling down the back into the upper leg. For others, it may be intense sharp shooting pains all the way down the leg into the foot and toes.

Many factors can influence the pain of sciatica. If the sufferer sits in one position for long periods of time then the pain can increase. Long distance drivers and computer operators are particularly susceptible. Exercising, or even simple things like walking, bending, twisting or standing up may be difficult and painful. For some, the pain may change from side to side or be present in both legs. For others, back pain may appear before the sciatica emerges. In some severe cases, sciatica can impair reflexes, or result in the wasting of the calf muscles.

Treatments for Sciatica
The medical approach to dealing with sciatica is to treat the symptoms. This may include using painkillers, muscle relaxers or anti-inflammatory drugs such as NSAIDs . Traction, physical therapy or injections directly into the nerve roots may also be used. In severe cases, Surgery (such as microdiscectomy or lumbar laminectomy) is used to help relieve both pressure and inflammation.

  
Massage Therapy
Massage Therapy and Bodywork can help Sciatica, Sciatic Nerve Pain, in particular the conditions which mimic sciatica such as Piriformis Sydrome. Massage therapy can relaxes muscles, releases trigger points and abnormal tissue adhesions, and improve posture to relieve the pressure on nerve roots and other sensitive structures.

Other Manual treatments (including physical therapy, osteopathic, or chiropractic treatments) can help relieve the pressure. Chiropractic and Osteopathic techniques are often used in conjunction with treatment by a Massage Therapist.

Use a Tennis Ball
The knots in the muscles of the hip and buttock can be effectively treated with a tennis ball. Simply lie on a tennis ball such that it presses on deep, sore points and just wait for the feeling to fade. However please be aware that the piriformis muscle is so unusually reactive and the use of a tennis ball to massage the piriformis needs to be gentle and conservative.

Jump in the Spa to Relax the Area with Heat
Whether the pain is caused by the crushed sciatic nerve itself, or just by tight muscles, the muscles need to relax. Hot tubs, with jets, are ideal for sciatica.

Check Your Posture
The types of sciatica that are related by excessive sitting may be influenced by the ergonomic design of work station and/or chair. It may be worth experimenting with your chair and the layout of your work station. A simple option is to use a timer to remind yourself to get our of your chair at regular intervals such as every fifteen-twenty minutes.

By Richard Lane

Cellulite Massage

Cellulite – the mere mention of the word can bring about a highly negative reaction in some women. There are many creams, body wraps and treatments that are claimed to bring about reduction in or an elimination of cellulite, yet much of the money that is spent on cellulite is simply wasted as there is little evidence that they work. Some people claim that most of the research that is reported is paid for by companies with an interest in promoting favourable aspects of results and is not truly scientifically independent.

Abdominal massageThere are also many massage therapists who promote that their massage techniques can bring about a reduction in cellulite and they claim that there are studies that support that cellulite can be smoothed and reduced by a cellulite massage.

What is Cellulite?
Cellulite is not an actual disease but a condition of bulging fat cells that lead to an appearance of bumpy looking fat on the skin. In some circumstances the fat cells expand to the point that they result in the bending of collagen fibres surrounding them which gives rise to a puckered skin appearance. There are still some arguments about how the fat cells originate; some say that it is the result of a build up of metabolic waste due to ineffective lymphatic drainage and/or poor circulation, others claim that it is more environmental (tight clothing for example) or diet related. However, aspects that are generally agreed upon are that the incidence of cellulite is hereditary and the thickness/configuration of the dermis plays a significant role. For example, men who typically have a cross-hatch type pattern of connective tissue beneath the dermis, are much less likely to be affected with cellulite.

Treatments for Cellulite
Exercise and Diet
Although there are so many health reasons for having a good diet with lots of fresh and natural foods along with regular exercise, unfortunately these will not “cure” cellulite. If you lose weight, then there may be a reduction in the levels of fat that occurs as cellulite but for most women, genetics are the overriding factor and the cellulite appearance can be considered as being predetermined by her genes.

Creams
Probably as much money is spent on creams as any other treatments but there is little evidence that they offer long term benefits. The proposition that a topically applied cream will penetrate the skin and act on the fat deposits, is hard to contemplate particularly as the skin is normally considered as a great barrier.

Some people do feel that regular application of creams does reduce the appearance of cellulite although it is probably the case that the cheaper creams are as good as the expensive creams that contain wild and exotic ingredients. This is particularly relevant if it is possibly the mere act of massaging the cellulite that may be responsible for the transient improvement in appearance.

