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The secret permit you didn’t know existed that is ruining massage in New York City and what we can do about it

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The secret permit you didn’t know existed that is ruining massage in New York City and what we can do about it

If you are a licensed massage therapist practicing in New York City, you need to read this article now. 

9 years ago, in opening my business, I came up against a wall called the Adult Physical Culture Permit. If you are a licensed massage therapist and do not know what it is, you are not alone. When I started asking about it, many of the business owners and teachers I asked were unfamiliar with the permit or misunderstood how it worked. Many long-established licensed massage therapists did not know that their businesses were technically in violation of an out-of-date zoning law. 

What’s is it?

In the 1970s, regulations were put into place in New York City to get a grip on the brothels and unsafe prostitution houses running out of bogus business fronts. The regulations used a wide brush and stated all businesses where the services provided include touch or instruction between man and woman needed to prove that they weren’t selling sex. To do so, they needed to apply and be approved for an Adult Physical Culture Permit.

The Adult Physical Culture Permit is highly specialized, much like a liquor license. It requires that you have rented your space before applying for the permit, you then go through a permit application that can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months to process (while you pay rent!), hire an architect to do a land survey, interview neighboring businesses and residents to see what your impact on the community would be, and go through a public hearing process. If that sounds like a LOT, you’re right it is!
Read more about how the permit came to be here

How this hurt’s NYC Massage bussinesses

Here’s how the math played out when I estimated the cost to opening a very small clinic of 3 rooms:

Let’s say rent at your potential location is $4,000 a month, but your landlord requires a 6-month commitment and deposit, so in your first month, your initial cost is $24k. At a minimum, the permit process takes another 6 months, so that’s another $24k just in rent. According to land attorney Howard Goldman, the lawyers, architects, and processing fees to get the permit approved can cost up to $50k. So to get into your space, before you factor in insurance and payroll, you need $98,000 in operating costs to practice massage legally in New York City right now.

Aside from the gross and possibly debilitating financial drain on small businesses, like our very own, the very fact that the permit requires massage therapists to prove that they aren’t performing sex work before they even open their space implies that massage could only be sex work if some government authority doesn’t oversee it. We’ve already spoken about the biases people can have toward massage, conflating it with sex work, and this shows that bias can literally be written into law.

Setting the financial bar so high ensures that large companies dominate massage in New York City rather than actual small businesses. Meaning, people with no training in massage are often running a massage business through a corporate structure, ensuring low pay and low quality.

What we can do about it

I am bringing this up now because there is a chance for us to do something about it.
Sometime this week, NYC is hosting public feedback sessions to potentially change the text of this law, leading to therapists no longer needing this permit to practice in New York City. Massage therapists, business owners, and future owners will be able to call in and testify how this permit hinders their business, profits, and plans. NOW IS THE TIME MASSAGE THERAPISTS NEED TO ACT.

Because of the service we provide, massage should rightfully be classified as medical care, and the zoning should reflect that.

If you attended the webinar held by the New York State Society of Medical Massage Therapists, you have already gotten some information on the players involved and who will be speaking, but anyone can attend the hearing virtually. 

35 years is way more time than this thing should’ve been on the books. Many small businesses and entrepreneurs are crushed under the weight of this permit, leaving room only for the big spa chains and corporations. Let’s change that now!

Today, the date and time for the review haven’t been decided, but we will update HERE when it is. We are asking that you forward this to any massage therapist you know so that they can get involved.


Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage

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

Sports Massage Therapist Profile – Alex

Body Mechanics NYC is proud to add Alex to our wonderful team. Anytime we hire a new therapist, we like to provide a little profile so you can get the 411 on getting to know them! You can check out a more formal Massage Therapist bio for Alex here.

If you have any questions please reach out to reception and they can answer additional questions! Want to know more about our programs? You can read up on our Sports Massage and Sports Injury programs or check out some of our other offerings such as prenatal massage or our tmd program.

What is your background in sports? (do you train in, participate in, or watch…. give us the 411)

Alex– I grew up as a big skier, tennis player, and dancer.  Now I love being active in various ways to keep it interesting.  I love weightlifting, hiking, and yoga.

How long have you been training or working at it?

Alex– I started teaching yoga about 8 years ago and got big into strength training about 6 years ago.

Can you share one experience as someone who uses their body that has greatly impacted your massage?

