resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
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.
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