Customized massage for mental health care

Years ago, I was seeing a spa guest for frozen shoulder pain. She’d been in a few times previously. This visit was different. I tapped at the door to see if she was ready, and she was wrapped in the sheet, standing and sobbing. I offered her some water and sat with her on the massage table. When she was able to slow her breathing, she explained that she was having a panic attack. She had just had an MRI for her shoulder a few days prior and had a panic attack in the machine. She said it was terrifying. When she put her face in the face cradle of my massage table, the same feeling washed over her and triggered a panic attack.

We decided we’d continue with the treatment, but we modified it to the sidelying position (think sleeping on your side) on the table with the sheet covering her, but draped lightly with her arms and feet out so she felt free to move. This position made all the difference and we did sidelying massage for the next few visits.

The sidelying massage position is helpful for people who experience claustrophobia

Guests prone to anxiety or panic attacks may also benefit from shorter sessions and slower techniques until they get used to the idea of massage. Sometimes faster massage techniques can be too stimulating for someone who is already on alert. Taking slow, deep breaths before and during the session can help as well. It is also helpful to ask your therapist what you can expect during the session (I call this a “road map”) so you can relax your mind instead of wondering what is coming next. Know that you have the right to ask your therapist to stop or take a break.

Slower massage techniques are sometimes helpful for people who are anxious.

Some guests, especially those who have a history of abuse, no longer feel comfortable in their own bodies. Massage can be a safe way to experience touch and massage therapists can even share self-massage techniques to help with stress management and to reconnect an individual with his or her body (American Massage Therapy Association.)

Some clients who have experienced abuse feel more comfortable receiving services where they can be fully clothed. Treatments we offer that can be done without disrobing include foot massage, assisted stretching, Craniosacral therapy, acupressure, Shiatsu, and even facials or nail services. All of these include safe touch and allow guests to control the session. They can stop or modify the service at any time. It is important for guests to share their needs with their provider so their provider can check in more frequently to ensure comfort or see if adjustments can be made, allowing their clients more control of the session.

Many massage and spa services can be performed fully clothed. Talk to your provider about your comfort level disrobing. He or she should be able to modify the service.

Guests who experience PTSD also benefit from massage therapy. A 2012 study found that veterans who received massage therapy reported significant reductions in physical pain, tension, irritability, anxiety, and depression (Collinge et al, 2012). Again, it is important for massage therapists to ensure guests are in complete control of the session. Therapists should ensure adequate time to address questions before and during the session. Guests should feel comfortable speaking up, whether they need more or less pressure, a change in position or technique, or to take a break or stop a session entirely. At East Village Spa, we understand the need for massage therapy to address PTSD for our military personnel. We offer a specially priced “Military Massage” to make massage therapy more accessible.

Whether you are living with a mental illness or are anxious about trying massage therapy, know that modifications can be made to ensure your comfort. Your massage therapist is not a mental health counselor, but he or she should be a good listener, able to suggest or accommodate changes to your session so you feel entirely in control. If a therapist is unable or unwilling to honor your needs, or if you have had an uncomfortable experience in the past with massage therapy, consider trying it again with a different therapist. Communicating your needs and preferences before the session is essential to ensuring you will get the massage you deserve.

Learn about the our massage therapists here. If you’d like to discuss the options that would be best for you, feel free to call us at (515) 309-2904! We would be happy to help you find the best service and providers for your unique needs.

Resource: Collinge W, Kahn J, Soltysik R. Promoting reintegration of National Guard veterans and their partners using a self-directed program of integrative therapies: a pilot study. Mil Med. 2012;177(12):1477–1485. doi:10.7205/milmed-d-12-00121

We are thankful

The first time I got a massage, I was 24 and had just gotten injured at work. I booked a 30 minute massage on a whim to try to help. I literally had no clue what to expect, I even kept my tank top on under the sheets. That massage was so incredible that when I was done, I knew that I needed to help people feel that way too. Within a year, I enrolled in massage therapy school.

Our team is so fortunate to do what we do, and Thanksgiving is always a time to take a step back and really reflect on how grateful we are to be in the spa profession. I asked the crew at East Village Spa to share their favorite part of their career and why they are thankful to be in this line of work.

Brandi: My favorite part of being a licensed massage therapist is making space for others in a compassionate way. And, I am thankful for my co-workers!

Jamee: I am thankful for being able to help people move past challenges that are holding them back from leading their best lives. I would normally be begging people to let me treat them, but now I get to make a living doing this!

Kanika: Being a cosmetologist, esthetician, and massage therapist, I am thankful for the gift of human touch. My career cannot be completely taken over by a robot, computer or technology.

Becky: I like that I never stop learning! I love helping educate my clients and myself. I’m thankful that I get paid to hang out with friends at work!

