Beret Kirkeby, Author at Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage : Sports Massage and Massage Therapy New York City

Our Massage Therapy Clinic in NYC Opening in Phase 3

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Our Massage Therapy Clinic in NYC Opening in Phase 3

Massage Therapy Opens in Phase 3!

We have an important update to share! Massage Therapy is scheduled for phase 3 re-opening in NYC! Phase 3 may be as early as July 6th. We will tentatively start taking appointments now for that date on a modified schedule. Our front desk is not yet open so all appointments must be made online.

If the opening is delayed, we will work with our customers and reschedule any appointments.  Due to Covid-19, there will be some office changes. 

Both you and your therapist will be required to wear a mask for the duration of your visit. This is now New York State law for staying operational. If you do not have a mask one can be provided for you, but please let us know before you enter so that we can provide it. Your therapist will also be wearing clean scrubs as their new uniform. 


Your temperature will be taken when you arrive to make sure that you are not running a fever. Our therapists will have their temperatures taken daily, as well as having the government required COVID-19 tests on an ongoing schedule. Please let us know in ADVANCE if you have any symptoms so that we can appropriately reschedule you. We will still be maintaining a cancellation policy. If you fall ill, send us a doctor’s note and we can waive it. 

We have cleaned your space just for you. We always operated as a medical facility so this was not a big change for us. You will notice some small changes in our protocol in the way our linens are handled and some of the products we use. Additionally, our building HVAC system has been upgraded and a HEPA filtration has been added to each room.


We have also upgraded our booking platform to a streamlined HIPPA compliant system, have less contact, and have all of our notes online. Please be PATIENT with us. This is a process and we did this to keep everyone safer and have a long term better experience, but in the beginning, there may be challenges. Before your first visit, you will need to fill out updated paperwork. If you do not see your favorite therapist, they have yet to be added, check back in a week or two.

Thank you for waiting…we are excited to see you. 

Body Mechanics NYC

1 W 34th St
#204,
New York, NY 10001
United States (US)
Phone: 212-600-4808
Email: info@bodymechanicsnyc.com

 

 

Racism is Both a Moral Issue and a Public Health Issue

Black lives matter image

 

Within the span of just the past few weeks, a number of Black Americans have been killed. Many of these people were murdered by police officers over non-violent offenses or no offenses at all. Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, David McAtee, Jamel Floyd, and Sean Reed are just a few of the names we must remember as this list appallingly keeps growing. This is tragically familiar territory in this country and it needs to stop. We here at Body Mechanics extend our deepest condolences to all who have been affected by these grave injustices, both past and present. We stand firmly alongside those who seek justice and systemic reform from a system that so clearly does not value human lives equally.

As healthcare providers, we recognize that systemic racism is both a moral issue and a public health issue. We recognize that the medical care you have access to, and how you are treated when you receive that care is often determined by the color of your skin. We vow to confront the pernicious racist myths and misinformation that are still highly pervasive across the medical field – because being silent is being complicit.

As New Yorkers, we recognize that our strength lies in the diversity of our community. That none of us are safe until all of us are safe. We promise to listen to our clients, coworkers, friends, family, and partners if or when they are ready to speak. We may not always have answers, but we are committed to hearing from you and supporting you however we can.

The phrase “these uncertain times” has become cliché amid the COVID-19 pandemic, so we want to make absolutely certain where we stand: Black Lives Matter

Further Reading/Resources:

https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1609535

https://nymag.com/strategist/article/anti-racist-reading-list.html

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/race-and-health/

https://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/webinars/racism-and-health

Additionally, we would like to highlight a personal perspective from Yoga Therapist and author Yuliana Kim-Grant’s personal perspective on family, racism, and the current state of events. Please take a moment to check out her deeply personal blog here. 

Our Clean Routine and Your Health

We are currently open for business, but on a limited schedule with strict health care precautions in place. We are checking in daily with our therapists and clients. If you or someone you know is sick, please stay home. Please wash before entering our space. This is a challenging time for everyone. We understand. Luckily we buy sterilization products in bulk:)

Please reach out if you have any questions.

