Tips for beating Exam Stress


DEALING WITH EXAM STRESS

Can I avoid getting stressed before an exam?

Taking exams is stressful because of what's at stake.

You may be feeling a weight of expectation from your family, school or university to succeed . You may be afraid you're not good enough, or haven't worked hard enough. You may be scared of letting yourself down, or that you'll miss out on a university place.

Your pre-exam nerves may seem much worse if you are doing exams for the first time or after a long gap, or if you have particular learning difficulties. Nor do exams exist in isolation; there may well be other events going on in your life that are putting you under pressure (see below).

If your stress levels rise too high for too long, it can be harmful both to you and to your chances. Everybody's stress 'threshold' is different. A situation that is too much for one person to tolerate may be stimulating to another. Controlled at the right level, however, stress can work to your advantage, because it can help you to produce your peak performance.

How do I minimise exam stress?

Exams bring out the best in some people, and the worst in others. Whatever the case, you may be in a situation where you have to do them. Remind yourself that you can only do your best - and your best is all that you can do.

Get Organised.

If you find out exactly what you're facing, you can work out a plan for dealing with it, and this will go a long way towards putting your mind at ease. Get hold of the right information from the start. Make sure you know how you will be examined, and what you'll be examined on. If you can, get a copy of the syllabus. Catch up with anything you've missed, so that you've got all your notes up to date.

Find out about the resources available to help you. School and university teachers are an expert resource, although they may not have a lot of time to give you. There are also many good revision guides, TV revision programmes and a wide range of internet sites to use.

Create a timetable

Try to start your revision in plenty of time. Take time to plan a revision timetable that's realistic and still flexible, and linked to your exam timetable, so you revise subjects in the right order. In planning it, give yourself clear priorities and try to balance your revision with other demands on your time - meals, sleep, chores or other commitments, as well as time for relaxing. Identify your best time of day for studying.

If you are on study leave, one way to structure your work might be to divide each day into three units (morning, afternoon and evening), giving you a total of 21 units per week. Then make a list of all the topics you need to cover. Estimate how long you think it will take you to revise each one, allowing more time for things you find most difficult. Then add on plenty of extra. Finally, divide the topics up between the units.

Everyone needs time off, and it's a bad idea to abandon your social life and sporting activities, but for a period near the examinations, you may need to cut down. This may involve making hard choices. Always leave yourself a minimum of six units of free time per week.

What's the best way to revise?

It's not always possible to find peace and quiet, and a comfortable place to revise. Try to arrange with those at home a set time and space where you can work without being disturbed. Failing that, think about whether you could use other facilities at school, college, or your local library. If you study in a room where you also eat or sleep, try to keep the work area separate, so it's not always confronting you when you're not studying.

There’s no ‘right’ way to revise, it’s largely a matter of what suits you best and the particular exam you’re taking (multiple choice answers, calculations, short-answer questions, or essays). Methods might include making notes from text books, writing quick summaries of topics (in the form of mind maps or spidergrams perhaps), reciting facts out loud, learning dates, formulae or vocabulary by heart, and reading revision books or watching revision programmes. Switching between methods
helps you hold your interest and absorb information better. Mix dull subjects with more interesting ones, for the same reason. If it’s hard to get started, begin with something easy.

Actively think about, sift and question what you’re writing and reading, and test yourself afterwards. Writing endless notes is probably a waste of time. If you come to something you don’t understand, try reading about it somewhere else. If that doesn’t work, then ask someone who knows the subject well.

If you have a problem with concentration, you can improve it by starting with short bursts of study, then adding an extra few minutes to each session. Don’t try to study for longer than 45 to 60 minutes at a stretch.

It may be less stressful to do the work than it is to worry about it. If you find it hard getting motivated, set yourself measurable goals for each revision session, and tick them off when you’ve achieved them. After each session, acknowledge the achievement, and reward yourself with something. Have a break between sessions, or if you find things getting on top of you. Get a soft drink, read a magazine or take some exercise.  Bear in mind that drinks containing caffeine, such as cola, tea and coffee, are stimulants, and may make you feel more agitated.

It's worth practising timed exam questions and papers. This can give you some idea of what the real exam will be like, and of how to divide your time between questions. Although exam papers are never the same, they're similar enough to be useful. There's a good quote that goes, "the more I practised, the luckier I got".

How can I de-stress?

Learning how to relax is crucial. Straightforward, effective, self-help techniques are going to be very helpful in the run-up to the exams, and even when you’re sitting in the exam room.

Breathing techniques
Stress can make you start breathing with quick, shallow breaths and make your heart beat faster than usual. If this happens, sit down somewhere comfortable, if possible. Place one hand on your stomach and check how quickly you are breathing. If it’s one breath every couple of seconds, take a deep breath and start counting steadily. Breathe out slowly and try to get the last of the breath out on about five seconds. Carry on doing this until you are doing it naturally.

