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Hot Springs near Jackson Hole

Hot Springs near Jackson Hole

This is the third in a series of three articles about hot springs near Jackson Hole. Of course, ‘near’ is a relative term – so I’m talking about drives of ninety minutes or so from the town of Jackson, Wyoming. And this all started with the question: what do Jackson Hole Massage Professionals do during the off-seasons? – And just about any other local who gets to stick around for the slow times.

To find the third hot springs near Jackson Hole  we’re moving on to Granite Hot Springs

 Granite Hot Springs near Jackson Hole

– which is South of Jackson Hole off  Hoback Canyon on the way to Pinedale. It takes about 45 minutes to get to the Granite Creek Junction, deep within Hoback Canyon (Granite Creek is a tributary of the Hoback River). From the junction there, it’s ten miles east on a well-graded (mostly) dirt road to the hot springs. It’s a bumpy, dusty, stunningly beautiful drive up there – deep into the Gros Ventre Mountains which are massively high in the background behind the hot springs camp site. The camp site itself is lovely – not to do with the hot springs themselves…no – this just happens to be a Forest Service camp ground nearby – and it’s a great value at $14 per tent site. (Last time I looked.) Anyway – great spot of you’ve got a pop-up camper and want to spend some fun time in the out-doors, surrounded by Pine forest. In winter it’s a popular snow mobile destination – but in my view that kills the whole idea. It’s a long way on skate or classic Nordic touring skis – but do-able and the hot springs afterwards is a treat.  You don’t have to pay to go into the hot springs pool itself – there’s another hot spring in a rock wall and there are pools below to catch the hot water – which mixes with Granite Creek itself to cool it down. This is a neat spot because a major waterfall roars right beside you. Not bad for hot springs near Jackson Hole.

Image showing waterfall beside Granite Hotsprings

The hot springs pool is different from the other two mentioned. It’s completely open with just a short fence around it – and it’s curved outer wall hugs a mountain alcove – down whose slippery walls runs this steaming hot spring water.  Where the water falls into the pool – is where it is hot. The further you move away from the source of the spring – the cooler it gets. So it’s fun to cruise in and out of warm and cooler zones that circulate the pool. Right in against the cliff is where you hand out for warmth. There’s no specific temperature set for this pool as it is affected by snow-melt. The pool is an azure, milky blue and of course it’s just dreamy to be there like all the rest of them.

Image showing Granite hot springs 3

Be well,

Hamish and Rochelle

 

 

Jackson Hole Activities – Off Square Theater Company.

Jackson Hole Activities – Off Square Theater Company

Image showing Off Square Logo

Often utilizing the Black box theater at Jackson Hole’s Center for the Arts, the Off Square Theatre Company puts on truly ‘must-see’ productions for locals and visitors alike. Mainstream or quirky, for children, serious, whimsical, weird, off-the-cuff , musical and downright hilarious – but always, always professional – would describe the work produced by the Off Square Theatre Company. Their productions are usually showcased in either the ‘Black Box Theater’ or on the main stage at the Center Theater – both in Jackson’s stunning and up-to-the-minute Center for the Arts.

Image showing Jackson Off Square play group 1

 

A list of their recent productions should ‘set the scene’:

The Hound of the Baskervilles
Crime & Punishment
Thin Air Shakespeare
To Kill A Mockingbird
The Phantom Tollbooth

Image showing Jackson Off Square play group 2

Almost, Maine
God of Carnage
The 39 Steps
Godspell
HONK!

Image showing Jackson Off Square play group 3

Then of course there’s the downright goofy (but more brain-power than you might think) Laff Staff – Jackson Hole’s favorite ad-lib troupe. Their next show is at the Black Box Theatre on April 4th. More about them later…For all inquiries, contact the Jackson Hole Center for the Arts

Image showing Jackson Hole's Laff Staff

 

Be well,

Hamish and Rochelle.

