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Trouble Sleeping? Massage Relieves Insomnia and Other Health Conditions

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Authored by:
KRAY KIBLER, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer, Scrip Companies

Getting enough sleep is essential for your well-being, but according to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), an estimated 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from sleep issues that affect their health. Symptoms of insomnia include difficulty falling asleep despite feeling tired, waking up frequently during the night and trouble getting back to sleep, all of which can lead to low work performance, slowed reaction time, obesity, higher risk of long-term disease and substance abuse.

Those who sleep less than eight hours per night are experiencing “sleep debt” which, contrary to what many people believe, cannot be reversed by “catching up” on the weekend. Insomnia is not a single sleep disorder, but rather a symptom of another problem, which varies from person to person. It can be caused by simply drinking too much caffeine or by something more serious, such as an underlying medical or psychological condition.

The two most common causes of chronic insomnia are anxiety and depression, creating a vicious cycle in which the insomnia exacerbates the underlying psychological issue.

Fortunately, most cases of insomnia can be cured with simple lifestyle changes. According to the Mayo Clinic, studies have found massage to be beneficial for insomnia-related stress, as well as:

  • Anxiety
  • Digestive disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Paresthesias and nerve pain
  • Soft tissue strains or injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Temporomandibular joint pain

Massage Taps into the Chemistry of Sleep
The National Institutes of Health has advised that massage therapy can reduce fatigue and improve sleep and, based on research gathered by the AMTA, massage has been shown to improve sleep in infants, children, adults and the elderly alike, as well as individuals with psychiatric disorders, cancer, heart disease, lower back pain, cerebral palsy and breast disease.

Anne Williams, the director of education at Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, and author of Spa Bodywork and Teaching Massage, says, “Massage helps people spend more time in deep sleep, the restorative stage in which the body barely moves, which reduces the neurotransmitter associated with pain.”

There are many different types of massage, including these common types:

  • Swedish massage — This is a gentle form of massage that uses kneading, deep circular movements, vibration and tapping to help relax and energize.
  • Deep massage — This massage technique is a slower, more forceful method designed to target the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue, commonly used to help with muscle damage from injuries.
  • Sports massage — Similar to Swedish massage, it’s geared toward people involved in sport activities to help prevent or treat injuries.
  • Trigger point massage — This massage focuses on areas of tight muscle fibers that can form in muscles after injuries or overuse.

The chemistry of sleep is relevant in relation to massage because it directly influences the body’s production of serotonin, which is essential for the production of melatonin. Melatonin regulates the sleep-wake cycle by chemically causing drowsiness and lowering the body temperature. A study on back pain, published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, demonstrated that in addition to a decrease in long-term pain, subjects receiving massage experienced improved sleep and an increase in serotonin levels. Results were based on twice-weekly, 30 minute massages for five weeks, using these techniques:

  • Kneading and pressing the back muscles
  • Massaging both sides of the spine and hips
  • Gliding strokes to the legs
  • Kneading and pressing the thighs

In the supine position, participants received:

  • Gliding massage to the neck and abdomen
  • Kneading of the rectus and oblique muscles that help bend the trunk of the body forward
  • Massaging of the legs
  • Kneading of the anterior thighs
  • Flexing of the thighs and knees
  • Gentle pulling on both legs

In addition to other assessments, a sleep scale to measure quality of sleep and urine samples to measure levels of serotonin were used in the study.

Massage: The Natural Alternative to Sleeping Pills
Massage is a healthy and drug-free option that is helping a growing number of people overcome insomnia. Because melatonin influences the sleep stage of an individual’s circadian rhythm, a natural way of boosting serotonin is a positive sleep-inducing option. This connection calls for further research showing the direct affects massage therapy has on serotonin and sleep. In the meantime, the existing evidence is enough to suggest that getting regular massages will help you fall asleep — and stay asleep — all night long.

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Massage Therapist one of the 10 best jobs you can get without a college degree

Saturday, November 1st, 2014

10 best jobs you can get without a college degree

A bachelor’s degree is often thought to be the key to financial success. After all, while the median salary of high school graduates 25 years and older is $29,766 a year, the typical college grad with a BA makes $50,281. Unfortunately, many young people have to dig themselves deep into debt for a shot at those future returns. Among the 70% of 2012 college grads who took out student loans, the average amount borrowed was $29,400.

