I get a lot of great questions from my clients about what their particular treatment plan should look like. It is a wonderful part of the job that I get to sit with an individual, look at their life, stresses, pains and goals and help them create a plan that will improve their overall well-being.One of the questions I get all the time is: “How often should I get a massage and what type of massage should I choose?” The answer is very individualized but I do have some general guidelines that I work with when helping a client choose a treatment plan that will work best for them.
How often should I get massage?
There are many factors that can effect how often you should get a massage. The best way to decide is to have a discussion with your massage therapist. They will be able to give you recommendations based on your lifestyle, injuries and health care goals. The way you incorporate massage into your wellness plan is a personal choice and in the end you know what is best for you!
1 massage per week or more depending on your injury and other types of therapies you have included in your health care plan if you are recovering from a recent injury.
2 massages per month or more depending on how much lasting relief you get from each massage if you have a chronic issue that is causing you pain.
1 massage per month or more depending on your situation for maintenance and injury prevention.
It is always important to remember that it may have been years of bad posture, habits or other repetitive actions that have lead to your current issue which means it most likely won’t be a simple fix. Regular body work and self care is essential for creating lasting change in your health!
What type of massage should I receive
The answer to this question also has many variables and is very dependent on each individuals needs. It is always good to discuss your desired goals with your therapist and to revisit them each time you have a massage appointment. Here is a short description of two common types of massage that you might choose from:
Swedish/Relaxation massage– This is the most common type and uses five styles of long, flowing strokes to reduce stress and pain in the body. Swedish massage is great for nearly everything, including stress and pain relief, injury recovery, prevention and so much more!
Deep Tissue massage– Deep tissue massage is a focus on the deeper layers of muscle as well as the connective tissue and is typically slow, deliberate and focused work. Deep tissue massage can be great for treating injuries, chronic pain, range of motion restrictions and many other issues.
A common myth about deep tissue massage is that it must be painful in order to be effective. Deep tissue massage may be slightly painful on occasion as your therapist works through adhesion and resistant tissue but this is not always the case. In fact working too deeply too quickly and causing excessive pain can do way more damage than good by causing stress and trauma to your already tight muscles and fascia. You may even choose to begin your treatment plan with Swedish massage until the superficial tissue has relaxed enough to have effective results from deep tissue work. Keep in mind that your massage therapist is always trying to work with your body to promote healing.
How long should my massage be?
You can typically choose from 30/60/90 minutes of massage (and often more).
A 30 minute focus massage might be great for you if you have one specific area that you are focusing on such as low back, neck, foot or wrist. You might consider several weeks of short sessions on one particular area to reach a desired goal.
A 60 minute session is great for; full body relaxation, some focus work on a particular area combined with some relaxation work, or it can also be great for a combination of focus work on two different areas of the body.
90 minute massage treatments are wonderful for; extended relaxation work, focus on one area of the body combined with full body relaxation, or focus work on more than one area combined with light relaxation work. The combinations are endless! Just keep in mind that you should book enough time in your treatment to accomplish small goals (ie. you have slightly more range of motion in your bound up shoulder) and work toward your greater goal (ie. you have full range of motion in your shoulder).
Have more questions about massage? Add them to the comments and we will do our best to cover them in our weekly blog posts! Thank you for reading and have a great week.
If you have kids in your life you are already in tune with how much more magic they bring to your days. Spending time with kids has always been something I love and let me tell y0u, most kids are ecstatic about massage! My niece and nephews are always asking me when it will be a good time for their next massage, it calms them and makes them feel good about their bodies. It gives them quiet time to explore sensations and ask questions about this amazing vehicle each of us are traveling in. Believe it or not kids get tight muscles and pain too and though they aren’t yet locked into unhealthy movement patterns, they are learning certain behaviors that they will carry with them throughout their lives. This is a great reason to begin addressing issues of tension in both mind and body beginning at a very young age.
Recently I have had many clients mention bringing their kids in for a massage and so I thought it would be a good time to share some ways that massage can benefit kids and what types of treatments it is appropriate to book them for.
