Teacher Appreciation Week Chair Massage: Schools Give Back To Staff With Chair Massage

Chair massage for teachers

Chair Massage For Teachers! Yay!

Teacher Appreciation Week was celebrated throughout New Jersey this week, as educators and support staff were shown just how much they and their hard were appreciated by the students, parents, and administrators.

Traditionally, teachers were given a luncheon or even a small gift.  On-Site Chair Massage is a new addition to the more traditional ideas.  At a variety of schools in New Jersey, from pre-schools to elementary and even high schools, teachers were treated to seated Chair Massage during their workday. Some schools decided to keep it all a big surprise.  Others informed the teachers ahead of time, and everyone eagerly waited for the day of relaxation.

Workplace Chair Massage At School

Chair Massage isn’t something everyone has experienced.  In fact, many of the teachers had never had a Chair Massage before.  It is a little different than what many are accustomed to: The recipient remains fully clothed an no oils or lotions are used.  The chairs have a small footprint, enabling Massage Therapists to work in even cramped areas.

Educators Receive Chair Massage

Educators Receive Chair Massage

The Marion P. Thomas Charter School operates a number of campuses throughout New Jersey. It’s motto is, “It Takes A Whole Village to Raise a Child” and was formed in 1999 by a group of native Newark residents seeking to empower the next generation.

Mountainside On-Site Massage Therapy provided Chair Massage to teachers and staff at a number of MPTCS schools in  Newark.  As one might guess, everyone felt a lot less stressed afterwards.  We felt honored to be able to provide our services to everyone present, doing our small part to keep their great efforts going strong.

Flowers For Teacher Appreciation Week

 

 

North Plainfield’s West End Elementary School also gifted their teachers with relaxing Chair Massage.  This was another wonderful educational institution where cultural diversity and respect are keys to the core philosophy.

Everyone was so kind afterwards, letting us know just how much it helped make their day a little less stressed.  It was great knowing we helped them. The PTA graciously funded the event.

We know teaching is difficult work, demanding more energy and focus than most could imagine.  Even a small break from the tension and challenge that teachers commit themselves to in being their best and helping all their students as much as their are able is a good thing.

Marion P Thomas Charter School

Jersey City’s  Empowerment Academy is another amazing charter school.   This is another serious school, where kids go to really become proficient learners.  Kids’ progress is monitored carefully, and the moment help is required, tutors step in to help the children with areas they are finding extremely challenging.  The school’s philosophy seeks to build “experience-based confidence”, which is probably the most important kind.

 

Peaceful Moment Newark Street Art

West End School

The teachers at the Empowerment Academy Charter School were also provided with  Chair Massage for Teacher Appreciation Week.  What the Empowerment Academy aims to do takes hard work. The teachers definitely put in a significant amount of effort and caring keeping to the school’s core philosophy.

 

 

Refreshing and Cleansing Lemon Water for the Teachers

Other schools benefited from Mountainside On-Site Massage Therapy’s services this year as well.  All were amazing places where teachers dedicated their lives to helping kids.  All in all, every year, we find more and more schools inquiring about on-site Chair Massage. As with much else, it’s part of our cultural shift toward holistic solutions, and improved health and wellness.
(C) Copyright H Miller, Dee Alban, NJmassge.Info

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Feeling The Burn: Vigorous Exercise And Lactic Acid A Now-Disproven Theory That Just Won’t Go Away

Are you feeling the burn? No; this isn’t going to be a political ad; “feeling the Bern” isn’t quite what we’re discussing here today. This isn’t about politics but rather basic biochemistry, often misunderstood, often mistaught, and affects every person who exercises, loves someone who exercises, or has a patient who exercises.

Nearly everyone’s heard that high-intensity resistance training, distance running, and other forms of intense physical activity create a surplus of lactic acid which builds up in our muscle tissues and causes us to experience that familiar burning sensation.

While there is no denying that exercising intensely causes a feeling like our muscle fibers are on fire, the cause for this phenomenon turns out to be something entirely different than lactic acid, as you have likely been informed.  This is nothing more than a health fallacy.

The lactic acid theory is not new; in fact, it was two 1922  Nobel Prize recipients, Otto Meyerhoff and Archibald V. Hill, who put forth the theory that lactic acid was the culprit.

Runners Feel The Burn. Is Lactic Acid To Blame? Check Out The Article.

Runners Feel The Burn. Is Lactic Acid To Blame? Check Out The Article.

Having a Nobel Prize in carbohydrate metabolism in skeletal muscle, it seemed like they would have a good guess.  And it was; until recently when it was proven that lactic acid is not the causative factor, nearly everyone believed this to be true.

In their groundbreaking meta-study, Robergs, R.A., Ghiasvand, F., & Parker, D. (2004). Biochemistry of exercise-induced metabolic acidosis. American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. 287: R502-R516, the authors proposed that the preponderance of evidence points to a rather different cause for the sensation of muscle burn: excess protons.

While fitness trainers, nurses, and doctors everywhere continue to tell patients about lactic acid and “the burn”, the truth has quietly been spreading for the last ten plus years.  “Lactic Acidosis”, after all, is standard fare in the course work of health care professionals, and not everyone has received the update that the theory is defunct.

Carl Whilhelm Sheele, a Swedish chemist who lived in the 18th century, first discovered lactic acid.  It was first isolated in samples of soured milk, and so the moniker “lactic” was appropriate, as it denotes an association with milk and dairy products. By 1922, the understanding of the two Nobel Laureates was that lactic acid was a reaction to the glycolysis reaction, the splitting of sugar for energy, in the absence of oxygen, or anaerobic conditions.

