Back In The Saddle Again …

I have played this tune before.

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I’m going back to work with Emerald Coast Massage Specialists. Teddy Andreadis, one of the owners there and my best business friend, if not best friend full stop, called me the other day to say they have relocated.

Their new facilities are larger and much more convenient, as far as getting in and out of the parking lot, and really, as far as just finding the place. They are a bit farther from the beach now, at 3076 Gulf Breeze Parkway, in the Breeze Shopping Plaza, and not in Gulf Breeze proper. So far that seems to have made little difference. When people need a massage, they are willing to drive an extra five minutes to get it.

Massage is by appointment only. Just call 850-934-4440 and tell Teddy, or me, or whoever answers the phone who you are, what sort of massage you would like, and when you want to come in. 

Or you can always call me – 850-292-1440 – and I’ll help you get an appointment at the office. Of course, I can also make arrangements to come to your place, if you prefer, set up my table, and sort out your muscles in the privacy of your home or office.

So whether you live in the Pensacola area or are just here for the sun, fun, and sugar white sand, give me a call. You’ll be glad you did.

That is all.

Mark out.

Massage Therapy Finder – A New Link To The World


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The hardest part about being a massage therapist isn’t the therapy, it’s finding someone to work on. Until a therapist has a solid base of repeat clientele, a great deal of his time is spent looking for clients or simply not having any. Today I signed on with Massage Therapy Finder, listed at the very top of the sidebar to your right. I have no idea whether this will generate any calls, but it can’t hurt to get out there.

I also looked into listing myself on Craig’s List, but it’s kind of pricey to do that. I might try it later on though.

Right now I’m doing fill-in work at a chiropractor’s office. I’ll talk more about that next week.

Enough for now.  

Mark out.  

Seated Massage

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Do you like my new massage chair? It’s by Oakworks, who make a lot of massage equipment. This one is near the top of the line, and I got it in the same color as my table and rollaround stool. 

Just below is what a chair massage looks like, more or less –

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but if that guy really holds his hands that way, with the wrist twisted at that unholy angle, he won’t be working for long.

The big advantage of chair massage is the lack of fuss involved. There’s no need for a private space, or undressing and redressing, or changing linens – note the disposable face cradle cover, though – and I can take care of a lot of upper body muscles in 15 minutes. Legs get short shrift, of course, but most people’s problems are in their shoulders, neck, and lower back, all of which I can easily treat in this position.

I used to do a lot of chair massage when I worked for a chiropractor. In fact, sometimes it seemed that was about all I did. When I went to work at the massage clinic, I still did them, though rarely. Sometimes the clinic would sponsor promotions, and I usually volunteered for those, just so I wouldn’t forget how to do this sort of work.

Chair massage physics is very different from table massage. Doing it requires a different stance, different body mechanics, and different pressure. My hands cannot glide over clothes, so I employ a lot of kneading techniques, using fingers, palms, and fists – though always keeping my wrists in a neutral position, unlike our friend in the photo. Massaging the client’s forearms, hands, and fingers is about the same, table or chair, and people in offices who sit and type at computers all day really appreciate that.

So the plan for my new chair is to do office calls. I talked to my dental hygienist when I had a cleaning last week, and asked if I she thought I could set up in their office and work on the staff. It’s a busy place, three dentists and six hygienists, plus clerical staff. I could spend most of an afternoon doing 15 minute massages.

We shall see how this works out. At the very least, I get a cool new toy to play with.

That is all.

Mark out.

Thanks, AMTA!

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The American Massage Therapy Association is a national group that I joined before I even graduated massage school. I get my professional insurance through them, and they also offer other services, such as a listing in their data base of therapists, and a free website. I just set mine up, and here it is.

I was also very pleased yesterday, when I received a call from someone who had found my name and number on the AMTA web site. Nothing came of it, unfortunately, because he was calling from Fort Walton Beach, which is at least an hour and a half drive from here, too far to go and do a one-hour massage. Still, the fact that people are looking for and finding me is quite encouraging.

On a related note, my new car door signs are ready at Fast Signs, so I will go and pick those up now.

That is all.

Mark out.

PS – I decided that there aren’t nearly enough pictures of me on the web, so here is another one. I’m standing in front of Yorkminster Cathedral a few Christmastimes back. Yes, it’s a white Christmas. How neat is that?

York Cathedral, England, 2009

York Cathedral, England, 2009

 

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Nothing To Bring You An Aromatherapy Report

A while ago, as reported on this very blog, I bought a bunch of single note essential oils to mix with lotions, put in baths, and do other aromatherapy-ish sorts of things with, and tonight I found a wonderful combination of oils that actually does feel therapeutic.

I put six drops each of clary sage and bergamot into a warm Epsom salt bath after three particularly grueling days at work, and the result was amazing.

Clary sage is rather medicinal smelling, sort of like tea tree only not as sweet, and bergamot is citrusy and strong, but doesn’t smell at all like any other citrus, and is not as overpowering as orange or lime, or as cliché, come to that.

So the bergamot remained beneath the clary sage, though it was not flattened by it, but rather the citrus note buoyed and magnified the sage while distracting from the sage’s medicine-y texture, and the result truly was quite therapeutic – most refreshing and invigorating, while giving a sense of overall well being.

It was like going to the doctor and getting good news, or at least not getting any of the other sort, and at the same time noticing that the doctor is kind of cute, and don’t those scrubs hug her fulsome curves nicely? Why yes, I believe they do, and I wonder if she has a regular massage therapist. I should ask. 

That is all.

Mark out. 

