Talking Through It: Conversation Do’s and Don’t for Massage

Talking Through It

Your massage is your own, so of course you have some latitude in customizing your experience. Massage therapy is one of those self-care treatments comparable to getting your hair done: you’re working with someone one-on-one in a vulnerable position. Not only are you in close physical proximity to your massage therapist, you’re undressed in a private room getting touched by them–it doesn’t get more vulnerable than that!

Naturally, a relationship of trust will develop between you and your therapist. Not only do we expect this, it’s encouraged! As your therapist gets to know your body’s unique needs and quirks, they can provide better massage with regular treatments. That personal trust and connection can play a vital role in the healing process.

Having said this, it’s important to understand that there are boundaries and limitations to that relationship, and that the conversation shared in a massage setting isn’t exempt from these.

What can I say?
Nothing, if you choose! As a rule, your practitioner will probably read your social cues. If you seem game to talk, they may engage you and start a chat while they work on you. If you don’t initiate a conversation, they’ll leave you to enjoy the massage in a peaceful, quiet setting.

You can also feel free to give your massage therapist feedback. Phrases like “That’s too deep!” or “Can you ease up on the pressure there?” or “That stroke is kind of chafing right there.” are all appropriate ways to help guide your practitioner and make your massage experience as good as it can be.

If you want to talk, that’s fine, but keep it light. Try to avoid heavy or potentially offensive topics. Would you discuss what you’re about to say with a stranger on the bus? If not, maybe reconsider your choice of topic.

If you’d like to talk and get to know your therapist over several sessions, that’s great. Just keep a few things in mind:

Massage therapist, not “Therapist”
It’s common for people come in for massage who are under serious stress. But the scope of massage therapy is only to address the physical component of healing and stress relief. The mental and psychological components should be handled by trained mental health professionals. You may develop a strong rapport with your massage therapist, but that doesn’t mean they have the training or skill to talk you through your stresses and emotional difficulties.

You wouldn’t expect a licensed family therapist or psychologist to give you a massage, would you? Of course not. The difference there is that those professionals don’t touch you, except to maybe shake your hand. A massage, however, can include a great deal of talking, and even emotional release. Clients under a great deal of stress have even been known to sob through their massage as painful emotions are released along with the muscle tension. But that doesn’t mean your massage therapist can or should become your therapist. Bring your mental health problems to a mental health professional.

Don’t ask for a date, for heaven’s sake
There’s nothing wrong with finding your massage therapist attractive, and the relatively intimate setting of touch therapy might unintentionally inspire romantic or sexual thoughts. But please: keep those thoughts and feelings to yourself during the massage.

Your massage therapist is there to help, and it’s completely inappropriate to flirt, touch them back, hold their hand, ask for dates, or try to initiate a romantic relationship with them. By the same token, your massage therapist has no business making romantic or sexual advances of any kind. In fact, such behavior at The Good Life Massage is grounds for termination.

Even if the advance would be innocent or welcome under different circumstances, it’s completely inappropriate during a massage. Besides, it makes the session far more uncomfortable and awkward. If you find that you’re developing romantic feelings for your massage therapist, consider getting your massage from someone else from now on. After all, we have several practitioners to choose from.

We won’t “take sides”
As people start talking, it can be natural to progressively get more personal. You might even feel comfortable enough to talk about personal relationships or conflicts. This is totally understandable. We all need to vent sometimes. But don’t expect your massage therapist to “take your side” or commiserate with you like a personal friend might. They might say “It sounds like you and your partner have some things to work out. I hope that works out okay,” or something equally neutral. We’ll help you release the physical tension from your whatever personal drama is impacting your life, but it’s not our place to join you in dwelling on it.

So, yes, go ahead and chat! Or don’t! But understand that your massage is a professional exchange. Yes, it’s a intimate, even a little personal, but within certain limits that are worth keeping in mind.

Book your next massage now.

Tom Gunn is the marketing director and the blog editor for The Good Life Massage. You can hire him to assist you with content marketing, social media, and logo/brand development by contacting him at tomgunn@gmail.com

 

 

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Don’t Sabotage Your Massage! – A Pre-Massage Checklist

Don't Sabotage Your Massage

Have you ever been disappointed by a massage? It’s bound to happen eventually if you get regular massage, but there are a lot of factors that go into what kind of experience you’re going to have. Not everything is in your control, and we certainly try to hold up our end of making your experience soothing and therapeutic, there are some simple things you can do as well.

