Massage

Who Gets Sports Massage?

Sports Massage – Who Gets it?

Sports Massage is an expanding field. Its broadening appeal is the result of an aging and more exercise-conscious population. Certain types of work may also benefit from Sports Massage, even though ‘sports’ is not an accurate moniker for the activities: Musicians, construction workers, dancers, assembly-line workers can all have harmful, strenuous and repetitive loads on their musculo-skeletal systems.

 

With aging, active people will find muscular elasticity dwindling, as does muscular recovery time from hard or over use. Many other of the body’s  systems are generally working more slowly and less efficiently the older we get. A sensible, balanced approach to your fitness is necessary. Whilst it is imperative that we exercise our bodies (and minds) to stay vital and strong, it can make sense to back off a little – and consider that Sports massage  becomes more and more a valuable adjunct.

 

Clients will usually end up in a Sports Massage clinic as a result of either a prescription from a physician, or on their own self-advisement or that of a sports coach or trainer.

A doctor’s prescription will be quite specific, with a diagnosis of a problem (perhaps a sports or over-use injury) and instructions to the sports therapist. Self-advisement is simply that you feel you’d like to give your body the best chances for performance, maintaining comfort,  and injury prevention (Facilitated stretching is invaluable for this and can be a wonderful part of ‘maintenance’ deep massage). If you are at the sports massage therapist for an injury or complaint without a doctor’s prescription, beware that the therapist is not allowed, by law, to make a diagnosis and they are not allowed to ‘treat’ a client on their own initiative. Tempting as it is you should not go to a massage therapist of any kind with the idea that it is any kind of a substitute for a physician’s care.

 

For more serious performance athletes, the value of sports massage is now well recognized by coaches and trainers – indeed, massage therapists are often part of the training/coaching effort. Pre-event, post-event and ‘maintenance’ massage are fast becoming  a normal part of athletic training. Reducing ‘down-time’, increasing post-event recovery time, rehabilitating injuries and increasing ease of movement are just some of the benefits of Sports Massage at the performance level. Additionally, the sports massage therapist can advise on ‘homework’ for the athlete, such as stretching, or common-sense injury-reducing care, such as treating recent soft tissue injuries with PRICE – Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

 

In the next issue I will discuss what to expect in a Sports Massage.

Be well,

Hamish and Rochelle.

 

Sports Massage – Performance Vs. Fitness

Sports Massage – Performance VS. Fitness

 

Jackson Hole is a natural place to find athletes and active people who are in need of body work. Think of it as necessary tune-ups without which physical performance could suffer.

But what’s the difference between performance and fitness? Where do those lines cross? How can massage help? What kind of massage does an athlete need? What kind of massage does a ‘fit’ person need? What is a ‘Deep Tissue’ massage?

Let’s start with the definition of ‘Performance’ as it pertains to humans – “The capacity to compete sport-specific activity with skill and performance.”

 

And the definition of ‘Fitness’:

1. The state or condition of being fit; suitability or appropriateness.
2. Good health or physical condition, especially as the result of exercise and proper nutrition.
There are subtle but definite differences between the two and it does not follow that increased performance equals increased fitness as the drive to obtain certain levels in that performance exposes the body to more harm in the way of over-exertion and / or injury.
Injuries can be from simple acts of impact or falls – such as in skiing or cycling – or overuse injuries from repetitive actions (tennis, golf), or simply an over-aggressive training regime leading to strained ligaments or over-worked muscles.
In Rocky Mountain ski towns it’s sometimes hard to tell the two apart. But let’s just say that the ‘keep-fit’ crowd are the recreational cyclists, skiers etc. who are out for a good time with the added bonus that it’s great for your health (IF you do it properly) – and the performance crowd are those who do crazy things like race up the Grand Teton or bike in the Logan to Jackson bike ride every September.
People who maintain good health and ‘wellness’ may live more comfortable lives as they get older, than their performance-based sports counterparts. One of the best ‘keep-fit’ exercise regimes is, simply, walking. (Though add some thing in for the upper body – cross country skiing accommodates this nicely.)
The key is…don’t overdo it – and of course get regular massage that pertains to your specific sports / wellness needs. True sports jocks can be just as much in need of a nice relaxing Swedish massage (90-minutes  please) and it could just as easily be true that a normally ‘fit’ person would benefit from a deep tissue massage. After all, that ‘fitness’ we are discussing does require a certain amount of physical activity and specific exercise that works all of the body. Not everyone has the skill, time, discipline to effect that perfect exercise routine, where balances in work-outs / rest / warm-up time / cool down time are found.
Properly indicated massage of any type may help performance athletes and just regular ‘fit’ people in many ways – most notably the movement of bodily fluids, the relaxation of muscles, raising the effects of the parasympathetic nervous system, removal of toxins and lactic acid from muscle cells – and many more.
Performance athletes, specifically, will of course benefit from massage of traumatic injury sites to assist in their healing – but they will also benefit from the effects of increase in parasympathetic functioning in the autonomic nervous system (rest and digest). As a group, performance athletes experience body and mental fatigue. A good Swedish massage is often found to send such athletes to sleep – which is, obviously, exactly what they need.
Be well,
Hamish and Rochelle.