Bodybuilders Feeling the Burn.

Bodybuilders Feeling the Burn.

This theory seemed smart.  It made sense.  It fit with the observable phenomena. But nevertheless, it was completed without factual basis.  While lactic acid does build up in overused muscles, it is not the causes of acidosis, but rather the result.

It turns out that acidosis in muscles is caused by an excess of free protons in the cells and tissues.  Interestingly, it isn’t an organic  compound or complex substance. While protons cannot be seen, they can be easily measured.

If you have recently taken biochemistry, or if you’re a serious health professional, you’ll recall that a free hydrogen ion  is a proton.  ATP, when hydrolyzed by a water molecule, is split into ADP and phosphate.  A by-product is the release of a single hydrogen ion.

As you may recall, pH is the measure of the number of free hydrogen ions in a solution, or mixture of liquid. At a lower pH, there are more free hydrogen atoms. This is what makes such a liquid acidic. When the pH is higher, there are fewer free hydrogen ions. This means it’s more basic.

So where’s the lactate from, anyway? Fitness therapists, nurses, physicians of all types, and injury recovery specialists will already be scoffing, ready to pull out their dusty books from university.  Hold on. Before you waste the effort lifting a book, Robergs, Ghiasvand, and Parker have a response.  In their 2004 study, they cite the accumulation of lactate as the result of free pyruvate and protons from glycolysis of carbohydrates joining, each pyruvate molecule linking with precisely two free protons.

Yoga Practitioners, young, middle-aged, and older, feel the burn! Lactic acid is NOT to blame. Read on!

Yoga Practitioners, young, middle-aged, and older, feel the burn! Lactic acid is NOT to blame. Read on!

Thus, the creation of lactate is the body’s way of attempting to raise tissue pH, by mopping up the free hydrogen ions created from vigorous muscle exercise. The body does not create lactic acid in this reaction, but rather lactate.  Lactic acid releases hydrogen ions at pH of less than neutral by definition. Once this ion is lost, the lactic compound can then link with a sodium or potassium ion to form an avid salt. Roberts et al. (2004) details this reaction for those whose interest has been piqued by this article. Click here

So when you return to the clinic and your colleagues begin ranting about lactic acid build-up, quietly and calmly direct them to the Roberts study. Its’ already twelve years and the myth of lactic acidosis just won’t end. Does it really matter one way or another?

For all practical purposes, health care professionals will continue helping patients as they had before. But new knowledge, elucidation of vague half-truths, and discovery should always be welcome.

This is especially true for health care providers who routinely explain biophysical phenomena to patients, and wish to be as precise and accurate as is possible. If you want to go on believing in a now-disproven lactic acid theory and you aren’t inflicting your erroneous belief on others, it’s not quite the same.

(C) H Miller, Dee Albin, NJMassage.Info

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Couples Massage As A Regular Part of Your Life

'Couple' by Vladimir Pustovit

‘Couple’ by Vladimir Pustovit

Certainly, no one is going to argue that Couples Massage is a wonderful experience for two to share, whether it’s a romantic couple or a couple of friends or sisters.  But most of the time, most Couples Massage clients we see reserve these side-by-side sessions for special occasions.

And while that’s wonderful, and a great way to celebrate a birthday or anniversary or Valentine’s Day, it’s a rarity, a special Couples Retreat.  The  more I consider this, the more I realize that many clients enjoy their massage, call us back and say how great they feel, and then disappear for months and months.

When they finally call again, they’re just as tight and tense as ever.  Of course, it’s always

"Couple At Sunset" by Troy Tolley

“Couple At Sunset” by Troy Tolley

amazing to be able to help another person utilizing Therapeutic Massage, however I can’t stop thinking that if these couples were to book more frequently, they would fare better, overall.

Even a five minute massage performed regularly helps over time.  Studies done in a corporate setting using Chair Massage prove this.  Even a single five minute massage session can change a person’s blood pressure, hormone levels, and brain wave activity.  Over time, companies that have regularly scheduled massage for employees find numerous benefits.

Couples Massage, regularly scheduled, whether twice monthly or even less frequently, can help more than a session once or twice a year.  If it helps that much, don’t consider Massage Therapy a luxury, but rather another means to keep well.  Stress creeps.  Often, clients think they’re not stressed only to find, after a Couples Massage session, that both they and their partner were terribly tense.

Roses-By-'Chris-Two-Thirty'

Roses-By-‘Chris-Two-Thirty’

They only recognize this afterwards, feeling a great deal less burdened. Stress can age.  So why do so many feel such an aversion to Therapeutic Massage more than a few times a year? Shifting from a perception of luxury to a perception of health is probably in order.  Of course, it can still be a special time for both you and your loved one.  There’s no reason you have to regard it in a clinical, cold manner.

It’s still a Couples Massage, after all.  And afterwards, the two of you can dine out, order takeout, or just shower and get to sleep.  Just because you get a Couples Massage every fortnight doesn’t mean you should stop feeling like it’s a special time for you and your loved one.  It’s just that now, you’ll have a chance to have a special time restoring yourselves together more frequently.

Neil Lee Utopia takeout

Neil Lee
Utopia takeout

I can understand how Couples Massage is something special for many, many clients.  They reserve their calls for special occasions, booking weeks (or months) in advance to guarantee their reservation.  For many, it’s a yearly tradition.  So of course, going from a yearly Anniversary Couples Massage to a monthly Couples Massage might seem as though it’s taking some of the specialness away from the anniversary.

