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

The Wellness-Mindfulness Connection

The Wellness - Mindfulness Connection

How are you?

No, really, how are you? Do you really have the information to answer that question? Maybe this is a question you should be asking yourself more often. Anyone experienced in meditation will tell you–answering that question thoroughly can be the quest of a lifetime, and takes more effort than you might think.

We live in a distracted time, so much so that most of us have no idea how to be anything other than distracted–bouncing through our lives like a pinball from one obligation to the next, resorting to our mobile phones or some other bad habit when even the slightest boredom or discomfort threatens our equilibium.

Is this you? If so, what are you afraid of? What’s got you running to cheap thrills every time you feel uncomfortable?

This is how bad habits and addictive behaviors take root in our lives. Some experts think addiction and compulsiveness begin way back in the development of our brains. Inspired by this prospect, a kindergarten in Germany is experimenting with a classroom in which the children are given nothing at all to play with–a room with some simple furniture and some blankets and pillows. Teachers observe, but do not interfere. The children are given no direction in what to play or what to do.

Harsh, you might say, but it’s based on an addiction study which found that, for many, addictive behaviors began in early childhood. In many ways, toys do for kids what bad habits and addicting behaviors do for us: they thoroughly distract us from our bad feelings–at least for a time. The idea is to allow the children to come up with their own games–to give them a chance to find fun in themselves and in each other. The hope is that the children will develop key skills that will help them cope with the adult world–skills like empathy, critical and creative thinking, and above all, self care and healthy self regard.

Could you use a little more strength in any of these areas? (Is there anyone who couldn’t?)

Are you trying to kick a bad habit, lose weight, or just be happier with yourself generally?

Your journey begins with an understanding of how your brain really works as it does its best to keep you happy and breathing. You’ll need a sense of curiosity–adventure, even. Mindfulness isn’t as much a destination as it is a journey into the unknown.

Are you ready? Let’s go.

First, you should understand that your brain is wired to flee pain and seek pleasure. It’s not bad. This instinct helped our ancestors survive. For example, when you find good food–especially high-calorie food–your brain goes out of its way to remember what you ate, how good it was, and where you found it. It doesn’t care that the food is cheap and easy to get, that too much of it might kill you, or that it’s filled with additives that might harm your health. Survival is the priority.

From there, it’s not a big leap to go from satisfying hunger for the sake of survival to soothing other kinds of pain or discomfort. Before you know it, there’s no bad day that can’t be made a little better with pizza or a slice of chocolate cake. The same mechanism works for other kinds of bad habits or addictions. Your body receives a visceral, memorable payoff for engaging in the behavior, and eventually you’re going to it without even thinking.

And the grownup “toys”? They’re everywhere: cheap high calorie foods, social media, alcohol, gambling, narcotics, TV, pornography, and that’s just the beginning. It’s not to say that all these things are bad all the time–there’s nothing wrong with giving a child a toy once in a while. But these distractions, if mistaken for something essential to survival, can destroy your life.

So what’s the solution? Practice mindfulness.

What is mindfulness?
When was the last time you ate a meal–and focused only on the food in front of you and maybe the company you’re keeping in that moment? That’s mindfulness.

Meditation is one method of developing mindfulness. The task in meditation–what makes it such a challenge for so many–is doing and thinking literally nothing. It’s tougher than it sounds. No sooner have you tried to clear your mind than a jingle for laundry detergent or a bill that needs to be paid soon comes flooding in to fill that void.

The trick is to observe yourself calmly and with a sense of curiosity. When mastered, you’ll be able to observe your body and mind working, holding your own consciousness at arm’s length for a moment.

While meditating, one way to gently dismiss thoughts is to picture yourself by a small stream with fallen leaves drifting by on the water. When an intrusive thought comes into your mind, pin that thought to one of the leaves and watch it drift away. When another thought inevitably intrudes, pin that thought on a leaf and watch it drift away.

Are you thinking “this is hokey and hippy-dippy and dumb”? Pin that thought to a leaf and watch it drift away. You can do this with sensory intrusions as well–that car alarm going off, the sound of the heat kicking on, your watch ticking, your phone buzzing at you–pin these to a leaf and watch them drift away. Set a timer and give yourself 15 or 20 minutes to practice this every day. This may feel like a waste of time; it’s anything but. It gets you ready to live in your skin for the rest of the day.

Out there in the trenches of your life, this exercise starts to pay off. You’ll find that when you get a phone notification while you’re driving, you won’t automatically have to check it. When you’ve had a rotten day at work and you suddenly crave cheese fries, you won’t automatically have to give in to it.