Jennifer: I love building trusting relationships with clients. My favorite part is getting to see them again and again. I am grateful for the community that therapists bring, they share knowledge and information.

Hannah: I really enjoy the process of talking to my client and listening to what is going on, then helping to put all the clues together. It is like doing a puzzle, but you are still “working.”

Molly: I’m thankful for being able to build relationships with co-workers and regular clients. I love getting the chance to educate and help clients with skincare needs. Oh, and I LOVE doing extractions!

Cassandra: I enjoy getting to know my clients. I learn where I need to travel, eat, and other fun stuff! Also, I get to play and have fun. I say play, because I get to use all the nail polish colors at the spa, not just the few I have at home. Plus, we get to mix things like masks in the facial room and get to test out and play with all the new products.

Camdine: I love getting someone back to what they love doing (running, biking swimming, chasing grand kids) following an injury or surgery. I’m thankful for a job where I can help people get back to “normal” life when dealing with an injury like frozen shoulder. One of the best compliments I can get is someone telling me they can do something without pain anymore or they don’t have to take pain meds or muscle relaxers to get through the day.

Lindsay: I love customizing things to meet someone’s needs so I get to do something different almost every treatment or service.

Conny: I get paid to be relaxed!

Kelly: I am thankful to work with like-minded people who happen to all be amazing. I love my team.

Cassie: I’m so thankful I found a career where I can be my true self and I get to see other people reveal their genuine personality too. Every day I work with caring people and witness incredible acts of kindness and compassion. In our stressed-out world, we get to see people at their most relaxed. It is truly a gift.

Visit a wellness provider who lives his or her career, I promise you’ll notice the difference! Click here to book your appointment with any of our incredible licensed massage therapists, estheticians, and nail technicians.

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!

You’re not cheating!

Imagine this:  You are about to leave for a weekend road trip with your friends and wake up with a crick in your neck.  You call the spa hoping to squeeze in a bit of pain relief with your therapist but he or she has the day off.  The receptionist suggests another great therapist, but you decline because you think you’ll hurt your therapist’s feelings.

When you return, you book with your regular massage therapist, tell them you were miserable on your trip, and they are shocked at how tense your neck and shoulders are from that painful road trip.  You need to book 3 weeks in a row just to feel normal again before you can get back on your monthly schedule.  Your therapist tells you they wish you’d have seen one of their colleagues for some relief before you left. After all, they trust them with their own massage therapy sessions and think they are great!

painWith summer so near, it is a good time to remind clients that our employees encourage you to see their colleagues for services to keep up with your progress.  We know your schedule gets crazier in the summer and our employees are also planning upcoming travel, races, and family events.  If they aren’t available when you need in, they want you to see one of their co-workers that they trust immensely with your care (and their own!)  Here’s why:

  • Our spa is a “team treatment” spa and the majority of our clients see multiple providers for more booking options and treatment styles to choose from.
  • We have been open almost 8 years and our experienced employees are fortunate that they don’t have to compete for bookings, they are always comfortably busy!
  • Our employees can rest easier when they plan a vacation or have an unexpected illness knowing that their regulars can keep on their treatment schedule with one of their co-workers.  Believe me, it stresses them out when planning a trip knowing someone they’ve been treating will skip a session (or complain that their therapist is leaving) rather than see a trusted colleague.
  • Our employees know that because they are all so busy, it is hard for clients to get in to see them as often as they need to.  We’d all rather have you see 2-3 people and get in on the schedule that is recommended than wait too long between services and not get the results you could.
  • You might find it beneficial to experience different styles of work or different opinions from other providers!  I personally have two therapists I book with at the spa when I need relaxation or want a hot stone massage, one therapist I book with for shoulder pain, and another I book with for general deep tissue.
  • Last but not least, our services providers care about you and hate to think you are in pain when they know someone who can help you!

No need for disguises! Most of our clients see multiple providers, we won't be upset!

No need for disguises! Most of our clients see multiple providers, we won’t be upset!

Next time you can’t get in with your regular provider, let the front desk know specifically what you like about that person and we can pair you up with someone who has a similar approach instead of waiting longer than you or your body wants to between services. You might also ask your regular provider who he or she would recommend if you ever need to get in when they aren’t available. Click here to learn about our skilled treatment team and click here to book your next appointment!

P.S. Our team had a good laugh at this picture, because it sometimes feels pretty accurate!

massagevacation

 

What is your favorite muscle to massage and why?

I took a little survey of our massage therapists to find out what muscle or muscle group they love working on and why.  The answers may surprise you!

Teresa Sage: Neck/cranial base release because it is such a nurturing area and because the tension ebbs and flows from the neck to the upper shoulders, almost always laden and heavy with tension on most people, especially females in my experience.

Teresa Sage demonstrates Craniosacral Massage techniques

Teresa Sage demonstrates Craniosacral Massage techniques

Allison Peterson: Erectors because of how they run the entire length of the spine and when they relax, we notice that surrounding larger muscle groups will open up with more ease.