Before your massage …

Drink water
We’ve covered the risks of dehydration in this space before, but a lot of it bears repeating. When your muscles are tight, waste can build up in there. Massage releases that waste, so it helps to come in hydrated to give your body the best chance of flushing it out.

And don’t forget to grab a cup of water aftewards.

Wellness Check-In 1: Am I sick?
Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and check in with your body before you come in. There are two questions you want answered, and the first of these is “Am I sick?”

Pay attention. Are you feeling much more tired and achy than usual? Is there a tell-tale tickle in the back of your throat warning you of an on-coming cold or flu bug?

In these situations, it’s best to cancel. We’ve had clients come in feeling a little under-the-weather who got their massage, then had to pulled over to vomit on the way home. Massage is great for your wellness over-all, but it can aggravate an oncoming or present illness. Please don’t hesitate to cancel in this situation! If you’re sick, a massage does more harm than good.

Wellness Check-In 2: What do I need?

The second health check-in you need to do is related to your massage and what you need most. Again, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Bring your attention to your back, your legs, your neck, your shoulders in-turn. Where are you feeling the most tension or pain? Make a mental note of it (or an actual note of it on the intake). That way, when your therapist asks what you need worked on for your massage, you’ll be ready to tell them exactly where you need the most attention.

Get your work-out in
If you’re planning to exercise that day, make sure you plan to get it in before your massage, not after. Some athletes may get a massage before a training session, but certainly not before an event or a game. For the rest of us, massage can relax and warm up your soft tissues to the point that you’ll be at a higher risk of sprain or strain if you jump right into vigorous activity.

Getting your massage after your workout, however, can be a great way to maximize the benefit of the massage. The simple reason for this is that you’re coming in with muscles already warmed and ready to work on! It saves the therapist time relaxing your muscles and soft tissues, and allows them to do deeper work, faster, and with less discomfort on your end.

Like many of the things on this list, this isn’t absolutely essential, but you may find it helps you get the most from your session.

Take a shower
This kind of dovetails in with the last one, but whether you work out beforehand or not, you may feel less self-conscious about any possible odors. Plus, the warm water will have helped you relax, and you’ll be even more prepared for a relaxing and productive session.

Show up early
This is a great idea, even if you don’t need to fill out our intake paperwork for your visit. The worst thing you can do to sabotage your massage is to come in completely frazzled, or worse yet, late, and not even get your full session time.

On the other hand, giving yourself time to arrive early will help you physically and mentally prepare for your session. Our waiting area was created with your comfort and serenity in mind, and we really don’t mind letting you wait for your session time. Take a minute to take some deep breaths. Listen to the sound of our signature waterfall. This is a great time to do that wellness check-in mentioned above.

We pride ourselves on giving clients their full as-advertised time on the massage table: sixty minutes means sixty full minutes of massage, not fifty or forty-five when the transition time is factored in.

If you must eat, eat light
You don’t want to be distracted by intense hunger during your massage, but if you must eat anything beforehand, go easy on the portions. Most people feel queasy when getting a massage after a big meal. They may even feel like they overate, even if they didn’t. Save your meal for after your massage. Eating afterward can be a great way to shake the fuzzy “massage brain” feeling many experience after a session.

Doing these few simple things will help you get the most from your massage experience, and reflect a lifestyle that’s slower-paced, more delibarate, and happier.

Tom Gunn is the blog editor and marketing director for The Good Life Massage. You can hire him to assist you with content marketing, social media, or brand development by contacting him at tomgunn@gmail.com.

Is Your Phone Slowly Killing You?

Is Your Phone Slowly Killing You

Is your phone silently and insidiously abusing you?

Neil DeGrasse Tyson: No. It’s a phone, it doesn’t have free will.

Okay, how about this:

Are you silently and insidiously using your phone to undermine and sabotage yourself?

There’s a concept in psychology that’s found some traction in our modern discourse, especially among people having political slap fights on the Internet: cognitive dissonance.