Here are 10 thriving careers you can pursue without a college education. The occupations we identified promise generous salaries and long-term job security, based on 10-year employment projections. None of the jobs require a college degree, though some call for a post-secondary nondegree award, typically earned from a trade school or vocational training program. As a bonus, many of the jobs boast below-average stress levels.

Take a look at the 10 best jobs you can get without a college degree.

Data on number of workers, employment projections, education requirements and income comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment-growth projections cover the 10-year period between 2012 and 2022. Salary ranges reflect annual pay for workers from the 25th to the 75th percentiles, which weeds out the lowest and highest earners. Job stress is also based on BLS data, analyzed by career information expert Laurence Shatkin. Overall stress scores range from 0 (no stress) to 100 (most stress).

Massage Therapist
Projected 10-year growth rate: 22.6%
Annual salary range: $24,380 to $51,820
Stress score: 37.8
Typical education requirement: Post-secondary nondegree award

Massage therapists can relax knowing that they are in high demand. Baby boomers coping with more aches and pains as they age will increasingly need their services. Plus, with massage-clinic chains proliferating and making the practice more affordable, even younger folks will be able to indulge themselves for greater relaxation.

An added perk: Massage therapists, of course, know how to keep calm. They boast the lowest stress score of all the jobs on this list, well below the 53.1 average for all workers. Part of their chill existence–besides the constant exposure to incense and soothing sounds–may be due to being boss-free, with a whopping 46% reporting as self-employed. To become a massage therapist, you’ll likely need to complete a postsecondary education program requiring at least 500 hours of classroom study and hands-on practice. You may also need a license or certification, depending on your state’s regulations.

By Stacy Rapacon, Kiplinger, CareerBuilder
Compensation and BenefitsHigh Schools

Read more on the Chicago Tribune

 

We are excited to announce our recent partnership with Find Touch.

Monday, October 20th, 2014

Find Touch LogoMassage Warehouse is constantly striving to give back to the massage therapy community, through sponsorships, philanthropy and support of research and education.  We recognize the need of massage therapists to find opportunities and meaningful ways to provide nurturing touch. To that end, we are excited to announce our recent  partnership with Find Touch.

Find Touch is a website dedicated specifically to serving the Massage Therapist community. Using Find Touch, massage therapists can learn about the latest job opportunities and can discover a variety of high quality Continuing Education courses.  Find Touch is easy to use and convenient; you opt to receive emails whenever a new job opportunity is posted that specifically matches your job preferences.  Find Touch provides a number of other resources such as a free one page website and our blog, featuring articles written from the perspective of a practicing therapist.  Best of all, Find Touch is free to use for massage therapists – our mission is to help massage professionals thrive in their careers!

Founded in 2008 in Seattle, Find Touch has since expanded nationwide and currently has over 12,000 community members with this number growing daily.

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.

How a Portable Massage Table Can Improve Business

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Massage therapists have a unique career in many ways.  One of the most common reasons why people get into massage therapy is because of the immense amount of freedom that the job can offer.  There are many different places for a massage therapist to find employment, or often they will venture out on their own, working freelance or opening their own practice.  Regardless of the path that you choose, having a portable table is certainly essential!

The table is the most important tool for the massage therapist, besides the hands.  This is where the patient will spend the majority of the session, which is why it is essential that they are comfortable for the duration of their visit.  A shoddy table will make a poor impression, even if it functions fine.

A portable massage table is often the first piece of equipment that a massage therapist purchases.  It can be all too easy to skimp on quality when buying a first table, but most experts would recommend buying quality for the first time.  Not only will this allow you to meet your fullest potential performance-wise, but it will also save you from having to replace it later on when things become more serious.  If you are truly dedicated to a career in massage therapy, a good portable table will be a long-term investment in your future.

Even if you are not planning on being a traveling massage therapist, you may be surprised by how often you end up using your portable table.  You may also have clients who will pay extra for in-house visits.  It is not uncommon for a patient to be immobile, which may prevent them from being able to travel.  With a portable table, it can be easy to make some extra income.