Endermologie
For women who have spent time and money on cellulite cures, then the phrase Endermologie will be familiar to them. There are many clinics offering Sydney Endermologie or Lipomassage or the like. Endermologie is claimed to work by suctioning the skin with a vacuum and then applying a type of deep tissue massage using a set of rollers.

This type of process which can break up adhesions and fibrous bands, can improve the appearance of the skin for some women. However, the effects are not permanent and the cost of regular sessions can mount up very quickly.

Cellulite Massage
Whilst massage therapy has numerous benefits for the body and the mind, there are some therapists who claim that their massage will bring about improvements with respect to cellulite. For example, they wildly claim that deep tissue massage can break up the fat deposits and eliminate toxins. Lymphatic drainage may assist in removing oedema and accumulated fluid in cellulite affected areas but the relationship between fluid elimination and reduction in cellulite has never been proven.

  
Other Treatments
There are many other devices that are available with differing degrees of success and if you are interested in any of these, then it is a good idea to spend a little time doing research before you spend your money. And it is always good to be sceptical about suppliers’ claims.

One treatment that has been approved by the FDA that may offer some benefits is Vela Smooth which combines Bi-Polar Radio Frequency, infrared light energies, plus negative pressure and tissue manipulation to smooth the skin. Again though if you read independent online reviews then some women have claimed success whereas others have felt that they have wasted money and had their raised expectations dashed.

If you are thinking of trying a treatment, be it a cream, a machine or for sessions of lymphatic drainage massage for reducing your cellulite then it is advisable to shop around and do your research beforehand and always be wary of pre-paying large sums of money for treatments without guarantees of success.

By Richard Lane

Should Massage Hurt?

Ask 10 therapists this question and you are likely to get 10 very different answers. Some therapists do not believe that massage should be painful, ever, and if you are in any sort of discomfort then you are being massaged too hard. Other are at the opposite end of the spectrum and if you are not squirming, squealing and wriggling as they beat the knots out of you then they are not going hard enough.

My answer….it depends.

If you are purely after relaxation massage at a day spa or for stress relief then you would be looking for a massage that is be blissful and pain free. If you have never had a massage before then this is probably the end of the pain spectrum that you can reasonably expect to receive.

You should not feel sore or uncomfortable that day (or the next morning) and any pain is an indication that the therapist wasn’t listening to you or your body.

However, I’m sure I gave one of those massage in 2004.

Deep Tissue massage of a woman's thighPeople who book in to see me are generally after remedial, deep tissue or sports massage and for this group of massage recipients then some degree of discomfort both during and after the massage should be anticipated. Sometimes you have to take one step back to move two forwards.

If you are suffering from a sore back or a stiff neck then myofascial restrictions and adhesive scar tissues need to be worked. Polishing the skin just isn’t going to cut the mustard even if it does calm the nervous system and relax the sympathetic nervous system. You need to get into the muscles (and other soft tissues such as ligaments and fascia) and disrupt their current condition in order to obtain the response that you are looking for.

Now although a deep tissue massage sounds as though it should be excessively painful, this is not necessarily the case. Deep tissue merely means working the deeper levels of tissue, working through superficial layers of fascia and muscle to achieve a change in the structure of the deeper tissues.

But while it needn’t be excessively painful, in reality it is almost always the case that it can be uncomfortable. Personally I do take issue with therapists who say that deep tissue massage should never hurt and feel that either they have never experienced genuine deep tissue massage or they are doing it wrong.

By the same token, though there are therapists who work at such a pressure and intensity that a client is literally bruised and in more discomfort than when they started the massage. “No pain – no gain” may the mantra of the therapist. This doesn’t sit comfortably with me but if it works for them and their clients then so be it. So long as they are genuine with their intentions, explain how they will work and warn their clients how they will feel after the massage then that’s ok with me.

It’s just not the way I work.

  
I like to work within the clients pain threshold so that whilst it may be uncomfortable and bordering on painful (when I consider it to be appropriate), it should never be so heavy that they are wincing and flinching on the table. By the way, the level of pain threshold does tend to increase the more massage you receive and arguments have been made that this isn’t necessarily a good thing (eg needing more and more pressure to achieve the same response is almost an addiction).

