“Parlor” or Practice: Is your massage therapist legitimate?

Camdine Cox, LMT, uses a hot compress on a client.

Massage Therapists have come under attack from all sides in Iowa in the last year. Early in the year, lawmakers proposed a bill to eliminate massage therapy licensing, which never made it to a vote. Criminals are increasingly and illegally using the phrase “massage therapy” as a front for illicit activities including human trafficking. Local lawmakers are targeting legitimate and licensed massage therapists including long-time small business owners with restrictions and additional fees instead of enforcing existing laws to go after the actual criminals.

At East Village Spa, our experienced licensed massage therapy team provides nearly 7,000 massage treatments per year. Some of our team members have over 10 years of experience, some have transitioned to massage from other health fields like nursing; some from other science fields like engineering. As a whole, massage therapists are skilled, trained, caring health care providers. To help consumers to know what to look for when seeking a massage therapist, we’d like to offer the following suggestions.

  1. Check the Iowa Department of Public Health licensing website to make sure your massage therapist is properly licensed and has not had disciplinary action taken against them. Ensure you have the proper spelling and legal name when searching. To obtain a license in Iowa, a massage therapist must have a MINIMUM of 600 hours of approved education, passed their national boards, adhere to the laws, and maintain continuing education requirements. Many therapists far exceed this minimum standard. It is illegal to practice massage therapy or call yourself a massage therapist without a license.
  2. It is a legal requirement that therapists display their license in their office or treatment space. If you don’t see a license posted, it is safe to assume they are not licensed and you should leave, or check online to verify that they are approved to practice.
  3. Value professionalism. Licensed massage therapists should ask their clients to complete a written health history or intake form and update their health information regularly. Massage may need modified for certain health concerns. Your therapist should also keep treatment notes to monitor client progress and record session data.

    Justin Behanish, LMT, helps a client with a gentle neck stretch.

  4. Look for red flags. Therapists must provide safe, clean work surroundings including clean linens and sanitized head rests and massage tools, proper hand washing and common infection control measures. Does the business provide a comprehensive website or written menu of services with rates clearly defined? Are their marketing materials and advertisements clear and professional? Are clinic hours reasonable for a health provider? If your gut tells you something is “off” then it probably is.
  5. A licensed massage therapist will ensure your modesty and comfort at all times. If your therapist does not step out of the room to allow you to disrobe and lay under covers, or if they work with immodest or no draping, this is a concern and a breach of their professional ethics. If your massage therapist needs to address sensitive areas like the gluteal, abdominal, or pectoralis muscles, they should discuss this with you prior to work in those areas and obtain your consent. You should still remain modestly draped during massage in these areas. If you feel uncomfortable at any time in a session, ask to end the session.
  6. Phrasing matters. Licensed massage therapists use professional terminology when referring to their treatments. A massage therapist will never refer to him or herself as “masseur or masseuse,” terms that have been co-opted by people providing illicit services under the guise of massage. Also, licensed massage therapists work out of practices, offices, clinics, spas, salons, hospitals, in-home, etc… but they do not refer to their work place as a “parlor” which is another phrase commonly used to insinuate illicit activities take place.
  7. Like you would when seeing a new doctor or counselor, seek out referrals for a massage therapist. Read reviews online, read therapist bios, look into education and specialties to find the best massage therapist for your needs and preferences.

Brandi Munch, BA, LMT massages a clients shoulder.

Licensed massage therapists play a vital role now that traditional healthcare expenses are ballooning, where people are realizing the importance of alternatives to opioid pain medications, and seeking to manage stress for their overall health. It is my hope that lawmakers and people in authority will use the existing state laws to go after the human traffickers and people who are hiding under our professional title without punishing ethical, legal, LICENSED massage therapists and making it more difficult for consumers to take advantage of a safe, healthy, massage.

Learn about our licensed massage therapy team here, or schedule your therapeutic massage session by clicking here!

