As you begin enhancing your health with therapeutic massage, we know that many of you might have questions about massage and bodywork techniques. In our continued efforts to keep our clients and friends informed and educated, we have provided answers to the most frequently asked questions.
If you go through this information and still have concerns, especially pertaining to your own or a loved one’s personal health situation, please call us at 419-873-SOLE (7653).
What is massage?
The healing art of massage therapy spans a wide variety of therapeutic approaches, working to improve an individual’s
health and well-being through the hands-on manipulation of muscles and other soft tissues of the body.
Although massage affects the body as a whole, it particularly influences the activities of the musculoskeletal, circulatory, lymphatic, and nervous systems.
What is the origin of therapeutic massage?
The origins of therapeutic massage are rooted in the common instinctual response to hold and rub a
hurt or pain. It is found in all cultures as an integral part of health care.
The therapeutic massage methods used today have both Eastern and Western origins. The first written records of massage date back over 4,000 years to early Chinese medicine and ancient Ayurvedic medicine of India, making it one of the oldest known health care practices. Shiatsu, acupressure, and reflexology spring from these Eastern sources as do other contemporary methods.
Western civilizations were introduced to therapeutic massage by Greek and Roman physicians.
Modern Western massage is credited primarily to Peter Henrik Ling, a Swedish athlete.
His approach, which combines hands-on techniques with active and passive movements,
became known as Swedish massage, and is still one of the most commonly used methods
in the Western world.
By the end of the 19th century, a significant number of American doctors were practicing this
manual technique and the nation’s first massage therapy clinic opened its doors to the public.
However, in the early 20th century, the rise of “modern” technology and prescription drugs began
to overshadow massage therapy. For the next several decades, unfortunately, massage
remained dormant and only a few therapists continued to practice the “ancient” technique.
During the 1970’s, both the general public as well as the medical profession began to take
notice of alternative medicine and mind-body therapies. Therapeutic massage is now
experiencing a renaissance and is regaining its rightful place among health care practitioners.
Today, there are more than 200,000 massage therapists practicing in the United States and their numbers are growing rapidly to keep up with the more than 80 million massage therapy appointments made every year.
Are there different kinds of massage and bodywork?
There are nearly 200 different massage and bodywork techniques. Each technique is uniquely designed to achieve a specific goal. A few of the most common types practiced, especially at BODY & SOLE, are:
Swedish Massage is the most common form of massage in the United States. It is characterized by long, smooth strokes and kneading on the more superficial layers of muscles and is combined with passive movements of the joints. It is used primarily for full-body sessions and promotes general relaxation, improves blood circulation and range of motion, and relieves muscle tension.
Deep Tissue Massage releases the chronic patterns of tension in the body through slow strokes and
deep finger pressure on the contracted areas, either following or going across the grain of muscles, tendons, and fascia. It is called deep tissue because it also focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue.
Reflexology is a 4,000-year old technique that focuses on the feet, an area that contains reflex points that correspond to all the organs and systems of the body. Through the skillful application of pressure to specific points in the feet, the entire body can be affected. Similar safe, natural techniques are used on the hands, ears, and large colon to assist in the reduction of stress, boost circulation, aid in elimination, revitalize energy,and balance the entire body on all levels.
Neuromuscular Therapy (also known as Trigger Point Therapy) applies concentrated finger pressure to “trigger points” (painful irritated areas in muscles) to break cycles of spasm and pain. Neuromuscular re-education may be used for chronic pain or for injury rehabilitation, helping to break up scar tissue formed around an injured area.
Aromatherapy The use of essential oils for curative and rejuvenating effects, aromatherapy dates back to ancient Egypt, India, and the Far East. This simple therapy has been used for centuries to reduce stress and tension, refresh and invigorate the body, soothe emotions, and clear the mind. After an initial discussion with the client, specific essential oils are used in conjunction with other appropriate techniques, such as massage, acupressure, or reflexology. Used in oils, the essential oil is absorbed through the skin and into the body to affect physiological change. When inhaled, the aroma directly affects the limbic area of the brain that is related to
emotions and memories.
CranioSacral Therapy is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of a physiological body system called the craniosacral system. This system is comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. A very soft touch is applied to the head and spine for finding and correcting cerebral and spinal imbalances or blockages that may cause sensory, motor, or intellectual dysfunction, and is effective for a wide range of medical problems.
