When NOT to Get a Massage

As much as we’d like to say that any time is a good time, sometimes it really is best to reschedule your massage. Massage has a significant impact on the body, and that means you need to use just a little self-awareness before getting the table. If you get this wrong, the consequences range from mild discomfort to needing serious medical attention.

Injuries
If you’ve been injured, say on the job or in a car accident, massage can be extremely beneficial and therapeutic, depending on the nature of your injuries. Having said that, we highly recommend a doctor’s referral before you come in after an injury. Massage could actually aggravate your injury, making a bad situation even worse.

Yes, we’re trained professionals, but we’re not medical doctors. It’s crucial that you be honest with your therapist and yourself before you get on the table.

After Drinking
We strongly recommend spacing out your alcohol consumption and massage. This is an easy trap to fall into on a cruise or some kind of vacation situation. If a couples massage, for instance, is part of a date night, make sure the massage comes before, not after, dinner or drinks.

Have you ever noticed that your therapist will offer you water after a massage? That’s because massage makes you feel dehydrated … just like alcohol. Getting a massage after a few drinks might feel really good during the session, but you may really be feeling it in the morning.

“Uh oh. Am I getting this?”
Do you have that little tickle in the back of your throat? Are you feeling some queasiness or chills? Listen to your body. If you’re feeling some of the telltale signs that indicate that you’re about to get sick, reschedule your massage. (It should go without saying that getting a massage while you’re sick is usually a bad idea. But really–whatever you’ve got, we don’t want.)

In a way that’s similar to exercise, massage encourages circulation of bodily fluids, which can temporarily tax your immune system. If your body is already fighting a bug when you get a massage, you can expect to feel worse–definitely the morning after, and maybe even right after the session.

Pregnancy?
No problem. In fact, we highly recommend prenatal massage, right up to the time you give birth. There’s a myth out there that massage can actually cause you to go into labor. This isn’t really true.

Postpartum massage is also safe, in general, but if you’ve had a c-section or other complication, it’s best to clear it with your doctor first.

… But the money!
Your health is more important. Having said that, it’s understandable to be concerned about losing a prepaid session or having to pay for a session you won’t get because of a late cancellation. It’s true that we have a late cancellation/no-show policy, but we’ve been known to grant exceptions. Talk to your therapist or a manager if you have health concerns around keeping your appointment.

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 for The Good Life Massage. You can hire his services as a writer, editor, or social media expert at www.TGunnWriter.com.

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Massage and Pain Relief — Does it really work?

In terms of our work here at The Good Life Massage, we have found that massage therapy can have a significant impact on certain kinds of pain, especially when the source of that pain is strained muscles or repetitive stress on a certain area.

Sure, thank goodness for aspirin, but if you want to feel better in the long term, there’s no substitute for treating the underlying source of the pain. Massage has long been known as a good option for getting to some of the underlying causes of the persistent pain that can result from injuries, or just the everyday stresses of life.

But massage can also play a role in helping you get control of pain above and beyond the familiar aches, pains, and minor injuries.

The last thing you need is headaches
Headaches generally fall into one of two categories: tension headaches and migraines. Massage can help both, but the approach is somewhat different for each.

Tension, or muscle contraction headaches come from tightening of muscles in the neck, head, and face. This can come from stress or poor posture. Massage can loosen those tight muscles and release the tension that builds up because of poor posture. If posture correction is your goal, keep in mind that it will take time, both in practicing the correct posture, and in using massage therapy to help retrain your muscles to find a new, more natural position.

Migraine, or vascular headaches come from a slight build-up of pressure in the head, which can somewhat restrict oxygen-rich blood flow. By soothing and relaxing the muscles of the face, head, and scalp, massage can help reduce this kind of pain

A substitute for heavy pain killers?
As a piece of the overall picture in health care, the subject of pain and how to help sufferers get control of it has been through a lot of ups and downs in the past several years. With the introduction of stronger opiate pain killers, things seemed to be looking up for patients. Now, practical experience and studies have shown these wonder drugs to be highly addicting, and have triggered a plague of addiction across the country.