 

 

 

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

 

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

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

Sweetheart Chocolate Massage

Sweetheart Chocolate Massage

 

Although we at Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole don’t offer chocolate massage, here’s a superb article, thanks to Yogawiz.com, that allows you, finally, to indulge in (literally) chocolate – especially for Valentines Day …and other days:

While there is no doubt that chocolate is the best pick-me-up around, it has always got a bad rap for being full of calories and fat. Chocolate has also been considered one of the culprits for bad skin as too much consumption can lead to acne and skin blemishes.

 

Of late though, the view on chocolate for the skin has taken an about turn. High-end spas all around the world have introduced the latest in skin care – chocolate spa treatments! From soothing chocolate massages and body wraps to indulgent chocolate facials and invigorating chocolate body scrubs, suddenly chocolate is everywhere. Using cocoa-based creams, lotions, and oils, you can now choose to get your chocolate fix without the calories.

 

Some of the benefits of chocolate body treatments include:

  • Firms the skin – The caffeine present in chocolate stimulates the circulation and improves blood flow. This in turn improves and invigorates skin cells, decreases the aging process and increases firmness of the skin.
  • Rich in anti-oxidants – The darker the chocolate, the more powerful are the antioxidant properties. It is also important that you choose your creams and lotions carefully before you begin using them. Products that contain more than 35% of pure cocoa are more effective when it comes to revitalizing the skin and giving it a plumper and firmer feel. Antioxidants also help increase the level of collagen and elastin in the skin and thereby reduce the effects of aging. Fine lines and wrinkles can be treated with regular chocolate treatments as antioxidants lessen the damage caused by free radicals in the body.
  • As a moisturizing agent – Cocoa butter contains high amounts of natural oils and emollients necessary for treating dry, rough and flaky skin. A chocolate massage or chocolate body wrap using a cocoa-butter based massage cream will help remedy rough skin especially on those stubborn spots such as the elbows, knees and feet. The higher the percentage of cocoa butter in the lotion or cream, the better moisturized the skin stays long after the treatment is over.
  • Good for health – Studies have shown that eating a small bit of dark chocolate every day can improve your cardiovascular system, and help prevent atherosclerosis and chronic fatigue due to its antioxidant properties. Chocolate also has the power to improve a person’s mood and cause feelings of euphoria. Even the smell of chocolate can accomplish this positive effect on the brain; making chocolate massages an ideal way reap the health benefits of without any of the guilt associated with eating too much chocolate.
  • Good for cellulite – Chocolate contains theobromine that helps burn fat and get rid of cellulite. A chocolate massage or chocolate body wrap helps work the chocolate-based lotion or oil into the skin for the best results.
  • Calming effects – Who hasn’t calmed down after biting into a chunk of chocolate? In much the same way, a chocolate massage helps reduce stress and tension and eases tight and sore muscles.

 

You can also make your own chocolate massage lotion at home in a few simple steps:

  1. Mix together a quarter cup of cocoa powder with one cup of shea butter and a quarter cup of chamomile oil. You can use a blender for this to get a nice smooth consistency.
  2. Mix till the lotion is smooth and free of lumps. If you would like it thinner, add some more oil. If you prefer a thicker cream, add some more shea butter. Make sure that the shea butter is at room temperature for the best results.
  3. Pour this lotion into a jar with a tight lid and store in a cool dark place.
  4. Use to massage into the skin or as a moisturizer. It is gentle enough for everyday use.

 

 

Thanks also to Everyday Health for this wonderful chocolate massage post.

Be Well,

Hamish and Rochelle

 

Start a Great Massage Habit with your Valentine ‘s Day Gift.

Start a Great Massage Habit with your Valentine ‘s Day Gift

 

It’s the season for love and, like flowers, massage is one of the ‘go-to’ gifts to give. But why stop at that? Why not give yourself a gift as well and book a couples massage for extra romance. And then, while you’re enjoying that massage, consider the health benefits – for you and your partner – of regular massage. Read on – and you’ll see that if it’s good for your body – then it’s good for your partner. Better still, if you can get couples massages as often as possible, it’s good for both of you…together.

