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Massage Today
October, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 10


"Touching the Massage Today readers one letter at a time"

By Lynda Solien-Wolfe, LMT

Author's Note: Welcome to my new monthly column, DearLyndaLMT, where I will be answering questions from you, the readers.

I have been blessed this past decade by working with many experts in the massage profession who will serve as resources, mixed with a touch of Dear Lynda's views and advice. So ask away with all those things you've wondered about but didn't know who to ask!

I can't guarantee that all of your questions will be published, but I will do my best to answer you, or at least point you in the right direction. Please remember, as with all advice, it is just that: advice. Always check to make sure that you're working within your scope of practice in your city/county and state. Please send your questions to or:

P.O. Box 173,
Cocoa, Florida 32923


I enjoy your column! I was wondering if you have any advice on massage and golf injuries. I have a client who has been diagnosed with golfer's elbow. It's the medial side; the bone and ligament are very tender to touch. I am also doing massage at a golf tournament next month; I was wondering if you could share some advice on how to work the even t, and any other information I could share with the golfers. Would you use a massage chair or a table at this event?

-- Mark from North Carolina

Dear Mark,

Thanks for your question. I have worked at many golf tournaments, doing both chair massage and table work. I work the event like any other sporting event at which I do either pre- or post-event massage. I have also done chair massage in the clubhouse for the other non-golfing guests.

I called massage therapist Jody Stork, to answer your question. She has many years of experience working with athletes, including golfers, and has worked many charity golf tournaments . She is currently pro golfer Greg (The Shark) Norman's massage therapist. Here is her reply:

Hello Mark! Most golfers I see complain of low back strain and of course golfer's elbow. First of all, I'm not sure if you will be working before, during or after the tournament. Of course you would only be working during the tournament if this is a charity or fun event. We have been known to work right at each hole during these types of events.

My first response will reflect the above scenario (massage during the actual event). You will be working through clothes and using no lubricant, so you will be limited. I only use a table at these events. Have your clients lay prone with their feet bolstered or hanging off the table. Beginning with the gluteal group, I use compressive techniques "with a twist," meaning that instead of compressing down, I compress up and around the entire glut group. Envision lifting all the glut muscles up and away from their attachments. Do this in one smooth "swoop," slowly but firmly, stretching all the origins and insertions of the gluteals. Be careful not to compress bone. I use a flat hand and stand slightly away from the table, knees bent and feet apart, and move with the stroke. This technique can be done quickly (which is important if you have a line of golfers waiting their turn); it will help stretch a tight low back, plus give your golfer an overall relaxed but energized feeling! I also apply a pain relieving gel to the area I work on, since I do not have ice on-site with me.

Regarding golfer's elbow, I have found that the arm should be addressed in its entirety, although the golfer's chief complaint will be cited at the flexor tendon attachments at the medial epicondyle of the humerus. Depending on the severity of the injury, golfer's elbow is most often treated with rest and ice applications, and of course massag,e which would include deep transverse friction. However, I have gotten great results by using long, deep strokes, beginning at the wrist and moving up the entire arm. After warming, I ice the affected area and use the "lift and compress" technique from the deltoid down, including the flexors and extensors.

I hope this helps! Have fun, and please feel free to e-mail me at if you'd like a more detailed explanation of these techniques.

Jody Stork LMT, NCTMB


I have a successful massage practice, and a good reputation as a therapist and a businesswoman. However, I'd like some feedback concerning how to handle people who want to redeem expired gift certificates. When a gift certificate is purchased, I have a three-month r edemption policy, unless it is purchased during the holidays, in which case I allow six months. Expired gift certificates may be redeemed for half the cost of value. This is printed on my brochures, which I include with gift certificates. I'm sure other therapists have run into that person who complains of not "getting anything" since it expired.

Lynda, I am very laid back, and of course I don't penalize those who have had emergencies, etc. Don't people realize it's like getting a sweater or any other gift that they've stuck in a closet and tried to return a year later? Thanks for your response.

-- Becky from Nashville

Dear Becky,

I give everyone a year to use gift certificates. That seems to be the standard. I still get the stories, but not as much. I take each expired certificate on a case-by-case basis . I can tell you after eight years of business, I have yet to not honor a gift certificate.

How many times does this happen? Are you sure three months is enough time? What would an unhappy client cost you in long run? Even a department store would take back a return (e.g., a sweater) and at the very least give the customer store credit for the amount originally paid.

The topic of expired gift certificates came up at a recent staff meeting of Space Coast Massage Therapy in Melbourne, Florida. I thought I'd include what was discussed, to give you some outside feedback on this topic:

At our recent staff meeting in September here at Space Coast Massage Therapy, the topic of discussion was how to handle expired gift certificates. It was decided to honor any and all gift certificates, even those that have expired, but to continue to put a one-year expiration date on them. However, if a potential (and I say potential for good reason) client presents with an expired gift certificate (let's say it's been expired for five years) and we've had a rate increase since then, we ask the client to pay the difference. The money has been collected, so we feel the certificate should be honored.

You might ask, why bother to put an expiration date? In the 16 years we've been practicing, it has been our experience that the majority of our potential clients redeem their "gifts" as the expiration date is approaching. To us, it is not worth the bad "PR" that could arise by not honoring those few individuals who try to redeem expired gift certificates.

Just recently, a woman came in with a certificate that had been expired for five months. We accepted it; she received her massage, and before checking out, she purchased four gift certificates! There's a saying: if you don't take care of your client, someone else will!

Lynda Solien-Wolfe is Vice President, Massage and Spa at Performance Health. She is a Licensed Massage Therapist and has been in private practice in Merritt Island, Florida for more than 20 years. Lynda graduated from Space Coast Health Institute in West Melbourne, FL.


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