 

 

 

Women Are From Venus

Women Are From Venus

In a previous blog I wrote about the ‘unfairness’ of men losing massage work to women by a fairly substantial margin. I’d say that female requests cost me about two-thirds of the massages I’d otherwise be getting. Various scenarios, mostly unsubstantiated,  lead to this – and they have been discussed. But here’s a slightly different angle on that whole topic…massaging women is, and should be, quite different from massaging men – and if a man is giving a woman a massage – he should really be aware of those differences:

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1. Women are more prone to certain health conditions than men. Women are more likely to experience depression, stroke and rheumatoid arthritis. Some conditions, like osteoporosis, are directly related to women’s hormone fluctuations and smaller frames. Others, like fibromyalgia, are much more common in women, but scientists have yet to figure out why.

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2. Women do not always experience the same symptoms as men with the same conditions. While men are more likely to experience a heart attack than women, women are more likely to die of the same heart attack. The reasons may be related to the publicized symptoms: while everyone knows about chest pressure and pain down the left arm, these are symptoms typically experienced by men. Women may experience dizziness, lightheadedness, or fatigue. Knowing the different ways conditions manifest in men and women can truly be a lifesaver.

 

3. Women have different risk factors than men. Remember that bit about women being more susceptible to stroke? In addition to the risk factors shared with men, there are also many women-specific risks, including being pregnant, taking hormonal birth control pills, using hormone replacement therapy, and experiencing frequent migraines. Unfortunately, these additional risk factors don’t always show up in educational materials.

 

4. Women and men sometimes react differently to drugs and other treatments. Women wake up faster from anesthesia. Some drugs, like ibuprofen, seem to be more effective in men than women, while others like erythromycin (an antibiotic) work better in women. And of course there are medications typically prescribed for sex-specific issues that can interfere with each other. As an example, acetaminophen (AKA Tylenol) can interfere with the effectiveness of birth control.

5. In spite of all this, women’s and men’s bodies are more similar than they are different. We share 99% of our genetic material with every other person on the planet. We have the same basic structure, suffer from most of the same illnesses, and heal in the same way. A healthy diet, active lifestyle, adequate sleep, and positive attitude are beneficial to men and women alike. There are no studies showing whether massage therapy is better for any one subset of people than others. Maybe that research will be done in the future. In the meantime, if you’d like to know whether it works for you, there’s only one way to find out!

Be well,

Hamish and Rochelle

 

 

Organic is Organic

Organic Massage

Well, it would be a stretch to say that there is such a thing as Organic Massage, and there are of course organic massage oils such as Certified Organic Sunflower Oil, Certified Organic Safflower Oil, Certified Organic Olive Oil,Certified Jojoba Oil, and non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) Vitamin E,  but this is a column about organic eating and organic massage marketing.

 

In the last couple of years, more of our local Smith’s grocery Store in Jackson Hole has been given over to organic fruits and vegetables. This could be in direct response to therecent opening of a huge new Jackson Whole Grocer just up the street. Or it could be Safeway taking a genuine interest in their customers’ health and responding to market forces. But every time I go into a store and see the word ‘Organic’ I become the skeptic and remember the discussion in Michael Pollan’s book: ‘The Omnivore’s Dilemma”. He says that far too many food companies are getting on the ‘organic’ bandwagon – just to increase profits (markups on anything that says ‘organic’ are  many more times than non-organic) – when in fact there isn’t really that much of an organic nature to these foods. It’s a bit like ‘green-washing’ – when a company that pours millions of gallons of toxic waste into our rivers gets a ‘green’ award because it recycles its office paper!

 

Then there’s another kind of organic – which is how we’re growing our business at Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole. So maybe we’re getting closer to Organic Massage.

