Traditional OR Alternative? Let’s Try AND!

For this month’s blog I was planning to detail how periodic massage could actually offset your medical costs. After all, with so many of us enduring with the bare minimum coverage, I thought that I could put a positive spin on the situation.
But let’s face it, having less than adequate coverage sucks, BIG TIME! Not only that, but everything seems so limited lately. Dr. visits have turned into a battle field where you must be armed with insurance, past records and practically a MD degree (usually via the internet). People love to share their battle stories of how they told their Dr. off, refused a medication or opted for a total different treatment.
Alternative Medicine welcomes the fed up with open arms, enthusiastically even. For those who have been put through the ringer with traditional medicine, it is as if we have been given some power back. In the Alternative world, we have workshops, books, articles, health fairs, free consults and so much more. Providers, information and testimonials are abundant. There are now CHOICES.
For the last 11 years I have been an “Alternative Health Provider,” which by the way is really hard for me to say. I see the utilization of Chiropractic, Massage, Herbs and non-processed foods as the ORIGINAL health care. In the beginning of time we were equipped with our hands and natural resources.
“The first wave of medical sectarianism in nineteenth-century America included Hydropaths, Thomsonians, Eclectics, Physio-Medicalists, Eclectics, and Homeopaths. Despite differences in their medical theories and therapeutic systems, members of these sects agreed that the allo- paths, or so-called regular doctors, were the most dangerous quacks of all. Unorthodox practitioners saw themselves as reformers, healers, revolutionaries, professionals, and members of new philosophical schools, not as members of cults or sects. The true test of any medical system, they argued, should be patient satisfaction, especially in the case of chronic illnesses where allopaths had already failed.”
Imagine that, success based on the patient’s satisfaction?
As a Licensed Massage Therapist and owner of a Chiropractic office I often listen to the rundown of everything a patient has tried to get relief. This can be riveting. Emotions of pain, suffering and anger can surface so easily in someone experiencing a chronic condition. But so can distrust, fear and skeptism. I sometimes envision myself as an ambassador for Alternative Health, careful not to put down traditional medicine or over-promise holistic care. I assure patients that there is a place for both, a combo deal, where the word AND can be used.
I believe this attitude is healthy, and by that, I mean for everyone. My husband, the Chiropractor, has taught me so much by being open minded. When we opened our first practice together I wanted him to be definite, a warrior against traditional medicine. I wanted everyone to know that Chiropractic and Massage was the answer. But then my husband suspected MS in a twenty year old, he urged a grandfather to see their medical doctor when he saw signs of cancer, he convinced a parent to go to emergency immediately before their teenager’s gallbladder ruptured. My husband’s understanding that he is only a piece of the puzzle of Health Care makes him an awesome overall provider.
For me, when seeking health care providers, humility goes a long ways. Don’t get me wrong, I like people to be confident in their area of expertise, but I also want them to be aware there may be additional options.

I’ll Do the Dishes, if You Rub My Shoulders

My husband often complains to friends that he has to actually make an office appointment with me. One reason is he never pays me back, massage therapists need rubs too. I also don’t like bringing my work home (I often wonder if all male gynecologists are gay); the real deterrence is that there isn’t anywhere comfortable in the house to do a massage. Of course you receiver cheaters, the ones that fall asleep before paying back are thinking, “I’m comfortable”. The bamboozled givers, are often left with a sore back from maneuvering around furniture and bending over way too far to reach you.

So here are some helpful hints to get massages reciprocated in your home:
Mark Your Calendar – You’ve heard of couples making sex appointments with one another, do the same for massage. Make sure that you set two appointments at a time, one for you and one for your partner. Professional Massage Therapists often barter their services; I always follow the rule “never on the same day”. Once I get a massage I want to relax.

Locate an Area Where You’ll Both be Comfortable – Long before I became a licensed massage therapist I started to do scalp, face, hand and foot massages on my family. Each of these areas is easy to apply a good amount of pressure without worrying about hurting the recipient. It is also easy to find step by step instructions on the internet, to browse at the book store and scan health oriented magazines for helpful technique hints. My family loves their mini massages and it isn’t a complicated set up for me.
Foot Massage
Giver: Sit in a chair at the end of the bed.
Receiver: Lie face up with a pillow under your head and back of your knees (to support the low back). Place your feet at the end of the bed, closest to Giver.
Hand Massage can easily be done sitting across from one another with a narrow table in between you.
Scalp/Face/Upper Shoulder Massage Giver: Sit on Couch or Chair with a pillow behind your back and a smaller pillow or folded towel on your lap.
Reveiver: Sit on a pillow or folded towel on the floor, place an additional pillow or rolled towel under your knees, lean back on Giver’s legs and rest head slightly back on their padded knees.

Ask For Help – I understand that it can be costly for my clients to see me as much as they would like, so I make sure to give them homework of self massage and stretching they can do at home. I have also taught couple massage, which is really fun for me and the clients.

Invest in a Massage Table/Classes – In my family, practicing a healthy lifestyle is receiving massage. Investments in a massage table, books, workshops and classes are minimal compared to the health benefits we receive. It is easy to find used equipment on the internet and great massage oil may be as close as your kitchen.

Communicate – I always let my clients know at the beginning of a massage to tell me if I am doing something that is uncomfortable or painful. As I massage I look for signs that my pressure may be a little too deep; crinkling around the eyes, raised toes or clenched fists. I also look for positive feedback; an exhale, smiles or snores. Try to do the same with one another, maybe even have a recap after the massage.

Enjoy Your Time Together – Add candles, scented lotions and oils and spa music to really set the massage mood. As long as your intentions are good, you and your partner will have a good time. After all, touch itself can be quite healing!

Have you had a successful or disastrous home massage experience? Our readers would love to read about your tactile adventures! Just click QUESTIONS below to add your story, comments or questions. We would all love to hear from you!