8 Tips for Healing Massage Hands

8 Tips for Healing Massage Hands

Hand AcupunctureThe massage profession is hard on our hands.  Be good to your hands.  Have tools around to soothe them.  Make your hand health a priority.  Here are some tips that have healed my hands after they were sore, and several massage therapist buddies of mine use some of the same tips.

Microwavable Hot Packs

1.  Keep your hands warm  Truly.  It really helps.  Do what ever it takes to keep them warm, especially right after you last massage of the day.  When your hands start getting sore, this is the #1 helpful tip!  I use a bean bag warmer to keep my hands warm: one of those bags that you put in the microwave for 2 minutes.  It’s awesome!

2.  Ice your hands after sessions  This seems counter to “Tip 1”, but it’s helpful.  Ice forno more than 10 minutes.  I use a ziplock bag of ice and usually no longer than 3 minutes at a time.  Soon after icing, I get my hands warm again.  For example, I get my hands warm after a massage: and by “after”, I mean, after saying “bye” to your client, changing the sheets, etc.  Get your hands warm again, and then ice them for 3-10 minutes, then use the bean/rice bag to warm them up.  I do this contrast therapy several times

3.  Use a paraffin hand bath often  Another “warming” option is the paraffin bath.  I have my machine on all the time.  Dip your hand in 5 times in a row and let it stay of for 5-10 minutes.  Because I’m
the only one using my paraffin bath, I put the wax back into the machine to reuse the wax.  If you’ve just iced your hands, let them get to room temperature before dipping into the wax.

Hand Acupuncture4.  Have Acupuncture on your hands!  This really helps!  After having a cyst in my Acupuncture for Handpalm, Acupuncture got rid of it in 5 sessions.  I went 5 days in a row.  1 hour session each day.  And I took the herbs they suggested.  A hand surgeon told me that surgery wouldn’t work and that the cyst would just get bigger and massage as a career was over.  Acupuncture worked great.  I used Acupuncture again when my thumb was sore and it helped that too… in 2 sessions.

Hand Stretch with a drum stick5.  Have a hand & body stretching routine  Here are some pictures of what I do.  I have a drumstick close by to stretch my hands/forearms and to show clients how to stretch theirs.  Stretch all the w
ay up to your neck, then also your back and side.  I roll my wrists, use the drumsticks for my forearms, a doorway to stretch my pecs, and an exercise ball to stretch my back, obliques, neck and triceps.

6.  Get Chiropractic adjustments  Sometimes the pain is coming from your neck…just like we tell your clients.  When I get an adjustment, it really helps my hands.  I try to see Dr. Marrich on a regular basis.  When you find a good chiropractor, it really helps to stay “pain-free” in such a physical job as massage therapy.  Often, my wrists, elbows and clavicle all adjust.

7.  Foam Roll under your arms  This really help my arms relax.  Get the teres major, minor and your lats.  Do this by putting your arm above your head and foam rolling the area under your arms.  Email me if you need some ideas with the foam rolling. When my hands are sore, I add this to my routine to soothe them.  It’s not always the obvious areas that make the most difference.

8.  Rest  Have rest days.  Make time to recover after a certain number of massage hours.  And then really rest your hands: no opening of cans, no pushups or weight holding at the gym on your rest days.  If you go to the gym, use the “hand rest days” as days for legs & core.  Do exercises where “gripping” isn’t needed.

I have many things I do daily to take care of my hands so I can continue to do deep tissue massage.  Email me if you want to chat about ideas to help if your hands hurt. 🙂 info@athletictouch.com

To My Dog, Fred

IMG_1834Freddie Fred Freddie, you do really try and I truly appreciate that.  It’s quite unfair to you, but I’m trying.

It’s not your fault that no dog could compete with the dog that came before you.  He was awesome.  You would have loved him, but not as much as I did.  He was my best friend, ever.

He was so athletic and strong: he could jump up onto my saddle as I sat on my horse; he could bounce off my chest from a full sprint and leap into the air to catch a frisbee.

He defended me from a thief who broke into my office while I was working and held him in a corner until I called him off.  He defended me against a stalker just after your human sister was born and I could barely walk. There are many adventurous stories I could share about him. He could have taught you so much.  He was good to younger dogs.

