Cupping Q&A With Shaila Suleman, LMT

Shaila Suleman Cupping Q&A

The Good Life Massage is proud to offer a new service you may have heard of: cupping! Cupping goes way back to ancient Egypt. It has long been known as a method of getting many of the same benefits of massage, but in a way that dramatically improves circulation. It can give you a feeling of deep relaxation and euphoria like nothing else this side of prescription pain killers, and has a host of other benefits.

We sat down with our resident expert on cupping, Shaila Suleman, LMT to ask her about this interesting and ancient practice, and how it can help you.

What is cupping?
Cupping is a form of traditional Chinese therapy, which has been used for thousands and thousands of years. It started back in Egypt.

The concept of cupping is moving and manipulating muscle tissue and scar tissue, stimulate blood flow. It’s like an opening for congestion or stagnance, or hyper-tense muscles. With massage, we do this with a push motion. Cupping is the same kind of thing, but with a pulling motion.

Cupping - GLM_Jan2018-93Is it uncomfortable or painful?
It can be to some degree, and that’s because it’s a form of therapy. Unlike massage where you’re pushing to move out, it’s pulling, so you have this pulling sensation that can kind of be uncomfortable. But there’s a way to adjust the suction so it doesn’t have to be extremely painful. You can also move the cups, which can also be painful depending on the state of the body we’re working on.

What equipment do you use and how does it work?
The kind of cups we use are plastic pump cups. We us a pump to create the suction that’s more stable and adjustable than silicon cups or glass and fire cups.

What is cupping good for?
If you’re having caral tunnel, that’s one. It’s great for TMJ. A compression in your shoulders can be helped with cupping. If you have scar tissue, you can break that apart. It’s good for removing scar tissue post-injury. Even, like, 20 years down the road, you can still work with it enough and manipulate it enough to where it dramatically decreases the size of the scar tissue. So, post injuries or post surgeries are really great.

If you’re losing a lot of weight, it’s really great, too. When you’re losing weight rapidly, your skin can’t quite keep up with your body getting smaller, because you’re losing so much weight at one time. What cupping does is it stretches the skin out, but as it’s stretched out, it tries to get back to its orignal shape. You stretch it out so the blood can move, as it comes back, it forms close to your current shape.

Is there blood?
Not in the cupping we do, no. The idea is to make an incision on the skin to draw out “bad blood” with the suction. It’s illegal to do in Washington State. Actually, it’s illegal in every state.

If I get cupping done at The Good Life Massage, what will it be like?
For the first part of the session, we’ll start with massaging. The core idea of the massage is to relax the muscles enough so that the pulling of the cups will not be as rough, whereas if you just put a cup right on top from the get-go it can be really painful. So we manipulate the muscles as much as we can, try to get the muscles as loose as we can. Once we’re able to kinda get some movement between the muscles and the tension and the adhesions, then that’s when we use the cups.

The cups start out by moving–what we call “running cups”. We move them around the spine, around the shoulders, wherever needs to be worked on. So, running cups around, and after a few minutes, after the blood starts to come up and show as redness on the skin, that’s when we start placing the cups. Once we’ve started the cupping, we’ll move them down by sections down the back or wherever else they need it. But as the cups are sitting, I can work on massaging the arms or the legs or another body part. A full body session with massage is usually around 90 minutes. If all we’re doing is cupping, 60 minutes is usually enough.

You will end up getting bruises, just because that’s where the blood is more stagnant. They’re perfectly circular. There may also be some mild bruising from the running, but those go away after a day or so.

Where will you not put a cup?
The inner thighs. That’s a really tender, painful area. There are nerves that go through there. You can work it with massage, but only with very light tension. It’s also very uncomfortable. You can do the face, but just don’t be getting your picture taken the next day. If you’re worried about dirt and exposure on your face, the few hours after are when you’re really vulnerable to get that kind of stuff inside it. You should wash your face immediately right after so there’s nothing getting clogged.

Would you recommend doing a Chocolate Fudge Face Mask afterwards?
That would be really good! Because the cupping pulls the pores open. For this reason, cupping isn’t so good for people with severe acne. If you add a Chocolate Fudge Face Mask, it’s all set to go. because it will kind of cover it and clean it out.