I promise you that it won’t be so!  To keep the Couples Massage for your loved one’s birthday or whatever holiday special, buy bouquets of flowers, light fifty tea lights, drop rose petals on the floor.  Share a vegan chocolate fondue with strawberries on skewers!  In other words, make the day stand out.   Maybe you could ask the Massage Therapists to bring red or pink sheets for the massage tables, or if they can wear red scrubs.  It never hurts to ask.

Denis Dervisevic Chocolate Fondue

Denis Dervisevic
Chocolate Fondue

(C) Copyright 2015 H Miller, NJMassage.Info

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Couples Massage At Home Before Hosting a Dinner Party: The Well-Kept Secret To Social Success Of NJ Socialites

Joan Nova Dinner PartyOf course, Couples Massage At Home is always a great choice, but here’s a new thought: A relaxing side-by-side Couples Massage only hours prior to hosting a gala dinner event, one when you bring out the ‘good silver’, not just the ordinary sterling.

Usually, such a notion wouldn’t even cross the minds of most party hosts.  Of course, many couples opt to include on site Chair Massage as part of the ambiance for the guests, but often, then refrain from having massages, themselves.

Couples Massage on the day of a big party is usually not recommended.  This is an idea for Ann Larie Valentine Taylor's Dinner Partythe super-organized, the types of couples that have their lives so ordered and are so on-point, that they could easily pull this off without much work.

They’re the ones who have the party already set up three days in advance, and on the day of the party, only have to arrange things with a mere few phone calls.  They’re the ones already sipping Martinis when the guests arrive.

Taylor's-Dinner-Party-Table-Settings-by- Ann Larie ValentineYou know, those friends who are super-relaxed already, and probably need a massage less than any of their guests.  If that describes you and your significant other, then why not consider a Couples Massage at your house, only hours before the big evening?

For you, it’s really just nothing at all.  In fact, you’re probably going to have to miss shopping that day, or working on your book.  Everyone  know your  type: The highly industrious, laser- pinpoint focused Couples that we’re all glad to know and be loved by.  You’re the ones who come through for everyone else.

Now about everyone else, where were we?  Yes; all the other couples in attendance, whenSainsbury's FreeFrom Dinner Party By 1000HEads they had hosted their own gala soirees, were looking ready for the Caribbean when the guests arrived at the door.  Yelling, cursing, damning that bakery on Staten Island for losing the order and not having the pes ready; hitting the counter because the deli in Hoboken messed up the cold platters.

If you remember, laughingly, anything like this happening at one of your parties, then Couples Massage at home is ESPECIALLY for you.  Let me explain.  While it is much more difficult for you to arrange to have the time in your lives for a massage on the day it’s your turn to entertain, that’s precisely why you require it most.

Maybe this means there’s a real call for examination of habits and beliefs.  Maybe dinner parties are supposed to be fun to host, not a day and week to dread and stress over.  It’s obvious that most couples are so far from having everything ready the day of such a dinner party, that such people are probably reading and clucking how I’m being terribly unrealistic.

But that’s precisely my point!  Maybe look again, and realize that you should plan to have your dinner parry arrangements in place THREE full days before the dinner.  Trust me; you won’t regret doing this.  Invariably, all three days will be spend concerning arrangements, no mater how much you try.

But when the fourth day rolls around, finally, there should be so few loose ends that you and your spouse could literally nap before your guests arrive.  Waiting ‘til the last minute is only inviting sure trouble; if there are issues with anything, alternative arrangements may be sought.  But only if there is ample time!

Having the luxury of a Couples Massage at home on the day you’re hosting an important Teresa Robinson Right Brain Planning {elements}social event is not beyond anyone’s grasp.  With most couples, this will require a good amount of work.  But remember, it’s the same work you did before all your other dinner parties, only done over the course of two week and not in the two days before the party.

Pretend the deadline is three days prior, start planning and getting everything in order as soon as you know you’re hosting, and all will be fine. You can have the Massage Therapists stay and then provide chair massage for the guests.  And at the door, guests will be shocked, questions will be asked, suspicious of plastic surgery will be raised.

And it’s your choice: You can tell them about how Couples Massage at home before a party helped you to be so calm, or you can keep that little secret that I’;m letting you in on, that Sweet-Martini-by-Jonathan-Cohenso many of New Jersey’s socialites already practice, and would rather wish to keep hush-hush, their little secret to social dinner hosting success, time after time.

The real secret is, don’t procrastinate.  And use every moment you have free to help yourself, and your family,  live a better life.  That’s why you socialize, after all. Having wonderful, rich, life- affirming  experiences with your loved ones and friends.  And if you’re out to impress, and that’s your thing, what impresses more than a cool and collected couple hosting a gala event?

(C) Copyright H Miller, NJMassage.Info

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Forty Days of Postnatal Massage: Asian Indian Tradition of Jaappa Takes Root In New Jersey

Cadence and Newborn by Christopher Allison

Cadence and Newborn by Christopher Allison

During the postpartum period in the days immediately following giving birth, a new mother is recuperating from the stress of birth.   The World Health Organization (WHO) states that  the perinatal  period is the most crucial,  yet most commonly neglected phase in the lives of mothers and babies worldwide.

The postnatal period is about six weeks, and is defined strictly as forty days in both Asian Indian and Greek traditional cultures, both of which stretch back into dim antiquity.  During this time, the mother’s body is healing.  Hormone levels begin to change dramatically, the uterus begins to return to it’s pre-pregnancy size, and postpartum vaginal discharge, composed of blood, uterine lining, and mucous, flows out of the body.