The dictionary definition is the psychological discomfort you feel when you hold two or more contradictory/conflicting behaviors or values at the same time. An example of this can be found regularly on Rotten Tomatoes. This aggregator tool polls movie audiences to rate movies, and pairs that with an aggregate of professional critics. There’s often a sharp difference between the audience ratings and the critic’s aggregate score. Almost without exception, audiences rate movies higher than critics do. Why? There are several reasons, but one of these is cognitive dissonance.

Beliefs about ourselves that we find to be contradicted by our behavior give us the most discomfort. In this example, the audience members rating the movies believe they have good taste, and don’t spend money seeing bad movies (I mean, really, what kind of idiot would do that?). There’s a sense of embarrassment in our culture that tends to follow making a bad purchase of any kind, and movies are no exception.

The audience tends to rate the movie higher because they’ve paid to see it. Every consumer is wise in their own mind, so instead of admitting that they wasted their money, they’re more inclined to pretend to others and even themselves that they’ve made a great decision.

This is how we lie to ourselves. It may soothe our cognitive dissonance in the short term, but this kind of compromise can nickel and dime our morale and sense of integrity over time. It can slowly erode our identity and leave us feeling empty and depressed.

So here’s a more pernicious example: suppose you see yourself as a loving, attentive member of your family (spouse, mate, parent, sibling, friend, etc) and a hard worker. With those beliefs about yourself in mind, how is that reflected in your day-to-day life?

Let’s look at what you do with your time. You go to work. Okay! Not bad so far. You spend time with your loved ones on the weekends. Looking good, right? From a distance, this looks fine. But is it?

On closer inspection, we see this hypothetical you sleepwalking through the grind of your day, wasting more time on the Internet than you care to admit, doing everything you can to amuse yourself through the day. And the weekends? Seems it’s hard to leave that alone, too. Answer this honestly for yourself: when you spend time with your loved ones, is there actually a screen between you? Are you ever with them when there isn’t a screen within a few feet of you?

When you stop and look with intention at your own life, this kind of thing is impossible to un-see. And that’s good.

Why is this happening?
First, if this is you, know that you’re not a bad person. Psychology pioneer B.F. Skinner is known for illuminating how we pursue behaviors for specific rewards in his experiments with rats in cages. Skinner found that when you reward the rate with a treat after pushing a lever just once or twice reliably, you can get them to keep pushing the lever, even if a treat drops at random. We pursue a behavior even more avidly when the possible reward drops with some degree or unpredictability–like on a slot machine or when you get out your phone to check your notifications. When you get even a modest reward from those behaviors, your brain lights up with dopamine–a “feel good” neurotransmitter that shows up when you experience anything pleasurable.

Another interesting thing about dopamine, it doesn’t always show up when you’re grinding away at the job or listening to an exhuberant child’s meandering story about their stuffed animals. Do good workers grind away at the job? Yes. Do good people give children the attention they need and deserve? Of course.

And yet, in the name of the quick, seemingly inconsequential dopamine hit, these things are being neglected, or at least undermined for many of us. And yet, you’re a good person! A hard worker! You know there’s something amiss, though, and can’t put your finger on it (cognitive dissonance). So what do you do?

Some of us try to shrug it off. Some of us pursue even stonger hits of dopamine (in other words, more intense and hard-to-shake addictions and compulsions!). These are both just a race to rock-bottom, just at different speeds.

And then there are others, those who decide to live with intention.

Living with intention
You don’t have to throw your phone away. This isn’t a Lifetime original movie: your phone isn’t an abusive spouse you need to flee from, never looking back, or a stash of drugs you need to flush down the toilet. That thing you’re holding is a tool. Use it as such. Use it for what it’s good for. Use it with intention.

Are you a rat, tapping away at a lever hoping a treat will appear? Or are you a conscious, life-savoring human being putting a useful tool to its purpose? (And yes, that purpose can be enjoying cat videos. But are you doing it intentionally?)

Instead of going through the exhausting mental gymnastics of soothing your cognitive dissonance while your identity erodes like a cake left out in the rain, try bringing that cake inside and enjoying a slice.

