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Traveling and Teaching: Yoga Massage for Two in Brazil

Yoga Massagem a Dois Usually this blog is all about technical aspects of massage, but I recently helped teach a workshop in Brazil and had such a great time I wanted to share. Through a connection I made several years ago during massage school, I was invited to partner up to teaching a course in Serra Grande, Uru├žuca, Brazil.  Cintia and I met at school in Miami and bonded when she patiently helped me deal with a protracted shoulder, and I gave her a very deep Iliopsoaz stretch.  We've kept in constant contact, always sharing techniques and bouncing ideas off of each other.   Cintia primarily works as an Ayurvedic healer and yoga teacher, and I work with Neuromuscular therapy and teach.  We were chatting about ways to share our bodywork outside of the treatment room or studio and she said: "Come to Brazil!"  I was a little confused since we were talking about how to reach people in other ways with our work and she was telling me to take a vacation and come visit.  S
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Everyday Ergonomics

Have you ever experienced a sudden pain or soreness that you can't explain?  Those deep aches in the neck, shoulder, or lower back that you can't find some accident, slip, fall, or injury to explain the pain? An accident, lift, slip or fall is easy to remember, but those only last a few seconds.  The seemingly mundane everyday moments where nothing seems to happen can actually add up to have lasting effects in our body.  To understand the stress and strain we put on our body, we first need to understand what is called Anatomically Neutral: Generally, good standing posture, or an anatomically neutral position can be summed by a straight line drawn down from the ears, to the shoulders, down through the hips, knees, and through the arch of the foot with all in the same plane of alignment. If only everything we did was possible from this neutral standing position, we would have a better understanding of how to be in proper alignment and avoid injury and fatigue. Dependin

Massage Draping Explained

A colleague and I were discussing draping techniques recently, in particular good techniques to keep a client protected and comfortable for stretching.  Unless our therapist is using more clinical techniques or moving us around much, we're usually draped with "Modesty" or "Spa" draping. Regardless of what style of draping is used, it should always be explained by the therapist.  As I outlined in my post about safety of our clients in the treatment room, safety and informed consent are essential. Modesty draping is simple, easy to do and effectively covers our personal areas, but as you can see below, it's not at all effective for keeping a client covered for major joint mobilizations or stretching. The part of the body to be worked is uncovered, simply folding the sheet back on itself away from the area to be worked.  The sheet may also be tucked under the opposite side of the body without any mobilization.  Modesty draping is great when there a

Trigger Point Therapy (TPT, or TrP): Theory I

This is the second post of my Modality/Theory series explaining the differences in massage modalities and their benefits.  If you have any questions about this post or other modalities you would like to know more about, please do not hesitate to contact me:  FreedomBodywork305@gmail.com We need to start with what a Trigger Point is: Also referred to as Myofacial Trigger Points, these are localized contractions within muscles that are highly reactive to palpation and typically refer pain or other sensations in known and predictable patterns.  As an example, I often encounter trigger points in the middle Trapezius.  When I isolate the contraction between fingers and thumb and squeeze, I feel a localized contraction of adjacent muscle fibers and clients indicate pressure at base of the skull or headache like symptoms on the side of the head even toward the temple.      The way I explain this to clients sounds like this: "A trigger point is a band of muscle stuck in contra

So, you've decided to break up with your client...

Usually this blog is for clients, aficionados, consumers of bodywork, but I had an interesting experience recently that I wanted to share with other therapists.  There can be many reasons to break up with a client: Inappropriate physical or emotional contact. That client that comes to be known as "Mr Gracilis" Chronic tardiness or payment issues. We may enjoy a friendly relationship but this is business. Insensitive or inappropriate comments. Don't confuse your payment for services with permission to get away with being insensitive or offensive. Treatment needs outside your individual scope of practice. Other than for relaxation and maintenance, it may be time to refer out to an other specialist  Now for the story:  Being a mobile massage therapist making house calls can put me in situations that are a little more intimate than other independent contractors.  Of course I am in a business relationship with my clients, but I'm usually being we

My Therapist's Work Has Become Stale

My therapist and I have fallen into a routine with our work and I need something new... Have you ever experienced a release or dramatic improvement from work with your therapist? Our bodies are a collection of tilts, twists, and rotations that altogether are strangely in balance with each other.   Consider as an example an issue in our feet showing up as tension headaches because of overworked Sub-occipital muscles at the base of the skull. Those poor Sub-occipitals are compensating for other tilts, rotations, imbalances in the body, trying to keep the skull level on top of the spine.  If our therapist has helped us relieve our foot troubles or whatever other issues we're having, our tension headaches have gone away too, but now we're feeling like our sessions are nice, but we're not reaching the same deep relaxation or release as before. This is what therapists refer to as "maintenance": after relieving or improving issues, now the intenti

Personal Safety and Massage Therapy

How has the news of sexual assault charges and civil suit against therapists at the massage chain Massage Envy affected your attitude about massage?  Have your feelings of safety with your therapist changed? Have you been victimized during a body work session? In no way is inappropriate touch ever a victim's fault, period.  Your therapist's only intent should be to hold a safe space for you, to meet you where you are at your comfort and safety levels. Anything less than that from your therapist violates your trust.  Because we each have different comfort levels and safety needs, here are some tips to help you feel safe, establish your boundaries, or end and exit a session: Are there areas of your body that you do not want worked, or work that makes you uncomfortable? Most health intake forms provide at least a body diagram to detail areas you want focused work on, these can also be used to detail areas you do not want work as well.   Do not rush to lie down on the