The Benefits of massage for kids:
*there are so many that it would take forever to cover them here-I encourage you to research the benefits of massage for your child’s specific needs or ask us the next time you visit
“Massage reduces stress hormone levels and blood glucose levels. According to Maria Hernandez-Reif, a researcher at the Touch Research Institute, lower stress hormones not only reduce feelings of anxiety but contribute to a healthier immune system.” –Maggie Lynn, Read more at Livestrong.com Obviously this is a benefit to all people who get massage!
Massage reinforces positive feelings about self-worth and body image in kids (we might say adults as well). Touch is essential to a healthy life and we all thrive when our lives include regular positive touch-especially from those we care about. You might even enjoy giving your child a massage every day before bedtime to help them relax and create a time for positive reinforcement and bonding. Not sure how? You can always book a session and stay to observe, we are happy to give you some tips on the best ways to offer massage to your child.
“Preschoolers have shown better performance on tests of their intellectual and manual skills after a 15-minute massage. They also slept better during naps, were less likely to be overactive and had better behavior ratings. For teens struggling with the growing pains of adolescence, massage helps to balance unstable hormones and can relieve anxiety by producing a state of relaxation. A supportive relationship with a massage therapist who gives them safe, unconditional touch can also increase their feelings of self-acceptance and self-confidence during those trying years.”-Shirley Vanderbilt, Read more at massagetherapy.com
Massage can greatly benefit children with special needs including everything from weight gain for pre-term infants to hyperactivity to various sensory issues. Each of these requires and in depth review but a great place to start is with this article from ABMP titled Children and Massage.
What types and lengths of treatment are right for your child:
Infants-3 years old: We are not currently trained in infant to toddler massage here at Written on the Body but there are many places around Portland that offer infant massage, or classes on how to massage your baby at home: OHSU or Lopez Infant Massage are great examples
4 years old to 12 years old: We recommend starting with a 30 minute Focus! treatment here at Written on the Body and you are welcome to stay for any part or all of the treatments with your kids. You can also book your own treatment at the same time and make it a parent/child date! During this 30 minute focus massage your child could remain clothed and we would employ gentle massage techniques on the table such as rocking, compression and other aspects of Swedish massage. If appropriate we may use warm compresses or essential oils to enhance relaxation and keep your child’s attention. We always leave room for your child’s needs and will allow them to direct the session including the right for either of you to end it at any time.
13-17: At this age many kids are able to handle longer sessions and you might consider gradually increasing the length of their treatments until they are eventually able to handle a full hour. They may also be ready for other types of massage such as hot stone, deep tissue or sports massage and you can discuss these options with our team as you and your child feel it is appropriate.
Thai Massage: Thai massage is clothed and performed on a mat on the floor. During Thai massage your therapist will compress, rock and stretch your body in various ways with the goal of deep relaxation, improving movement patterns and lengthening muscles. Thai massage is an excellent option for ages 4 to adults (and sometimes even younger)! If you are interested in finding out more about booking a Thai massage for you or your child email us at email@example.com and we will happily help you book an appointment.
Whether you decide to start a home massage routine with your child or book an appointment with your favorite therapist we are excited for you to start this journey! Ready to book? Click here to view our schedule online (when booking for your child please make a note for your therapist of your child’s age so that we can be prepared for the visit). Have more questions? Leave them in the comments or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks so much for reading and have a wonderful day!
Cupping seems to be all the rage with athletes right now and for good reason, it works! I have heard a lot of varying opinions since I first tried out cupping myself, some folks believe it’s a hoax and the benefit is just a placebo effect, others seem confused about it all together, some think it will be painful and others agree that it is absolutely fabulous. In this post I hope to give you a clear and simple explanation of cupping so that you can go boldly forward to try it out for yourself!
(in Chinese medicine) a therapy in which heated glass cups are applied to the skin along the meridians of the body, creating suction as a way of stimulating the flow of energy.
To add on to the dictionary definition cupping is used to stimulate blood flow, bring fresh blood to the area and increase healing. This means it is good for physical issues including injuries, muscle tension, pain, restricted movement and so much more!
Who can provide cupping treatments?
If you have a complimentary health care provider that you currently see my advice would be to check with them first for a recommendation. If not you can visit us at Written on the Body! Both Theresa and Richard offer cupping treatments in addition to Acupuncture to our clients. Or you can seek out an acupuncturist, massage therapist or naturopathic physician who is trained in cupping.