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This post was written by Cassie Sampson, BA, LMT. Cassie has been an Iowa Licensed Massage Therapist since 2005, has served as massage therapy educator, and is proud to employ an incredible team of licensed massage therapists who make a difference in the lives of their clients every day.

European Spa Tour Part 5: Austrian “Kur,” Radon pools, and spa massage

Just tuning into my European spa adventure? Click here to start from the beginning!

Our European Spa Tour started in Switzerland and progressed to Austria where we learned about the 3 week “kur” (pronounced “cure”) and got to experience a spa relaxation style massage at one of the sauna and thermal bath complexes in the most beautiful town surrounded by the Alps, Bad Hofgastein. Like our tour of the Reha Clinic in Switzerland, the rehabilitation clinic at Alpentherme in Bad Hofgastein offered therapeutic medical massage alongside physical therapy, exercises, prescribed “fresh air” walks, sauna and hydrotherapy.

The Kur

At Alpentherme, we learned about the Kur, or a 3 week wellness program that most Austrians qualify for about every 5 years under their government health insurance, depending on what conditions they have and their occupation (i.e. physically demanding jobs or injuries). During the kur, residents spend 3 weeks at the clinic receiving prescribed therapies, eating healthy foods (ideally) doing exercises, saunas, and hydrotherapy programs. Our tour guide stated that her taxes were roughly 50% of her income, which is how they fund such comprehensive wellness programs. Research has shown that for some conditions that are quite expensive to manage, an annual Kur helps to cut costs of medications and more costly interventions so some disabilities qualify for more frequent visits.

She also stated that recently, the government guidelines for treatments are requiring a bit less “passive” therapy like massage and more active therapy like physical and exercise therapy so their treatment providers must coordinate with each other to ensure they meet qualifications for reimbursement. Medical massage therapists seemed able to provide similar services to those at the clinic in Switzerland.

Anyone up for a radioactive dip?

One of my most memorable moments on the tour was when our guide explained that one particular soaking pool for pain and inflammation was available by physician prescription only and with close monitoring. At first we were positive we were missing something in translation. “This one is full of ‘rah-dohn'”

“What? Surely you are mis-translating ‘MAG-NES-IUM’, or something else, right?”

Oh what’s that? A radon pool? Okie Dokie!

“No, no, it is ‘rah-dohn….radon’ pool. See? Look at the brochure!” Our guide pointed to the description in the pamphlet and sure enough, we were looking at one of the radon therapy pools…and once we picked our jaws up off the floor, we had a few questions. “What about the therapists working in the pools?” (According to our guide it is too little radon to hurt the therapists but just enough to help patients) “Has anyone researched this?” (Oh yes! It is very good!) “Should we remove our radon mitigation systems and open health centers in our basements?” (No. Use is closely monitored by physicians.)

I did do a bit more research at home. Interesting.

Spa Massage Therapy

Like in Switzerland, the massage therapist qualified to provide the medical massages have several years of training. I’m unsure of the training required to provide massage therapy in the spa, but if I understood correctly, it sounded like it might be flexible, with some apprenticeship programs available. The spa at Alpentherme was very well-appointed, but there are some stark contrasts from what people expect from a spa massage in America. Amenities like warm herbal compresses and hot stones, hydrotherapy tubs with color changing lights, plus a table used for body scrubs and a warming table used for body wraps were among the options for therapists.

L-R Bright treatment room with paper coverings and towels for draping, hydrotherapy table for body scrubs, herbal compresses for massage

My massage therapist was very professional, but the service was quite different than what Americans expect from a spa service. The rooms were bright (as bright as in the above photos) and the tables were very firm like in a medical office with paper covers plus towels. The music was static from a local radio station, more like a background noise like in a doctor’s office in America than typical spa music designed to enhance the experience. When my massage started, it was so hard to keep from laughing as Despacito crackled through the speaker.

