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Massage therapy — from arthritis to migraines, there’s a plan for relief

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Massage therapy — from arthritis to migraines, there’s a plan for relief

By Tribune Content Agency, CareerBuilder

By Erinn Hutkin

Jeff Muskovin’s job is most rewarding when a client has a “Eureka!” moment. The licensed massage therapist has watched a musician return to playing without pain, a marathon runner finish a race with a faster time and no injuries, and a couple with fertility challenges report they’re expecting.

Muskovin, 57, has a private practice in Evanston and also treats clients at Chicago’s Lakeview Athletic Club. He’s trained to understand and help correct pain, tension and circulation issues in the body’s soft tissues, including muscles and tendons.

He works six days a week, seeing 3-8 clients a day. Patients seek out Muskovin for everything from stress reduction and relaxation to relief from restricted movement. Many clients suffer from headaches and neck pain related to working on a computer. Muskovin sees many amateur athletes who need help with muscle injuries and overall conditioning.

“I get to meet interesting people every day, and I get to help make a difference in their lives,” said Muskovin, who trained at the Chicago School of Massage (now Cortiva Institute of Chicago). “Sometimes, it’s simply helping someone learn how to stretch properly after their long runs. Sometimes, it’s a more lengthy, complicated process of helping someone rehabilitate after a serious injury. I enjoy physical work, and I get plenty of that in this profession.”

In fact, said Felicia Tyler, owner of Universal Spa Training Academy, Downers Grove, because the job is so physically demanding, massage therapists can’t — and shouldn’t — work a 40-hour week. Most work 20-30 hours per week.

Some therapists work on contract for chiropractors, treating a certain number of clients per week. Those at day spas see clients for 60- to 90-minute sessions. Self-employed MTs treat clients in an office, at the client’s home, or in the therapist’s home. Universal Spa Training Academy grads have found jobs in health care facilities, hotels and spas, doctor’s offices, even aboard cruise ships, Tyler said.

“Massage therapy is a good career for people who like to work for themselves and have flexible hours,” she noted. “Also, all of your clients are happy to see you and so appreciative of your skills.”

Once licensed, therapists stay current on advancements in the field through continuing education. Reading trade journals and new massage textbooks is also important, as new discoveries are continually being made, Muskovin said.

“You can learn the basics in (about) a year. You’ll spend the rest of your career trying to master the details.”

Massage therapy isn’t just a luxury, Tyler said. It can reduce muscle stiffness and inflammation and improve circulation. It’s also good for people with sore muscles, arthritis, high blood pressure, stress and anxiety. Stress is at the root of many illnesses, Muskovin said.

Therapists can also learn specialized procedures to address fertility issues, digestive problems, breathing restrictions, headaches, tendinitis, joint dislocation and posture issues.

The job comes with challenges. Massage therapists must make clients feel safe and secure enough to be touched. Clients who have unanswered questions or don’t feel comfortable may not be satisfied with treatment, Muskovin said.

Because the work is physical, therapists must stay fit to avoid self-injury. They must also manage their time well to accomplish everything agreed upon within each session, and maintain relationship boundaries, with both parties respecting each other’s privacy.

Nicole Boeger, owner and founder of Radiant Life Massage Therapy, Naperville, said some male therapists have a difficult time starting out. Many men and women are more comfortable with a female therapist. However, some men question the strength of female therapists when it comes to providing effective deep tissue massage, Boeger said.

Massage therapy can be highly gratifying.

After a Swedish massage session, an 82-year-old woman once told Boeger she’d been to spas across the country, but that Boeger was by far the best therapist she’d ever had.

“Nothing can beat the feeling of accomplishment more than that. It’s at that point I know I’m doing something right,” Boeger said. “I live for those moments to help people feel radiant.”

Demand up as more people learn benefits

A massage therapist’s job involves using touch to treat clients’ injuries and enhance wellness. Treatment involves working the soft tissues of the body to relieve pain, help rehabilitate patients from injuries, improve circulation, ease stress and promote relaxation.