Alex – My first “real” massage.  I had an aching pain in my hip that prevented me from squatting.  I went to a professional LMT and she had me feeling great after one session.  That’s when I realized massage is not just to feel good and relax (although that is a bonus), it actually has amazing effects on your mobility and can be used to aid in your training.

What is your best uh oh story? (time you really F-d it doing something with your body)

Alex– After many years of dancing and having TOO much flexibility, my hips were super wonky.  I tore my labrum many years ago, but I still notice it every once a while during certain movements.  I focus on diligent strengthening and consistent sports massage to keep myself feeling my best.

If you could try any sport/or amazing physical activity what would it be?

Alex – I would love to do more climbing and hiking.  South America is on my list and Teton!

How did you get into sports massage?

Alex – I needed it myself!  I realized how much massage is an important piece of the puzzle to keep both your mind and body healthy.  I have also surrounded myself with so many athletes and clients who use their body so much and needed a massage, I decided “Hey, who understands what you’re feeling more than me?  Let me help fix you!”  From there I decided to get my massage license.

What are your favorite kinds of people to work on?

Alex – Athletes and active people. I can speak their language.

Are there any athletes you particularly admire? Who?

Alex – Any professional athlete because I understand how it really needs to become your entire life.  Fitness, diet, rehabbing, injuries, there is so much more to it than just playing the sport.  It takes so much determination and diligence to do it all.  You make sacrifices that I would struggle making (especially when it comes to diet) and I admire their focus and hard work.

What sets your sports massage apart from anyone else?

Alex – I feel like I can really understand my clients because Ive been there.  I’ve seen it all, whether it was me personally, a client or a friend.

Is there anything we do not know about you we should? (odd ball facts) If you had a superpower what would it be?

Alex -I spent New Years a few years ago climbing Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania

Want to read up on more of our therapists?

Why This New York Massage Therapist Will Probably Wear a Mask for the Rest of her Massage Career

Mask Wearing as a Massage Therapist

When the pandemic hit New York City last year, I started wearing a mask when practicing massage in the last days before we closed. In my reasoning, even though the government said masks were not necessary, from a health care perspective it made sense to me. As a medical massage therapist, I specialize in a number of things many other massage therapists do not. One of the treatments I specialize in is intra-oral massage for TMD. These treatments require me to put my gloved hand inside a client’s mouth to massage the muscles there. It means I spend a large part of my day focused around people’s heads, neck, and faces. I remember saying to one of my last clients, “I am going to wear this mask today, it’s just going to help my air stays in my space”. It is not exactly a scientific explanation of germ transmission but I was trying to keep things simple and not scary.

Tmd intra oral massage

As a New York Massage Therapist, I very rarely wore a mask. Wearing a mask in New York signified illness and was a scary addition to the massage. The thinking being, ‘If you are sick enough to wear a mask, you should stay home’. That is totally true by the way, you SHOULD stay home while sick. Unfortunately, there is a lot of time between beginning to feel off, and being sick. When I worked in Ontario, Canada, where massage therapy is a full health care position, I saw a much broader patient population. The public perception of the job is different, so I frequently wore a mask. I wore them if my client had a sniffle, or if I felt off, or if the client was compromised. No one really batted an eye at my mask-wearing as they reasoned it was for a good medical reason.

When Massage Therapists are Sick

I hate being sick. I mean, hate it. I always feel as if I am sick more than the average person. I get sick at least 4 times a year. The CDC notes that “Each year in the United States, there are millions of cases of the common cold. Adults have an average of 2-3 colds per year, and children have even more“. I am sick slightly more than the average person, but given my close contact with people that is not unusual. For me, as a Massage Therapist, being sick is very stressful. My income is tied to my ability to not be sick. I cannot work from home and sniff my way through the day. Patients are often very upset when I cancel as well. We have had demands for free service, threats, and general poor behavior over having to cancel due to illness as well. Since my income is directly tied to my ability to massage, you can be assured I NEVER want to cancel unless I have to.

My Mask Has Kept Me Healthy

It has been about a year since I started wearing a mask full time. I have yet to be sick this year (knock on wood) I know there is still time…but it has nearly been a year and I am out and about riding trains, treating people up close, and generally going about my life…with a mask. I cannot say for sure it is the close contact with patients that is the number one reason I got sick so frequently in the past…but it probably is:). I always washed my hands far more than the average person but it is hard to say if, previous to Covid, my clients were. The fact that everyone is now washing their hands when they come into the office means I am not coming into contact with the usual yukies.