My husband and I had had the same therapist and he stayed in the room while we got on the table, but turned his back. He asked us both to keep our underwear on.  Others in our group who received different types of massage like hot stone were given a disposable thong. I laughed because they said they were watched by the therapists as they changed, not in a sexually inappropriate way, but in a matter-of-fact clinical way.

The massage I received was very light and rhythmic. It felt like a full body lymphatic drainage technique, lots of repetitive circles over and over. I know that in the countries we visited, they feel that lymphatic massage is very important. It was not a massage to reduce muscle tension or deep tissue by a long shot, but I know I did briefly doze off. My husband reported his treatment was the same.

Crystal healing

One interesting and unique feature of the spa we visited is that one of the spa directors takes much pride in creating herbal, aromatherapy, and crystal blends to enhance the services. While I’ve never personally subscribed to crystal healing, I can appreciate the love and care he imparts into his craft so much that I bought two blends to bring home. For months, crystals, essential oils, and herbs soak infuse a base oil. The spa even puts large crystals into their drinking water for guests. It was a nice touch and an interesting point-of-differentiation that I think fans of crystals and gemstones would enjoy.

L-R An oil infused with crystals, herbs, and essential oils sits for months until it is ready to use. A menu of their specially crafted oils for incorporation into services or purchase for home use, drinking water infused with crystals.

I was thankful for such a comprehensive tour and behind-the-scenes from our gracious tour guide. I love that so many of the pool and sauna complexes have spas or massage clinics attached because there is nothing like relaxing your muscles with heat and hydrotherapy before a massage and continuing the relaxation with a stunning walk in the gorgeous village.

The scenery was as therapeutic as the spa.

Stay tuned, my last two posts on the trip will be coming soon! My next post will be about my Traditional Thai spa experience in Munich, Germany and my last post will be a few highlights.

European Spa Tour Part 1: “Midwestern massage therapists go to Europe”

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel with other Midwestern Massage Therapists to Switzerland, Austria, and Germany and visit spas and massage clinics in each country, speaking to therapists, spa managers, and citizens about their experiences receiving massage therapy. I was excited to learn the truth about a belief commonly held by American massage therapists and their clients: “In Europe, everyone gets massage and it is covered by their health insurance.” On our tours and visits I received tons of great information, but with language barriers and info overload, I think I returned with more questions than I had when I arrived in Europe. My research continues!

Clockwise from left: Matt (my husband who was more interested in HVAC systems and mountains than massage) Dale (LMT from Kansas, our fearless leader), Melissa (LMT from Iowa), Barb (LMT from Illinois), Julia (LMT from Illinois), Erin (LMT from Illinois, and Emily (Along for the ride!) and me (Cassie, LMT from Iowa)

For example, on our last night, I visited with a great German couple over dinner and asked if they had ever personally received massage therapy covered by their insurance. The husband stated that his physician prescribed 10 medical massages by a physiotherapist (I’m not sure if this is a physical therapist or medical massage therapist based on what he described) to recover from knee surgery. He has private insurance in addition to the government insurance, so his treatments were covered, but not all massage therapy and not all massage therapists are covered by health care.

I asked our new friend if he understood different licensing and training between the therapists who provide insurance-covered massages and relaxing massages. He stated “Spa therapists are like on Baywatch”  (Record scratching…”WHAT?”) His wife went on to explain “Yes, like, lifeguards. It is the same kind of training. In the spas the massage therapists are also the lifeguards.” (Pro tip: DO NOT Google “German Lifeguard Massage”) Honestly, I think that our new German friends just wanted to perpetuate a stereotype and found any reason to casually steer the conversation to David Hasselhoff.

NOT a massage therapist.

It took awhile to Google the correct phrases, but I eventually realized that, at least in Germany, a 2+ year training program is required to become an accredited massage therapist and “medical pool attendant,” which makes sense because the medical massage therapists we met could do really great therapies in the many warm water pools and could prescribe hydrotherapy. If they continue a year to a year and a half in their training, it appears they would be working toward their physiotherapist qualifications. It seemed like that was similar to the case in other countries we visited. The medical massage therapists typically had a higher level of training than in the U.S. but physical therapists seemed to have a slightly lower amount of training than in the U.S. so the occupations didn’t have quite such a qualification gap.