Myofascial Release uses gentle pressure and body positioning to relax and stretch the muscles, fascia (connective tissue), and related structures. Its goal is to improve flexibility and mobility of the muscles, nerves, and connecting structures of the body. The fascia is an elastic sheath surrounding muscle fibers, muscle groups and organs, and gives our body structural integrity and strength. It can stick together in layers and retain tension when physical or emotional traumas occur. By releasing that "stickey-ness" issue, freedom occurs for the affected area.
Lymphatic Drainage uses light, rhythmic strokes to improve the flow of lymph (colorless fluid that helps fight infection and disease) throughout the body. This therapy is designed to drain stagnant fluids, detoxify, regenerate tissue, filter out toxins and foreign substances which allow the body to maintain a healthy immune system, and is commonly used after surgery to reduce swelling.
Hot Stone Massage is becoming widely known for its deeply relaxing benefits. It employs a technique that uses smooth, water heated basalt stones which are placed on specific acupressure points on the body to melt away knots, tension, and stress. The hot stone experience relieves pain, promotes harmony, balance, and peace. (There are times with certain sessions that an application of cold stones will be used to assist with inflammation, relieve sinus headache, or calm eye strain.)
Pregancy Massage: Pregnancy places strong demands on a woman's body and is a perfect time for the body to be nurtured and pampered. This massage not only relieves the tensions and aches caused by the extra weight and shift in the center of gravity to the body, but it also reduces swelling, soothes the nervous system, acts as a tonic, reduces fatigue, and enhances energy.
Reiki: Pronounced 'ray-kee', in Japanese this means "universal life energy". It is a healing technique of transmitting life energy by placing the hands gently in specific positions either on or above the body. This laying-on of hands is designed to relieve pain, restore vitality, heal illnesses, and aid spiritual growth. By bringing the body to a relaxed state, the body can do what it was designed to do...heal itself!
Sports Massage Therapy is classified into three main categories: Maintenance, Event, and Rehabilitation. Maintenance massage is a regular program of massage to help the athlete reach optimal performance through injury-free training. Event massage takes place before, during, and/or after competition to supplement an athlete’s warm-up, readying the athlete for top performance, and/or to reduce the muscle spasms and metabolic build-up that occurs with vigorous exercise. Such techniques enhance the body’s recovery process, improving the athletes return to high-level training and competition, and reducing the risk of injury. Rehabilitation massage techniques are effective in the management of both acute and chronic injuries
How does it work?
When a therapist massages soft tissue, electrical signals are transmitted both to the local area and throughout the body. These signals help heal damaged muscle, stimulate circulation, clear waste products via the lymphatic system, boost the activity of the immune system, reduce pain and tension, and induce a calming effect. They may also enhance a general sense of well-being by stimulating the release of endorphins (natural pain-killers and mood elevators) and reduce levels of certain stress hormones.
What are some of the key benefits of massage?
A therapeutic massage enhances your life in many ways and can have profound effects on the physical, mental, and emotional states of your body. The trained hands and caring spirits of BODY & SOLE’s massage therapists help tune your body, putting it in the mode to heal itself.
This brings about the balance that we are all trying to achieve.
Physical Benefits of Massage Therapy:
* Relaxes the whole body
* Loosens tight muscles
* Relieves tired, aching muscles
* Relieves cramps and muscle spasms
* Reduces effects of eye strain
* Increases flexibility and range of motion
* Reduces chronic pain
* Calms the nervous system
* Lowers blood pressure
* Reduces heart rate
* Slows respiration
* Increases the flow of blood and lymph
* Improves skin tone
* Speeds recovery from injuries and illness
* Strengthens the immune system
* Reduces tension headaches
* Promotes deeper, more effective breathing
* Improves posture
* Reduces post-surgery adhesions and swelling
* Decreases and realigns scar tissue
Mental Benefits of Massage Therapy:
* Reduces mental stress
* Improves concentration
* Promotes better sleep
* Induces mental relaxation
* Enhances capacity for calm thinking and creativity
Emotional Benefits of Massage Therapy:
* Provides a feeling of well-being
* Enhances self-image
* Fosters peace of mind
* Lessens depression and anxiety
* Increases awareness of mind-body connection
* Improves ability to monitor stress signals and respond appropriately
* Satisfies the need for caring and nurturing touch
As you can see, massage offers more benefits than you can imagine. Touch is essential from the moment we are born until the moment we die. Because of this, massage is also an emotionally powerful self-care tool. Having a caring professional “listen” to your body with their hands is a deeply soothing experience. Isn’t it good to know that something that feels so great can contribute to your long-term health as well!