STOP
There’s an acronym in the world of preparedness and safety-STOP, which stands for Stop, Think, Observe, and Plan. The idea is that your brain can sabotage you and cause accidents–like the rock climber who’s brain was tricked into thinking her safety line was tied because she tied her shoes. STOP is intended to prevent that.

But next time you get out your phone or click over to whatever non-productive Internet tab is your favorite, STOP.

Stop
Put your brain on pause just for a moment. Just observe yourself in the moment.

Think
Ask questions of yourself. What am I doing right now? Notice yourself noticing.

Observe
How are you feeling right now? Are you hungry, stressed, emotional, or tired? What are you about to do, and why are you about to do it?

Plan
Having observed yourself living in the real world and not in your own head, are you really on track with what you intend for your life right now?

This takes deliberate practice to develop before this becomes automatic, but it’s worth trying. Mindfulness meditation is a great way to get yourself used to thinking in this way. Be patient and kind with yourself.

It’s worth being more content, more productive, more loving, more awake.

Tom Gunn is the blog editor the marketing director for The Good Life Massage. You can hire him to assist with social media marketing, content marketing, or logo design by contacting him at tomgunn@gmail.com

 

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 practitioner 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

5 Massage Red Flags: When to cancel your appointment or cut it short

5 Massage Red Flags

When looking for long-term massage therapy, it’s important to look for a massage therapist and a clinic that makes your health and wellness its top priority. Massage is technically a healthcare service, but it’s also on a gray line between therapeutic care and spa service. As such, not everyone is in it to take care of people. Some view it as a commodity to be sold, or have some other intention a million miles from caring for your health. These warning signs should help you avoid wasting your time and money with a therapist or a clinic that won’t meet your needs.

You don’t like your therapist
It’s a simple thing. It sounds petty, but it really isn’t. You need to have a good personal chemistry with your massage therapist. If you are coming in for a massage treatment as part of a healing regimen, it’s crucial that you feel comfortable consenting to be treated by your therapist! You want a practitioner who will see you for the whole person you are, regardless of how much or how little healing you need. You want that person to be able to freely offer you both their skill and their compassionate care. If you’re personally uncomfortable with them, that will come through, and your care will be compromised.

If, for whatever reason, you don’t feel your personalities mesh, or if you just feel uncomfortable with a therapist, it’s best move on or try to reschedule with someone else.

Not sure if your therapist is going to be a good fit for you? We’ve provided a whole series of blog posts and videos so you can get to know the therapists of The Good Life Massage a little better.

The hard sell
You know it when you see it: it might be a coolness in the way someone sees you. Maybe your brain is unconsciously picking up on some whiff of contempt or condescension from them. If you sense this when coming in for therapeutic massage, don’t hesitate for a moment to do something about it.

 

contempt-microexpression-750x481
See this look? If you catch that look on someone’s face, even for a moment while they’re interacting with you, watch yourself. Someone who has contempt for you will do you no good as friend, business partner, lover, or even as a massage therapist. Photo: davidwolfe.com

Massage chains are notorious for this. They offer you a low rate in their window signs, but this turns out to be an introductory rate, designed to get you in so they can sell you on an annual contract.

Now, to be fair, massage chains can be staffed with dedicated professionals. Most massage therapists get into the business to truly help and heal people, not just collect a paycheck. But the nature of the massage chain system tends to promote “salesy” behavior on the part of the therapists. Sure, they’re saying you need to come in for massage x times a month. But since you’re about to be pitched on an annual contract, committing you to so many massages a month, can you be sure they’re not just trying to meet a quota?

The truth is, chains aren’t really there to sell massage: they’re there to sell memberships. If all you want is a regular, but casual experience, it might be a good fit for you. We discussed chains in an earlier post, so check that out for more information to help you make a decision.

Chains aren’t the only culprits, however. Individual practitioners or clinics of all shapes and sizes can be more motivated by the bottom line than the wellness of their clients. Watch out for the hard sell, or any sign at all that they’re more concerned with getting to the wallet in your back pocket than getting to the knots in your back.

Um … is this a brothel or a massage clinic?
Unfortunately, massage has a reputation for being a euphemism for sexual services. Since prostitution is illegal in most states, many “massage parlors” aren’t licensed clinics, and are fronts offering anything but therapeutic treatment.