What happens during a cupping treatment?
After a thorough intake with your practitioner they will have you disrobe the affected area. Some practitioners might use a tiny amount of oil to prepare your skin for the cupping procedure. There are different types of cupping, some use glass cups and fire to create suction and others use plastic cups that have tiny built in pumps to draw the air out. Whichever type of cups used you will feel the flesh being sucked up into the cups, typically this is not painful but depending on your specific issue it can become a little more intense. If it is too uncomfortable you can always let your practitioner know so that they can release some of the suction. Some therapists will let the cups sit for a time (seconds to a few minutes) and others will move the cups around similar to a massaging motion.
What happens after a cupping treatment?
After your practitioner removes the cups you may feel some tenderness in the area but it typically fades within 24 hours, you may also feel more tired than usual as your body works hard to heal itself. You will most likely have deep red or purple marks where the cups have been placed but they do not feel painful. These marks are caused by stagnant blood and toxins coming to the surface and will fade within a week or so. You will probably feel better! You might notice more freedom and less pain in the areas that have been cupped. If you get regular treatments and have a good self care routine you may even make a full recovery from injuries or other chronic issues.
Cupping in the news:
The Portland Trail Blazers added cupping into their injury prevention and recovery routines:
Cupping is an ancient healing practice and this blog post is just a short adventure into what it is all about. To really understand it you will need to experience it and learn about the philosophies surrounding traditional Chinese medicine.
Have more questions? Leave them in the comments or email us at email@example.com. Thanks for reading and we look forward to working with you soon! Book online today.
Have you ever gotten a great massage only to have pain the next day? Pain after a massage can be a normal part of healing.
If you haven’t had a massage in a while, are brand new to massage or have a new issue that you are working on the chances are fairly high that you might experience some level of pain in the day or two following a massage. There are many explanations for this and though the experience and specifics will be unique to each person there are a few standard reasons on why this phenomenon happens:
Everyone has muscular patterns that have been created and reinforced over time and sometimes these patterns aren’t healthy resulting in inefficient ways of moving. The result is an overall imbalance with some muscles being tight and shortened while others are weak and overstretched. Eventually this can cause pain and/or injury as well as a sort of numbness. When massage begins to help release these unbalanced muscle patterns, the body has to adjust to a new and unfamiliar way of being, which can feel uncomfortable or even painful for a time. This is also the reason that regular massage combined with a self care plan is so important. As you might imagine it will take quite some time and effort to undo something that took so long to create.
Your massage therapist may move your body in a way that it is not accustomed to and just like a new exercise routine it can cause fatigue or soreness the following day or two. Staying active, hot baths with Epsom salts, ice therapy or heat therapy can help ease this type of discomfort as your body adjusts to these new feelings.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding detoxification and massage, I don’t want to add fuel to this debate in any way. I will stick to this: massage increases circulation and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which can sometimes cause an overload to your mind and body. Especially when it hasn’t experienced these sensations before, recently or if your body’s resources are going toward healing another issue such as an injury at the time of your massage. Drinking water, resting and taking care of yourself in general following a massage is important to lessening the possibility of fatigue or pain response.
Not all pain is created equal and it is always important to communicate with your massage therapist during your treatment. You should ask your therapist to lighten up on the pressure if you are experiencing pain during your massage that is sharp, shooting, numbing, tingling or 7+ on a pain scale of 1-10 (1 being very little to no pain and 10 being severe pain). You should always be able to breathe during your massage and if all your muscles are tensed against the pressure it defeats the purpose of trying to get tense muscles to let go. Good pain is ok but beyond that pain is not beneficial to your health. If you are experiencing sensations during or after a massage that seem abnormal you should communicate them to your therapist and if you think something is wrong it may be a good idea to check in with your doctor. In general there is nothing abnormal about experiencing a little pain after massage and it will likely stop happening after you begin to get regular treatments.
Have you ever thought to yourself “Should I get a massage?” If so then this post is for you!