Ultimately it is up to you to find a massage style and therapist that suits you. If you have never had a massage before and you are in pain during the massage, then speak up. Similarly if you know what you want and the therapist is one of those who insists on not hurting you at all then maybe you need to find someone else who can give you the type of bodywork you are after.

By Richard Lane

Massage Swaps

There are very few people who do not benefit from massages and massage therapists are no exception. In fact, given the physical nature of the work often with suboptimal postural position, massage therapists probably need more massage than some other professions.

There are often debates on social networks about the merits of fellow massage therapists trading massages.

Massage exchangeIt can be a great way for students to practise their strokes and receive constructive criticisms about their bodyworking style in a non-threatening environment. They can learn and discuss new techniques. They can ‘talk shop’ about the massage industry, their ideas and their business plans.

However, professional therapists who trade massages in Sydney tend to be the exception rather than the rule.

In theory it should seem logical that therapists work on each other. However, in practice, even though most therapists try it at some stage in their career, most end up deciding that paying for massages works better for them.

There are a number of reasons for why professional do not tend to swap massages.

– They struggle to find someone that they want to receive regular bodywork from who also wishes to trade.
– They struggle to find suitable times that work for both parties.
– Very few therapists like to do a mutual swap within the same session. It is always very hard to get up from a massage table and then have to give your trade partner a massage straightaway.
– If they do find a massage swap partner who they do like, it is very rare that the bartering relationship is completely reciprocal. As often occurs in any relationship, one party tends to feel that they are investing more than the other. Eg one therapist may cancel or put paying clients ahead of their trade partner.

  
Most therapists tend to find swap partners when they are studying and it may well be that they only swap whilst they are learning new modalities or techniques. There are massage exchange websites where therapists can check out other massage practitioners who they may wish to consider swapping with. However, as a word of caution, many those with register with these sites may be after a sensual massage swap.

Even therapists who find that they are compatible with respect to swapping massages often drift away over time and what might start out as a weekly or fortnightly swap, ends up being just an occasional massage. In the end most experienced therapists end up preferring to become just another paying customer with therapists they enjoy receiving bodywork from.

By Richard Lane

Baby Massage

Babies like massage. It helps them sleep better and to relax. Many traditional cultures have used massage as part of baby care, and research indicates that it can have many benefits. Infant massage allows you to understand and respond to your baby’s body language. It is also a fantastic way to let your baby feel safe and secure.

Infant massage should be a wonderful experience for both the parent and the child, and whilst it does not necessarily come naturally to parents, it is need not be difficult and it can be learned from others practicing or from specially designed infant massage classes.

The Benefits of Baby Massage
Baby massage1. Provides relief from discomfort
Oxytocin and endorphins can be released through massage and these assist in relieving discomfort from teething, congestion and colic. For example a very gentle daily abdomen massage (a specific sequence provided by a trained practitioner) can assist in moving and releasing small amounts of gas trapped in the colon. If the small amounts of gas are consistently being eliminated then it may be possible to prevent the build up of gas and reduce impact of baby colic.

2. Speeds development of the brain and nervous system
Skin stimulation can speed the process of myelination of the brain and nervous system which improves the body-brain communication.

3. Relaxation and enhancement of neurological development
During a baby massage the child can experience both stress and relaxation stimulae. Increased circulation, cool air on the skin, the stimulation of stroking, may be stressful to a newborn, yet if these are balanced with the reassuring the parental voice and touch, then the baby will undergo a learning experience.

4. Sleep
Some babies sleep for longer periods following infant massage and also appear to have longer periods of deep sleep. However it should be noted that a course of action that is effective with one baby does not necessarily apply to the next. There are cases where the problematic sleep pattern of babies is not improved by infant massage.

Other benefits include:

  • Enhances the bonding process
  • Helps muscle tone and assists growth
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Increases Circulation
  • Improves sensory awareness

Baby massage provides quality time between parent and baby and enables parents to feel more confident in their role and provides parents with a great tool for aiding their child to relax during stressful times.

Tips for a Great Baby Massage
To begin with then choose a time in which you and your child are relaxed and calm eg 30 minutes after the baby has eaten may be a great time. Do not massage infants under 5 months of age in conjunction with bath time. This is over-stimulating. For young infants, massage and bath time need to be separated by a nap or night- time sleep as they are both quite stimulating.