On the job, MTs typically talk with clients about their symptoms, medical history and desired results. They evaluate each patient to find painful, tense areas of the body; manipulate muscles or other soft tissues; provide guidance on stretching, strengthening and improving posture; and document clients’ condition and progress.

MTs can specialize in several different types of massage. Swedish massage — the most commonly thought of massage — uses five stroking styles. Deep-tissue massage is more vigorous and often helpful for those with injuries. Sports massage promotes flexibility, reduces fatigue, improves endurance, helps prevent injuries and prepares the body and mind for optimal performance. The type of massage used depends on a client’s needs and physical condition.

Educational requirements vary from state to state. Training is available in private or public postsecondary schools. In Illinois, a massage therapist must complete at least 600 hours of training at an approved school. At Tyler’s academy, students can complete the program in about nine months.

“Most states regulate massage therapy and require massage therapist to have a license or certification,” the BLS notes. Candidates must also undergo a background check, be fingerprinted and pass a national board test.

Many local schools offer massage training, including Universal Spa Training Academy, Downers Grove, and the Cortiva Institute, Pacific College of Oriental Medicine and the Soma Institute, all in Chicago. For a full list, visit http://www.massageschool.org/search/illinois/chicago.html.

A high school diploma or equivalent is usually required for admission. Massage therapy programs typically include both classroom training and hands-on practice, covering topics such as anatomy, physiology (the study of organs and tissues), kinesiology (the study of motion and body mechanics), pathology (the study of disease), business management and ethics.

Most massage therapy schools have a student clinic open to the public at a reduced rate so students can get experience.

According to the BLS, in 2012, 44 states and Washington, D.C., regulated massage therapy. Not all states license massage therapists, but there may be regulations at the local level. In states with massage therapy regulations, workers must be licensed or certified after completing an approved program.

In May 2012, the median annual wage for massage therapists was $35,970, the BLS said. Most earn a combination of wages and tips. Most work part-time (only about 1 in 3 worked full-time in 2012). Most work by appointment, so schedules and work hours vary widely.

Employment is projected to grow 23 percent by 2022, the BLS reports. As more states adopt licensing requirements for therapists, massage is likely to become more accepted as a legitimate therapy to treat pain and improve wellness. Also, as more health care providers understand the benefits of massage, demand likely will increase as massage becomes part of treatment.

 

 

Read more on the Chicago Tribune

 

 

Get Started with this Biofreeze Stress-Melter Pain-Relieving Massage!

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

BIOFREEZE® Stress Melter Pain Relieving Massage

incorporate-biofreeze

Menu Copy:

This full body therapeutic massage uses BIOFREEZE Gel, a pain relieving topical cooling gel during the massage treatment. This massage focuses on specific areas of tight and painful muscles and joints using various massage strokes to relieve tension and pain. More concentrated work on muscle spasm and chronic tension where most of us hold our stress will be given at the end of this treatment. A tube of BIOFREEZE Gel is included for home care use to continue the pain relieving experience at home. This massage will leave the client stimulated, invigorated and will help melt their stress away.

 

Treatment Time: 60 minutes

 

Benefits of Treatment:

1. Relieve stress

2. Reduce muscle spasm

3. Reduce discomfort and pain

4. Increase circulation

5. Improve range of motion

6. Over all invigorating feeling

 

Contraindications:

1. Sunburn

2. Skin rashes or conditions

3. Open sores

4. Severe high blood pressure

5. Fever or infections

 

Products, Supplies and Equipment:

1. Massage Table

2. Two Sheets and Drape

3. Face Cradle Cover

4. Bolster

5. Massage Oil

6. BIOFREEZE Gel

7. PROSSAGE Heat

 

Prepare Treatment Room and Table:

1. Massage Table:

a. Drape two sheets, one on top of the other, folding top sheet down partially with a diagonal fold.