In this blog series you’ll learn about my spa, massage clinic, and pool/sauna complex visits and experiences our group of midwestern licensed massage therapists enjoyed on our European spa tour!

Click here to read part 2: Avert your eyes!

 

Massage acceptance, a step backward?

I try to keep politics out of the spa (politics is about the least relaxing topic ever). However, our guests value massage therapy and right now massage therapists are caught in a precarious battle to maintain their professional credibility and guarantee clients safe, convenient access to massage as healthcare.

I’ve been on an amazing tour of European massage therapy clinics, spas, and wellness centers with licensed massage therapy colleagues from Iowa, Illinois, and Kansas this week. It has been fascinating to learn the long history of therapeutic and medical massage and how it is an integral and accepted part of European healthcare.

In stark contrast, I woke up two days ago to some distressing news. A city ordinance proposed in Clive, IA would impose additional regulations on legitimate massage therapy businesses in that city. This is a trend in Central Iowa in response to the alarming number of illigitimate businesses, however there are already laws in place regulating licensed massage therapists AND laws against human trafficking and prostitution.

In my visits to the wellness clinics in Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, I’m learning how public visitors can enjoy relaxing massage therapy for stress relief and overall wellness, and patients recovering from surgery, injury, workplace strain, and living with disabilities receive prescribed medical massage alongside physical therapy, exercises, hydrotherapy (soaks in pools and theramal water) and more. These facilities are very accessible and are frequented by senior citizens, families with children, and the population in general.

Meanwhile, back in Central Iowa my colleagues received letters from the police department informing them of proposed restrictions on their business hours (this could especially impact therapists serving shift workers and athletes who like early morning massages before work or in conjunction with gym schedules), additional background checks, fees and more. Seeing the acceptance of massage therapy in Europe compared with our regression in central Iowa was particularly painful.

I agree that human trafficking is a huge problem in the United States and there are an alarming number of illicit human trafficking operations in Central Iowa, but Licensed Massage Therapists are educated, trained healthcare providers that benefit the lives of many of their clients. The State of Iowa licenses massage therapists and has laws regulating the professional, ethical, competent practice of massage. The illicit businesses are easy to spot already, bars on the windows, inappropriate advertisements online, and not following licensing laws. One such business has a handwritten sign instructing cars to park behind the building (out of view of the street, presumably).

I’m hopeful that we can come to a compromise that doesn’t restrict ethical practitioners and the public will continue to receive massage therapy that is convenient, as an effective means of reducing stress and pain. I hope that the municipalities proposing (and passing) additional restrictions on legitimate massage therapy businesses don’t discourage therapists from opening in their areas, making it less convenient for residents to use their services to enhance their quality of life.

If nothing else, I’m thankful to start the conversation. The public needs to be aware of the benefits of massage therapy and learn to speak out against unethical human trafficking operations without damaging the licensed professionals who have the primary goal of making life easier, less stressful, and healthier for the citizens of their communities. I applaud municipalities for making the fight against human trafficking a priority, but please recognize that license massage therapists are heartbroken that these illegal and unethical businesses are masquerading as a profession we love. It adds insult to injury for these legitimate therapists to feel as though they are being punished and lumped in with the people perpetuating these crimes against the victims of human trafficking.

Talk to your doctor about massage

When I was 22 (in about 2002), I picked up a small item from the floor as someone called my name. When I turned my head to see who it was, my neck caught. For a month, I had a stiff neck. Growing up, we never used chiropractic or massage therapy so my first instinct was to go to a walk-in clinic doctor. The doctor briefly assessed me, then told me I had arthritis and needed long term pain medication to treat this condition he presumed would plague me for life. That was that. I was too inexperienced to question him, but the visit literally took 10 minutes and I left thinking I had serious arthritis at 22. I took the medication for months, even though the pain had subsided after just a few days. When the medication was pulled from the market after dangerous side-effects emerged, my pain never returned.

