Making the Most of Your Massage

You have been stressed, aching, and stiff and waiting for some time to relax. Many people often find it difficult to relax and let go to truly enjoy their massage. If you are wondering how to get the best massage, here are a few tips to make the most of it.

Try to get into a relaxed frame of mind before hand. Instead of spending the first 20 minutes of your massage just trying to forget your daily stress, try to take a few minutes to chill out and maybe even meditate. Going into your massage in a relaxed frame of mind will go a long way to helping you enjoy your massage.

Try to drink lots of water. Drinking lots of water helps flush by products out, increases circulation, and keeps you hydrated. Just make sure you hit the bathroom before you start your massage or it will be difficult to wait through an hour massage with a full bladder.

Taking a shower beforehand can also be helpful. This can help you feel less self conscious during your massage if you feel clean. The warm water also helps to loosen tight muscles and helps you to relax. Also soaking in a hot bath afterwards with bath salts can help keep muscles loose and help you continue to relax.

These tips are just a few to help you make the most of your massage. The goal is to relax, unwind and forget about your everyday stress and enjoy your massage.

The 4 States With the Most Massage Therapists Per Capita

If you want to give yourself the best opportunity to earn a living as a massage therapist, it makes since to find a place where there is high demand. After all, more customers means more business.

But at the same time, high demand for therapists also means there is a flood of therapists to take advantage of that business. The result? Places with high demand for massage services usually have the most people working in the field as well.

If you just look for states with the most massage therapists, however, you’re going to end up only with the biggest and most populated states — California, Florida and New York. That’s why to compare apples to apples, you need to look at the states with the most therapists per capita. These are the states where there are a high number of people employed in the industry relative to the number of people in the state.

The data below comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which tracks the number of people employed in the profession across the country.

Alaska

Surprised? The biggest state in the nation may not be the most populated, but it takes the cake when it comes to massage therapists per person. While the state only has about 750,000 residents, it employs 770 masseuses — that’s roughly one therapist for every 1,000 residents.

Despite having the highest concentration of massage therapists, however, Alaska also offers the highest wages. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary is a staggering $85,110. That’s more than $20,000 higher than the second-place state for salary.

Hawaii

If you’re thinking of a state known for relaxation, then Hawaii likely comes to mind. Hawaii is a massage therapy hotbed. The state ranks 40th in population, but 2nd in massage therapists per person. With only 1.4 million residents, the state has 1,390 massage therapists. That comes out to one massage therapist for a little more than every 1,000 people.

Average salaries are also healthy. You can expect an average wage of more than $53,000 per year. Not bad for the ability to practice massage in paradise.

Colorado

Another tourist mecca, there seems to be plenty of demand for massages when people come off the slopes. Colorado is home to 4,950 massage therapists, serving a population of 5.5 million. That’s roughly one therapists for every 1,100 people. However, that figure is a little misleading.

Given that so many tourists go to Colorado to enjoy the mountains and the scenery, it’s likely that many of the massages are given to out-of-state tourists.

Washington

Rounding out the top four — and the quartet of western states — is Washington. The state’s economy is booming and also home to some of the world’s most famous companies like Starbucks, Microsoft, and Amazon. Meanwhile the population continues to soar, with approximately 7.2 million residents.

The number of massage therapists is keeping pace, however. Today, 4,030 therapists work in the state, meaning there is about one therapist for every 1,800 residents. And despite that high amount of “supply,” Washington state massage therapists still earn a solid average salary of $55,920 — among the highest in the nation.

Massage Reduces Headache Frequency

Massage significantly reduced the number of headaches experienced by people with chronic tension headaches, and decreased the duration of the headaches, according to a recent study.

“Massage Therapy and Frequency of Chronic Tension Headaches” was conducted by Christopher Quinn, Clint Chandler and Albert Moraska, Ph.D., of the Boulder College of Massage Therapy in Boulder, Colorado.

Four people who had experienced two to three headaches per week for the past six years or more participated in the study, which lasted eight weeks. During the first four weeks, baseline headache measures were recorded. Throughout the last four weeks, participants received two 30-minute massages per week.

A standardized massage protocol was used, consisting of six phases that fit in the 30-minute time period: preparatory tissue warm-up (three minutes), myofascial release (five minutes), axial cervical traction (two minutes), trigger-point therapy (15 minutes), facilitated stretching (five minutes) and session closure (three-to-five minutes).

The trigger-point therapy, which made up the bulk of the routine, consisted of scanning palpation of the upper trapezius, sternocleidomastoid, suboccipital, splenius capitis, levator scapulae and temporalis muscles.

“When located, active trigger points were treated by pincer or flat palpation with just enough pressure to elicit referred pain or autonomic referral phenomena,” state the study’s authors.

The pressure was maintained until the referral pain ceased, or for a maximum of two minutes, then slowly eased to produce a vascular flushing. In a typical session, six active trigger points were treated, and the procedure was repeated three-to-five times on each point.

Every night before bed participants completed a headache diary form, recording number of headaches, intensity of most severe headache, and duration of longest headache.

Each subject experienced a reduction in headaches within the first week of massage treatment, and the mean number of headaches per week was significantly reduced from 6.8 to 2 during the four weeks of massage.

“Because our therapeutic massage protocol specifically addressed trigger-point activity, we believe that the reduction in activity of these regions by massage was a major contributor to the observed beneficial effects on tension headache,” state the study’s authors.

Although duration of headache decreased for all four subjects, the decrease was not statistically significant, and there was no significant change in headache intensity.

“The findings suggest that a larger, more complete study that includes a proper control group is warranted,” state the study’s authors.