It’s very unfair of me to compare your manners to his majestic ways.  Or to expect you to stay by my heel without a leash, to never run away or after any animal ever.  If he were sitting in my car with all the windows open and dogs walking by and he wouldn’t leave his “Stay”.  You’re not quite there yet, little Freddie. But I’m trying.

I’m not really yelling so angrily at you when you chew through my seatbelt, get the steak off the counter, drag all bread outside to the backyard or chase the neighbors cat.  It’s not that I’m so mad at you or expecting great things from you when I haven’t even taken the time to know or train you.

It’s not you.  I just miss him so much.  I expect you to be like him, to behave like him, behave like I’m used to my dog behaving.  Immediately.  Without the 24/7, 10 years without anybody else around to train you.

You don’t understand the expectant looks I give down the hallways because I still hear him coming.  I still feel for him next to me, still wait for him around the corner, still expect him to be waiting in the car, at home or under my massage table.

Even after all these years… July 3rd, 2008, when he slipped running on a wooden floor to slide into a corner wall and broke his back.  A freak accident, even for a geriatric dog of 15 and three quarters years old.  It was my fault.

Thats why I won’t let you run in the house after your beloved ball, Fred, especially on slippery floors. It reminds me and scares me of the awful days that followed of trying to save him with steroids that made his stomach bleed from his mouth and anus.  Sleeping with him on the floor and holding him in my arms as he couldn’t move except to lick me and raise his eyebrows and ears.

He had just gotten an A+ from the vet the week before: “He’s doing great!  For a 15 year old Dog, you couldn’t tell it by looking at him. He is well loved. All he might need is some doggie aspirin if he seems sore.”   That’s also why I don’t take you to the vet very often.  I hate it there. They took him overnight to give him those steroids to “reduce the swelling in his spinal cord.”  It back fired, badly.

I should have said no.  I should have taken him to an acupuncturist or a doggie chiropractor.  At least, I should have taken him home to just be quiet and together.  The look in his eyes when he realized I was leaving that God Awful place without him… For the first time EVER, leaving him somewhere besides at home… Instead, what I chose made him suffer, not just to be paralyzed, but to bleed internally as well.

There was no “goodbye hike”, “farewell frisbee game”,  or “hang your head out the window one last time.”

I miss him, Fred.

Why can’t some very mean people live only 15 years and the good pets live 80??

You are living now, Fred.  Right here, by my feet, every day.  Trying Soooo hard to be good.  I know.  I’m trying, little Freddie, to give you a chance.  To let you learn and be the best you can be.  You are so loving and playful.  You love the kids and they love you.  I love how you hide your toy and then find it, or how you throw your toy and chase it.  You are a good dog and I love you.

My logical mind knows this and tries to notice you.  But my heart is still breaking and I’m mad at you that it’s YOU here and NOT HIM.

But it’s time to accept you as you. I’m working on it.

Wanna go for a walk?

Your Person

Kudos to WPBeginners.com

Kudos to WPBeginners.com

i just wanted to write a “Thank you Blog” to WPBeginners.com (WordPress for beginners).  Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 2.22.22 PM

If you use WordPress for your blogging or your website, these guys have a great FREE website with oodles of info. There are many sites with WP info.  I can find my way around this site.

I’ve also found their Facebook page helpful. It’s easy to scroll through all the subjects they have articles on.

The video tutorials are very helpful.  I’ve used several video tutorials on moving pictures, putting galleries in a post (which I’m not great at yet) and some others.

My favorite “kudos”:  I sent an email explaining my issues with moving pictures on my WordPress blog… and I received a reply email within an hour.  Very Cool!  Jeremy gave me links to answer my questions and offered more help if needed.  That impressed me. Thanks for your help, Jeremy. 🙂

“Want Happy Kids? Love Each Other”

That’s what a Catholic Priest told us as he was blessing my pregnant stomach during FamilyPica fund raiser.  The priest held his hand on my stomach & our little baby underneath, and gave a wonderful prayer/blessing. That was 12 years ago, and what I remember most are the words he said,

“If you want happy kids, you will need to love each other.”

It’s always stuck with me.