I haven’t had any other issues related to that little injury and I truly believe, knowing what I know now as a massage therapist, that a trip to a good chiropractor coupled with a massage would have managed the pain I experienced at 22 just as effectively as the medication. Fun fact: that experience is one of the reasons I became a massage therapist!

I believe that had I experienced the same kind of injury today, doctors would have responded differently. In fact, a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2012 showed chiropractic care and specific exercise were more effective than NSAIDs or Narcotics for treating neck pain.

For acute or subacute low back pain, one of the most common reasons for physician visits, physicians are changing their tune as well. The American College of Physicians recommends in a 2017 report that physicians FIRST recommend treatment with heat, massage therapy, spinal manipulation, or acupuncture BEFORE resorting to pain medications. For chronic low back pain, physicians are instructed to recommend rehabilitation, spinal manipulation, stress management, exercises like yoga or Tai Chi, in addition to other non-pharmaceutical interventions.

Where does massage therapy fit into the mix? Many studies have shown massage therapy to be an effective treatment for pain, especially low back, neck, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and more. A summary of some of the research is available through the National Centers for Complementary and Integrative Health. The Touch Research Institute has many studies about massage therapy available online as well. Because more research is always beneficial and because the guidelines for physicians are evolving, you can make a difference.

If you have had positive experience with  massage therapy for pain management, be sure to let your physician know what you are doing. It is always important to let your physician know all of the wellness services you are receiving so they have the whole picture of your treatment. Because some are less familiar with the benefits of massage therapy or see it as “merely” a pampering service, hearing first hand from their patients about the relief they get from massage is helpful in shaping how they might approach others with similar conditions or how they might answer questions for patients who broach the subject of massage for pain relief.

Haven’t tried massage for pain? We’d love to visit with you! Visit our website to learn more about our service and providers, or Book a service with one of our experienced, licensed massage therapists to see if massage therapy could be part of the solution for your own wellness and pain management.

The top 4 reasons we switched to Himalayan Salt Stones

I admit to being a skeptic on lots of “new and exciting” products so I didn’t give Himalayan Salt Stones much thought when they started appearing in little pockets of the industry last year, replacing traditional basalt or jade massage stones. Fast forward to September 2016at the International Spa Association conference, when I was captivated by a bowl of warm stones that appeared to be glowing. Every day, I’d return to booth and play with varieties of warm salt stones, testing them for heat retention, heat consistency, overall feel. I could not get over these stones!

I ordered a set for the spa “just for fun” and after months of using them with our regular clients and for special events, we’re all hooked and have now changed over our Heavenly Hot Stone Massage sets to from jade to salt stones and are in the process of adding enough stone sets to include a few Himalayan Salt Stones in our EV Signature Massages in lieu of the basalt stones we have been using for 9 years.

We are so excited for you to try them and these are the top 5 reasons we fell for the Salt Stones:

4. The heat is consistent and unlike stones in water roasters, they won’t get TOO hot so there is less down time for your therapist making sure they are a safe temperature mid-session.

3. In the past, we couldn’t offer hot stone massages in the couple’s room because the roasting units generated too much heat and used too much electricity. With the new stones, we can FINALLY offer a couple’s hot stone massage! Look for this new service to be available before May 2017.

2. The salt stones will help us in our goal to be more environmentally conscience. Unlike the jade stones which require a couple of gallons of water for warming and cleaning, the salt stones warm on a dry mat and require only a safe EPA registered Thymol oil cleaner. PLUS, the salt stones have natural antibacterial properties.

1. The texture is AMAZING! Even our long-time hot stone regulars who loved the Jade stones were impressed by the slight hint of exfoliation with some of the salt stones. The texture allows the therapist to get a better grip to work a bit deeper as well because they have more control of the stones.

