3 Days in Boston with Family

DSC_5797Boston is loaded with family friendly activities, and these sites were helpful in choosing what to see:

TripAdvisor’s 3 days on Boston most helpful, with pics and ratings

Independent Traveler’s 3 Days in Boston My favorite itinerary

Suggested 3 Day Boston Itineraries interesting, with several ideas

Pictures of what to try in Boston I liked these pics and reviews

The best advice I can give for an outsider coming to visit Boston:  hire a guide!  Per hour. Several days in a row.  $65/hr. Next time I will plan a 6 hour tour with a guide.

It’s worth it.  I’m not kidding, nor am I loaded with extra cash.

There’s oodles of history in Boston.  Oodles.  A plethora.  Books and books worth.

In 4 days, we missed some of the most important sites on our “Must See” list.  If we had hired a guide, we would have seen everything, we would have known at what we were looking and why AND had extra time to eat more cannolli in North End at Mike’s Pastry.

Mike's Pastry, North End, Boston There is usually a line out the door, but it moves fast

Mike’s Pastry, North End, Boston

The North End was our favorite, besides Cape Cod, but that’s not really Boston. North End includes a section of the Freedom Trail, including Paul Revere’s house, several churches, and many many plaques with historic info.  But, what is most fun about North End is all the  great food.

 

We really enjoyed:

  • North End
  • The Museum of Science x 2
  • The Blue Man Group!
  • The Freedom Trail
  • Harvard Square
  • Walking around

What we didn’t quite dig… see this other post How NOT to Visit Boston with Family.

 

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.

🙂

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!

Low Back Pain and Massage, by Jesse Byrd

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Low back pain is the 2nd leading cause to see your doctor in America

One of the most common ailments for which people seek massage is Low Back Pain.​​

Recently, a good friend hurt his back by hefting some lumber around while building a greenhouse. He wanted to build it quickly as he was racing an upcoming cold-snap. He learned something that most of Americans do at some point in their lives: lifting and twisting at the same time is not a good idea. The New York Times reported in 2012 that Low Back Pain is the second most common complaint for which people consult their doctors’ (6).​

The most important thing to learn regarding Low Back Pain (LBP), is how to prevent it. A lot of grief can be circumvented using proper lifting techniques. The Mayo Clinic has a brief, but informative, slideshow on proper lifting techniques here (4). Many people who come to see me for LBP have been lifting things that they don’t expect to cause them trouble.​

For example, one woman had been frequently reaching down to pick up her child, and then carrying him on her hip. Children are light at first, but they quickly get heavier. This client was used to just twisting, bending over and hoisting the child up. She wasn’t concerned with bending at the knees and maintaining proper spinal curvature.​

Another friend often comes to me for LBP treatment. He frequently lifts heavy things, alone, so it isn’t surprising that he gets occasional spasms. There was one instance, however, when he was simply moving wet clothes from the washing machine to the dryer. Wet clothes are heavier than you might think, but more importantly transferring them from one machine to the other requires lifting and twisting (probably with knees locked). He may not have had any trouble doing this usually, but my friend, having previous injury to the area is more susceptible to re-injury.​

It isn’t just previous injury that predisposes someone to LBP caused by muscular strain. A number of other factors can be involved, and paying attention to them can help avoid not only low back strain, but strain elsewhere as well. These factors, called perpetuating factors, by Travell and Simons’ (p178 1.) include mechanical stresses, nutritional inadequacies, metabolic and endocrine inadequacies, psychological factors, chronic infection, and others. Questions to ask yourself and your doctor include:​

  •     Am I overusing, underusing, or misusing my muscles? Bad furniture? Bad posture, repetitive strain?​​​
  •     Am I getting adequate amounts of vitamins B and C, Iron, calcium, potassium, and trace minerals?​​​
  •     Is my thyroid functioning properly? Am I anemic?​​
  •     Am I fully addressing my stress, depression, and/or anxiety?​​
  •     Are there underlying psychological motivations for continuing to be sick?​​
  •     Am I uncomfortable asking for help? Are there secondary benefits to being in pain that I don’t want to lose?​​
  •     Do I have a chronic infection or allergies?​
  •     Am I getting adequate sleep?​

Having an awareness of these perpetuating factors, along with proper lifting techniques and body mechanics are important to preventing strain and spasms in the low back, and if strain has already occurred, will help to promote faster recovery and prevent re-injury. ​

​©Jesse W. Byrd 2013

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Jesse writes for our Athletic Touch blog monthly. Visit his page on our website here.

1. Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual,  by Travell & Simons’

3. http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-treat-lowerback-pain.html

4. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/back-pain/LB00004_D

5. http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/lower-back-pain/pulled-back-muscle-and-lower-back-strain

6. http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/symptoms/back-pain-low/overview.html

​​

How Often Should You Get a Massage?

