Hamish

Hot Springs near Jackson Hole (Part II)

Hot Springs near Jackson Hole (Part II) – Heise Hot Springs

Rochelle celebrated her birthday for the second year at Heise Hot Springs just last week.

image showing Heise Hot Springs

There were about sixteen of us (not all massage therapists) and we all made the pleasant drive over Teton Pass, then Pine Creek Pass (turn left in Victor, ID), past the ‘World-Famous’ Square Ice-Cream Store at the Swan Valley Junction.

 

Then it’s 30 minutes of driving through vast potato plantations and all the while alongside the mighty Snake River. So to put you better in the picture, it’s about 3/4 of the way to Idaho Falls from Jackson Hole – turn off the road (right) at a couple of large potato silos, drive a few miles towards the Snake River (delightfully, the hot springs are right on one of the Snake River braids) through small farming communities (Ririe) – and you’re there. Here’s a Google Map: 5116 E. Heise Rd., Ririe, ID 83443

 

The hot pools and buildings themselves are standard fare, though a handsome old two-story brick house with dormers dominates the scene. That’s where the owners live. There’s an open-air ‘warm’ swimming pool (92’F)- surrounded by walls to keep out the weather, and at one end of that, covered by a canopy, is the hot pool – kept at 104’F. We found this to be a delightful temperature to hang out in for half an hour at a time. These two pools are kept open all winter and it’s a wonderful way to spend a day when skiing just doesn’t sound that great and the longs months of winter in Jackson Hole are getting OLD.

 

If lazing around in warm or hot pools isn’t your ball of wax – and you have kids with you – then in the summer time there’s a whole plethora of activities: zip line, open air swimming pool (open only Memorial Day through Labor Day), flume, RV and camping, gorgeous park by the river with picnic tables and BBQ grills. When we were there, the willows overhanging the river were just coming into leaf – like in the photo here – and it was a beautiful scene.

 

– and there’s even golf. Pizza can be had at a basic small restaurant on site – and it’s nice to sit out there on their sheltered deck and watch the golfers coming in. But we were there just to ‘chill’ – or, I should say, warm up while we chilled – oh well…you know what I mean.

Next week…another hot springs near Jackson Hole – Granite Creek.

Be well,

Hamish and Rochelle

 

 

 

Hot Springs near Jackson Hole

Hot Springs near Jackson Hole

We’re deep in the off-season now in Jackson Hole. And the weather can be ‘iffy’. What do massage therapists and other seasonal workers in Jackson Hole do with themselves in the off-season? One of our favorite things  is to go to hot springs – all of which are about 90 minutes from Jackson.

 

Rochelle and I paid our first visit to Green Canyon Hot Springs recently, This is on the way to Rexburg, Idaho. To get to it from Jackson Hole, you have to drive over Teton Pass to Victor, north to Driggs and then towards Rexburg. The Green Canyon Hot Springs is about half-way between Driggs and Rexbuirg – four miles south at highway mile marker 116 on Hwy 33 in the northern foothills of the Big Hole mountains – which flank the western edge of Teton Valley, Idaho. I can’t believe I’ve lived in Jackson Hole for thirteen years and never been there before. It’s an absolute delight. There are two pools – one is an Olympic sized swimming / playing pool with temps of about 96’F, the other pool is pure relaxation with temps at about 105’F. These are fed from a spring that emerges from the ground at 115′. The hot springs have been run by the same family since 1953 – the present building was built in 1947. It’s definitely showing its age and needs some TLC – but then there’s just tons of character.

 

The hot pool area itself is what one might imagine as ‘Heaven’. It’s like a greenhouse and all painted a light blue. There’s a surreal feeling of peace and well-being. (Hence relevant to this massage blog.) The temperature of 105’F is a little much to stay in for long – but steps emerge from the pool and you can submerge yourself in there as little or as much as you like – and of course take a dip in the cooler pool when you need to. Speaking of which…there’s a ‘Plunge Pool’ at 55’F – quite a shocking quick dip in there will do much to cool you down, that’s for sure.