Like any business, it is important for massage therapists to promote themselves.  Many massage therapists will coordinate events where they give short massages to try to drum up some extra business.  Setting up a portable table at a sporting event, a hotel, corporate event, or any other place where passersby may want a massage is an excellent way to let people know about your services and earn some money at the same time.

It is quite clear that there are plenty of reasons to get a portable massage table, including the flexibility to provide massages when and where you want to expand your business and visibility.

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.

Revolutionary Oakworks Boiance Float Now Available

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

The Oakworks Boiance Float Face Rest, a new product with a patent pending design inspired by the Oakworks Boiance Face Cradle Pillow, is now being carried exclusively by MassageWarehouse.com. The Boiance Float is aimed at increasing the flexibility of the head and neck while a client or patient is receiving a massage by allowing a small range and more natural freedom of movement. Many massage table face rests keep the head and neck stationary—a position the head and neck are not accustomed to on a day-to-day basis. The Boiance Float allows the client’s head to have a natural front to back and side-to-side range of motion. As a result, the client is much more comfortable and more thoroughly enjoys the massage.

The Oakworks Boiance Float achieves this unprecedented maneuverability and flexibility by using state of the art water spheres located between the upper and lower platforms of the float. The water spheres are incredibly soft and allow the upper platform, which naturally rests on top of the spheres, to move in any direction without resistance or friction. This includes moving vertically, as the spheres will compress when pressure is applied and then move back into their natural shape when the pressure is released.

Most standard massage table face rests hold the head in an almost locked position, similar to the way a neck brace does. This is unnatural, as the neck is accustomed to a free (albeit small) range of motion. The Boiance Float, which is designed to fit in between almost any platform and massage table face pad on the market, alleviates this motion restriction.

Installation Instructions for Massage Therapists

As mentioned above, the Oakworks Boiance Float is designed to fit beneath almost any massage table face pad on the market, resulting in the face pad no longer being completely restrictive and stationary. The basic installation steps for Massage Therapists looking to add a Boiance float to their massage table are as follows:

  1. Install the platform for the face rest (but without the face rest pad) on the massage table.
  2. Using the side of the Boiance float which has the appropriate Velcro or hooks for your face rest, attach the Boiance float to the face rest platform and press it into place
  3. Place the massage table face rest pad on top of the Boiance float and press it into place.

Once these steps are easily done, the boiance float is completely installed and the massage table is ready for use. The float only adds about an inch of height to the face rest, especially when weight is applied to it. Many face rest platforms, such as the Oakworks QuickLock Face Rest Platform or Adjustable Face Rest Platform, are vertically adjustable and so the massage therapist can move the platform up and down to fit the client.

The use of the Oakworks Boiance Float means the client or patient is more comfortable and the massage therapist can give a better massage. The added range of motion given by the float is a more natural feeling, and it allows for a more fluent and relaxed experience. The float allows for a natural range of motion in any direction, and it provides more resistance the further away the float moves from its central position. This simulates the natural range of motion for a human head and neck, even allowing for the neck to stretch and contract. Without the float, the massage table face rest pad cannot move away from the table, and that natural range of motion for the head and neck is lost, taking away from the overall experience of the massage.

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.

Finding a Massage Table that Meets All of Your Specific Needs

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Choosing a massage table can be difficult, especially if you are not sure where to start.  There are plenty of models available, with various features and amenities that you may or may not need.  It can be difficult to wade through the myriad of options that are available, especially if you are not familiar with massage tables.  Here are some tips to help you to make an informed decision.

First, it is important to figure out the features that you will require.  When it comes to buying a new massage table, there is no wrong or right; what is perfect for someone else may not be ideal for you.  Remember that you are looking for the table that fits your individual needs.

One of the most obvious decisions that you will need to make is whether you want a stationary table that will remain in one place or a portable table.  If you are setting up one room or more in a single location, you will want a stationary table.  Remember, your table is the treatment platform for business and your clients.  Across 10 years, the cost of your table is only about $.20 per treatment, so don’t skimp on this investment to your success.   If you travel to treat clients, you will want a quality portable table with a carrying case and even a transportation cart.  If you work on site and in a retail location, you will want both types of tables.1

Next, you will need to consider which extra amenities you would like.  Some tables have electric lifts, adjustable legs, tilting abilities, arm rests, and more.  Some table manufacturers also offer options for side lying massages, as well as pregnancy and breast recesses.1  If you are going to see a wide variety of clients on a regular basis, it may be in your best interest to have a table that provides many options.  You never want to have to turn someone away because you don’t have the proper facilities.