If you are experiencing any of the following issues then massage is definitely right for you:
First and most important is that you enjoy being touched and find it comforting
If you have a serious medical condition or specific concern surrounding massage you should get clearance from your doctor before making an appointment
You live a high stress lifestyle and have limited time for yourself-massage can be a great way to reward yourself for working so hard and can help you feel renewed after giving so much to your job/family/friends/business etc…
You experience chronic pain-often times people believe they have to live with pain but this is not always the case! Regular massage treatments can help relieve or at the very least lessen chronic pain cycles.
You have tension headaches-massage can help loosen the muscles of the head neck and jaw to help you find release from the tension that causes headaches
You have a difficult time relaxing or shutting off your mind-massage, especially certain types of massage such as Thai and hot stone can be very effective in helping you wind down and find inner peace.
You are prone to injury involving pulled muscles and tears-massage truly can help unravel those long time patters of muscle tightness that eventually leads to injury. It is no magic pill but with regular treatments and a good self care routine you will find that you can become more balanced.
These are just a few of the reasons massage might be a good fit for you! If you have questions about your particular situation please feel free to drop me a line via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will look forward to hearing from you! Ready to book? Head to our online booking site and set your appointment today: Written on the Body Massage and Acupuncture Studio
Yes! Massage can help improve your posture read on to find out how…
We are sitting more than ever before with long hours at the computer, commuting, watching TV and it is affecting the way our body is aligned. Our shoulders and neck are pulled forward due to tight, shortened pectorals (chest), scalene’s and my favorite named muscle the sternocleidomastoid (front of neck). Our pelvis’s are out of whack from weakened abdominal muscles, shortened hip flexors and more. While we are busy slumping and slouching from sitting waaayyyy more than our bodies were intended to we need our grandmother’s in our ears to nag us to take breaks, pull our shoulders back and down and stand up straight, for goodness sakes!
How can massage help you achieve your goal of beautiful straight posture? Here is the short list of what we can help you accomplish:
Almost every Massage Therapist I know pays attention to posture all the time. We can’t help it! Even when I am out and about I am noticing other people’s posture and thinking of ways that I could help return them to a balanced frame. If you are working towards correcting your posture you should talk to your Massage Therapist about your goals, they will most likely have some insight on where they notice imbalances and what type of treatment plan could work for you.
Massage therapy helps to ease the tension in tight muscles caused by postural imbalances, for instance I mentioned the forward body posture above often caused by long hours at the computer which can cause arm, hand, neck and upper back pain. Targeting specific muscle groups such as the pecs and the muscles on the front of the neck can help lengthen them allow the body to find the space to realign itself into the proper position. This applies to other areas as well such as releasing the hip flexors for the low back to help relieve pain in this area.
Massage relaxes you, improves your circulation, helps eradicate stress and is one of the best pain relievers out there. Many of the unhealthy patterns our body creates are caused by stress tension and pain which means getting regular massage is a key ingredient to letting go of those things that are having ill effects on your posture.
I would never try to mislead you into believing that massage is a miracle cure, that you won’t have to work hard to return to a healthy posture or that massage will be the only tool you might need. However I do believe that regular massage is an important (and hopefully really lovely) piece of the amazing posture puzzle. Don’t take my word for it Book Your Massage Today!
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3 ways to live a healthier and happier life in 2014
I always slack a little on most of my routines (outside of hammock laying and beach going) through the Summer, we get such a short visit from the sun here in Portland that I feel justified in my laziness. But It’s back to school time here in Oregon and I know that, like myself, many of you parents out there are ready to get back to the grind. When the kids go back to school it becomes easier for us to get back on top of work, exercise, healthy eating habits and in general taking care of ourselves. If you want to make a huge positive impact on your health and happiness you should try adding regular massage into your self care routine, you won’t believe what a difference it will make! Still not sure? Check out these great facts about the many ways regular massage can improve your overall well-being:
Find Relief from pain:
Millions of Americans suffer from pain and back pain seems to be the leader of the pack, in fact, low back pain is one of the most common reasons for missing work. In fact, back pain is one of the most listed reasons for visits to the doctor’s office. Treat low back pain with a combination of stretching, exercises and getting regular massage, acupuncture and/or chiropractic care. It is important to remember that surgery or pharmaceuticals are not the only option for finding freedom from pain. Many times with a little energy and regular self care you can live a happier and healthier life without the extra side effects that come with invasive surgery or drugs.