 

The drive to Green Canyon Hot Springs is really quite delightful – through potato fields that are typical of Idaho, it’s nice to see this way of life and the farms laid out. And the views of the Tetons on our return Journey towards the Teton Valley…stunning:

 

 

Overall, an afternoon there (or a day – take a picnic – or a couple of days – go camping with the kids) is relaxation defined. Ahhh…we love off-seasons on Jackson Hole.

Next week I’ll talk about the other two hot springs near Jackson Hole – Granite Creek, up Hoback Canyon, and Heise Hot Springs – also in Idaho but on the way to Idaho Falls.

Be well,

 

Rochelle and Hamish

 

Ski Resort Cycles

Ski Resort Cycles

If you’re looking for some deep wisdom about massages, giving massage, receiving massage, the benefits of massage, the business of massage – you might not wish to read on. Occasionally I digress into discussion about life in Jackson Hole – as lived by massage therapists here. Overall – we lead not such a bad life – especially when it’s end-of-ski-season PARTY TIME.

As I write this post, Rochelle – otherwise an almost completely sane massage therapist in Jackson Hole, has gone skiing with a tutu round her waist and a small stuffed bird attached to her shoulder. Yes folks, it’s ‘Gaper’ Day on the slopes of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. As if concerts by Karl Denson, Blues Traveler and Michael Franti weren’t enough – it is PARTY WEEK here in Jackson Hole. Over the weekend we had the ski-season-end multi-faceted race – the PPP (Pole Pedal Paddle) – but we’ll get back to that soon. Meanwhile – back to Gapers…What’s a Gaper? You might ask… Well – it’s a rather derogatory term for people who are well behind on the ski fashion curve – to put it mildly. It’s a throw-back and a poking of fun at how absurd ski fashions looked – oh just so recently – and how we thought we were so cool in wearing them.

 

 

Here’s the Wiki definition:

The day (usually April Fool’s Day or thereabouts) when all the mountain employees and locals who don’t have to work dress up in absurd tourist outfits and imitate all the dumb gapers we have to deal with the rest of the year. Usually involves lots of neon clothing, ridiculous stunts, and massive amounts of alcohol.
“It’s gaper day! I’m going to wear my dad’s 80’s onesy.”
Now, this isn’t to say that Jackson Hole has dibs on Gaper Day – no way – it’s a phenomenon that has spread throughout ‘cool’ ski resorts all over the country (and maybe Europe for all I know.) But frankly – it’s hilarious wherever it takes place.
The other thing I mentioned above is the Pole Pedal Paddle, or PPP (which this year has added two additional legs for the first time and so it becomes the PPPPP). As the name suggests, it a multi-legged, multi-skilled race from the top of Jackson Hole’s aerial (the first leg is on Alpine skis) tram to a place on the Snake river many miles away and several thousand feet lower on the banks of the Snake River (the last leg is in kayaks or other river craft). In between those two legs, there’s Nordic (cross-country) skiing, and road-biking.
There are ‘serious’ race classes, where athleticism counts and winning is a serious goal. There are more casual classes, where simply competing and completing the course is the goal; there are relay teams if all of the various skills are better shared among a group of friends or business colleagues; and then (again), there’s the ‘party’ class – where costumes count and nobody really cares who completes what – just get the prize for the best costume. Again, this race is not just a Jackson Hole thing – many ski resorts, with a river nearby, will have their own PPP races.
It’s a great and fun event for all. Entry fees and other fund-raising activities to to help finance our very own Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club.
Teams are formed by local companies – whether serious, relay or costume based – and the whole thing helps, among this entire week of festivities, to round-out yet another ski season at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
Yet the end of one season is the beginning of another. Whilst many may lament the end of ski season – well, we’ve had it since November and it’s time to move on…spring and summer in the Tetons are just around the corner – and I’ll have lots to write about that in my next post.
Be well,
Hamish and Rochelle

Jackson Hole is Awesome

Jackson Hole is Awesome

Why is Jackson Hole Awesome? I’ll tell you why Jackson Hole is awesome…we get an end-of-ski-season concert – Michael Franti and Spearhead – FOR FREE!!!  Howdya like that??