Do they take cash only? Do they not give you any intake paperwork to fill out the first time? Does the massage staff seem to be exclusively female and scantily clad? Are they open late into the night with a mostly male clientele? Not only should these things have you looking up someplace else to go, you might want to notify the police. Such places operate illegally, and are often involved with rape trafficking (also known as sex slavery or human trafficking).

And certainly, if a massage therapist touches your breasts or genitals, or makes unwanted romantic or sexual advances, you should leave immediately. This can sometimes happen, even in legitimate clinics, but you have the right to stop the session short. Call the police if you’ve been sexually assaulted.

You instantly feel worse when you walk in
Any massage therapist working hard to give their clients a good massage will be conscientious about making their clients feel thoroughly welcomed and safe. Is the place dirty or unkempt? Does it feel less-than-private or unsafe?

Keep in mind that the clinic doesn’t have to be in a posh neighborhood to be legitimate, staffed with skilled, caring therapists. But if you don’t see any effort on their part to make you feel welcome, how much care are they going to offer if you’re coming in for regular treatment and healing?

As you’ll see when you come in to The Good Life Massage, we’ve worked hard to create a peaceful, healing space for all our clients. Our clinic is ADA compliant, and all our rooms are completely private. Clients have told us they feel an overwhelming sense of safety at The Good Life Massage, and that’s no accident.

They don’t listen
Say you’re having your first session. You’ve told them before you started that you don’t want your feet worked because they’re too sensitive–but they work them anyway. Honest mistake, right? But what if they do it again? Or what if, for every request, they either ignore you or forget what you’ve asked for?

Move on. Your massage therapist should be fully present with you in the session, listening to your wants and needs, and should be willing to customize the session to suit you.

They aren’t present
Are they chronically late for appointments? Do you catch them texting or using their phone while they’re working on you? A good therapist will give you and your healing their full energy and attention. Don’t tolerate a caregiver who doesn’t care. We don’t at our clinic, and neither should you.

At The Good Life Massage, we have a diverse, caring staff that show up dressed like professionals, and will treat you professionally. What’s more, our emphasis is on healing and relaxation. We train our staff to give you compassionate care first and foremost. You won’t be hard-sold on anything. So when your therapist says you need x number of massages a month, you can trust that they truly believe that’s what would benefit your health.

If you need regular massage, but need a break on the price, we offer prepaid massage packages. If you buy 5 massages at once, you get a sixth one for free. It’s simple, there’s no contractual commitment, and no expiration date.

Book your next massage with us today!

Tom Gunn is the blog editor and marketing director for The Good Life Massage. You can hire him to give your business a boost with brand and logo development, or with social media by contacting him at tomgunn@gmail.com

What’s Your Hydration IQ?

What's Your Hydration IQ-

What do you know about staying hydrated? You might not know as much as you think.

 

1. True or False: It’s recommended that everyone should have at least 8 glasses of water every day.

 

False: This common benchmark is completely arbitrary. A number of factors go into how much water a person needs, including size, gender, activity level, age, and even weather conditions. The best rule of thumb is to drink when you’re thirsty, or when temperatures or activity levels increase.

 

2. True or False: If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.

 

True: Well, sort of anyway. It’s not as dire as you might think, though. Thirst is triggered by a 2-4% reduction in body fluid. Unless you have kidney problems, this is well within what your body can tolerate.

The kind of dehydration most people worry about, the kind with dizziness and fatigue, isn’t triggered until you’ve lost 5-8% of your body fluids. At that point, you passed thirsty long ago. In short, under normal conditions you can trust your body to tell you what it needs.

One caveat here: you do need to be aware of changes in your conditons. If you’re living your life in the climate you’re used to, doing the things you normally do, your thirst is pretty reliable. If those conditions change, either because you’re traveling, being much more active than usual, or find yourself in weather that’s much hotter than normal, you need to stay ahead of your thirst and be conscious of your hydration.

 

3. True or False: Staying hydrated can prevent heat stroke.

 

False: Hydration is just one factor in the on-set of heat stroke, but it isn’t the only factor. No doubt, water lowers your body temperature, but that doesn’t mean it will inoculate you from ever getting heat stroke. Again, listening to your body is important here, but don’t kid yourself that because you’re drinking enough fluids you can’t get heat stroke.