Relaxation routine

  • Close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply

  • Locate any areas of tension and try to relax those muscles; imagine the tension disappearing

  • Relax each part of the body, from your feet to the top of your head

  • As you focus on each part of your body, think of warmth, heaviness and relaxation

  • After 20 minutes, take some deep breaths and stretch

 

Physical activity

Regular exercise is an excellent way of coping with stress. As little as 10 or 20 minutes a day spent walking, cycling, or at the gym can make a big difference.

Complementary therapies

Yoga, meditation and massage all have proven benefits in reducing stress and promoting relaxation. Ask at college about what's available or find out about local classes from your library.

Sleep

If you're tired, worries can get blown out of proportion. If you've been finding it difficult to get to sleep, try cutting down on stimulants (tea, coffee and alcohol, for instance) and make sure you have time to unwind before bed.  The B Vitamins help to reduce stress and Magnesium taken 20 minutes before bedtime help you to sleep.  A warm bath, with perhaps some added aromatherapy oils, can help. Some people feel very stressed about not getting enough sleep. It's worth remembering that people can still function very well without any sleep for short periods of time.

Support groups

Think about getting together in a study group with fellow students. It can help with revision and give you an opportunity for talking to each other about what is worrying you, letting off steam and reducing tension. Sometimes, people are reluctant to open up for fear of what others might think of them, but everybody is in the same situation.

What's the best approach to the actual exams?

Be sure you're clear about what exam is coming up when, so that you don't prepare for the wrong one. Working through the night before an exam may save you on the day, but it's not a good strategy to rely on. It's possible to work effectively without having had enough sleep, occasionally, but getting a good night's sleep is arguably a better option. If you usually take the last-minute approach, it may be worth reflecting on why it's necessary for you to tackle exams this way.

To reduce the scope for anxiety, have everything you need ready in advance, with any spares. Do have something to eat before the exam, however queasy you are feeling. It doesn't need to be a huge amount, but you will function better with fuel inside. Set off in good time!

Once in the exam, if you feel panic rising and your mind going blank, take a minute to do a breathing routine (see above) and give yourself time to calm down. The biggest mistake people make in exams is not to read each question carefully; so they don’t answer it in full. (The second biggest is making sweeping statements without backing them up with evidence.)

After the exam is over, it's tempting to think about all the answers you gave and if they were good enough. This will only stress you further. Try to forget about the last exam, and focus on the next one, instead.

Keep things in perspective. Be realistic about what can be achieved. We are all different, achieve at different levels, and have different qualities and skills. Exam success isn't a valuation of you as a whole person. Be positive about what makes you the individual you are. If you do end up doing badly, it won't be the end of the world. Facing up to the worst will enable you to look at how you might cope and what you could do next. There may well be another chance to take the exam, or an altogether different path may open up.

What are the signs of too much stress?

Feeling stressed is a natural response to such pressure. We all respond to pressure as if it were a physical threat. The body releases chemicals into the bloodstream that make you feel nervous and edgy. Muscles tense, ready for action and the heart beats faster to carry blood to the muscles and the brain. You breathe faster, sweat more and your mouth becomes dry. Hormones, such as adrenalin, cause these physical reactions. This automatic response is known as the 'flight or fight' reflex.

These are some of the early signs that you might be under too much stress:

  • headaches

  • sleeping badly

  • loss of appetite

  • being unusually bad tempered

  • feeling tired all the time

  • feeling sick.

You may also be feeling restless, finding it difficult either to relax or to concentrate. You may be drinking or smoking too much. Or you may be being very disorganised, with a sense that you and your life are in danger of getting out of control.

Panic can sometimes produce physical sensations, such as chest pains, muscle cramps, pins and needles, dizziness or fainting and stomach problems, which may worry and alarm you.

Sometimes, too much stress can be a trigger or fuel for other problems, including panic attacks, depression, drug abuse, eating distress or self-harming behaviour. It's important to talk to someone about these, and to get appropriate help, if necessary.

What should I do if things are getting on top of me?

Try to get an accurate picture of your situation. Ask someone who knows your work, and the standards required, for their opinion. You may be worrying unnecessarily and setting yourself much too high a standard.

Sort out your priorities

If you think there's too much work, and not enough time left to do it, write down everything you need to do, and sort it into order of priority. You can then work out what action you need to take for each task, and work your way through your list. You need to take into account which topics are the most important or compulsory, which you already know best, and which you have enough information on. If you have a tutor or mentor, he or she can advise you and help you organise your work realistically.

Non-academic problems

Often, exams aren't the only stressful event going on in people's lives. You may have ongoing personal or emotional problems (including lack of confidence) that are hampering you. Research reveals that up to a third of students have serious, non-academic problems. These include serious illness, bereavement, caring for another member of the family, or other social problems, such as discrimination or housing problems.

Coping with such problems can require practical help, support and advice. It may be important to tell the educational institution the pressure you're under, so that this can be into account, if necessary. They can then help and advise you.

