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