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Massage Therapy Helps Heal The Soul And The Body...


By harrisjensen - Posted on 12 November 2009

Here’s Some Lame Excuses For Not Getting Massage Therapy!

Sharon Welch Reviews What Is Known About Massage Therapy And It's Potential For Physical Healing

 
By Sharon Welch
 
Massage Therapy Editor For The Good Day Journal, and
Certified Massage Therapist
Loveland, Colorado
 

Massage therapists are a little like celebrities in social situations. People are fascinated with us, and the mystery that what we do. When people find out what I do for a living, we usually have one of two kinds of conversations. The first is the obvious, and starts with “I sure could use a massage, how much do you charge!” and the other is the polar opposite, “I could never get a massage.” The latter is the conversation that I love to get into. 

 

The excuses for not wanting a massage are incredibly varied and interesting, but usually break down to the basic three reasons: Expense, modesty, and justification. If a person is really uncomfortable with the idea, then far be it from me to force it upon them, however I spent many years as in sales, and it is instinctive for me to “overcome objections” when dealing with a prospective client. More importantly, I hope that more people may realize the benefits of alternative healing. Of course I would like to have every person I meet become a regular client. I at least would like every person to consider the options available to them regarding their health.

 

I would like to address the three top objections to massage. If a person still feels strongly about avoiding it, then perhaps it is simply not for them. 

 
EXPENSE:
 

The main excuse I hear is “I just can’t afford to have a massage”. Today’s economy certainly effects how people choose to spend their money. Massage can be considered a luxury, and can often be quite expensive. There are ways to get around that! If you think a therapist is too expensive, ask if they are offering any specials or discounts. I offer senior discounts, package discounts, and if a person asks me nicely, I may even reduce my hourly rate just because they asked. I would rather work with a client at a reduced rate, than have no client at all. If a person is willing to schedule their appointment during off-peak hours, I am more likely to offer a discount. 

 

Massage schools are another option for reduced rate massages. Most schools have practical clinics in which their senior students practice their skills prior to going out on their own. A massage at a school clinic is often up to 50% less than a spa or an independent massage therapist. The students performing the massages are fully trained and supervised by experienced professionals. The added benefit is receiving treatment from someone who is fresh and excited about his or her new profession. They haven’t had time to develop bad habits or practice short cuts. You will probably get a very exceptional massage that includes the most current and effective techniques. 

 

Time out!! An hour-long full body massage may be simply too expensive for you. Consider getting a spot massage in a shorter session. Most therapists will offer ½ hour massages for specific areas of treatment. If your shoulders need the most attention, ask your therapist to focus on your shoulders only. By choosing a shorter time slot, you can afford to treat the areas of your body that need the most attention. I say that half a massage is better than no massage at all.

 

Chair massage can give you a lot of bang for your buck. Chair massage involves a special massage chair, which supports your face and body while you kneel fully clothed on it. The therapist then addresses the muscles of the back, shoulders, neck, head and arms and last between 10-15 minutes on average.   The fees for chair massage are usually around $1 per minute. Often you will find chair massage services in malls and hair salons, but most practicing therapists can also provide this service. An added bonus is that chair massage is portable and can be performed at almost any site. I have offered chair massage services to offices, business workshops, amateur sports teams, and other groups. I simply ask that the group have at least four clients for me to work on, and a small private area where I can set up my portable massage chair. 

 

Chair massage is a wonderful option for bridal parties. Instead of an expensive spa day for the bridesmaids, consider hiring a therapist to provide 10-minute chair massages for all the wedding attendants prior to getting dressed for the wedding. There is no messy oil involved and can help calm nerves before the big event. It is a thoughtful & inexpensive way to thank your friends for supporting you on your special day. 

 
MODESTY:
 

When we are confronted daily with the young and beautiful from Hollywood, it is difficult to not compare and judge our bodies with them. Fortunately for us, the slim and sexy set from LA are not the majority of Americans. If you look around, most of us have a soft spot here and there. The human body is a complex and beautiful example of God’s good work. My mother used to say that she loved me “warts and all”, and that is how I feel about my clients. I am not judging your love of cheeseburgers and chocolate.  I am not looking at your big thighs or your sagging skin, and I sure as heck am not checking you out in a sexual “that way”. 