Talking treatments

Discussing your problems can be a great relief and can often throw up solutions you wouldn't come up with on your own. Bottling up your feelings may make them worse. If it's difficult to talk to friends, family or staff, a more structured form of talking may be the answer.

Sometimes, people under stress don't want to talk about their problems because they are afraid of being overwhelmed or losing control of their emotions. But talking to a counsellor or therapist, in confidence, can help you to contain those feelings. It can lead you to understand why you feel as you do, and find the means to do something about it. Some schools and colleges have their own counselling services (via the college welfare officer, for instance).

You could also talk directly to your GP. Many surgeries now offer counselling on the premises. There are also other professional organisations that may be able to offer information, advice and low-cost schemes.

Medication

Occasionally, a GP may prescribe antidepressants or minor tranquillisers as well as, or instead of, talking treatments. Both these types of drugs can have side effects and may cause withdrawal problems. They should only be prescribed, when absolutely necessary, to provide relief for a limited period.

What can family and friends do to help?

A student who is under stress needs to know that they have the support of family and friends. It's important that others should be sensitive to the extra strain they may be under, and allow them the space and time to study. Regular meals, appropriate opportunities for relaxation, and emotional support are all going to help. So is offering plenty of positive feedback, which can demonstrate your confidence in their abilities.

Friends and family should keep distractions to a minimum and do as much as possible to ease any additional pressures. They may find it difficult not to let their own frustrations and anxieties about the outcome influence their responses, especially if it's meant putting limits on their own activities. It isn't for long.

If it does look as if the stress is getting too much for the person taking the exams, encouraging them to seek appropriate help could be vital. It's important to reassure them that this is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Andrea’s thoughts on water

Water


It’s that simple. We are so fortunate to live in a country where all we need to do is turn a tap to access this magical resource. There are tremendous benefits to drinking enough water daily and it’s certainly more beneficial to your wellbeing after having a treatment at Wee Sally’s.

 

If I’ve ever given you a treatment you’ll know I’m the ‘water police’ and here’s a few reasons why:

Circulation: water allows the valuable nutrients we ingest to flow into our blood stream and circulatory system where they can be distributed to all cells and organs

Detoxification: water flows through the lymphatic system removing toxin build-up due to stress or medicine residue, for example. This plays a part in maintaining the body’s PH balance. When you have a treatment at Wee Sally’s we are also releasing waste for elimination. Water greatly helps this process

Hydration: the body’s main component is water so we must maintain this balance

Skin: water hydrates our skin to feel and appear supple and dewy. It also enables our skin to be efficient as a barrier against free radicals

Weight loss: drinking water helps eliminate fat and makes us feel fuller for longer, therefore less snacking

Can increase energy

Can Improve concentration

Helps relieve headaches/migraines/menstrual cramps/muscle tension

And these are only a few!

If you are aware that you don’t drink enough, remedy this by adapting your routine a little; like pouring a glass with breakfast or taking one to bed. Seeing it will remind you to drink more and you’ll see and feel the rewards.

Water. It’s that simple.


It’s cold and flu season, and it hits us all

A lot of clients will ask us if they should cancel their appointment because they feel under the weather. Our response to our clients is the same we have for our therapists.

Yes, please. Cancel if you are sick. Great! We’re done here.

Nah, we’ve got a bunch more to cover. There are lots of variables to being sick. What does that even mean and why does it matter? Let’s dig in.

What is ‘sick’?

For determining your ability to receive massage, ‘sick’ means one or any combination of the following:

  • ●Fever and related symptoms
  • ○Chills
  • ○Aches
  • ○Unusual fatigue
  • ●Respiratory issues
  • ○Coughing
  • ○Sneezing
  • ○Very runny and/or stuffy sinuses
  • ○Sore throat
  • ●GI issues
  • ○Nausea
  • ○Vomiting
  • ○Diarrhea

If you have any of the above happening, it’s best to cancel.

Massage isn’t going to help you get better

A sick body needs rest. Receiving massage is an active task. Massage causes change in the body and your body has to work to maintain stability. Getting a massage when you are sick takes attention away from rest and recovery. That’s not helping.

You’re not going to be cozy on the massage table. Sure, it sounds like a warm squishy massage table would be great. But the moment you put your already-stuffy head into that face cradle, you’ll realize the error of your ways. Gravity and pressure are not your friend here. Even if I do a great face massage to drain your sinuses, you’ll likely feel worse when you get off the table.

If you’re feeling at all dizzy or loopy, laying face down can make that sensation even worse. Remember getting ‘the spins’ when you drank a little too much? That. Only worse because you’ll be worried about puking on my office carpet and not just your terrible dorm comforter.

 

There is often some gray area, especially if you are in the recovery phase of a virus or bacterial infection. You may have that lingering dry cough well past the stage of contagion or actual illness. Or you could have seasonal allergies that make you a runny mess.

 

If you’re unsure about your situation, please call us before your appointment and we can make a decision together. 

