Your Massage Toolbox

Jesse Byrd, NMT instuctor

Jesse Byrd, NMT instructor

A common question we hear from massage therapists is what Continuing Education classes they should take.  This is a great question. Most states require 16-32 hours every 2 years to maintain a state massage license.  New Mexico requires 16 hours and an extra 8 hours for Instructors.

Consider your “Massage Toolbox”, loaded with the best “tools” to serve your clients.  Is it well rounded?  Does it help most clients?  Is anything missing?

The basics are usually covered in Massage School.  We call that the “Square Massage”, where you learn the VERY basics of giving a massage.

Next, add to those “basics”, taking more Sports Massage or more Myo-fascial work.  Each of these modalities can help.

Every Massage Toolbox should have basic “Body Mechanics” and self care and good business practices.  Taking care of your body is AS important as learning fascinating skills.  If your body gives out…it won’t matter what you’ve learned.

After the basic classes are in your Massage Toolbox, then start looking for modalities that interest you.

Each therapist has specific talents and passions which they are drawn to.  Listen to your gut.

Medium deep trap work

Medium deep trap work

Massage CEUs are expensive, some more than others, and since each of us will only take 2-3 weekend classes each year, choosing your classes carefully is important.

Massage has so many options for Continuing Education!

  • Sports Massage
  • Neuromuscular Therapy
  • Pregnancy Massage
  • Oncology Massage
  • Cranial Sacral Therapy
  • Spa treatments
  • & many others

You can choose classes to help keep your hands and body from wearing out, or how to run your business.  Ethics is required by all and is often quite boring.

We can also use communication classes, personal training, nursing classes, aromatherapy, stretching, on and on.   Instead of learning ALL styles of bodywork, be specific.

If Sports or Trigger point is more your style, then ANY type of anatomy classes are a great help.  Or, if helping in a senior center or hospital is more your road, then you can find classes to help cancer patients, aging clients, or even hospice clients.

If moms are who you want to help, you could concentrate on pregnancy massage, infant massage, massage for migraines or massage for menopause.

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Whitney Lowe teaching Orthopedic Massage

If you have strong hands, then Sports Massage, Deep Tissue Massage or the like are good options.  Like Orthopedic Massage with Whitney Lowe was great.  He was easy to learn from and he very precise, which makes him good for “anal” students as well as those who don’t pay attention to details.  Or James Waslaski’s Ortho Massage is great, too.  James’ classes are more rugged or physical.  He really gets into each move and likes to manipulate the body more than other teachers.  Each modality I have found very helpful and effective back in the office.

 

Robert Stevens, Core Synchronism

Robert Stevens, Core Synchronism

 

If you don’t have strong hands or would like some smarter ways to work deeper, try Robert Stevens’ Core Synchronism  classes, which are incredible.  Even though “Core” is a subtle therapy, I use it in all of my “Deep Tissue” massages.  It is by far one of my favs.

Ultimately, you’ll need to choose your own path of learning, allowing yourself to be drawn to modalities that interest you.  Go with your gut.  The amount of CEU options is crazy and overwhelming.

Each therapist has great strengths and incredible talent in certain areas.  Explore different modalities to see which type of bodywork you excel in and like.  Which modality grabs your interest? Many will.  But, the better question is which modality KEEPS your interest.  Which do you always come back to? What is your “Go-to” when sessions get tough? When a friend or family member needs help with shoulder pain, what do you think of first?  In order to find your “Go-to” modality, you need to learn several modalities…different modalities.  I admit, some of the classes I took seemed to be a waste of time and money because I never used the specific style being taught…but I still learned from each instructor, and what was MOST important is to have clarity about what I DID NOT want to do.

Personally, I don’t think each of us is great at all modalities, and each of us has a specific way of helping people feel better.  Not each modality needs to be in your tool box….and not every person is going to “click” with you or you with them.

But, when you do “click” with a client, and you feel honored and genuinely respectful of their trust & concerned with the outcome of your time together, then having many different tools in your Massage Toolbox is very powerful. Using Trigger Points to specify pain, some stretches to loosen, deep tissue to lengthen, Core to synchronize, unwinding to calm and breathing to bring everything together, is one of oodles of examples of utilizing a well-rounded toolbox.  At the end of the day, when you get to make an amazing difference in another humans life, then ALL the classes are WAY worth it.

Stay Positive After Serious Injury

Are you recovering from a serious injury? Try to stay positive.  Think about your body like a team:_MG_2523

  • You need all players at their best to play a great game…in this case, the “game” is you healing
  • Each player on the team has an important part in the game…or your “healing”
  • The players need to get along, no name calling or negative Nelly, no blaming (is Nelly really someone’s name?)
  • When the team communicates and gets along, amazing things can happen!

