What to Wear (or not) During Your Massage

Probably the most Frequently Unasked Question in massage: Do I need to get naked?

Short answer
No. Absolutely not.

Long answer
Many massage therapists say, “Undress to your level of comfort.” That’s a bit vague, though. And people new to massage have no idea what that means. Heck, I’m not even sure what that means. Here’s what you need to know about clothing during your massage session:

First, no matter what, you’ll always be covered (draped) with a sheet and a blanket. You’ll never be left feeling exposed or chilly. When I work on an arm, I fold the sheet back and tuck it under your arm so it’s secure (no drafts, my friends). Same for your legs.

When I work on your back, I fold the sheet down at the hips. If you’re wearing a bra, I’ll work around it. If you’re wearing a tank top or shorts or long johns, I’ll work through it. I know plenty of very effective massage techniques that can be administered over clothing.

Please know that I’m not judging you. Your massage is about you and it’s important you feel comfortable. For some people that means leaving some clothing on. For others, it means taking it all off. There is no right or wrong; this is your massage.

Enjoy your next massage! If you haven’t already scheduled it, you can do so here.


Strategies for Coping with Caregiver Stress.

What happens when a family member falls ill, and you find yourself taking on the role of caregiver?

There are many circumstances under which we may find ourselves in the role of caregiver for a sick family member. Your life can change overnight, and everything can be thrown in to chaos. Adding to the stress is the fact that you didn’t choose this. If you’re not careful, it can take a toll on your health and wellbeing. How can you deal with the stress and exhaustion that comes with filling this very demanding role? Continue reading “Strategies for Coping with Caregiver Stress.”

New Spa Treatments

Or a Mini Vacation

Eyes closed. A smile on your face. The sound of gentle, ocean waves. A cool breeze brushes your face. Sand between your toes.

Wish you were here-

Have a walk on the beach even when you don’t have time for an extended vacation. Check out the new spa treatments.  Be it achy feet, sore hands, or overall stress, a mini spa treatment can reinvigorate you. Twenty minute treatments easily fit into your busy day. At Restoring Balance Massage, I use high quality essential oils, jojoba, and pampering products for your massage.

Pamper yourself and decrease your stress at the same time. You deserve it!

Do You Need a Massage?

Yes! You Need a Massage! My professional association,  ABMP (Association of Bodywork and Massage Professionals) puts out a great publication for massage clients. The Spring 2015 edition has a great article starting on page 9, titled “Yes! You Need a Massage.” The author discusses why massage can be beneficial even when you aren’t in pain:

“We automatically schedule routine maintenance for our cars, but all too often, we don’t give our bodies the same consideration. Fail to get your oil changed or your tires rotated, and you can count on some major problems down the road. Similarly, when you fail to pay attention to your body and provide it with the care it deserves, you may very well run into health issues that could have been prevented.”  -Brandon Twyford

So remember to take care of yourself. Don’t put off routine medical care. Make self-care a daily habit. And, get a massage!.

How Often Should I Get a Massage?

That depends on the reason you are getting massage. Are you pampering yourself? That’s awesome! Get a massage however often you feel like it!

Lots of people think massage is just a luxury, but is it more than pampering? Massage research can be tricky. One type of well-respected research is double-blinded, meaning that neither the participants or providers know who is receiving the experimental treatment and who is receiving the control (no treatment or a placebo treatment.) Massage does not lend itself to this type of experiment. Research on massage is in its early stages and often shows mixed results. But research suggests that massage can help with things like stress and pain management, anxiety, and depression. It’s no substitute for medical care, and it’s always a good idea to discuss complementary treatments for any medical condition with your doctor.  Massage can be a great complement to conventional medical treatments.

Are you using massage to help improve your health? Stress and pain are serious things that can affect the quality of your life. I don’t know about you, but stress and pain make me cranky. Anything I can do to relieve them makes me happier so I can enjoy life and generally be a nicer person to be around. Getting a massage on a regular basis can help. Sure, one massage is great, but I know from experience that it won’t make my stress or that pain in my shoulders developed from years of hunching over a computer magically disappear for good.  Just because the results are short-term doesn’t mean they aren’t worth it. You brush your teeth twice a day, right? I find getting massage on a more regular schedule (for me, that’s at least twice a month) beneficial.

Whatever you decide: once a week, once a month, once a quarter. You deserve it! If you don’t take care of yourself, who will?

