Monday, July 27, 2020

What to expect in my studio during an active Covid climate

Welcome to my studio, I am Jen!  This is how I will greet you at the door of my studio when you arrive.  You will have received a text from me informing you to wear a mask as well as be symptom free (from anything) for over 24 hours.  This is the new reality due to the Covid-19 virus. 

That’s not all.  I will take your temperature with a forehead thermometer and immediately squirt hand sanitizer into your palms.  I will also ask you questions regarding contact with known positive people or travel to and from and Covid hotspots.  All this will happen before you fill out a health form and Covid release.  Again, the new reality.

Changes have also occurred in my studio.  Cloth chairs are now covered with plastic.  I have learned this is an Italian thing from a client.  Good to know.  Sheets and towels are now stored in lockers rather than in the open room on shelves. The studio is uber cleaned between clients.  Table, all chairs, all door handles, bathroom and clothes bin are all sanitized between clients.  At first, this was an exhausting task. Things have settle down finely and it has become routine in the changeover between clients.

Clients, along with myself, will wear a mask throughout the whole session.  No exceptions. The scariest part of this virus is that you can have no symptoms and yet be a carrier.  That is terrifying and is one reason why I judiciously clean and sanitize all contact areas between clients. For the most part, everyone has been accepting of wearing the mask and has followed the guidelines put forth by the state for massage studios to be open.

Post massage, I will wash/sanitize my arms and hands and then will “glove up” to receive payment.  I prefer clients use the option to pay online, however, Venmo and PayPal have also been rather helpful in reducing contact.  It is the new normal.

I still remain indifferent about being open.  My goal is safety for my clients as well as myself. As the county we live and work in begins to experience more positive cases of Covid, I will continue to assess whether or not I should remain open.  I have a sneaky suspicion that another county shutdown is coming.

Be well,



Things I never imagine do happen.  Take for example Covid-19.  I was aware of this disease back in January and February but it just seemed so distant.  March rolled around and the sh*t started getting real.  I was in the process of renewing my massage certification, which is another story in itself, when cases starting popping up all over the US and especially in the state where I live.  I finally instituted some over-the-top cleaning guidelines on March 16.  It was clear that how we were going to do business from then on was going to bear different.  During the day on March 16, I decided to shut things down for a while.  It wasn’t an easy decision as business had been rather stellar.  Three days later, the State shut down all massage therapists for over a month and a half.

Again, it was clear that the process for receiving a client, the physical bodywork and receiving payment was somehow going to need to change.  At the time, HOW, was the big question.  Time has since passed and guidelines have been put into place.  I will talk more about them in another post.

Keep on, keeping on.


Bad Reviews

Bad Reviews

I have always said that I am my worst critic.  I always strive to make whatever I do better then next time around.  Critiquing and adapting were also key components when I taught, led recreation events, or coached.  That being said, I am mindful to ask clients how they feel post bodywork and if they liked the work that was done.  This is important because frequently, I will recommend a modality (often Myofascial Release) and I would like their honest opinion.  It also allows us to discuss that modality a bit more.

My preference if a client does not like the work is to tell me and to be specific.  That way I can actually do something about it rather than being completely shocked to read their review on the internet.  I do have people who are honest, yet, every-now-and-then, I get someone who isn’t upfront.  This has recently happened.

The other week, I received a pithy review from a client (a month post bodywork).  The accusation that it was the worst massage ever was right - especially since we did a different form of bodywork that is not considered to be massage.  There were other accusations, but we will leave it there.  I may be partly to blame.  When I client comes in, they fill out a health form and then we discuss their goals for the session.  If they want massage, but Myofascial Release (MFR) is a better modality for their issue(s), I will recommend it and either suggest a full or a blended (with massage) session.  I also quickly explain what they can expect and that it is not fact, it is pretty much the opposite of massage. It is a lot for someone to take in and I am sure that sometimes I leave some important things out - such as, “this is very different than massage”.

My dilemma is what to do about it?  One response is to question them on the review site.  That is never my first option unless they have given me a bad review but have never received bodywork from me (this has actually happened).  The other is to let it go.  While seemingly passive, I have come to recognize that the bodywork I do ISN’T for everyone and that is okay.

And, there we have it.


If I could only do one thing...

If I could only do one thing in my practice, hands down, it would be Myofascial Release (MFR).  Myofascial Release is unlike massage.  In fact, I try to educate people that receiving MFR will be nothing remotely close to receiving a massage.  What it will be, if you are open to receiving it, is transformational.  And, yet, I still offer massage...why?

Massage is the gateway for me to educate people about MFR.  Let’s say you come to my studio with the full intention of receiving a massage.  As we work through your health intake and goals, I will be determining what the best method of bodywork will be according to your goals.  Nine times out of ten, the type of bodywork I would suggest will be MFR.  It will be MFR because it will most likely peg the short term goal you have listed as well as put you on the pathway to the long term goal you would like to achieve.  And, in essence, it will get you where you want to be in a shorter amount of time.

Have I thought about switching to MFR only in my practice?  Yes.  It may be coming down the road, but for now, I will continue to educate and if my client still wants to go the massage route, I will appease them.