These occasions are opportunities to observe yourself, to be curious and collect data about how your body and mind react when a craving comes on. As you work at this, the more intense urge becomes not satisfying the craving, but curiosity about the craving to see what you can learn from it.

Even if you go for that dopamine hit, whatever form that takes for you, observe! You have an opportunity to watch your mind and body as you give in to a temptation. Pay attention to how those cheese fries really taste and how they make your body feel afterward. Ask yourself questions about whether that notification was really worth risking a car accident to check, and what you really got out of the experience. For extra credit, write down what you observe. Journaling adds an extra layer of self-awareness to the exercise which can help develop mindfulness even faster.

The ultimate payoff
Thinking in this way, over time, has a cumulative effect. Your brain is like a muscle. CAT scans of experienced practitioners of meditation show clearly that certain areas of their brains light up more than for the average person. Their ability to observe themselves has grown like a muscle after years of working out. It has an impact on their personality, and these individuals show lower incidence of compulsive behavior and addiction, better focus and concentration, and can better cope with stress.

While it’s true that meditation isn’t a one-and-done proposition, adopting it as a regular practice for even a short time can begin to show significant benefits. In this way, it’s a lot like massage: it feels great once or twice, and can have great benefits long-term, but you have to give it some time.

Honestly, this is just a toe-dip in a vast pool of what there is to know about meditation and mindfulness. There is so much to learn. What’s nice is that if you only want to take it so far, you can. This isn’t a panacea, and there are cautions to consider as you go forward, but just being more aware of your thoughts and your body’s needs is crucial to building more wellness into your lifestyle.

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 him to assist with your content marketing and social media by emailing him at tomgunn@gmail.com

4 Early Warning Signs You Need A Massage

4-warning-signs-that-its-time-for-a-massage

Is it time for a massage? Don’t answer so fast. Your body could be telling you, and you don’t even know it.

They say ignorance is bliss, but it can also be very expensive. That pain in your neck could become debilitating, preventing you from working and enjoying your life. Consider the cost of doing nothing, and you’ll see why it’s wiser to take care of yourself from the beginning.

Exhaustion
Are you getting to the end of a normal day feeling like you just did a 50 mile hike? Do you seem to fall asleep the moment you get comfortable? Your body may be working harder than it has to. This could be due to bad posture, poor sleeping habits, a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, or all of the above.

Regular massage can help you feel like yourself again and boost your energy by improving circulation. Massage can also help correct poor posture, making it easier to rest and move your body more naturally.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, massage is one of the best treatments for that. A study by the Mayo clinic found that patients reported better sleep and lower fatigue than a control group. It really does help.

Loss of muscle control
For athletes and musicians, control is everything. Power and energy in using your muscles is important, but control is what turns that power into inspiring wins or beautiful music.

You may not be in pain, but if you’re noticing control errors in your playing, it might be time to schedule an appointment.

Pain that goes away–for a while
Headaches are the most common form of this, but pain can be your body’s way of sending you subtle and not-so-subtle messages. You may try temporary measures to find relief (aspirin, hot or cold packs), and you feel better…for a while. But if the pain keeps coming back, you’re not getting the message.

The message almost always has to do with self-care, but how to best interpret that message depends on the situation. If you just had a massage yesterday, you probably need to rest your body from the usual strain, and probably need additional treatment down the line anyway. But if it’s been some time since your last massage, and the pain keeps coming back, it might be a good time to schedule your next one.

Loss of emotional control
Your feelings are like lightning calculators, taking the input your brain receives and manifesting a tidy sum response to that input. What most people forget is that your feelings are responses–not just to what happens to you–but what’s happening inside you as well.

Pain can be like an annoying sound in the background–you may almost forget it’s there or how irritating it is–until, suddenly, it’s gone. Your body can develop a tolerance for it, a numbness. But your feelings and emotions aren’t so easily distracted.

Irritation in the body can come out as irritability with friends or with yourself. Are you feeling more sad for no apparent reason? Are your responses to things more dramatic than usual, in either a happy or sad/angry direction? Do you ever feel like you’re watching yourself react, but can’t stop the reaction?

Regular massage can help you stabilize your emotional responses by reducing the input your mind is receiving from within–quieting that noise of the body so you can respond to the stresses of life in a balanced and healthy way.

Do any or all of these describe you? Consider a massage. It really isn’t just a luxury, and you really don’t have to be rich to get it on a regular basis. And it could be a lot less expensive than trying to go without it.

When you come in, be open with your practitioner about what you’ve been going through and what you need. The more you tell them, the more effective the treatment will be.