2. Treatment Room:

a. Have several hand towels ready (if needed) for additional draping.

b. Have bolsters and pillows available (if needed) for additional client comfort prepared with clean linens.

c. Have massage oil, BIOFREEZE topical analgesic, PROSSAGE Heat, etc., as needed per specified massage protocols, prepared on counter.

d. Create a comforting and de-stressing environment with soft music, lowered lighting and any specified amenities such as fresh flowers, or product samples on table.

 

Client Communication:

• Pick up client

• Have client complete in-take form

• Conduct pre-massage interview

• Explain sequence and benefits of products

• Provide and explain draping

• Step out as client gets on table

• Knock and step in

• Bolster client for comfort

• Begin work using the following protocol

 

Treatment Protocol:

1. Client is positioned supine (face up).

2. Start by placing hands on the client’s upper trapezius and effleurage the neck.

3. Massage face starting at the chin and working toward the forehead and then move to the head performing friction massage movements.

4. Move to the client’s neck and apply oil to the neck. Apply bilateral effleurage beginning at the sternal notch and use the hands simultaneously. Continue from the sternum over the shoulder and along the traps to the occipital ridge. Repeat at least three times.

5. Turnclients head to one side and apply effleurage to the side of the neck starting at the mastoid, con

tinue the movement across the shoulder and around the deltoid muscle and back to the base of the neck.  Repeat at least three times.

6. Apply petrissage, friction and vibration strokes to the neck and shoulders.

7. Apply passive joint movement by rolling the head forward, passive stretch by supporting the head side-

to-side and pushing the opposite shoulder. Apply passive rotation to the neck.

8. Next, apply slight traction to the cervical spine by hooking the fingers under the occiput and pulling.

9. Finish by applying alternating pressure toward the foot of the table and rock gently and stretch shoulders.

10.You may apply BIOFREEZE Gel to any tender anterior points as needed at this point of the massage.

11. Massage each arm and hand with effleurage, petrissage and stripping strokes for 3 to 5 minutes for each arm.

12. Massage each leg using effleurage, petrissage, broadening friction and stripping strokes 3 to 5 minutes

per leg.

13. Massage each foot for 2 to 3 minutes. Begin at the sole, kneading the foot and then applying friction, covering the front of the foot and stretching each foot.

14. Re-drape client and apply feather strokes over the drape before turning the client.

 

(25 minutes total massage time for the supine massage)

 

1. Client is then moved to prone (face down) position.

2. The soles of the feet are massaged and pressure points used; legs and calves, gluteals are massaged using petrissage, effleurage, broadening, friction and stripping strokes; ten minutes for this part of the massage.

3. Start with a light touch at the base of the neck and the other hand at the base of the spine.

4. Apply massage oil to the clients back using effleurage strokes starting at the head and go to the sacrum.

5. Then apply a thin layer of BIOFREEZE Gel to the back; massage BIOFREEZE Gel into the back and continue massaging the back using effleurage, petrissage, and compression strokes with the BIOFREEZE oil mixture.

6. Petrissage the trapezius and then the entire side of the back that is opposite the therapist, repeating this at least three times. Then move to the other side of table and repeat.

7. Use deep gliding stripping movements using braced thumbs on the back, can also use the elbow and forearm to do deep gliding when working on the back.

8. Move to the shoulders and perform direct pressure and friction to the trapezius and rhomboid area.

9. Perform trigger point work on the rotator cuff area as needed at this time.

10. Then work the cervical muscles face down using effleurage, petrissage strokes.

11. Then focus on the sub-occipital ridge doing circular friction back and forward on the ridge and above and below it.

12. Move to the head and massage starting at the base of the neck and apply friction to the sc

alp.

13. Follow up with additional massage to areas of tension and pain at this time.

14. Can apply tapotement, percussion or vibration at this time.

15. Apply stretches to the back and end with feather strokes.

 

(20-minute massage on back)

 

1. Re-drape client and apply compression over the drape from the feet to the clients shoulders.

2. Explain that the BIOFREEZE cooling effect will stay with client for a few hours and step out of room.

3. Give tube of BIOFREEZE Gel with home care after treatment.

 

Closure: Thank your client and step out.