Stay well!


Monday, February 11, 2019

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis sucks.  We all need to be on our feet, and when the feet hurt or are stiff and sore, standing and moving are not fun.  Trust me - I have dealt with this issue myself.

I don’t recall how I eventually rid myself of plantar fasciitis, but I do recall it taking a rather long time.  That was in the days prior to knowing anything about Myofascial Release.  Since learning this technique, I have used it on countless people who have suffered from it - with rapid success.

Frequently, I see people post on running and/or workout pages on Facebook how to get rid of plantar fasciitis.  I have seen the gamut of remedies - all with the response that it takes weeks to overcome it. Usually, I want to post, “go see a myofascial therapist”, but having done that a few times, the comment gets lost in the sea of remedies and I decided it isn’t worth my time addressing.

Last weekend, I spent several days with dear friends up in North Dakota.  One of my friends moved gingerly, and with a limp, every time she started walking following a long period sitting.  She commented on being diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, confirmed by a podiatrist.  The suggested regimen was stretching a using a foot roller.  Weeks later, she was still dealing with the pain.  I told her to sit on the couch and asked if I could work on her feet.  She obliged.  Day 1, I spend approximately 10 minutes on the bottom of her feet.  Day 2, I worked the calves and address her nagging hip for a total of 15-20 minutes.  I believe there may have been a day 3, but I don’t recall for sure.  At any rate, as we dropped her off at the airport I asked how her feet were.  “Awesome”, was the response.  Days later, she reported that her feet still felt great.  She seemed surprised.  I wasn’t.  This is a typical response to this form of therapy. And there you have it, the power of Myofascial Release.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

When a client should cancel an appointment and flu shots...


The day of your massage has finally arrived and are are more the ready to slip away from the craziness of the world into the little cocoon in my studio.  The only problem is that you have come down with something: a cough, cold, fever or other contagious issue.  You really want the body work but are not sure you should keep the appointment.

Any of these mentioned illnesses are reason to cancel and reschedule your appointment.  Coughs and colds are not pleasant to deal with on the table for both the client and the therapist.  As a therapist, it is really hard to massage someone who is constantly coughing or needing to blow their nose.  More importantly, while I clean my table and replace massage sheets between clients, a client's constant coughing can spread germs to both myself and future clients.  The same can be said for any contagious disease.  Today, I had a client rebook due to developing Pink Eye.  While some see this perhaps as a small issue, it is highly contagious.  I am thankful that she took the initiative to rebook and not expose me or other clients to this issue.

I live in a county that has a high percentage of people who chose to not vaccinate.  This is something I choose to do.  As a bodywork, it is important for me to protect myself from various illnesses as well as protect my clients as well.  I also chose to get a flu shot each year.  The Flu, along with many other ailments, are generally contagious prior to symptoms appearing.  Because of this, it is important for me to not only protect myself, but lessen the chance that I pass something on to someone else.  It is a two way street.  If you are not feeling your best, or feel like you are coming down with a cold or the flu, a massage will not work to your benefit anyway.  Sometimes they can spur the onset and actually make you feel worse.  The best thing to do is to go home and rest and push fluids.

(knock, knock) That's me knocking on wood and hoping I have not invited the crude to my doorstop.

May you all stay well this fall and winter.


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Biking Across Kansas and other things

October 9, 2018

This past June, I spent my 6th year providing bodywork for Biking Across Kansas (BAK).  THIS was exactly why I went in to bodywork - to provide massage therapy for athletes.

Providing bodywork for events like BAK is exhausting, yet rewarding work.  The days are long and jam packed.  A typical day for us on BAK begins at noon and goes until 10 pm with little to no breaks (unless you schedule them in).  The primary role we play is to keep the cyclists injury/pain free so they can complete their journey across the state.

The realization is that some of these folks come to BAK with prior injuries/issues, some may not have trained enough (or at all) and some may not have any business riding on a two lane highway with truck traffic.  At any rate, they end up at my table in an effort to be pain free or stay pain free so they may continue their quest.

Each year, as I prepare for BAK, I familiarize myself with where my "Scope of Practice" begins and ends.  I fortunately wear a few professional hats: Licensed Bodyworker, Exercise Physiologist, Certified First Aid/CPR.  Because if this, I can meet people and discuss and prescribe at a different level than most therapist.  Interestingly, this isn't the case with all bodyworkers.  I have been witness to bodyworkers who work far outside of the scope of practice.  What is interesting is that people listen.  People assume that you are the expert and know what you are doing.  My advice to people is to fully check out the person before you succomb to their work.   What is their education (and continuing education), certifications and reviews?  Having worked in Kansas for many years as a therapist, I educated people all the time.  Kansas still does not recognize massage therapy as a profession.  Therefore, there are no standards such as the need for a certificate, state or national certification, ethics, safety and sanitation.  I have literally seen massage situations that gross me out due to unsanitary conditions and yet people were lined up for bodywork.

So, my parting words to you are:  Where ever you receive bodywork, seek out the bio of the therapist, chat with them prior to scheduling a session and with a discerning eye, read their reviews.

Carry on, folk!