Massage Therapy for Health and Fitness

 

It may simply look like a lot of pressing and kneading on skin, but massage is actually a scientific process. The reason you feel different after a massage is because it is healing and invigorating tired, aching or injured muscles. Massage increases blood and lymph circulation. Lymph is a fluid that rids body tissues of waste, is dependent on the squeezing effect of muscles. An active person has better lymph flow than an inactive person. However, stimulation from vigorous activity can lead to increased waste, which can negate the benefit. This is where massage has a huge advantage. Massage can dramatically aid lymph movement, which together with blood, supplies nutrients and oxygen and rids wastes and toxins. It is easy to understand why good circulation is so important to our health and why massage can be so beneficial just for this purpose.

Massage and Sport

 

Massage plays a part in every form of sport or exercise. Unfortunately, many people believe aches and pains are an inevitable consequence to activity. But massage can actually reduce or eliminate what may appear to be exercise-induced pain.

It can increase endurance, control fatigue and help people feel better when used as part of a regular health program. Massage can also speed muscle recovery rates as it eliminates irritation from waste. By helping reduce fatigue and aid recovery, massage enables more productive training, with longer, more effective workouts. The ultimate spin-offs are better performance with fewer injuries. Exercise changes the way our muscles work. Blood vessels become more intricate as the body demands more oxygen and nutrients and increases waste elimination. This takes time. While the muscles are getting into shape, they can struggle to get enough oxygen and nutrients, so waste collects.

Some Other Benefits of Massage

 

  • Increase the blood’s oxygen capacity by 10-15%
  • Help loosen contracted, shortened muscles and stimulate weak, flaccid muscles. This muscle “balancing” can even help posture and promote more efficient movement;
  • Speed recovery from exercise-induced fatigue;
  • Increase production of gastric juices, saliva and urine;
  • Increase excretion of nitrogen, inorganic phosphorus, and sodium chloride (salt). This suggests that the metabolic rate increases;
  • Balance the nervous system by soothing or stimulating it, depending on which effect is needed;
  • Improves function of the oil and sweat glands that lubricate, clean and cool the skin. Though, inflexible skin can become softer and more supple;
  • Indirectly or directly stimulating nerves the supply internal organs can dilate the organs’ blood vessels, improving blood supply.

For much of this content – Special Thanks to Allissa Haines and ‘Writing a Blue Streak‘, and to Butlers Body in Balance

Be Well,

Hamish and Rochelle

 

 

 

 

Scope of Practice

Scope of Practice

I recently had a female client in her 50’s who complained of lower back pain (uh-oh), sore shoulders and a stiff neck with limited Range of Motion. The sore lower back situation was chronic, and had lately been accompanied by painful sciatica in her right leg. She purchased a 50-minute massage (not enough time) and asked for it to be ‘deep’. She works in sales, at a computer all day, and was in Jackson Hole on a ski vacation – she had been skiing  every day and the slopes were icy and hard-packed.

Warning signs go up all over the place for me when I have a client like this. I am likely to see her once and never again. My customer-service ethic on the one hand kicks-in (yes – I can cure all that ails you and give you the deep tissue massage that you have asked for) but then so does my training in Scope of Practice and just plain awareness that there is, in fact, very little I can do for her beyond general relaxation – with a fairly light Swedish massage. Unfortunately, I didn’t listen to my more sensible self – but listened to the ‘business’ self that says give the customer what she is asking for. After 50 minutes of addressing neck, shoulder, hip, glutes, hamstrings, hip rotators and other areas I associate with lower back pain, she came out into our reception area, went pale in the face, and had to sit down. She complained that her back was even more sore now – though not in a criticizing sort of way as the massage had felt good to her at the time. During the massage, my work on her right piriformis had shown it to be extremely sensitive to touch, whereas that on her left side was OK. This seemed most likely connected to her sciatica on that side – the tight piriformis perhaps pinching or compressing the nerve. I mentioned this subjectively to her.

I feel that I should not have given her the massage that she asked for – but instead let her relax both muscularly and mentally with a nice, peaceful Swedish massage. This is what should have been dictated by the limits of my own Scope of Practice – and I would have felt much better to see her walking comfortable, rather than stiffly, out of the spa.

