1. Why should I get a massage?
Stress relief, anxiety and depression reduction, and temporarily alleviating muscle soreness due to exercise are some of the reasons why you should get a massage. Whether you are training for the marathon, stressed from work, or feeling down, getting a massage can help you think and feel better so you can overcome your obstacles. For some people, getting a regular massage can help them sleep better, move better, and develop better social skills because of less anxiety and stress.
2. How often should I get a massage?
As often as you like! But realistically, most people tend to get a massage once a month while some pamper themselves two or more times a month. Of course, it would depend on your budget and why you should get a massage. For example, a physical therapist or nurse who works long hours and under stressful conditions might need a regular massage once a week. An average, full-time college student, however, might need a massage once a month, especially before their exams.
3. What modalities do you use? Which ones are best for me?
I use a combination of different modalities, such as Swedish, deep tissue compressions, lomilomi, and trigger-point therapy, and we rarely use just one. The modality used would depend on your condition and your reaction to touch. Some clients respond better to deeper pressure; others feel better with lighter touch or somewhere in between. Rather than focusing on any modality, I use whatever tools necessary for your specific condition. No cookie-cutter massage here.
I wrote an article on my philosophy of my work, based on the operator and interactor concept from manual therapy. This is a client-based practice (focus on the clients’ issues) rather than a “modality-based practice” (focus on my method and beliefs). This is analogous to a physician who understands the disease more than the drug or procedure that is supposed to treat the disease.
4. What is the movement and massage blend that you do?
Clients often come to me for pain relief, and oftentimes, massage therapy alone do not always provide the necessary long-term relief that clients need to maintain full function. This is where I incorporate movement and exercise with massage therapy so that clients have the knowledge, tools, and motivation to do their own self-care so that the pain or other issues have a lower chance of reoccurring. As a fitness professional also, I value exercise and movement as part of your treatment.
These movements go beyond the typical “stretches” that you get from hospital pamphlets and fitness magazines. Depending on your condition, you get specific exercises and movement drills that you can do regularly to maintain your joints’ range of motion and perhaps even help alleviate some of the pain that you have.
If you already exercise regularly, you may add this into your workout. Very few or no equipment are needed.
5. Do I have to do the movement sessions after I receive my massage?
Absolutely not, especially if you are crunched for time or if your current condition is beyond our scope of practice, such as recovering from an injured arm or leg. However, if you have about 10 minutes after your massage session, I would spend some time on movement conditioning for your specific needs. No extra cost.
Human movement is much more diverse than typical exercises that focus on one body part or moving in just one direction. You explore different ways to move while challenging your nervous system and your perception on how well you move and perform.
6. Do you do personal fitness training? If so, do you do any group training?
I usually would refer you to a qualified personal trainer near your neighborhood. However, if that is not optional, I am willing to do a 30-minute or 60-minute session on movement, strength, and power conditioning that you can do almost anywhere on your own. Yes, we do small group training, and currently, our maximum number of participants is six.
6. May I transfer my massage or private training sessions to a friend or family member?
No, the sessions are not transferable. However, there are extreme circumstances where we may allow session transfers, such as extreme illness or injury or if you are moving to another state or city.
7. Does massage therapy increase my circulation or remove “lactic acid” and other “toxins?”
No, not really. Current scientific evidence since the 1990s have shown that there is a lack of significant increase of circulation after a (Swedish) massage. While there is a recent 2014 study that showed massage did increase circulation significantly, the cumulative evidence so far still indicate that the opposite.
The only way to increase your blood circulation significantly is to increase your heart rate, which in turn increases your respiration rate. If you think about this, some people feel more relaxed or fall asleep during a massage, and it is highly unlikely that their heart rate would match that of a runner or weight-lifter. In fact, my circulation and heart rate would most likely be higher than yours because I’m doing the work and moving around the table!
If you want to improve your circulation, exercise or just get up and move around. (It’s far cheaper than getting a massage.)
As for removing “lactic acid” or “toxins” from your muscles or other tissues, there is no current scientific evidence that demonstrates so. In fact, massage therapy, if the pressure is deep enough, could impede your ability to “remove” and recycle blood lactate. Science writer and former registered massage therapist Paul Ingraham explains this phenomenon in more detail in this article.
I also wrote and published an article on this topic here.
This FAQ will change and be edited as the practice and science evolves.