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Choosing and Caring for Linens

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Ten for Today
By Rebecca Jones

Choosing and Caring for Linens
Michigan massage therapist Patrice Wisner thought she’d figured out her linen laundry dilemma when her husband started washing smaller loads and using more detergent. The result was cleaner sheets, fewer impossible-to-get-out oil stains, and no more lingering smell of oil. Then, some of her clients started sneezing when they got on her table. “Too much detergent?” she wonders. “Currently, we use detergent and bleach, but we’re on a septic system and I can’t say that it’s all that great for my septic system to use so much bleach to get these sheets clean. But if I don’t, they start to smell when they come out of the dryer, and at some point later on they start to smell like French fries! There’s just got to be an answer.” Table linens are one of the most important accessories massage therapists will purchase, since those linens are so visible to clients. And caring properly for the linens is one of the most important steps in maintaining a hygienic practice. The experts all agree: don’t short sheet your massage practice by choosing anything less than the best-quality linens you can afford and keep them in tip-top shape. Here are some pointers for selecting the right linens for your practice, and how to care for them so they always send a positive message to clients.

1. Pure or Blended
Some people avoid 100 percent cotton massage sheets, preferring the wrinkle-resistance and greater durability that comes from cotton/polyester blends. But there’s much to be said for the comfort and soft feel of 100 percent cotton. They also tend to release oil more readily than blends. Likewise, those who appreciate earth-friendly sheets may even look into hemp sheets—more expensive initially, but extremely long lasting—or certified-organic cotton sheets. Remember that you get what you pay for in most instances and quality sheets will not pill as easily as cheaper ones. There’s no one best answer. It’s just a matter of personal preference.

2. Flannel’s Appeal
“It’s the most comfortable sheet there is,” says Steve Gern, owner of Sew & Sew, a maker of massage sheets in Glide, Oregon. And while the quality of other kinds of sheets is measured in thread count—the higher the better, as a rule—that’s not true with flannel sheets. Flannel is measured in weight. Sew & Sew, for instance, carries 3.8-ounce and 5-ounce flannel sheets, with the heavier-weight flannel costing a bit more. The heavier the weight, the more plush the feel and the more washings it can endure. And while flannel is mostly associated with chilly climates, it’s actually a good product for warm weather, too, since it wicks away perspiration more readily than other materials.

3. Your Linen Closet
John Sise, owner of Innerpeace, a Walpole, New Hampshire, massage linen company, suggests keeping a minimum of two days worth of linens. So, if you’re going to do five massages a day, you need to have at least 10 sets of standard-width (46-inch) sheets on hand. “We recognize that some people may need a wider top sheet, so we recommend that the therapist has a few wide top flat sheets to accommodate the people who may have extra modesty issues or are larger than the average client,” Sise says. It’s also a good idea to keep plenty of hand towels nearby. “They’re really good for wiping a client off, so you don’t have to use a sheet or a drape to wipe them off,” says Diana Dapkins, president of Pure Pro Massage Products, of Greenfield, Massachusetts. “And if you spill a product, they’re just a nice tool to have around.”

4. Solids Versus Prints
Again, this is a matter of personal preference. There are lots of beautiful prints on the market, including batiks and themed designs, but Gern says he sold so few printed sheets he stopped carrying them. Solids—especially whites—look clean and hygienic, but prints carry one big advantage over solids: they can help camouflage stains.

5. Sanitation Rules
Of course, don’t reuse any towel or sheet that has come in contact with a client before laundering it. Sheets should be changed after every client. Same for face-rest covers. Find a hamper for dirty linens that is well away from the clean ones. Make sure to sterilize all table surfaces between clients. Select quality, ecofriendly cleaning products that are considerate of clients’ allergies and void of artificial scents. And, of course, thoroughly wash your hands between clients.

6. Laundry Tips
Experts disagree about the ideal temperature at which to launder your linens. Norma Keyes, director of product standards for Cotton Inc., a trade group to promote cotton products, advises using the hottest water possible to remove stains and odor. Gern and Sise say hot water only sets in stains. They recommend warm water. Dapkins insists warm to lukewarm is fine, and that even washing in cold water is acceptable. But here’s something they all agree on: get them washed as soon as possible—within 24 hours of use. “If you must wait to wash them, store them in black plastic bags,” Dapkins says. “Tie the bags shut to keep out air and light, as these are the two things that turn oil rancid.” For badly stained linens, allow them to soak in a degreaser, then launder them twice to completely remove oily residue. For stubborn stains, add bleach to the second wash so the bleach can penetrate after some of the oily buildup is gone, Dapkins suggests.