Happy Birthday Baby!

Happy Birthday Baby!

The Postnatal Period is a time for healing.  It is the time after birth, a time in which the mother’s body, including hormone levels and uterus size, returns to a non-pregnant state.  If  a mother breast-feeds, this will affect hormone levels as well.  Lochia is postpartum vaginal discharge, containing blood, mucus, and uterine tissue, and is expelled from the body at this time.

In Eastern Traditional culture, women usually rest after birth.  This is often referred to as ‘sitting a month’ in Chinese, Vietnamese, and other Asian cultures, medically referred to as ‘confinement’, though the latter term seems to have fallen out of use.  This tradition persists in the present day, and lasts thirty days, or a full month, hence the nomenclature.

Guilherme by Danielli Porace

Guilherme by Danielli Porace

In New Jersey, there is a thriving Asian-Indian culture in the Central part of the state.  Many  residents are either immigrants from India or were born in New Jersey, first-generation Indian-Americans.  Within these communities, there is still a great appreciation for Ayurvedic Medicine and Traditional  Indian Culture.

In India (and now New Jersey) women follow a 40 day rest and recuperation period called ‘Jaappa’ in Hindi.  During this time, the new mother is not expected to fulfill either her household or workplace duties.  A special Ayurvedic diet is followed which increases milk production, as well as strengthens the blood by increasing hemoglobin.  Marital relations are discouraged at this time.  And Massage Therapy, for both the Mother and newborn, are often practiced each and every day, without fail.

Infant Massage by Nathan Put-Fernandez

Infant Massage by Nathan Put-Fernandez

Fortunately for mothers in New Jersey, at home Therapeutic Postpartum Massage Therapy is an option at this point.  In India, this is often performed by the new mother’s own mother, or other relative.  In NJ, a  qualified and certified Pregnancy Massage Therapist will provide massage therapy for both the mother and her baby, on site at home.
We have been called to do a forty day Jaappa even when a new Mom’s mother had been flown in from New Delhi.

Even in instances where the new Mom’s mother provides massage, a second daily session is provided by the Certified Therapist.  And in many cases, the new mother’s own mother remains in India, or is visiting and not able to really commit her time to taking care of the daily massage, in addition to other household obligations she has assumed on behalf of her daughter.

Postnatal Massage is designed to help a woman’s body heal from pregnancy.  While pregnancy is natural and not a pathological condition, it does take its toll.  There are even specific exercises a Certified Pregnancy MT may suggest that will help the tummy to heal properly.  And there are a lot of other specifics, regarding Touch Therapy,  that apply only to a woman who has just recently given birth.

Traditional Ayurvedic Massage may differ in some respects from what many Certified Pregnancy MTs provide.  For instance, the type of oil used, as well as its temperature, are essential considerations in Ayurvedic Massage.  Not so with most Western-oriented Pregnancy Massage Therapists.

Ideally, a therapist would be well  versed in Ayurvedic massage technique and theory, as well as being Certified in  Pregnancy and Postnatal Massage Technique, in order to draw the best from both traditional Indian  and contemporary Western practice.

Mother and Baby by Nathan Put-Fernandez.

Mother and Baby by Nathan Put-Fernandez.

Does it work?  Do women recover from pregnancy more thoroughly  after Jaappa for forty days?  Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, no studies have been conducted determining whether women practicing confinement after pregnancy, or confinement with Massage Therapy, fare better than new mothers opting to forego this time designated by many world cultures as a time of healing.  However, my intuition leads me to think the answer is likely a resounding, “yes.”

Resting Postpartum Mommy and Infant by Daniel Iggers

Resting Postpartum Mommy and Infant by Daniel Iggers

Studies lacking, there is an anecdotal evidence record spanning back thousands of years in India, as well as other traditional cultures, suggesting that Jaappa, and similar practices that aim to bar a new mother from activity, provide her with rest, massage, and a special diet, are effective and worth continuing.  And as a culture is transplanted nearly half a world away, I would imagine that what’s essential will remain a part of people’s lives.

At the very least, the experience will be relaxing and help the new Mom to feel better, emotionally.   And, present research does demonstrate that among postpartum women, Massage Therapy (during pregnancy, specifically) has been shown to decrease the number of women experiencing depression once baby is born.  (Click this link to view study showing pregnancy massage  yields  positive post-partum effects)

Swathi and Mom by Prati Photography.

Swathi and Mom by Prati Photography.

The best-case scenario, as well as the one most likely to be the reality considering the benefits already known about massage,  would include a myriad of diverse benefits for both mother and  baby, reaching far beyond helping to elevate mood or ease depression.  While such effects on a person’s feelings and sense of well being are important and noteworthy, the current body of research suggests that these may only be the beginning of what may one day be a vast array of known Massage Therapy benefits for postpartum women.

Many, many  research studies have been conducted regarding the efficacy of Infant Massage.  It seems that at present, we know more about how Massage Therapy affects the infant than its effects on pregnant, or postpartum, women, or how an extended Jaappa affects everything.  Studies have only recently begun in this field of inquiry, and are presently much-needed.

Woman From India Pregnant in NYC, Phillippe Put.

Woman From India Pregnant in NYC, Phillippe Put.

We do expect that once this topic is studied in depth, results will demonstrate that Massage Therapy is effective at helping new Moms to heal after birth, just as so many mothers and grandmothers born in traditional cultures know without having to read an abstract.  The real question is not whether Massage is helpful in this situation, but rather how helpful, and in which specific  ways.