 

And just to warm us up, the party started on Friday evening with Blues Traveler – and if you need warmed up for that – there’s even a previous FREE concert on Thursday evening with Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe (Who??? – Think Lenny Kravitz’s band and Slightly Stoopid.)

I tell you what – being a massage professional in Jackson Hole is just the best. Not only do we get free rock concerts night after night at the end of season, we get to ski in the mornings (skiers don’t generally want massages before 2pm – so that’s fine because all the powder is gone by then anyway). Let’s see – oh yes – before I’m off the concert thing – three years ago we had Grace Potter and the Nocturnals…boy – can she belt it out!

 

So what else is great about being a massage professional in Jackson Hole – well – it’s just gob-smacking gorgeous around here for one thing, and the opportunities to get out there and play in it are never-ending. Grand Teton National Park is right on our doorstep with the magnificent and mighty Teton Mountains to go hiking in.

 

You don’t have to be into big scary mountaineering to enjoy them – there’s no end to possibilities for those who are into just nice day-hiking – or you could get more abitious and get up into the really high-country, take a tent with you, and spend a night or more out there in the wilderness. A couple of years ago Rochelle and I hiked the Teton Crest Trail – three nights on the watershed ridge that separates the two Teton Counties of Wyoming and Idaho. (I wrote and photographed for an article about this, which will be published in Teton Valley Magazine this summer.)

Image showing Hamish and Rochelle hiking the Teton Crest Trail

Oh no – I’m already running out of space and I haven’t begun to tell you about the bicycling we do here – be it road biking or mountain biking – easy or gnarly trails – there’s just tons of it. You can’t go mountain biking in Grand Teton National Park, however because of the no mechanized vehicles on park trails. (A good thing in my view.)

 

And then there’s rafting on the Snake River! We’re very lucky to have our own boat – and have had for many years.

 

The Snake River has a large variety of river sections from mellow and peaceful flowating through the park, viewing the Tetons, to a fun white-water run through the Snake River Canyon – about 11 miles south of Jackson. Commercial rafting is a big industry around here in the summers. Jackson Hole supports maybe a dozen river outfitters. If you want to float or have a whitewater experience on the Snake River, I recommend Barker-Ewing (for who I rowed many years ago), or Dave Hansen Whitewater (for whom my son rowed last summer).

 

Maybe I’ll write another post on this topic when I can get into the parasailing, nordic skiing, horse-back trail-riding, mountaineering, kayaking and all the other ‘ings’ you can think of.

But the best thing about being a self-employed massage therapist in Jackson Hole is that we don’t have to go anywhere to immediately immerse ourselves in a ‘wonderful world’ – it’s  literally right out of our front door. In fact, I think I’ll go for a walk right now…

 

Be well,

 

Hamish and Rochelle

Changing it up.

Changing it up

‘Blogging about all things massage, and all things Jackson Hole’

 

For our millions of readers here at the Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole blog – you may have noticed several changes in direction with this blog. At first there was the stumbling, fatalistic – nobody-reads-this-anyway-and-I’d-rather-be-skiing  – sort of attitude where, as long as I interjected relevant keyword phrases on a regular basis – it would do…right?

 

But then I started to get a passion for the blog writing – and I thought a decent ‘angle’ would be to write about Rochelle and me and our nascent massage professions and business – and take readers along with us on that bumpy ride that started while we lived in a motel room at the Virginian Lodge. Not a bad theory. In my days of writing for ‘Sail’ magazine, I wrote as a sailor new to boat ownership and voyaging in general – and wrote articles for those in that same stage of boating – learn with me as I discover. (See my published articles.)

