By Dixon Martin 17 Aug, 2017
Massage feels great. It is also one of the only times of your busy life when you can truly experience quiet. Silence your phone. Ignore your email. Set aside social media. It is time that belongs only to you.

Did you know that I provide chargers for the most common (Apple or Android) devices that you can use to charge your device during your massage? Just ask.

At the end of 60 or 90 minutes, you and your phone can both be at 100%!
By Dixon Martin 22 Jul, 2017

Hibiscus Tea is Really Agua de Jamaica
When you visited me for massage, I most likely offered you some cold " Hibiscus Tea." In Mexico and South America, this tea is called, " Agua de Jamaica" It is very refreshing, and really delicious! It is an iced tea made of dried hibiscus flowers. The flavor is similar to tart cranberry, and the color is a luscious red. It is loaded with Vitamin C, and has some amazing health benefits like lower blood pressure and cholesterol. If you want to call the beverage by its Mexican name, you should say " ha-my-cah."

People enjoy versions of Jamaica in many countries around the world, including Jamaica. If you want to make the Jamaican version of Jamaica, add some ginger slices and a few allspice berries. I have also heard rumors of people adding liquor to Jamaica (vodka or rum come to mind) to make a cocktail.

Although it's possible to get dried hibiscus flowers elsewhere, the best place is at a Mexican market, or the Mexican section of your local supermarket. You will find " Flor de Jamaica " in a cellophane bag, hanging with the other herbs and spices. You can find Flor de Jamaica at any Mexican market for about $1.99 for 2 ounces, but the best deal I have found is in the bulk section of Supermercado Guanajuato  (6201 Preston Hwy), where you can get a pound of dried hibiscus flowers for $4.99.

When I make Jamaica in my studio, I cold-infuse it. That is, I just fill the basket of an infusion tumbler with dried hibiscus flowers, add water and sugar or sweetener equal to about 2 tablespoons of sugar (I use Splenda), and let it infuse for about an hour. If you want to try a more traditional way of making Jamaica, use this recipe.


Agua de Jamaica
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
2 oz dried Hibiscus flowers*
3 cups boiling water
6 cups drinking water
3/4 cup sugar
1-2 cups ice (if you need to serve it immediately)

Preparation :
Bring 3 cups of water to a boil, then add the dried hibiscus flowers. Let the flowers soak in the water for about 20 minutes. Add the sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved. Pour the liquid and flowers through a strainer into a large pitcher. Pour in remaining water and taste for sweetness. Add more sugar or water if necessary.

Refrigerate until chilled or serve over ice. If you want to be fancy, garnish with citrus slices.


Purported Health Benefits of Hibiscus
  • In Egypt and Sudan, hibiscus is used to help maintain a normal body temperature, support heart health, and encourage fluid balance.
  • North Africans have used hibiscus internally for supporting upper respiratory health including the throat and also use it topically to support skin health.
  • In Europe, hibiscus has been employed to support upper respiratory health, alleviate occasional constipation, and promote proper circulation. It is commonly used in combination with lemon balm and St John's Wort for restlessness and occasional difficulty falling asleep.
  • Hibiscus is traditionally used for maintaining normal blood pressure in Iran;  a use that has been validated in several recent studies.


By Dixon Martin 08 Apr, 2017

The Pressure Question

What is the “right” amount of pressure for my massage?

One of the most common reasons clients “fire” massage therapists is that the therapists use the wrong amount of pressure during a massage. If the massage therapist uses too much pressure, the client might be sore after the massage. If the massage therapist uses too little pressure, the client may leave the massage feeling that while it felt good to be “stroked,” the massage didn’t provide any lasting benefit. So, what pressure will provide the “best” balance between relaxation and therapeutic value?

Some clients have been told that in order to do any good, a massage has to be uncomfortable. That deeper is better, and that the old axiom, "no pain, no gain," applies. I believe this view is a mistake, and current science is on my side. When muscles experience a painful amount of pressure, they automatically tighten in a protective response. This tightening of the muscles is counter to what the massage therapist is trying to do. In addition, it is possible to cause bruising, or even nerve damage, by using too much pressure. 