4 Great Reasons to Add Aromatherapy to Your Next Massage

Aromatherapy is the therapeutic use of essential oils (aromatic substances distilled from plants). Essential oils are commonly blended into massage oil or used in room diffusers. Here are a few reasons to add aromatherapy to your next massage:

  1. Massage can reduce stress, help with anxiety and depression, alleviate pain, and enhance the quality of sleep. All good things. Aromatherapy is often used to help with these same things. Some  research suggests that aromatherapy may enhance the positive effects of massage.
  2. They smell good. ‘Nuff said.
  3. The aroma can affect your mood.  There is a direct connection between the scent receptors in your nose and the part of the brain that controls your emotional responses. I know whenever I smell Bergamot (which gives Earl Grey tea its lovely aroma) it calms me.
  4. You know how your nose gets all stuffy when you get a massage? A drop of Eucalyptus or Peppermint essential oil on a cotton ball placed under the face cradle can help with that!

Should You Tip Your Massage Therapist?

I don’t really like the phrase “tipping is appreciated but not required.” Not just for massage but for other services as well. It causes me a bit of anxiety.

  • If I don’t tip, will my next service be crappy?
  • How much should I tip, what if I tip too little? Are they offended?
  • Do I have to tip the same amount every time?

Massage is supposed to help you relax. I don’t want you to stress over whether or not to tip. We strive to provide top-notch services to all of our clients no matter the tip.

Don’t get me wrong- tips are nice. It’s great that you appreciate the awesome service! Leaving 15% to 20% based on the original price of the service is customary at most spas.

But, here are some great alternatives to tipping:

  • Instead of spending money on tipping each time, I would rather you came back more often. Regular massage benefits you more than waiting until the pain or stress is unbearable and then getting one massage. But that’s another blog post.
  • Tell your friends about me. Review me on Facebook or Google. Referrals are way better than tips!

Let me know if anything else is causing you to be nervous about your massage. It’s your time to let go.

Ready to schedule a massage? Book Now

Your First Massage

Want to get a massage, but nervous about what to expect? I’ve been there. I had been wanting to get a massage for several years before I actually got one for just this reason. So here’s a few things to expect, and if you have any other questions, just ask me. Trust me, there are no silly questions.

Before the massage:

  • It’s a good idea to arrive a few minutes early to allow yourself time to relax a bit. If you haven’t completed the online intake form, I will have you complete an intake form with your contact information, health history, and the reason for your visit (don’t worry- I will keep your information confidential). Massage strokes affect the body in many ways, and depending on your health,  some techniques or even massage altogether may need to be avoided. It may also be a good idea to discuss massage with your doctor.
  • I will lead you to the massage room and leave while you disrobe and get underneath the sheet on the massage table. Nervous about taking your clothes off? No worries, just wear comfortable clothing. And rest assured, if you do decide to take it all off, you will be under a sheet and only the part of your body being massaged will be uncovered.

During the massage:

  • Allow the full weight of your body to sink into the table and take full, deep breaths.
  • I will inquire about the pressure and your level of comfort. Remember: this is your massage. If you are too cold or hot, if the pressure is too light, deep, or painful or if anything is interfering with you relaxing it is important to speak up.

After the massage:

  • I will leave and give you time to get dressed. Don’t rush, maybe do some gentle stretching.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Don’t forget to schedule your next massage.
  • One of my colleagues recommends taking a nap when you get home, not a bad idea.

See, it’s not so scary.

Pain Management: A Tale of Two Injuries

This is a story of two similar injuries and how I dealt with them. Please note this is informational only, as with any health problem you should talk to your doctor to see what is best for you.

After about a year at my desk job, the workload increased dramatically. More work to get done, in the same amount of time.  My wrists and forearms starting hurting. Just a little at first. I would try to rest after work, but it just kept getting worse. I put off seeing the doctor until I was in constant pain and my arms felt weak and shaky. It was diagnosed as tendonitis and they gave me wrist splints and sent me to physical therapy. It helped some, but I was still doing the same job, the same way. Months later, I was still in pain. They had an expert come to my office to help make my workspace more ergonomic. And one of the doctors recommended I start massaging my own hands (which eventually led me to massage school).  It was a long road, but I eventually recovered.

I’ve learned that if your body starts talking to you, you’d better listen or it will start screaming. Over the summer, the back of my right hand started to hurt. Instead of ignoring it and plowing ahead:

  • I observed what was going on with my body and changed how I was working  (I moved my computer mouse to the left side) so I could rest my hand. This was probably the most important step, just noticing what was happening and doing something about it.
  • I saw my doctor and followed her advice: rest, ice, and ibuprofen.
  • And I started a regular routine of stretching and self massage- I was in massage school at the time, so I had learned that what techniques might help. Luckily, I had only injured one hand!

Take care of yourself and be well.