There’s organic in the way Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole is gaining positioning in the search engine rankings, and there’s organic in the way we’re slowly increasing our customer base. That is: we’re not spending money on link farms, buying Facebook ‘Likes’ or Twitter followers and so on. Those things can bring in vast numbers but it’s not a good way to go and is detected by the search engine crawlers as ‘underhanded’ and will cost  more than money in the end. It will cost of massage business credibility. Search engine rankings are being increased in three ways: 1) Rochelle is working hard (she started with one to two hours every day) participating in lively SM correspondence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.  2) Our new web site www.massageprofessionalsJacksonHole.com is totally dialed-in, with ‘responsive’ capabilities to show up on mobile devices, and  3) The blog – such as this post. It’s important to keep it rich in keyword phrases and content – although you won’t see the word ‘Massage’ or ‘Jackson Hole’ written up too much in this week’s post. Another way we’re doing it organically is simply by growing the business slowly. We recently turned down the opportunity to take over an established massage business in Jackson Hole. There are beautiful premises with four nicely decorated rooms, inexpensive rent, a customer base and a very advanced responsive web site. We turned it down because we’d rather grow into that kind of positioning than purchase it all. It just seemed like the better way to go. We’ll grow by reputation one customer at a time – and that’s organic. And then, who knows, maybe one day we’ll discover Organic Massage as well – but if we do, it will be slowly – and organically.

 

Be well,

Hamish and Rochelle

Marketing Your Massage Business in Jackson Hole

This blog is about the adventures, trials, tribulations, emotions, pleasures, fears, frustrations and joys of starting a new out-call massage business in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The blog is written by T. Hamish Tear, one of the two owner / partners of Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole – which is then carried forward into the Social Media sphere by Rochelle Ganoe – the other owner / Partner.

Our most recent ‘test of faith’ in Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole has been to continue to commit funds to consistent, repeated advertising over long periods of time when this is quickly becoming a negative cash-flow situation. The big decision has been whether or not to continue with advertising in the Jackson Hole News and Guide (and now we are considering the Jackson Hole Daily News) – in addition to the various other advertising mediums we have going on at the moment – not to mention the ‘Big-Gulp’ of a whole new custom web site. From previous blog posts, readers may recall that those other advertising mediums are:

1) Rack Cards. These were published by Vista Print. We ordered 2,500 and they have been distributed around Jackson Hole by the brochure delivery company “Pony Express”. We are having them delivered to rack card locations in hotels and public places frequented by tourists all over Jackson. Rack cards have provided us with two inquiries and one sale over a period of three months.

2) Jackson Hole Attraction Menu. This map and calendar of events carries advertising within it and is distributed alongside rack cards and is also found in many hotel rooms and lobbies. This has brought in three inquiries so far and has resulted in one sale.

3) The Jackson Hole News and Guide. We started with a 1/4 page ad and are now running a slightly smaller ad. for six weeks – the total contract being for thirteen weeks. This has brought in one inquiry, which led to one sale.

Those are our current advertising efforts and on-going expenses. In the past we have also advertised in the half-off special section of JH Weekly (aka Planet Jackson Hole). Yes it seems steep and scary and the question is…do we have faith in Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole to keep it going with that kind of negative cash-flow? Fortunately, we have our contract massage work at Spring Creek Ranch, and at Sena Spa in Teton Village, and at Olga’s Day Spa at Snow King Resort to keep us going. Rochelle also has a handful of fairly regular local massage clients from the past couple of years that keep her cash coming as well – although those are well discounted prices.

But what we also have to thank for cash coming in – by far our most efficient advertising medium (although we’re still talking small numbers) is the internet – yes – our web site, its SEO and Rochelle’s SM work – are performing. Usually when the Massage Professionals phone rings it is a request for a massage from having been found on the internet. And those customers have been mostly un-phased by our basic one hour massage price of $130 – and they leave extremely generous gratuities. This is why we have decided to go for the big splash of having a new custom web site built for us. We consider that the previous web site, a free template web site that comes with membership of the American Bodywork and Massage Professionals, to be ‘adequate’ but no more because it is not a ‘responsive’ web site – and other reasons. (Although it is a really good place to start with a brand new massage business with little start-up capital – and it has already gained a very respectable organic Google placement.)

This blog Post will continue next week with details of how we have decided to construct our new web site, who we hired to do so and why – and how expenses being poured into the web site can be justified and balanced against or with those other advertising mediums in Jackson Hole.

Be well,

Hamish and Rochelle.