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It’s not cheating!

Posted by on May 6, 2015 in Massage, Uncategorized | Comments Off on It’s not cheating!

It’s not cheating!

I just finished a session with a regular client who began our time with a sheepish, “I have a confession. I cheated on you last week.” To which I replied (after long dramatic pause for effect) my standard, “It’s okay! You needed to get work done, and my schedule was packed. I’m glad you contacted another massage therapist and that she could fit you in! PLEASE don’t waste another thought about it!”

Now I have a confession: this scenario happens quite a bit. I won’t lie that it inflates my ego a little when clients worry that my feelings will be hurt that they saw another massage therapist. However, the ego boost quickly dwindles, and then I tell them my thoughts on ‘cheating on your therapist.’

As a massage therapist, my concern is first and foremost for my clients and their well-being. Part of that is realizing that they might want and need more than I can do for them. With that in mind, I whole-heartedly encourage my clients to try other therapists. It is important for them to see who and what is out there so they either find someone who IS better suited for their needs OR to be able to fully appreciate the work we do together.

Either way, my feelings are not hurt. If they come back, I will continue my high quality treatment. If they find someone else, I am truly glad they have found someone who is able to meet their needs. And you never know, they may come back in the future.

At Boulder Bodyworker, we think of ourselves as a team of therapists. We have worked hard to assemble a high-quality, high-functioning team, who are complementary in skills but are varied in personality and specialties. We each have different skills and focus. As therapists, we see different therapists for different issues, and we “click” with them for different reasons.

I am not at all threatened when one of my clients books with another therapist in our clinic or at another office. There are many reasons a client has for booking with another therapist. Scheduling conflicts, availability and different massage techniques are just a few. I like to know the strengths of other therapists in our area so that when a client calls, and we don’t have an available slot, I can refer them to someone I think will be a good fit.

Asking for a referral is never a bad thing. You never know when you’re going to need to get in to see someone ASAP and having that backup therapist can be a lifesaver. If you happen to be traveling, we have a database of high-quality therapists scattered throughout the nation. You never know when you might need a massage in Denver, Boston, Austin or LA (just to name a few). Don’t hesitate to ask!

So don’t be surprised if we suggest another therapist in our clinic or give you another therapist’s number if our schedule is booked. It’s because we love you and want you to feel better ASAP. We promise.

Pillow Talk

Posted by on May 6, 2015 in Recovery, Self-Care | Comments Off on Pillow Talk

Pillow Talk

“How old is the pillow you’re currently sleeping on?” I ask most clients as we are
completing their initial intake form. Most pause for a moment and then either shrug
and say half-heartedly, “I don’t know,” or “not that old”. I usually smile and follow up
with “How old IS ‘not that old’?” Commonly the answer to that is one or two years or
they really can’t remember. Yikes. In most situations, for the majority of our clients,
anything more than 8 months is really “too old” to be working well and being useful for
you. There are always exceptions–medical conditions and issues that make what I am
saying null and void. And I know that I run the risk that some statements will provoke
some feelings of frustration and possibly anger. But I am speaking from experience,
both my own and a decade of being a watchful massage therapist. For the record, I am
NOT in cahoots with the pillow manufacturers. However, I have tossed around the idea
of taking my “pillow talk” on the road since this information has helped many of my
clients get a handle on chronic shoulder, neck, and jaw pain.

A few other things that get a lot of clients riled up about is that I am not a fan of down
or buckwheat pillows and I don’t care for expensive pillows. $15 to $20 is all you
should need to spend on a quality pillow that will last you 6-8 months. Now I am a
woman who appreciates a good bargain, and I am very comfortable with the “cost-per-use”
formula (thank you expensive designer jeans) however, in my experience, I have
not come to find any great difference in lifespan between a $50-$150 pillow or my
favorite $15-$20 pillow. Really I promise.

Let’s talk pillows for a moment. Pillows are there to help support the spinal cord, neck
and head. When you lay on your side, your pillow should help keep your spinal column
in a fairly straight alignment and help your head be as perpendicular to your shoulders
as possible. They should also support your neck and head so that weight of your head is
“off” your neck for the hopefully 8-10 hours you’re lying down sleeping. If you are a
side sleeper, think of a plus sign “+”. If you’re lying on your side and your head is
leans more parallel to your shoulders, that’s not a good sign nor is it good for your neck
or shoulders. Basically, it means your neck muscles (and consequently quite a few of
your deeper shoulder muscles) are “firing” (aka working) all night long to support and
control your 8 to 10 pound head. They are getting no recovery or down time to repair
and rest. Now, if this situation happens for one night, it is really not a huge deal.
However, if this posture becomes a pattern over multiple nights over multiple YEARS,
you can end up with chronic neck, jaw and shoulder pain and dysfunction.
I have noticed back sleepers think they are immune to this because they sleep on their
backs “the way nature intended.” Some don’t like any pillow at all or the others like a
little, squishy pillow they can “mold” into a roll behind their head that doesn’t bother
them. While this may work, I still believe you need something supportive to rest the
head and neck muscles so that the deeper neck muscles are not firing to hold the head
still as it turns from side to side throughout the night. So really the above paragraph
applies here too.

I know, I know–at this point you are probably saying to yourself, “So Kate, tell us…
what kind of wonderful, inexpensive pillow DO you suggest?” Okay I am going to lay
it on you.

Step One: In my experience, T.J. Maxx and Marshalls have been the best resource for
well-made, inexpensive pillows that you don’t mind throwing away. Yes, I know, it
pains me too to throw pillows in the garbage, but no one will accept your “gently used
“drool collector” (not even animal shelters). For your own sanity–steer clear of Bed
Bath and Beyond, that pillow department with its two thousand kinds and types of
pillows will leave both you and your wallet dizzy and nauseous.

Step Two: Look for pillows with TWO seams around the outside. Most pillows have
only one. You are looking for the 3D pillow with two seams, sometimes called a
“gusset”.

Step Three: Choose a Firm or Extra Firm pillow. Now I know visions of lying down
with your head all jacked-up on this huge, fat pillow are dancing through your mind.
Keep reading. Pick up the pillow and place one hand on either side. If you can feel your
hand through the pillow, but not feel each individual finger, you have found a winner. If
you can feel the fingers easily, put it back and try a more firm pillow. Worst case
scenario, if when you get it home and it’s ridiculously firm, go sit on it while you’re
watching TV, working on the computer, or practicing your meditation. Any of those
should break it in nicely.

Warning: for the first few days that you sleep on this new pillow, you may shake your
fist and say, “Damn you Kate and this pillow!” Please allow 5-7 days before you throw
the pillow in the guest room and go back to your “old” pillow ways.
When you do go back to that old friend, and you will, I bet you will wake the next
morning with that old familiar ache. I want you to march into the guest room with your
“old” pillow and pick up the new one and put down the old one and congratulate
yourself. You have been converted.