There are other factors to consider such as width, upholstery color, and wood type. Some tables even offer a heated top. Also, consider the height.  Your table should be no higher than your hip.2 The bottom line is that only you can really determine which table is right for you.  If you are still at a loss, turn to a full line, one-stop source like MassageWarehouse.com to learn more about your options.

For more than 10 years Massage Warehouse has been committed to offering an extensive and affordable inventory of massage tables and equipment.  Rely on Massage Warehouse to find a massage table that meets all of your specific needs.

Sources:

1 http://www.massagemarket.com/pages/Massage-Market-Blog.html

2http://www.massagetherapymarketingsuccess.com/OurStorePages/howtochoosetherightmassagetherapytable.htm

Choosing the Right Massage Lubricant

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Massage therapists know that their skills and techniques are always going to be developing and evolving.  A passionate massage therapist will spend time learning new methods, trying new products, and determining what works best for them and their clients.

One of the most important aspects of a massage session to consider is the lubricant being used.  Every client will have different needs and should be approached as a blank canvas.  It is very important for a massage therapist to be familiar with a variety of lubricant options so that they can cater to each individual’s requirements.  Using different brands, varieties, and combinations can yield very different results.

Massage Oil.  This is the most common and traditional choice for standard Swedish massage and any other style that involves long, gliding strokes.  Because oil does not get absorbed into the skin quickly, it does not have to be reapplied frequently throughout the session.  This enables great time doing bodywork without interruption.  Some oils come with pleasant aromas, or unscented varieties are available for those who like to experiment with essential oils and other aromatherapy options.

Massage Lotion.  For deep-tissue massage, lotions are ideal because they allow for more grip, allowing for more focus and control.  With the aid of lotions, a massage therapist can grasp and manipulate muscles and tissues firmly, without sliding too much and without too much dryness.  Lotions also don’t leave a greasy residue, so the person receiving the massage doesn’t have to worry about showering or bringing a change of clothes.

Massage oil and massage lotion are generally the two opposite sides of the gamut, with massage cream sitting right in the middle.  Creams provide more grip than oil does, but it offers more glide than lotion.  Creams tend to be slightly more versatile, and they are perfect for those times when oils or lotions are just not appropriate.

For clients who require an oil-like glide, but do not want to be left feeling greasy, massage gels can be an excellent choice.  Gels absorb cleanly, making them a cleaner alternative to oil.  Massage gels offer excellent workability and coverage while still offering similar performance to oil.

Of course, perfecting the art of choosing and using massage lubricants is going to require first-hand experience.  What works for one massage therapist may not work for another, so it is important for each person to form their own opinions and techniques based on the products they use.  The best way to become more familiar with the various options is to try a variety of  massage lubricants and then practice on a willing participant. (They shouldn’t be too hard to find!

Discerning massage therapists who want to offer the best possible treatment to each and every client consistently turn to MassageWarehouse.com for their products and supplies because they know that they will receive high-end items, without paying premium prices.

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.

Positive Trend in Massage Conferencing

Friday, July 1st, 2011

I am Beginning to See a Trend….
By Angie Patrick

I just got back in from the Florida State Massage Therapy Association Annual Convention in Orlando. Not only did I see all my old and dear friends, but I am DELIGHTED to say I made MANY,  MANY new ones!

While this does not seem to be extraordinary in and of itself, it does show me a definite trend in massage conferencing I am in high hopes will continue to grow and develop.

At the last two Massage Conference / Conventions I have attended, < The AMC and FSMTA> I have seen an influx of new people coming out who have never experienced a trade show before. These are practicing massage therapists who have never had exposure to a conference or tradeshow floor before. This is a VERY good thing for the massage industry, because it means that people who had not been active in the community are now branching out and learning how involvement can benefit us all.

My litmus test for this new trend is quite simply, our orders. Our company would have <arguably> one of the largest repositories of massage therapist data in the country. If someone works in the massage field, the chances are strong we have their name address and phone number. That being said, we have averaged 25-30% of our total orders being that of people who are not already in our databases. THIS IS HUGE! This is something we have not seen in years, and it is a trend that will be welcomed news by massage associations, distributors, vendors and manufacturers alike.