Pain and the Zombie Apocalypse

Whether it’s another exhausting election cycle or the impending zombie apocalypse, many of us are a bit more stressed and anxious lately than usual.  Intense times, it’s totally normal to start experiencing some physical symptoms that might feel abnormal if you don’t realize their source.  Some of your old injuries might start hurting again, your back or neck may become stiffer or achier, and if you’re already dealing with some kind of pain, that may become worse.

Stress and/or anxiety can increase or decrease normal pain thresholds directly or indirectly.  Prolonged stress will tend to decrease a person’s pain threshold so that the exact same physical stimuli might become more painful than usual, or something that didn’t used to hurt might begin hurting.  People with persistent pain are often aware of how a stressful day at work can cause a flare-up, but far fewer people realize that stress and depression are two of the biggest predictors of painful flare-ups in people with acute low back pain.

Stress can also decrease pain thresholds by influencing behavior.  Most of us know that a stressful day, week, or decade can make it harder to get to sleep or stay asleep.  Lack of sleep and non-restful sleep are significant risk factors in developing physical pain and prolonging it.  Being tired can also make it far more difficult to push yourself to get some of the physical activity our bodies need to stay happy and healthy.

In these stressful times, it’s perfectly normal to begin experiencing all sorts of symptoms that might seem as if they came out of nowhere.  That’s all the more reason to take care of yourself in all the ways you can.  Spend time engaging in meaningful activities, talk to the people you care about, make time to be mindful or to relax, practice good sleep hygiene, ask for and accept more help from others, and get in some movement where you can.  You’re not broken and you’re not falling apart—we promise.

By Matthew Danziger

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4795524/?report=classic

https://journals.lww.com/spinejournal/Abstract/2018/03150/Do_Physical_Activities_Trigger_Flare_ups_During_an.14.aspx

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4046588/

The Benefits of Manual Therapy- An Interview from the Knowledge Exchange

Benefits of massage therapyOur Massage Therapist, Matt Danziger sits down with the Knowledge Exchange to talk Manual Therapy or rather what manual therapy is NOT in this blog/podcast

One of the things we pride ourselves over here at Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage is our devotion to science and giving people a real outlook on what massage can and cannot do. We are for the most part, for what its worth science based-ish with the understanding that minds do not change over night and therapists need room and time to grow. When Matt told us that this podcast blog post was coming out we immediately asked him if we could re-post it for the Knowledge Exchange.

If you have never heard of the Knowledge Exchange, they are a professional education group that runs courses and mentor ships on the BPS model of pain (that’s Biopsychosocial if your not up on your acronym’s).  They have some wonderful online resources and blogs you can check out and they specifically define what they do as:

“We don’t see our selves as educators but rather facilitators of ideas, discussion and critical appraisal. We do this because we aren’t satisfied with the status quo of health care and believe we can all do far better for our patients.”

I do not want to give too much away in what this podcast covers but it gives some great insight into how Matt sees the role of massage in terms of fitting into the BPS framework. Frequently, a massage therapist who uses this model is viewed as anti-manual therapy and that is not the case.

You are also going to get a great look into Matt’s personal journey as a massage therapist as well as his journey with pain.

Want to check it out? Go ahead and read their post by following this link to listen to the podcast.

You can check out this blog with Adam Meakins  by the Knowledge Exchange if you want to go further into the manual therapy rabbit hole.

If you want to book with Matt and his talented mind, you can read more about Matt’s Massage therapy her or book here.

To connect to Matt’s blog follow this. 

Body Mechanics NYC

1 W 34th St
#204,
New York, NY 10001
United States (US)
Phone: 212-600-4808
Email: info@bodymechanicsnyc.com

Six easy ways to get the most out of your massage therapy

Want to get a great massage?  We put together a list of six super easy ways to make sure you are getting the most out of your massage therapy experience.

 

Massage can be great…it can also be miserable. Just browse through Google reviews or Yelp reviews and you will see experiences that run the gamut between amazing and horrific. In between the lines of those reviews there are frequently experiences that did not have to be bad, but were created by a series of misunderstandings or misinformation. Sure you might get a dud of a massage therapist now and again, or someone on a bad day but the majority of Massage Therapists are professionals who want to give you what you want. We put together this list of easy ways to get the most out of your massage experience to help paitents and clients navigate how to avoid some of the common problems that come up on review sites.

