Massage Video: Deep Tissue Basics (Applying Pressure and Making Contact)

This one goes back to the basics. How to apply pressure during a deep tissue massage:

I’d like to talk a bit more about that “first contact” that I mention in the video. This is something that I discussed at length in my live Facebook video from yesterday: That first contact is an opportunity to set the tone for the rest of the massage, and for the entirety of your therapeutic relationship.

Everything else is important, of course. Your initial interview can do a lot to open lines of honest communication, which is vital if you’re going to give your client the best massage possible. The whole massage will tell a story and give the client a better concept of their own body. Your conversation afterward can make the client feel heard and fully considered.

But that first contact? That can be when your client decides, “okay, this is the massage therapist for me.” It can be the difference between a one-off session and a client for life. ... continue reading.

Video: Does Massage Flush Toxins?

Does massage flush toxins? Does it break up lactic acid? Check out my new video on the topic:

If you’ve followed me for a while, you know the ending. The whole “toxin” thing is a persistent myth, and it’s based on a misunderstanding of our internal environment. It assumes that there are areas of stagnation within muscles, and that these areas need to be wrung out so that fresh fluid can pump in. The fact is that the body is constantly refreshing the fluid between and within cells, especially highly vascular tissue like muscle. With every heartbeat and every little movement, circulation carries on.

I want to make one thing clear: I get it. The idea of stagnant fluid makes sense. After all, we get up and feel stiff. Doesn’t that mean that the muscle itself is stiff? The toxin thing makes a kind of sense too. If we feel pain, or just feel heavy or tired, doesn’t something need to be flushed out? ... continue reading.

Massage Tutorial Video: Abdominal Massage, the Vagus Nerve, and Belly Breathing

New massage tutorial video! This one has an abdominal massage demonstration… but it’s really about interacting with the parasympathetic nervous system:

It’s pretty common to abandon abdominal massage after massage school. After all, we have to deal with chest draping, clients sometimes feel self-conscious about the area, and it’s rarely requested. All this is true, but there’s one type of client who I’ll always suggest ab work to: Those with major stress, and those who are there for the psychological benefits of massage.

You see, interacting with the belly, whether via kind contact or through diaphragmatic breathing, sends signals to the enteric nervous system (the portion of the peripheral nervous system innervating the gut). The body devotes a LOT of neurological resources to the digestive tract, receiving constant updates on every square inch of the colon, sending signals about the speed of peristalsis, deciding whether a sphincter should stay closed, etc. ... continue reading.

How to Get Reviews for Your Massage Business

Getting reviews for your massage business is important. It gives you instant credibility during those crucial first seconds when a client is deciding, “should I explore this therapist’s page further, or should I go back to looking at cat memes?” It lets curious clients see how other people perceive you. Are they praising your ability to deal with pain? Your expertise? These reviews, along with pictures, videos, and autobiographical information, can form a clear picture of who you are and how you operate before a client even steps into your office. In other words, each new client will be your biggest fan before you even meet.

You may have noticed that clients don’t seem to leave a lot of spontaneous reviews. Even the ones who rave about you and send you referrals don’t always hit up Yelp or Facebook to sing your praises. Over time, that can leave you with a strong online presence, but no outside references to back up your credibility. ... continue reading.

Massage Tutorial Video: Sciatica Myofascial Release Techniques

Today’s massage tutorial video is on sciatica pain and how to deal with it from a myofascial perspective:

You’ll notice that I don’t spend much time focusing on piriformis or any of the hip rotators. I don’t target the lumbar paraspinals or the sacrum. Instead, I encompass all of these areas in broad “steamroller” techniques that grab the fascia and give it some traction. I’ve had much more success with this approach than any specific neuromuscular work.

I also include some mobilization of the hip as I work, bringing it into different angles of rotation and abduction. While I can’t affect any disc dysfunction that might be present, I do think that I can work with spasm and hypertonicity down the line. Nothing in the body happens in isolation—if there’s nerve impingement near the spine, there’s tight muscle and hypersensitivity nearby, and we can work with that! ... continue reading.