7. Special Supplies
Unlike bed linens, which are only for sleeping, massage table linens get regularly doused with oil. Simply tossing them into the wash with other linens won’t be adequate. Some sort of degreaser must be used, experts say. One possibility is dish soap, which won’t harm linens, or the spray product called Zout. Dapkins created Pure Pro Linen Degreaser, a citrus-based product, specifically with the demands of massage therapists in mind. “I got tired of hearing massage therapists talk about stained linens,” she says. “It’s a citrus-based solvent, which is very different from other products on the market that are petroleum-based. Anyone will tell you that vegetable oil is tough. It doesn’t mix with water and it doesn’t come out very easily. The citrus solvents are just phenomenal at eating vegetable oil.” She says degreasers do not remove stains. That’s what bleach is for. But before the bleach can work, massage linens may require an initial washing with a degreaser.

8. Dryer Safety
If a sheet comes out of the washer still smelling of oil, do not put it in the dryer. Drying it will only worsen the problem, because it will bake in the oil residue, making removal even harder. What’s more, there’s a safety issue involved. “We’ve had a number of people with dryer fires, because they put the stuff in the dryer and it combusted. There was simply too much residue on the linens,” Dapkins says.

9. Folding Technique
Yes, there really is a secret to folding a fitted sheet, and if you master it, your linen cabinets will be forever neater. Start by pulling the sheet out of the dryer immediately, not letting it sit around unfolded for hours. You’ll need to spread the sheet out on a table or bed. Fold it in half horizontally, then tuck the top gathered end into the pocket formed by the bottom gathered end. Fold everything horizontally in half again. Then fold the bulky gathered ends horizontally into the middle of the ten for todaysheet. Fold the smooth end over the top of the bulky end, then fold lengthwise into thirds yet again. If you’re having trouble picturing this, a number of online reference sites have step-by-step picture guides. Just type “fold a fitted sheet” into your Web browser, and you’ll find lots of online help.

10. Letting Go
Finally, if you see any sign of holes, broken elastic, fraying, or anything that looks unserviceable, it’s time to find a different use for that sheet than putting it under a massage client. And if you’ve tried every trick you know and you still can’t get a stain out, surrender to the inevitable and ditch the sheet. “If you get a year’s worth of service out of a sheet, and you do 25 clients a week, remember that’s just pennies per use. You’ve gotten your money out of that sheet,” Dapkins says.

Rebecca Jones is a Denver-based freelancer who has a new appreciation for the intricacies of massage linens. Contact her at killarneyrose@comcast.net.

 

Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals original article:
http://www.abmp.com/massagemarketplace/downloads/TenForToday_JF09.pdf
Additional resources:
http://www.massageandbodyworkdigital.com/i/196551

How to Improve Massage Therapy Sessions

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Any professional who is truly passionate about his or her craft will go that extra mile to make sure that they are doing their absolute best.  As a massage therapist, this is especially important.  Your clients expect to feel less pain or more relaxed after a session.  In the field of massage therapy, one bad massage can easily hurt your reputation.  On the other hand, an amazing massage will certainly bring about new referrals and regular customers who return again and again.

Subtle details during a massage session can make all of the difference.  If you are doing your best to really improve a client’s experience, they will take notice.  The difference between a good massage therapist and a great one may not be apparent at a quick glance, but there is no doubt that clients can tell the difference, whether they realize it or not.  Here are some simple tips to keep in mind that will help you to make sure that you are meeting your full potential.

Remember to focus on each person’s individuality.  Yes, massage therapy is a job, but it is much more than that.  You are providing a service that promotes healing in the body and mind.  Your clients are trusting you to help them, and it is imperative that you do not let them down.  It can be easy to just go through the motions, thinking the client may never be any the wiser.  The problem is that they will go home assuming that their back pain just can’t be helped through massage.  They may not blame the therapist directly, but it is unlikely that they will return.

However, if you focus on the subtleties and intricacies of each individual, you will be able to perform massages that are much more effective.  Don’t think of the clients as just another body.  Each and every one of your massages should be personal and catered to their specific needs.  Of course, learning how to change things up from person to person is a skill that will come with time and experience.

Another way to improve your performance is to use massage tools.  Although some purists may say that the hands are the only way to really accomplish the best massage, using tools will allow you to save your hands for when and where they are needed most.  Massaging multiple people per day can certainly get exhausting, and if your hands are too tired, they may not be able to accomplish what they need to.  Using a tool allows you to give yourself a break, and they can also accomplish things that the human hand is not even capable of.