 

4. True or False: If your urine isn’t crystal clear, you’re dehydrated.

 

False: If your urine is crystal clear, that indicates that you’re more than fully hydrated, since everything you drink is just running right through you. It’s your body’s way of refusing delivery of whatever fluid you’re trying to put into it. Still, this isn’t a perfect system. Over-hydration is a real thing, and it’s very dangerous, though it’s not a major risk for most people.

If your urine is a particularly dark color or has a strong odor, that can be an indicator that you’re not drinking nearly enough.

 

5. True or False: Drinking water after a massage helps flush out the toxins released during the massage.

 

False: Water isn’t a magical elixer that flushes icky negativity or imaginary “toxins”, and neither is massage. You may have heard or read some massage therapists claiming that massage flushes toxins, but there’s no persuasive science behind the claim. Regular massage can accomplish many things, but this isn’t one of them.

Drinking water, however, does help your liver function more effectively, and improves your blood’s ability to flush waste from your system.

So why does your massage therapist tell you to drink lots of water after your session? Massage can dehydrate you slightly because it moves fluids from the soft tissues to your kidneys, which is why it’s not uncommon to need to use the bathroom after a session. That water needs to be replaced.

Also, loosening up tight muscles releases metabolic waste and brings circulation back to that area. It’s a good idea to give that healing circulation a little extra boost with a cool cup of water afterwards.

The best analogy for how staying hydrated helps your body function is like oil in a car–it helps everything run smoothly, including your body’s ability to dispose of waste and distribute nutrients.

 

6. True or False: Drinking coffee or soda is worse than drinking nothing at all because caffeine is a diuretic and it dehydrates you.

 

False: Yes, caffeine is a diuretic, which means that it causes an increase in the passing of urine. But at the doses you get in even highly caffeinated coffee or soda, you’re taking on far more water than the caffeine would cause you to lose. That said, sugary drinks, while hydrating, also include large numbers of empty calories, making simple water a preferable alternative.

 

7. True or False: Drinking water is the only reliable way to stay hydrated.

 

False: Of course, water is best. But it’s not the only source of hydration. Many foods, especially fruits and vegetables, contain water, and any other drink you may consume mainly consists of water, so these all factor into your hydration. Don’t count those out just because it’s not crystal clear nectar-of-the-gods flowing from a pure mountain spring.

 

8. True or False: Ice water is harder for your body to absorb, so cool or tepid water is the best way to hydrate.

 

True: Very warm or very cold water diverts your body’s heat and circulation to moderate the temperature. That said, you don’t need to be drinking body-temperature water. You want water at a temperature that will gently cool you, ideally around 50 -59 degrees, which is slightly cooler than most tap water.

So, how did you do? Did anything here surprise you? Let us know in the comments below.

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.

At The Good Life Massage, we’re committed to helping our clients build healthy habits for the best life possible through regular therapeutic massage. Book your next massage with us today.

Tom Gunn is the blog editor and marketing director for The Good Life Massage. You can hire him to assist with social media marketing and brand development by emailing him at tomgunn@gmail.com

 

Massage Tools vs. The Human Touch

Massage Tools vs The Human Touch

You see them everywhere during the holidays. Back when Sky Mall was a thing, they were on every other page of that catalog. During Christmas time, they pop up on the store shelves like weeds: self-massage tools and gadgets. They could be mistaken for marital aids, props for a bad sci-fi show, or a toddler’s toy gone wrong.

But are they really any good? And how do they stack up to a massage from a human being?

The Good
You might be surprised to learn that we actually advocate the use of some of these tools from time to time, either on our clients or on ourselves. We even sell some of them in the clinic.

Massage tools can be a good way to help maintain the results your massage therapist worked so hard to get, or just to keep yourself going until you come back in for your regular massage. But make no mistake (and this really should go without saying):

No tool is a replacement for a human touch.

Having said that, the best tools are the simplest.