  • Place the baby on a soft surface and your baby will feel comfortable and secure.
  • The room needs to be warm enough for your baby to be comfortable without any clothing.
  • Don’t not apply cold cream or lotion directly onto your baby but warm it first by putting the cream onto your hands and rubbing them together.
  • Always begin with massaging the legs. This is an unobtrusive way to begin a massage as the legs are touched constantly while changing nappies. To place your hands directly on the infant’s chest or abdomen to begin massaging can be intrusive, and unacceptable to many infants.
  • Use long firm (but tender) strokes. Light, feathery massage tend to irritate babies infants, as it does most adults.
  • During the massage then feel free to look at your baby tenderly. This will stimulate all the senses of the baby and establish a more intense visual and tactile communication. Speaking to your baby during the massage will also add to the experience.
  •   

  • If the baby wants to change position let them do so. Do not force your baby to keep a position, you can go back to these areas later on. Never watch the clock while massaging your baby. Simply go by what your child is indicating they want. If your baby wants more massage, and you are willing to continue then keep going. If you can see that your child has had enough – stop, regardless of how much massage you managed to get through.
  • Never massage your baby while they are is crying. (The only exception for this may be with colic, and painful gas). Any arm movements going in and out from the chest indicate that you should stop the massage.

Remember that your touches should be tender and consider being flexible and not keeping to a rigid routine.

The Benefits of Abdominal Massage

Many massage therapists will spend the vast majority of session working on the back of the client. They will give great bodywork to the back, shoulders, neck and the back of the legs but then only give cursory attention to the front of the body. Now it is true that most of us have significant issues with the back of our bodies but to neglect the muscles and soft tissues at the front of the body is to provide an incomplete session. Only a few therapists would routinely incorporate an abdominal massage within a full body massage, yet there is little doubt that bodywork through the stomach area can offer many health benefits.

Abdominal massageMost people who do request an abdominal massage would likely do so because of digestive issues although there is also significant musculature in the area that may require release to assist with physical problems. For example, a tight and contracted rectus abdominis muscle will impact on the stability and movement of the lower part of the body or lead to us slouching forward setting up postural imperfection through the lower back.

In total there are at least four layers of muscles in the abdomen and these can impact on your core strength (both your physical and emotional core). Trigger points are not uncommon in the abdominal muscles and the pain referral patterns can include the lower back. Simons and Travell (1) observed that

An active trigger point high in the rectus abdominis muscle on either side can refer to the mid-back bilaterally, which is described by the patient as running horizontally across the back on both sides at the thoracolumbar level … In the lowest part of the rectus abdominis, trigger points may refer pain bilaterally to the sacroiliac and low back regions.

Regardless of the requirement for remedial massage and trigger point techniques for hypertonic muscles in the abdomen, the vast majority of abdominal massage will be for digestive issues. Most therapists consider that massage to the stomach areas will improve the capability of the digestive system and will potentially benefit some of the organs that are contained within the abdominal cavity (such as liver, pancreas, gall bladder, small intestine and colon). A recent review of research has confirmed that there are likely to be benefits for performing abdominal massage to treat chronic constipation. Sinclair (2) concluded “studies have demonstrated that abdominal massage can stimulate peristalsis, decrease colonic transit time, increase the frequency of bowel movements in constipated patients, and decrease the feelings of discomfort and pain that accompany it. There is also good evidence that massage can stimulate peristalsis in patients with post-surgical ileus.”

Routine for Abdominal Massage
In order to give an abdominal massage then the stomach needs to be exposed and it is usually recommended that there be some bolstering under the knees to slightly relax the abdominal region. Normal massage lubricatants are fine to use.

– Place your hands gently on the stomach and palpate. The stomach should feel soft and relaxed

– Always be aware of the breathing of the client and work with the breathe, not against it.

– Sink in through the diaphragm region with the breathe of the client

– Lightly work along the lower border of the rib-cage with fingers and thumbs.

– Gently effleurage the area with light circular strokes. Always work in the direction of the digestive system which means working clockwise around the stomach.

– Place your hands over the rectus abdominis and gently palpate for areas of tenderness and restriction. Work the edges of the muscles with static compression (asking the client to tense the muscle by have them start to sit up) with sufficient pressure to be therapeutic but not too much that it causes pain. Release attachments at the xyphoid process (obviously without ever putting direct pressure on the vulnerable process itself). Release the attachments at the upper border of the pubic bone (mindful of the sensitive nature of this area – if client has any concerns then you can get them to use their own hand to achieve this release or alternatively work through a drape).