A friend called me today to say that she was experiencing weakness in both of her hands, and that upon waking up in the morning her hands were numb as though she had been sleeping on them in a bad way (which she thinks she was not). I told her right away that I am not a doctor and may not diagnose things (especially over the phone) – and then mentioned that these symptoms could be indicative of nerve damage in her lower C-spine – I know because I have had a triple-fusion neck surgery for exactly that in recent years. “Have you had a doctor’s opinion on this?” I asked her.

“Well,” she said, “I’ve been to the chiropractor – and he ‘adjusted’ me.” If there’s one thing that makes me squirm – it’s hearing stories of chiropractors who go in and start ‘adjusting’ people who’s symptoms speak to potential spinal problems – when, clearly, NOTHING should be done without a proper diagnosis by a qualified MD with the aid of an MRI scan and or X-rays. I told her my thoughts on this and that, in my humble opinion, this chiropractor was working outside of his Scope of Practice and that she should seek a proper diagnosis.

“Once you have that diagnosis – whatever it is – I want you to ask your doctor if massage is indicated in order to help with either the cause or the symptoms. Then I can consult with your doctor about a massage prescription and we can move ahead.” It could be that muscles in the thoracic outlet or C-spine area are in spasm and causing her discomfort. In that case, I do sincerely think I can help her without risk to my practice or her health – and a competent doctor’s order is a much more comforting umbrella under which to work to help soothe her pain. Anything else is speculation, and clearly beyond our Scope of Work.

Be well,

Hamish and Rochelle.

 

 

 

 

You Come to Us.

You Come To Us

Last week my blog post was all about ‘We Come To You’.  This was indeed how we defined our business when we started out – it seemed like a really good idea – and it IS – up to a point.  There are some people who just don’t want us to come to them.  For various reasons, it’s not convenient. There might be interruptions at home, or the noise of TV, kids, dogs, construction…who knows.

For the occasional visitor who comes to Jackson Hole and stays in nice hotels or vacation residences, in-home massage is a great service and one that is much appreciated as part of a pampering massage experience. But we now feel that this leaves out our more local customers who may not have large places for us to come to – and they’d rather be in a more purpose-oriented massage studio to get down to the business or regular sports or deep tissue massage therapy.

So Rochelle and I have decided to expand our practice and our thinking…and just this week we have taken on a shared space in ‘The Connection‘ (270 Veronica Lane, Jackson), which will enable people to come to a centrally located massage studio in Jackson at their convenience…and ours.

And, like so many things in life, this has turned out to be a fabulous move for Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole.  For starters, we now have Tina Seay in our lives – and what a beautiful, nurturing person she is.  Rochelle and I are immediately better off for knowing her.  Tina runs The Connection – ‘A Place To Connect at All Levels’ – it’s a lovely, relaxing, quiet suite of rooms where different massage / body work / energy work professionals practice their professions.  Here’s how Tina describes The Connection:

It is a collective center where people meet to explore themselves, their place in the world, and how to reach their highest most exquisite Self.  Through bodywork, energy work, workshops, and products The Connection is a center created for the evolution of body, mind, and spirit.

Aside from creating the physical presence of ‘The Connection’, Tina’s own practice is Healing Touch Massage and Body Work.  The following few lines from her web site should tell it all:

Get out of exist mode; Move into the present moment, Become more optimistic, Allow yourself to move forward; Rebound from your extreme sports activities; Recover from your crippled posture after the long plane ride; Look good, feel good.  Become more flexible.

Also present in The Connection is Sheri Todd, NCMT (Nationally Certified Massage Therapist) with her business Teton Manual Therapy – Orthopedic Health Assessment and Wellness.

What is ‘Manual Therapy’? – Check it out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manual_therapy

Sheri’s qualifications, experience and expertise are just too great to go into here (so go check out her web site) – but let’s just say she’s another wonderful person to be ‘connected’ with and Rochelle and I look forward to working in unison with these two wonderful professionals.

Be well,

Hamish and Rochelle.