I believe in using just enough pressure to get the job done. In my opinion, most massages should be at least 80 percent relaxing, with a maximum of 20 percent firmer pressure that may cause mild discomfort for a very short time (no more than about 30 seconds). In my opinion, this ratio allows for a massage that gets excellent results. You will feel great during your massage, and will continue to feel better for days or weeks after the massage. In most cases, there is no need for you to feel sore, or like you need to recover from your massage.

Most of the time, by paying close attention to the feel of your muscles, and by watching your body and face, I can tell exactly how much pressure to use. 

For some goals, like treating “trigger points,” or mobilizing a "frozen shoulder," heavier pressure (and even a little discomfort) may be necessary, but only in limited bursts (around 30 seconds, each). 

Finally, you are the boss of your own massage. If something does not feel good to you, I rely on you to let me know. If you are wondering whether something you are feeling is normal, I always welcome your comments and questions before, during and after any massage.

I hope this answers some of your questions on pressure and massage. If you have more questions, just ask.

I look forward to seeing you.

By Dixon Martin 03 Apr, 2017

Does My Flexible Spending Account or Healthcare Savings Account Cover Massage Therapy?

Do you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Healthcare Savings Account (HAS) ? You might be able to use it to pay for massage therapy.

Both HSAs and FSAs allow people with health insurance to set aside money for health care costs referred to as “ qualified expenses ,” including deductibles, copayments and coinsurance, and monthly prescription costs. Sometimes employers will also contribute funds to HSA accounts. In most cases, you receive a debit card for your account and can use it to pay for qualifying expenses throughout the year. Both types of accounts have tax benefits, too, although those benefits aren’t identical.


Is Massage a Qualifying Expense?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has ruled that massage therapy for the sole purpose of tension and stress relief does not qualify as an eligible expense. Examples of medical conditions that do qualify include carpal tunnel, back pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression and pain management. The requirements to cover massage with an FSA or HSA are slightly different, and you should check with your Human Resources Department or other advisor to verify coverage. Here are the basics.

Whether you have an FSA or an HSA , the first step to obtaining coverage for massage therapy is to see your primary care doctor or a local physician. He or she must write a prescription for massage therapy if you have an FSA or a “ Letter of Medical Necessity ” if you have an HSA .

In order to be accepted by the IRS, the prescription for massage therapy or the Letter of Medical Necessity must contain the following three pieces of information.

  1. The physician must detail why massage is medically necessary .

  2. The physician must specify the frequency of your massage therapy .

  3. The physician must specify the length of treatment .


Signing up for an FSA or an HSA was smart. It’s even smarter to know how to get the most out of yours.

 

 

Disclaimer

This communication is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical, financial or legal advice. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this web site is for general information purposes only. Kentucky Masseur LLC makes no representation and assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of information contained on or available in this communication, and such information is subject to change without notice. You are encouraged to confirm any information obtained from or through this communication with other sources, and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with your physician. NEVER DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY SEEKING MEDICAL TREATMENT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ ON OR ACCESSED THROUGH KENTUCKY MASSEUR.

 

Kentucky Masseur LLC does not recommend, endorse or make any representation about the efficacy, appropriateness or suitability of any specific tests, products, procedures, treatments, services, opinions, health care providers or other information that may be contained on or available through this web site. KENTUCKY MASSEUR LLC IS NOT RESPONSIBLE NOR LIABLE FOR ANY ADVICE, COURSE OF TREATMENT, DIAGNOSIS OR ANY OTHER INFORMATION, SERVICES OR PRODUCTS THAT YOU OBTAIN BASED ON THIS COMMUNICATION.

 

Revised 4-03-17

 

*HMOs and PPOs often require a referral or pre-authorization prior to treatment. Failure of the client or their physician to provide a proper referral or pre-authorization will result in a denial of payment by insurance. The client is then held responsible for payment of the bill.