– Work deeper under the ribcage on both sides of the body (be aware of working too deeply directly into the liver which is on the right side of the body). Cross friction at any tender points.

– Pull through the sides of the body with relaxed hands, reaching around the body as far as possible, working and stretching the fascia.

– Work the ascending colon (right side) and descending colon (left). Make sure you connect with sufficient pressure through colon although not too much so that it causes pain. Some therapists recommended clearing the descending colon first too “make room”.

– Finish with a calming connective touch to the abdomen.

  
Normal massage contraindications would apply for abdominal bodywork and if the massage is to be performed for a specific health objective then it is recommended that it be discussed with suitable doctor prior to treatment. Also be aware that many people may have emotional sensitivity and instinctively be highly protective of this so any bodywork needs to be mindful and respectful

1. Simons DG, Travell JG. Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual, Volume 1, Upper Half of Body, 2nd Edition. Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 1999:943.
2. Sinclair M. The use of abdominal massage to treat chronic constipation. J Bodyw Mov Ther 2011; 15:436-445.

============
Update – a 2011 review of the effect of abdominal massage in chronic constipation found that abdominal massage can stimulate peristalsis, decrease colonic transit time, increase the frequency of bowel movements in constipated patients, and decrease the feelings of discomfort and pain that accompany it.

“The use of abdominal massage to treat chronic constipation.” Sinclair M.
J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2011 Oct;15(4):436-45. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2010.07.007. Epub 2010 Aug 25.
============

By Richard Lane

Free Massages – How Not to Give Them

When you are a student massage therapist then providing a free massage for Sydney family members and friends is considered part of the training. In return for you giving them a massage then you get the chance to practice strokes and techniques that you may have learnt in class. In addition, you can solicit feedback from the recipient of the free massage.

It is a win-win situation.

However, once you have qualified and start working as a massage therapist then this synergistic situation changes. You are confident of your skills and how your bodywork is received by clients and client feedback is less important for you.

If you have been working hard at a clinic, doing mobile massage or at a spa then the last thing you want to be doing when you get home is to give away a freebie.

free massage in SydneyUnfortunately from the therapists point of view though friends and family don’t necessarily see it this way and many therapists are frequently asked to give them a few minutes of time to massage their stiff neck or sore shoulder.

A question that is often posed is how can I, as a therapist, politely decline to work on them?

On a recent Facebook posting, therapists gave suggestions on how to deal with this issue. The most common response was along the lines of handing the person your business card and asking them to call to make a booking.

Here of some of the other answers.

I say in a funny sarcastic yet friendly way, “I have all my free massages when I was in school for two years. I have to pay off my student loans before giving anymore free massages.”

I’m just honest. I tell them that I don’t have the stamina on my days off and they always understand. If I can tell someone is just trying to get a freebie, I tell them they can have a business card. They laugh and say, “Smart answer”.

Tell them you’ll trade if they work on you first

When family and friends come crying to me about what is hurting on them (hinting about wanting me to work on them) I always reply by telling them what is hurting on me. They usually get the hint

It seems that people think that because we are MT’s, that we never hurt. Typically don’t like it when I say… Yeah, my neck and back are killing me too!

Sometimes if my friends say “Oh, my back hurts so badly!” I answer with, “I’m sorry, I wish I knew someone who could help”

Make an appointment, today’s my day off.

“Sure! I’ll trade you. I can always use a massage! 5 minutes for 5 minutes?” “Uhh.. uhh… uhh… “

  
But probably my favourite is

If you know someone who is a mechanic, and says “My back hurts, can you help me?” answer: My car needs brakes, can you help me later tonight?
If you know someone who does daycare and they ask for free massage, ask them in turn to babysit your kids for free when they get off work.
You get the point. If they wouldn’t work for free, why should you?

By Richard Lane

Massage Client Behaviour
– What Bugs Us

Although massage therapists always try to give the best experience they can to all clients, they are only human. Some client behaviour can impact on the mood and general psyche of the therapist and you may be surprised at some of the things that may annoy your therapist. Most of these apply whether you are visiting a massage clinic or having a Sydney mobile massage.

Recently an online massage discussion talked about client behaviour that winds up therapists.

Open Eyes
Lying on your back with your eyes open is kind of freaky for us. It gives the impression that you are not relaxing and/or enjoying the massage. Some therapists commented that they were a little unnerved and felt like they were being watched.