A few studies about Massage Therapy do exist, already, that  point to the need for further investigation regarding Massage and Postpartum women, specifically.   Studies involving  the general population as a sample group have shown that  Massage Therapy increases oxytocin hormone levels and decreases adrenocorticotrophin and cortisol hormones, both  associated with stress (Click here to Link to List of Massage Studies Focusing on Stress) This is significant because oxytocin levels are correlated positively with milk production in lactating women.

The  results of this study, therefore, while not specifically pertaining to postnatal women as a group, do suggest that Massage Therapy may have an  ancillary benefit for postpartum  lactating women.  And this is but one example of (yet another)  topic that is overdue for serious inquiry.   Studies involving Massage and postpartum women as a group, as well as Jaappa, or Massage Therapy conducted daily over the span of thirty or forty days for such a group, should be quite informative  and yield  some interesting results.
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(C)  Copyright 2015 ‘At Home Massage in NJ’, H.  Miller.

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Couples Massage And Further Study: Could Having Sessions Together Be Demonstrated To Have Synergistic, Rather Than Additive, Effects?

'Couple' Image By Mr. Hayata

‘Couple’ Image By Mr. Hayata

Couples Massage is definitely a term that has finally become a bit more widely known as of late.  It’s definitely a contemporary term, jargon for fast-paced-urban-living-service-oriented life in  the 2010s.

One thing that most couples can agree on is that an evening of side-by-side Therapeutic Massage is a great way to spend time together.  Relaxing together is great.

Relatively few studies have been conducted about Therapeutic Massage, as compared with  other healing modalities.  At Massage-Studies.NJMassage.Info, we have a listing of hundreds of studies involving Massage Therapy, most published  within the last ten years.  And, more are added every week!  However, while the number of study abstracts listed  grow exponentially, it is still an unfamiliar  topic for most researchers, in most settings.

Swedish-Couples-Massage-By-Foundry-Park-Inn

Swedish Couples Massage by Foundry Park Inn

So far, I’ve never read  a study concerning  how Couples Massage may affect healing.  By this, I am really asking whether side-by-side Therapeutic Massage, with someone you feel close with (this is key; it need not be a romantic couple – Moms and daughters, siblings, are both good examples!), can result in greater benefits than having the massage sessions alone.

Would the results show that individuals relax more after a Couples Massage session, as compared with traditional massage with one therapist?  Or would the results suggest that there is an even stronger healing trend, affecting more than merely relaxation?  Possibly, even stronger  pain relief or  a greater decrease in suffering associated with specific conditions, would be more evident   after a Couples Massage session.

Couple-Tasting-The-Sun-By-Pedro-Ribeiro-SimõesPersonally, I think that the answer may be yes.  My observations doing At Home Couples Massage in New Jersey for the last ten years lead me to wonder if there is some sort of link between having a Therapeutic Massage session with someone you trust and love, and getting more out of the session, overall.

It could simply be that people relax more around someone they know and trust, and this accounts for the difference, if there is one.   Maybe the feelings of positivity and joy usually associated with being near a loved one change a person’s biochemistry?  Who knows.  Without any evidence, these are just guesses.

Mother-Daughter Side-By-Side Therapeutic Massage

Mother-Daughter Side-By-Side Therapeutic Massage

First, a study must be conducted to ascertain if such a correlation exists between greater gains from a session of Side-By-Side Couples Therapeutic Massage than traditional massage sessions. Of course, we must also be prepared for data that suggests just the opposite, that Therapeutic Massage provided alone is best.

More than likely, such a study will not happen any time soon.  But then again, such an  assumption may be premature.  Ten years ago, most Massage Therapists would not have thought that most of the studies involving Therapeutic Massage that now exist would ever have been conducted.  So considering that fact, we may know a lot more about Massage Therapy before very long.

Interest is growing in alternative healing modalities, as well as about integrating them into the Health Care setting.  Therapeutic Massage is  among the most promising of possible topics for future research.   This is so because thus  far, many  studies have yielded positive results, ranging from observable positive  chemical changes in an individual’s blood and brain chemistry, to positive observable changes in blood pressure, cognition, emotion, and a lot more.   It almost seems overwhelming!

 

Therapeutic Massage should be Evidence-Based.  That isn’t to suggest that for thousands of years, practitioners of Therapeutic Massage were not helping those who sought  treatment.  It’s just that any/all  evidence has been anecdotal until fairly recently, passed down through tradition, word-of-mouth, drawings and diagrams, and many detailed texts.

Couples Massage. Image by Collin Parker.

Couples Massage. Image by Collin Parker at http://costculator.com/massage/

Still, Western Medicine  demands a higher standard of proof for claims.  Finally, as study after study shows promising results for Massage Therapy and healing, we  are arriving at such a place.  Will we one day find out that Couples Massage is more effective, and Massage is a wonderful gift of healing that is best sharing with someone you love, in order to make the most gains?

Possibly.

Until that time, however, I will rely on anecdotal evidence and intuition  and consider that the answer has  a good possibility of being affirmative as to  whether Couples Massage benefits clients more than customary massage sessions conducted without their loved one beside them.  And I think many clients and Massage Therapists would agree.

Even so, we could all be incorrect.  Sure; that’s always a possibility. However, in this case it seems less than equally likely.   Of course, in the interest of remaining objective, we must conclude with a sigh, resigned to knowing that, at this point in time,  we just don’t know.  And of course, if such a study is ever conducted, at most we will likely only discover a propensity, or a trend, either positive or negative, regarding Couples Massage and greater measurable benefits.