  • It’s really, really easy to spread those germs

  • If you come in sick, you may get me (and my other clients) sick. Even with the best handwashing, coughing into your elbow, and precision skills depositing your dirty tissue into the trash bin, you’re likely to leave a few germs hanging in the air and I’m likely to breathe them in.


  • There’s a lot we just can’t control about cold and flu season. We may have been exposed without knowing and be contagious for a few days before symptoms show up. That’s just part of living in a world with other people. But we can control where we go and who we see while we are symptomatic. I know it’s a bummer to delay your massage, it’s also the right thing to do when you are contagious.

Stay healthy

You already know the best ways to stay healthy through cold and flu season. (But I’ll remind you.) Get a flu shot, wash your hands, get enough sleep, get out into the fresh air when possible.

If you feel something coming on, do your best to cancel whatever you can, keep your activities to a bare minimum and just rest. Stay hydrated. Ask for help. That’s hard to do, but worth the effort.

 

Here’s to staying healthy through this season and the whole year!

More sources on contagious factors, etc

Top three West Lothian Massage Therapists 2018

It’s been a busy year for us here at Wee Sallys but we are rounding out the year on a high note.  

 

We recieved notice today that we made it to the Top Three Massage Therapists in West Lothian and came out on top based on scoring.

Thank you to our clients for their ongoing support and also to our wonderful therapists who make each day at the clinic a dream. 

 

Best Massage therapists in West Lothian

Avoid slips and falls this winter

The weather has finally turned, and the mornings bring us icy, slippery paths and walkways.

With there recent news that West Lothian Council will not begin gritting/clearing pathways until after 8am, we may find particular during work days that it’s a treacherous journey getting to the car/work/school.

We have created a little infographic for you to help give some tips on preventing slips and falls this winter that we hope will help.

slipandfall.jpg

Trust us, even following these suggestions, slips and falls can happen anyway, even to us. In fact our lovely Janice had a slip and fall this week that has put her out of commission for a few days. Our bodies are precious, so we have to take good care of them.

Slips and falls can happen unexpectedly, and our involuntary muscles will engage in an effort to prevent the fall. This can cause muscle strain in uncommon areas, along with stiffness, or even bruising and bone fracture from the impact. 

If you think you may have broken or sprained something, call your doctor.
The next step you should take is to get an ice pack (yes, more ice...sorry!) and apply it to the area(s) of injury. Ice can help control swelling and inflammation.
If you need us, call us at the clinic to see if we can fit you in for an emergency massage session, now the we are more space and more therapists, are able to leave room in our schedules for cases like this. 

Many health benefits have been revealed through massage and a big one is the prevention and treatment of injuries. Stretching connective tissue through massage helps increase blood circulation which assists in tissue repair. Muscle tension is a major source of pain for people and massage can significantly reduce discomfort from injuries.

We now have an accessible treatment room

If you haven't had a chance to check out our new clinic yet, we wanted to share some news about our clinic layout.

To ensure our clients can access treatments regardless of their physical condition we now have a ground floor "Accessible" treatment room.

This room will be for clients who are unable to ascend the staircase to our main treatment area, but will provide them the same comfort as before.
This is also the room we will be using for our pregnancy clients who are further along so that we don't tire them out up and down the stairs.

If you would like your future treatments to take place in this space, please let your therapist know, or give us a call or email when booking your next appointment and we will make sure that the room is reserved for your needs.

You can call us on 01506 238366 or email: contact@weesally.com

Should I keep my massage appointment in this heat?

It's roasting right?

These are the warmest temperatures that we have seen here in Scotland in decades. It's difficult enough to function doing every day tasks and stay cool, but you realise you have a massage appointment schedule sometime over the next few days when the temperatures are set to peak and you are probably asking yourself if you should keep it scheduled or change/cancel it?
 

Your muscle function diminishes during periods of extensive heat – along with your energy levels, you feel sluggish, it's difficult to sleep etc….
If you work hard, play hard or BOTH there is no doubt that you are working your muscles hard and you need to make sure they are at their best.

How do I make sure my muscles are at their best?
Muscle tissues need plenty of hydration, as well as good nutrition to make sure they function at their best. Lack of appropriate nutrients and fluids can lead to muscle spasms, cramps and sprains. In high temperatures this is even more difficult as we tend to become more hydrated and don't replenish our fluids enough.

What problems can hot weather cause for our muscles?
When we work or exercise, our muscles produce lactic acid, this is normal, but often it can build up within the muscles fibers and tissues which is what can contribute to spasms, cramps or strains, our range of motion can become limited, and we can gain what some people refer to as “Knots” in the muscles. These pockets of lactic acid if not dealt with, can cause pain and discomfort.
These “knots” are referred to professionally as “nodules” which form on the muscle fibres when the muscle goes into a state of semi-permanent contraction. it can be a very painful experience as you will know if you have ever experienced this.

