Let’s Talk Tunes

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I am in LOVE with solo classical/new age piano music. If you’ve worked with me more than one time you’ve probably figured that out. I don’t play the piano, but I love listening to it being played well. I’d like to think I give a better massage when I’m listening to music that really inspires me. My new favorite is British composer Helen Jane Long. Some of my other go-to faves are Brian Crain, Jim Brickman, George Winston, David Lanz, Joe Yamada, Joe Bongiorno and Yiruma.

Now… I sometimes, mistakenly, assume that everyone LOVES exactly what I love. That’s fairly safe to do when we’re talking foot massge…but maybe not music so much. If you have a favorite artist or genre that just puts you into that nice “marmalade on warm toast” place we all love, let me know. If you have it on your iPhone/iTouch just bring it into your next session. We can put your phone in “Airplane” mode and pop it into my Bose system. If it’s an iPhone5 be sure to bring your little adapter thingy:~) Remember, YOUR massage is all about YOU.

I’ve added a new feature to my website home page: an icon that shows the music I’m currently playing in my studio. It will link to amazon so you can sample the music yourself, before you ever get on my table. I have tons of other music, so if you’re in the mood for nature sounds, Celtic, flutes or even Gregorian chants, let me know. I’m very flexible.

I’m going to listen to Helen now:~)

 

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Here’s what I put on your skin.

Ever wonder exactly what I use on your skin to create that nice glide? I use a number of lubricants. I’ve tried a lot of different products over the years.  I started out using a very traditional water based massage cream when I was in school. It worked fine but I found out that most commercial massage creams contain parabens. Parabens are synthetic preservatives and while the FDA has stated that they are safe, lots of experts–who are a lot smarter than I am–believe that they are carcinogenic. Since I have my hands in this stuff all day long, I want to use a product that is safe for me as well as for you. I no longer use any products that contain parabens.

Massage lubricants are either water or oil based. There are tradeoffs to both. Oil based products feel warm upon application but can leave you feeling greasy. The key is to not use too much. Water based products tend to feel cold upon application but don’t leave you feeling as greasy. I prefer the oil based products, but I use both.

The simplest product I use is organic coconut oil. It has tons of health benefits and the product I use is food grade so I cook with it extensively. Here’s a link if you’d like to read more about all the benefits and uses of coconut oil.

http://www.swansonvitamins.com/blog/natural-health-tips/using-coconut-oil?mobile=off

Coconut oil isn’t necessarily my first choice because, while it’s great for your skin, it tends to be a bit slippery and it will leave you feeling more greasy than anything else I use.

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Lately, my go-to product has been Santa Barbara Massage Cream. It is oil based but unlike most oils, it’s a solid. It has great glide, but it also has a lot of grip or control, for when I want to do deeper work.

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I’ve been using the two products you see here, the Ylang Ylang & Orange and the Clary Sage & Lavender. They also make an unscented version which I also use and a singular Lavender scent which I don’t have, but am happy to try if any of you would like me to. Please note the company’s tag line, “so natural you can eat it”. While I haven’t tried eating it, I appreciate that it contains only three ingredients: olive oil, bees wax and coconut oil. No parabens.

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There are times when I want to use a water based product. For those times, I use Bon Vital Original Massage Creme. It is one of the few “unscented” products that I have tried that is truly unscented. Some clients prefer the Bon Vital because it really doesn’t leave you feeling greasy at all. If you have some place to go right after your massage and you don’t want to feel in the least bit greasy, you may want to try the Bon Vital.

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Notice that while the list of ingredients is much longer, it still does not contain any parabens.

For those of you with allergies, none of the products I use contain nut oils nor formaldehyde in any form.

So that’s what I use on your skin. If you have any questions or would like to try something new in your next session, just let me know. I have all the products ready to go at all times.

 

 

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l Have Moved

I have moved! Okay, I just moved down the hall, but hey, a move is a move right? A hair salon moved into the space right next to The Center for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork and a washing machine was installed right up against the wall we share. Guess what? Hair salons tend to do laundry all day long. The first time I heard it I couldn’t figure out if a helicopter was landing close by or if they had installed one of those big machines that mixes paint at Home Depot and Lowe’s.  That’s what it sounded like.  So much for peaceful and tranquil…I apologize to those clients who experienced that whop, whop whopping sound during their last sessions. Yikes. No more… I’m down the hall in Room 5 now. The new room is a whole 2 inches longer than my previous room. Booyah! With the help of my family I repainted, shampooed the carpet and did some minor redecorating. Hey, am I the HGTV queen or what? Schedule a session soon and see my new place.Image

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Got Formaldehyde?

 

 

 

My husband was diagnosed with a pretty severe allergy to formaldehyde about a year ago. I figured it was no big deal–when are we exposed to formaldehyde?? I did some digging. Boy, was I wrong…

Formaldehyde has been used for decades to embalm dead bodies for open casket burials. It is a preservation fluid that replaces the blood, it is a recognized cancer causing agent (carcinogen) by the National Cancer Institute, and oh, by the way, it is in most of the products you buy and use around your home, even the materials your home was built with!