Masks Are Keeping a Lot of You Healthy

It is not just me either. Earlier this year conspiracy theorists pointed to a massive drop-off in flu reporting in an effort to classify Covid as a hoax. Almost no one got the flu this year….even with increased testing. The flu dropped off though, because people are doing what we know works for infection control. Washing hands frequently, staying home when sick, and wearing masks. Check out this article in the Science section of the Atlantic on ‘The Pandemic Broke the Flu’. Mask wearing and appropriate infection control works to keep a population healthy.

When we reopened I also expected we would have large problems with people canceling due to being ill, since we ask anyone who is sick to stay home….but it did not happen. Normally, people come in sick all the time. We do not want them to. This year, we have no one coming in sick, and no one calling out sick. NO one is sick! In 8 months we have had 2 cancellations due to being ill. That is far below average.

Massaging in a Mask Forever

I will probably be massaging in a mask forever. Even once the mandate is lifted for massage in New York City. I see no reason to endanger you with my common cold or a flu that has yet to be identified. I see no reason for me to ever be sick again if I can help it. I lose thousands of dollars a year in missed income being sick. That is money I can sock away for better things. My stress is increased exponentially by being sick, and quite frankly, being sick SUCKS. Thank you, but now that it has been accepted, I will be wearing a mask in my massages forever. I really do not mind it, and it is good for both of us.

Body Mechanics NYC

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

Science-Based Educators for Massage Therapy

Body Mechanics’ own Beret Loncar was recently featured in an article in Massage & Fitness Magazine, which highlighted some of the top educators in the field of massage therapy for those in the United States and Canada. One of the key points author Nick Ng makes is that reliable and current information can be difficult to come by for massage therapists. That’s not to say that many teachers and providers don’t have valuable things to say or techniques to teach, but many massage therapy educators are also teaching outdated or incomplete ideas as well.

All medical fields go through growing pains where tradition will sometimes clash with science. The physician Ignaz Semmelweis was derided by his peers when he proposed that washing his hands was the reason his patients had a drastically lower incidence of death during childbirth when compared to the patients of his colleagues. Semmelweis’s peers resisted hand washing because it was not something they (or the people who had come before them) had ever done, so they saw no reason to change. It was not until years after Semmelweis’s death that the rest of the medical community eventually accepted hand washing as a standard practice.

Within the past 10-15 years, much of the research in physical medicine and pain management began to point to the need for some major paradigm shifts in how we understand many things including the effects and implementation of massage therapy. We are keen to give credit and homage to those who have come before us for doing the best that they could with the information available at the time, but in order for our field to advance, massage therapists must be willing to embrace evidence over eminence.

Ultimately by growing with and adapting to new research, massage therapists are able to provide better massage treatments and improved outcomes for those who they serve. That’s why the environment at Body Mechanics cultivates continual growth and encourages therapists to challenge what they do and don’t know. Even if it’s uncomfortable to change, at the end of the day our primary focus is on getting the best results that we can with the knowledge that’s available.

One of our favorite resources for keeping up with current research and trends is Massage & Fitness Magazine. Most massage industry magazines usually include a few authors who appreciate the ever-changing nature of research in related fields, while the rest of the authors will mostly share opinions on ideas they’ve had passed down to them by others. In contrast, Massage & Fitness Magazine features articles that always include perspectives that are deeply informed by recent research and authors who will even go back to revise what has changed on certain topics based on newly available information. Check out some of our favorite recent articles below that take aim at keeping massage therapy on the science track.

Massage therapy and patella-femoral pain syndrome

Massage therapy and trigger points

Massage therapy and lactic acid

If you are a massage therapist looking to up your game, we encorage checking their content out.

By Matt Danziger

Body Mechanics NYC

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

Read the next blog….

Sleep Hygiene and Massage Therapy

“Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together”

-Thomas Dekker

What is sleep hygiene?

The CDC defines sleep hygiene as “the good habits that can lead to you getting a good night’s sleep” As a yoga therapist, I talk a lot about sleep hygiene and refer our clients to sleep hygiene resources in our massage therapy practice. Good sleep habits are one of the fundamental lifestyle modifications that you can do to improve your health and wellbeing. The steps are simple and there is a fairly significant payoff for small changes. Many people have never heard of sleep hygiene, and even if they are complaining of poor sleep, poor health and chronic fatigue, they do not realize they may be inadvertently contributing to those feeling with their behavior. Sleep hygiene alone may not be enough to ensure quality rest. You may require additional intervention from a medical professional, medication, or cognitive behavioral therapy. You should check with your medical provider. This is an excellent self-care place to start.