What can your massage do for you?
A professional massage therapist will apply a range of techniques to your muscles to release the areas of the muscle which are in a state of contraction. This will help increase muscle tone and help to restore the muscles to full potential.

Who can benefit most from massage in hot weather?
Everyone can benefit – Stress levels increase during extreme temperatures along with sluggishness and massage can help with providing relief. This stress and tension can also lead to headaches which massage can also help with.
Your sleep pattern can be improved which will then clear your thinking and concentration.

Massage also releases important feel-good chemicals in the brain – namely endorphins and dopamine helping our sense of wellbeing, and for some people this can be essential.

If you have any questions or concerns about keeping your appointment during these extreme temperatures, please don't hesitate to get in touch and we can discuss your options.

 

Can massage help with headaches?

“This project is such a headache!”

 

They’re so common that the term has become synonymous with an annoyance, but what are headaches, really? And can massage therapy really help?

Different types, different causes.

Headaches are pretty easily defined, and we all know one when we feel it: it’s a pain in the head. But not all headaches are created equal.

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache, with pain occurring on both sides of the head without other symptoms. The pain can range from very mild to severe.

Migraine headaches are often pulsing, and can be accompanied by nausea, dizziness, sensitivity to light and sound, and hallucinations. Some people experience migraines only rarely, while other people experience them on an almost daily basis.

Cluster headaches are less common, and are generally experienced as severe pain around one eye. “Cluster periods,” during which many headaches occur during a period of time, are interspersed with longer periods without any symptoms.

Secondary headaches are not conditions themselves, but are symptoms of other conditions. These conditions can be as everyday as a sinus infection or conjunctivitis (pink-eye), or more serious, like traumatic brain injury or meningitis. While the pain from secondary headaches can be managed, it’s important to focus on getting the appropriate medical treatment for the underlying condition.

Headaches and massage

The good:

Tension headaches, the type of headaches people are most likely to experience, seem to respond well to massage therapy. Not only does massage seem to reduce pain in the moment, but regular massage therapy also appears to increase the amount of time between headaches for those who experience them on a chronic basis. This could be a result of helping to manage stress or underlying mechanical issues that can result in headaches, but there’s no solid science yet on precisely why massage helps, only that it does.

More good news! It probably doesn’t surprise anyone that folks who experience regular headaches are also more likely to experience high levels of stress, depression, and anxiety. Studies have found that massage can help with these issues not just in the general population, but also specifically in people who live with chronic headaches.

Some people with secondary headaches can also benefit from massage. People with fibromyalgia, for example, who often experience headaches as part of their condition, can experience both pain and stress relief with regular massage therapy. While massage during a flare-up of symptoms may need to be modified to be more gentle, some people find that it can provide relief both for headache as well as for pain throughout the body.

The bad:

Massage therapy is wonderful and often helpful, but it’s not a cure for headaches. While some people just need a bit of rest or a drink of water (dehydration is a surprisingly common headache cause), other people continue to experience headaches all their lives. While people who experience headaches caused by stress or muscular tension can absolutely benefit from massage, migraines triggered by things like foods or hormonal changes probably won’t see an impact.

The ugly: 

There are some times when getting a massage for headaches isn’t just unhelpful, it’s actually dangerous. Most often, this is related to secondary headaches. Fevers, as an example, often cause headaches as well as achy joints that could lead someone to want to receive massage, but this not only risks overly stressing a body that’s already fighting off an infection, it also has the possibility of spreading the illness to the massage therapist and anyone else they come into contact with. Headaches resulting from a recent head, neck, or back injury could also be made worse by a well-meaning massage therapist.

When there is the possibility of pain being caused by an illness or injury, it’s always best to seek out a physician’s opinion first. They can provide or recommend appropriate care for the issue causing the headache in the first place, and at that point you can ask them about whether it would be a good idea to receive a massage. Safe is always better than sorry!

Headaches can be a real, well, headache. But there’s help.

Sometimes a little change of environment is all that’s needed. If you have a headache and have been hunched over a computer for hours, try a stretch. A quick walk outside or a brief nap can help with a headache caused by eye strain. If you haven’t eaten or drunk anything all day, do that. It’s easy to get caught up in the business of our lives and forget to take care of our own basic needs.

For those who can take them, over the counter painkillers like ibuprofen or aspirin can be helpful in treating a headache. Sometimes caffeine is recommended as well. For stronger headaches, medications prescribed by a physician can be a lifesaver to many people, enabling them to function at work and with their families when they might otherwise have been left incapacitated.

And then there’s massage therapy, of course. It’s not a magical cure-all, but for many people, it really does help manage the pain and stress of headaches. Are you one of them? Schedule your next massage, and let’s find out together.

Massage client safety

We need to talk about massage and safety.