If you’re a bride or a groom, or anyone who’s getting their picture taken for a big event soon, what kind of gap do you need after cupping on the face or visible areas?
Probably about a week and a half. That would be the least amount of time you would want to give it.

Otherwise you’re playing with fire?
Exactly. Less than a week is cutting it too close. I know that when I have the running done on me, it takes two to three days for the redness to go away. It really depends on the body of the person.

What are some physical conditions that would keep you from getting cupping done?
Pregnancy. Cupping releases blood clots. People of advanced age are okay. They just have to keep us aware of how they’re doing during the session.

Also, if you have stage four metastasized cancer, cupping is not a good idea because cupping can move the lymph, which helps spread the cancer cells to other parts of the body.

If you have some kind of blood disorder, or if you have any doubts or concerns whatsoever, talk to your doctor before making an appointment.

What about minors?
Minors are great for cupping! We can work with kids from age three and up, but again, it’s really light, mild cupping. We can work with kids!

It’s really good for kids having digestive problems. We can do cupping on the stomach and lower back, which can be really beneficial to their digestion. If they’re having any pain, cupping can be good for that too.

 

Do you need a license to do this?
I thought you did for a long time, but I called the Department of Health and they said our state doesn’t really license cupping. You just have to be trained. I was trained and I trained the other therapists here at The Good Life Massage.

Shaila Headshot

 

Shaila Suleman is certified in cupping and is a licensed massage therapist at The Good Life Massage. You can learn more about her here.

 

 

As with everything on this blog, none of this information should be construed as medical advice or care. The employees of The Good Life Massage, including the writers of this blog, are not medical doctors. Consult with your physician before making any changes to improve your health.

Tom Gunn is the blog editor and Marketing Director at The Good Life Massage. You can hire him to help you build your brand with content marketing by contacting him at tomgunn@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

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Drawn In: A Primer on Aromatherapy as a Massage Enhancement

Drawn In

We do a lot to at The Good Life Massage to help our clients feel relaxed, and to create an atmosphere of calm and healing. This can be done with all five senses–our specialty being touch, of course. But our second favorite way? Follow your nose.

Our aromatherapy session enhancement is the ideal way to give your massage a little dose of emotional healing. Massage already has great benefits for mental health, particularly depression, negative body image, and others, but adding the aromatherapy enhancement gives that aspect of your treatment a powerful boost.

Skeptical?
It’s understandable. There are no studies or evidence that aromatherapy can heal or cure disease. But that’s not what it’s for, and we make no claim to that. It’s undeniable, though, that aromatherapy has an impact on emotional health and well-being.

Still skeptical? When was the last time you smelled fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies after a hard day? Or coffee as you try to wake up on a rough morning? Smell is potent in shifting mood, and in activating memory and emotion. You might be surprised what the right aroma can do to activate your senses and metaphorically turn your world from black and white to living color.

Our treatment
Our aromatherapy enhancement is simple, but highly effective. You can add the enhancement at any time, even at the last minute. You’ll be offered a wide selection of essential oil blends to choose from. All our oils are naturally sourced. Some of the oils have been blended for a certain effect, or diluted for safety, but each is a natural product of real plants. There are no artificial fragrances added.

You may find that you have too many choices to pick in only a minute or two! Talk to your massage therapist about the different aromas, their qualities, and what they’re good for. Also, this blog isn’t a bad start for learning more about what we have to offer.

Your therapist will begin your session as usual, but will have you lying face down. You’ll be prompted to take a deep breath while the therapist holds a small pool of the essential oil under your face. This gives you a powerful hit, and instantly helps you relax before your therapist has even begun working. In fact, your therapist will be able to go deeper in less time if deep tissue treatment is what you’re after.

The therapist then works the essential oil into your skin throughout the massage, allowing the aroma to interact with your body heat. This causes the aroma to linger over and around you, embracing your senses with comfort and a feeling of well-being.

In my personal experience, when I’ve had this done, I’ll be face down on the table with my eyes closed. I keep thinking the therapist is holding their hand under my face again, because the smell comes back to me, ebbing and flowing in waves. But they’re not! It’s interesting to observe the little tricks your senses can play on you.