As a result, doctors have gotten much more strict and careful about prescribing opioid pain killers like oxycontone. Protocols at hospitals and clinics have tightened up to keep these drugs in the right hands, but no system is perfect. It’s probably true that many have been protected from addiction because of these measures. Unfortunately, as a result, many patients are finding it difficult get the pain relief they legitimately need.

The system isn’t likely to budge on this any time soon since the widespread addiction is only getting worse. So how can patients get the pain relief that they need?

Recent studies show that non-traditional treatments, such as massage therapy, can provide significant and noticeable relief, either in conjunction with medication, or as an alternative.

One study conducted in a hospital setting showed a decrease in the average pain levels in patients by 28.5%–a significant improvement. This study also showed that patients showed improved sleep and a greater ability to cope with physical and psychological challenges as a result of receiving massage.

Right hands, right time, right place
And not just any massage will do. A literature review of several studies found that empathy, an on-going connection with the massage therapist, and even the setting and time of day were all significant factors in the massage’s effectiveness. The takeaway: the best results come from regular care from someone you trust rather than a cheap one-and-done experience.

At The Good Life Massage, we do our best to create a relaxing, healing environment for all our clients. Our therapists want to build a relationship with every client. Whenever we can do that, we find that we’re able to provide customized care with the best possible results. Learn more about our staff of massage therapists on our staff page.

Personal experience
We know of what we speak. Our own Amy Gunn, LMP suffered terrible abdominal pain for years before finally researching a massage solution to the problem. Her research resulted in a new treatment regime we offer to clients called visceral manipulation that has helped her and others like her. Read her story.

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.

What non-medication methods have you used to get pain under control? What has worked for you? Share your experiences in the comments below.

Do you struggle with pain regularly? Have you considered regular massage treatment as a part of your arsenal in fighting it?

You can book with us online or by phone:

425-243-7705

Tom Gunn is a freelance writer and social media marketing specialist. He is also the Marketing Director for The Good Life Massage. You can see more of his work, or even hire him at www.TGunnWriter.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @elmanoroboto.

Do you know your rights as a massage client?

bill-of-rights

Whether you’re a veteran of the message therapy experience or a novice, you should fully understand everything you have the right to expect from your providers. We like to call this the client’s bill of rights. Whether you come to see us, or get your massage from elsewhere, these are all things you have the right to expect.

You have the right …

To receive treatment from a qualified massage therapist licensed by the state. State licensing helps to ensure your safety, quality of service, and establishes legal and ethical accountability. All the therapists at The Good Life Massage are licensed by the State of Washington. License numbers are published on our website for each therapist, and we can produce a copy of their licenses on demand.

To receive all the benefits of massage, understanding the scope of massage as a medical treatment. Massage therapy is not a cure-all. It is for general wellness purposes, and this includes relief from muscular tension or spasms, improved flexibility, promotion of circulation of the blood and lymph, and stress reduction.

To be touched only on the areas you specify, excluding genitals or breast tissue.

To receive treatment based on health care information you volunteer. We do not receive or keep complete medical records of our clients, so, with few exceptions, all the information we have about your health condition comes directly from you. This includes physical and mental health. Remember that communication is essential to a good massage experience.

To end the massage session at any time, for any reason. If anything about the session is causing you pain or makes you uncomfortable, you can stop it.

To have any and all treatments and modalities explained to you. If there’s something about your treatment you have questions about, you deserve answers to those in a way that you can understand. We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have.

To refuse any stroke, method, or modality used by your therapist. Every aspect of your treatment is meant to be completed only with your consent, and can be customized to your liking.

To be informed if your treatment is a part of any study or experimentation. You also have the right to refuse to participate in any experimentation or research. We don’t conduct any research in our clinic at this time, but if we did, we would do anything but keep it a secret.

To confidentiality and privacy. Our client list is kept confidential, and any personal or health care information you provide us is secure. Our record keeping practices are fully compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

To be treated fairly and humanely, regardless of nationality, sexual orientation, body type, disability, gender identity, race, religion, or political persuasion. The Good Life Massage is fully ADA compliant and wheelchair accessible. Our top priority is to create a healing space for our clients where they feel safe and welcome, regardless of any of these factors. In fact, some of you may have noticed some of our therapists wearing safety pins on their uniforms. This is just another sign of that commitment to inclusiveness and fairness.

