What Are You Paying For??

Written by Marissa Orchard


What do you really get when you pay for a massage?


Relaxation is a pretty obvious answer for most people. De-stressing. Fluff. We’ve ran into people who think massage is only for the elite who have extra money to spend and they can’t afford more than a $30 massage. We’ve heard almost all of the reasons why people don’t value massage at the cost we charge. But seriously, what do you get when you pay for a massage?



Regular health check-ups. Now, we can’t diagnose anything, nor can we prescribe anything. However, we have been known to suggest to clients to get a skin spot checked out that they never would have seen, or inform a client that they should see a specialist to help with a number of problematic issues. We, unfortunately, are not miracle workers and cannot make all of your problems go away. That’s why we can and will refer you to other professionals that can help. This can range from dermatologist to a neurologist, depending on what your symptoms are and if we can or cannot help you.


Mini-vacations! In this crazy, busy world, taking even just one hour for you to check out of the world and check in with your body and mind can change your whole outlook and helps to decrease your overall stress levels, which also boosts your immune system, which helps prevent sickness. We have so many clients describe their sessions with us as a mini-vacation or their short getaway because we strive to create a relaxing, inviting ambiance with dim lighting, relaxing music, ambient noise makers, aromatherapy diffusers, blankets, table warmers, and everything else in the room. A massage is a block of time dedicated to you and no one else. It can be a quick nap for you, too.


Increased function. Deep tissue massage can help to keep your joints moving and can even increase your range of motion. As mentioned before, it also helps you immune system, which helps your overall functions. Taking a break for yourself can increase cognitive function. While we are not saying that you will go from 30% to 100%, especially in one session, consistent massage from a licensed professional is an integral part in your function and health management.


Specialized care plans. As a Licensed Massage Therapist works on you, we learn what’s going in within your body. If we say you should stretch certain muscles or suggest a change in your daily routine, that suggestion is going to add quality to your life. It will help you with aches and pains, and it will prevent possible injuries. We focus on you and hope to help you be the best you that you can be.


A world of referrals. We work with so many other businesses in this community, and we learn about each business so we know why you should choose a certain one. If you need a great plumber, personal trainer, physical therapist, handy man, pest control guy, and a myriad of other professionals, we can help you. If we don’t have one in mind right away, we can help you find the best person for the job.


Not only do you get regular health check-ups, a mini-vacation, increased function, specialized care plan, and world of referrals, you get all of the benefits of massage we have talked about time and time again. The value of what you get in one session outweighs the cost every time.

4 Ways to Benefit from Result-Oriented Massage

Imagine: you’re trying to lose weight. You go to the gym one day. You run a mile. Go on the elliptical for 10 minutes. You do squats. Lunges. Bench press. A million crunches. It’s a good workout! You feel amazing! You go home. Shower. Eat. Then decide that you’re doing well, so you don’t need to go again this week. Or next week. Or the rest of this month. Sure enough, a year has passed, and you haven’t lost any weight. You tried really hard to elicit a change in your body, but you went to the gym once. So when you go back to the gym a year later, everything was just as hard to do. You’ve made no progress. If anything, you’ve backtracked on your health goals. All of that work is meaningless if you have no frequency.


The same goes for massage therapy. Now, you do not need to go to your Massage Therapist every day to make a change. But you do need frequency. Frequency is key to success in any situation: learning an instrument, exercising, changing your diet, really anything.


We are not crazy Massage Therapists demanding you come in every single day! We do recognize that frequency is relative and dependent upon goals. Someone who has been in an accident and cannot turn their head needs more frequency than someone who wants to add massage to their preventative health regiment.

If you have recently been in an accident or are recovering from surgery or cannot move your head, aka an extreme case, your massage therapist might want to see you twice a week for an hour each. By receiving a treatment this frequently, the massage therapist is able to really work through tension, scar tissue, and more to increase range of motion and decrease pain. If you want to get rid of daily headaches and migraines, maybe once a week would be most beneficial. If you want to make changes and have a small amount of pain from everyday duties, every other week might be more fitting for you. Talk to your Massage Therapist about your goals and what you want from your sessions, and they will tell you the best way to achieve your dreams.