Add aromatherapy to your next massage today!

Tom Gunn is the blog editor and marketing director for The Good Life Massage. You can hire Tom to help you boost your brand or logo design, or manage your social media and content marketing needs by emailing him at tomgunn@gmail.com

Add a Little Extra, Get a Lot More – A Primer on Massage Enhancements, Part II

Treat Yourself - Web Graphic

In the last post we reviewed a few of the session enhancements available at our clinic. These are a fantastic way to make a great massage experience even better, so if you haven’t already read it, check out that post.

What we haven’t covered, however, are the spa treatment enhancements that are also available. Like any spa treatment, these must be reserved in advance. Don’t ask your therapist for these on the day of your massage, because these require extra time on the schedule and/or prep time that make it impossible to prepare on-demand.

As you’ll see, however, it’s well worth the effort to plan ahead and schedule one of these with your session.

Fancy Feet
If you like the hand or foot sugar scrub, you’ll love this! This is quite a full pedicure, but it’s the next best thing. For 30 blissful minutes, your hardest working body parts get the TLC they deserve. We start with a gentle exfoliating sugar scrub and follow that with hot stone massage. This is a perfect add-on for someone who spends a lot of time on their feet, or who just need some extra attention in that area.

HFS Upgrade
HFS stands for hands, feet, or scalp. You’ll get 15 extra minutes in one of these targeted focus areas. We’ve posted on this space before about how amazing this upgrade can be, but briefly, this adds time to your session dedicated to one of these areas.

Hands. You may not realize just how hard your hands work until you try this. The therapist will spend time on each joint of the finger, soothing all those tight muscles and connective tissues with focused touch therapy. This is highly recommended for anyone who works with their hands, or even just uses a computer a lot (which is pretty much everybody, right?).

Feet. Is there any part of your body that needs more attention than your feet? This enhancement adds 15 blissful minutes of attention just on your feet. This is considerably more than the 3 to 5 minutes your feet would each get in a full body massage, and will have you dancing out the door.

Scalp. It’s counter-intuitive, but the scalp is a great place to get some focus work done. It’s deeply relaxing and can even help relieve headaches. This is ideal for stress relief or to aid with mental health or addiction recovery.

Chocolate Hydrating Face Mask
Good news: this one involves chocolate! Not so good news: it doesn’t involve eating any. It turns out that the flavonoids in cocoa are great for your skin. It smells great, has been proven to leave your face feeling smooth and moisturized, and most of all, gives you that feeling of being treated like royalty.

Again, whichever of these enhancements you decide to go with, remember that each of them require extra time be added to your session. That means these must be booked in advance and can not be added at the last minute. For enhancements that can be added on the fly, see our last post.

Tom Gunn is the marketing director at and blod editor of The Good Life Massage. You hire him to help with your content marketing and social media tasks by contacting him at tomgun@gmail.com.

Our Most Enticing Enhancement – Chocolate Hydrating Face Mask

Chocolate Hydrating Face Mask

Our chocolate hydrating face mask session enhancement is the perfect way to add an extra touch of spa luxury to your massage. Not only is it great for your skin, it’s actually a lot of fun to get.

Why chocolate?
Chocolate–or, more specifically, cocoa–has been shown to benefit both physical and mental health. The flavonoids in chocolate have been shown to lower blood pressure.
But should you really be putting chocolate on your face? Doesn’t too much chocolate make you break out?

Actually, eating too much chocolate causing breakouts can more readily be attributed to the fat and sugar you’re also taking in when you eat most chocolate candy.

Our chocolate hydrating face mask is made with pure cocoa powder, giving your skin the optimal benefit. According to Doctor Jessica Wu, MD, a Los Angeles based dermatologist, chocolate, when applied as a mask, can help keep your skin clear and hydrated.

It’s also made with our hydrating face mask, available right here in our clinic. Take home a bottle to repeat the treatment at home!

The fun part
It feels good to wear, but it’s also a treat for the senses, surrounding you with a delicious, rich chocolate smell. You’ll swear someone was baking brownies.