Couple's Massage, Side By Side At Foundry Park Inn.

Couple’s Massage, Side By Side At Foundry Park Inn.

After all, some clients may prefer solitude; moments of  quiet and aloneness are healing, also.  And just because a person benefits more from Couples Massage one time, it does not necessarily follow that at all future times, such a session would be most beneficial.  In the end, no matter what we learn through any sort of study, it is best to remember that every client  is an individual with unique qualities and needs, and must be respected as such.

(C) 2015 H Miller, NJmassage.info

Posted in At-Home Massage Articles, Evidence-Based Massage Therapy, Massage and Health, Massage Research, Massage Studies, Therapeutic Massage and Society | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

At-Home Massage In Wintertime: Appreciating The Bitter Cold, Finally

While 2015 may not be the year of (Disney) “Frozen,” it’s certainly shaping up to be a freezing winter, nevertheless.  We have phrases like “bitterly cold.”  “Harsh”, “bleak”, “biting”, and “severe” are also common descriptive terms for wintertime.  And this year, with temperatures today at under ten degrees in Hudson County, we are definitely on track to having another “severe and bleak” winter.

No one appreciates the cold.  Well, practically no one.  Those Polar Bear Club members who bathe in the January waters likely just adore  the cold, each of them having enough appreciation for one hundred of us “usual” winter-hating people.   Most of us shiver in the cold, and most of the time, the winter is a cold season.  It all makes too much sense.

That’s also why people don’t move from New Jersey to Maine or Canada.  Notice the trend in friends and family who have relocated?  It’s always to warmer spots.  The reasoning and feelings behind this aren’t even worth discussing, they’re so obvious!  But lately, I’ve begun to realize that the winter does hold some amazing potential.

Couples massage at home Right now, as I look out my window, it is literally snowing.  It’s 8:30, Friday morning, January 9thbof the new year, 2015.  Last night, we did a couple’s massage session in Bayonne.  The apartment was probably like 85 degrees, but we didn’t care, because outside, it was only 8 degrees yesterday.

Readers may be wondering why the emphasis on cold weather as of late. (The last article was also about the winter!)   Honestly, it began with friends and family back for the holidays.  This year, unlike others, I quietly questioned the wisdom of moving so far away from everyone who cares about them.  And I began to realize that the frigid cold, the bane of the Northeast, has its many charms.

Those same people from last night used a delivery service to get their groceries from Stop N Shop.  And why not?  Why even entertain leaving home when it’s single-digits-cold outside?   What is even the point?  Having an at-home massage on a day as cold as it was yesterday really makes people love the cold.

Looking out the window as I worked on my client onto the dark, inky night, the trees were motionless; the wind was almost still.  And it was still cold.  At least by our standards.  I’m sure that people in Canada and the Midwest know a thing or two about what a really cold day is like.  I mean, our cars started.  There were no blackouts.  No supermarkets caved in from ice on the roof!  In reality, our winters are mild compared to what some North Americans (and denizens of other continents) experience every year like clockwork.

The colder it gets, the more clients seem to appreciate being indoors, at home.  Some work from home and never have to venture out into the cold.  Others are not so fortunate, and after braving the icy winds both at 7 AM and 5 PM, they’re just not in the mood to do it all again, in the name of “relaxation”, no less.  Most seem to think going out into “this” is as far from relaxation as they can get.

It isn’t the winter we New Jerseyans and NYCers despise: It’s being out IN the winter weather.  I’ll admit, walking to and from the Mall on a really brisk day can be invigorating – but then I’m only outside for a minute each time.  I like feeling cold for a minute or two and then basking in the warm, red radiance of the heaters at the entrance to the stores I set out to shop at.  We don’t hate winter; we want to control it, to experience it on our terms.

Couples massage at home in NJ

I’ve often wondered why people settled in such arid lands.  Maybe they arrived in Summertime, and loved it so much, by the time winter arrived, they were hooked on the place?  I really don’t know.  But I have begun to appreciate the extremes of weather here.  Seriously, 70 degrees and sunny every day of the year must be monotony, no?  The cycle of the yearly seasons are great.  The colder months are best for chilling at home, and having everything ordered in, from Couples Massage to groceries and restaurant meals.

Couples massage in winter The snow is already slowing down.  While I hate to think of the mess on the roads later, and how getting around will certainly be that much more difficult, I also wistfully hoped that the snowflakes would keep on coming, heavier and heavier, until we were blanketed in near-blizzard conditions.  Of course, like everyone in this area, I also wished for all that snow to melt by tomorrow.  And like most people I meet in my daily life in this part of the world, we like our snow in drifts, falling like clumps, but from behind a thick pane of glass, sipping hot cocoa and enjoying the ease of wearing shorts and a sports top in five degree weather.   : )

©Copyright 2015 H Miller

Posted in At-Home Massage Articles, Current Events in NJ, Massage and Culture, Therapeutic Massage and Society | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dealing With The Bleak Coldness of Winter: Couples Massage By The Fireplace Is The Answer

As many former New Yorkers and New Jerseyans (now Floridians, Nevadans, and Arizonians) have told me, the winters here are just unbearable.  And truthfully, I didn’t need them to tell me.  I live here.  And unlike those one-way-migrating buddies, I am staying, and not just here one hour off a plane from a warm, sunny clime for the holidays, like some other people.

Snowy New Jersey Turnpike

 

 

Many friends have considered moving back, because really, where in the world can you live that’s like New Jersey or New York City?  New Jersey has the Shore, many malls, proximity to NYC, and many affordable homes in quaint towns.  So really, after a few years of living away, many people want to return.