How to be frequent:

  • Determine a goal. If you want your headaches to go away, plantar faciitis pain to decrease, increase range of motion, work on anxiety or depression, help your shoulder or back or neck pain, or get ready for an Iron Man Competition, that’s great! Make a goal or decide a desired outcome.
  • Talk to your Massage Therapist. How on earth can your Massage Therapist help you if you do not inform him / her of your goals or aspirations? Have a detailed conversation and lay out a plan.
  • Make it a priority. Life happens. You have to go shopping and stay for an inspection on your house. Trains delay arrival. There are so many things that can get in the way. But your health should be one of your highest priorities. After all, if you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?
  • Follow through! This is the most important one. If you go through the first three steps but don’t have follow through, all progress will be for naught. Your recovery time will increase, you will not achieve your goals, and you will make the Massage Therapist’s job more difficult. You will be throwing money at us for no real reason. You will be wasting time, get frustrated, and then assume massage cannot help you. Please, please, please follow through. Come to appointments. If you need to reschedule, give us 24 hours’ notice. If you cannot give us 24 hours’ notice, call us anyway. We want to work with you, but we cannot if you fall off the face of the planet and never answer our emails or return our calls.

Please note: THIS IS NOT FOREVER! As much as we would love to see you twice a week for forever, our goal is to get you better! We don’t want to see you all of the time–we want to see you once or twice a month for maintenance. We don’t want to gouge your for money, we want to help. Getting through the tough spots–right at the beginning of a treatment plan–is the hardest part. Once you reach a certain level of health and wellness, we decrease your frequency.

Stress Kills; We Can Help

Many people might think that massage is too expensive or just a luxury, not a necessity. Some might say, “Only people with butlers and maids who send their clothes off to be dry cleaned and buttons sewn back on can afford it. Besides, it’s only good to relax, and I don’t have an hour to sit with cucumbers on my eyes!” Well, stress kills, and we can help.

With the every-day stresses that accompany our daily lives, stress can be a really silent, slow killer. The only way you can escape it is if you are a care-free three-year-old only playing and eating what you want! We, as a society, tend to over-stretch our glutes and back muscles while shortening our pecs and hamstrings, just to be very general. We have forward head posture, which causes Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, which can cause headaches and does cause numbness in our hands. We spend hours at computers working and Facebooking and watching TV or YouTube in awful positions that end up causing us pain or muscle strain. We spend loads of time texting and on our phone and while we are talking about phones, we still try to hold our skinny smart phones between our ear and shoulder while we are talking on it. We get in car accidents, slip on ice, fall down stairs, stub our toes and run into things. And that’s not even getting into the psychological stresses: deadlines, weddings, divorces, kids, no kids, kids sports and activities, church or other volunteer opportunities, pets, significant others, roommates, parents, siblings, extended family, in-laws, job changes, job promotions, new managers, new co-workers, losing jobs, sleep deprivation, sickness, technology not working, phone contracts, internet installation, turning 50, pluming issues, car work, and the list goes on.


Stress of any kind raises cortisol levels, the stress hormone. Cortisol is good. It’s that feeling you get that lights a fire under you so you do what you need to do. It regulates your metabolism and blood sugar levels; it’s anti inflammatory and helps with memory storage in your brain; it regulates your blood pressure. So you can’t just remove it from your body and call it good. If you were to do that, you would have all sorts of other bad symptoms. Too much cortisol can lead to high blood pressure, osteoporosis, weight gain, mood swings, and muscle weakness.


You can regulate its production by one of many de-stressing ways:

  • Go for a walk
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Learn how to say no (especially when your plate is full)
  • Voice your feelings, in a healthy, respectful way
  • Do yoga
  • Accept things you cannot change
  • Write in a journal
  • Listen to music
  • Be less busy
and, of course….
  • Get a massage
Massage can lower cortisol levels. An old CNN article pointed out many benefits of massage, so this is not some new study you’ve never had access to. Massage works in helping with stress–physical, emotional, psychological, and sometimes even spiritual.
We also have some great essential oils that you can take with you everywhere you go. Check out our post about Stress Away.

101 Ways Massage Will Improve Your Life

Massage really has a million benefits, but here is a quick list of 101 ways massage can and does improve lives every day.