Tiffany Jackson: The neck muscles because I think that is when people relax the most.

Jamee Koopman: The Psoas!  For more information about psoas massage, click here.

Many muscles in the abdominal area contribute to pain and tension, including the psoas and diaphragm.

Many muscles in the abdominal area contribute to pain and tension, including the psoas and diaphragm.

Clair McClintock: The Diaphragm!  It is often a place that gets left out of treatment for many different ailments.  For example: radiating pain across the ribs, breathing issues, trauma from an accident, and more.  It is not the most relaxing massage but I’ve had so much instant improvement in people’s back pain or some people that have come in with pain they’ve been dealing with for years.  It can be a huge emotional release spot for people.

Cassie Sampson: The Piriformis.  People who have severe pain from sciatic nerve issues can often find relief with massage to the piriformis and surrounding glut and hip muscles.  It wasn’t until I had injured myself and experienced the horrible pain caused by a sciatic nerve issues that I knew just how limiting and painful sciatic nerve issues could be and I liked knowing ways to help.

The piriformis and gluteal muscles can be accessed directly on the skin with proper draping, through sheets or clothing. Gluteal and piriformis massage is extremely beneficial.

The piriformis and gluteal muscles can be treated directly on the skin with proper draping, through sheets or clothing or via stretching. Gluteal and piriformis massage is extremely beneficial.

Justin Behanish: The quadratus lumborum (QL) muscle because it it is the cause (or partial cause) of pain in at least 1/4 of the people who have back-pain.  I think it is too often neglected by massage therapists.

The QL is a small muscle in the lower back that is the root of many peoples' back pain.

The QL is a small muscle in the lower back that is the root of many peoples’ back pain.

Kristiana Moore: The muscles in the feet because many of us stand all day and people find it the most relaxing.  When I get to the foot massage at the end of the session, so many people tend to fall asleep!

If any of our therapist’s responses are tempting you to book a massage to relax your sorest muscles, click here to schedule online!

What to expect at your first massage

Even our most experienced massage therapists had to receive their first massage at some point in their lives, so believe me, we all know that your first massage visit can cause a bit of anxiety if you aren’t sure of what to expect.  Even if you have had massage before, your first visit with a new massage therapist can be a bit unnerving, so I’d like to walk you through a visit with our therapists.

Step one: Arrive a bit early (about 10 minutes) to complete a detailed health history.  This is important because certain kinds of massage are better for certain health concerns.  Some medications, especially blood thinners and pain medications, require us to use different techniques to avoid pain and bruising.  Your allergies and sensitivities help us to choose the best products to avoid irritation.  Also, our therapists can help with many more concerns that people realize!

Step two: Your therapist will greet you and take you back to the treatment room for a consultation about your health and your needs for the session.  This is a great time to ask any questions you might have about the session or tell your therapist about areas you want him or her to focus on more or areas you want them to avoid.

Step 3: Your therapist will give you instructions about how to get on the massage table and will leave the room to give you privacy to undress to your comfort (underwear on or off, either is acceptable.  A back massage does feel much better if you remove your bra though).  You will get UNDER the top sheet and blanket and cover yourself. 

Step 4: Your therapist will take the time you’re getting ready to get your massage cream ready.  He or she will knock and then enter the room and offer to adjust the table or use a pillow under your ankles.  If anything is uncomfortable from temperature to the head rest, please let your therapist know, everything can be adjusted for your comfort!

Step 5: Your therapist will move the sheet from the parts of your body that he or she is working on, apply massage cream, and start massaging with their hands and forearms (unless you book a Two Feet Deep massage in which case they will also use their feet!).  Your therapist will never reveal more of your body than you’d show at the local public pool.  They are draping for both your comfort AND their own!

Step 6: You can start to take some slow, deep breaths and let go of the tension.  Your therapist will check in with you to see if you need heavier or lighter pressure, be sure to let them know, this is your treatment and every massage therapist appreciates your feedback, in fact, our favorite clients are the ones that will work WITH us.  If your massage is for relaxation, feel free to doze off or zone out, we don’t expect you to chat and we can focus better if we can concentrate on your massage.  If your massage is a sports massage or for an injury, your therapist will probably ask you to assist in some stretches or give more feedback.

Step 7: Your therapist will let you know when your session is over.  He or she will step out of the room to give you privacy to slowly get up and dress and will wait for you outside the door with a cup of water or hot tea.  Your therapist might offer some stretches or helpful home care tips.  Feel free to ask them any questions you might have!  We love to share information.

Step 8: You’ll head home (or to your next spa service) blissfully and wonder why you haven’t treated yourself to a massage sooner and start planning your next visit!

Ready to book your massage at East Village Spa? Click here to book online! Read about our therapists here.