 

But then Rochelle and I went back to McKinnon massage school in Oakland, CA for two months last fall. This in itself got me much more fired-up about massage in general and I decided to report on my learning curve and start to give my ten cents worth about giving massage – and about receiving massage. I’ve had suggestions like “Write about healthy lifestyle tips, great healthy recipes, smoothies, Yoga articles” – none of which would contain keywords relevant to massage in Jackson Hole. But most of all – while I do participate in a very active, healthy, good-eating lifestyle – to write about it, on top of the gazillions of others out there doing so – would bore the kilt off of me (yes folks, I’m Scottish born and raised – hence the Gaelic name, Hamish.)

 

And now, most recently, I’ve been advised to become a travel resource for in-coming visitors and tourists to Jackson Hole and the Teton area – perhaps even the state of Wyoming…wow – a tall order – but it seems like a great idea – thus the last three blog posts about things to do in Jackson Hole. All for the sake of improving our web site’s  position on Google and other search engines.

 

So – what am I supposed to do? What is best to write about that keeps me sane; will contain the essential keywords; will interest the (millions of) readers; and yet stick to some logical, reasonable theme? Well – Rochelle and I were out for a walk yesterday and we decided to blanket the whole thing in a tag-line for the blog: “Blogging about all things Massage, and all things Jackson Hole.” What do you think of that? And you know what – I even think I’ll just write about what I darn-well please.

Be well,

Rochelle and Hamish

 

Jackson Hole Activities – Visit the National Elk Refuge

Jackson Hole Activities – Visit the National Elk Refuge

 

In our work as massage therapists in Jackson Hole, where our clients are often from out of town, we find ourselves as a resource of information about the area. So this blog will now occasionally cover the many wonderful things there are for people to do while in Jackson Hole. With summer season coming right along, We’ll cover events and activities, from ‘mainstream’ tourism attractions, to more subtle activities and organizations etc. – more for locals’ participation.

 

With the near-record heavy snows of February and early March now on the wane, spring has come to Jackson Hole with warm mid-day temperatures and lingering light, and this is no more obvious than on the National Elk Refuge. The refuge abuts the Eastern portion of the town of Jackson and thousands of elk (official count just in this month 1s 11,600)  can be seen across the vast expanse of the Elk Refuge as it spreads out north towards Grand Teton National Park and east to the Gros Ventre Mountains. It’s mid-March and time for bull elk to start shedding their antlers – which they will do through April. Soon after shedding, their new velveted antler growth begins. During April and May, elk begin drifting from the Refuge, following the receding snowline toward their summer ranges in the high country. Calves are born in protected areas along the migration route in late May and June.

 

Birds flock to the refuge during their spring migration. Yes, there’s more than just elk here – the refuge preserves and restores habitat for endangered species, birds, fish and other big-game animals such as Bison. It’s not unusual to see coyotes, bear, red fox and even wolves there.

 

 

The next three months will bring much activity to the elk refuge as they prepare to start their migration and eventually move to their summer habitats. While there’s still snow on the ground, an excellent way to see this up-close and personal is by taking a horse-drawn sleigh-ride right in among the herds.

 

There’s plenty of information to be had about this on the National Elk Refuge’s web site.   Jackson Hole’s National Elk Refuge is run by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. And after you’re all done with that…a nice massage would be just the thing to finish off the day – don’t you think?

Be well, Hamish and Rochelle.

Massage Client Expectations.

Massage Client Expectations.

At massage Professionals of Jackson Hole, we see two main types of clients. There are our regular customers who come more to our office at 270 Veronica Lane, and there are our out-call clients who have us come to their home to give them their massage(s). The latter are more generally visitors to the area on vacation – and, so far, we tend to see those people just once. (That may hopefully change as time goes by and they visit again.)

With regular clients to the office – we get to know who they are and what their need for massage is based on. We start to get a history, write SOAP notes about their visits – and the ‘P’ in SOAP is ‘plan’ which we can make, together with the client. If a client doesn’t have any specific complaints or ‘work to be done’ – then that’s OK – a relaxation massage is just as beneficial and we get to know how to deliver that the more often we see a person. On the subject of this post – ‘Expectations’, it’s a much easier task to provide a client’s expectations with regular clients.