1. Reduce Stress

2. Reduce Anxiety

3. Reduces depression

4. Can help to gain new perspectives by relaxing the mind which can help create new neuropathways

5. An escape from life / mini vacation

6. Helps you become more self-aware by knowing what is going on in your body

7. Increase mindfulness

8. Boost mental health and wellness

9. Increase vitality

10. Increases sense of well-beingSpaFinder

11. Increases productivity

12. Can help increasing reaction time

13. Can increase alertness

14. Increase mental clarity


15. Improves posture

16. Increase range of motion

17. Decrease chronic pain

18. Decrease tension headaches and frequency of migraines

19. Hydrates and revitalizes skin

20. Reduce spasms and cramping

21. Keeps discs healthy

22. Decreases pressure on the joints

23. Decrease stiffness

24. Help manage carpal tunnel

25. Decrease jaw pain

26. Help manage chronic jaw issues

27. Ease sciatica

28. Reduce tender points

29. Increases metabolism

30. Reduces lactic acid build up

31. Lower Blood pressure

32. Reduce acute pain

33. Increase blood flow

34. Increases the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to tissues

35. Can aid in elimination

36. Ease pain in stomach from food poisoning

37. Ease chronic symptoms for post-polio sufferers

38. Increases blood flow to organs, allowing them to function better

39. Early detection of skin cancer

40. Help ease pain in clients in hospice care

41. Help ease painful oncology treatments

42. Reduces nausea in chemotherapy patients

43. Decrease and in some cases eliminate scar tissue

44. Strengthens immune system

45. Decreases recovery time post-surgery

46. In some cases, prevent surgery for tendonitis

47. Help decrease pain for sufferers of plantar faciitis

48. Lessen the effects of rheumatoid or osteoarthritis

49. Decrease numbness or tingling in extremities

50. Decrease the pain associated with scoliosis, lordosis, or kyphosis

51. Aid in recovery from strains or sprains

52. Decrease the pain from upper crossed syndrome or thoracic outlet syndrome

53. Aid in sinus health

Athletics / Fitness:bigstock-athlete-running-sport-feet-on-44182534

54. Decreases recovery from workouts

55. Decreases recovery time from an injury

56. Makes exercise easier

57. Helps with exercise gains

58. Reduce muscle tension

59. Help athletes monitor muscle tone

60. Promote relaxation

61. Reduce muscle hypertonicity

62. Improve soft tissue function

63. Support recovery from the transient immunosuppression state

64. Support the recovery of heart rate variability and diastolic blood pressure after high intensity exercise

65. Decrease muscle stiffness and fatigue after exercise

66. Improve exercise performance

67. Decrease DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)

68. Reduce serum creatine kinase post exercise

69. Reduce swelling

70. Reduce irregular breathing patterns

71. Enhance athletic performance

72. May help prevent injuries when massage is received regularly

73. Is the most efficient self-care regiment tor maintaining maximal athletic performance

Sleep and breathing:

74. Improve sleep

75. Increase sleep hours

76. Improve quality of sleep

77. Overcome feelings of fatigue

78. Practice deep breathing

79. Practice breathing

Pregnancy / women’s health:

80. Decrease discomfort during pregnancy

81. Assist in shorter, easier labor for expecting mothers

82. Decrease bloating, cramping, mood swings, and other PMS related symptoms


83. Balance hormones

84. Decrease urninary CRF-LI (a biochemical marker of stress-related symptoms

85. Decrease cortisol levels

86. Releases endorphines

Infants (Results of a case study):

87. Massage is a cost-effective therapy for pre-term infants.baby massage

88. Pre-term infants gained more weight with just 5 days of massage

89. Massage therapy by mothers in perinatal period serves as a strong time cue, enhancing coordination of the developing circadian system with environmental cues.

90. Over the 6-week period, the massage therapy infants gained more weight, showed greater improvement on emotionally, sociability, and soothability temperament dimensions and had greater decreases in urinary stress catecholamines/hormones (norepinepherine, epinephrine, cortisol).

91. Infants receiving massage showed fewer sleep delay behaviors and had a shorter latency to sleep onset by the end of the study

92. Massage may have a stress reducing effect on pre-term infants in the NICU.

93. Reduction of illness and diarrheal episodes in orphaned children in Ecuador


94. Decrease use of analgesics

95. Ease medication dependence


96. Great place to start for making changes

97. Improve health status

98. Improve quality of life

99. Work well in an integrative treatment plan

100. Increase the improvement when paired with other alternative health regiments (chiropractic, acupuncture, physical therapy, and more)

101. Valuable component of your wellness program



Mayo Clinic


Huffington Post


American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA)

Stay Healthy, Stay Happy

It might seem like this is a little preemptive, but fall is almost upon us. School is starting soon, and back to school always seems to be a time when people start getting sick. The sooner you start strengthening your immune system, the less likely you will get sick.