He was right.  Our kids watch us:  how we talk to each other, how we resolve conflicts or arguments,  how we solve problems that are outside of our family.   They watch much more than that!!  They watch how we walk and they mimic our movements.  They watch how we breath and they breath the same way.

If you throw a ball really far, efficiently and effortlessly, your kids–boys AND girls–will too.  If you roll your neck forward, drag one of your feet, respond with yelling, pout when you lose, blame other, pray out loud each day, get up late, get up early, enjoy life, complain about life… one thing is clear if you are a parent:  your kids will mimic you.

Our kids watch how we brush our teeth, what we eat in the morning or before bed.  They mimic how we nod to strangers.  My daughter clears her throat just like I do.  I see my kids wipe their fingers on their pants like their Dad…

It’s cool and eerie at the same time.  Lots of responsibility…but a big reminder that partenthood/marriage is important.  It’s not easy.  It takes work, but the rewards are countless.

I feel so lucky to have kids and a great husband… at least right now with everyone quiet–not asking me for food or clean clothes or a ride.

Top 4 Troubles for Self-Employed Massage Therapists and How to Avoid Them

Take care of your hands as a massage therapist

Take care of your hands as a massage therapist

Most Massage Therapists are good at the art of giving a massage, even spectacular.  Rarely is the problem, when Massage Therapists decide to leave this career, that the therapist is bad at massage.  Sometimes this is the case, but even a mediocre massage can be improved with practice & study.

Another reason often mentioned for leaving the massage therapist career is the strength Massage Therapy requires is more than someone can handle for more than a few years.  True, sometimes, depending on the modality the massage therapist chooses to use.

Honestly though, the top reasons therapists leave this business, which is similar to why people leave many Entrepreneurial professions:  a lack of business savvy.  I think this is why being an employee or sub-contractor is easier in the long run for those people who are good at massage, or which ever business you are in, but not so good at the business end of the business.

 

Top 4 Troubles for self-employed Massage Therapists:   (And How to Avoid Them)

  1. Not enough clients or income or both
  2. Feeling stuck or frozen about lack of clients
  3. Paperwork overwhelm
  4. Fatigue, in the hands, neck, back, forearms, feet

 

First of all, THERE IS HOPE!!  So don’t give up or stop trying because of fear.  If you are doing what you love, like massage therapy or personal training or yoga, etc, I have some ideas for your success (and a reminder for my own continued success).  My suggestion is just to be realistic, patient and persistent.  Lets look at why these pit-falls show up in the first place:

The first problems start with UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS….that:

  • clients are easy to find & easy to keep
  • money will show up often “just because”
  • expenses are low, almost nonexistent
  • paperwork takes care of itself
  • taxes are for other careers
  • your body is strong and you don’t need extra maintenance
  • self-care, hydration, rest, stretching, physical fitness is what we Preach, not what we Do. Hee, hee.
  • assuming that this is the perfect career path for you, without looking at hard facts

The second problem is a lack of knowing your CLEAR PATH:

  • List your reasons for doing massage (or personal training, yoga, etc)
  • Why do you love doing massage, so much that you’ve done many for free?  Remember those reasons.
  • What are your Goals? (answer these questions…in writing)
    • What types of massage do you want to do/not do…be VERY SPECIFIC
      • example: instead of saying: I want to work on athletes.
        •  I want to work on female Mom athletes, between the ages of 35-55 who are college educated and willing to do their physical homework in order to get better.
      • example: instead of saying: I don’t want to work on Mean people.
        • I will pre-charge for first time clients, and I won’t reschedule them if they are disrespectful.
  • Write a BUSINESS PLAN   NO KIDDING!!  
    • Start with a simple plan
    • Know your NUMBERS!
      • How many appointments do you need per week/month to pay your “nut” or minimum bills?
      • How many people do you need to talk to in order to make 10 appointments?
      • What is your rate of return? (how many new clients return?)
      • How much money are you putting into retirement from each massage? (often forgotten about)
      • Do you pay your taxes monthly or quarterly? (and put it aside immediately…untouchable!)
      • From Where are people finding you?  (where should you spend your advertising dollar?)
  • Take CARE OF YOUR HEALTH
    • In ANY profession…60 min of daily exercise, plenty of water, plenty sleep… for starters (do what i suggest and not what i do… :))))
    • Find Balance: easier said… but still essential
    • When your hands are hurting…let them rest

Don’t give up.  A career you love—-getting paid doing what you love is really possible.  Find a MENTOR!  Message me if you have questions.  Don’t give up yet…

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.