We can’t wait for you to try our new and improved Heavenly Hot Stone Massages, we know you’ll love them as much as we do!

Click here to book online or give us a call at (515) 309-2904!

Massage Updates

We want to let you know some exciting massage therapy updates for our team!

Teresa, a massage therapist at East Village Spa, provides a craniosacral massage to Kelly.Our long time LMT, Teresa, is moving to Dubuque. Before she could finish her last month with us, she broke her foot and has to bid farewell to the spa sooner than any of us had hoped.

We expect she’ll be back for frequent visits and if any of you are ever in Dubuque, you can book an appointment with her at Body and Soul Spa where she’ll be providing her healing massages to the lucky people there!  She wants to thank her clients for 4 wonderful years.

heathereastvillagespamassageHeather Brown is a soon-to-be graduate of Body Wisdom School with a natural gift. Heather brings many of the same characteristics, both as a therapist and a person, to our team that we loved about Teresa and after receiving a massage from Heather, Teresa said she would be very confident referring her clients to her.  Heather will join us in Mid-December, but we promise she is worth the wait, when I received a massage from her this week, I almost shrieked with happiness because her firm pressure, divine neck work, kind spirit, and total concern for my comfort and experience were the EXACT qualities what we hoped to find in a therapist to help continue care for Teresa’s clients and new spa guests.

TwoFeetDeepMassageEastVillageSpa1To help accommodate more guests while we wait for Heather to join our team, our dear friend and former East Village Spa Massage Therapist Allison Peterson will be helping out.  She’ll be at the spa weekday hours starting next week through early December.  This is a special treat for her clients who have been missing her!  She’s a great fit for athletes, people in need of pampering, or people who love Two Feet Deep barefoot massage.

 

eastvillagespa-kellyjo_smMany of our guests don’t realize this, but both Kelly Parker (pictured), our manager, and I are licensed massage therapists.  Kelly initially got her massage license in 2009 and I received mine in 2005.  Because of our “running-the-spa duties,” we no longer accept pre-booked appointments but we both are excited to jump in and help out in a pinch, so you might see us donning our massage aprons more often in the next month or two.

Stay tuned for more updates as we add a new therapist to our team before Thanksgiving. To book your appointment, call (515) 309-2904 or visit our website!

Try massage therapy first for pain!

eastvillagespa-tishaforearmmassageWhen I was 22 (so, awhile ago), I turned my head funny picking a very unlucky penny off the floor.  My neck ached for a couple of weeks so, being right out of college and not having a doctor in my new town, I went to an urgent care clinic for advice. The doctor felt my neck, did some range of motion exercises, and declared that I had arthritis, wrote me a painkiller prescription, and sent me on my way.

Not once did this doctor tell me, an otherwise healthy and active 22 year old woman to consider massage therapy, chiropractic, osteopathic manipulations, or other conservative forms of pain management.  When I did seek out massage on my own and realized how powerful it was, I knew I needed to become a massage therapist to help others.

I’ve been researching the nation’s opioid addiction crisis and wondering why traditional health providers are still not more widely educated on the benefits of conservative measures of pain relief for non-specific pain (i.e. back pain that is not caused by an underlying factor such as cancer) when massage therapy has been proven in multiple studies to be effective in relieving many kinds of pain.  I can almost give the doctor I saw back in 2002 a pass because massage therapy wasn’t as well-researched as it is today, but I feel like with our current information, there are no excuses.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (drugabuse.gov):

  • From 1991-2013, opioid (Vicodin, Hydrocodone, Oxycontin) prescriptions rose from 76 to 207 million.
  • From 1990-2010 overdose deaths from prescription opioids tripled (and were more common than deaths from heroin or cocaine).
  • 14.4% of women are prescribed an opioid drug during pregnancy

eastvillagespa-juliemassagecloseupOver 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, 38 million of those need relief from persistent moderate to severe back pain (drugabuse.gov).  Massage therapy has been proven effective in treatment of non-specific chronic low back pain (The Annals of Internal Medicine).