Do you have any questions about this list? We’d love to hear from you. Feel free to comment on this post or social media. If you’d prefer to keep it private, our door is always open. You can contact us by phone or email with your questions.

425-243-7705
support@goodliferenton.com

Have you been in to see us, and enjoyed your experience? Please leave a review online, mentioning your therapist by name. This helps other clients find the therapist most suited to them.

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 a freelance writer and social media manager. He is also the marketing director at The Good Life Massage. To hire him, or to see more of his work, please visit www.TGunnWriter.com, or follow him on Twitter, @elmanoroboto

Are you afraid of getting a massage from a man? Why gender doesn’t matter in massage therapy

When you get right down to it, the gender of your massage therapist really makes no effective difference.

While it’s true that there are some good reasons for objecting to getting a massage from a male therapist, my hope in this post is to at least open your mind to the idea, and question whether your objection is really as big as you think.

-With my eyes closed quote

I was a little reluctant to get a massage from a male therapist for the first time myself. I had only ever been worked on by female therapists at GLM (we have only had female therapists until recently). Then, a male intern came in and I got on the list for a free session. I think of myself as open-minded and willing to try things, so I didn’t outwardly flinch at the idea of getting a massage from a man.

But inwardly? Yeah, I admit it. I did flinch a little.

After I got on the table, I realized my reluctance was completely silly. It helped that the intern in question was highly skilled and is going to have a great career in massage someday. (What I got for free will one day cost hundreds of dollars, I am certain.)

As I felt his hands on me, I realized that it’s a lot like getting examined by a male physician. This intern was there to take care of my health: period, final. There was no other motive or intention behind his touch, and every move he made spoke to his high level of skill and professionalism. With my eyes closed, I couldn’t tell the gender of my therapists, and I didn’t care.

Why?
So why is it that I was so hesitant? What held me back? And if you have a problem with getting a massage from a man, what’s holding you back?

There’s no denying that there’s an intimacy in massage that is matched by few other kinds of health treatment. You are being touched in places few people even see, let alone touch. The trust involved in letting a stranger work on your body is hard to over-state. But let’s put the brakes on a few false ideas right now:

Clinical massage is not sexual
While massage therapy has a reputation for being a sexual service in some circles, that is emphatically not the case at a clinic like The Good Life Massage. What we offer is a relaxing, healing service in a clinical setting. While it’s true that massage can be pleasurable, in no way is clinical massage intended to be an erotic experience.

We meet and exceed Washington state law regarding proper draping techniques. Further, our massage therapists are expected to be completely professional. They will not initiate sexual touching of any kind, and will end a session immediately if sexual touch is initiated or requested by a client, either implicitly or explicitly. Any misconduct in this area is grounds for immediate termination and possible legal action.

We don’t discriminate, and neither should you
The Good Life Massage is an equal opportunity employer. We do everything possible to hire the very best therapists we can find, and gender is never a factor in that decision. Period.

If you need a massage, don’t you just want the best possible care you can find? If you need your appendix out, are you going to balk if your surgeon is a certain gender?

After my massage with that intern–feeling like my entire back and core muscles had been effectively replaced with brand new ones–I felt a little bit silly for feeling that tug of reluctance at seeing a male therapist.

In fact, I’ve been back many times to see our newest therapist as of this posting, Charlie Fadness. Charlie is our first male therapist, and I wish we could have brought him on sooner. I feel like a million bucks after every session with him.

But still …
If you still object to seeing a male therapist, we completely understand. We don’t want to pressure our clients into doing anything they don’t want to do. But there are a few things you should take note of before coming in for the fist time.

State your preference
If you feel strongly that you prefer a male or female practitioner, let us know right away. We can keep that information on record so it never becomes an issue. If you’re booking over the phone, our front desk staff will try to make it clear with whom you’re having a massage, but we won’t bring the issue of gender up if you don’t. It’s on you to state your preference and ensure it’s being honored. Read your confirmation carefully and be sure to call us more than 24 hours prior to your appointment if you need to reschedule.

