Tipping Made Easy: All Your Questions Answered

I’ve had a few clients ask me about tipping recently (whether they should tip, how much, etc.) and I found this great article from Deepreliefmassagetherapy.com from another fellow therapist. I believe she has explained it beautifully and simply. I would love to get your feedback on this article whether this was helpful to you or not. Also, she is so very right when she says that reviews and referrals are truly the BEST tips you can ever give us! Thank you! And please go visit her site: www.deepreliefmassagetherapy.com

“People are often unsure about this whole tipping etiquette thing. And there are a lot of opinions among clients and massage therapists. There aren’t any real clear cut answers for this very common question. I am going to do my best to help clear up any confusion.

The first thing you need to keep in mind is where are you getting your massage? And is your massage therapist working for someone or is a renter? Why does this matter? Well if you are getting a massage in a spa setting most of the time the massage therapist is an employee and is making 40 – 50 % of the service, plus a commission if product is sold. In that type of setting it is very common to tip about 20% of the service. And in the more high end spa’s your tip is already added into the bill. But to be very clear you should pay what you feel comfortable paying for a tip. If your service wasn’t a good experience then you shouldn’t tip and make sure you bring up your concerns to the manager.

In a more medical setting such as a chiropractic office, the massage is seen as a medical service and in those types of cases tips are generally not given. When people get a massage for a chronic medical condition they tend to see their therapist often. Not all medical office are strict about the no tipping policy, if you feel you have had great results from your therapist and want to give a tip, just ask what is the tipping etiquette policy. If you can’t give a tip referrals are always a great gift too.

Then we have the massage therapist/business owner. Most massage therapists who are business owners generally charge enough for their services so clients don’t need to worry about a tip. A monetary tip is appreciated, but never required. We just love it when a client rebooks and sends their friends in for a massage. That’s the best tip of all. A nice candle or homemade goodies always make my day. I have lots of wonderful treasures that clients have given me over the years and I enjoying looking at them every day.

I hope that clears up some tipping etiquette confusion. At the end of the day the best tip is always a referral or a glowing review on a site such as Yelp. Constant business is what helps keep your favourite massage therapist in business.”

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“Oh My Aching Neck!”

As any LMT will tell you, the most requested area to massage is the neck and shoulders. Without a doubt you feel tension or pain there too. Because this is by far the most requested area to receive work I thought it would be helpful to address this issue with a series on neck and shoulder issues, discussing posture and ergonomics, and what we can do to help alleviate some of it. Let’s start  out this series by discussing posture. Continue reading

No Excuses For Knee Pain

During my fitness regimen to do a total body overhaul for the wedding I’ve noticed that many people avoid many different exercises because of knee pain. I believe we should all be free from pain and obstacles in search of better health! And believe me I know that there are definitely some cases that require physical therapy or surgery (i.e. a torn meniscus or ligament etc.), but most cases of knee pain are entirely able to be relieved at home through proper exercise and stretching.  Great news for you and your wallet, right? And as a past sufferer of knee pain and swelling I know these methods work. So here are the three factors I have found to be major contributors of general knee pain:

– overused and extremely tight quadriceps and calf muscles (anterior and posterior knee pain)
– underdeveloped and weak quadriceps and calf muscles (anterior knee pain)
– IT band syndrome aggravation (lateral knee pain)

So how can you know which category best describes you? First of all know this: YOU and only YOU know yourself and your body best. So listen to it! One of the many tools I use as a massage therapist is palpation. Palpation just means observing through touch. Feel your quads (front of your thigh), your calf muscles and the side of you knee and thigh. Do any of these muscles feel tight or ropey? If so, this is a good indicator that you need to stretch! At the end of this post are diagrams of basic stretches for each muscle group. If you don’t feel tightness but softness then that is probably a good indicator you should build muscle. This doesn’t mean you will turn into a beefcake but remember this:

Strong muscles also strengthen and support your joints and bones — so stay strong!

Now, if you feel tightness or pain on the side of your thigh or knee, this could be an indicator of IT band syndrome. You can stretch the origins of this connective tissue (glutes and hip flexors) to try to relieve tension but most likely you will need the help of a trained massage therapist to help get your IT band un-adhered from your muscle. Another technique to help is rolling. You can use a foam roller or muscle roller. Lay on your side on the roller and very slowly roll your thigh across the roller. It will likely be very sore and tender so work slowly, breathe, and listen to your body.

So remember, knee pain doesn’t have to keep you down. Do those lunges, squats, etc. Run that mile! Climb those stairs! Try out these stretches and strengthen those legs. And, if you have questions I am happy to answer them or find you a qualified individual who can. Stay happy and healthy!

calf-stretch

Standing Calf Stretch: keep knees and toes straight

iliotibial-band-anatomy-and-it-band-foam-roller-exercise

IT Band and Roller

quad stretch

Standing Quad Stretch: Keep knee close to your other leg and push your hips slightly forward

Get In the Know!

According the ABMP, March is massage education and awareness month!! This month I will be updating the Resources and Research page, posting printable handouts from the national massage boards and associations on the benefits of massage for a variety of conditions, and educational diagrams for home care and stretching. So, stayed informed and empowered and keep checking back the website throughout March for great ways to stay healthy and surprising facts about massage you may have never known.

— Beth Cruz Warner, LMT, Nationally Certified

Make 2013 a Happy and Inspired Year!

My chiropractor, Dr. April (see her in Wellness Partners!), recently sent out her monthly newsletter and she announced that her center will be doing a 21 Day Happiness Advantage. Basically it is a way to prepare yourself each day from start and finish with a positive motivation and intention. And honestly, who couldn’t use some of that? Most of us are so stressed and frustrated with work, traffic or who knows what else, that we forget we have a right to relax and be happy! So put yourself in the advantage and let’s get happy. I know I will!

Below are Dr. April’s guidelines for having a happy and inspired year:

(to be performed DAILY)
  • Write 3 things you are grateful for
  • Journal 1 positive experience from your day
  • Exercise 15 minutes minimally—anything that you enjoy!
  • Meditate (spending at least 15 minutes in silence or following a ritual of your choice)
  • Perform One Random Act of Kindness (i.e. write an email thanking someone; donate $1 to your favorite charity etc.)

Essential Oils to Warm the Heart and Senses

Winter is a great time to experience the healing effects of essential oils.
Oils such as Cedar, Cinnamon, Frankincense, Myrrh, Patchouli, Sage and Vanilla are very soothing and warming and can be added to any massage therapy session. These oils have an aroma that is usually very comforting or reminiscent of the spices traditionally used in foods that are spicy or eaten warm. For example, cinnamon and vanilla are found in apple pie which is a comforting food served best when warm (silly but true!).
Also, these oils can have a warming effect when placed on the skin (but they shouldn’t burn or irritate when used properly.  Always test for allergies and always use a carrier lotion or oil).
Essential oils can also be mood lifters for those of us who can struggle with seasonal depression during the winter months. Ask your massage therapist about the benefits of essential oils and which ones are best for you!
-Beth Cruz,  LMT

The 7 Best Essential Oils for Stress Relief

The 7 Best Essential Oils for Stress Relief.

A really great article from the ABMP! These are easy ways to incorporate and continue relaxation from home. Also, if you are interested in incorporating aromatherapy into your massage therapy sessions please let me know! I have specific blends already made up that can easily be added to your session.

— Beth Cruz, LMT