Who can benefit?
People throughout the life cycle, from the very young and very old to those in between, all find that a professional massage can have special applications suitable for their needs.
Individuals in all walks of life can enjoy the benefits of massage and bodywork. From stressed-out executives, students, laborer, stay-at-home moms, or an ill and homebound person, massage may be an option to aid you on the road to recovery, well-being, or maintaining your level of health.
What conditions are treated by massage?
This is a short list of some of the more common health situations that are successfully treated by therapeutic massage. The staff at BODY & SOLE have advanced training in other areas, so call us to find out if your situation will be helped.
* Asthma and Bronchitis
* Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
* Chronic and temporary pain
* Circulatory problems
* Digestive and elimination disorders
* Gastrointestinal disorders (Including spastic colon, colic, and constipation)
* Headaches / Migraines
* Jet Lag
* Menstruation discomforts
* Plantar Faciitis
* Reduced range of motion
* Repetitive Strain Injuries (carpel tunnel syndrome, etc.)
* Spinal disc issues
* Sports injuries (including pulled/strained muscles and sprained ligaments)
* Strains, Sprains, and Muscles Spasms
* Stress / Anxiety
* Surgery preparation and recovery
* Tendonitis / Bursitis
* TMJ dysfunction (noise and/or pain in the jaw joint)
When might the use of massage be inadvisable?
There are some contraindications for massage in particular circumstances. For example, we would not massage directly over a tumor or if there has been a recent blood clot. However, once we know that we can work with you (the majority of cases), we have massage therapists trained in many specialty areas (pregnancy, injury rehabilitation, surgery recovery, sports massage, cancer, etc.) with proper protocols and guidelines to follow. It is very important that you keep your therapist informed if there have been any changes in your health or medications.
If you suffer from certain circulatory ailments (such as phlebitis), infectious diseases, certain forms of cancer, cardiac problems, certain skin conditions, or any inflamed or infected tissues, be sure to consult your physician before initiating any massage program
I’ve never had a massage before, so what should I expect?
You can expect a relaxing experience! You can expect to feel good again, to feel pain relief, and to feel comfortable and safe.
Many people are concerned before their first massage because it is a new experience. People often wonder what will happen after they have made an appointment and arrive at our office. You probably have many things you worry about…but this will not be one of them!
First, you’ll find a warm, friendly greeting. You will be met by one of our therapists or office support staff personnel. Some people like to come in a few minutes early to sit in our quiet reception room with its beautiful flowers, gentle fountain,
soft music, and enjoyable refreshments…all designed to help you relax and unwind!
For your first visit to BODY & SOLE, you will want to arrive 5-10 minutes early to fill out a medical history form. This provides your therapist with valuable information pertaining to your current and past health issues, is kept confidential, and allows us to tailor a massage to fit your special needs. While waiting for your session, please enjoy the pleasure of herbal teas or browse the selection of our retail products made to “Take the Experience Home.”
After the medical form is completed, your therapist will then show you to one of our private rooms that will be used for your session. Your therapist will review with you the information you listed on the form to make sure she understands the reason for your visit, your expectations of the session (relaxation, pain relief, etc.), and to make sure you do not have any contraindications for massage therapy. Make sure you are honest with your therapist and inform her of any sore spots or pain. It is her goal to assure your comfort.
At this time, your therapist will explain how to get on the massage table and will leave the room for a few minuteswhile you prepare for your massage.
When should I get a massage?
Any time is a good time to get a massage! You don’t need to wait until you are stressed or injured. Massage works wonders as preventative care for a person’s body and mind. Instead of waiting until your back hurts from overwork or stress, the stress of every day life makes you want to ‘pop your cork’, or the headaches that start at the back of your skull begin to pound,
get a massage before these things happen. A regular massage is a wonderful way to cope with stress, both physical and emotional, and to keep it from causing discomfort or harm to your body.
