Archives for posts with tag: Health

A couple of days ago, I awoke in a panic with this on my mind and have been simmering on it trying to figure out a way to share this very important information with my clients and colleagues.

How many times have my clients forgotten to tell me what medicines they are taking? OMG a million times over! And this is so very important not only for their health but for mine! Some medicines are contraindicated for massage because while taking it, harm can come to the individual who is on those drugs. Some medicines are contraindicated because while taking it, the massage can be negated rather quickly. Some medicines are contraindicated because they are topical and can cross over to the therapist. Yes, I said that!

I have on my intake form What medicines are you taking for a reason. I have to be able to determine how and where I can work on you. I don’t just rub bodies.

Additionally, I have on my intake the direct question of Are you taking any topical medicines? This is doubly important!

I’m not sure why, but many people feel that if it is a cream or gel, it isn’t really a medicine. That is so not true! Just because it fades into your skin almost immediately does not mean it is not still working, or able to be transmitted to someone who touches that area. ESPECIALLY if that person is doing a bit more than just rubbing it and is actually reactivating the agent using oils and creams and friction!

A few years ago a colleague was having medical issues. She found out that she was overdosing on female hormones because a client she was seeing multiple times a week was using a topical version of the same thing she was taking. When my colleague found out she was ODing somehow I asked her if any of her clients were on hormones and taking them topically. We surveyed and got our answer.

I immediately changed my intake forms to include that.

Fast forward.

How many of you know a man with low testosterone? How much more prevalent is the advertisement of drugs for low T? How many people believe that talking about anything in that region is taboo and should be avoided at all costs? How many people are embarrassed about why they might have to take any kind of drug? If they are hiding it from their spouse or significant other, do you think maybe they might “forget” to put that on their intake massage when they are “just going for a bit of relaxation in a massage?” Absolutely!

Testosterone gel is rubbed onto the body (the insert I saw suggested the pectoral muscles, shoulders or belly) daily. How many male shoulders and pecs do you think I work on? Um every client male or female that comes in to see me gets worked on there! Female hormones are generally rubbed onto the hips or belly, and I work on just about every hip that comes into my office too .. male or female. Bellies I do work on, but not as often.

It clearly says on the package that females are NOT to touch treated areas. In fact some say women are not to touch the treated areas for at least 6 hours. And if so to wash hands thoroughly with alcohol. Others say it is never safe for a female to touch  a treated area and that a shirt should be worn during intercourse. Massage isn’t intercourse, but I’m doing quite a bit of touching.

I would say that massage is much more intense than mere touch.

OK … that’s just the hormones….

I’ve heard stories of clients coming in with pain patches who thought they were not working only to have the therapist have to stop the session because her tongue went numb from all the pain meds on the person’s body. That’s from patches not even creams! Who would have thought? Needless to say, because of this, I will not work on anyone who has a pain patch. Sorry, I don’t need a dose of pain meds. I need to be able to feel what I am doing to work on my clients.

OK … so what about other topicals?

Many people take topical steroids for different issues. Those are also able to be transferred to others. I don’t need steroids either, but thanks!

How many people out there forget that supplements are drugs? How many people forget that topical are drugs? How many people out there think that massage therapist just don’t need to know the medicines they are taking and don’t fill out the intake completely?

Please, I’m begging you. Be honest with your therapists! It’s not just about being able to take care of you the way we need to. It is about being able to take care of all of our clients and also ourselves. Please fill out your intake forms completely. Please be honest. We aren’t asking just to be nosy.

If you are coming in to get a massage and you are taking topicals, IF IT IS POSSIBLE … please apply in an area that I will not be working on. If your low back is hurting, I’ll need to work on your hips. If your neck and upper back are hurting, I’ll need to work on your shoulders and pecs. Bellies are generally safe unless I’m doing abdominal work of course. If it is not possible to put in a different area, maybe try to apply AFTER your appointment instead of before. If that is not possible, we therapists, understand! But we, as therapists will need to work around that area. And if you choose to deliberately withhold that information from us just so you can get an awesome massage, please know OUR health is quite literally at stake in that decision.



June is Migraine and Headache Awareness Month and we are going to jump right in and look at some ways to stop the pain before it starts. Are you ready? Let’s go.

Avoid triggers

If certain foods or scents have triggered headaches in the past, it could be time to make a note of them and avoid them at all costs. Things like caffeine, cigarette smoke, and bright lights can be a big culprit in spurring on pain, but it doesn’t have to be that obvious. Perfumes, loud noises, flowers, and even lunch meat have the power to make you miserable.