Some  were unfortunate enough to have been here for Christmas a few years ago and ended up missing their return flight, snowed in by a small avalanche at their Basking Ridge relatives’ home.  That kind of made the decision easier.  A non-decision, even.  What’s to decide, really?

You can’t argue with a twenty foot mound of snow and ice.   Or Newark Airport, telling you to stay put and rest easy where you are, because that return flight just isn’t leaving anytime soon.  That kind of ruined  it for them; the idea of moving back has been rendered in their minds as utter insanity.

Massage at home

Keeping warm in front of the fire

But  we’re still here.  And we’re not moving.  Our ‘fair-weather friends’ (that is possibly  going a bit too far, but still sounded funny and didn’t hurt anyone!)  have returned to their idyllic paradises by the warm blue sea, or down in the South-west in a cactus-laden desert, far, far away from any sign anything that is from New Jersey or New York.

 

Except other former-New Yorkers and former NJers who have also escaped the cold, emigrating to new places to take on  on new careers, learn a new local dialect, and best of all, to never have  to shovel a walk again. (Until they visit their parents’ house on Staten Island, that is!)

 

We, the intrepid Northeasterners, who may truly shiver at the thought of more frost and snow, yet bear the burden dutifully each workday, holiday, and weekend that the fickle Winter weather decides to dump a few inches of ice or snow upon our heads, are not moving.   Whether we like the cold and snowy times or not, we deal with such realities.

 

 

As a Massage Therapist who sometimes does Couples Massage, I have witnessed one extremely effective way many couples have found to beat the cold.   Having a session of side-by-side Therapeutic massage right beside a roaring fire, replete with crackling log and the scent of the hearth, or even a demure gas-fired fireplace that may be less showy but just as warm, is something many couples have requested.

And when I walk into a home as one of the two therapists for Couples Massage, if I’m not asked to set up near the fireplace, and I see one at the home, I will ask if the couple would prefer for us to set up right by the fire, safe enough to work around the table, but near enough to feel the radiant heat of the brickwork.  I have never had a client suggest not to go ahead and do this.  And afterwards, we’re usually thanked for helping them to discover just how cool their space actually is!

 

During this time of year, it’s essential that the Massage Therapist warm up the oil that they’re going to use.  There’s nothing more dramatic in puncturing visions of warmth and cozy relaxation than the feeling of a Massage Therapist’s fingers spreading near-freezing oil on tour back.

And truly, that’s whether the session is near a fireplace, as far from your fireplace as is possible, or even if no one on your street has a fireplace.  Cold oil is a winter no-no.

The wintertimCouples massage at home in NJ e feels bleak, and is often depressingly barren and grey, in terms of most local landscapes.  The key is to stay warm!  If you have a fireplace, spend more time near it reading, playing with your laptop, doing yoga, or just enjoying the presence of your significant other.

Couples Massage is always a great means of dispelling the bleak feelings winter brings, if for no other reason than because being near someone you love can really brighten your day.  Relaxing together is a special time.

So if you have a fireplace, you now have another use for the surrounding space that you likely have never, ever thought of.  Couples Massage may be performed on either portable tables, or Shiatsu mats.  Personally, I feel that the Shiatsu mats are a bet

Couples massage in NJ

Couples massage by the warm fire

ter choice, because then the client is lying right on the floor, which is going to be quite warm, right in front of the fire.

It’s all about bringing the warmth to your winter.  Don’t let those hot-spot transplants tell us that New Jersey is ‘too cold’!  The colder it is outside, the more couples can  appreciate steamy hot chocolate, glowing fireplaces, and one another’s  warmth and closeness.

© Copyright 2015 H Miller

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Massage Gift Certificates: Let Relatives Know It’s What You Really Want!

This time of year, we’re all trying to find the perfect gift for everyone else.  And of course, our loved ones are trying to do the same for one another, and for us as well.  It’s truly a great tradition to give graciously to one another, however, finding a gift that fits is the challenge.

Massage Therapy

Massage Gift Certificates are a thoughtful gift

So many times, I’ve written about how Massage Gift Certificates are a great way to show others that you care.  But just this morning, I realized that rather than only trying to spread the gift of healing to others, it would also be a great idea to let others know you love massages, and would appreciate that sort of a gift.  Hint.  Hint. Lol

If your family or friends like making Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali, or Kwanza lists, seriously consider adding Massage Gift Certificates as a starred-item.  Too often, we get gifts for others that may be universally appealing, and that they really like, but would have been the perfect gift for you as well.

Or, we get gifts that would be most appropriate for ourselves.  Receiving such a  gift, you  wonder why you’ve received a Winnie-The-Pooh jogging pants set, Winnie The Pooh laptop case, and Winnie The Pooh Pen.  Of course!  The gift-giver just loves Winnie The pooh.   It all makes sense now.

But did you also err in this way?  Was your gift-giving lacking the consideration of what someone else might prefer, enjoy, make use of, or just wish to have?  That same Pooh-Bear lover received a pair of Avia sneakers from you.  Sneakers are a great gift.  Who doesn’t want a shiny new pair of kicks?  That’s all well and good, but oddly, this Winnie The Pooh girl only wears Prada or slippers.  Awkward.

So what’s to be done?  Ask others what they like.  Let them know  what you like.  Talk with them.  Think about what you know they enjoy and what brings them happiness.  And remember, if you want a massage for Christmas, you have to let others know.