Add the chocolate hydrating face mask when you book your next session, but remember that it can only be added in advance. You won’t be able to add it at the last minute. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Tom Gunn is the marketing director and blog editor for The Good Life Massage. You can find him online at tgunnwriter.com

What the Expecting Can Expect – A Primer on Prenatal Massage

Massage can be a great help, especially when the stresses of life–good or bad–become more intense than usual. Pregnancy is one of those times of life that, for most, is an exciting and anticipated event, but which brings with it challenges that massage can help you handle.

Christie Ellis, LMP, formerly of The Good Life Massage, is an expert in prenatal and post-natal massage.

Our resident expert in prenatal massage, Christie Ellis, LMT is a former employee of The Good Life Massage and has special training in prenatal massage. As a prenatal massage expert we consulted with her to share some of the fundamentals and benefits of prenatal massage.

What exactly did your special training consist of, Christie?
“Most people don’t get a lot of training other than just very basic contraindications (signs that prenatal massage should be avoided). So I actually got extra training in prenatal techniques at Bastyr University. Carol Osborne was my instructor there, and she is one of two or three national experts on training massage therapists in prenatal massage. So I took her training, which was four days, and it was all just exclusively prenatal and post-partum massage. So I’m certified in that, and I just have more experience in working with that population than most.

You’re a mom. Did you have any experience getting prenatal massage during that time?
I did, once. That was for my first pregnancy. It was actually my first-ever professional massage. I don’t think I even began to understand the positive impact that massage can have on the pregnant body. I think I totally thought of it as a luxury service, just getting pampered. But I didn’t know it would have an impact on my bodily structures. I think that was something I didn’t really understand until after I had my second child and was post-partum and was having all kinds of problems after having two babies.

What are some of the major benefits of prenatal massage?
I would say that there is stress relief, which is really valuable. It effects the nervous system, and is able to calm down everything when there’s anxiety, potentially, about becoming a parent, giving birth, and just preparation for the big event–it lets the brain kind of take a break for a while.

And then, I think, dealing with common pre-natal concerns like psiatica, low back pain, and pain in the shoulders can be alleviated or mitigated with prenatal massage.

What’s the value of one session versus regular sessions for expecting mothers?
Essentially, there is value in one treatment. When you’re doing fewer treatments, the value is more for the nervous system. It takes longer for lasting value and lasting change for the muscles.

I think weekly massage is very reasonable for pregnancy, and is not overkill. Definitely monthly, weekly, or twice a month is great to be able to address issues and kind of help compensating muscles as the baby’s growing and putting stress continuously, increasingly over the pregnancy.

Are there any safety concerns?
Prenatal massage completely safe. Our bodies are protective, and there are a lot of protective structures in between the outside of our body and the baby.

Having said that, there are precautions that need to be taken. Someone adequately trained should be taking those precautions, such as using a side-lying position later in pregnancy or elevating the side of the pelvis, and avoiding areas of inner-tension, such as the inner-thigh. That is, the inner thigh should be an area where caution is used in late pregnancy and post-partum. When you have a practitioner who is trained, and who knows those caution areas, it’s just as safe as any other time. There shouldn’t be any alarm about it causing any harm to the baby.

There’s an increased volume of blood in the inner thigh during prenancy, and most women have a good amount of blood clots in the inner thigh. The hormones released in giving birth cause those to dissovlve on their own, but heavy pressure on the inner thigh can dislodge them and cause problems. It’s better to just keep the pressure light. And then, a few months post-partum, regular pressure can resume.

Are there a lot of signs or contraindications women should be aware of to avoid prenatal massage?
Very few.

If there is a complication, such as preeclampsia, that is probably the biggest red flag to not proceed. Some of the indicators of preeclampsia include high protein in the urine, and high blood pressure to the point where it could cause fetal demise. It’s a highly managed complication. If someone has it, they’re in with their doctor a few times a week, probably.

Where there’s high blood pressure, massage would have to be at the discretion of the healthcare provider as to whether or not the person could tolerate that.

But for the bulk of people who just have aches and pains, maybe a little nausea, but no medical complication: with proper positioning, there are no concerns.