Strengthening your immune system is something we all should consistently try to accomplish. Here are some great tips:

  • Stay active! Your lymphatic system does not have a pump like your circulatory system does. It’s “pump” is your skeletal muscles. When school starts and fall comes, we tend to move a little less, creating stagnation to our immune systems. So keep pumping that lymph! The Thrive! Wellness Center just launched the Thrive! Yoga program. Check out the flier for more information. If you don’t have much time, bouncing on your toes for a little is a great way to keep that lymph pumping. If you can, stay active outside–the vitamin D from the sun will also aid in your prevention efforts.
  • Get enough sleep! Our bodies do the most healing and regeneration when we are sleeping. If our sleep is off, either restless or limited, our bodies become more susceptible to illness. Preventing illness is not the only reason to get enough sleep. Weight loss and metabolism, memory and learning abilities, safety, mood, and cardiovascular health as well as disease prevention are the main reasons the Harvard Medical School says that sleep is important.
  • Eat well! What we put in our bodies is one of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle. If you change your diet to all of the sweet goodness that fall offers, your body becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Here is a great article that talks about sugar and what you can do to avoid it. You can also make sure you’re eating some foods that are more vitamin D rich. Here is an article with the top 10 highest vitamin D foods. If you need further help with your diet, visit Enlightenment Nutrition Consulting.
  • Thieves Essential Oil Blend! I’ve talked about Thieves oil before, but I can’t say it enough–it helps keep you healthy! It fights off anything that is incubating in your body in the most gentle, natural way possible.
  • Get a massage! Or other bodywork. The same principle applies to getting a massage as staying active–your lymph system does not have a pump, and a massage helps to pump your lymph. Massage,acupuncturechiropractic, and the like all help boost your immune system. One of the great things about a massage is that you pump your immune system while you are relaxing, which is another great way to help your body heal and fight off infections.
If you follow these tips, I’m sure you will stay happy and healthy this season.


The Mayo Clinic states, “Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.”


Fibromyalgia is a life long struggle of trying to find a balance that helps you manage the pain. Some people with fibromyalgia live practically symptom free with the right combination and only have a few flare ups a year. Massage therapy is one of the most highly recommended treatments for fibromyalgia management. It does this be decreasing stress as well as lowering heart rate and increasing relaxation. Many people with fibro also experience muscle spasms, and massage therapy can definitely decrease the frequency, intensity, and duration of muscle spasms. The Mayo Clinic also talks about a few other alternative therapies to help manage fibro.


Sometimes, I will say, that fibromyalgia likes to play dirty tricks on you. Sometimes coming in for a massage really helps calm everything down, and other times, it’s a painful experience. That being said, not receiving a massage at all can be detrimental to your overall health.

Sports Massage

We help a lot of athletes with maintaining muscle health so they can do what they do best with less worry of injury. The Mayo Clinic describes Sports massage as, “This is similar to Swedish massage, but it’s geared toward people involved in sport activities to help prevent or treat injuries.”
Athletes always run the risk of injury, and massage has been proven to help prevent or help recover from injuries. Whether it is a sprained ankle that you need to just keep weight off of it for a little, or a rotator cuff tear, massage therapy helps recover quicker.
A great article published by Pacific College talks about all of the benefits of massage for sports, and one of the aspects I really want to focus on is DOMS. This is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. This can be debilitating for anyone, and athletes are always at risk for getting DOMS.
Massage prevents injury and soreness because one of the biggest benefits is increasing range of motion. The AMTA has a great article that lists 17 benefits of receiving massage therapy for those who exercise from promoting relaxation to increasing your training abilities.
Athletes all over the world employ massage therapists. Olympians brought their massage therapists to Sochi this year to help them stay loose and ensure they would perform as best as they could during the Olympics. If you are in your season or just training, make sure you are taking care of your muscles!

