Archive for General Massage

12 Days of Facial Massage: Part 1

During the holiday season I like to put together a series of videos you can use to work on your friends and family. Last year, I did a series on basic partner massage (you start it here) and this year, I’ve put together a series of techniques to use for facial massage. We start off with traction on the arms and head, and a little work on the chest. When working on women, just work the upper part of the chest, close to the collar bone, just the first couple of inches below the clavicle.

Why start with the chest and shoulders if we’re doing a facial massage series? The body can’t really be separated out into components the same way a computer or an appliance can. Because of the way the muscles, tendons, ligaments and bone interact, work on the shoulders, neck and upper chest affects the face and the all the facial muscles that connect in along the jaw bone, the ears and the skull. To address that, we start the facial massage with work on the chest, shoulders and neck before working on the scalp and face. It’s worth the wait, I promise.

 

 

 

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Holiday Massage Gift Certificate Specials in Louisville

 

It’s that time of year again when you start the holiday shopping, hoping to get everyone on your list a little something they’ll love. This year, I’m offering three great deals for you to take advantage of to give friends and family the gift of massage. I can either mail the cards to you, or send them to you via email for you to print out.  And the best part is you can do it all online, if you need to!

I’ve got items for every budget – from stocking stuffers to “big” presents of multiple massage packages. If you’ve got a lot of people to shop for, it’s worth it to combine purchases into a package purchase to save big.

Holiday Shopping Ideas for December 2011

Deal #1: The Best Massage Deal!

Buy 4, Get 1 Free.
Available for 60 or 90 min sessions.

You can give up to 8 massages at regular price to receive a total of 10 gift cards. The gift cards may be redeemed by the same person or given out to different people and are redeemable through December 2012.
Let’s do the math: You get a 60 minute session – normally $75 – for only $60. Same thing with long, luxurious 90 minute sessions – normally $100 and with this limited time offer $80 per session.

DEAL #2: Stocking Stuffer Spectacular!

One 30 minute session for just $10
OR FIVE 30 minute sessions for $35

New clients only! This offer cannot be redeemed by clients who have seen me before. Each client can use exactly one 30-min gift certificate.

I’m offering this special because my 30 min gift certificates have been so popular in introducing friends and family to the benefits of massage. I usually only offer a few to each client after they see me the first time. Now I’ll make them available for you to share with up to 25 of your friends! At $7 a piece (when you buy them in groups of 5) it’s a phenomenal gift to use for businesses, groups, managers, HR departments and small business owners. Thank your clients, your teammates, your bosses or your employees for all their hard work.

You can purchase up to 25 gift certificates with this offer and they are redeemable through March 2012.

DEAL #3: The Turn-Me-To-Pudding Upgrade Special!

Upgrade a 60 min session to a 90 minute session for just $15. (Heaven!)

For just $15, give yourself (or a loved one) 30 extra minutes on the table. This upgrade is usually $25, but for the holidays, I’m sweetening the deal so take advantage of it now!
You can buy up to three of these 60-to-90 minute upgrades. A one-hour session is fantastic – now imagine an extra thirty minutes to focus on problem areas while still allowing for relaxation, resulting in a deeper massage experience.
And at $15 it’s an easy gift to give to yourself or an existing client. Each client can use three of these 60-to-90 minute upgrades.

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Black Friday Massage Gift Certificate Specials

For the first time EVER I’m offering Black Friday specials on gift certificates for massage in Louisville. And it gets better: You can do it all online. These Black Friday Only specials start Friday morning, November 25th at 7am EST and Saturday November 26th at 7pm EST and are available ONLY online for 24 hours. Choose from three (or all) fantastic deals (remember, valid for Louisville massage only):

Deal #1:The Craziest Massage Deal. Ever!
Buy 2, Get 1 Free.
Available for 60 or 90 min sessions.

I’ve offered packages before, but never anything like this. You can give up to 6 massages at regular price to receive a total of 9 gift cards. The gift cards may be redeemed by the same person or given out to different people and are redeemable through December 2012.

Let’s do the math: You get a 60 minute session – normally $75 – for only $50. Same thing with long, luxurious 90 minute sessions – normally $100 and with this limited time offer $66 per session. Link available at http://www.massagebyheather.com/black-friday-specials.html starting at 7 AM on Black Friday, November 25th.