So, here are your “Team mates” in your healing process:

  • REST…like NOT moving, sitting still with your affected area above your heart…really
  • Hydration…drink until your lips aren’t dry & your pee is barely yellow
  • Breathing…deep breathing, think oxygen= recovery
  • Light stretches & movement (especially after surgery…move your low back! move your unaffected areas)
  • Good nutrition!
  • Staying positive, keeping hope… watch “feel good” movies like Rocky or “How to Train you Dragon” where you cheer for others

Staying positive is the MOST important part of this list!  It can be hard to keep hope and think that you won’t get out of this injury ever to play or compete again.  EVER.  We understand.  But…try to keep your chin up.  Remember statements like:

  • “Days injured make me grateful for the days I’m healthy!”

  • “This is a great lesson in being patient.”

  • “I’m learning to really slow down and pay attention to what’s really important.”

  • “My health is the most important resource I have.”

  • “Never give up!”

Support your body the best you can with everything you know to be good for it.  Do this in every aspect of your day including your self talk, the food you eat, the movies you watch, the rest you get.

Do each task with intension to heal: rest to heal, not just to rest.  Think of the cells getting more energy for healing while you are resting.  Think of your cells getting more oxygen when you breathe.  Forgive yourself or anything/one you need to forgive to have a clear mind so you can support your healing.

Use your thoughts to orchestrate powerful teamwork that makes healing happen.

If you need support, email us.  Find support.  Help others.  These all help.

🙂

Corrective Exercises Specialist through the NASM

I love this live class and the book is even better.  Thumbs up, NASM.

What a great tool to help with massage and personal fitness training!

What a great tool to help with massage and personal fitness training!

The test was tough.  I didn’t open the book and thought I would cruise through the test without any preparation and I was very wrong.  Thank God the test is hard, because this is important info, and not info to dish out lightly.  I was thankful for a challenge and am happy I studied the book to the point where if it’s not memorized, I at least know what page to find the info I need.

Though the class I took was a bit loud for the first few hours of the NASM’s Corrective Exercises live workshop at BrikFitness in Redondo, California, I still enjoyed it and really enjoyed the great trainers taking the class with me.  There were healthy shakes being swirled together in blenders while enthusiastic personal trainers encouraged their exercising clients through their regular Sunday workouts all a while the workout music going and then the videos we were supposed to be hearing.

It was like trying to pay attention to a college professor speaking in a mall.  I was trying to pay attention, glaring at the instructors with all my might and sonic ear power, but the blender would win.

The cool exercises that the personal trainers were trying also stole my attention for seconds at a time, which was enough to loose entire blocks of information from the class.

Finally, after several hours of being in a health store locker room with 80’s workout music tapping at my brain, all the noise went away, the blenders stopped, the clients and trainers went home, and the workout music was turned off.  Phew…now, what did you say for the past 2 hours?

Besides the major distractions, the information is excellent and I am already using it in all my massages and personal training sessions.

Corrective Exercises is just that, exercises to correct imbalances in our bodies.  We learned to assess what is off balance, either because a muscle is weak, overactive, too tight, etc.  From how a person moved in a certain exercise, we learned how to tell which muscles need foam rolling, which need stretching, and which need strengthening.  Awesome!

Every massage therapist should take this class because it really fits hand in hand with how we can help people.  Then, if you add personal training, you are several steps ahead in being able to massage their body back into balance.

Valentine’s Massage Specials for 2014

Choose from 3 specials for your valentine

Choose from 3 specials for your valentine

Spoil your Valentine with one of these great gift ideas:

  • $240   3-hours Pack of Therapeutic Massages with a Valentines Gift Basket (while supplies last)
  • $95     Valentine’s Choice, any 1-hour massage style with 2 extra added goodies of your choice: aromatherapy, hot towels, facial massage, a take-home skin brush, and several other choices
  • $75     A 1-hour Relaxation Massage with Valentine’s choice of a handmade gift: handmade soap, spritzes, aromatherapy oil

Buy Valentine’s Specials here, if you have any questions, call 505-332-9292.

On Valentines Night, for a unique alternative to dinner and movie traditions, learn to give your Valentine a massage at home and come to our Valentines Couples Massage Class on Friday night, 6:00-9:00.  Call us, for more information.

 

Valentines Couples Massage Class!

Come join us for a special Valentines Massage class.

Couples Massage class, a great idea for Valentines Day

Couples Massage class, a great idea for Valentines Day

Friday, February 14, 6:00-9:00 at our beautiful office!!

$80 per couple

Learn to give a simple, nurturing and relaxing massage.  Each of you will receive and learn to give a basic massage.

Give your loved one a gift that will enhance your relationship throughout the year.

Your partner will love you for it.

Includes a wonderful Gift basket!
This is so fun!  We can’t wait to share!
Please call or email early as space is limited!

Includes a 1 hour massage each plus an Awesome GIFT BASKET!

5 Benefits of Massage, by Diane Chase

by Diane Chase, MA, LMT

Diane Chase, MA, LMT, Athletic Touch Therapeutic Massage Therapist

Diane Chase, MA, LMT, Athletic Touch Therapeutic Massage Therapist

5 Benefits of Massage

It was in my mid twenties when I first encountered the ominous sounding

word “stress”

…It was the first time I felt my body communicating something to me that was uncomfortable in the gut, a ‘spastic colon’ as the  doctor diagnosed and gave the prescription for Librium.