 

As a professional therapist I am looking deeper than your skin, and considering things like muscle tone, range of motion, scar tissue and adhesions, pain, injuries or wounds, any suspicious moles or lesions, and any other general health issues. My first concern is your comfort, your health, and helping you to feel better. In addition, consider that you will be completely covered from neck to foot. While it is easier to work on a body that has no clothing to impede the gliding movements I use, you can leave on your undergarments or wear a swimsuit or shorts. I only uncover the limb or body part that I am working on at the time, and carefully drape your body to keep the rest of you covered at all times. 

 

If you are still uncomfortable with receiving a full body massage to be performed on your bare skin, consider alternative modalities. There are hundreds of different alternative healing modalities in massage and bodywork. Many do not involve taking off your clothes. You can choose treatments that focus on the extremities only, therapies that treat the whole body by pressure points, or you can experience energy-work, which involves no touch at all. There are alternative healing methods out there for everyone, suited for every comfort zone. 

 

For example, reflexology uses specific treatment of the hands, feet and ears. Based on an ancient Chinese therapy, it involves manipulation of specific points that correspond to other parts of the body. Similar to acupressure principles, reflexology works with the body’s energy flow to stimulate self-healing and maintain balance in physical function. Reflexology is also convenient in cases where an area of the body is traumatized or diseased to the extent that direct manipulation would not be appropriate. 

 

Craniosacral Therapy is also a gentle, non-invasive method of treatment. The practitioner, using light touch to assist the natural movement of fluid within the craniosacral system, performs this technique to help encourage healing of the central nervous system. The craniosacral system is the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. The body parts involved are the head, spine, and sacrum or tailbone. By treating the nervous system that communicates with the whole body, general health can be enhanced and many problems can be treated. The client is fully clothed, and the pressure of the touch is equal to the weight of a nickel. This therapy has been very effective in removing restrictions and helping people to feel better in a unique way. 

 

If manual manipulation of any kind makes you uncomfortable, perhaps energy work is an alternative for you to try. Reiki Healing originated in Japan in the early 20th century by Mikao Usui. Reiki involves the practitioner placing their hands on or just above the client’s body in order to activate healing energy within the body. The Reiki healer moves their hands progressively over the twelve positions on the body for periods of two or three minutes each. The client is fully clothed, and lying down comfortably. Healing occurs through the return of physical, mental and spiritual balance. 

 

Other non-touching techniques include the Rosen method, the Rubenfeld Synergy method, and SHEN therapy. These are all different techniques, which address things like emotional blockages, breathing, posture, and kinesthetic awareness, memories that can have an effect on our health. Many clients have found freedom from pain and tension through these alternative treatments.   

 

There are many natural and interesting healing arts available to us. You may enjoy experiencing aromatherapy treatments using natural concentrated oils derived from plants. Herbologists treat ailments using plants, herbs, and extracts and a homeopath uses special dilutions for various symptoms.   Hypnotherapy has been effective in treating stress and many physical ailments. There are also treatments using magnotherapy (magnets) or Tuning with harmonically charged metal rods to balance and heal the body. Eutony explores the contraction and relaxation of muscles and observing the sensations in different situations to overcome pain and health problems. 

 
 
JUSTIFICATION:
 

Sometimes we just can’t justify getting a massage or other therapy. It may feel indulgent, extravagant, or just plain unnecessary. A venti mocha latte is indulgent, a world tour on a luxury liner is extravagant, and a t-shirt that says “I Love My Ferret” is just plain unnecessary. Massage therapy is a healthy, relaxing, and perfectly OK thing to do. Your body will thank you, your friends won’t think you’re a snob, and strangers won’t think you’re weird. 

 

Let’s compare ourselves with something very important in most of our lives, our car. Food is to our body, as fuel is to our car. A haircut and manicure are to our body as is a wash and wax is to our car. Preventative health care is to our body, as a tune-up and oil change is to our car. Illness and injury is to our body as is mechanical breakdown or a wreck is to our car. A poorly maintained car will break down and have a shorter lifetime—so will a poorly maintained body. 