At MassageWarehouse.com, massage therapist enjoy a one-stop shop for professional quality massage products at the lowest prices available.  Rely on Massage Warehouse massage therapy supply and equipment needs.

Adding New Massage Treatments to the Menu

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

It is no secret that people love having options.  Whether shopping for a new vehicle, getting groceries for dinner, or going to a spa for a relaxing afternoon, people want to be able to have a variety of products or services to decide between.  For massage therapists, offering a large menu of treatments and services will greatly increase the variety of clients that come in and will also give additional options for your current regular customers to try as well.

Here are just a few of the many exciting additions that a massage therapist can easily add to their repertoire.

Bamboo massage is a wonderful way to add a new organic option for clients who are looking for more pressure than the hand can provide.  Many massage therapists warm their massage bamboo, which adds another enjoyable sensation to the massage.  Because bamboo sticks are a natural item, many clients feel a connection with the Earth through bamboo massage.  This is a timeless way to rejuvenate the body that is at once ancient and modern.

Stone massage is similar to bamboo massage in that it uses natural resources but with differences as well.  Many massage therapists offer both hot and cold stone therapy, depending on the desired results.

Hot stone massage is extremely soothing and relaxing, and can be an excellent way to reduce stress or back pain. Cold stone massage is an excellent way to reduce inflammation and swelling.  It can also be used for menstrual pains, sinus problems, to increase circulation, and just to reduce stressful feelings1.  It is important to make sure that the client is not sensitive to temperature before administering hot or cold stones.  Certain medical conditions may also prevent some clients from safely enjoying hot or cold stone massage, so be sure to evaluate medical history first.

There are other popular treatments that can add a new dimension to a massage session.  Thai massage, yoga, various stretches and exercises, herbs and wraps, and more can all be great ways to keep things more exciting for both you and for the client.  Doing the same massage over and over will get old fast, for both the person performing the massage and for the people coming in.  While consistency is important, diversity is as well.

For more than 10 years, Massage Warehouse has been the leading full-service distributor of massage supplies and equipment.  Rely on Massage Warehouse for quality products at competitive prices for an unparalleled one-stop shopping experience so you can focus on serving and healing your clients.

1 http://simplybewell.com/services/hot-and-cold-stone-massage/

Enhancing a Massage Session with Tools

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Many techniques can be performed the perfect massage.  Each and every client is going to have different needs and preferences which is why it is so important to have a large arsenal of tools at your disposal.  What works for one person may not be ideal for another.  If you want to make each massage session as effective and enjoyable as it can possibly be, you are going to want to have an array of tools ready for use.

Although some massage purists may say that using the hands is the only way to really get the job done right, most modern massage therapists use various products and tools to extend their range and enhance their results.  There are items that can help the massage therapist to do things that may not have been possible with just human ability.  Few clients would disagree about taking an extra step to achieve the best possible result.

Most massage therapists will use tools only when they cannot achieve the same results with their hands, elbows, knuckles, fists, or forearms.1  Even if it could be done easier with a tool, there is no doubt that human to human touch is going to be more effective and accurate than a device.  When a person requires more pressure than the therapist is capable of, if vibration is required, or if a certain shape is needed to really dig in, a massage therapist may utilize a massage tool to achieve the desired results.

Massage tools are not just for helping the clients to feel the best that they possibly can; they also help the massage therapist to avoid injury.  Most massage therapists see multiple clients per day, and there is no doubt that this can take its toll on their body.  Massage therapists exert a large amount of energy in each session and sometimes tools can allow them to save their strength while still achieving optimal results.

Sometimes, massage therapists will recommend certain products to their clients that they can use for their own selfcare.  There are self-massagers that can be used to relieve pain, such as the popular Thera-cane that allows people to get knots out of those hard to reach spots in the back.  There are also items like the simple but effective Knobble that can be used with the help of another person, allowing people to bring the healing power of massage therapy into their own home.

There are some patients that may require even more effort than even a person with a hand-held tool can accomplish.  In those cases, it may be necessary to use an electric device, usually that vibrates at a rate that simply isn’t possible naturally.  These can be used to stop spasms by overriding neurological holding patterns.1

A professional is only as good as the tools that they use.  For more than 10 years, Massage Warehouse has been the leading full-service source massage supplies and equipment.  Rely on Massage Warehouse for quality products at competitive prices for an unparalleled one-stop shopping experience so you can focus on serving and healing your clients.

(1) – http://www.massagetherapy.com/articles/index.php/article_id/950/Are-Massage-Tools-Valid

Invigorate a Massage Session with Aromatherapy

Monday, June 17th, 2013

One of the most exciting aspects of massage therapy is that there are endless possibilities that can make a session more unique and powerful.  Many seasoned massage therapists like to add their own twists to their therapeutic massage sessions, making them more memorable and effective.  Presenting each client with some options helps to make things more interesting for both the client and the person performing the massage.

