November 29, 2012

A Little Ancient Wisdom

November 26, 2012

What Massage Therapists Should Know About Frostbite

Institute for Integrative Healthcare Studies

Because frostbitten areas should never be massaged or vigorously rubbed, massage therapists must be able to quickly recognize this winter menace.

It may or may not be a consequence of our globe's climate change, but the winter of 2010-2011 proved to be particularly brutal. Evidenced by a continual string of storms, unprecedented precipitation and record breaking low temperatures, an increasing number of people encountered the dangers of frigid weather. Will 2012 be just as cold?
Some massage therapists may remember learning about a massage contraindication for frostbitten extremities during their initial schooling. However, few have been required to recall the details of that warning for their clinical practice. Because the elements can be harsh during winter, massage therapists are urged to review who is at highest risk and what the warning signs are for frostbite.

November 12, 2012

The Don't Post

OR: 13 Things I learned from my disappointing trip to a spa.

As some of you may know, I recently moved. I am now settling into my new home, working on getting my Florida massage therapy license transferred and trying to find a few local therapists for my regular massages. I also try to get a deep pore facial about once a year. I  booked myself an appointment for a 90 minute Deep Tissue massage and 60 minute facial with extractions at a local place. This spa visit should have lasted two and a half hours, but what I experienced was over fours hours of learning what NOT to do as massage therapist and business owner.  

And thus, we have the Don't Post. Everything that follows really happened.Warning: This is long and full of my opinions. 

1. Don't Talk Down To The Employees: When I was getting checked in, the receptionist was going through the motions of noting me in the computer, giving me my intake form and making sure I knew where to wait. The owner, who was overseeing the receptionist, spoke to her in a condescending tone and gave her directions AFTER the receptionist had already completed the tasks. The way an owner speaks to their staff sets a very specific tone in the eyes of the customer, so don't make it a negative one.

2. Don't Be Afraid To Remind People To Keep Noise To A Minimum: When you come to a spa, whether it be for relaxation or more specific health reasons - most people are coming to give themselves a break. A bit of self care. The environment your client enters should be supportive of that. While waiting in the sitting area, there were two other clients having a very loud conversation (one of the clients was physically acting out how she was dancing on stage at a Tony Robbins convention and cheering for him. Like you do.) Yelling "Tony! Tony! Tony!". The other client was happily watching until her phone rang. (She was using a "Clown Nose" honk. Because that's a thing.) As Ms. Clown took the call, the Tony Cheerleader took that as her cue to call Jennifer. Apparently, Jennifer is hilarious because The Tony Cheerleader was snorting for a solid 5 mins. The seating area was literally next to the front desk check. Neither the owner nor the receptionist said a word to them.

3. Don't Forget To Check The Bathrooms Regularly: I went to the ladies room before my session and the toilet was…"speckled". When I visited the restroom again about 2 hours later, it was still "speckled". Gross.

4. Don't Wear Sloppy Clothes: My therapist came in to greet me and it dawned on me how much I am used to seeing therapists in all black, a uniform or any combination of comfortable, yet professional clothes that say "these are my work clothes". My therapist was wearing a large wrinkled shirt and old sweatpants rolled up to the knees. Until now, I had never really thought about how much looking clean and together mattered to me. Furthermore, during the session his shirt fell on my face and undraped arms many times. At one point I had to alert him to the fact that his shirt was completely covering my face during a neck stretch.

5. Don't Ignore The Intake Form: When my therapist brought me back to the room he asked if I had ever had a massage before. Not only had I answered that on my intake, it also asked when my last session was. Additionally, the form asked me my occupation. So one could deduce that as a massage therapist I would have had massages before. The intake asked if I had any chronic conditions - I checked TMJ. He never asked me about it. Nor did he work on my face or jaw at all. My therapist asked "So are you just here for relaxation?" When I told him my appointment was for a Deep Tissue full body massage, which I had also written in on my form -  his response was "Well, that's an extra $15". I know. I booked the session. I confirmed the session. I noted this request on my intake form.  I can understand not taking in all of an intake before meeting with your client, but when it is evident that a practitioner hasn't even looked it over, it made me feel like a number. Just another body that was on his schedule for the day. You can tell a lot about a place by their intake form, they can learn even more about the client. Don't waste it. 

6. Don't Talk The Whole Time (or ask personal questions, tell me your life story, tell me it's been too long since you have gotten a massage or get political, etc): The first question my massage therapist asked when he came back in the room was "So, why did you become a massage therapist?". Sigh. What makes this moment even harder is the reason I became a massage therapist comes from a heartfelt but scary part of my life, it's not a story I share lightly and not something I want to dive into when I am about to get a massage. The rest is simple - don't talk to your client the whole time, especially when they are not matching you in conversation. Double -  especially if the topics have nothing to do with the session. 

7. Don't Ignore Requests: I had to ask him three times to lighten his pressure in certain areas. I requested that he adjust the angle of my arm as not not put my elbow into hyperextension twice as well (I eventually just moved my arm). I asked for extra time on my feet. HE NEVER EVEN MASSAGED THEM! It's such a simple thing. Listen to your client. 

8. Don't Forget To Keep Your Client In The Loop: After my massage I was lead into another waiting room.  I had been waiting a while and no one came by.  I continued to wait, then 10 minutes AFTER my facial was scheduled to begin I walked myself to the front desk to ask what was going on. They didn't know. There was a scramble and I was lead back to the waiting area with an apology. While I waited, I could hear the talkative nail tech with her client (see #2). She and her client were cussing about the recent election and complaining that her child was "really a two year old with the devil's vicious ways inside him". She really said that. (See #6). A full 45 mins later, my esthetician came to get me for my session. Life happens and sometimes schedules get out of sorts. Make sure your client is kept in the loop or they might just feel abandoned and become rightfully disgruntled. 

9. Don't Start A Session Until You Are Ready To Start: Even though my facial was delayed 45mins, my esthetician was not ready for me. The room was fully lit, she did not have all her supplies and left the room twice to get them. When she finally sat down to start, she realized that there was no music in the room. This led her to find there was no cd player or iPod dock in the room. She left a third time to track one down. 

10. Don't Throw Your Co-Worker Under The Bus: When my esthetician came back to the room, she did apologize. She also bitterly blamed this entire rough start on her "horrible co-workers who are alway stealing things and messing up her room" (Con't from #1). Outside in the hall, the nail tech started to get loud once more.  The esthetician shared her angry feelings again. Finally, she managed to segue herself into not only telling me her life story, but the story of her husband, children and award winning poodle, Carmella. (See #6)

11. Don't Push Products You Know Nothing About: Before she even turned on the steamer,  my esthetician was trying to sell me products she didn't know anything about. I asked her some simple questions about them and she just rambled on about the way they smelled. 

12. Don't Do A Bad Job OR Decide Not To Do Your Job At All: I only get extractions about once a year (twice at the most). I think of it as a "spring clean" of sorts for my pores. I have blackheads on my nose and chin. After the facial, I still do. Why? My esthetician told me she didn't want to do extractions. I don't have any risk factors, I have had this treatment many times before, she is fully licensed so I didn't understand why. When I asked, she said "I think the nose and chin are too difficult to clean out."  At this point my visit was now just an "experience to learn from", so I didn't argue with her. Yes, I made sure that this treatment was not on my final bill.

13. Don't Be A Spa Owner Who Is On The Phone With A Personal Call Talking About Judy's Birthday Dinner Plans While The Client Waits 7 Minutes To Check Out: Yes. I timed her.