  • 401 patients between the ages of 20 and 65 who had non-specific chronic low back pain for at least 3 months (rating a minimum of 3 out of 10 on a pain scale) received either general relaxation massage, structural (injury-specific) massage, or traditional medical care for 10 weeks.
  • After results measured at 10 weeks after treatment and 26 weeks after treatment, participants who received massage fared significantly better than those who received traditional medical care without massage.
  • There was no statistical difference between those who received general relaxation massage techniques and those who received structural massage techniques.

Massage Therapy Magazine cites several studies showing the efficacy of massage therapy for various types of pain and proposes that massage therapy can be a major player in helping to combat the opioid addiction epidemic by offering a conservative first line of treatment for pain.

While pain medications including opioids certainly have their place in patient care and are necessary for many people, we need to find a way to educate traditional healthcare providers that conservative treatments like massage therapy are effective. One way to start is by discussing massage therapy with your primary care provider.  Last year, 16% of respondents in the American Massage Therapy Association 2015 industry study indicated that they discussed massage with their physician.  If you have had positive benefits from massage, let them know!  We also need to encourage teaching hospitals and massage therapists to continue to conduct sound research to further share what many people who get massage already know: It works!

Ready to try massage? Click here to book with one of our experienced and licensed therapists.

Sources:

Massage Industry Fact Sheet 2015: American Massage Therapy Association https://www.amtamassage.org/infocenter/economic_industry-fact-sheet.html

Massage Magazine: Can Massage Help Combat the Opioid Epidemic? https://www.massagemag.com/can-massage-help-combat-opioid-epidemic-36842/

National Institute on Drug Abuse https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/legislative-activities/testimony-to-congress/2016/americas-addiction-to-opioids-heroin-prescription-drug-abuse

The Annals of Internal Medicine: A Comparison of the Effects of Two Types of Massage on Chronic Low Back Pain. 2011. http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=747008

Acupressure Explained, by Guest Blogger Jamee Williams, LMT

Jamee Williams, LMT, demonstrates Acupressure on her colleague.

Jamee Williams, LMT, demonstrates Acupressure on her colleague.

Our licensed massage therapist, Jamee, has been incorporating more acupressure techniques into her massage in recent months and her clients are enjoying excellent results.  I’ve had the privilege of experiencing firsthand the great work she can do with acupressure and am thrilled she agreed to share more with our readers.

The info contained below is by our expert, Jamee. Enjoy! ~Cassie

Acupressure Explained:

According to Chinese Medicine, qi is the vital life force of the body, which, when flowing freely nurtures, sustains, and heals. The qi is directed throughout the body by 12 channels called meridians. Each of these meridians then direct the qi to their corresponding organ points, and it is at these points that blockage (usually due to trauma of a physical, emotional, or mental nature) or stagnation occurs. It is stated that pain is the manifestation of stagnant or sluggish qi.  Acupressure is the practice of tonifying or depleting excess energy at these points as needed, thus creating a harmonious balance between mind and body, yin and yang.

Acupressure v. Acupuncture:

The practice of acupuncture is 5000 years old and the first needles were made out of stone. Acupressure predates acupuncture and even massage by many generations as one of the first forms of medicine. While acupuncture is derived from acupressure, employing the same points and meridians, acupuncture uses various needling techniques requiring a more extensive clinical education. Acupressure relies solely on finger pressure and is non invasive.  I have over 100 hours of training in acupressure and have spent the last two years adapting my massage technique to best relieve blockages and stimulate the inherent self healing capabilities of each client I work with.

EastVillageSpaAcupressure4What is an acupressure session like?

While acupressure points are potent and can be used singly, there are many possible sequences to choose from so I can personalize your treatment to specific needs. During a treatment, you will remain fully clothed, face up on the massage table, while I perform a sequence connecting different points and meridians along the right and left sides of the body.  I will check in about pressure and encourage you to speak up if you experience any discomfort.