Free yourself from Stress and Anxiety:
The world is always changing, moving more quickly, raising it’s expectations-heaping more and more onto our plates. It is no wonder that many Americans are frequently suffering from bouts of depression, anxiety and insomnia. Stress is a killer and if left unregulated it can cause all sorts of issues in the body. Dr. Sheldon Cohen discovered in a 2012 study that “When under stress, cells of the immune system are unable to respond to hormonal control, and consequently, produce levels of inflammation that promote disease. Because inflammation plays a role in many diseases such as cardiovascular, asthma and autoimmune disorders, this model suggests why stress impacts them as well.” Help yourself regulate stress hormones with massage. Regular massage reduces the hormone cortisol in your body, and give the happiness inducing neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine a boost. Check out our buy 3 get 1 free massage packages and $55 monthly membership to get yourself on the path to freedom from stress today!
Look better, feel better and have more energy:
Speaking of stress, we all know it takes a toll on our energy levels as well as our appearance. Weight gain or loss, dark bags under our eyes, dull skin and exhaustion are all common side effects of stress. Massage can help these too by reducing stress levels and helping to boost your bodies natural healing abilities. Massage also improves circulation and skin tone to promote that beautiful healthy glow we are all striving to achieve. Learn more about the ways massage can help you feel and look better in this great article: The amazing ways massage can help you look prettier
Living a healthier and happier life is contingent on a healthy routine including exercise, diet and self care. Dedicate yourself to this cause-you are worth it!
Massage and Acupuncture are natural remedies for Neck pain
Neck pain is very common in our culture and there are many different reason’s a person can experience neck pain. Some of these include poor posture, unhealthy holding patterns created by repetitive motion or overuse, injuries, structural issues and changes are just a few. Neck pain can be very disruptive to a person’s everyday routine especially sleep patterns and regular work, when your body is chronically experiencing pain you are unable to function optimally. This in addition to the possibility of permanent disability and severe injury are important reasons to address neck pain as early and aggressively as possible. Here are some of the ways massage and acupuncture can help:
Acupuncture for neck pain:
Can reduce spasms and lesson pain
Acupuncture can reduce inflammation and even obliterate it with regular treatments
Acupuncture promotes better blood flow through treated areas which promotes healing
Releases endorphins changing the way the brain and spinal cord perceives pain
Acupuncture addresses underlying issues such as stagnant energy, holding patterns, stress and other problems that are at the root of your neck pain
Cupping helps relax and break up stuck fascia and scar tissue freeing your body to move more efficiently
Massage for neck pain:
Increases blood flow which promotes healing
Decreases tension in muscles
Calms the body releasing tension all over the body rather than just in the select concentrated areas
Regular massage can help lengthen muscles that are shortened allowing your posture to correct itself
Consider massage and acupuncture as part of your health care plan, you are important and taking good care of your body is essential to living a long, healthy and happy life. Check out our packages and memberships for affordable options in getting the treatment you need to become free of pain!
Here is a great info-graphic on ice versus heat and how each of them work. Remember that effective injury recovery involves the work you do at home as well as the treatments you receive from your health care team!
Other ways to help yourself heal:
Give yourself a break with sufficient time to rest and heal. We know this can be frustrating because you want to get back to your life and things you love but this is the MOST important step in the process of healing.
Ice or heat for injuries: from the beginning and through recovery-it will make a huge difference
Get help: Physical therapy, Massage, Acupuncture, Personal Trainer’s, Chiropractic and other medical professionals can help you with a treatment plan to get you back to 100% as quickly as possible
Move: Of course rest and a break from your routine is important but movement and gentle stretching is also important for a full recovery
Stay positive! Stress does not promote healing, in fact it does the opposite, help your natural healing ability along by staying happy and relaxed, eating healthy, drinking water and getting plenty of sleep. This may be the easiest step to forget but it can greatly impact the way your body heals itself. If you feel caught in a rut with an injury take a look at your lifestyle and make adjustments as needed.
