resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
November, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 11
By Steve Capellini, LMT
Author's Note: The Spa Letters column features news, personality profiles, trends, and plenty of professional possibilities for LMTs in the spa industry. The style is epistolary, meaning the articles are letters to a fictional massage therapist friend of the author.
I'm glad to hear you're staying on at the spa and learning in-depth about each of the treatments offered - you'll become an increasingly invaluable employee (not to mention a better therapist) as a result. There will be plenty of opportunities for adventure in other locations as you follow your spa dreams into the future, but for now, you should build a strong foundation in the fundamentals, e.g., spa therapies.
As I travel around the country teaching basic spa therapy course, as I have for years, I'm continually amazed to rediscover just how powerful the generic, no-frills treatments really are. I show people a simplified version of several of the most common modalities: herbal wraps; mini-facials; seaweed wraps; mud and clay packs; aromatherapy applications; hydrotherapy; and body scrubs. In hopes that it will help you better understand these powerful therapies and be able to explain them clearly to your clients, maybe I can give you a little primer, starting with my favorite: the herbal wrap.
Herbal Wrap Basics
Why do we wrap people up in spas in the first place? There are several reasons. First of all, when we apply therapeutic ingredients to the skin, at whatever temperature they're applied, people tend to get chilled really fast. This includes a hot application of products, such as in the case of the herbal wrap. Within minutes, your client will be shivering if not wrapped or otherwise kept warm. Some spas use infrared heating lamps to keep clients warm, which works fine but can be awkward if the lamps are placed around the table on stands, instead of attached to the ceiling. Another reason we wrap is to create a self-contained system in which the products we apply interact with the client's body over and over again, instead of escaping into the surrounding atmosphere. Lastly, many people like the sense of security and privacy that being wrapped creates.
The mere act of being wrapped can have a bit of a therapeutic effect because wrapped people sweat, and sweating is good. Too many people (probably including many of your clients at the spa) spend too much couch-potato time, and the sweating produced by simple wrapping is a way to get their largest eliminatory system working again. But the most powerful benefits to any wrap come, of course, from the ingredients applied to the client's skin.
When I visited the Golden Door Spa in California, I discovered that they grew their own herbs right on the property for use in the herbal wrap. Many spas worldwide do the same, but it is not necessary to have locally grown herbs to make an herbal wrap work, as I'll explain in a second. The herbs can be fresh or dried, and of course organic is best. A large handful immersed in a muslin bag can last all day. Most spas change the herbal solution each night.
Each herb has a specific effect: some increase circulation, others soothe the skin, others are diaphoretic, and so on. These herbs are steeped in nearly boiling water, then special canvas-grade muslin sheets are soaked in the solution. It is these herb-infused sheets, along with outer insulating layers, that wrap around the client.
You've learned the basics of wrapping there at the spa, and from what you've told me, I can tell that the technique used there is sound. There are several variations on the basic wrapping technique, with different equipment used for each. Many spas heat their sheets in hydrocollators which, as you know, were not originally intended for this purpose. They do work well, even though they don't get the sheets as hot as the original industrial-kitchen style boilers. Of course, rubber gloves are important to protect the therapists' hands. I've found in my workshops that simple wood clamps help when wringing the heavy muslin sheets out over the steaming herbal solution.
What makes a wrap work is the way the combination of heat and the properties of the herbs "trick" your body into thinking it has a fever. And we all know what happens when you have a fever - you perspire and try to throw of toxins and invading microorganisms. As you naturally begin to release these, the herbs stimulate the process even further. The result is a detoxification effect that can range from mild to extremely intense. I remember performing a series of herbal wraps on a gentleman who was at the spa to give up smoking. At the end as I unwrapped him, a powerful order of nicotine filled the room. The sheets smelled like a used ashtray.
I'm glad to hear that your spa promotes the massage therapists as wrap practitioners. That's the law here in Florida, but in other areas, wraps are performed by unlicensed technicians. It's always best to have a qualified professional working with the clients, someone who can explain the treatment and be ready in case of any emergency.
The herbal wrap is not a treatment to be taken lightly. It has profound effects on the body, and there are contraindications for wraps, just as there are for massage. Primarily, you must remember that the herbal wrap is a heat treatment; as such, it is contraindicated for anyone who is pregnant, hypertensive, or suffering from heart conditions or diabetes.
Also, a surprisingly large number of people feel claustrophobic when wrapped in heavy sheets and blankets. Fortunately, there is a simple solution that works for over 90% of the people with this problem. Instruct your clients to leave their arms out of the wrap, and they will feel quite comfortable. The most important thing is that they feel they can get out of the wrap themselves if they so desire. There will always be a few people who still feel trapped, even with their arms out; they're better off taking an herbal bath rather than a wrap.
Well, that's all the time I have now, Lou. I bet you didn't think there was so much to know about herbal wraps alone! Next time I write, I'll fill you in on some of the other spa treatments that I've personally seen help hundreds of people in spas over the years.
Talk to you later,
Steve Capellini, LMT
Click here for previous articles by Steve Capellini, LMT.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.