Brain Massage

I know what you’re thinking–brain massage? How could I possibly massage your brain? I can’t stick my fingers in your ear and poke it, and I wouldn’t want to open your skull to do that, but I do, in fact, massage your brain. How? By massaging your body.
Massage has been proven to increase cognitive function as well as productivity with multiple studies. A study in the United Kingdom showed increases in mental alertness and calmness in the workplace with on-site massage therapy.
From the study: “Choice reaction time tests were used to determine the effect of massage therapy on … the mental processes used to acquire, store, retrieve and utilise information. … Improvement in performance reflected better ability to sustain attention, suggesting that this is a direct consequence of massage therapy. ‘It confirmed what we’ve known for a long time: that businesses have much to gain from onsite massage therapy,’ said Jason Parlour.”
You can view the whole study for more detailed information.
This benefit is not limited to exclusively adult business professionals. Massage Magazine published an article about the improvement in infant cognitive function, based off of a study in 1997 in the professional journal Infant Behavior and Development. Some infants were placed in a play group, and others in the massage group, before sitting in front of a screen to display different images. The succession of images was designed to see how long it took each infant to process that the images were different. The infants who received only eight minutes of massage had a shorter rate of response recovery. This means that after the infant was massaged, the time it took for the infant to process different information lessened.
But massage doesn’t just help infants and adult business professionals! It also helps the elderly. A study showed that residents in a nursing home with cognitive impairment who received massage were less agitated. This was simply a prospective study, which left the administers seeking after more studies for massage therapy to help aid elders having difficulty with agitation without pumping them full of pharmaceuticals.
Massage helps cognitive function in all age ranges. It is important to have your cognitive function at its best in order to be able to contribute as much as you can. If you want on-site massage therapy for your workplace, give me a call, and we can set something up. Otherwise, make sure you are staying up on your massages. They will help you throughout the year to stay calm, organized, and productive.

Meet Your Fitness Goals

Massage Therapy can enhance your overall health. I think I’ve said this before, but what I haven’t said is how it can help you meet your fitness goals, whether it’s losing weight, or meeting a body lifting goal.
A lot of people hear about how massage therapy can boost your metabolism, which helps you lose weight. This is true. To an extent. You’re not going to shed 30 pounds by simply getting a massage twice a month. While it does boost your metabolism, it doesn’t boost it THAT much.
What massage DOES do is help supply your body with more oxygen and nutrients by increasing your circulation, which helps you recover quicker from strenuous exercise and helps your muscles recover and grow. This in and of itself can help you shed extra pounds.
When your circulation improves, your muscles are supplied with necessary nutrients in a much more efficient manner. Many weight loss experts will suggest and recommend receiving regular massage during your transformation with them simply because massage takes what they are teaching you and multiplies the results. Massage will help you burn your calories even at rest because well-maintained muscles work more efficiently. By receiving massage regularly, your range of motion will also increase, which will enable you to work out harder and work your muscles in ways you haven’t been able to in a long time.
Receiving regular massages can really help you meet your fitness goals. You will be able to relax better, sleep more soundly, and recover quicker from any workout you do. It will also help you detox your body more thoroughly, so you will get more out of your detoxing systems.
Staying healthy is more than just eating right and exercise. If your tissues are not functioning as best as they can, you won’t get the results you want very quickly. Don’t hesitate to schedule a massage, especially if you have fitness goals. Our very own Justin Hays is an amazing sports massage therapist. He really has a great knowledge of what the body goes through during exercise and knows how to tailor your massage to meet your needs, whether you are a runner, line backer, or just starting in your athletic health. Book a massage with Justin to help you start meeting your fitness goals quicker.

Don’t Be a Pain in the Butt!!

I am always surprised when a client does not want their glutes massaged. I understand that it may be personal and you might be uncomfortable with the idea, but maybe I can explain why it’s so important for me to work your glutes!

Your spine works as a unit, meaning from the base of your skull down to your tailbone is so interconnected that you cannot isolate your pain to only one section of your spine! If you have neck problems, it radiates down to your mid and lower back, which radiates into your glutes. If you have leg pain (knee, ankle, etc.), then your glutes will have issues I can work, since your glutes are one of the main muscles that moves your legs.


Gluteus maximusEven if you sit on your glutes all day and don’t think you work them very much, NOT TRUE!! If you sit on them too much, you are over-stretching them! This means that when you do use them, they have to work HARDER just to do the same motions! Your glutes help you stand up, walk, sit down, run, and almost every other major motion the average person does in a day.


If that doesn’t convince you, if I don’t work your glutes, that’s 20 muscles you are not letting me work! You have 3 glute (specific) muscles, and 7 muscles that rotate your leg outward located directly under those glutes. Your gluteus maximus is the largest (or should be) muscle in your body. If you’re having pain and knots in your tiny neck muscles, why do you think you wouldn’t have knots in the largest muscle in your body?


Ultimately, it’s your massage. If you’re uncomfortable, then you’re uncomfortable. But if you are having lower back pain, leg pain, or some kind of pain that just hasn’t gone away, let me massage your glutes!


Be well.
Marissa Orchard, LMT
Written June 12, 2013