I am especially encouraged as I am seeing a rise in spending by therapists at shows. The last two years have been hard on many economically, and with an increase < albeit slight> in spending at trade shows, I am hopeful this is heralding in a stronger industry trend upward. While I am not saying we are back to the levels we saw in 2007-08, I am saying I am becoming ever more hopeful with the positive signs I am seeing in the marketplace.

I am also excited to see the level of participation from massage STUDENTS! This is a virtually untapped market of folks eager and hungry for information. As evidenced at the last two student events I have attended, the attendance is rising and we are doing a better job overall of bringing these new peers into the community. The FSMTA has SUCCESSFUL START, and this is really a powerhouse event! The American Massage Conference has the SMART FROM THE START event, and it was also a huge success. Finding and informing massage students about events such as this is a challenge, so growth in this tier is truly exciting.

Forward momentum and a unified community will help us reach our industry goals. Being part of the massage community for me is a blessing. I have met and had the pleasure to work with so many gifted and amazing people. If you have never been to a conference, I encourage you to go! It is an experience not to be missed as the opportunity for education and savings on massage products and massage equipment is substantial. Completely worth the price of admission!

Read more posts by Angie Patrick at Massage Today.

American Massage Conference

Monday, June 6th, 2011

In The Afterglow…

By Angie Patrick

Two weeks after the first ever American Massage Conference, and I am still trying to wrap my mind around what happened last week!

In Atlanta, Georgia, there was a shift…A shift in thinking, a shift in doing, a shift in energy, and a shift in being. The weekend was filled with amazing education with classrooms at standing room only capacity, and educators that are rock stars in their field.
The energy of the event was high, and filled with unity and camaraderie unlike anything I had been part of before. The sense of community was palpable in the air, and people took time to share of themselves with one another.

I think this is in part because of the strength of social media, and the need for people to interact not only online, but in person. The Friday Facebook Pirate Party, hosted by our Beloved Cap’n Phil Mattison, and sponsored by Core Products and Tom Heidenberger of Bon Vital was the talk of the show! People who are “friends” on Facebook had a great opportunity to network and meet face to face many the people they know and follow in the industry. There were prizes, contests, give aways, and more, and it was one of the many shining highlights of the show. For me, this event brought into clear perspective the need we all have to be among peers, despite differences in opinion, belief, philosophy, economic standing, or any other thing that can divide us. At this party, we were all “friends”, whether we had ever met in person before or not.

This speaks to the human desire to be a part of something; something bigger than just themselves. It is to be part of ONE in which we all belong. We are ONE community, working to make the world a closer, more united body. We are here to preserve that which is precious. This includes many things, but focuses on our planet, our community, our industry, interpersonal relationships and our humanity.

All of the event sponsors, educators, vendors, attendees and volunteers have my unending thanks for rolling the dice on a new concept in conferencing. The ONE Concept Conferencing methodology, being an untried model, could have had some interesting reception in the community. To be the “FIRST” to do anything is both brave and foolish… but in order to accomplish a thing, someone has to go first. THANK YOU for seeing the value in the concept and for being supporters of our first volley. It is because of YOU that YOUR conference was a success with the following being our final breakdown of attendance.

The numbers are IN…..1615

838 Paid registrants
149 Volunteers
266 student registrations
212 Vendors/Presenters/Staff
150 (app) unregistered walk ins

So with these results I think it is important to let you know we also hit the demographic we hoped to reach. Through the amazing marketing efforts of MPA Media, the ABMP, Massage Warehouse, our Educators and the AMC, we were able to draw significant numbers of people who had never experienced a trade show before, and who were new to our massage community. This gave them an opportunity to see what the market and community can offer them, and it gave vendors an opportunity to reach brand new potential clients. This is a wheel that continually turns, and bringing the newest members of our massage community to the AMC was one of our goals.

Plans are already in the works for our SAN DIEGO event, April 20-22, 2012 at the Town and Country Resort. You can expect more incredible networking opportunities, more stellar education, more fun, more fellowship, and more surprises!

Thank you for making this event so memorable, and we are ready for round two!!!

Other articles on Massage Today.