 

1. Arrive on time: Actually arrive 10-15 minutes early, especially if it is your first time. Frequently customers think they have purchased an hour of time. What they do not realize is that that hour of time is very specific to it’s time slot. If you booked a 5pm for one hour, your hour starts at 5 pm. Arriving at 5pm and then needing to use the restroom, fill out paper work and check in, will cut into that time. Paper work is a big time suck. Even at a gym or salon there might be some liability forms to fill out, so err on the 15 minute side of early if it is your first time at a location. Additionally you might consider asking have them send you the paper work in advance or if it can be done online. One of the big complaints we see online is that the appointment was cut short. Generally this will not happen so long as the customer has arrived with time to spare, this is literally getting the most ‘time’ out of your massage. (if it does then see suggestion number 6)

 

2.  Advocate for yourself: There are MANY different depths and styles of massage. Before most sessions your therapist will either take a medical history, ask your likes or dislikes, and what you want to focus on. Some processes are more thorough than others…but whereever you are, this is your time to speak up and make your needs known. You do NOT want someone else’s massage. You want the massage you want. If you like a head massage, let the therapist know. If you do not want your new blowout touched, let the therapist know. Asking a questions about what will be massaged and what will not be is another good way to go. “Full body” does not mean the same things to all people, so try instead to say things like “I would really like I would really like a massage that focuses on my back, legs, calves, arms and neck, I do not care so much about my hands and feet”. Clarity of words can go a long way to clearing up any misunderstandings and having an experience where your legs were mysteriously left out.

Come in with a plan. Knowing what you want ahead of time will save you time and money. If your goal is to relax, that is totally valid, but a ‘full body’ can be made very un-relaxing by your therapist chatting away. Stating what you came in for can be really helpful to both you and for your therapist in order to get what you want. Same things goes for sports massage and medical work. Let your therapist know both your long and short term goals so that they are not guessing at what you want. Some people are terrible guessers.

 

3.  If you are sick or have a possibility of a schedule change, let reception know ASAP. Most places have cancelation policy’s. Those policies are often more lenient the earlier reception knows there might be an issue. If you wake up with the sniffles or your boss throws a curve ball,  give the reception a shout as soon as you know…they might be able to do you a solid. When you wait till an hour or two before your massage because you waited to see if you could really come, you are not going to find much flexibility.

 

4.  Be forthcoming in your injury history and health history:Things that may not seem like a big deal to you, such as that trick shoulder that separates when you put your arm over head, might cause a serious problem if your therapist does not know. Sure you have had it all your life, but this is your massage therapists first time seeing it. Medications are equally important. There is no judgment, but some medications can leave you at risk for bruising, blood pressure complications, and injury. Most complications are easily avoided just by knowing the medication, so please be honest.

 

5.  Do not come in medicated, drunk or high: Massage therapists are supposed to legally send you home if you are altered in any way…and you will probably be charged a fee. Even if your therapist does take you after a few boozy lunch drinks, it may be because they are not exactly sure if you are or are not altered. The likely outcome is, they are not going to give you the massage you want, instead they are wondering if they should be sending you home and giving you the most conservative massage possible. If you have medications you’re taking for an injury and that is what your coming in to be seen for, then call ahead and ask about them. Any medicine that alters your sense of touch or judgment, is a no-go for massage because it may increase your ability to be injured.

 

6.  Complain…but start at the right place first. Businesses are not perfect. No one wants you to have a bad time. Seriously, a business is only as good as their customer service. If you had a bad experience or feel you were somehow wronged, reach out to a manager. Frequently I hear stories where a customer might have mentioned something to reception…and you should totally do that since they are sitting there, but know that not all reception knows that means you needed help. Receptions job is to take payments and greet, often they will be overtasked and not realize you complained at all, or that that complaint should be passed on. Politely asking for a managers email is totally ok, and it will get you the fastest resolution. For small businesses, they are often grateful for this approach as they WANT to find out about problems before they hit the fan. With larger businesses you may indeed have to go to social media to get someone’s attention….but this is rarely the case with self run businesses or businesses that are not chains.

Every massage is going to be a little different. It is important to keep in mind, we do this every day as massage therapists but it may be a special day for you…Hopefully this guide helps you navigate our world of massage therapy a little better.

To book an appointment, or ask us a question about our practice find us here on our Contact and booking page.

Body Mechanics NYC

1 W 34th St
#204,
New York, NY 10001
United States (US)
Phone: 212-600-4808
Email: info@bodymechanicsnyc.com

How to Make a Flax Seed Heat Pack

Want to make your own flax seed heat packs?

I wanted to make a little something to use in our massage therapy clinic, particularly for warming cervical areas as a wrap. These flax seed heat packs are perfect for massage. They can also be used as cold packs, or used as a cervical hot/cold bolster. I have found the flax seed packs to be far more adaptable than the cervical thermophores that are electric or  hydrocollaters that are kept in water.

I particularly like these flax seed packs better than the other options I have used because I feel their shape is far more adaptable and there is something soothing about the weight to them. I’s kind of like a pleasant warm bean bag, and even without heat it is a nice ‘sensory’ weight. I use them frequently myself when I have tension headaches by laying on the floor and using it as a warm cervical bolster. Like in this pic—>

I have a significant background in sewing, so this flax seed heat pack is an easy project for me…if you have never sewed before, it might be ‘easy/moderate’. It is mostly straight lines and the only really challenging bit is the last step, where you have to keep the seeds in and sew at the same time. (more on that later)

What you will need for this DYI flax seed hot pack project:

  • Flax seed (I bought a 10 lb bag from Amazon and it made about 10 packs)
  • Sewing machine
  • Cotton or poly-cotton fabric (I used this quilting fabric from Amazon and it made about 5 packs)
  • Shears
  • Needle and thread (of matching or complementary color)
  • Wax pen
  • Measuring tool

The first step is to iron your fabric out so when you cut it it is nice and smooth. After that you will cut it into the desired lengths. If you do not have proper shears, make sure you at least have some very sharp scissors.  I wanted my flax seed packs to be about 4 inches by 16inches as I wanted to use them for the cervical spine.

If you want to have a little fun with the project, you can make your hot packs any shape, hearts, squares, triangles, you name it. To do this you need to leave a little at each end for the seams, as well as one seam that can actually be the fold if you’re lazy 🙂  I cut my fabric into 10″x 16″ segments, and then folded it in half, with the BAD SIDE out and iron it again.

Once you have re-ironed, make sure the all the edges line up as square. Make any adjustments you need as far as making the item symmetrical if you goofed. Now you are going to get ready to sew. I want to make sure my machine is set to a small stitch, so that it can contain the flax and use a heavier weight thread if my machine will take it. That makes sure you do not have an exploding flax seed hot pack down the line:)

Once I am ready to sew. I start with a back stitch at the open end of the short side to make sure the seam will not unravel in time (you can do this by sewing forward, then back and then forward again) Then I sew down one of the short sides to the fold, leaving about 1/4 inch of  the fabric’s edge. When I reach the corner, I do a little back stitch again for integrity, then make a turn by lifting the presser foot and moving the fabric with the needle down. Now sew along the FOLDED edge, leaving 1/4 inch of a edge or less.  When I reach the corner, again I back stitch and use the same method for the turn, then sew back up the last short side.

This should leave you with what looks like an ugly fabric envelope. Let’s make it less ugly by turning it inside out, so now the good side of the fabric faces out. Guess what? Time to iron again! Iron everything flat, so the corners are square (you may need a tool to poke them out) Now you should have a pretty envelope that is open on one side, but not on the folded side. (I sew that side even though its folded for extra strength and so that the look matches all the way around, but you do not have to.)

Now it is time to get out your wax pencil and mark off where you are sewing next. This step is totally optional. You can certainly just make a big floppy bag, but I like mine to have the flax seeds divided up so it is weighted evenly and so I can fold it into a cervical pillow. I measure and draw lines to divide my envelope into 4 even chunks of 4 inches (ish).

Mark your envelope so it is square and even. I use a straight edge piece of paper to do it or a ruler. Once you have marked, you are going to sew (using a back stitch at the start) from the already sewed side, to the open side. Stop about 1/2 of an inch from the open end (you will need this to fold your fabric over)

You might notice now you have some marking on your fabric that you do not want. There are a few options, you can wash your fabric, or you can iron over it with a paper buffer to pull up the wax.

 

Yay! We are so close to being done. We just need to fill the bags with flax seeds and sew one final edge. I fill each pocket about 1/2 to 2/3 full, the important thing is that they are all filled to the same height. You may need a measuring cup and a funnel to do this properly.  (if you are a scent person now would be the time you could put in some lavender buds or cloves. I do not because we have a medical massage location where we use limited scents)

Once the flax seed is in the bags, then you need to fold over the open edge so that BOTH edges are on the inside and pin it closed. If you are new to sewing I recommend pinning it closed and basting by hand a line of thread right next to the flax, that will keep the flax in place while you sew and keep a clean area between the pins and flax…otherwise it can get messy.(this is pretty easy and just involves hand sewing a thread line, when you are done with the project you cut the knotted end of the thread and pull it out completely.)

Once you are set up to sew the last edge…DO IT! You just want to make sure you are back stitching to start and end, and that you are catching the folded over pieces in the seam. Because there is flax in there, one side of the fabric is going to be very heavy, so I help my machine a little by lifting it up and keeping the tension off the needle.

When you are finished, trim up any dangling threads…and that is it! You are ready to use. They make excellent gifts or therapy tools. To heat them you will want to put them in the microwave for 30-45 seconds. Test that, many microwaves are different. We also put them in dry hot cabbi’s.  Full disclosure, if you are making them for therapy use you are going to want to make a cover, or many covers, like we did…but that is another project:)

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Meditation of Touching

Photo by Levi XU on Unsplash
Photo by Levi XU

In the course of my training as a yoga therapist I have learned a fair amount of new information about pain, stress management, and relaxation. With these new skills under my belt, my massage therapy goals have changed.

I can particularly see this in the massage therapy education that I pass on to staff and students. The techniques stay the same but the application and information changes.

Right now I am particularly focused on a return to fundamentals like ‘rate and rhythm’, something I think is often overlooked. It sounds like a weird thing for someone with “orthopedic massage’ in their title to be grooving over rate and rhythm. Most people would assume I would be filling my treatments with what some refer to as ‘advanced massage techniques’. They are, in limited doses, if appropriate, but mostly we are trying to make a nice pattern in a larger sequence.

It is one of the ways I am trying to tap into interacting with the nervous system. Brains like to know what happens next so predictable patterning makes them happy. At the very least they are not wasting time trying to figure out what is coming next…and that stillness of mind is very valuable.

If you’re into meditation, there is a very well known technique called a body scan. That mediation is specific to relaxing the body and putting people into a deep relaxed state. It uses a pattern that goes something like this:

‘Focus on the tip of your thumb, let the thumb get heavy, let it go. Focus on all the fingers, let the fingers get heavy, let it go. Focus on the palm of the hand, let the palm get heavy, let it go. Focus on the whole hand, let the whole hand get heavy, let it go. Focus on the forearm, let the forearm get heavy, let it go. Now focus on the hand and the forearm, let them both get heavy, let it go.’

It goes on to cover the whole body in that manner, repeating patterns. If you’re a massage therapist, that pattern might ring a few bells for you. It is pretty similar to the concepts of ‘general, specific, general’ and ‘distal, proximal, distal’. A well-formed patterned massage is running through a body scan of touch.

If you have properly controlled your space for someone, and created a safe place to relax and focus on the sensory experience at hand, you may be guiding them into a meditative state. That is an odd thing considering most scopes of practice deal primarily with muscles and skin rather than the nervous system.

Is that all that massage is? Of course not, massage covers a lot of areas in what people are ‘doing’ in treatment, but it is one of the many things you can do provided you do it well. If this all sounds super-strange to you, you you can listen to this 6 min body scan as an example.

Sports Massage LMT Interview – Crystal

Crystal Massage TherapistFor each of our Massage Therapists, we do a little interview when we hire them so that everyone can get to know them better and see a little about why they got into the Sports/Medical Massage field.

This month we are focusing on our Sports/Medical massage therapist Crystal and her massage therapy skills.

What is your background in sports? Have you ever trained or participated in a sports program? 

Yep, I ran track in both middle school and high school so I am familiar with training programs and running.

Can you share an experience that you have had in the past that has changed or impacted they way you work with massage as a tool today?

I once worked with a professional body builder who wanted an entire 90 minute massage session on his injured shoulder, it ended up being the most informative fun session I have ever had.

How did you get into Sports and Medical Massage Therapy? 

I have been fascinated in the study of the body ever since I visited an Orthopedic Doctor for a knee injury I had when I was running track. I found the process very interesting.

What are your favorite kinds of people to massage?

Anyone who uses their body for a living, I have worked with many pro and semi pro athletes. I like how tuned into their bodies they are.

Okay, give us an odd ball fact about yourself, something we do not know about you but we should.

I have a horrible sense of direction.

And last but not least, if you could have any super power, what would it be?

Oh my super power would totally be extreme strength and agility!

And that sums up our ‘get to know you’ sports massage interview. If you want to learn more about Crystal or her massage therapy you can head over to our Massage Specialists profile page or book an appointment with her on our booking site.

Body Mechanics NYC

1 W 34th St
#204,
New York, NY 10001
United States (US)
Phone: 212-600-4808
Email: info@bodymechanicsnyc.com

Don’t Tell Me to Relax

Relax….

You book the massage appointment. You take the risk. It is a financial stretch but you have to do something because you have not been able to manage on your own. You lay down on the table. The massage therapist says “Take a deep breath…Relax…”

In the last few years I have become very conscious of what I say to people. As I have gotten older I have given less ‘%#@’s’ about some things and more about others. One of the things I have given more about is how I might accidentally harm someone whom I am caring for. That fills two categories; people I treat, and the people I teach to treat.

I primarily work with massage patients in  pain. Frequently those people have the kind of pain that has been untreated, underestimated, and has fallen through the medical cracks. They are sometimes angry, vulnerable, difficult to deal with, as well as they are often generous beyond belief, humble, and full of hope. They come in all forms and shapes and sizes…but what they have in common frequently is they cannot relax. This may pertain to their whole body, or a single part…but if they could simply relax and gain control of whatever they are seeing me for, they would have done it long ago.

And so, it really bothers me when people say ‘relax‘. It has become somewhat of a trigger word because, what I hear is the response: “Don’t you think I would if I could? I booked an appointment specifically because I need HELP relaxing, and here you are telling me to relax, when I have admitted, I can’t”. In fact, in my case being told to relax, specifically makes me more anxious. I am pretty sure every dentist I have ever known has said “take a deep breath and relax” right before he has done something awful.

I think in terms of massage therapy, the word relax is old, is loaded and full of harm. It is like a brand that has ceased to have meaning to us, and yet has become the only word we use. For people looking for a spa day, it may have no connotation, but for many it could be one of the worst things I say to them all day.

While it is hard to watch your words all the time, I have tried to omit relax completely from my massage practice. I had to think for a bit on what exactly should take its place. Frequently I am communicating a lot with people on how an area feels to them, and I will ask whether or not they felt a tone drop in an area or if that is my perception- ie ‘should I move on? Do you feel more comfortable now? And then, of course, the old stand by word “release” pops up. I am not a big lover of the “release” description either. What has been released? Certainly I am releasing nothing…something might be relaxing…but then there is that word again!

Neither word is the correct thing I want to say to anyone, but those two words are flung about, both of them holding too much meaning, and way too little at the same time. What I want is to give someone an actionable word or words, that they have control of, something that removes my hands from the picture, other than to bring awareness. The words I want to use need to suggest that they have self efficacy in a process that I am creating a space for. And so for the moment, I have settled on “Let go” or “Be heavy”.  As in, “I am going to be gently moving you around for a moment, and so there is no resistance, I would like you to try to let go of that area/practice being heavy, but if you cannot, that is okay…we can just move together for a little while and it will be just as good.”