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1 hour per month is the quick answer-for the regular NON-COMPETING person. (For competing athletes in training, this article is not for you.)

For preventative healthcare in your life, have a 1 hour massage each month, IF you don’t have any nagging pains, depression issues, injuries, recent surgeries (within 1 year). Start now and your body will thank you.  Just think…how the world would change if everyone had a massage every month!!

With chronic pain, anxiety, recent injuries or surgeries & other possible ailments, having a massage 1-2 per week —-until your issue is resolved—- is the best plan of attack.  Depending on your issue, this could take 1-12 weeks, or longer.  Try to think of this as an incredible investment into your healthcare, into your longevity, health, happiness & smart living.

After the pain or anxiety stays away for more than 1 week, then start to spread out the time between massages: 10 days, then 14 days, then 21 days, and finally 28 days between massages.  Remember to stay 14 days, 14 days, etc, until there is no pain for that entire time between sessions.  You could even call your therapist & push your appointment out a few days if you don’t feel pain yet.

It is not uncommon to need a weekly massage for a few weeks within this entire process…especially for off-season marathon runners or MMA fighters between fights, or people recovering from hip/knee replacements, for example.  Don’t give up hope!! This is not a set-back, instead, it’s a shift for your healing process and a time when your body may need just a bit more support.

Truly learning how to support your body by understanding what it needs to heal is a great gift.  Once your brain and your body are on the same team and not fighting each other, many things start to click into place.

When you have 28 days between massages PAIN FREE, there is nothing better for client or therapist!!  Even the first week without pain is very exciting.  Just remember that it can take a few weeks, but if you are consistent & gentle with yourself, miracles can happen.

Start this week!  Have a massage and de-stress.  Breathe deeper.  Feel more peace. Hope.  And most of all, Love.  Yourself.

Should You Choose Deep Tissue Massage?

When you are about to make an appointment for a massage, should you have a deep tissue massage or some other style of massage?  Good question.

It really depends on 3 things:

  1. What type of Massage Office are you going to:  If you are going to a national chain, or a place hiring only new graduates with less than 2 years of experience, just remember that a beginner can HURT you with deep pressure.  Another point to remember, though, is that if you don’t ask for a “Deep” massage, your massage could be a weak “Fluff & Buff” wet noodle oil application.  So, find experienced therapists. At our office, even if you ask for a Deep Tissue Massage and that turns out NOT to be what you need, we will figure it out for you.  Also, not everyone who requests “Deep Tissue” actually needs or will benefit from “Deep” work.  Again, this is something an experienced massage therapist will be able to determine from how your muscles respond to deep pressure.  
  2. Have You Had a Massage Before?  If you have never had a massage, then we suggest not trying a Deep Tissue massage first.  Try a Relaxation Massage first.  If you are a referral from another athlete or someone who likes Deep Tissue, and you are not coming to our office, tell the massage therapist that you “think” you like deep pressure, but you don’t want to be hurt.  Each person responds differently, even those people who think they like the same style of massage.  If you are coming to our office, we will take care of you and will know from a few questions what your best massage style will be.
  3. What result from the Massage are you looking for?  If you want to leave relaxed and ready for rest, then choose a massage for relaxation.  From a Deep Tissue massage you are looking to have problem areas “fixed” or to get the “kinks out”.  You could feel like you just did a hard workout.  You could be sore for 24 hours.  Your painful areas may be more sore for a day and then much better.  If you are not wanting to feel this “soreness”, then a relaxation massage is better for you. If you are sore for more than 24 hours…your massage was TOO hard and it caused more damage than healing.

Another thought about whether you need Deep Tissue or some other style of bodywork:  When your mind is saying “Press as hard as you can!! You can’t hurt me!” yet when the massage therapist uses pressure and your body flinches, your toes curl, your hands make a fist and/or one of your legs starts kicking…may we suggest that you may need some more calming or lighter work.

If lighter work makes you ansi and uncomfortable, this is almost a sure sign that you are ready to make major changes…possibly letting go of some old pain patterns, possibly ready to let go of some old anger or sadness.  Often times, these types of patterns come out with very gentle massage styles like polarity, core synchronism, or even light Myo-Facial Release. It’s quick and pain less to get patterns out of your body this way…it just feels a bit “scary” right before it’s about to happen.

For those who have massage on a regular basis, this cycle of healing happens very quickly because their body gets used to this form of healing and lets go of pain patterns or emotional patterns much faster.

When pain patterns are released this way it is quick and sometimes permanent.  If the pain returns in a few days, then the pattern needs to be addressed at a different angle.

When emotional patterns are released this way, the person can feel more patience, calm & peace.  Getting angry at drivers and talks with family members can be much smoother and less reactive than they once were.

As always, if you have any questions, email us at info@athletictouch.com