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By Dixon Martin 11 Mar, 2017

One question that can be perplexing to massage clients is how much of a scheduled 1 hour massage is “hands-on time?” It is understandable that this question can be confusing because the answer can vary from spa to spa and from studio to studio.

There is a lot for me to do between the time the previous client leaves and the time you get onto the massage table.

  1. I “set” the room. I sanitize everything the previous client has touched. I remove soiled linens and place fresh linens on the massage table.
  2. I prepare a beverage to give to you after your massage.
  3. I review your file, including your health history and any massage preferences you have.
  4. Before we begin the massage, we talk about your health issues, your goals for the session, and my plan for massaging to relax you and help with any problems you are experiencing.  
  5. You undress while I leave the room to wash my hands.
  6. After the massage, you dress and get ready to return to the outside world.
  7. I return to the room so we can talk for a few minutes about your massage. I offer you a refreshing beverage.
  8. The client leaves.
  9. I chart my notes about the massage, anything I have found, any recommendations I made, and plans for future massages.
  10. I make notes about your preferences.

I repeat this cycle for each client throughout the day.

Many studios and spas work by something called a “spa hour,” where the non-massage administrative stuff happens within the client’s hour. This means that an hour massage may end up as 45-50 minutes of “hands on” time.

To me, an hour massage means 60 minutes with “hands on.” I schedule time between appointments to allow for administrative tasks, and sometimes finish charting at the end of the day. I reset the room on my time, not yours. I send the new client intake by email in advance to allow the client to complete it before coming to the appointment (and not intrude into the appointment time.)

I keep to my schedule, and never run behind. If your appointment is at 4:00, I am planning to begin massaging you at 4:00, and keep massaging until 5:00. In order to provide a full hour of hands-on time, I rely on you to arrive a few minutes before your scheduled appointment time. This will allow us to complete our consultation and you to undress on my time, not yours. If you are a new client who did not complete the intake form and health history in advance, please plan to arrive 15 minutes earlier than if you had (3:45 for a 4:00 appointment).

If you are late for your appointment, it will reduce the amount of “hands on” time I can spend massaging you. It is important that I keep to my schedule, and I must start the next client’s massage on time. Because of this, I must end your appointment at the scheduled time regardless of when we started.

Your health and comfort are very important to me, and I do my best to see that you get the best massage I can give, for the full time you have purchased. I look forward to working with you.

By Dixon Martin 18 Jul, 2016
I had time between appointments today and stopped at McDonald's to write a blog post. I was hoping for quiet to go along with the free WiFi. I found the WiFi, but quiet was elusive. Instead, a couple of tables from me was a grandmother with two kids who had somehow become convinced that loud baby talk and shrill whining are precious. I wondered how the grandma could survive all that cloying behavior. I felt my body becoming more and more tense. I felt my shoulders tightening and my back contracting. It didn't feel good.

Once the grandmother and children left, it occurred to me that how I felt illustrates the point of what I wanted to write. We all live in a world where lots of things prevent us from relaxing. We are constantly assaulted with noise. Signs try to convince us that we will be happier if we acquire just one more thing. At work, demands are constantly placed on us. We are never far from phones, email and demanding customers or coworkers. We drive, and have to constantly stay vigilant for our safety and the safety of others. Our radios and televisions bombard us with news. After all, the "news cycle" is 24-hours now. Once we get home, there's more work to do. Our families, friends and spouses or significant others need attention, too. 

Is there anywhere to find peace? 

A massage is a great place to find peace. For an hour, or an hour and a half, you are at the center of the universe. 

My studio is quiet, with muted colors and soft light. During your massage, I put my phone into "do not disturb" mode, so there will be no ringing. There won't be the chirp of incoming text messages. There is only quiet music, and the rhythmic movement of my big, warm, strong hands. 

For an hour, everything is focused on you. For an hour, the world can wait.




By Dixon Martin 01 Jun, 2016
Alexander Fleming discovered the first antibiotic, Penicillin, in 1928. Before then, moldy bread or spoiled milk had been used in folk remedies in China, Greece and Serbia, but a systemic antibiotic made diseases trivial that had killed thousands before then. It was common to die of strep throat or an ear infection, and more than 90 percent of those with meningitis died. Those who survived were most often permanently disabled.