 

Special notes:

A higher price should be charged when a tube of BIOFREEZE product is included with this treatment along with home use instructions. The BIOFREEZE Massage Pain Relieving Massage Melter is intended to be a revitalizing treatment. For a less intense treatment, BIOFREEZE Gel with massage oil during the massage can be omitted and applied just during the trigger point work and around joints at the end of this treatment. This massage may be varied due to client needs.  BIOFREEZE topical analgesic should only be used with massage oil, not creams or lotions to create a BIOFREEZE mixture for the BIOFREEZE massage. This treatment is also a great time to use the BIOFREEZE spray on the client’s feet at the end of the treatment.

 

Technique Definitions:

• Broadening Strokes: The application of palm strokes from the centerline of an extremity laterally outward.

• Compression: A rhythmic pumping action movement on muscle straight in and out intended to spread muscle fiber.

• Compressive Effleurage: The application of gliding strokes with enough pressure to create a displacement of tissue for the purpose of moving fluid.

• Cross Fiber Friction: The application of compressive movements on muscles with the angle 90 degrees to the fibers of the muscle.

• Direct Pressure: The application of compression of tissue with static pressure.

• Effleurage: The application of gliding strokes that follow the contour of the body.

• Flats of Hands: Applying gliding strokes with the backs of your fingers while using loose fists.

• Friction: The application of compression of tissue while adding movement.

• Petrissage: The application of lifting, squeezing and kneading strokes to tissues of the body.

• Stripping Strokes: The application of specific gliding strokes over a muscle usually from distal to proximal.

• Tapotement or Percussion: The application of alternating, rhythmical striking movements to the body.

 

 

Disclaimer:

These treatments are intended to be used by Health Care and Massage Professionals only. They are intended to be used as a guide and should not replace the advice of a medical doctor or health care provider. Please check with the client’s healthcare provider when in doubt before using any of these treatments and/or BIOFREEZE & PROSSAGE Heat products.

Treatment written and designed by Lynda Solien-Wolfe LMT, NCTMB -Solwolfe Resource Group, Inc. and Michael McGillicuddy LMT, NCTMB -USA Pro-Sports.

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.

Massage Business Building Blocks

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Business Building Blocks

By Angie Patrick

Massage Equipment Amortization 101

At some point in our lives, we have all had an expectation that was proven to be unrealistic in the normal course of life. This might be expectations we have from family, from friends, from our car, maybe our relationships, even down to the products we buy. I think it is only human; we all want what we want, when we want it, and how we want it. It is the society we live in and it is an incredibly common happening.

While I am no expert in on human behavior or interpersonal skills, I am an expert on products. And I have had the good fortune to be in this business for over a decade and have pretty vast experience with various manufacturers, products and suppliers. I have seen things happen to therapists and spas in the course of business that could be easily avoided with a little information. Below is some insider information intended to help make buying massage products and equipment a bit easier, whether it be from a supplier or direct from a manufacturer.

Tips on Buying Goods

Buying goods should be a task in which you have full confidence. I believe buying Professional Grade Products can help you make certain your products can withstand the rigors of professional repeated usage. Manufacturers and suppliers want nothing more than to please a client. (It is our prime directive!) But sometimes meeting those expectations are not so easy.

A product warranty is a miraculous thing. Most Professional Grade Products offer a limited or lifetime warranty to protect the buyer against manufacturer defects or shortcomings. These are especially handy when something breaks down within the warranty timeframe, and you can get a replacement or repair in a timely fashion. Often, the warranty is offered as a safety net for the buyer, given the buyer follows and complies with all usage directions and procedures.

And while manufacturers should have no problem whatsoever in caring for items in the marketplace still under warranty, there is always a segment of customers who have overinflated expectations about product performance. The purpose in sharing the following scenarios with you is not to say there are any issues with particular products, rather to point out some common unrealistic expectations of product performance.

Scenario One

Customer: “I am very disappointed with my massage sheets (XYZ product), I am seeing them begin to pill and fade, and I want my money back.”