What does sleep hygiene have to do with massage therapy?

As both a yoga therapist and a massage therapist, I wanted to do this little post on sleep because over the years I have had clients and patients who are specifically using massage as a sleep intervention. Back in my early days of massage, I worked at a number of locations that were open until 10 pm. I remember thinking, “who would want a massage that late?”. Those 9-10 pm spots were always booked though. It turns out, many people are NOT good at relaxing. They do not know how to send the message to their brain that it is time to turn off. They probably did not know what sleep hygiene was, but they had reached the conclusion that they needed HELP and they were getting it.

Massage therapist demonstrating Sleep hygiene for healthy sleep habits

I have always said loosely, that since massage is a passive intervention, that what I am really doing as a massage therapist is more of a complex mediation using touch, where I am teaching people to relax. Even with the massage treatments that I do that are more complex, for example a manual therapy treatment that is more movement based, I am trying to get you to move in a relaxed way and guiding you through that.

Those late night massages that I used to do did not come cheap! Not everyone has the means to spend $150 dollars a few days a week to help communicate with their brain that it needs to shut off. The good news is, sleep hygiene is free. Read on to see some of the basics I suggest as a Yoga Therapist. (p.s if you have children and have sleep trained, these steps might seem familiar to you or you can try them to help make bed better)

1. Do not try to sleep unless sleepy

Only try to sleep when you are actually tired. If you find that around bedtime you have no desire to sleep, you may need to move your bedtime or adjust some of your other habits discussed below. If you get into bed and find you can’t shut off, get out of bed and do something relaxing, then try again in 20 minutes.

2. Stick to a schedule

One of the best ways to tell your body it is time for bed is to keep a regular schedule. Going to sleep at the same time and waking at the same time (regardless of the day of the week) can help your body and mind know how to behave depending on the time of day.

3. Avoid caffeine and alcohol

If possible, avoid taking in caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine within 6 hours of bedtime. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that can disrupt your natural sleep rhythms and your ability to fall asleep, alcohol is a depressant, and while it can encourage falling asleep in the short term, in the long term it disrupts the sleep cycles and your ability to get deep restful sleep.

4. Develop a pre-bed routine

Communicating with your nervous system that it is time to shut down can be hard. Doing the same thing every night as a soothing routine can help cue your body and mind that it is time for bed. Examples of quality sleep routines are: baths, meditation, self-massage, gentle stretching in a dim room, or drinking a ‘good night’ tea. Most people do well to avoid overly stimulating activities like checking the news or watching sports. Pick something that works for you and stick with it.

5. Use your bed primarily for sleeping

Help cue yourself that it is sleepy time by ONLY using your bed for bedroom activities. Refrain from eating, reading, watching TV, using your phone, or working in bed. This will help you associate your bed as a restful stress-free space away from the rest of the world.

6. No screen time before bed

TVs, computers, and phone screens give off blue light, which makes your brain think it’s the middle of the day. Set your timers for nighttime modes without blue light and do not use electronics within at least 30-60 minutes before bed. Make sure your dings and alerts are silenced so that your sleep is not accidentally disrupted.

7. Control your sleep environment

There are some common things that set the stage for good sleep that you can do in your home to create a sleep-friendly environment. Make sure the room is cool, dark, and quiet. If the room is not quiet, use a sound machine to fill the space with white noise or a sound you find relaxing. Blocking out the outside light can also be helpful, especially if you live in an area with ambient lighting. Have a blanket on hand, and consider experimenting with a weighted blanket.

Summing up…

Sleep is an important activity. We often think of sleep as passive because we are not up and doing things, but our body is in an active state of rest and digest. Massage therapy can be important in your sleep hygiene routine. In today’s world, it is easy to put emphasis on the more conscious active parts of life. It also may NOT feel natural or easy for you to communicate with your brain and tell it to slow down and prepare for the function of sleep. Taking the above steps into consideration is a great first step. The CDC recommended The American Alliance for Healthy Sleep for more information on sleep hygiene. It is also important to remember this is not a prescription, it is an assessment and a tool. You should check in with your care provider if your sleep issues persist.

You can read more on relaxing on or blog: Don’t tell me to relax!

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

 

 

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!