DEAL #2: Stocking Stuffer Spectacular!
One 30 minute session for just $10
OR FIVE 30 minute sessions for $30

New clients only! This offer cannot be redeemed by clients who have seen me before. Each client can use exactly one 30-min gift certificate. I’m offering this special because my 30 min gift certificates have been so popular in introducing friends and family to the benefits of massage. I usually only offer a few to each client after they see me the first time. Now I’ll make them available for you to share with up to 25 of your friends!

At $6 a piece (when you buy them in groups of 5) it’s a phenomenal gift to use for businesses, groups, managers, HR departments and small business owners. Thank your clients, your teammates, your bosses or your employees for all their hard work. This would be great for those of you weir ho have your own business and want to thank clients, patients or customers for their work with you through the year.

You can purchase up to 25 gift certificates with this offer and they are redeemable through March 2012. Link available at http://www.massagebyheather.com/black-friday-specials.html starting at 7 AM on Black Friday, November 25th.

DEAL #3: The Turn-Me-To-Pudding Upgrade Special!
Upgrade a 60 min session to a 90 minute session for just $10. (Heaven!)

For just $10, give yourself (or a loved one) 30 extra minutes on the table. This upgrade is usually $25, but for Black
Friday, I’m sweetening the deal. This will be the best upgrade deal for the rest of the season so take advantage of it now!

You can buy up to three of these 60-to-90 minute upgrades. A one-hour session is fantastic – now imagine how an extra thirty minutes to focus on problem areas while still allowing for relaxation, resulting in a deeper massage experience.

And at $10 it’s an easy gift to give to yourself or an existing client. Each client can use three of these 60-to-90 minute upgrades. Link available at http://www.massagebyheather.com/black-friday-specials.html starting at 7 AM on Black Friday, November 25th.

So kick back on Friday, log in to my website and get some holiday shopping done. I’ll contact you via email or phone to find out how you’d like delivery of your gift certificates. I can send them via mail (a snazzy certificate on nice card stock) or via email and you can print them out yourself. I’ll let you know the expiration date, the gift card number and you can finish your shopping quickly and give a present that they’ll love.

Photo credit: sxc.hu user Egilsay

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Your Most Important Asset

A little public service announcement to you all. If you’re sick stay home and get better! Don’t go into work or out and about and infect the rest of us! It’s cold and flu season. And, we’ve got holidays coming up so we’ll be adding family stress into the mix. I found a great article/essay on something I see all the time: putting our own health at the bottom of the priority list.

I began to realize that I am not alone in slighting my own needs, and that most Americans value their health by one simple litmus strip; OUR ABILITY TO GO TO WORK.

Many Americans are of the ingrained belief that if they can go to WORK and function in any way possible, they MUST, even if they feel like crud and are potentially contagious to others. It is called “The Don’t Call In, CRAWL In” syndrome. Our work ethics as a society truly seems to dictate whether or not we allow ourselves time to rebuild our health when viruses or colds attack.

via Is Health a De-Valued Commodity? | WIBB.

Are you a crawler? Do you drag yourself in to work when you’re sick? Maybe staying home is the better course. Here are some of the benefits

1) Your cold will run through its course faster if you stay home and rest. The important part of this is to actually rest when you’re home, not continue to do things around the house.

2) You’ll limit the number of people you could infect. By staying home you can prevent passing along that little bug to others in the community. In fact, by staying home, you limit the exposure of you co-workers and save the company money by NOT getting others at work sick.

3) If you can telecommute when you’re not feeling well, or when you’re starting to get sick you may be able to get a lot done in fewer hours than at work.

Although I’m mostly referring to colds, flu and viruses here, the same can be said for overall health. Take the time you need to adjust your diet, add exercise to your routine, and take care of aches and pains so that you remain healthy and active. Life isn’t just about work. Neither is health. Your definition of “being sick” should not be defined by your ability to transport yourself to work and sit in the office. Health is about being able to do the things you love and be there for others in your life. Sometimes that means you’ll need to step away from your work, your activities, and your commitments to hole up and heal – whether that’s from a cold, an injury or stress.

Your health is your most important asset. It is the quality that enables you to function and to care for others in your life. It allows you to do the things you love. Take care of it.

Photo credit: flickr.com CCL: Robert S. Donovan

 

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The 8 Glasses Myth: To Drink or Not to Drink Water

Massage therapists as a group advocate getting plenty of water and staying hydrated. In fact, it’s usually the last thing I say to my clients as they head out the door. Last year I blogged about the claim that you needed to drink 8 glasses of water a day – and the fact that there was no serious science backing up that claim. Still, clients who’ve experienced kidney stones know the mantra by heart and follow it, so there’s now some evidence that drinking extra water actually helps kidney function. The NYTimes series called “Really?” looked at some recent studies related to the claim.