Who will perform my massage?
When seeking a massage therapist, it is important to locate a professional who is well-trained, adheres to a professionally recognized code of ethics and standards of practice, and is committed to continuing their professional education and development.
All therapists at BODY & SOLE are carefully selected by the owner, are licensed by the Ohio State Medical Board, have received additional training in a variety of techniques, carry liability insurance and, most importantly, adhere to the Code of Ethics from the American Massage Therapy Association.
With many therapists available at BODY & SOLE, do I have to schedule with the same one?
Although most people become loyal to one therapist, there is no restriction in our center to commit yourself to one therapist. All our therapists work together and there is no competition among them. Each of our therapists brings their own specialties to the office which compliments one another.
With our therapists being state licensed and specially trained in different massage and bodywork techniques, we actually encourage you to schedule with another therapist within the office. This allows you to experiment with the different techniques available. In fact, your therapist may refer you to one of the other therapists if you have a particular problem or health issue that you are dealing with in which they feel you might get additional assistance. Your care is our number one priority.
If your therapist is not available during the time period in which you would like to schedule your appointment, you may feel free to schedule that appointment with one of our other therapists if you feel comfortable doing so.
Where will my massage treatment take place?
All therapy sessions are experienced in the quiet solitude of one of our five comfortable, private rooms which will be reserved especially for you. Each room is named for its unique décor and atmosphere…Serenity, Inspiration, Paradise, Harmony, and Imagine. We’ve paid attention to the details which contribute to elevating the human spirit…an important element in healing.
Soft music is playing in each room to help you relax. (If you find music to be distracting, we will be happy to change the music or turn off the stereo.) The temperature of the room and table are controlled for optimal comfort.
In addition, our treatment rooms are separated into a “Quiet Zone” to help promote serenity and relaxation. No noisy office or other activities are performed in this area…only blissful massage therapy.
How should I prepare for my BODY & SOLE experience? Must I be completely undressed?
Will I be covered during the session?
These are excellent questions. You can wear whatever you like to your massage appointment. Most massage techniques require you to remove some of your clothing for the massage to be most effective.
At BODY & SOLE, we only require that you disrobe to your comfort level which means you may leave on as much or as little clothing as you feel comfortable with. You should also remove any jewelry or other articles that might interfere
with your massage. (And please turn off your cell phone!)
Your therapist will leave the room allowing you time to undress and cover yourself with our large, thick blankets while laying on the heated massage table. Begin to relax by slowly breathing and enjoying your surroundings.
Your therapist will knock on the door in a minute or so to confirm your readiness. He/She will enter the room, taking a few minutes to focus his/her intention, and then gently will begin your massage.
You will be properly covered at all times during your massage to keep you warm and comfortable.
Throughout the massage, your therapist will only undrape that area of your body to be worked on.
Rest assured…your privacy will always be respected, and we encourage you to discuss any concerns
you may have with your therapist.
What parts of my body will be massaged?
You and your therapist will discuss the desired outcome of the treatment. This will determine which parts of your body require massage. A typical full body treatment will include work on your back, arms, legs, feet, head, neck, and your shoulders. You will not be touched on or near your genitals (male or female) or breasts* (female).
*We are specially trained in surgery recovery and have techniques to assist with breast surgeries which include mastectomy and other breast augmentation procedures. We are extremely sensitive to the work that we do in the area of the chest and special draping and verbal communication is utilized and respected.
A common thought regarding massage is “it’s just my neck (or other body part) that’s bothering me. Do I have to receive a full body treatment?” The answer is “no” and you can ask your therapist to focus on one or more specific areas for the scheduled time. We can easily tailor your session to focus on a special concern which is one of the reasons we gather a health history.
Please keep in mind, however, that even though you might be experiencing discomfort or range of motion issues in one area, the problem might be located in a much different area of the body. For example, you might be feeling pain in your left hip area and once the therapist has assessed your condition, she might find that it actually is being aggravated from the right side!
Our therapists will communicate her findings with you and why another area needs addressed so you can better understand your condition.
Sessions will differ from client to client. Feel confident that your therapist is an experienced professional capable of helping you relax. By telling him/her which areas of your body feel sore or painful, you help him/her to focus on gently releasing those particular muscle groups. Deep, slow breathing will also help to relax tight muscles as well as reduce stress. We value feedback, so feel free to tell your therapist what you like and especially what you don’t like.