 

Massage and bodywork affect the body in profound ways that can help us live longer, healthier lives. It has been proven that massage can lower the blood pressure, reduce stress hormones that can cause hypertension and weight gain, reduce inflammation of joints, increase the efficiency of our digestive system, tone and improve skin texture, increase circulation, balance hormones and the endocrine system, reduce the need for insulin, improve bone strength, maximize muscle tone and strength, and much, much more. Would you be surprised to know a one-hour massage can burn as many calories as a 20-minute walk? 

 

In addition, if a massage allows you to move freer and without pain or restrictions, you may be inclined to move and exercise more. If you are stress free, pain free, and sleep well, you won’t need to take prescription medications. If you indulge yourself with bodywork, you may not indulge yourself with other unhealthy options such as smoking, drinking, or overeating. If your mind is calm and you feel relaxed, you won’t be tense and unhappy. Instead of waiting for something to break down, fail, or to get sick, be proactive in your health management.

 

I would also suggest that most alternative healers are very compassionate, empathetic, generous people. They are going to spend more time with you, they are going to listen to you, and they are going to do their very best to meet your needs and make you feel better. When was the last time a medical doctor did that for you? Sometimes it helps to know someone genuinely cares about how you feel. 

 

Often, a practitioner will even identify a condition that you should see your doctor about. I have found and pointed out several small skin cancers, and I also have advised a client to see a physician after I suspected she had a thyroid condition that had not been diagnosed. Many of my clients have had their prescriptions checked and changed after we discussed their health issues. Many people see multiple doctors and are over-medicated, or are taking medicines that don’t ‘mix’.   I also may refer a client to a dietitian or a personal trainer if I think it may help them overall. Holistic health care refers to the “whole” of a body – and looking at the big picture.

 
 
 

So if you need to give yourself permission -- go ahead. Massage is good for you and is a great way to maintain your “vehicle” for a long and healthy trip down the road of life. 

 
 
HOW DO I LEARN MORE:
 

If you want to locate a therapist or school in your area, of course you can look in the phone book. Surprisingly, you will only find a small percentage of the practicing therapists in your area this way. Massage and energy work professionals are strange creatures, and we often do not adhere to traditional business practices. Yellow page expenses can be a bit off-putting, and I worry that I don’t know who may be calling me. To avoid weirdoes and perverts, I prefer to work with clients who were personally referred to me by someone I know, and I avoid most public advertising. So what do you do if you aren’t referred to a practitioner by a friend, or if you want to find a specific type of treatment, and there is no one listed in the phone book? 

 

I recommend checking the web sites of the associations for practitioners. Many alternative health professionals belong to an association. This is a great way to find a therapist who is professional and trustworthy. In order for the individual or school to belong to the association, they must meet certain criteria, and this is good for you. You know they have acquired the minimum education to be certified in their field. If required, they are legally registered with the state or have completed the national board certification, and have completed a criminal background check. You also will be assured that the person is fully insured for liability in their practice. Additionally, most associations offer a “finder feature” which will help you locate a practitioner in your area who offers the services you are looking for. You can also see how long a person has been in business, where they went to school, and much more information, which may influence your choice. Some sites even offer information on different modalities explaining what they are, how they work, and even recommending best therapies for specific needs. 

 

Some of the associations to reference are: 

 

Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (www.ABMP.com), American Massage Therapy Association (www.AMTAMassage.org), International Massage Association (www.IMAgroup.com), American Medical Massage Association (www.AmericanMedicalMassage.com), American Alternative Medical Association (www.AAMA.com), American Holistic Health Association (www.AHHA.org)

 

You can access other alternative methods by using your search engine on your homepage, and typing in the treatment you are interested in learning more about. I encourage everyone to learn at least one way of utilizing alternative health care. It is becoming much more evident in America that there are effective therapies available to maintain and heal our bodies. It is even becoming more common for health insurance to provide coverage of alternative therapies. 

 

So stop making excuses. The best place to start is to find a therapist you can afford, ask for a treatment you are comfortable with, and allow yourself to enjoy feeling better. Know that you are doing a good thing for yourself and your body!