Sunday, October 16, 2016

Healin' Feelin' Massage

It is almost my year anniversary of running the NYC marathon and while I was training, I tried to get at least one massage a month just to help with the intense pain I was having in my calves. It ALWAYS hurt like crazy, but the benefits were amazing. Between PT and deep tissue massage, I was able to get to that finish line and vow never to do another marathon again.

Since then, unfortunately, I'm unable to run because my knee needs replacing, but my muscles are still in need of some TLC. There is only so much The Stick, foam rollers, and my strong husband can do to get out those pesky knots. Whether your an athlete or someone who sits most of the day, you can benefit from massage and that is where Hannah from Healin' Feelin comes in! 

Hannah is a licensed massage and bodywork therapist from Raleigh, NC. She graduated from Wake Tech Community College in 2013. Being an athlete all her life, she has overcome several injuries, one of which was a broken back in 2007. She has always felt that natural therapies, such as massage, were the best remedies in her recovery. She has 7 years experience in the medical field and has always shown a passion for helping others. She uses her skills in sports and deep therapeutic massage to help relieve muscle tension, encourage relaxation and advance the healing process in each of her massage sessions. Hannah hopes to educate more people about the medical aspects of massage and although some may view it as a luxury, it is truly a vital component to your overall health and wellbeing. 

Why did you want to get into massage therapy? I have always wanted to help people like my mom who is a nurse. My original plan was to actually be a nurse but after a couple of years in school, I looked into the therapeutic massage program and decided to give it a try. Not even a month in, I fell in love with it. It's hands on and a natural way of healing. Whether it's focusing on one specific problem area someone has or giving them one hour to relax, I am helping them physically and mentally and to me, that's incredible.

Why do you think massage therapy is beneficial?I feel like massage therapy is underestimated in the medical field. It is seen by many as a luxury service instead of something that is medically necessary. Massage therapy is a holistic therapy that promotes healing to the body and I think any natural way to heal your body is significantly healthier and safer then using toxins and potentially addicting substances.

What type of massages do you offer? Do you specialize in a particular massage?I offer a variety of massages such as Swedish, sports and deep tissue massage. I also do hot stone massage and trigger point therapy. Just recently I learned a new popular modality, thanks to the Olympics, cupping. I have learned over the last 3 years of practicing that it's hard to say "I only did deep tissue during our massage today" or "I will only do trigger point during our massage today" because I incorporate a little of everything depending on what my client needs and what my client wants. I do not specialize in anything specific at the moment but I do a lot of deep tissue and trigger point therapy for the neck, shoulders and low back. 

What type of conditions and/or aliments, specifically, could benefit from massage?There are several conditions and/or aliments that could benefit from massage. A few that I have worked with are multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease, scoliosis, arthritis, chronic migraines/headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, and post cancer treatment. More common conditions I have treated are whip lash, plantar fasciitis, sciatica, frozen shoulder syndrome, and muscular strains/spasms due to athletic injury or overuse. Like I said, there are several conditions that benefit from massage and to list them all would take the whole interview! If anyone is interested in massage and has a specific condition, they should discuss this with their primary care physician before their first session. Also, athletic injuries that create swelling or deep bruising should be examined by a doctor before seeing a massage therapist just to make sure there isn't anything more then muscular injury. 

If I was someone who has never had a massage, what would you tell them to make them feel more comfortable?
I always ask my clients if they have had a massage before. If they haven't, I discuss briefly how the session will go. I ask them if they are experiencing any pain or discomfort. Then I tell them that because it is their first professional massage, I will maintain a lighter pressure and if at anytime they feel I am giving too much pressure just let me know and I will adjust for them. I then tel them that I will step out of the room so that they can undress. They can undress to whatever they are comfortable too, I usually say down to their undergarments. If it is a woman, they can leave their bra on if they are not comfortable taking it off but I always assure them that during the massage everything will stay covered and nothing will be exposed except the area I am working on. I have been trained on draping each body area so that my clients will not feel exposed. Lastly, I encourage communication. If at anytime my client feels uncomfortable or would like to end their session, they can.

As a former runner, I always had aches in pains in my calves and back. How do massages help athletes enhance their recovery? 
Massages help athletes in so many ways. It increases blood flow to your muscles which helps the muscle relax and it also promotes the healing process. With moderate to deep pressure it stretches your muscles which will help relieve strain where the muscles attach and increase your range of motion in joints. With intense training muscle spasms are very common and massage helps calm them. Massage can also help athletes mentally. It gives them a chance to connect with their bodies and mind-body connection is key to success in any athletic sport.

