How do massage therapists manage their own pain?

One of the most frequently asked questions I heard when I was practicing massage was “how often do YOU get a massage?” As massage therapists, we learn to get a good read on our bodies and learn what works well to prevent or manage our own pain.  Some of the LMTs on our team shared what works best for them, and their favorite referrals.

Camdine: I use a Lacrosse ball on my hips, back, and neck to massage painful spots. Camdine also uses locally produced Rapid Fire to reduce pain.

Julie: Daily stretches, epsom salt and Kneipp arnica bath soaks 3x week, a glass of warm Pure Inventions Tranquility tea (with magnesium) before bed, Rapid Fire to control small areas of pain, regular massages and chiropractic care as needed.

Julie’s favorite nighttime  drink is the Pure Inventions Tranquility which contains chamomile, passion flower, and magnesium.

Jamee: I use acupressure as a cure for everything but death, and I haven’t died yet. I see my personal massage therapist (co-worker Tiffany) regularly. I also purchased a Yoga trapeze that is a miracle for low back pain.

Heather: Massage 2-3x a month, regular visits with chiropractor Dr. Pulley (East Village Chiropractic)

Our employees massage each other and also see therapists outside the spa when their co-workers are booked. We all know the importance of “practicing what we preach!”

Hannah M: Staying active after a hard day reduces tension for me.

Jamee (cont’d): …On second thought, I should get a med alert bracelet made up that says in an emergency, call my massage therapist (Tiffany.)

Brandi: Yoga and using a foam roller, a 30 minute daily walk, get adjusted at Shine Chiropractic weekly, Fadeaway Flotation monthly.

Tisha: Rapid fire for aches, pains, and headaches, cupping therapy, foam roller, yoga, and a monthly massage (more often when needed!)

Most of our employees swear by Rapid Fire for muscle aches and tension headaches.

Conny: I’m not in pain often, but if it happens, I either overworked something or an emotional issue came up. For physical pain, I use rapid fire and a soak in a hot bath with epsom salts, receive massage twice a month. A good book, a glass of wine, and a friend for heartache.


Conny is especially partial to Kneipp bath salts because like her, they are from Germany.

Cassie: The older I get the more my joints act up, especially after running, biking, and swimming. In addition to regular massage, I see Dr. Pulley for chiropractic care when I overdo it or something feels “off.” I have done regular pilates at Gigi’s Pilates for about 6 years. Sometimes stretching isn’t the answer (or isn’t the only answer). The strengthening techniques in Pilates really help my low back and knees from screaming after longer runs.

If I miss to many pilates sessions, my body rebels and I get low back spasms that make it hard to run. I have learned the importance of strength training to keep everything working like it should!

Want to try massage therapy or one of our favorite pain relieving products for your own aches and pains? Stop into East Village Spa at 601 East Locust or book online!

Are your products doing what you THINK they are?

We all want to get a great value, but I’m amazed by how many friends, family members, and clients are not getting the results they should from certain products or treatments, but are reluctant to change.  Here are a few I’ve caught recently.   I’ve really been re-thinking a few of my own product choices lately too.  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Moisturizers with SPF

I read an article online recently quoting a dermatologist who recommends sunscreen only as opposed to facial moisturizers that include sunscreens.  It made really good sense, actually. I had always felt fine knowing that my beloved Derma E BB Creme has SPF 25.  BUT…the dermatologist argued that for sunscreens to work, they have to be applied liberally to the skin. I only dot the BB Creme where I need help evening my skin tone.   Many people who use moisturizers with SPF only dot them where needed and certainly don’t apply heavily under make-up.  This is fine for walking from Gong Fu to the spa, but not for prolonged sun exposure.  I need to invest in Derma E’s facial sun screen in addition!

Hand Cream for Nails and Cuticle Care

For dry skin on the hands, hand cream is a must, but most lotions are too heavy to do much to help dry cuticles and peeling nails because the molecules are too big to be effective.  A cuticle oil with smaller molecules is more appropriate as it will absorb quicker to moisturize dry cuticles can even penetrate through nail polish to hydrate nails underneath.  Clients who complain that their Shellac chips after a few days of wear but refuse to use an oil designed for cuticles that can penetrate through gel polishes because they believe their thick hand cream can do it all won’t get the results they want.  Fortunately, a mini bottle of Solar Oil is less than $3 and will help keep nails from peeling underneath Shellac and will work wonders on dry cuticles and overall nail appearance.  Partner the cuticle oil WITH your favorite hand cream for the rest of your skin, you’ll be looking like a hand model in no time.

Daily Exfoliation Cleansers:

You only need to exfoliate 1-2x/week with a good exfoliation product like Derma E’s Microdermabrasion Scrub.  Daily cleansers with plastic beads are not doing enough to exfoliate, some drug store scrubs that are promoted for daily use are far too harsh due to the jagged edges of the abrasive ingredient.  Even a good quality exfoliation product should not be used more than twice weekly.

Callus removing tools

Many people mistakenly believe that metal blades to shave or scrape calluses are the most effective way to remove them, but in reality, these harsh tools actually can damage skin leading to scarring and harder calluses as the skin works to repair itself.  In many states, including Iowa, Credo Blades (metal callus razors) are  illegal in nail salons so if you see one, RUN!

If you have hard calluses that are bothering you, the safest way to soften them is to use a gentle foot file like the ones we give you during your pedicures at the spa regularly in the shower, but not TOO aggressively.  Products like Farmhouse Fresh Honey Heel Glaze can also gently soften calluses.  Our calluses do serve a purpose in protecting our feet, especially for runners, walkers, and people who like to wear sandals or walk barefoot, so it is important to leave some callus!

Epsom Salt Baths:

We are total advocates for baths with Kneipp aromatherapy salts or Epsom Salts (even the drugstore epsom salts!) but you can get too much of a good thing.  Some people mistakenly believe that salt baths soften the skin, but in truth, they can be quite drying, especially when combined with the hot water.  If you take baths regularly, either add a softening agent to the bath in addition to your salt like a light bath oil (almond or jojoba) or the Kneipp Skin Soft Almond Bath, or be sure to rinse the salts off briefly after a soak and apply a good moisturizer.