“Helping Us”
When we move a particular part of your body such as a limb or leg, then we like to have the muscles relaxed and loose. If you are helping us by holding your arm or your head up then muscles will be contracting which we don’t want contracted.
However, some people can be too loose. To quote from one therapist:

what I refer to as “bobble heads”, there is a difference between relaxing your neck for me to work on it and letting it go completely limp so every time I touch it, you just bobble around.

Try to relax and switch off. Let the therapist do the work – that’s what your paying them for.

massage behaviourCutting it fine
Some people will arrive right on the designated appointment time (or a few minutes late) but then trundle off to the loo and spend 5-10 minutes there whilst the therapist paces up and down waiting for them. Massage therapy is a business so time is money and many therapists operate a tight schedule and cannot afford to run behind time.

However, there is one thing worse than going to the loo when you should be on the massage table and that is
….not going to the loo.

Some therapists describe situations when the client left it too late before using the bathroom……….

Not talking to us
If you are lying on the massage table and not enjoying aspects of the massage then talk to us and let us know. If you want more or less pressure, if you don’t particularly enjoy a stroke or technique, if the room is too warm or cold, if the music is bugging you then please tell us. Whilst some things may be outside of our control, we will endeavour to change what we can so that your massage can be as enjoyable and effective as possible for you.

Talking to us
This can vary from therapist to therapist but some therapists find it distracting if you are constantly talking. It can give the impression that you are not relaxing and not overly enjoying the bodywork.
However, it may be the case that you use your time on the table to wind down and you do this by talking and unloading.
If you want to talk and your therapist doesn’t then maybe it might be time for you to find a therapist who is more open to chatting and conversation during the massage.

Unreasonable expectations
A common theme amongst the discussion was that sometimes clients have unrealistic expectations about what we can do within the one session. If you expect me to release your calf muscles, increase your hamstring flexibility, cure your tennis elbow, address that nagging pain in your lower back, free up your shoulders, loosen a tight neck and get rid of the thumping headache you are suffering from, in one 60 minute session then, sorry, but you will be disappointed.
I’ll do what I can but if you require remedial or medical massages, I can generally only work on a couple of areas effectively with one hour.

Not letting us know what is happening with your health
If anything has happened with your health since we saw you last, please let us know. To quote from one response:

Another time an elderly lady said, while on the table and after saying, “no, no changes this week”, “oh yeah, I had a small stroke the other day”. Yeah…….the MT about had a small stroke…..

  
Other (irritating) behaviours described included:

  • Leaving phones on and talking during a session.
    Cracking knuckles during an entire session.
    Playing games on a phone.
  • ==========

    Please be aware that these are personal comments from individual therapists and ultimately you are the paying customer. However, it might be worthwhile to have an appreciation of the massage from the therapists point of view.

    Want Great Massage
    – Then Speak Up!

    If you regularly experience massage then you know the type of touch you like. Some people like point pressure, some people like flowing strokes. Some people like strong pressure (which they may refer to as deep tissue massage), others like a more gentle nurturing approach. Some people like different techniques and pressures for different muscle groups. Some people like different massages at different times depending on their mood and how their body is feeling on a particular day. Some people like a full body massage including massage to the glutes, abdomen and pecs, others prefer the session to concentrate on specific problem areas such as the neck, shoulders or back for example.

    massageNow whilst many massage therapists may consider that they have a degree of intuition and may modify a particular session based on what they are feeling both physically and intuitively, unfortunately none of us are mind readers. We are only guessing how the massage feels for you.

    To optimise the benefit you receive from your massage then there is an onus on you to communicate your requirements and preferences.

    If there are techniques, strokes and styles that you particularly enjoy (or particularly dislike) then let your therapist know before the session. If there are parts of your body that you want included in the massage then please communicate that to your therapist (similarly if you don’t want particular areas included).

       
    For me personally, I dislike being jabbed or prodded with point pressure with a sudden motion. It does nothing for me (and to be honest I cannot understand how it is supposed to improve the function of the soft tissue). But it is up to me to tell is to the therapist.

    Once the session begins again if there is anything that is bugging you with the way the therapist is working, don’t just lie there but speak up. Tell your therapist that you want more or less pressure. Let them know that you would prefer more gliding/stretching strokes rather than acupressure style or whatever the case may be.

    Although you may not wish to talk too much during your treatment, just a couple of comments to direct the therapist will go a long way to providing you with the bodywork you are after.

    By Richard Lane


    Tweet