It might surprise you to know that much of the shelving, furniture, wall finishes, carpet, cabinetry and flooring in your home could contain this dangerous chemical. Formaldehyde can also be found in these building materials:

  • Glue
  • Plywood
  • Fiberboard
  • Insulation
  • Particleboard
  • Timber Paneling

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Many personal cleansing and beauty products contain formaldehyde, think about that before you put them on your skin, your largest organ. Here are some of the personal products that might contain this toxin:

  • Lotions
  • Shampoos
  • Sunblock
  • Soap Bars
  • Cosmetics
  • Body Wash
  • Fabric Softeners
  • Toothpaste
  • Baby Wipes
  • Bubble Bath
  • Detergents

Additionally, formaldehyde is used in the manufacture of fabrics. It makes them more wrinkle resistant, a feature we all love. Have you ever noticed that distinct odor you smell as soon as you walk into any fabric store? That’s formaldehyde…

I have a number of clients with pretty severe allergies and asthma. When a new client recently told me he was allergic to formaldehyde I figured it was time for me to become more proactive. I have just purchased brand new table linens that are made from 100% organic cotton. They have never been exposed to formaldehyde. If they seem a bit wrinkled, remember, that’s a good thing! To keep them free of harmful chemicals I’ve started using a new detergent called Ecos. It contains neither petrochemicals nor formaldehyde, and it’s completely biodegradable. If you’re interested in buying Ecos I found it in Kroger and Costco (significantly cheaper at Costco).

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Additionally, I do not use fabric softeners on any of my linens. Fabric softeners are known to contain neurotoxins. It’s just not worth it. 

As an aside, wine and other alcohol products contain trace amounts of formaldehyde. People with sensitivities should be aware of this and may have to limit their consumption.

So, when you come in for a massage session you can relax and know that you will not be exposed to any harmful chemicals from the linens on my table, nor from the massage oils I use.  That will be the subject of my next blog!

 

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Massage Therapist or Masseuse??

A masseuse is defined by the Webster’s New World College Dictionary as “a woman whose work is giving massages.” The term is French and gender specific; thus, when applied to men, the word used is masseur. A therapist is defined in the same Webster’s dictionary as “a specialist in a particular type of therapy.” A massage therapist is thus a man or woman whose profession is giving massages. The latter term is more relevant to the modern massage therapy industry, as in recent decades, especially within the U.S, the term masseuse has come to connote a prostitute working in a “massage parlor.” While this may not always be the case, the term “massage therapist” is more commonly associated with registered professionals who have trained and gained recognized qualifications.

Therapists within the legitimate massage therapy industry prefer to be called massage therapists or LMTs, not masseuses. When someone does refer to me as a masseuse I assume it’s a harmless mistake.  Please help me get the word out about the distinction.  Thank you.

 
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Human Trafficking

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Commercial sex businesses often try to disguise themselves as legitimate massage businesses. These “massage parlors” are frequently involved in human trafficking. I was not aware of this until I started my own massage therapy practice. When I was initially building my website and wanted to see where the major search engines ranked my business, I was horrified to find massage parlors that came up in searches right next to my listing. Unfortunately, because we happen to share the word “massage”, legitimate businesses like mine are sometimes associated with these illegal brothels. As soon as I began to dig into this issue I discovered the human trafficking angle.

Human trafficking is “modern day slavery”. It is the human rights issue we face today just as we faced it in the trans-Atlantic era of the mid-1800s. Human trafficking is the 2nd largest criminal industry in the world today, second only to the illegal drug trade and is the fastest growing. Human trafficking is a very lucrative business–estimated to generate at least $32 billion annually. Unlike drugs and arms dealing, traffickers continue to exploit their victims because human beings can be sold over and over again. Human trafficking doesn’t just happen in third world countries anymore. It is happening across the United States and it is happening in North Alabama, as evidenced by the human trafficking arrests that occurred in Madison city in December 2012.

Prior to 2008, vice units were regulating massage parlors, along with county code enforcement officers, the sheriff’s department, and local law enforcement.  Many agencies lost their vice departments after the economic downturn in 2008.  Staff resources are short, leaving massage parlors to fall through the cracks. As a result, since 2008, the number of these massage parlors has grown exponentially, almost tripling in the last four years.

You can help to stop trafficking now. For more information, contact the Huntsville-Madison County Human Trafficking Task Force at 256 653 8527. Email: info@stnow.org  You can also check them out at www.stnow.orgGet involved! The Human Trafficking Task Force meets the first Tuesday of each month, 2:00 p.m., at the National Children’s Advocacy Center, 210 Pratt Avenue, Huntsville, AL. I am a member of the task force and I’d love to see you there.

Click on the second link below to read an excellent article about massage parlors and human trafficking. It was published by The Polaris Project.

http://www.polarisproject.org/human-trafficking/sex-trafficking-in-the-us/massage-parlors

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Should I Tip??

“Do you accept tips?”

I am often asked this question.  Here is my official policy:

“Tips are never expected, but always appreciated.”

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