Therapeutic massage is designed to cater to the mind and the body simultaneously.  This multifaceted healing art is already stimulating a person’s entire being, so why not take that concept a step further?  By using other alternative healing options that are based on other senses, it is possible to add a new dimension to a massage therapy session.

Aromatherapy is a perfect choice because it is a natural healing tool that can be used effectively in conjunction with massage therapy.  By using concentrated aromatic plant compounds and essential oils, it is possible to provide clients with an enjoyable and soothing healing experience.

Before performing aromatherapy, it is important to get familiar with it.  Like any holistic healing method, there are nuances and subtleties that should be acknowledged.  For example, some essential oil blends are made specifically for helping a person with sinus problems.  Others may bring about certain emotions or feelings.  Being able to present the client with a list of options based on their individual preferences is ideal.

Aromatherapy has gained much traction in the past few years as research has proven that there is a synergy between the mind, body, and the essential oils that promotes true wellness.  Some oils can have a direct pharmacological effect, and can stimulate the immune system, destroy fungi and bacteria, and activate thermal receptors in the brain. (1)

In addition to being a wonderful healing tool, aromatherapy is – quite simply – very pleasant.  Some scents can bring feelings of pleasant nostalgia, providing warm feelings of well-being and safety.  Others can invigorate the imagination and whisk away a person’s mind to daydreams of far-off lands and magical adventures, as they enjoy being physically stimulated by the therapeutic massage.  Aromatherapy truly offers an exciting twist that makes a massage session different than the average rubdown.

Of course, there are some people who may be more sensitive to certain scents, and some people may even find them unpleasant.  It is wise to have a client smell the oils first, so as not to have them interrupt a session.  Although reviews of aromatherapy massage sessions are generally favorable, there are some who may feel overwhelmed or find certain scents not to their liking.  Like anything else, reactions to aromatherapy differ according to individuals’ tastes.

Most massage therapists like to start out with a basic aromatherapy kit, which will usually include a variety of essential oils, a diffuser, and perhaps some candles, carrier oils, or other accessories.  Aromatherapy is truly a wonderful addition to a massage therapist’s practice because both parties involved can enjoy the healing benefits, as well as the simple pleasures, of a natural therapeutic scent.

For more than 10 years, Massage Warehouse has been the leading full-service distributor of massage supplies and equipment.  Rely on Massage Warehouse for quality products at competitive prices for an unparalleled one-stop shopping experience so you can focus on serving and healing your clients.

(1) – http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/10884.php

 

Tennis Ball Massage for Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

As you may know,  we are big fans of the Trigger Point Therapy Workbook by Clair Davies. Joe Weir and I were talking about one “humble” but very popular tool for trigger-point self-therapy and for self-massage in general, as is discussed here:

Tennis Ball Massage for Myofascial Pain Syndrome

You can find a great deal of information on trigger points on that site, btw. Both Joe and I know how useful it is but we were also discussing it’s limitations.

The thing is most people use a tennis ball on the floor. They roll around on it to target the thighs and glute medius..things like that. While I have done this quite a few times myself there are a few problems/limitations:

1. If you weigh a lot the tennis ball will collapse.

So, you can use a lacrosse ball or you can purchase a self-massage ball of some kind, which are available in different degrees of firmness. This could be useful because if you are new too to self-massage something like a lacrosse ball may be too hard for you.

The website I just linked mentions a “Kong” pet toy as a massage tool. Which may work also but I would think this would be awkward since they are not perfectly round. But whatever the case:

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5 Reasons You Should Have A Post Natal Massage

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Lots of people have thought about getting their pre-pregnancy figure back. Many of them actually acted on that thought. For most it is simply a passing speculation, not really a serious thought, so they just dismiss the idea. Frequently it’s because they don’t know how to start. Other times it’s because it’s a big unknown. In other cases they drop taking that approach simply because they think that they can’t get it done.

Wait a moment! Are those really valid reasons? Was the positive side included? Was that balanced? The negatives were covered okay, but what about the positives? Maybe we should take a more balanced approach.

There are actually 5 reasons why one should have a post natal massage which should maybe be examined.

First, post natal massages provide relaxation for the exhausted body after child birth. I completely understand your objection regarding this. I agree that that’s a very valid objection, but please consider, the tiredness of pregnancy and the subsequent child labour. And moreover, one should consider the aches on shoulders and neck from carrying and feeding the baby after childbirth

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