You will most likely notice changes by the end of your first session. These may include greater east of movement, pain relief, lowered blood pressure, improved circulation and enhanced sense of well-being.
What do I do during my massage session? What is expected of me?
When you step inside BODY & SOLE, our focus is to provide an atmosphere that makes this the perfect place to unwind and feel pampered.
Now that you are settled underneath the warm blankets, surrounded by soft lighting and music, we invite you to begin remembering what your body feels like to relax…letting the stress slowly disappear.
When your massage begins, feel free to close your eyes, breathe slowly and deeply, and just relax.
Your therapist will gently move you as needed throughout the massage or will ask for assistance from you if needed.
Whether or not you wish to talk during the session depends on your needs at the time. Some clients need to talk. Some need silence. Many clients talk in the initial stages of massage and as the massage progresses, they slip farther into a state of total relaxation and become quiet. Our therapists will accommodate whatever you need at that time.
There are moments, however, when we encourage you to speak up during a massage. If anything makes you uncomfortable, please bring it to your therapist’s attention. If you are too cold or too hot, the room is too bright or hard on your eyes, or if you prefer the strokes to be deeper or lighter, please mention it to him/her and he/she will accommodate your needs. Communication is the key to a good massage and we are here to pamper and spoil.
Above all…allow yourself to relax and enjoy the experience. After taking care of everyone else’s needs, you can now be the recipient of the much-needed fulfillment of your own needs.
How will the massage or bodywork feel? Will it hurt?
This depends on the techniques being used. Massage on normal healthy tissue is almost always a pleasant sensation.
There should be no discomfort in a Swedish (relaxation) massage. Your session will start with broad, flowing strokes which will help to calm your nervous system and relax exterior muscle tension. As your body becomes relaxed, pressure will gradually be increased to relax specific areas and relieve areas of muscular tension. The sensations are comforting and nurturing.
In a therapeutic session, we are addressing areas of an injury or chronic pain that may at first cause some mild discomfort. The pain is usually described as “hurting in a good way.” This usually lessens noticeably in the first few minutes. Our highly trained therapists know ways to minimize the pain and will work carefully within what feels right to you. They pay careful attention to both verbal and nonverbal cues to determine how deep they can go.
As in any massage or bodywork situation, please communicate immediately with your therapist if you feel any discomfort so that he/she can make the appropriate pressure adjustments or try a different approach. Massage and bodywork are most effective when your body is not resisting.
I have really sensitive skin and am concerned about the products and treatments.
Will lotions or oils be used?
We understand your concerns in regards to the products used on your skin, as we have our hands in these lubricants all day long. Our number one tool as massage therapists is our oils, just like artists have their brushes and paints.
At BODY & SOLE we take pride in using products that are either organic or have the least amount of preservatives in their ingredients. We never use products that have dyes or synthetic chemicals in them.
Depending upon the technique we use during your massage treatment, we will utilize a variety of unscented or lightly scented topical lotions, oils, creams, and powders. Using a light oil or lotion allows the muscle to be worked without causing excessive friction to the skin. The lubricants used will hydrate your skin and be readily absorbed. Often, we use a blend of oils created to relieve a specific condition such as headaches, specific injuries, strained or overworked muscles, etc.
Before we begin your BODY & SOLE massage experience, we will discuss any special sensitivities or needs you may have, and we have a range of options we rely on to accommodate our clients.
How long are the sessions?
The average full body massage or bodywork treatments last approximately one hour. A half-hour appointment only allows time for a partial massage treatment, or point-specific work such as focusing in on your neck and shoulders,
or legs and feet.
Many people prefer a one hour massage, or for the massage “aficionado”, a 90-minute massage session is available for optimal relaxation.
How will I feel after the session is over?
Relaxed and rejuvenated is common; sleepiness is possible. Freedom from long-term aches is also common, although pains developed from tension or repetitive activity can necessitate additional treatments.
After an initial period of feeling slowed down, people often experience increased energy, heightened awareness, and greater productivity, which can last for days.