In 1907,  Russian scientist Elie Metchnikoff noticed that people of a certain Bulgarian community were healthier and lived longer than those surrounding them. Metchnikoff theorized that this health and longevity could be attributed to bacteria in a fermented yogurt drink these people consumed.

Bacteria out of control can kill us, but without a flourishing community of bacteria, we cannot thrive. From 2008 to 2013, the National Institutes of Health conducted The Human Microbiome Project, which looked at the bacterial communities in five main sites in the human body: oral, skin, vaginal, gut and nasal/lung. The project found that in the typical human, bacterial cells outnumber human cells by a ratio of 10 to 1. If we look at genes, the ration of bacterial genes to human genes is around 100 to 1.

Our community of bacteria helps us in many ways. It helps with intestinal and gut health, skin problems, genitourinary problems, diabetes, weight control, and depression, among other things. The pharmaceutical industry has been quick to capitalize, and one recent study projects that the annual market for probiotic ingredients will reach $46.55 billion by 2020. That's a lot of supplements!

Did you know that many foods can naturally provide you with the probiotics you need? Here are some of them. Of course, remember that heat processing or sterilization kills probiotics.


By Dixon Martin 10 May, 2016

The weather has been fairly mild here in Louisville, Kentucky, but a lot of my friends have been under the weather recently. When I or someone I care about gets sick, I always think of my mom's Hot Honey Ginger Lemonade. It's very soothing and comforting, good for the immune system, and it's delicious! Here's how I make it.

To make Hot Honey Ginger Lemonade, you'll need

  • Half a Lemon
  • About an Inch of Fresh Ginger
  • 2 or 3 Tablespoons of Honey (or to taste)
  • 1 Cup of Boiling Water

Squeeze the lemon into a coffee mug, then fill the cup with boiling water. Finely grate about an inch of ginger into the lemon and water. (I don't peel the ginger.) Add honey to taste. Stir and enjoy.

This is delicious, and great when you're feeling under the weather. Even if you are not, it's a great beverage.

By Dixon Martin 15 Apr, 2016
What parts of my body are included in a "full-body" massage?  
"Full-body massage" is an odd term. It's descriptive, yet unless you have had a massage, it's difficult to know exactly what is included in a full-body massage. The first, and most important, point is that it's your massage. You are the boss, and you get to direct the focus of your massage. If you hate your feet touched, tell me. I won't touch your feet. If you want me to spend a little more time massaging your scalp, tell me before we begin. I'll allow extra time for your scalp.

Most of my table massages are "full body" massages . Even if we spend more time on problem spots, it is very worthwhile to at least "check in" with other areas of your body. If one of your muscles is causing problems, other muscles compensate to save you from excess pain. Because of this, an issue is rarely confined to one group of muscles.

Every massage is different, but here is an example of a 1-hour full-body massage.
Your massage begins with you resting, face-down, comfortably covered by a sheet, with your feet supported by a bolster.
  • I start by massaging your feet with my own  Kentucky Masseur Super Emollient Foot and Body Butter . As I massage your feet, I pay particular attention to areas where nerves can affect your general health. 
  • After the feet, I massage calves, hamstrings, gluteal muscles. 
  • I massage lower and upper back, and shoulders. 

I help you to turn onto your back, your modesty still protected.
  • I massage the front part of your legs, your thighs, and your hips. 
  • I massage your chest muscles, your shoulders and your neck. 
  • I massage  hands, fingers and arms. 
  • Depending on time and your goals, I may or may not massage your abdomen.  
  • I finish by massaging your face and scalp. 

So, a full-body massage really does address the full body. If you have any questions, just ask .

I look forward to massaging you. 
By Dixon Martin 11 Apr, 2016
Is massage a mystery to you? Is there something you have been wondering? Are there worries that are keeping you from getting a massage? If so, send me a message .

I don't know everything, but what I don't know, I can find out. I'm not shy about discussing anything. You can't shock me.

Go ahead. Make my day !
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