A jack with nobs? (sounds dirty, but it’s not)
It looks weird, but it does the job (Stop giggling! We don’t mean it that way). Jacknobber is one of the more popular brands of this type of tool, but the variations and options abound. Tools of this type are a great way to relieve your fingers, or to apply pressure where the elbows would be ideal, but the leverage you need is impossible for that particular area. It’s the Swiss Army Knife of massage tools. It gives you a number of simple choices, allowing you to customize the pressure to your liking and to the degree you find desirable. It’s also relatively inexpensive, coming in at around $5 – $10.

The major downside of this tool is that it’s hard to use on your own back and neck. It’s better used in the hands of a friend, loved one, or better yet, a professional massage therapist. It’s also difficult to apply the pressure you may need, just because your mind literally won’t permit you to inflict that level of discomfort or pain on yourself.

The Rolleo
We swear by this tool at The Good Life Massage, mostly because we use it ourselves, and proudly sell it in the clinic. It is made specifically for the arms, hands, and wrists–the parts that work the hardest for people like writers, musicians, nurses, or massage therapists.

It features an automatic spring-loaded compression, the intensity of which can be varied to your liking. Unlike the knob-style tools, the device applies the pressure for you. All you have to do is run your hands, wrists, and arms through the rollers. The convenience comes with a higher price, but it’s well worth it, especially if your livelihood depends on your arms and hands. This one’s available in the clinic for $44.95

Bear in mind: this one’s only good for hands and arms. It won’t do anything for your back, legs, or any other area of the body. But specialization has it’s advantages.

Cane tools
They look vaguely like something oldsters would use to get around on, but shorter. These cane-style tools give you the firm, rounded pressure points of the nob-style tools, but with better access to your own back. They typically have several knobs to work with, so they’re versatile in that way.

Again, it has a similar problem to the knob tools in the sense that you’re still applying the pressure yourself. The difference, though, is leverage. It’s a little easier to go deeper on your own muscles when you’re pulling instead of pushing, and it more easily reaches the places that most often have the most pain.

One possible complaint here is the form factor. Storage is a challenge. You can’t exactly just stick it in a drawer, but it does lie flat under a bed or in a closet. The price point is fair, ranging between $10 and $30.

Foam Rollers
We recommend these to clients all the time. It reaches where your arms can’t, and uses your body weight to supply the pressure. It’s particularly good for working out your back or legs. The one major disadvantage with this one is the learning curve. You have to get down on it and roll yourself on it in such a way that it works your problem areas. On the other hand, it really isn’t that difficult to figure out. Your massage therapist would be happy to coach you on the foam roller exercises best for your needs. The Internet also abounds with instructional videos and exercises to coach you through it.

We really can’t say enough good about this one. The human touch is best, but this is honestly the next best thing. We’re proud to offer foam rollers at the clinic for $15. The bulk of these make them tricky to display, so if you don’t see one when you come in, just ask.

Cryo Cups
Ever wish you could ice sore muscles without having to hold on to the ice? (Cue the infomercial-style black and white video of someone trying to ice themselves with a traditional ice pack, but acting like they’re in total agony because their fingers get cold. And then they drop it with hysterical levels of incompetence and buffoonery.)

Cryo Cups solve that problem. All you do is fill the cup with water, put it into the freezer, and let it turn into ice for a few hours. The removable sleeve holds the ice, which comes out in a perfect massage tool shape. The sleeve stays on firmly so you can apply as much pressure as you want without losing the ice or freezing your fingers off. We use these on clients in our ice treatments (free! All you have to do is ask.) and on ourselves. You can buy these at the clinic for just $10. Not only do you get the smooth, consistent pressure, you get the ice soothing inflammation.

So what can a pro do that these can’t?
Do not mistake any of these tools for a “do-it-yourself” solution for massage. A massage therapist does what no machine can do. With training and experience, massage therapists can exploit connections throughout the whole network of your muscles and connective tissues to give you lasting relief.

Fundamentally, a massage therapist can apply pressure at a level that might not be very comfortable in the moment, but which is necessary to provide the healing you need. You are literally incapable of inflicting this kind of discomfort on yourself in any productive way. Combine these abilities with compassion for our clients and intuition, and no machine or tool can measure up.

Book a massage with one of our outstanding massage professionals today.

Tom Gunn is the blog editor and marketing director for The Good Life Massage. You can hire him for your marketing, writing, and social media needs by contacting him at tomgunn@gmail.com