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 editor. He is also the editor of this blog and the marketing director for The Good Life Massage. You can see more of his work or hire him at www.TGunnWriter.com

Know Your Practitioner, Part VI: Charlie Fadness

Know Your Practitioner is your chance to become more familiar and comfortable with your massage practitioner. If you aren’t sure which of our talented practitioners would be best for you to come back to regularly, this is a great way to meet them and get to know who they are, both personally and professionally. This is Part 6 in the series. To learn more about our other therapists, check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.

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We’re pleased to introduce you to Charlie Fadness, LMP. Charlie is highly skilled, and comes to us with a great facility for deep tissue work, and can get good and deep with the pressure if that’s what you need. Being fairly new, Charlie isn’t our busiest therapist as of this posting, but we’re confident that will change soon; his clients are already starting to come back for more. We sat down with Charlie to talk about his experience, his inspiration, and his motivation for working in massage.

View the video version of this interview below:

Tell us a little something about your personal life: hobbies, interests, family, friends, etc.
My name is Charlie Fadness. I’m born and raise here, living in Seattle most of my life, kind of jumping around a little bit, kind of going towards south, then kinda coming back to Seattle. My hobbies right now are spending time with family and friends, and then occasionally gaming on my computer from time to time. When I go out with my friends, I usually either try to either catch a bite to eat, or go to the movies, or kind of try a new activity. Our last activity was going to an archery range and then going out for dinner. That was really fun.
Tell us about your career in massage. How did you get started? What events lead to you working here?
As a kid I’ve always done massage, just kind of massaging my dad’s back, and my older sister would always make me massage her hands and feet before she went to bed. So I was always doing massage in my life. But the one thing that kind of triggered it was I was playing volleyball with a friend, and we were playing and she injured her shoulder. And I really wanted to figure our what was going on in the muscles. So I was kind of feeling around and seeing what was going on in there, but I couldn’t really find out what was going on. But I really wanted to know. So I believe that kind of sparked it all, really.

Before The Good Life Massage, I started at a chiropractor. That was my first job. I was excited! It was fun. And then slowly I moved over to Massage Envy just because the hours were a little bit better. Working at The Good Life Massage, everyone is kind of one big family. Everyone gets along. The atmosphere is really great. The clients are really great.

What’s your favorite part of this job? What gets you excited to come to work?
My favorite part about massage has to be the clients, because each day you walk in the door, you don’t really know what you’re expecting, so it’s like a whole new challenge every day, which I really like. I’m not a big fan of the “go to this job and you only have to do this set of things and not much really changes. So, when you’re in an atmosphere where everything changes, even by the minute, it’s really fun and exciting. You never know what you’re gonna tackle.

What is it about your massage that keeps your clients coming back? What makes you stand out from the other GLM therapists?
One of my strong points in massage right now is going and finding knots. I love working out the knots, and a lot of clients have told me I just kind of know where they are, and so they’re really fun for me to work out, and it brings a lot of tension release for the client.

Pick a superpower: flying or turning invisible. Explain your answer.
If I could pick a superpower, I think I would pick flying, because if you’re invisible, you can still be invisible. If you can fly, you can get to distances really quickly. So I just feel like it would be like soaring through the sky like a bird. It would just be amazing, and the views and the landscapes would all be amazing and breath-taking.

We’re all about wellness here. What’s your favorite health habit? This can be something that you’re working on, have mastered, or just feel like our clients should be doing.
Right now, as for health for myself, I’ve been really trying to eat healthy–rarely going out to eat, making all of my dinners, making all of my lunches. So that’s really be healthy for me. And drinking a lot of water and starting to exercise a little bit more, and you really feel that. Eating healthy nowadays is really important for the body just because of all the chemicals and stuff that are in the food, and sometimes when you go out you don’t really know what’s inside the food. But when you’re at home making it, you know exactly what’s inside the food. I feel like it’s a lot more beneficial for our bodies.

Is there a client you’ve worked on who stands out in your memory? Someone for whom massage made a big difference?
One of my clients that I’m seeing now has benefited a lot from massage. She would always wake up every day and have to kind of pop her hip into place. That really irritated her until her friend recommended massage. So she went in one day and I was working into her glute muscles and her hip muscles and she felt a lot of relief. She didn’t have to pop the muscles in her hip all the time, and she was really happy. I took quite a long vacation, and when I came back, she made me feel so welcome. The first time she saw me after I came back she was jumping in joy. So that made me feel really happy and excited inside.

Finish this statement: I wish my clients knew …
I wish my clients knew how important their bodies are, and how we influence the muscles in their bodies, and just kind of moving things around–that can benefit them so much.

Thanks, Charlie!

Book a massage with Charlie today through our website, or give us a call.

425-243-7705

Please note that Charlie is unable to perform the aromatherapy enhancement due to an allergy.

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