The question: Does drinking extra water help kidney function? Here’s what they had to say:

But research over the years has suggested that drinking extra water helps the kidneys clear sodium, urea and toxins from the body. And in the past year, two large studies found a lower risk of long-term kidney problems among people who drink more water and other fluids daily.

via Really? The Claim: Drink Eight Glasses of Water a Day to Protect the Kidneys – NYTimes.com.

In the first study listed in the article, an Australian team followed 2400 people who were 50 or above. The ones at the upper end of the spectrum, drinking about 3 liters daily, had a “‘significantly lower risk’ of chronic kidney disease.” In the second, Canadian study researchers following over 2100 people for 7 years and found that those who had the highest fluid intake were the least likely to experience a decline in kidney function.

It makes sense that the kidneys would benefit from an increase in water intake. The kidneys use water as a means to filter the blood, remove waste products and balance sodium and calcium levels in the body. The wastes are turned into urine and excreted through the bladder. An increase in hydration would give the body more fluids to use in the filtration process of the kidneys.

Still, the researchers found no evidence that excessive water consumption was healthy for the body. Both of the studies above seemed to indicate a lower risk of kidney function decline with two to three liters of water. Overconsumption of water can be deadly, and the research didn’t advocate flooding the system with water.

As always, a healthy balance is the key. In this case, the balance says around 8 glasses of water a day is beneficial to the kidneys. I’ll drink to that.

 

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Can You Tell Good Moles from Bad? Know the Warning Signs for Skin Cancer

As a massage therapist, I spend a lot of time looking at skin. In fact, I look at a lot of skin people can’t easily see without a mirror or camera – the back, the back of the legs, posterior arms, etc. Occasionally, when I see a mole that looks different or a little suspicious, I mention it to clients. It’s hard to see your own back, and when I’m working with people who live alone, I take extra care to let them know about what I see.

Skin cancer can be deadly, especially if it’s not caught until it’s late stage. The Skin Cancer Foundation says that 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lives and over 2 million people are diagnosed annually with skin cancer. Chances are you know someone who has had skin cancer or had moles removed and tested for cancer cells. To keep from becoming part of that statistic, start a regular examination of your body for moles and know what to look for.

Since both my parents have recently been diagnosed with skin cancer, I wanted to refresh my memory and yours about suspicious moles and lesions on the skin. There’s an easy acronym to remember what to look for when watching out for skin cancer: know your ABCDEs.

A-Asymmetry

Normal moles are symmetrical. This means that if you draw a line down the middle of them (the diameter) they will look the same on each side of the line. This applies both to the shape of the mole and the elevation of the mole above the skin. Moles which are asymmetrical and don’t match up well side to side need to checked by a physician to rule out skin cancer.

B-Border

Typical moles have a smooth border. Moles with a jagged, notched or blurry edge may indicate melanoma or other skin cancer.

C-Color

If the mole has more than one color or skin tone to it, you’ll want to have it checked out by a physician. Normal moles are a single color or shade. Atypical moles might have two or more colors, e.g. two shades of brown, or browns, pinks and reds together. In addition, if a previously monotone mole starts to change in color, you may be at risk for developing skin cancer in that area.

D-Diameter

Moles the size of a pencil eraser or smaller are well within normal size. Moles larger than the diameter or a pencil eraser should be assessed.

E-Evolving

If the mole is evolving, changing in shape, color, texture, or if it begins to itch or bleed, you should have it examined. Melanomas can grow or change quickly, so take note if a mole starts changing and get an assessment from your physician. Also take note of a change in height of the mole as that can indicate skin cancer.

Self-screening

One way to track moles is to check them once a month. You can do a visual assessment yourself, or have a spouse or family member check you. Taking dated pictures will allow you to track changes easily and will be helpful to your physician or dermatologist in establishing a timeline for skin growth. Make sure you check your back, buttocks, posterior legs and as much of your scalp as you can. Skin cancer doesn’t always form in areas of high sun exposure on the body. If you find anything atypical, consult your physician.

Suspicious Moles Can Appear on Genitals and Retinas

Don’t forget that skin cancer/cancerous moles can also grow on the genitals and in the eye. If you’ve been diagnosed with skin cancer or suspicious moles, mention it to your gynecologist and your ophthamologist so that they can check the eyes and genitals as you are examined.

Skin cancer in very treatable when caught early, but you need to know what to keep an eye out for on your skin. Just remember your ABCDE’s and you’ll be ahead of the game.