 

Don’t feel disappointed that none of your Hanukkah gifts included a Massage Gift Certificate.  Was your husband supposed to be a mind reader, too?  Communication and thoughtfulness go far in helping us to give gifts that others will love.  If you do

n’t like lists, then just keep it casual, but do discuss.  W

ithout a hint or two, it may be nearly impossible for others to get you any gifts that you’ll enjoy.

Massage at home gift certificates

Give the gift of massage

And in no way does this spoil the joy of receiving a great gift!  Think of kids getting gifts from Santa.  Kids make lists, go tell Santa Caus at the Mall what they want, and hope and pray they’ve been good enough to deserve all those toys.  Knowing ahead of time that what gifts they want  makes it no less amazing when they  receive those gifts.

We exist as spiritual beings in a material world.  Anything that helps bring brightness to one another is amazing.  Gift-giving, when done with kindness and thoughtfulness, is a great way of letting someone know that you appreciate them.  Remember that the process can be facilitated by asking questions, thinking of what you know about your loved one, co-worker, or friend, and being a little bit creative.

You may find, after a little bit of talking, that neither of you want any more leather belts or coffee mugs, and both of you would rather have the Seinfeld box set of Season 1.  Now that’s specific.  If you really don’t know what the other person wants, Therapeutic Massage is a great general sort of gift that is appropriate for nearly everyone.  Gifts that bring healing, peace, calmness, and don’t require much work on the part of the recipient, are definitely always a hit.  But still, ask if you can.

(C) Copyright 2014 H Miller

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Friday Absenteeism In the Workplace: Office Chair Massage As A Cost-Effective and Trouble- Free Remedy

The cycle of the week is daunting.  But as a Manager or company owner, your concern is productivity, and keeping your workers going is of paramount importance.

In the United States, and likely in many other places, the workweek drains and drags on, causing many companies to experience a higher-than-average level of absenteeism on Fridays.  Some companies have attempted to address this by making Friday a “work-lite” day where playing with your I-phone is the norm; others have decided to make Fridays “casual” days, loosening the restrictions on what it’s appropriate to wear, sometimes being so lax  as to include pajamas and workout attire!

Sometimes a company will have an extremely strict policy of no absenteeism on Mondays without a doctor’s note.  In other companies, the culture is that taking off on a Monday is just something one doesn’t do.

Of course, if a worker is so unwell that frequent trips to the bathroom are in order to deal with nausea, Management will always let the person leave.  At many companies, this is actually a fair representation of how it works.  No one breaks the taboo and nearly everyone returns to work on Monday.
Massage in the office
Thank about it: A week of 9-5, commuting, late meetings, plus a social life, and often a family to spend time with, followed by a Friday night staying up late, getting up early the next day for more fun, saying up late again on Saturday night, and either sleeping in on Sunday or getting up early for religious services, and then spending the rest of the day cleaning, or doing at-home tasks.

By Monday, everyone is wiped out because they didn’t replenish themselves on the weekend!  Everyone at the office is always so envious of the guy who takes off for Puerto Rico on Friday and manages to walk in on Monday morning with a tan, and a smile letting us know he knows no stress.

So we then have Tuesday as another big day for workers to play hooky.  They grind through Monday with substantial amounts of coffee, and then call out sick the next day. Or use vacation time.

Really, the issue here is helping your workers to plan better.  Having a full, vibrant life means planning time for both activities and rest.  Nowadays, we all walk around in a perpetual state of sleep deprivation.  That can’t be at all a good thing.

The idea was to make Fridays a day that everyone will appreciate.  Same for Tuesdays.  Luncheons, company sports, and even outings to restaurants definitely help bring staff members to the office, even on the dreaded Friday or Tuesday.

Chair Massage is also amazingly effective.  Some people will  still take the day off and forego the trip to Houlihan’s or Carrabba’s  with the full work gang, because they’d much rather go out to a quaint little family-owned place with their significant other that afternoon, who offered to pay anyway.  In contrast,  Office Chair Massage is something that nearly everyone looks forward to, and no one wants to miss!

And because this is the case, and because it’s your job to keep productivity high and absenteeism low, you may use this to your company’s advantage, and to your employees’ advantage as well.  Some companies begin by having chair massage on Tuesdays or Fridays, announcing the event with much fanfare, and then after the staff has developed a great appreciation for chair massage, randomize the chair massage each week.  This isn’t any sort of dirty trick; they’re supposed to be coming into work to start with!

In any event, it works.  The perception of the workplace as a place of stress diminishes, and in its place your staff will begin to see the office as a place where they can relax, feel creative, think without overload, and feel their best.  And that’s even in the midst of ridiculous amounts of work and activity!

Crazy Deadlines And Office Massage Work Well Together

Crazy Deadlines And Office Massage Work Well Together

Research the topic and learn more by clicking hereCorporate Chair Massage has been proven to help improve  a number of measurable work-related metrics, including absenteeism, morale levels, productivity, and can even help with tension and stress-related high blood pressure.  This is all really about changing the face of the workplace.
Our austere American predecessors brought us all this, and we should be grateful, but note that when they posed for group photos at their jobs, there is never even a single man or woman smiling.  Let’s not carry forward their work ethic that work must be  un-fun and tedious, but rather bring the idea of work into the twenty-first century; make your office a place where people can be productive, where creativity and careful analysis work better because your staff is calm and focused, as opposed to driven and stressed.

(C) Copyright 2014 H Miller, Mountainside On Site Massage  Therapy

Posted in Corporate Chair Massage, On Site Chair Massage, Therapeutic Massage and Society | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment