Being Body Positive Means Being Body Neutral

Proudly owned by a Dyslexic

Kindly wear a mask & YES we are all vaccinated.

Body Mechanics NYC Gears Icon

Being Body Positive Means Being Body Neutral

As we head into the new year, I wanted to take a few moments to talk about body positivity. It’s a topic often misunderstood, or perhaps distorted is the more appropriate choice of wording because we so often look through such a myriad of lenses of ‘what is right’, ‘what is positive’, and ‘what makes someone happy’ that we lose our way.

The New Year often brings ‘Body Positive’ problems

At the beginning of the new year, massage therapists, personal trainers, yoga teachers, and other holistic providers often see a surge of new faces coming in to begin their new year’s resolutions of better health and fitness. All this is fine, but we must, as providers in this new year, remember being body-positive means being body neutral.

figure walking on a ball with body positivity-massage nyc

We may never know why someone picks the journey they are on, and we especially may never know the road they took to get there so choosing your words thoughtfully is important. All too often, people carry with them the weight of their past. If your client’s goal is to get in shape, it’s no one’s job to tell them how they

look on that path because that might define how they feel. Maybe the goal is to lose 10 lbs, and you hired me to help you, but that still does not give me permission to comment on your body, for any reason. Even if you hit your goal, that can be someone else’s job; commenting on your body is not mine. 

It is easy to shame someone under the guise of body positivity. Culturally we often accept it. Common themes are ‘you should be thin because it is healthy’, ‘New Year, New You‘, (what may I ask, was wrong with the old you?), ‘that exercise is the key to health’ (well, what about people who can’t) Even if you Google body positivity, you might find pictures of a slightly plus sized woman looking effervescent, perhaps exercising, or drinking a pressed juice. That picture is nice, and I am glad it exists, but it leaves all the other kinds of bodies out there and all the other kinds of body/soul joy attached to them. In our effort to be body positive, we have chosen yet another kind of body to make our emblem. 

Our words about Bodies matter

Practitioners need to mind their words as it is easy to do harm and cause damage that lasts years. I would be lying if I told you that I had not heard many people tell me that they have bad posture. When asked why they believe that, they will tell me “Oh, my (insert PT, Chiro, personal trainer) told me years ago”. 10 years later, they carry that faulty bit of information around with them, and, no, they do not have ‘bad’ posture.

Not all people struggle to be thin. Some people struggle with food in general. A comment about how healthy and ‘thin’ you look can trigger someone’s eating disorder. We say things such as, “She has a yoga body“, or “They have a runner’s body“, or perhaps, “You look good, did you lose weight?”, or “I can tell you have been working out“, These comments can sound positive, but they are harmful. A body is just a body, no matter what it is doing. Not all women want to look pretty, not all men want to look tough. Indeed, none of us needs to be told to smile or relax. While it might seem like a lot, and you might have to walk on eggs, you do not. A body is just a body, no matter what it is doing.

Beret Loncar Massage Therapist, Personal Trainer and Yoga Therapist

So I urge you as a practitioner to keep in mind being body-positive means staying body neutral. Commenting on the body when working with the body is not your place.

Beret Loncar- owner

My invisible Disability and Massage

 I wanted to write this blog because not a lot of people know this about me, but have a disability. I am actually significantly disabled. It is a disability that, for me at least, has not been compatible with traditional employment but works with massage. It is also an invisible disability so it comes with a host of other issues that are present with disabilities that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Such as panic, dissociation, and depression.

Beret Loncar Massage Therapist, Personal Trainer and Yoga Therapist

My technical diagnosis is that I am Dyslexic and Autistic. A lot of people misunderstand what that means, though. They think Dyslexia is not being able to spell, and they think of Autism as someone who has trouble communicating. I do not identify with either of those things in particular, although I do spell rather poorly. 

So what does my disability mean?

I cannot hold a regular job. I had a long history of failing miserably, switching jobs, being bullied at work, then calling in dead or deliberately making my work life a mess so that I would be fired. It is very hard to find employment when you have anxiety about basic human tasks.

For example, I find talking on the phone wildly difficult, especially with people I do not know. That made most entry-level jobs very uncomfortable. In college, I would make my roommates call for delivery because I was worried about calling someone I did not know. Even today, if I sub in as my own receptionist, I get a spike of nausea when I pick up the phone to make confirmation calls. Additionally, I have an auditory processing disorder which means I often actually do not understand what is said over the phone as I cannot see lips, if it involves codes, numbers or letters. If you give me your phone number over the phone and I write it down, it will likely be wrong. Dates, names, and emails as well. 

I cannot file or do the alphabet and reliably match a name to a letter, I cannot count money properly, and the months of the year elude me frequently. Time flow and telling time cause me problems. I have been known to spell my daughter’s name incorrectly when stressed and was limited in choosing names I could long-term learn to reproduce. I find loud noises totally fine, but if there are multiple noises coming from multiple areas, I have a sensation in my head like I am suffocating. I find being with some people physically difficult. I do not like the wind touching me if I am inside, like with fans. I am often very, very uncomfortable doing basic things like interviewing…it can cause me to dissociate.

I have strange fears about strange things, like that buses are not on track and so can go off route and should not be taken. I fear getting lost. In general, I feel like I am navigating without all the information that I need. It is scary. I am easily bullied. I easily lose myself in others. I have often been told I am being a B when being earnest or lying when I am telling the truth…. I in fact, find lying very hard. Not following a rule or moral code makes me very uncomfortable. 

People have very strong reactions to me. They either love me or hate me. I once had a fellow co-worker quit on my behalf when I had a panic attack at work as they switched the computer system to one I had never used, and I stopped being able to function while my boss yelled at me “just figure it out”. Basically, my brain is lying to me all the time about the things around me. I have a processing disorder. And when that processing becomes overwhelmed, it stops functioning altogether. Small changes can trigger my brain to not function. 

Being a business owner with a disability was hard during the pandemic

The pandemic was particularly challenging for me. Autistic people do not do change well sometimes. I gave birth at the height of it, when women in NYC were being forced to give birth alone. NY and the government rolled out reams of new laws, financial policies, and legal information. The PPP documentation alone was overwhelming for me. No accommodations were made for the disabled or pregnant for any of the new policies. I struggled. 

Do you have assistance?

I have not gotten the help I needed, even at school, even with an IEP (which is your individual Education program, a document that helps disabled children navigate the education system through accommodation). In part, this is because I was not diagnosed properly until I was an adult with autism. It is also because these things that I have are very misunderstood. 

My college advisor once told me when I went to his office, despondent, confused, and overwhelmed about how exactly I was going to navigate the world or how any of what I was learning would be applied to my life, “ You are the one person I do not worry about. You will be fine”. 

That same year I failed a class because I was afraid of how to check a video out of the library that required a special process. 

I operate in this role now, as I have the full support of staff and family. I additionally use Grammarly:) I can run my own business as I do not have to do it someone else’s way, I do it my way. Point of Sale software and computers have taken over many of the things I struggled with in school.

Why don’t people know I am disabled?

You see, in addition to struggling with daily tasks. I am also strongly verbal, I had to dumb down my vocabulary in school. I read at a super fast rate. I speak well publicly. I could draw in perspective before I could fully write. I have a memory that is close to perfect for details in certain contexts. I read people very well. I am a quick study of human behavior and can make people very comfortable. I can take things apart and put them back together. And I can learn some things in a way some others never will. Most of the art on my walls is my own, if you want shelves, I can build them,  lighting I can do, and plumbing as well, but passing the exams to get jobs that include those skills would be hard. 

It is a strange contradiction of things…I might not be able to work in an office, but I can run my company. And because I am bad at A LOT of things, I have tried MOST things…because I have to. So people do not see me as disabled. Disabled people are not supposed to be doing things in many minds and they are certainly not supposed to be VERY good at some things. 

Being disabled and massage

I became a massage therapist on a fluke. I started school as I was very unhappy with my life in NYC, and I moved to Canada on impulse. Long term, in order to stay I needed a permit and getting a permit to stay meant I needed to go back to school. It was by chance that I went back to school in Ontario and it changed my life. The massage school there teaches specifically a structure on how to communicate, interview, interact with and behave in a clinical setting. I was given very detailed rules to follow and apply in a healthcare setting. I was graded on eye contact, fidgeting, and the appropriateness of my body language…and it saved me. I needed only to apply the rules to clinical practice to be successful, and I was. 

Massage therapy as it turns out, is a fantastic job for disabled people, even if you do not go to it in Canada. In massage, accommodation is easy both for the patients and for the therapists. Many of the people that work in our office are disabled. Some are diagnosed, and some are not. Some have mental impairments some have physical ones. There are very few things in massage that you cannot work around. Over the years, I have had the privilege of watching many of these people grow as well…into wonderful business owners themselves. Massage can be a job where it is viewed you ‘end up’, but it is not. Massage is often the beginning. I would encourage anyone who is feeling frustrated by their personal limitations and is curious about massage to reach out to me. 

The world, by far, is not set up for me. But the world I can create through massage is. It can be for you as well. 

This particular post is not really edited by my crew. So if you would like better grammar, spelling or proofing, please read another.

athletes back pain biceps Body Mechanics Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage consent Covid covid-19 fascia work health care healthcare home care intra-oral massage manual therapy massage massage NYC massage nyc. running injuries Massage therapist Massage therapy Meddical Massage Myofascia new york new york city nyc nyc massage orthopedic massage orthopedics pain pain low back pain pain science posture pregnancy prenatal care prenatal massage Preventative Care running science based small buisness Sports massage stretches tendinitis therapist profile tmd tmj training

Simple ways to manage normal pregnancy-related back pain

If you are having trouble managing pregnancy-related back pain, you are not alone. Having been a former pregnant person twice, I can tell you that the aches and pains pregnant people undergo for months are no joke. Your body undergoes large-scale changes to accommodate the growing baby. There are a lot of unseen changes to your body as well, including hormones, blood flow, and growing a whole new organ called the placenta. All of this lead to a number of aches and pains, including prenatal or pregnancy-related back pain. For most people, after they have checked with their doctor that the pain is normal, the advice for managing pain while pregnant does not include medication. With that in mind, we put together some tips to help.

Seek out safe pain-modifying activities, such as massage therapy, and acupuncture (we love Theresa Costigan Acupuncture). Both of these are generally safe for pregnant people. Even though you are under a doctor’s care while pregnant, it is always good to check to make sure this applies to you. It is also wise to choose massage providers that have experience in pregnancy-related back pain.

Use moderate local heat or cold. Generally, your doctor will tell you to avoid saunas, hot tubes, and hot baths as they all affect blood flow and blood pressure, but for the most part, local applications are fine and can be used to help ease aches in pains. In fact, in our massages, it is very normal for us to use cold compresses on the feet and a warm towel on the neck to help ease aches and pains. Pregnant women might enjoy a cold cloth on the forehead, wrists, feet, lower back, or sinuses. Heat might feel good on the upper back, neck, feet, or hips.

Move! It may feel like the last thing you want to do but moving is good for you and can be a natural analgesic. Walks, swimming, and yoga are typically recommended for pregnant women experiencing pregnancy-related back pain, but many women stick with their normal running, lifting, and other exercise programs. If in doubt, please check with your medical provider, as not all may apply to you.

Meditate or breathe. Stress levels are indirectly tied to your perception of pain. Often you can meditate and help reduce muscle tone by relaxing through a meditation practice. There is no need to become an expert, sitting pillowed and spending 2-5 minutes calming your breath can work wonders.

Self-massage or partner massage. Pain can be daily, and let’s face it, we cannot all go to the massage therapist every day. Do ask your prenatal massage therapist to show you how to perform safe self-massage with a ball or roller during your massage session. You can also ask your partner to massage you. They should use moderate pressure (ie it should not hurt) and they should avoid sensitive areas such as the sacrum, belly, and front of the neck since they do not know what they are doing.

We always advise that when in doubt, please check with your doctor. Many people think that they need to suffer back pain when they do not. Help is available, check with your team to find out which options are right for you at what stage of pregnancy.

next post:

Dynamic Stretching for Runners

Dynamic Stretching for runners Vs. Passive stretching

If you are preparing for a race, before your warm-up we recommend a pre-race dynamic stretching-for- runners routine. This is not a warmup on its own, but it will prepare you for your warmup and ultimately your race. While passive stretching is a great cool down due to its longer holds and focus on relaxing, dynamic stretching helps prepare your muscles for movement. Dynamic stretching involves making movements with your body that stretch the muscles to their full length or range of motion. Most stretches can be turned into dynamic stretches. This worksheet shows a brief outline of a good dynamic pre-race stretching routine to be used before your warmup or shake out. There is no set number of times a dynamic stretch should be done. Simply repeat the routine until the area is warm and feels good.

Walking quad stretch

Walking quad dynamic stretching for runners
Walking quad stretch

Walking quad stretches are a great traditional runners stretch and mobility warm-up. Start by standing and reaching for your foot behind your back (this can be done with the same side hand or opposite hand) Raise the opposite hand above your head. Hold for a breath then release and step forward and repeat on the other side. You should be able to ‘walk’ and stretch in a nice rhythm.

See a video of the walking quad stretch

Lunge with side stretch and cross-body stretch

This stretch encompasses multiple versions and modifications. In the simplest version, you can try a rocking lunge to stretch your quads and side body. Start by taking a lunge posture as shown in the first image. Raise the arm of the leg extended behind you, over your head, and rock forward. To reach more into the psoas and deeper belly muscles, tilt the raised arm across the body until you feel a stretch and pulse, as shown in the second picture.

More flexible people can try this same stretch as a cross-body lunge as shown in the third image. To make this stretch dynamic, open the arm wide to the side and drop it back down to the mat. Alternatively, you can make this stretch dynamic by turning the lunge into a march, where you alternate the sides of the lunge. This is a great progression dynamic stretching for runners.

Inner thigh/adductor stretching

Adductor stretch

Start by standing with your legs spread apart as if you are doing a jumping jack. Bend forward at the waist and drop your opposite hand to the opposite leg as shown while leaning into the stretch in the inner thigh. Alternate left and right sides until the area is warm and free of discomfort. This should be done in a nice steady rhythm with a pause between movements.

See a video of the dynamic adductor stretch

Walking out the calves

waking out the calves stretch for runners
Down dog calf stretch while walking out the feet

The beginning posture/stretch in this photo is called the downward dog. In general, this posture will passively stretch your calves just by holding the posture. To make this stretch dynamic walk back and forth by picking one foot up and letting the other foot sink deep into a heel stretch, then switch to the other side. This is called walking out the dog or peddling the feet.

In Conclusion about, dynamic stretching for runners

Many people/runners operate under the assumption that stretching is a tedious stationary activity but dynamic stretching for runners can be a great addition to a warmup. Many forms of stretching are actually dynamic and can prepare you for a better run. Most passive stretches can be turned into dynamic ones with a few simple tweaks. Building in some dynamic stretching time pre-run can help you improve your body awareness and thereby prevent injury as well as mentally prepare you for the task at hand. If you do not like stretching yourself, you can always book a runner’s massage and stretch with us and we will do it for you 😍.

Four Reasons for Massage in the Winter

Cold and Massage

Why do people feel like they need more self care like massage in the winter?

As I sit here and write this post, we have about a month left of winter which seems far to long after 3 months of cold inside. I am eagerly awaiting spring, but I am also finding that my physical self seems to need a lot more self-care at this point. If my body had a voice it would be demanding a lot of things. It is not just my body either, my mind also seems like it requires a lot more maintenance than it did in September. I find myself often thinking about how amazing it would be to have a massage in these last days of winter. My body aches, I am tired and mentally I am just burnt out. More so than usual this year since we are 2 + years into a pandemic. So I put together this post on four reasons you might need a massage in the winter.

I do not want to sound an alarm about how winter is causing all kinds of problems for you. It is not. How you ‘feel’ is a pretty important part of wellness though, and predictably, I do not feel good. There is a good reason that you might be craving self-care like massage in the winter though

Many people need more rest in the winter, massage can help

As a natural extension of that, you might feel the need to build in rest you are not getting due to our rigid work schedules.  According to a recent American Academy of Sleep Medicine study 34% of U.S. adults say they sleep more during winter. For many, the dark, cold winter months are a time to catch up on sleep.”

Your body might be more sensitve to discomfort in the winter

When it is colder our circulatory system changes. The cold weather causes venous and arterial constriction. Ie, in laymen’s terms your blood flow constricts and pulls close to the body. In addition to the pulling close, the actual blood flow is also shunted to your organs and away from your limbs. While it is not an exact science, this contraction likely puts more pressure on your nervous system, making it a little more sensitive.

Seasonal mood changes lead to craving comfort like massage

Winter and massage

It is fairly well documented that some people’s moods are affected by summer and winter patterns. This is called seasonal affective disorder. It turns out that some people are actually biologically more sensitive to seasonal changes which can, in turn, change mood and behavior. Feeling down or sluggish in the winter months may lead you to choose activities such as self-care, or massage to bolster your mood. This is a real disorder, so if you find that you are struggling you should definitely reach out to a medical professional rather than solely seek massage. Massage can definitely be part of your care program in conjunction with the appropriate medical care though!

Physical behavior changes based on season

Many people actually DO less in the winter. While some of us love the winter and it is an excuse to strap on skis or go for a long hike, some of us just wait for the cold to pass! Poor weather often leads people into doing less physical activity and we naturally look to indoor activities as the weather gets cooler. You might skip the walk to work and instead take the bus to avoid the rain/cold. These sorts of behavior changes can lead us out of our ‘ideal’ mobility and add to our natural aches and pains:)

In conclusion

So if you are feeling like you need a little extra self-care, particularly in the form of massage, do not be alarmed! A lot of people do! Particularly now, in February and March, we see a lot of people coming in for a massage. Sometimes they are turning over a new leaf, training for a marathon, but sometimes they are experiencing some of the effects of the above.

Do you want a Massage or a Rub?

Massage or a Rub?

We thought it might be a good idea to do a little post on the difference between a massage and a rub. Often these two things are confused, used interchangeably and the general public might not know that there is a difference.

As a massage therapist, there is definitely a difference. We get a little prickly when what we do is considered a ‘rub’. Let’s be clear here, there is nothing wrong with a good rub, but it is not the same as a trained massage. Certain areas of the world actually have ‘rub downs’ culturally. You can go to Thailand and have your feet rubbed daily on the street for a few dollars. I myself enjoyed this immensely when I was staying there for many months.

Before we go any further let’s look at the dictionary definition of the words Rub and Massage. 

Definition of Massage and Rub

Rub: verb (used with object), rubbed, rub·bing.

to subject the surface of (a thing or person) to pressure and friction, as in cleaning, smoothing, polishing, coating, massaging, or soothing:

to rub a table top with wax polish; to rub the entire back area.

to move (something) back and forth or with a rotary motion, as against or along another surface:

to rub the cloth over the glass pane.

Massage: noun

the act or art of treating the body by rubbing, kneading, patting, or the like, to stimulate circulation, increase suppleness, relieve tension, etc.

Slang. attentive or indulgent treatment; pampering:

ego massage.

verb (used with object), mas·saged, mas·sag·ing.

to treat by massage.

Slang. to treat with special care and attention; coddle or pamper:

The store massages its regular customers with gifts and private sales. manipulate, maneuver, or handle skillfully:to massage a bill through the Senate.
to manipulate, organize, or rearrange (data, figures, or the like) to produce a specific result, especially a favorable one:The auditors discovered that the company had massaged the books.

Even by definition alone, we can start to see the difference. The word rub is associated with repetition and non-outcome-based techniques. While the word massage is much more active and implies a system.

What is the difference?

back massage

Frequently a rub is given by someone who has not gone through a specific training process or is licensed, and a massage is associated more with someone who has completed those things. Although that may not always be the case, depending on where you are regionally and what the laws are.

In NYS and many other places the title  ‘Massage Therapist’ is a protected term. In NYS that title can only be used by Massage Therapists and Massage Therapy itself can only be applied by Massage Therapists or by other practitioners who may have a higher designation that allows for massage within it. 

Body rubs, bodywork, or massage (with no therapy in it) are typically listed at places providing the service of some kind of rubdown. This is because they cannot use the title of massage therapy. NYC has some excellent places to get a rub or shiatsu. There is a whole cult following to many of these places, they are so good. 

Are both massages and rubs good for you? 

Heck yes! Both massage and a rub can be important parts of self-care routines. As an example, you might give your body a nice rub with oils nightly to apply cream or relax, or you might massage an area that is overtired or sore after a workout.

Or if someone else is applying the touch for you, a simple rub on the beach or from a partner could go a long way to making you feel better. As could a skilled massage from a massage therapist. 

So how do you know what to pick as a client? 

To be honest there is some discretion here. As mentioned above, massage and rubs do both offer a level of self-care that is extremely important to wellness. There are some things to take into consideration when deciding what kind of practitioner to book. Here are some thoughts to ponder. 

  • Are you seeking touch for a reason?

Depending on what the reason is, you may lean one way or the other. If you need simple stress management and want to pop in for 30 minutes somewhere multiple times a week, a rub might be the right choice for you. If however, you need something quite specific, then you might choose a massage. I have to be honest, we do get a fair bit of traffic from people who have had stiff necks and went and got a ‘rub’ first at their favorite nail salon and it did not go well. 

  • Are you concerned about safety and or have any underlying conditions?

If you have any underlying medical conditions, you probably want to see someone who will do a health care intake as part of the process. Touch can always go wrong so it is best to see someone who has some training.

  • Is cost an issue for you?

Generally, ‘rubs’ tend to be cheaper than ‘massages’ so in a pinch if this is a concern for you try looking at the reviews and find someone well suited to your price range

  • Do you want touch that is directed to you rather than general? 

If you are seeking touch for a specific reason such as training, range of motion or pain, you probably want to see a massage therapist and pick one that has experience in outcome-based treatment. 

  • Insurance

We always want things to go right, but sometimes they do not. I have never had to use mine, but licensed massage therapists carry insurance that backs their services much like other medical practitioners. Additoinally if you are using HSA, FSA or billing through your insurance company, they may require a licenced practioner.

  • Length of Time and Scheduling

Rubs are often sold in minutes. You can usually pick a 10, 15, 20, 25 minute period based on exactly what time you have. Massages on the other hand are usually booked in sessions of 60 minutes or 90 minutes. 

Oftentimes (but not always), rubs have a walk-in element whereas massages typically book in advance and require an intake (but not always).

  • Associations/Connotations 

This one gets a little tricky as there are a lot of great places that offer ‘rubs’ or Thai massage that are totally reputable, but some unlicensed massage does include human trafficking and that is something we should all be aware of and keep vigilant about. 

Summing up

owner and massage therapistof Body Mechanics Massage LMT Beret Loncar

Of course, we are partial to massages as we are licensed, massage therapists. We specialize in outcome-based treatment for chronic and occasional problems. We coexist happily with places offering bodywork of other kinds, as what we do is different from what they do, but it may not always be apparent to the layperson when they are trying to decide who to see. 

Regardless of what is right for you, self-care is an important part of your wellness. We do recommend you practice some form of it: be it massage, rubs, walks in the park, yoga, steams or reading. Take care of yourself or let someone else do it for you. And of course, we are always happy to be the ones to do it for you.

Sincerely, your friendly local massage therapist

Lymphatic massage: What is it and why it won’t make you lose weight?

What is lymphatic massage?

lymphatic system

To start let’s go over what exactly lymphatic massage is. It is a light touch massage modality. It focuses on skin depth manipulation of the epidermis, in an effort to move fluid through the body. Targets include the lymphatic capillaries and the lymph nodes. It is now common to see in spas, esthetics locations, medical offices, and massage clinics. Sessions might start with deep breathing, followed by central node pumping, then peripheral node pumping, and then the skin is lightly pulled rhythmically to stimulate the lymphatic vessels. Frequently you might see it in the medical massage world or spa world.

What are the claims and misconceptions of lymphatic massage?

One of the big misconceptions I see in the lymphatic massage world is that lymphatic massage is great for weight loss, or that it can make you thinner. I hear this both from clients/patients and also I see it in advertising. It is unclear why exactly this claim is knocked around but it likely stems from the idea that this massage somehow ‘cleans you out’ and the fact that many massages actually will plump up the skin a bit due to increased circulation from the tactile input. There is also a tendency in the wellness industry to try to create a problem to fix with a treatment, and this is one of those situations. But I have to tell you, if I could truly slim you down with a rub, I would get paid a lot more. 

This is particularly challenging when clients come in having already booked a session and we have to mediate their expectations. We do have the FAQ on our website, unfortunately, many people obviously book based on their personal understanding, which may be flawed to unethical advertising, and previous providers selling them needed unethical treatment. One of our missions is to help dispel myths with education both for therapists and for patients so we frequently publish content related to education.

What does the research say about it? 

So if it does not thin you down, what does lymphatic massage it do? Well, there is quite a lot of debate not that and the research is rather opaque. Check out this kindly-worded 2009 study that says ‘Manual lymphatic drainage techniques remain a clinical art founded upon hypotheses, theory, and preliminary evidence.’ Or this meta-analysis from 2020 that did not find that lymphatic massage significantly reduced swelling of breast cancer patients. 

One could begin to think that lymphatic massage was never indicated, but before we throw the baby out with the bathwater, lets look at some of the clinical reasons lymphatic massage can be useful to someone who is compromised in some way.

So what does this massage do?

  • Touch seems to be an important part of the human experience. Many people who have some sort of lymphatic compromise, cannot have more traditional kinds of touch. Lymphatic massage provides a safe structure for that. 
  • Stimulating the surface of the skin does cause some blood flow modification, bringing blood closer to the surface, which in turn might have an effect on lymphatics but not necessarily swelling. In general the body seems to like these kinds of dermal changes and they make us feel good. 
  • Lymphatic massage is often performed post surgically to help modulate pain when deeper touch cannot be performed 
  • Lymphatic massage is often performed along side exercise rather than replacing it. In essence feeling better can help you feel better about moving. 
  • Lymphatic massage can put you into a state of rest and digest. 
  • We are treating humans not statistics. 

Who seeks out this kind of massage?

massage on the side of head

Generally, the people seeking out this massage want to feel better. It is not typically a treatment, such as a deep tissue that is about the ‘feeling’ so it is extra important therapists and practitioners are ethical in their marketing and claims. The patient population we see at Body Mechanics is generally post-surgical, post-mastectomy, or has an underlying health condition such as: chronic pain, Lyme disease, M.S, cancer, or lymphedema. We also occasionally see people for general health reasons, but the reason they seek lymphatic massage is in essence, to feel better. 

If you are looking for a lymphatic massage, choose a practitioner who is marketing ethically, who is well trained, and you trust. Your dollar has power. If you love lymphatic massage, there is no reason to stop if you have found out it does not do what you think it does. Enjoying something is a valid form of self-care. If you have questions about lymphatic massage we are happy to answer. You can reach us at

COVID policies for Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage

Covid policies continue to change based on the local ordinance, science, and the current situation. You can check back here for more information or reach out to us at

Important Updates

New: While mask guidance has been updated for the city and dropped in some cases, masking continues to be required in health centers like ours. For the safety of our staff in close contact, we ask that all guests are vaccinated as well. (updated 3/5/2022)

The full text can be seen here: New York state mask requirement remains in effect for (1) state-regulated health care settings, nursing homes, and adult care facilities; (2) correctional facilities and detention centers; (3) homeless shelters; (4) domestic violence shelters; and (5) public transit and transportation hubs.

New: All guests must show proof of vaccination and be fully vaccinated as of 1/1/2022 (2 doses of the two-dose regimen or 1 of J and J)

New: Therapists will monitor symptoms and test when appropriate since caseloads are low.

Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage continues to provide safe massage therapy throughout the pandemic by following all the CDC recommended guidelines and more. We are committed to your safety and that of our employees. Here are current COVID-19 policies

General COVID 19 policies

All staff are fully vaccinated. At this time, that means both shots of either a Moderna or Phiser vaccine. Many of our team are also boosted, but this is dependent on the time of their vaccination. ‘Fully Vaccinated’ may soon include the booster as policy.

Clients must show proof of vaccination on their first visit, and we will note this information on your client file. If you have a reason that you cannot be vaccinated, reasonable accommodation will be granted. Please reach out to us by email if this applies to you.

Face coverings must currently be worn in the office at all times. You may use the pillowcase as your face covering for the face-down massage portion.

Please wash your hands or sanitize them upon entering the office to help us reduce cross-contamination.

If you have recently been exposed or feel ill or off, please reschedule. We have a 24 hr cancelation policy, and we expect that you adhere to that, let us know as early as possible in case of emergency.

We ask as this time that you do not bring guests to wait for you in the lobby so that we can reduce the number of people in the office.

Please arrive 5 minutes early to your appointment to do an intake and escort you to an unoccupied room.

Our check-out can be contact-free if you prefer. We take apple pay and tap and pay.

Staff policies

  • Staff are required to be fully vaccinated
  • Staff are required to wear masks at all times during treatment, intake, and in public spaces. In the rare occasion, you see a staff member unmasked, please do not be alarmed this is not due to non-compliance. Our staff still has permission to eat and drink when appropriate.
  • All staff need to test negative for COVID 19 if they call out of work for any reason.
  • All staff must test if returning from travel.
  • Sick staff members may not attend work until symptoms fully resolve or have been cleared by the dept of health.
  • Staff members must wear clean scrubs and wash thoroughly for treatment.
  • TMD massages may be performed with goggles or glasses.

Room Policies

library room with massage table
  • All rooms are cleaned daily and sanitized with CDC level cleaner between guests.
  • All linens including the top blanket are clean and used only for you —many places re-use blankets, this is not acceptable.
  • Each room has a HEPA filter, a window and a heater for you. The filter will always be on but if you would like the window open and it is cold out please ask. We can crack it and turn the heater on.
  • We have central air, but each vent in the room has a HEPA filter on it. The air in your room stays in your room.
  • We have 30 minutes between each appointment for cleaning and airing. Most places have 15.
  • Each room has rubber gloves and extra masks for contamination control.

Being Effective in the Subacute States of Healing

Intro to treating subacute clients

Hands massaging back

This blog is devoted to something I do a lot of: working in the subacute stage of healing. If you are working with people in pain one of the worst things you can do as a therapist is be ineffective. But how do you be effective when your patient is in a stage of healing where you cannot use deep pressure or move their limbs around? It’s easy to treat low back trigger points when you can apply some pressure, but what about when you can’t?

In massage school, we were taught that working in acute was cautioned, and that you were to use techniques such as lymphatic drainage, and working compensatory muscles (which usually translates to “far away from the injury”) to treat patients. These guidelines are taught with public health in mind, and by no means am I recommending that you simply ignore them, however, after working for years I found that there are many other steps you can take. They don’t break the rules, they just require more of an understanding of how the body and nervous system work. Today we will look at the low back as an example.

Assessment: making a subacute Symptom Picture

First, get your thinking cap on. In your assessment try to separate the injury itself from the symptoms of the injury. Every injury has a symptom picture, however some of the aspects of the injury are more secondary reflexes of the body, used to protect and heal itself. Let’s look at an example:

A client comes in with low back pain, slightly left of the spine at the SI joint. Yesterday, they were lifting an object and turning at the same time, and they felt a click in the left low back and now they cannot move. You are reasonably sure, based on the symptom picture, that they have done something undesirable to the SI joint area, but of course they can’t move to do special testing. Palpating the site reveals there is heat over the joint but no noticeable swelling and the low back is pretty fixed and seems splinted, as do the glutes. Other than the pain, there are no CI’s and they called their doctor and said it was fine to have a treatment.

So where to start? As I see it, the splinting and the actual injury are two separate things. The injury is that the joint has moved unfavorably to the body and it is irritated and cranky. The side effect of this injury is that the body is neurologically saying, “Oh boy, things are really unstable, we had better build some more structure for this guy fast or things might fall apart.” Most of the pain is actually caused by the splinting pulling on the injured joint.

Treatment of the compensatory muscles

To treat this type of injury, I start by making a plan based on the injury. In this case it’s that swollen hot joint that is being pulled on by glutes, quadratus lumborum, and the psoas/iliacus. Reducing the splinting would help take the tension off the joint, lower the tone of the fascia, and allow fluid movement in the area to boost healing. But all my text books say don’t manually remove splinting by force. So now what?

First I would try and get the tone down by working compensatory muscles. Managing pain is awful; it stresses the body out and often leads to more pain. Getting your client into a relaxed state through working the cervical muscles is a great start. We can do this in prone so that you client does not have to roll over on the table. Focus on getting the shoulders to relax and the scalenes moving. This will signal to the body that its not time to ‘fight or flight’ this should help not just relax the tone, but also  help reduce the pain.

Direct subacute treatment

I’d continue with the treatment by working towards the site of the pain, in this case, that is the whole lower back. As we get to the site of the splinting, I would have to switch to a much more gentle style of work. Often this is a very gentle and slow, feather-light gliding touch over the skin or a light, skin-deep Swedish massage.

While you gently massage, you should be assessing the tone. While working this area, you might notice that although your client is breathing (I hope) the low back and glutes are not moving much. When you watch your client breathe, the chest goes up, but the air stops in the thoracic spine. This is due to the splinting, and while we, as the therapist, should not attempt to remove this manually, the patient can remove it on their own, thereby lowering their own tone, activating the normal muscle pumping and relieving some of their pain.

I want to stress that during this process, your job is not to apply pressure in any way, your hand contact is only enough to palpate the muscle, to cue the client as to where the air should move, and assess the tone. Placing our fingertips on the lateral edge of the quadratus lumborum (make sure its the side of the muscle not downward) palpate just deep enough to feel the muscle, your client should feel no pain at your touch. Then ask your client to take a long slow breath. If the air does not move down to where the lower back expands, cue them by saying, “I want you to breath into where my hand is.”

As they breathe in and out, slowly expanding the area, you will likely notice that the tone in the low back falls, as does the pain level. This process could take up to five minutes on each quadratus lumborum. This same technique can also be used along the iliac crest (or any area where the client can move air, such as the cervical spine) following the line of the top of the glutes as the pelvic floor and iliac spine are also affected by breathing. If at any time your client responds with pain, immediately discontinue. For some cases, I also put a pillow under the stomach to limit the amount of belly expansion and increase back expansion. Never push the client past where they want to go; at all times they should be in control of this activity.

Analysis and conclusion

Beret Loncar Massage Therapist, Personal Trainer and Yoga TherapistWhat is happening when we do this? A few possibilities exist, actually!

  • In one sense, it’s possible we’re not technically doing anything, but the client’s slow, steady breathing stimulates their parasympathetic system, reducing symptoms by proxy.
  • Secondarily, sometimes pain might be signaled due to immobility. By producing the stimulation of movement, the brain could register that the injury is healing and not loosen the tightness around it, giving relief to the client.
  • Lastly, your lymph system and some of your circulatory system is driven by muscle pumping. When you approximate the air flowing into an area, you are also working the fluids like pumping a bellows, which is how the body heals.

I find it extremely helpful to be upfront with subacute clients by managing their expectations. During the intake and consent I will almost always say something along the lines of “it sounds like _____ is happening, but I am not a doctor. We have to treat conservatively until you find out exactly what is going on. We can probably get you more comfortable while you wait however.”

Usually, if it was nothing that serious, you have helped them a great deal, and the next time you see them, it will be to finish up the work that is headed for chronic. If that pain persists, you are confused by a symptom picture or feel unsure in any way, you always refer them out. But by taking these somewhat radical steps and thinking outside the box, we have least armed ourselves with an option to treat the client to ease their pain. 

Common Running Injuries and How to Avoid Them During the NYC Marathon

Why Inuries occur at events like the NYC Marathon

NYC Marathon at Marcus Garvey Park
New York Marathon, Marcus Garvey Park

In the coming weeks the Marathon will be upon us and many hundreds of thousands of people are training for it as I type. This is always an exciting time, but today even more so since the NY Marathon was sadly cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. If there is a bright side to that, it’s that many of the participants had an entire year to train for this year’s event. Hopefully that will mean we see less injuries, more record times, more participants and more new runners.

There is no way through this beast of an event other than training hard, consistently and, most importantly, training smart. I hate to say it but there is always the possibility of a runner getting injured due to overtraining, under training, inadequate nutrition, lack of information or being new to running. With these things in mind, we can make informed decisions in our workouts to minimize our chances of getting injured while accomplishing our ultimate goals. Whether that goal is finishing number one or finishing at all, we can get there without hurting ourselves. Below I will list 3 possible injuries that a runner might experience during training or the marathon. These injuries are usually caused by repetitive use.

Common running injuries

  1. Runner’s Knee (patellofemoral syndrome) – This injury is self explanatory. This is an injury to the knee mainly caused by over-usage. A runner may experience pain on the kneecap or around the knee.
  1. IT Band Syndrome (iliotibial band syndrome) – The IT band is a fascial sheath that runs down the lateral aspect of your thigh that tends to pull in different directions by hypertonic or tight muscles that are connected to it, such as your lateral hamstring and/ or your lateral quadriceps and/ or your TFL (tensor fascia latae). A runner may experience hip or knee pain due to a repeated rubbing or friction to the IT band to the bone, especially around the later aspect of your knee. The pain becomes more pronounced when you bend the knee.
  1. Achilles Tendinitis – Your Achilles tendon is what connects your calf muscle to your heel. We wouldn’t be able to walk without it, let alone run. There are many reasons why a runner may develop Achilles tendinitis but a common one is super tight calves and/ or weak calves that puts stress on the Achilles leading to inflammation of the tendon – hence the name! This can make it very painful to walk, especially if the tendon isn’t warmed up. Athletes who suffer from this injury will notice, upon taking the first few steps after being stationary for a period of time, that it will be extremely painful at first then the pain subsides.

Now I’m going to list prevention strategies a runner should consider before training and before the marathon.

Preventing injury while running

Body Mechanics Sports Therapists Emanuel Gomez headshot
A Sports Massage Therapist and Personal Trainer, Emanuel! Check out his bio .
  1. A proper warm up – There is nothing more valuable than a proper warm up. It’s one of the tenets of injury prevention across the board. Making sure that you get a proper full body warm up will get your body and mind ready for the activity.
  1. Increasing your running volume slowly – This is very important if you want to increase your fitness level properly and safely without hitting a wall. Many inexperienced athletes will try to bite more than they can chew and end up either getting injured or becoming discouraged because they couldn’t handle the load. So, make sure you increase your volume slowly and methodically in order for you to develop your strength and endurance the right way.
  2. Cross training – Many athletes are so dedicated to their craft that they won’t deviate from their primary sport. However, cross training can be very beneficial for improving your overall athleticism for your primary sport. For instance, consider weight lifting for running. Light weight training can strengthen the core, hips, balance and coordination: all things that a runner needs. An amazing tool for injury prevention.

The NYC Marathon is a big deal and historical event, but participating doesn’t mean you need to completely sacrifice your body. Take the precautions I’ve laid out here and find a healing sports massage to minimize your chances of a major injury. Good luck!

athletes back pain biceps Body Mechanics Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage consent Covid covid-19 fascia work health care healthcare home care intra-oral massage manual therapy massage massage NYC massage nyc. running injuries Massage therapist Massage therapy Meddical Massage Myofascia new york new york city nyc nyc massage orthopedic massage orthopedics pain pain low back pain pain science posture pregnancy prenatal care prenatal massage Preventative Care running science based small buisness Sports massage stretches tendinitis therapist profile tmd tmj training

Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage

1 W 34th St
New York, NY 10001
Phone: 212-600-4808