Book your next massage today.

Tom Gunn is the blog editor and director of marketing for The Good Life Massage. You can find him online at http://www.TGunnWriter.com or on Twitter @elmanoroboto

Feel Better Now! The Pros and Cons of 30 Minute Massage

Without question, the most popular massage we offer is the 60 minute Swedish massage. But sometimes our book gets full. (Okay, real talk: it’s full most of the time.)

And sometimes your busy schedule won’t allow for an hour session. Sometimes you’re just in pain and need work done in one specific area.

For that, we offer 30 minute massage sessions.

Book your a 30 minute massage today.

Pros
Less time! You might think an hour massage is just an hour of your time, but think again. New clients need to factor in time to complete paperwork, and everyone needs to factor in the unforeseen delay. There’s also the time getting undressed and then dressed, checking out, etc.

A half hour session can be a great way to get the work in that you need without the big commitment. (Bonus: since it’s a smaller unit of time, it’s actually a little easier to get in on short notice.)

Focus. When you go in for a half hour session, it’s understood that there’s only really time to treat one or two focus areas. Your practitioner won’t be worrying about making time to get in a full body massage. Their treatment is focused, and so is their attention.

Treatment. Got a terrible crick in your neck? Is there just one area where you have persistent pain that just needs to be rubbed out? A half hour session might be all you need. Keep in mind, though, that the more chronic the pain is, the more regular massage sessions it will take to heal the problem. You can’t expect to reach your fitness goals after just one workout, right? Massage can be the same way. Having said that, many clients report feeling better after just one focused treatment. Your mileage may vary.

Cons
It’s over already? If you’re looking for a relaxing experience as well as treatment, you might want to consider going with a longer session. A half hour usually isn’t enough time if your goal is to release the cares of the day and escape your stress for a while. Sixty minutes is enough to get that job done for most people, but have you tried a 90 minute or 120 minute session? That is relaxation.

Not the best value. Half hour sessions are proportionally more expensive than full-body sessions. It’s like buying a small soda: you’re not getting the best value for your money, but maybe that doesn’t matter to you as much as getting only the amount you want.

So, we leave it to your best judgment. If you don’t feel like you need the length of a regular session, or if you’re short on time, a half hour session might be the ideal way to feel better right now.

Book your 30 minute massage today.

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

7 Mendacious Massage Misconceptions

Massage is becoming more popular every day. The public is finally getting educated on what regular massage can do to benefit your mental and physical health.

Having said that, there are a surprising number of myths and misconceptions about massage that we feel the need to clear up here and now.

This came up as a subject recently in our post about pre-natal massage. In my interview with Christie Ellis, formerly of GLM, the following misconception about prenatal massage came up:

“Prenatal massage can induce labor”
I’ll let Christie take this first one:

“That is a myth! Massage does not cause labor. Acupressure can precipitate labor, and that would be on the level of applying director 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.”

But there are plenty of other misconceptions about massage out there. This should put a dent in a few of the more common ones:

“Sure, you feel great right after a massage, but the effects are only temporary”
This idea probably comes from those who really need regular massage, but only tried it once, and went back to the status quo after a day or two. If you suffer from chronic pain or posture issues, regular massage can be particularly beneficial in “retraining” your muscles and your body to be well and whole.

Massage Results take time

You wouldn’t expect to reach all your fitness goals with just one workout, right? Massage is the same way: long-term improvements in your physical health almost never come in the form of a magic bullet. It just takes time and persistence.

If cost seems to be a barrier to getting the treatment you need, you might not have all the facts.

“Does it hurt? It’s supposed to. Just let it happen.”
If you feel pain or discomfort during your massage, say something! While it’s true that some discomfort can be expected in treatment massage, you need to keep talking to your practitioner about your comfort and the treatment they’re doing. Even if a particular stroke or method is supposed to be therapeutic, your therapist can and should honor your requests. The kind of care you receive is entirely in your hands, and should be wholly directed by you.

What’s more, too much pain can actually be counterproductive. If you’re sincerely in pain, you’ll unconsciously tense up other muscle groups, creating the exact opposite of the desired effect for your massage.