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Like Pink in October? Reduce Swelling with this Arm Lymphatic Drainage Video

 

Swelling in the arm is a common symptom for breast cancer survivors who have had lymph nodes removed from the arm pit/breast area as part of their treatment. However, there is an easy way to use self-massage to help pull some of that fluid out of the arm and back into the torso. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, I wanted to share this information with breast cancer survivors.

This self-massage video will help with fluid retention in the arm, forearm or hand, whether it’s from an injury, surgery or pregnancy. If you’ve had surgical removal of lymph nodes, please contact your surgeon or physician to see if self lymphatic massage is an option for you. If you’re experiencing extreme edema, consult a certified Lymphatic Drainage Massage Therapist before using this routine on yourself.

Below the link to the video is a link to a list of contraindications for Lymphatic Drainage Massage. Please review them before using this on yourself.

Contraindications for Lymphatic Drainage Massage and more information about the lymphatic system is available at my previous blog post here: http://blog.massagebyheather.com/self-lymph-drainage-massage/

Photo credit: flickr.com CCL license. User: SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget

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Why Vampires Like Massage Therapists. . .

I found this online and had to share:

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Look Ma, No Hands! Fascial Release of the Sacrum

I’m a big proponent of fascial massage. Fascia is the connective tissue that surrounds our muscles, our organs, our bones, our arteries and veins: pretty much everything. I usually describe it as a Saran Wrap that holds things in place and directs force through the body. It’s incredibly helpful to release fascial restrictions and adhesions from injuries.

But, it can be a challenge to do fascial work on yourself. Many types of fascial work involve holding onto the soft tissue/connective tissue/muscle and moving other tissue in a different direction to create a pull or stretch of the fascia. How exactly do you hold part of your soft tissue still while moving it yourself? Enter the sacrum fascial stretch self-massage.

The sacrum, the triangular bone at the center of the pelvis, sits at the base of the spine. Because of its shape and position, it is responsible translating the vertical effects of gravity from the legs to the torso, and it’s also part of the support structure that keeps you upright and mobile. The sacrum meets the two wings (illium) of the pelvis and connects to the tailbone (coccyx). Since the sacrum has so much to do with balance and movement between the upper and lower half of the body, it’s often a part of the body with restrictions and adhesions leading to lower back problems.

In this case, to stretch the fascial tissue connecting in to the sacrum, we’ll press the sacrum up against the wall and use the pressure of the body to hold the tissue in place while we lean forward, (or to the side or diagonally – whichever feels best) and pull the tissue with a slight forward bend. The details follow in the video below. One thing I didn’t mention in the video is that if you’re having a hard time “tacking” the fascia on the sacrum down so you can get a good stretch, get a small section of rug gripper and put it between you and the wall. That will keep your clothes from sliding so much and give you the friction you need to perform the fascial stretch.

If you’re a massage therapist who enjoys fascial work with your clients, this fascial stretch of the sacrum can be a life-saver for clients suffering from lower back pain and limited range of motion. Plus, it just feels good. Please share!

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Look Ma, No Hands Massage: Corner Massage for the Upper Back and Glutes

Ever wanted to get a massage while you were in a meeting? You’re in luck. If you can stand near the door during the meeting, you can give yourself a massage and no one in the room is any wiser. Unless you start drooling.

Here’s the scenario: you work all day at an office, and by the time you come home your shoulders are sore, your neck is tense and your lower back is cranky. A few minutes of self-massage during the day can affect the way you feel at the end of the day. I’m designating this another “Look Ma, no hands” technique since it does not require any use of your arms or hands. All you need is a door frame.

You can adjust this technique to work almost any part of the body readily available and easy to move with lateral shifting of the torso.  It works best for large muscles and muscles groups rather than on fine muscles, such as those in the foot and hand. You can also try this against cabinet corners or appliances, but make sure what you’re pressing against is soundly fastened to the wall. When using this, you’ll be using your legs to press back against the door frame/cabinet/etc and it’d be best if you and the item didn’t go flying across the room.

Please note you should never work directly on bone. This means you should not work directly on the spine or on sacrum when you perform this technique. Instead, focus on areas of the body where muscle covers bone and you’ll be able to press the muscle against the interior skeleton to massage from the inside out.


As always consult your physician before starting any self-massage routines. And be careful with the pressure you use, you don’t want to go so deep you can’t move for a day. Start out a little lighter and work up to the deeper work after a short duration at the lighter depths.

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