It’s the one-time massage client where that becomes much more difficult. We’ve never seen them before and, aside from a quick intake form, know essentially nothing about them. With a regular client, the first session is more about discovery (on both the part of the client and the massage therapist) than therapy. Even the second session is still a ‘getting-to-know-you’ period of time, and that most essential element, trust, is being built up. Therefore sometimes it is hard to meet the expectations of a one-and-only time massage client who has been skiing hard at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and wishes us to sort out all that ails him so that he can ski next day. (Could just as easily be ‘she’.)

 

My point is that most massage therapists are very capable of giving a darn good overall massage – from relaxation to deep tissue – all over the body and applying specific work to specific areas as requested. But before a massage therapist can really deliver exactly the specific massage the client wants / needs – there has to be knowledge, trust, understanding, confidence built up between the two and that takes time.

 

If you are a one-time client visiting a massage office or having them come to you, it’s good to have an understanding of this and lower your expectations. Of course, it’s important to list the areas where you feel you’d like attention – and the therapist will fit that into the overall massage – but with 60 minutes in which to work their magic, understand that there may be limits and allow for the ‘relaxation’ part of massage to be just as beneficial as specific work.

 

Be well,        Hamish and Rochelle

Canine Massage

Canine Massage

One of the beautiful things about being the author of a blog – and blog – not just a massage blog – is that you can write about what you please (within reason and decency). And so that’s exactly what I’m going to do from time to time. This post isn’t really about canine massage or doggy massage or animal massage of any kind. It just came from an idea I had while researching images for my previous post ‘You Gotta go Deeper than that, man’ – Issue 35. I happened to need a doggy image – then I thought it should be a funny one (I’m generally SO serious). But I do admit that both Rochelle and I have seriously considered providing doggy massage herein  Jackson Hole – could be a lucrative adjunct to Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole.

So anyway – departing from the usual massage topic: a few humorous doggy pics and comments: These made me hoot with laughter.

 

 

 

 

Image showing funny dog 5

Image showing funny dog 6

Image showing funny dog 6

 

Image showing funny dog 8

Image showing funny dog 9

Image showing funny dog 10

Image showing funny dog 11

Image showing funny dog 12

Image showing funny dog 13

The end…

Be well,

Hamish and Rochelle.

 

 

 

You Gotta Go Deeper Than That, Man

You Gotta Go Deeper Than That, Man

Image showing deep tissue massage

Yes, those were my client’s actual words. And, believe me, for the first hour of this two-hour massage – that’s precisely what I thought I had been doing…and exhausting myself in the process. I should qualify that – and I explained this to my client before he got onto the table – it can’t ‘all’ be deep tissue massage. Perhaps a third of it will be – and then only in areas that merit deep work (in my view) and aren’t ‘danger zones’ (poplietal, lower back, for example). The other two thirds of the time consist of gentler work where, first, I am bringing the client into a comfortable relaxed zone in both body and mind – this in order for me to gain ‘permission’ to go deeper. To the same goal I am also warming with vibration, loosening with tapotement, assessing and ‘melting’ muscles with both soft and more aggressive effleurage and sometimes still pressure.

 

This post is a continuation of the previous post ‘Taking it Easy’ – and the client has skied a combined vertical of 30,000 ft. that day at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Having employed a mountain ski guide in uniform – he didn’t have to wait in lift or tram lines.

 

This client is an athlete through-and-through – every muscle an element of a highly-tuned machine. A body-builder and a TRX exerciser. He has every right to ask for a deep tissue massage and frankly I was apprehensive going into it. He is accustomed to receiving sports massages from his sports trainer twice per week. And so, back to the beginning, after giving it all I had in the way of ‘deep pressure without hurting’ – I discovered that he actually wanted me to hurt him. My client, nicely, let me know that nothing I had done so far had made much impression. The expectations had been high. It is also worth noting here that, in deep tissue or sports massage – communication is everything (unlike Swedish massage where I, and usually the client, prefer to keep quiet). He should have felt free to comment much earlier – and I should have solicited.