Me: “Oh I am so sorry to hear you are dissatisfied, let me pull your order up in my system so we can get your issue handled.”

After a few moments of searching for the XYZ product in the order history, the manufacturer notices they purchased the item in January 2009.

Me: “I am looking in the account, and I see this was purchased in January 2009.”

Customer: “That’s right! I cannot believe how these things are showing wear, I am very disappointed with the quality. What can you do for me here?”

Me: “Well, how many times a week are these used?”

Customer: “4-5 times a week, we launder them often.”

Me: “And just to confirm your usage of these items since 2009 is that correct?”

Customer: “Correct”

After some quick calculations, I came to the following conclusions:

107 weeks in usage
535 washings
535 clients
Original cost: $14.99
Cost Per Client Use: .03 cents per client

I shared this with the customer, and suddenly they saw things in a whole new light. Even cars depreciate after two and a half years. And they are not laundered every day! Suddenly, someone who was very disappointed with the product in the beginning was impressed with the same item, once they considered how much use it had provided. They purchased more massage sheets happily. They began to see the product replacement after due course of usage as a cost of doing business rather than a failure of manufacturing or supply.

Expecting items to last forever with daily and repeated usage is unrealistic. Just as people age, so do products. One way to see if you have actually received substantial benefit from your investment is to amortize the cost of your product across the number of clients seen since you purchased it.

Another thing to consider is timing. Consider this, you have bought an inflatable Christmas decoration from the Big Box Store down the street and have used it for the past two seasons. Now, in season three, it no longer inflates. But the likelihood of getting a replacement is really remote since it is three years since your purchase, and it might not occur to many to even try. It is accepted that things wear out, or can deteriorate with poor storage and lack of usage.

Scenario Two

A customer is opening up a new location, and has ordered various massage equipment from various manufacturers. The items arrived, but are not inspected before they are signed – stating they are in good condition. They are put into a room to store until the location opens, which may well be two or three months later. These items may need to be moved within a facility a couple of times before the facility is ready to open.

Nearer the opening date, the items are finally opened and it is found the item may be damaged due to shipping, the wrong color, or even non-functional. Obviously, this is a problem. However, because it was not inspected upon receipt, months have now gone by, and the opportunities to file any claims with the shipping company have long passed. Additionally, if the product is just simply the wrong color, or not what you expected, you will likely now have to pay the shipping back to the manufacturer and possibly pay a restocking fee. This is the best argument I can provide for taking the time to inspect your equipment upon arrival and ensure it is in working order. Once you have stored it for months, moved it from room to room, it is very hard to prove an item was improperly working from the start. Many manufacturers are now cracking down on this type of return.

A business owner/manager/director should be responsible to make sure the items arrive in-tact. If something looks amiss, the packaging is damaged, do not sign the paperwork that says everything is fine without notating on the delivery slip that there are problems with the packaging. Notating it can help the manufacturer file a claim and get your issue resolved far faster with this information, but you have to let the manufacturer know upon delivery. If too much time passes, it will be harder to get your issue resolved. Also, if you are buying equipment that must be assembled, a smart rule of thumb is to do it in the first 30 days following purchase. The reason for this is to be proactive and report any issues with your equipment in a timely fashion to the manufacturer or supplier you have utilized, and gain resolution proactively rather than a delayed report months down the line.

Making sure your business runs efficiently is in large part dependent on the products you utilize. Taking a moment to consider the information in this article can help you make sure your next expansion goes well with your equipment and product needs. They may also help you determine if there is a basis for complaining about performance or whether it may just be time to replace your goods. As with most suppliers and manufacturers, the whole reason we exist is to serve our customers.

I hope the scenarios I shared can provide you a behind-the-scenes glance of what may be entailed in a return and how you can help yourself (and the manufacturer) by notating and documenting issues, while considering the age and longevity of usage. No doubt your massage supplier will work hard to provide you the best service possible, and that is made far easier by utilizing these tips along the way!

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