 

If you haven’t already heard, Buzzfeed recently broke a story about abuse occurring in Massage Envy franchise locations. There has been a lot of conversation about the story online and in the news, which you may have seen. What you probably haven’t seen (unless you’re a part of our profession) is the uproar it has caused in the massage therapy community. Horror is a common emotion: who would do such a thing? Sadness: for the people who will be too fearful to receive the bodywork they need out of fear for their safety. And anger. Plenty of anger.

To be clear, this anger isn’t for the thousands of ethical massage therapists, managers, and support staff at Massage Envy. Whether you care for their business model or not, the vast majority of Massage Envy employees are out there doing their jobs, caring for clients, and earning a living, and they deserve our support. The anger is for perpetrators who violated the faith placed in them by trusting clients; the franchise owners, managers, and employees who allowed it to happen; and the organisation that provided neither sufficient guidance nor real consequences for the people they allow to work in their name.

We want  you to know that we as a community of massage therapists are trying to do our best to hold ourselves and our organizations accountable, and work for changes at Massage Envy and elsewhere to make sure this never happens again.

But we also want you to know that we care about you. As a client and as an individual. Because you have a right to feel safe while getting a massage. And this goes whether you’re receiving a massage here or anywhere else.

 

So here are some promises to you:

Our promise

We will be vigilant in our hiring. This includes extensive reference checks as well as basics such as double checking claims regarding certifications and Insurance

We will give you access. We will publicly post information on how to check the memberships of any of our therapists online with the leading massage organisations.

We will be proactive and regularly solicit feedback from clients about their experience. Big or small, positive or negative, we want to know your experience so that we can do our best and stop major issues before they start.

We will have formal processes in place for handling ANY complaint of therapist misconduct, and share this process openly with you. 

And as part of this, you have our word that:

  • We will investigate any report of misconduct.
  • We will not permit a massage therapist under investigation to work with clients until the investigation has concluded.
  • We will maintain written records of every report and investigation.
  • We will report the incident to law enforcement, and other agencies as appropriate.
  • We will publicly post information on clients’ rights and the procedures for reporting an incident.
  • We will support clients in whatever course of action they choose to take.

The power is yours

There is a natural power differential when a person decides to get a massage. When one person is trained, familiar with the environment, standing up, and fully dressed, and the other has none of those advantages, it can be easy to feel like someone receiving a massage has no power at all. But it’s important to know that, no matter how much of an expert a person may be in massage, you are the expert on your experience. And as the expert on you:

  • You have the right to tell your massage therapist to change or stop what they are doing for any reason.
  • You have the right to end your massage session at any time for any reason.
  • You have the right to stop seeing your massage therapist, or to choose a new massage therapist, for any reason.
  • You have the right to report any misconduct to your massage therapist’s supervisor, to their membership agency, to law enforcement, or to all three.

 

Again, you have a right to feel safe while getting a massage.

 

And since we’re having an open conversation about safety, we also need to be clear about one more thing: massage therapists also have a right to feel safe while giving a massage. 

 

Ensuring the safety of massage therapists from clients who would harass, assault, or otherwise harm them is another conversation that you might not always be privy to as a client, but is a major point of discourse in the massage therapy community. For whatever reason, there are still people out there who confuse (or choose to conflate) massage therapy with sex work, and feel free to act on that impulse regardless of the wishes of the therapist in question.

If this is obviously problematic to you, like it is to 99% of the people in the world, then you don’t really need the following reminder. 

But if you’re in that 1% and believe you’re owed sexual favors by virtue of existing and rely on that sense of personal entitlement while preying on massage therapists, especially those who are inexperienced or economically disadvantaged, here’s a wake-up call for you:

Your massage therapist also has rights

  • Massage therapists have the right to refuse to provide any service they feel would be inappropriate, out of their scope of practice, uncomfortable, or unsafe.
  • Massage therapists have the right to end a session at any time if they feel unsafe with a client.
  • Massage therapists have the right to no longer see a client they feel unsafe with or unqualified to treat.
  • Massage therapists have the right to report a client’s inappropriate behavior to their supervisor and to law enforcement.
  • Massage therapy business owners have the right to stop scheduling a client for inappropriate behavior, to ban them from the premises, and to warn other local therapists about them. (And massage therapists do talk to one another. It’s a small profession.)

In the end, everything is better off in the light.

It’s better to have a major exposé in the news than for abuse to go on unaccounted-for. It’s better to ask hard questions before choosing a new massage therapist than to go into a session anxious or afraid. And it’s definitely better for massage therapists to address the issue of safety head-on, rather than pretending the concern doesn’t exist. 

We all have a right to feel safe. 

Hopefully, if we continue to work together to shine light into the dark corners of the world, all of us will.

What you can't get from a massage tool

There are plenty of tools that you can use to help yourself feel better in between massage appointments. There are foam rollers, therapy canes, electronic devices providing percussion or vibration, and balls of all kinds. You’ll see ways to use tennis, golf, racquet, and lacrosse balls for massage purposes.

These can be great to have at home, at work, or when you travel. They can help ease some pain when you can’t get in for a massage. Life events pop up and make it difficult to squeeze a massage into your schedule at times.