I’m no slouch either…a mountain athlete myself with a regular workout schedule. I understand the human form – especially from an athletic perspective. I’m 6’2, 195 lbs and can deliver a good, strong massage – not often letting people down.

 

By this time I was massaging the calves – often a tender area, especially on skiers, and there was nothing – no amount of pressure I could lay on with all of my weight – that could elicit a twitch in those tell-tale fingers or any sign of pulling away. Yet he still described having discomfort that HE thought I could address – which I could only contribute to the peroneal muscles -where, I admit, I rarely ‘go’ with clients. ‘OK – you asked for it – I thought – and went in there deep and long with the very point of my elbow and stripped like crazy. Aha – that did it! I could feel him breathing into it and enjoying the pain and, yes, relief that it gave him. This gave me confidence and much more ‘permission’ from both him and his body to go deeper to the point of pain (and – for him – relief) – which I did for the rest of his massage – including, incredibly, a strong elbowing of his biceps and triceps tendons (he had considerable tendinitis there, I think, from the TRX exercises and a hand-dragging trick in snowboarding called ‘pat-the-dog’).

 

My experience as a massage therapist grew with that session. Beyond knowing that I had done well by receiving the biggest tip of my career, my confidence soared along with my ability to expand my offering of (very) deep tissue massage to well-tuned athletic hard-men (and women) who need it.

 

Be well,

Hamish and Rochelle.

 

 

 

 

 

Taking it Easy

Taking It Easy

We are fortunate to provide massage services in beautiful Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Unlike summers, when visitors are here to experience the National Parks of Teton and Yellowstone, in winter they’re here primarily for skiing. And it just so happens that Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is one of the gnarliest ski mountains there is – in terms of steeps, difficulties and oodles of snow.

Image showing map of Jackson Hole

 

From a massage perspective – this is good for us – people come here, ski hard and then are in dire need of massage. Sounds simple enough – but this post comes as a note of caution. Hey – don’t get me wrong – I’ll take the massage clients as it’s what I do for a living…but can I really make people better? Am I really the answer to what ails them after a hard day of skiing?

Jackson Hole has recently been graded as number 1 in ‘SKI’ magazine – and so folks flock here to ski. Even if they just ski for that one week or two per year – they choose this challenging mountain to do so. Skiing at Jackson consists of long, hard days using muscles that are not in shape.

 

As a long-time skier, having lived in Vail, Colorado for twenty years, and Jackson Hole for thirteen – I can opine that skiers should pick their terrain according to their ability. Perhaps the first good thing they can do for their bodies (prevention is better than cure), is choose a ski area where there is much more intermediate terrain – like Vail – because let’s face it – if you only ski once per year – you’re probably intermediate. At least your muscles are. And you’ll have a better time as ego creeps in as you master those easier slopes with ease. (I’m just talking about ski terrain here – Vail itself – well – I left there for a reason. Jackson and its environs are fantastic – but the skiing – is hard on the body.)

Massage – seekers come to me and ask if I can fix their considerable pain (usually lower-back) so that they might ski (hard) again tomorrow. I’m as fanatic a skier as the next guy – but whoa – there comes a time when it just makes sense to take the day off. No matter how good a massage therapist might be – there’s nothing that can be done for all the over-use of those hip-rotators, glutes, hamstrings, quads, erectors – and just about every other muscle in your body. Sometimes I have to even turn people away, saying that massage may hurt their (acute) problem even further. The muscle spasm in the lower back is a natural splinting mechanism that is in place specifically to protect the body from further harm – and massage can be contra-indicated.

Take a day or two off skiing. Visit the hot tub, relax in bed, go shopping, read a book, veg in front of the TV, call your Mom, BREATHE. Sometimes massage isn’t the answer to everything.

 

Be well,

 

Hamish and Rochelle