Pressure points are generally tender, but should not cause actual pain. A quiet, relaxed mind and body is essential for the work.  It is just as important for the conscious mind to take a break as it is for me to focus on the work.  My clients report a state of deep relaxation, well-being, and even lucid dreaming.

While I use acupressure in each massage, I am very excited to offer it as a stand alone treatment as the effects of a deeper, more focused application are much more pronounced and treatment possibilities much broader.  Even so, acupressure is much like any other bodywork/self care regimen in that you get out of it what you put into it.  Most imbalances take time to build up, so therefor cannot be permanently eliminated in one session.  As acupressure is cumulative, you can expect relief after the first session, but depending on the nature and severity of the problem being addressed, it may take up to 3-5 treatments to achieve lasting results. At the end of each session, we will work together to develop a self care plan for you, and it is important to carry through on that for optimal results.

EastVillageSpaAcupressureMassage6What can acupressure help?

As acupressure focuses on restoring and maintaining the homeostasis throughout the body and mind, any number of conditions will benefit including, but by no means limited to:

  • swollen joints/arthritis/rheumatism
  • joint and muscle pain
  • tendonitis/bursitis
  • depression and anxiety
  • lethargy/adrenal fatigue
  • insomnia
  • Sexual disorders
  • headaches/chronic migraines
  • chronic conditions that may not be responding to traditional forms of treatment
  • many more!

EastVillageSpaAcupressureMassage5

Thank you for taking time to learn more about Acupressure! Jamee Williams, LMT

Sign me up!

If you wish to schedule an acupressure appointment with Jamee, book a 75 minute Wellness Massage and request Jamee.  In the booking notes online or over the phone, let the receptionist know you wish to have an acupressure session so she can be prepared.  You will want to wear comfortable clothing (like gym or yoga clothes) as you will remain fully clothed.  Jamee is currently our only massage therapist offering this service.

Click here to schedule online (request Jamee from the drop down menu and make a booking note in your 75 minutes Wellness massage that you want acupressure) or call (515) 309-2904 and request acupressure with Jamee

 

Aloha Summer 2016 Specials Coming Soon!

Our long-awaited summer specials announcement is here!  This year we were inspired by island travel, cocktails on the patio, and barefoot afternoons in the grass.  Aloha summer specials are available June through August 2016.  You can book prior to June 1st by calling (515) 309-2904 and after June 1st online or by phone.

Maui Glow Facial: 60 minutes, $85 M-F(Weekday Special Price), $90 Sat

While you’ll feel like you’re relaxing on an island, the hard-working extracts of hibiscus flowers and fruits like pineapple will help to hydrate and brighten your skin while providing powerful antioxidant support.  This is an ideal facial for summer skin damage.

Patio Fiesta Massage: 60 minutes, $85 M-F(Weekday Special Price), $90 Sat

Celebrate summer with this fun and relaxing full body massage that includes the added benefits of agave nectar massage oil, a citrus scrub for your back, followed by a hydrating avocado back mask to nourish hard-to-reach skin on your back while your therapist massages your legs.  This massage pairs perfectly with a day spent relaxing on the patio!

Farmhouse Fresh hydrating and refreshing “Guac Star” avocado mask

Flip Flop Foot Massage: 50 Minutes, $65 M-F(Weekday Special Price), $70 Sat

Standing at music festivals, running races, or walking at the fair can stress your soles!  This indulgent foot massage includes a coconut milk towel wrap, citrus grass scrub, and fresh melon foot massage that incorporates elements of deep tissue, reflexology, and hot stone massage.

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Farmhouse Fresh Citrus Grass Scrub

 

Book YOUR Aloha spa getaway by calling (515) 309-2904 before June 1st or booking online after June 1st.  Services are available June 1 through August 31, 2016.  We can’t wait!