What session enhancements would go particularly well with prenatal?
I think one of the things that is most helpful is hot stone spot treatment. This is because, especially with late pregnancy and the positioning being on their side, getting on the deep pressure can be more challenging. But if the practitioner has a tool, such as a stone, to really go into the muscle with added heat, it can really get to a deeper muscle change than without it. Those are really nice. For work along the spine and pelvic work, it’s really nice to get to those with hot stones.

I also think aromatherapy is a nice enhancement for stress relief and also, again, since the positioning forces us to use less pressure, and because pregnant women are more sensitive to pressure, aromatherapy using something like the deep blue fragrance, or something that will relax the muscles is a nice way to still get the muscle change you want with the limitations on pressure.

Are there any myths about prenatal massage that are worth dispelling?
That it can put you into labor! That is a myth! Massage does not cause labor. Acupressure can precipitate labor, and that would be on the level of applying direct pressure on a very specific spot for two or three minutes every fifteen minutes over the span of about forty-eight hours.

So there’s no way to come in for a prenatal massage and come out a mother?
(laughs) No! And to be clear, acupuncture and acupressure are very different than massage. We’re using much broader strokes with massage and there’s absolutely no concern that a nice foot massage could put a woman into labor.

Another myth I would point out is that abdominal massage can cause miscarriage. That’s out there, too, especially for people who are concerned about the first trimester.

I do think it’s important to have someone that’s trained for any sort of abdominal work, but massage in general is very safe for expecting mothers.

Thanks, Christie!

Book your prenatal massage now.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about your particular case:

Email:
support@goodliferenton.com

Phone:
425-243-7705

As with everything on this blog, none of this information should be construed as medical advice or care. The employees of The Good Life Massage, including the writers of this blog, are not medical doctors. Consult with your physician before making any changes to improve your health.

Tom Gunn is the marketing director and blog editor at The Good Life Massage. Find him online at TGunnWriter.com

4 Common Myths About Hot Stone Massage

Hot Stone Myths

You’ve seen it before, maybe on a glossy insert or ad found at a hotel or on a cruise ship: an image advertising hot stone massage. The rocks are uniformly black and smooth, laid out in a straight line down a relaxed lady’s spine.

If you’re not familiar with hot stone massage, this image might be simultaneously inviting and baffling. Why would I want hot rocks placed on me? And why would I pay extra for the privilege?

These are legitimate questions. Here are some legitimate answers.

But first, some myth-busting
This popular image of hot stone massage is somewhat misleading and confusing. You may have guessed that applying heat in a massage can be beneficial. But this principle isn’t properly applied by placing and leaving exposed hot stones directly on the skin. This could result in first or second degree burns.

You also might infer from the smooth blackness of the stones used in photos like this that there is supposed to be some kind of special property in them to somehow magic your tension away. This isn’t the case.

abstract background with dry round reeble stones
Our stones aren’t manufactured: they’re individually plucked from the shores of the Pacific Northwest with our own hands.

Any smooth stones will work for a hot stone massage. While most spas and clinics will use cut or synthetic stones that come with that uniformly black shape and color, we have opted to go with stones pulled from rivers and shorelines right here in the Pacific Northwest. These stones have been handpicked by our experienced owners to be the best possible tools in the hands of our therapists.

Note, also, that the person in these ads looks completely dry. In practice, hot stone massage involves a lot of oil, or at least much more than would be typically used in a massage. While it’s true that the stones are smooth, oil is still necessary. We typically use grape seed oil. If you’re allergic to grape seed oil, we carry a variety of other vegetable and synthetic oils that can be used as alternatives.

The most common misconception is that hot stone is good for deep tissue and treatment work. This isn’t the case. Hot stone massage is primarily a relaxing experience. It’s like a combination of a good, thorough massage and a long soak in a bubble bath. These qualities made it a favorite in spa settings and on cruise ships.

Having said that, the heat of the stones accomplishes quite a lot. It helps the muscle fibers and connective tissue relax and loosen so that the massage can do more good with less discomfort.

It doesn’t matter how experienced you are at getting regular massage. If you’ve never had a hot stone massage, you really don’t know what you’re missing.