Yet the symptoms continued and the stress of solitary  life in a big city, riding the packed and stuffy, gloomy and  glum bus packed full of workers continued to takes its toll.  And there were more scary and stressful incidents there in the city that kept my little self on edge.

If it hadn’t been for  Shiatsu (Acupressure)massage and meditation back there in San Francisco  my life and my health  would have taken another direction entirely. This small example from my  personal history is a constant reminder of how beneficial  are the effects of massage and  the holistic healing arts.

Five of the numerous  benefits of massage  come to mind rolling with R’s to give and indication of how wonderful bodywork can be.

Massage provides an opportunity to:

  1. Relax the tension and aches and pains that accumulate in various parts of the body  from daily living,  athletic training, challenging physical conditions and other circumstances.
  1. Repose, the state of being at rest, free from anxiety, tranquility, to lie supported by something, to stop, to pause.  This definition alone is reason enough to schedule a massage given the varying levels of intensity , immersion and  stimulation we as modern urban people are interacting with on a steady basis.
  1. Remember  that it is a good thing to nurture and support your body’s  sensitive, intelligent lifelong  functioning as an  entity, am operating  system if your will,  that requires care and consideration.  Also, often during a massage  one can literally remember or be reminded of something important or long forgotten that has a chanceto surface  as one enters into a deeper state or zone of relaxation.
  1. To  Receive  allows a person a time frame in which to let go of having to do and  allows the yang aspect  that drives the daily life activities a chance to be harmonized in a yin or receptive posturing and mind state.  To be willing and able to take in the care and skilled touch of a massage  professional to relieve stress is also  learning to balance and harmonize  the dynamics of give and take, of yin and yang.
  1. Restore essential patternings and flows in the body’s circulatory and nervous systems.For example, the blood has a strong muscle to pump and circulate the blood but the lymphatic system which affects our immune system requires movement and exercise to maintain the efficient flows to the lymph glands and ducts.  Massage helps to facilitate and support this movement as well as stimulate the nerve receptors in the skin and reduce ‘stickiness’ or  adhesions in the connective tissue that lead to more muscle tension and stiffness.  Massage restores peace of mind and provides the body necessary time to recharge and restore the vital essence.

Core Synchronism with Robert Stevens

Robert Stevens, Core Synchronism

Robert Stevens, Core Synchronism

I highly, highly recommend Core Synchronism with Robert Stevens for any massage therapist, chiropractor, physical therapist, occupational therapist, or neurologist.  I had the pleasure of taking Core Synchronism with it’s creator, Robert Stevens.

If you have the chance, come to Albuquerque and learn “Core” from Robert. He is incredible.  You will learn about the brain like you never have before.  Robert is inspiring, leading me and most of his students to crave more learning.  After his classes, I always find myself reading, exploring, searching and being curious more than I did before his classes.

A brilliant scholar & masterful communicator, Robert is able to explain how to palpate and learn Core Synchronism so it becomes natural in your practice.  This is subtle work; it’s easy on your hands and body, yet it’s effective on your toughest clients.  I use Core on my tough athletes and softer clients alike. 🙂 And, I use it on my ADHD husband when he has trouble being still.  Out of all modalities, my husband requests Core the most. So do my kids, btw.

The Class had about 20 students and 3 assistants.  Each assistant was incredibly helpful, patient and kind.  The class I took, Core 4, was 5 days long, 1:30-5:30, M-F, in the main classroom in The New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutics where Robert Stevens in the director.  There are 7 weeks possible, Core 1-7, each class is a one-week class except for Core 7 which is 3 days and for which registration is full for about a year in advance (FYI).  Each class is a pre-requisite for the next. Many people take the first 3 at one time (I did too, years ago).  I would not recommend taking all 7 at one time.  It’s better to use Core for a year or two and understand the basics and then add to it from there.

After practicing Core 1, 2 & 3 since 1996, I was ready to move on to Core 4.  I do wish I had the childcare in order to take Core 4, 5 & 6 this year, but I’ll need to wait until next year.

Don’t get discouraged if you can’t palpate the rhythms at first.  It’s like riding a bike.  It seems impossible at first for some students, but once they feel the movement the first time, everything changes for them.

The classroom was large with plenty of tables and chairs.  The restrooms are in the classroom and there is filtered water available and a fridge for lunches/snacks.  Each student sat with a different partner each day and we traded as we learned from Robert, who worked on one of the assistants-unless the class is an odd number, in which case, he works on a student.

I would recommend arriving early each day and settling in.  There is oodles of info and it’s non-stop and very cerebral work, not physical, so being centered, well-rested and caught up with what happened the day before is helpful.  Also, bring a good snack.  You will have 1-3 breaks, but only one of them is long enough to enjoy your snack.

Core Synchronism is a great “tool” in your toolbox.  You won’t regret trying it, trust me. 🙂