“Massage releases toxins and cleanses your system”
Not really. It depends on what you mean by “toxins”. What massage does do is help stimulate circulation throughout your body. This can be helpful if you’re injured. Increased blood flow can be very beneficial in that case. That circulation can include run-of-the-mill cell waste, but there’s no medical magic in stimulating processes that your body routinely caries out anyway. You can get the same effect from vigorous exercise.

“If you don’t walk away feeling like a million bucks, you got a bad massage”
It’s true that, for most cases, people walk away from their massage feeling relaxed, limber, even a little euphoric. But while this is commonly the case, a good massage can sometimes make you feel, well, lousy–at least immediately afterward.

Are you fighting a bug? If you’re getting sick, a massage can sometimes accelerate how quickly you feel the symptoms. You may walk in feeling fairly well, oblivious to the fact that you’re about to get sick, and then get off the table feeling a little weak and achy. If that turns into a bout with a cold or the flu, we feel your pain. But you can’t blame the massage therapist or the job they did for making it happen.

Another scenario is when deep tissue treatment is called for and requested. When your practitioner needs to go deep below the surface tissue to release trigger points and send circulation to distressed areas, this may cause some discomfort both during and just after the treatment.

This can be the case for specialty treatments we offer, including deep transverse friction and myoskeletal alignment. People sometimes report feeling sore after these kinds of heavy treatment-style massages. That does not mean your practitioner did a bad job. In fact, that can be a sign that more regular treatment is called for. It shouldn’t hurt every time, and there should be significant improvement after a good night’s sleep.

“If you have cancer, massage will spread the cancer cells through your body”
This is basically impossible. Massage moves lymph, but cancer doesn’t spread through the lymphatic system. Metastization (the spread of cancer) is due to genetic mutation and a number of factors that have nothing at all to do with the functioning of the lymphatic system.

Having said that, if you’re a cancer patient, it’s wise to consult with your oncologist before scheduling a massage. Relaxation massage at any stage of cancer can actually be immensely beneficial, reducing depression and anxiety. Some studies have even shown that it reduces nausea and pain.

Are there any others you’ve heard that we didn’t cover here? Do you have any questions about massage and what it can do for you?

Let us know in the comments below.

You can also contact us by phone at 425-243-7705

or by email at support@goodliferenton.com

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 for The Good Life Massage. You can find him online at tgunnwriter.com

Amy Gunn, LMP is a co-founder of The Good Life Massage and has been a licensed massage practitioner since 1999. 

What is a Full Body Massage?

We get this question a lot:

“Full body massage … what does that mean exactly?”

It’s a fair question. Here’s what you might really be asking:

Where exactly and how is my massage therapist going to touch me?

At The Good Life Massage, a full body massage includes

  • back
  • neck
  • shoulders
  • arms
  • legs
  • feet.

It is also at least 60 minutes long. When you come in for a full body massage, your therapist will assume these are the areas you want worked unless you tell them otherwise.

A full body session may also include pectoral muscles, head, hands, or face, though these are usually done upon request.

Your massage therapist will respect your boundaries. If you don’t want anything above worked on, please tell them. While it’s best if a full body massage is done with the client fully unclothed (though this is not strictly required), every client is strategically draped with sheets and towels. Draping is about more than modesty: it’s state law.

Which, while we’re on the subject …

Our full body massage is not a sexual service. In some circles, “full body” massage is a euphemism for services which are illegal in the state of Washington. The Good Life Massage is a legal, licensed massage clinic. In fact, we instantly stop any massage, report to authorities, and permanently ban any client who asks for sexual favors or makes sexual advances of any kind. By the same token, any therapist found to be doing the same is instantly fired and reported to the authorities.

Your therapist will ask if you have any particular areas you would like them to focus on before they begin. This is your chance to tell them about that ache in your side, that crick in your neck, that nagging pain you tend to tune out and kind of forget is there.

Is there an area you want your therapist to avoid? Are you like me and have ticklish feet? Say so! Communication is crucial to having the best possible massage experience.

Not sure what to expect when you come in? Take a look at this video to get an idea for how it’s going to go.

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