Massage is a great part of your plan for taking care of yourself, but of course it can’t be the only thing. It makes sense to have other activities and some tools to keep you feeling good regularly. For example rolling your sore and tired feet on a golf ball for a few minutes feels wonderful - and it helps get you up off the couch and moving again.

Before you ditch your massage therapist completely, there are some things to consider.

Your tool does only one action. Most just compress your muscles. But that’s not all you need to feel better. In a massage your muscles are pulled, squeezed, kneaded, and stretched as well as being compressed. One tool isn’t the solution to everything. Hammers are good - for hammering. When you need to paint, drill a hole, or tighten a nut they are not nearly as useful. 

Tools are not are educated in how your body works. Your tool won’t know when to stop and your muscles may get overworked. Working in some areas of your body can be dangerous and may cause serious problems. Obviously you want to feel better, not worse afterwards.

Massage therapists have also learned about how much pressure to use and how best to work on a muscle. They can evaluate the progress and change the pressure or try a different technique. They may move you into different positions to change the angle to reach a muscle more effectively.

Some tools may require you to get on the floor or bend a certain way. This can be a challenge to some who are lacking in mobility or agility. 

Pain can be tricky. You may feel the pain in one area but the real source can be somewhere else. If you only address where you feel the pain you will just treat the symptom and the pain will return. A massage therapist can often track down the source and help address the real problem.

There’s more to a massage than just working on your muscles. You get personal attention, listened to, and cared for. Your body and mind can both relax as you let go of your responsibilities for a while. 

Tools for use at home can provide some nice benefits in between massages. Most of us enjoy saving money but when we need something important done correctly we pay a professional. Your body is the only place you have to live. Take care of it right.

To schedule your next massage, click here

Reasons to hate massage

I’ve gotten a lot of massage in the last 15 years. From students, new practitioners, well-seasoned therapists and instructors. I’ve gotten massage in spas, clinics, school, trade show floors and home offices. I’ve been worked on by practitioners who knew I was also a Massage Therapist and by those who thought I was just an IT consultant.

Of them, there are just a handful that I remember as truly spectacular. Yeah, I’m a persnickety client. When I’m slapping down my money, I am super picky and highly critical. Check out this list of massage complaints I’ve wracked up in my years as a massage consumer.  (The complaints are mostly in my head, I haven’t always expressed them to the therapist or establishment. More on that later.)

  • There was no intake form.
  • There was an intake form, and the therapist commented negatively on my medications.
  • The therapist didn’t give me instruction on what to wear/not wear or how to place myself on the table.
  • There was no knee or ankle bolster.
  • The room was too warm.
  • The room was too cold.
  • The music was too loud.
  • The music was too soft.
  • There was no music.
  • The music included water noises/nature sounds/chanting monks.
  • The massage table was hard.
  • The face cradle didn’t adjust.
  • There were no tissues in the massage room.
  • It was noisy, I could hear other clients coming and going.
  • The therapist didn’t address my neck/shoulder/knee or whatever I specially requested. Or they did address it, but didn’t spend enough time there.
  • Or they spent too much time there, but skipped the secondary issue I pointed out.
  • Or they spent too much time there, overworked the area, and I was bruised and sore.
  • The therapist used too much pressure.
  • The therapist didn’t use enough pressure.
  • I asked for more or less pressure and the therapist acknowledged my request but didn’t actually change the pressure.
  • The therapist told me to breathe through the pain she was causing.
  • The therapist initiated conversation.
  • She lifted the sheet way up when I turned over, making me feel exposed and cold.
  • I made a request to adjust the heat/music/pressure and the therapist seemed put out.
  • The therapist’s hands smelled like cigarettes.
  • The therapist used a ton of oil and left me greasy, or got lots of oil in my hair after I requested that not happen.
  • Cheap, low quality massage oil or lotion.
  • Got scratched repeatedly by long fingernail.
  • The therapist used a scented product without asking me.
  • The therapist sniffled through the whole massage and I’m pretty sure her nose dripped on my back.
  • The office was dirty.
  • I used a gift certificate for a 60 minute massage and upgraded to a 90 minute massage. I was charged the full price of a 30 minute £30) and not the £10 balance between a 60 minute massage (£45) and a 90 minute massage (£55). I’m still pretty pissed about that one.
  • The therapist sold nutritional or health products or gave advice out of their scope of practice.
  • The therapist commented on my tattoo/stretch marks/apparent fitness level.
  • With no warning, the therapist left the room in the middle of the treatment, then came back. Never said why.
  • The therapist made fun of me for snoring.
  • There was no hook or stool for my clothes, had to just pile my clothes on the floor.
  • The therapist told me the names of all of our colleagues who she had treated.
  • The therapist spoke negatively about other clients.
  • I saw her take cream from a bowl that was clearly used with the client before me and obviously cross-contaminated. Ditto that for tubes that haven’t been wiped off.
  • The tube or bottle of lotion was noisy. Every time they went for more. Every. Time.

