Make Time for Massage - Part II
Licensed Massage Therapist Twanna Jackson tells us everything we need to know about massage…and then some! Working girls will love her ‘keep calm (count to three!) and carry on’ approach to de-stressing in the workplace. If you missed her last week, get up to speed with Part I: Make Time for Massage... Or keep reading!
LILA: What can be expected from the first visit?
TJ: We'll chat about what's going on with their body. I like to talk with my clients briefly, especially if it's their first time getting a massage, in order to put them at ease about what to expect from the session. We'll cover things like, what type of massage they are looking for and how to mount the table.
LILA: What regions of my body will get massaged?
TJ: I massage from head to toe. I can also do the glute areas, but request permission first. I focus on the areas the client feels need attention, and I stay within their comfort level.
LILA: Will I experience muscle soreness following a massage therapy session?
TJ: It depends on the type of massage requested. Swedish is more about sweeping movements and flushing toxins from the body, while a combo massage can mean working deeper into the back with less emphasis on the arms and legs. Soreness just means that you feel someone has been in that area. With a sports massage, if it's before the event, you want to warm the muscles up to get them game ready and it's faster paced. Post event massages are intended to calm the muscles down; it’s a lot slower and the emphasis is on the stretching and elongating of the muscles.
LILA: When should I not get a massage?
TJ: If you have a muscle tear or herniated disc, or any type of fracture or sprained muscle, I would advise against it. Sometimes we'll need a physicians note describing what kind of massage is permissible. We judge on a case by case basis.
LILA: Can someone talk during their massage therapy session?
TJ: The key is to unwind and relax! My role is to help get you to that stage!
LILA: What tools are used during the massage?
TJ: I mainly use my hands and a hot towel, which couples nicely with back and neck work. Both are effective in loosening the knots. Massage is intended to be relaxing. It releases endorphins. You sleep better. It soothes. You're able to move around more easily because it loosens joints and muscles. The human touch makes all the difference. It just makes you feel good!
LILA: For working girls, what would your recommendations be for de-stressing in the workplace?
TJ: Many of the people who see me suffer from tremendous back and neck pain due to long hours at work and high-stress jobs. Sitting behind a desk, hunching over a computer for many hours can cause stiffness and discomfort. I always try to educate my clients on how to maintain their bodies in between visits, which is particularly useful in handling (and minimizing!) stress. Here are a few easy stretches you can do anywhere - whether you are at the office, in your hotel room if you're traveling for work, or just simply on-the-go! Pre-shift or post-lunch, trying warming up before you begin working. Move slowly and smoothly as you transition between each of the stretches, holding for 3-10 seconds.
For shoulder stiffness, find a comfortable position sitting or standing, and slowly extend one arm across the body for a full, deep stretch. Hold the position, breathing in and out a few times, until you begin to feel a release. Then repeat the process with the other arm.
For another deep stretch, extend your arm over your head, rotating the forearm down the back so that your hand rests firmly on your upper back. Push down on your elbow gently with your other hand, to achieve that full stretch. You can also bring both arms behind, extending until your hands until they connect, opening up the chest and inhaling fully until your feel a release. Repeat both movements on the other side.
For relief from back soreness, find a chair or desk (even stairs can work!) to sit down for this exercise. Twist your body slowly, first to the left, than the right, as far as you can go, until you feel that release. Do this a few times, paying attention to your breathing, as you begin each new set. Alternatively, position yourself in a warrior stance, bracing yourself against a chair or your desk, back straight. Pay mind to your stance – your front leg should be comfortably bent, while back leg is extended. The chair should be used as support, as you push through with your arms until you feel the stretch.
For an additional stretch, bend over as far as your body feels comfortable, letting your head hang, crossing your arms over your head to achieve release in your lower back and shoulders. Hold this position for a few seconds, paying mind to your breathing. Then release your arms, letting them hang down to the ground. Feel free to swing slowly from side to side to feel the full extent of the stretch. This should feel pleasant, not painful!
Let’s not forget the hands! Extend your arms in front of your body, palms facing the ground, and try clenching your hands into fists, and then releasing, to achieve the desired stretch. This will help promote circulation in the fingers and alleviate soreness. Repeat 10-15 times.
Stretching should become part of your personal wellness program! Once you create a schedule for yourself (and stick to it!), you’ll begin to notice all the benefits, which include increased blood flow and range of motion, reduced muscle stress and increased mobility. And best of all, you’ll feel relaxed and renewed!
Twanna specializes in Swedish, deep tissue, sports, hot stone, prenatal, tai herbal and chair massage. To request a home session, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 215.843.2234 to schedule a visit with her at Mellow Massage.