I normally steer clear of sharing too much of my personal life online but today I feel compelled and perhaps it is just the only thing one can do when they are facing the grief of losing a loved one. This post is to honor my ancestors who have passed and to remind us all that this life is short and is meant to be lived in love and gratitude. The catalyst for this post is the passing of a wonderful woman, my aunt, Rest In Peace Aunt Kathy-thank you for your love, even from afar.
We all know that death is a part of this life and at some point we will each most likely experience the devastation that comes with the loss of a loved one no matter how unexpected, expected or planned for. Today my family grieves the loss of yet another of our matriarchs, another rock that holds our walls in place. It is so strange and amazing what times like this do to our lives: we begin to remember that this life is not forever, how important our friends and family really are, the things we have and have not said, the places that we have given forgiveness and the others that we have not, our priorities shift suddenly and every moment seems more drawn out.
I remember the first time I experienced this phenomenon, though I had known death long before this incident, it was in high school that I first understood it’s impact. An acquaintance of mine, but close friend of my close friends committed suicide and although I did not know her well I was impacted by the way the world felt different with her absence. I recall thinking to myself how the grass, air, sun, morning dew and just everything seemed different somehow. The revelation that the world keeps moving despite this great loss was almost too much for my young brain to comprehend. I have since lost many incredible people in my life and every time I am in awe of learning the same lessons again. Each time I do my best to remind myself to continue to give each moment that same weight but somehow that knowing slowly fades. I see now that this is one of life’s big challenges: to learn how to be truly present in each moment.
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have”-Eckhart Tolle
I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank my ancestors that have passed, in particular my Dad, Grandmother, Grandfather, Uncle and Aunt for giving me so much: My eyes, my smile, my laugh, my ability to recognize the importance of family, the great joy of being silly and taking things in stride, my ability to adapt, my sincerity, my generosity, my love of the outdoors, my strength, my vulnerability, my spirit, my love of life, my adventurousness and so much more. I absolutely would not be who I am today without each of your contributions to my life. Thank you also for your influence on all those that are still enjoying this lifetime-my family, cousins, mom, siblings, niece and nephews. To all of you: no matter how often we see each other your presence on this planet makes my universe more rich. I hold a sacred space for you right now as we see this lovely lady off to join the ranks of greatness that await her.
I share this because I know many of you can relate, in my personal list of clients alone there are many whom have shared with me their sadness of loss whether it be recent or long ago. This type of weary grief sticks to you, often finding a place in your body, mind and spirit to lay it’s heavy head. By loving ourselves and sharing our experiences we make space for healing and though we may always carry some of the pain of missing our loved ones we must do what we know would make them happiest-Live without limits and celebrate the goodness of their lives.
Here are some tips and resources for you if you are experiencing the massive grief of losing someone you love:
Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams-A book that I have read many times and never fails to make me laugh and cry, it deals with the issues of death and dying entwined with a beautiful story of the author’s life.
Hospice on bereavement-My dad was in hospice before he passed and I found their literature to be very comforting. It helped me to recognize the stages of my own grief as well as my families.
Some of my personal takes on the bereavement experience: remember that you probably won’t be yourself for a while and that there are many stages of grief that can last for quite some time. Cut yourself some slack, rest, remember to eat, spend time alone but don’t isolate yourself from your support network. Don’t sabotage yourself-ask for/allow for help when you need it. Don’t make decisions too hastily, rely on someone that you trust who is less affected by the death to help you with important matters.
Take care of yourself in whatever ways work for you. Stress and grief are hard on your mind and body which means you need to take extra good care of yourself during this time. Eating healthy, drinking water, exercising and doing your best to get enough sleep are the first steps in keeping your energy up for what lies ahead. Body work such as massage, acupuncture, energy work etc… can be very healing during times of loss because they allow you a safe space to be quiet but not alone. Body work also helps with releasing endorphin’s, reducing the stress hormone cortisol, improving circulation and promoting restorative sleep.
People deal with death in many different ways and you have to find what works for you to make it through the process without self destructing, most importantly remember that it does get easier and you will find happiness again. Above all love up the people close to you and live a full and joyful life! Thank you for taking the time to read this post and feel free to share your tips for surviving the grief process as well as the stories of your loved ones who have passed with us. I send each of you my sincere love and gratitude and hope you know that whatever role you play at WOTB is significant and wonderful. Have a beautiful sunny day!