 

How NOT to Visit Boston with Family

Boston rocks.  There is so much to see and do, it should be fun & exciting…if you have planned your visit.

I have to chalk this trip up to “How NOT to visit BOSTON”.  A wonderful opportunity to experience lack of planning in action.  A solid list of Don’t’s.  The CARDINAL SINS OF TRAVELING…all in ONE trip!

DON’T:

  • Pack for the entire family the night before without checking the weather  (this paved the way for the other disasters)
  • Check to see if lodging is comfortable (and quiet…but HOW do you check that??)
  • Have a lodging back up plan in place
  • Study the subway lines to know where to go
  • Make a list of the “Don’t Miss These” places, and make them a priority
  • Have sanity, confidence, & rational thinking

This trip was a great example of how lack of planning can create “I wish we were home” type statements…which for me is like a traveling death sentence.

Why was this trip was not our favorite?  Partly because of the cold April weather and mostly because this was the least prepared I have ever been for travel in my life.

I was off my game.

It may have been because of last year’s bombing at the Boston Marathon, or maybe the unexpected cold weather in Spring…I’m not sure, but I was in SLOW MOTION!    It was weird.

First of all, I rolled the dice to save money with lodging, using Airbnb.com for the first time, and choosing a small condo outside of Boston Proper, in Jamaica Plain. I booked months ahead of time.   The condo was charming and a great choice to save money by taking the “T” (subway) into town instead of dealing with pricey parking and LOTS of traffic.  All that was true and money saving.

But…it was loud for our family.  It was ON a main street with traffic noise 24/7,  we didn’t sleep much.  By the 2nd day (out of 8 nights), it was like pulling teeth just to get out of bed…much less go walking for 15+ miles each day in the freezing cold to see Boston.  At 2 AM I was surfing the net to find a different place to stay…but everything was $500+ per night because of the Boston Marathon.  Lesson Learned.

Add 35-45 degree weather with freezing winds…and our family dressed for 65 degree weather (MY FAULT-I KNOOWW) then looking for/at those brass signs “of historical importance” becomes not so important.

Hot chocolate, warm feet and pasta become important.

DSCN1107So, we got to see many Italian restaurants in North End, which we could find, instead of the site of the Boston Tea Party or the Tour of Fenway Park.  We DID get to Fenway park, where we bought $35/each hats because of freezing weather for which we were under-dressed, (And a whopping $150 off budget with one purchase). But, we didn’t get to go on the tour because it was sold out.  This describes our typical luck of this trip:

  • Get up tired from nooo sleep, dreaming of getting hit by the numerous busses that pass by each hour
  • Dress the kids with pants on pants, shirts on shirts, while they grumble, tired & hungry
  • Eat out because our “budget condo” has a vegetarian kitchen…
  • Walk to the “T”, trying to find Fenway Park
  • Get lost.  Ask for directions, get lost. Walk all the way around Fenway Park to find the “tour gate”, which, btw, was RIGHT next to the “T” doors.
  • Miss our chance to go on the Fenway Park tour because of for said “Walk AROUND the OUTSIDE of Fenway Park”
  • Take the wrong “T” train, get lost, ask for directions, realize the directions are wrong
  • Have Pasta, Thank Goodness we could find THAT!
  • Get home, exhausted, to another night of no sleep.  “Yay.” whispers my daughter…

    Boston Subway... Jake dropped his new hat... it was gone in a flash. :(

    Boston Subway… Jake dropped his new hat… it was gone in a flash. 😦

For the Fenway Park Tours, fyi, noon is a popular time, so try for 11 or 1:00.  They leave on the hour, so plan for that.

Just to keep the positive of Boston positive, I separated what worked during our trip to a different post in this post 3 Days in Boston with Family.

If you have any questions about this trip, let me know.  🙂