Eventually the massage will have to end and your therapist will again leave the room to allow you to get dressed. Take a few moments to reflect on how you might feel different from when you arrived. Take your time getting up from the table as you may need a moment to focus. If you feel dizzy or light-headed after your massage, do not get off the table too fast.
Allow for some quiet time after your massage session if possible. Sometimes one needs a little time to integrate or absorb the results of the massage session or needs some “re-entry” time.
Do I need to do anything at home after the massage?
If your body is very tense or stressed when you come in, the release of waste products stored in your muscular tissues could cause headaches or muscle soreness. In addition, as toxins are being released from your body, you may experience
mild flu-like symptoms the next day. Do not be alarmed as this is a natural health response.
Remember too that a massage is a “mini-workout” for your body which will bring benefits following any initial soreness. If you, however, are sore for more than 12-24 hours following your massage here at BODY & SOLE, please call our office so we can discuss your symptoms further.
Here are some things that have helped many people get the most from their massage:
* Drink extra water. In effect, massage cleanses your body by getting metabolic wastes moving, but it needs a vehicle to remove the waste from your body. Drinking water aids the functioning of the whole body including the circulation and the kidneys which are both involved with relieving the body of waste products. Drinking extra water also seems to
help reduce soreness and fatigue after a massage.
In addition, water is vital to survival and keeping all your tissues healthy and functioning effectively. Eliminating the waste helps you to maintain higher physical and mental energy levels.
But how much is enough? By the time you are thirsty, you are often already dehydrated. An easy benchmark of quantity is to divide your body weight in half. Whatever that number is equals the number of ounces you should drink in a day. (If you weigh 150 pounds, 75 ounces in water is recommended by health care practitioners). If you are really active, add another 10%.
* Schedule time to take it easy after your massage. Rest if you feel the need. If you can, take a nap or get in bed early. If you haven’t been sleeping well, receiving a massage may relax you enough that you will want to turn in and catch up.
* If the focus of your massage is on a particular injury or body part, remember to stretch, ice, or apply heat to that area with the advice of your massage therapist. Or, you may want to do some gentle movement, such as walking, sometime in the hours after your massage to mildly encourage your muscles to work in a balanced and efficient way.
* People sometimes experience soreness for 24 hours or so after a massage. If you do feel sore or think that you might, stretch gently in a hot shower or take a warm bath with Epsom salts. And remember to tell your massage therapist about your experience so it can be taken into consideration in your next session.
How often should I receive a massage?
This is a common question that arises once people discover the many joys and benefits of massage. Some people come in more often just because they enjoy it that much! Of course there is no set answer, but studies do indicate that massage at regular intervals is most beneficial to your overall health.
The considerations for setting up your next appointments depend on the reasons for receiving the massage. If you come in for some injury relief, and to relieve chronic tightness that is interfering with your daily life in some way, weekly sessions may be necessary for a while to build on each session’s improvement in your relief and healing.
If you are using massage as a preventive care and to manage the daily stress in your life, once a month is about the norm. This time may be shortened during times of more stressful periods.
Like exercise, massage does more for you if you engage in it regularly. Even a monthly treatment can help maintain general health. Remember, your body strives to maintain optimum health by keeping all of its systems in balance.
Along with proper nutrition, exercise and rest, massage relaxes tense muscles and stimulates the body’s communication lines to help it do its job and to keep you feeling your best.
So, make regular massage a priority in your life for a healthier tomorrow!
What should I do in between sessions?
Practice these self-care tips regularly which will help release tension and stress outside your massage session.
* Stretch! If you are getting massages for pain and discomfort, stretching is essential for you.
Frequency is more important than length of a stretching session.
* Try setting up a reminder sound like a chime on your computerto remind you to stretch for two minutes
every 20 minutes. Ask your therapist for a stretching handout that will be specific to your needs.
* Exercise regularly! Even very moderate exercise can help relieve pent-up muscle tension and improve your circulation…two benefits you may have also noticed after your massage. Walking, gardening, golfing, and tai chi are all ways to get your heart pumping and your muscles moving, and can also help shift your attention from your worries to relaxation and enjoyment of life.
* Take time to relax! Change your schedule to include more down time, even if it’s only 15 minutes for deep breathing or a walk after work or at lunch. Get away from chores on the weekend for a morning or afternoon to enjoy some time in nature or a pot of tea with friends.