Workout often

Exercising on a regular basis reduces tension and can help prevent headaches. Choose something you enjoy doing – walking, biking, kayaking, hiking, etc. – and follow the proper guidelines for the exercise you’re engaging in. That means stretching and warming up slowly. And don’t forget proper hydration.

Bonus: It is also said that obesity can be a factor in triggering migraines, so exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight or lose excess pounds.

Eat and sleep regularly

Lack of sleep and skipping meals can aggravate symptoms for the migraine sufferer. Make sure you are getting enough fluids and are eating meals at regular times.If you are sleeping a lot, you aren’t eating and drinking. Go Figure. Make sure you are drinking enough water, many times dehydration is the first trigger for headaches and migraines. As soon as a tickle of a headache starts, make it a habit of going ahead and drinking a glass of water.

Strangely enough both extremes of “Lack of sleep” or even getting “too much sleep” will also aggravate symptoms, so implement a routine and stick to it.

I have recently read that especially Migraines with Aura can be linked to genetic issues (MTHFR gene) and Vitamin B and D deficiencies. If you haven’t had a blood panel run lately to see where your vitamin levels and hormones are, it may be worth checking into.

Control stress

Stress. Stress. Stress. It happens. Sometimes it’s hard to avoid. The only thing we can change is our response to it. Learn techniques to reduce stress levels like breathing, yoga and meditation. You can also combat stress with a massage, a long walk, a hot shower, or whatever you need to do to take the edge off.


According to the Migraine Research Foundation, nearly 36 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches. Acknowledging the triggers and patterns surrounding your migraine episodes will help you figure out what’s causing them and minimize your chances of experiencing headache pain.

This is a topic that I’ve been meaning to write about for a while as it comes up more often than I ever would have imagined. I don’t know if it is a cultural thing or what but it boggles my mind to hear of how many people do not touch themselves! I’m not talking about in a sexual fashion. I’m talking about knowing your body and exploring it with touch. I kind of think it is outstandingly odd that in an area where hugging strangers is the norm, but touching yourself is taboo. (Why is that?)

Now that I am doing scar release therapy, I am learning that for some reason people just don’t touch themselves, ESPECIALLY when scars are involved, but also for many other reasons. After I have worked on an area that was full of scar tissue, I will check in and ask “How does this feel? Does it feel better?” and it always shocks me to hear “I don’t know, I don’t really touch myself there.”

Touch is one of the first steps in healing from a traumatic event. It is a way of communicating with your body that what has happened is ok, and you have survived and continue to live on.
Touch is one of the first means of communication when it comes to discovering something is not right in your body. Finding those lumps, bumps, bruises, cysts, lesions, moles, bites, etc.

If you can’t identify what is healthy and supposed to be, how can you hope to identify when something is not right?

So, I plead with you! Touch yourself. Explore your body with your hands. Get to know what is supposed to be there. If you find something that feels off. Catalog it. Watch it. Get a second opinion. Watch for change. Watch for improvement or worsening.

There are some places you can’t see because of where it may be located. If you have a significant other … psssst … it’s ok to ask them to take a look at it! If you don’t … your doctor should have no issue checking it out for you.

I get it. I really do. When my first weird lump came up, the first person I turned to was my massage therapist. “Hey can you feel this and tell me if it feels normal to you?” She looked at me like I had three heads! I should have known what normal felt like, but I was just as guilty as the next person. I did go to the doctor and have it looked at, and it did turn out to be nothing.

Now, as a massage therapist, if I see or feel something while working on you, I promise you, I will point it out to you. I will describe it to you just how I feel it to be. But … I do not touch every part of your body. I’m actually precluded by law in touching some parts AND as a massage therapist, I’m not allowed to diagnose, so I will not do that. I can say, “Hey, I this feels a bit odd, what do you think? or You might wanna have this checked out.” But if you do find something odd, and ask me to look at it I can not say “That looks like cancer.” If it looks suspicious (not even talking cancer here … rashes, infections, or anything that isn’t “right”)…, I will say with strong conviction that you should have it checked by your doctor.

You really should be touching every part of your body every time you bathe anyway, how else can you ensure it is clean?

So, even though it is my job to touch people, and I do point things out to to people on a daily basis about their bodies. It is your body first, you should be more familiar with it than I am. It breaks my heart to hear things like … I haven’t touched that area with my hands since the accident/surgery etc. Please … touch yourself. It’s ok. It really is the first step in healing.
Nothing is so healing as human touch.