What a real hot stone massage is and why you’ll really want one
Hot stone massage is a session of 90 minutes or more that involves stones heated to 120 – 135 degrees, Farenheit. The stones are heated in water inside of a slow cooker. When the stones are used, they are coated in oil and used by the therapists as massage tools. While the stones do make contact with the skin, the therapists generally keeps the stones moving. This is to ensure the maximum benefit to sore or inflamed muscles and connective tissues, and also prevents the burns that would result if placed and left on the skin.

The therapists may place the stones on an area of your body that could use extra heat, but this is done with a hot, moistened towel between the skin and the stones to prevent burns. In this way, the stones act like a second set of hands for the therapist, applying heat and pressure to one area while the therapist starts work on another.

At the end of the massage, the stones are carefully cleaned and sanitized.

What if I get burned?
There’s nothing to worry about. All our therapists have been carefully trained and are fully certified to give this kind of massage safely.

What could be better? This, that’s what
A number of our available session enhancements are well suited to this kind of massage.

  • Aromatherapy: citrus or lavender are optimal choices when paired with a hot stone massage
  • Hand or Foot Scrub
  • Cold Stone Treatment
  • Ice Treatment

A hot stone session is a great time to try one of our cold treatments since the heat of the session tends to make the cold more bearable.

Be sure to add one of these enhancements when you book your session.

Keep in mind, too, that hot stone is available for couples sessions.

Visit our main page to book your couples session or give us a call if you have any questions.

425-243-7705

Tom Gunn is the marketing director and blog editor at The Good Life Massage. Follow him on Twitter @tomgunnpoet.

This Simple Enhancement Will Maximize Your Massage

Our unique Tension Release Treatment is one of our best discoveries.

The Tension Release Treatment is a session enhancement using a blend of massage oil and AromaTouch. We offer it as either a spot or a full body treatment. Add it to your session when your massage online. 

The spot treatment focuses on specific areas that need improvement, whereas the full body treatment has the blend applied on the body throughout the entire session. The blend is made up of several different essential oils. The mixture consists of:

Peppermint essential oils add a crisp and sharp fragrance while feeling cool and soothing on the skin.
Peppermint essential oils add a crisp and sharp fragrance while feeling cool and soothing on the skin.
  • Lavender–the most versatile of all essential oils. With its floral fragrance, Lavender helps you relax and unwind.
  • Basil–creates a sense of balance and calms your mind.
  • Cypress–adds an evergreen aroma and restores feelings of security and stability. Cypress is also beneficial for oily or troubled skin.
  • Marjoram–produces a warming effect on both mind and body.
  • Peppermint–another basic essential oil used to relieve head pressure
  • Grapefruit–good for removing acne and toxins from the body.
  • Lemon grass–supports overall well-being.

This blend of essential oils generates a sweet, woodsy, herbal scent. You’ll feel as though you dove deep into the heart of a springy evergreen forest.

Who needs it?
The purpose of tension release treatment is found in the name of the enhancement itself. It provides a more deep and meaningful massage without the therapists diving in with forearms and elbows. If you’re coming in to recover from an intense day at work, our tension release treatment will leave you feeling even more satisfied compared to a massage alone.

Tension Release Treatment is also great for those who come in to simply relax. The enhancement’s stress relieving effect calms the mind. Since our mind controls our body, you’ll find yourself in a deep peace. After all, our goal here at GLM is to provide the best experience for our clients.

The therapist behind the formulation of our Tension Release Treatment is Kylee Davis, the co-owner of the Good Life Massage. Kylee knew that the body and mind are connected: if one was feeling beat, so would the other. Most people associate relaxation with doing nothing. Not so. Real relaxation takes effort. Your mind is constantly on the go. This makes the enhancement perfect for those who run on a “one speed-fast” mind.

When asked why she would recommend clients adding on a Tension Release Treatment to their session she replied, “I am able to get through their superficial issues faster and access deeper tissue easier.”

Tension release is one of those little extras that make your massage even more beneficial and satisfying.
Book your next appointment with us and don’t forget to add a Tension Release Treatment to your massage today.

As with everything on this blog, none of this information should be construed as medical advice or care. The employees of The Good Life Massage, including the writers of this blog, are not medical doctors. Consult with your physician before making any changes to improve your health.

Tanner Zornes is a Marketing Associate at The Good Life Massage.