Yard Work Blues

Spring is early this year. Well, in fact there has not been much of a winter in North America, especially around here. Even in Kansas the lilacs bloomed a month early, so I am told, and last week the temperature in Flint, Michigan was warmer than Pensacola.

Which means that my clients have been extra industrious not only with spring cleaning, but with yard work, and I lost count of the strained low backs, sore shoulders, achy thighs, and stiff necks I have dealt with over the past couple of weeks as folks get back into the swing of caring for lawns and gardens.

I used to do that ages ago, care for a lawn, in southern California, and I did use different muscles to do that, or at least used muscles in different ways, than for anything else I ever did. So I can empathize with hedge-clipper wrist syndrome, and weed-pulling crouch thigh complaint, and reaching too high to saw down that tree limb hyperextension of the shoulder ouchiness.

Only now I know what to do about these issues in my clients because they resemble so many other muscular situations I treat routinely, and I saw a multitude of them over the past couple of weeks.

Of course Epsom salts baths and massage therapy work wonders on underused muscles that suddenly become overused muscles, but another great thing for those yard work aches and pains is to treat your gardening chores as a workout, which is really what they amount to.

Stretch before AND after you weed, and seed, and mow, and mulch, and schlep around that 15-pound edge trimmer, the leaf blower, and the electric hedge clippers that you haven’t picked up since last September.

Stretching will help move the lactic acid out of overworked muscles. That’s the stuff that builds up in the muscle tissue and causes the delayed aches and even cramps that often don’t manifest until the next day. Frequent rest breaks, and of course constant rehydration will help as well – get a big water bottle and keep drinking from it. Don’t wait until you get thirsty to drink, because by then you are already dehydrated.

And one last thing, all you weekend garden warriors – cover up! If it’s too hot for long trousers and long sleeves, at least use a good sunblock, SPF30 or better, everywhere your skin is exposed. And wear a hat, one that shades your neck. If you don’t have one, get one.

What you never want to do is come see me with sunburnt skin where I need to work on you, because I won’t do it.

But do come see me when you can, and I will sort out your muscle issues, and get you ready to go do it again next weekend.

That is all.

Mark out. 


salt baths, self massage, all that stuff

Which Is Worse? Left Or Right?

No, this is not a political rant, and I promise to spare you any of those, no matter how stupid politicians act. It’s about the difference between left- and right-handed individuals, from a massage therapist’s point of view.

One thing I have noticed, amongst the myriad things I have noticed in the past couple of years studying the human body up close and personal, is that most people are right handed.

Okay, that isn’t really what I noticed in the past couple of years. What I did notice is that most people, and by most I mean 99.9% of my clients, have knots and trigger points and quite a lot of hypertonic muscles between their scapulae, their shoulder blades, because that’s where they store their stress, whether left or right handed.

You get stress in your neck moving your head, no matter what you do – even when asleep – and that stress tugs on the muscles between the shoulders.

You get stress doing whatever you do with your hands and arms all day – driving, typing, hammering nails, drawing mustaches on pictures of models in magazines, whatever it is you use your arms and hands for, and that stress all winds up in the middle of your back, between your shoulder blades, because your shoulder muscles move every time your arms and hands move.

And then also, because those big, fat erector muscles that run all the way from the base of your skull to the base of your spine pass right between your shoulder blades, you get all the pulling and the stress from below when you move your hips and legs.

This is why I usually spend a great deal of my time in any massage working between and around the shoulders. That’s where most of the body’s stress is, and where the client will feel the most relief when I squash knots, release trigger points, and unclench hypertonic muscles.

But to return to my main point, one might think that there would be more knots and kinks and trigger points and all that stuff on the right side of the spine in right handed people, because that’s where most of the right handed person’s activity is.

By now you have figured out that this is NOT the case, otherwise I wouldn’t have any startling revelation to reveal. No, fellow grasshoppers, most right handed people are significantly more jacked up (that’s a technical LMT term, by the way) on the left side, in the rhomboids, trapezius, often the teres minor, sometimes the deltoid, and even the erectors, often down as far as the sacrum.

Nearly everyone I work on has active trigger points along the medial edges of the scapula, where the rhomboids attach. Almost invariably these are more active and often more numerous on the left than the right, in right handed clients. The rhomboids themselves usually are stiffer and more hypertonic, and often even ischemic.

For a long time I explained this phenomenon to myself and sometimes to clients as some kind of compensation mechanism – the weaker left side trying so hard to keep up with the stronger right, that the muscles became overworked.

Now I have a better explanation, or at least an alternative one. I think it’s a matter of inactivity rather than overactivity. When a right handed person reaches for something he usually uses his right hand and arm rather than the left. Over time this preference for one motion over another makes the left shoulder area significantly less active than the right.

With fewer opportunities to stretch, the rhomboids especially become partially ischemic, that is, there is less blood flow, less oxygen and nutrients, and more tendency to become stiff, increasing the probability of active trigger points developing.

The reverse is not necessarily the case with lefties, because most left handed people have to be somewhat ambidextrous to get along in a right-handed world. Some even were encouraged, by which I mean forced in one case I know personally, during childhood to become right rather than left handed. The result is that most left handed clients I work on don’t have this issue. If they are jacked up, they are jacked up equally.

I have found that the same is true in those who exercise regularly and intensely. With a good exercise program, both sides of the body are worked more or less equally, so this phenomenon doesn’t occur as often.

So my suggestion to right-handed folks is to stretch more. Well, all right, my suggestion to everyone is to stretch more. Get both arms above your head, lean against a wall, hang from the monkey bars at the park, whatever you feel like, just to get the rhomboids on both sides tugged and stretched more often.

And take Epsom salt baths.

And come see me for a massage anyway.

Couldn’t hurt.

That is all.

Mark out.