What is the difference between a relaxation massage and a sports massage?  

A relaxation massage or Swedish massage uses very light pressure. It stimulates circulation to muscles and lymphatic flow. It gives you that sense of feeling good and does just what is says, relax you. A sports massage is a little deeper then Swedish massage but not as deep as a deep tissue massage or trigger point therapy. Sports massage is good for manually stretching the muscles to relieve strain at the muscle attachment sights and increase range of motion in joints. 

What is your philosophy on healing? 

Healing is more then recovering from an illness or injury. It is mental and emotional as well. I feel you have to be connected with your body in order to heal. We hide so much in our bodies and massage is a way for everything to release. When we continue to hold things in we disconnect from ourselves and by releasing those emotions we are able to reconnect. Think of a glass of water, the glass can only hold so much before it over flows. Our bodies are just the same. You have to maintain that balance in order to heal. 

What is the toughest part about being a massage therapist?  

The toughest part about being a massage therapist is the physical and mental limitations. I love what I do and I wish I could do more but my body can only handle so much. Each massage takes mental and physical strength and after three to four one hour sessions, I am tired. I have to block out my personal life so that it doesn't interfere with my work but then I also have to guard myself from absorbing the emotions that my clients release. If I am not feeling 100% present, I don't feel like I am giving 100% to my clients and that's not fair to them, so that can be challenging at times!

What is the best part? 

The best part about being a massage therapist is seeing the change in my clients. Sometimes it's after just one session and sometimes it's after several sessions but when I see it, it makes me so happy. I have had clients come in and you can just see the pain in their face and in their body language and then after our session they smile or they're standing up straighter and I can see relief on their face. At that moment, I know I've helped them and it feels amazing. What's even better is on those days that I'm struggling or I'm tired there's that one client that reminds me that I made a difference in all of my clients lives that day and that makes any frustration go away!

What should you do to prepare for your massage?

Drink plenty of water! Staying hydrated is very important. When we are dehydrated our muscles are stiff which makes it harder on your therapist and also increases your chances of being sore after your massage. If you are diabetic, please make sure you eat at least one hour before your scheduled appointment because during your massage blood sugar levels can drop and eating before hand lowers chances of dangerously low blood sugar levels. Always inform your therapist that you are diabetic! If you are taking any pain medication or medication that would decrease your sense of pain, schedule your massage at the end of one dose and before your next dose. Decreased sense of pain can increase chances of injury to your muscle tissue because your threshold of pain increases and the level of pressure may be more then what your body can handle. Always inform your therapist of medication you have taken and check with your primary care physician before scheduling your massage!

What should you do to after your massage to maximize your results?

You should always drink plenty of water after your massage. Massages will dehydrate your muscles exactly like exercise will do so replacing those fluids is very important. It will also help with any soreness afterwards. I usually show my clients stretches that will help any tight areas they have and doing those stretches at home can really help maintain the relief given from the massage. Depending on the type of injury or pain you are experiencing, applying heat or ice as needed will help as well. I always tell my clients that just because they are feeling better and their pain is gone, doesn't mean they should stop at home treatments they have been doing. You should continue the stretches daily and heat/ice application as needed to maintain it.

Do you offer any other type of services?

I offer pregnancy massage as well. Massage can be great for pregnancy. It gives them a chance to relax and it also helps relieve back pain from the pregnancy. Of course, their OB/GYN should give them the ok before scheduling their massage and they should wait until they are thru their first trimester before scheduling their first massage. 

If you had to give advice for someone pursuing this as a career, what would it be?

Therapists have to keep their body physically and mentally in shape. Know your limitations and trust yourself. You have to figure out how many massages you are capable of safely performing per day. You don't want to tire yourself out and have to end your career early because your body can't handle it anymore. 

Whether you are looking for a relaxing massage or want to enhance your recovery from your workouts, Healin' Feelin' can help. If you are interested in contacting Hannah, you can visit her Facebook page, contact via email at or call her at 919-971-9365. 

Everyone gets $10 off their initial visit, but if you mention this blog and you get an extra 10% off your service! 

30 minute massage: $40

60 minute massage: $70
90 minute massage: $100 

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