With all this said, let’s take a moment to appreciate that I’ve also given some lousy massages in my career (mostly at the beginning, I hope). I’ve probably even committed a bunch of the offenses I complain about.

Moreover, I also realize that many, many of my complaints could have been resolved quickly if I had spoken up. Sometimes I do. Other times I feel like it’s futile. That’s on me. Kinda. It’s also up to the therapist to create an environment where I feel comfortable speaking up. That hasn’t always happened.

But my long career as a really picky client is part of what makes me a better massage therapist now. More importantly, it’s what makes me very receptive to your feedback. I know how annoying it is to put your money and time into a massage and not feel satisfied with the experience. I know what it is to leave a massage office feeling like the therapist missed that ‘one spot’  between my shoulder blades that I really wanted worked on.

When you tell me the pressure is too much, I won’t ask you to breathe through it. I’ll back off and find a better way to treat the area. If you’re cold, or warm, or hate the music, I’ll make it better. When you tell me, I won’t be annoyed or put out. I will not think you are high-maintenance. If you make a short conversation and I get too chatty, I will not be offended if you cue me to hush up by saying, “Okay, I’m gonna be quiet now so I can enjoy this massage.”

When you make a request, I will be utterly pleased that you are speaking up, so I can make the experience perfect for you. For reals.

See you on the table soon!

Should I talk during a massage?

Should I talk during a massage?

Sure, if you’d like to talk go right ahead. The important thing to remember is that this treatment is all about you relaxing and enjoying the experience. Many therapists discourage talking in hopes that you will relax, let your mind float free and enter a state of massage bliss.

In many instances, people may feel more relaxed starting off talking, and as the massage progresses, enter quiet states of relaxation.

The important issue here is that there are times when you need to speak up. If the therapist is doing anything to make you uncomfortable, you should let her/him know immediately. Also, let him/her know if you get too warm or too cold, if the room is too bright, or if the pressure needs to be changed (lighter or deeper). If something is not working for you – speak up! It’s OK!

Is massage always appropriate?

Is a massage always appropriate? 

No, there are several medical conditions that would make massage inappropriate. That’s why it is necessary that you fill out the health history form before you begin your session. The massage therapist will ask general health questions to rule out if you have any contraindications to massage. It is very important that you inform the practitioner of any health problems or medications you are taking.

If you are under a doctor’s care, it is strongly advised that you receive a written recommendation for massage prior to any session. Your massage therapist may require a recommendation or approval from your doctor.

Should I cancel my massage if I'm sick?

Should I cancel my massage if I’m sick?

Short answer: Yes, please.

Long Answer: Yes, please.

Massage is great. You know this. But it’s not always a great idea.

Why? 

When you are sick, your body needs rest. It’s strange to think about it this way, but receiving massage is an active task, it is not entirely rest. Massage causes change in the body, and your body has to work to maintain stability. Getting a massage when you are sick takes attention away from infection-fighting. That’s no good.

You’re not going to be cozy on the massage table.  Sure, it sounds like a warm squishy massage table would be great. But the moment you put your already-stuffy head into that face cradle, you’ll realise the error of your ways. Gravity and pressure are not your friend here. Even if we do a great face massage to drain your sinuses, you’ll likely feel worse when you get off the table.

You could get us sick. Since most of the common  viruses are contagious even before symptoms show up, we could pass the cooties along to more clients before we even know it’s happening.

Further, when we get sick, we have to cancel clients and take a few days off work. We work for ourselves, with no paid sick days to compensate for lost wages. Sure, as a responsible business owner we have a fund for these situations. But we would rather use that fund for a jetski or a fancy new oil holster. So Iwe're gonna try to stay germ-free as much as possible.

So it’s a deal. You’ll cancel so as not to infect us and our massage room, and we'll do the same for you. We’ll keep each other safe.

When to cancel

If you have nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea in the past 24 hours, or are still feeling punky from a recent bout of such things.

If you’ve had a fever in the past 24 hours, or fever-related symptoms. This includes chills, aches, and fatigue. Even if you’re keeping the fever down with medicine, you’re still sick. The fever counts.

If you are itchy, runny, and/or sneezy, and you’re not 100% certain it’s seasonal allergies. And even then, allergies may leave you so miserable that the hour on our table would be wasted time and money for you.

If you are coughing constantly, or just a lot.

If someone in your household is ill and you are feeling at all funky, please cancel.

There is often some grey area here, especially if you are in the recovery phase of a virus or bacterial infection.  If you’re unsure about your situation, please call us before your appointment and we can make a decision together.  

What to expect during your first visit

Many people are nervous about their first visit to a massage clinic.

We decided to make that event just a little less frightening by walking you through the intake process and explaining what we do during your visit. 

We hope this settles any fears or worries you may have, we look forward to seeing you soon.