Why do Spas/Massage Envy, etc., Offer Only 50/80 minute Sessions?


For a long time in the U.S. and much of Europe and Asia, 30-45 minutes was considered standard for massage. As we’ve realized over the years how much can be achieved with therapeutic massage, typical sessions extended to 60 or even 90 minutes or more. Most massage therapists prefer to take breaks of at least 15 minutes in between every 1 to 3 massages.  I take 30 – 60 min breaks between each client and limit the number of massages I do each day so I am not overtaxed and you receive a quality massage.

In recent years, many businesses (mostly spas) have discovered that if they cut the session by 10 minutes, they can book the therapists for more sessions and make more money. The problem with this “professional hour” of 50 minutes is that you are often paying for the price of an hour, and getting a very weary massage therapist for less than an hour.  When I first began doing massage, I worked in a spa environment for 1.5 years.  I knew early on that I did not want to continue to work in a spa.   I could never do a 50 minute session and would always go over.  The clients appreciated that I gave them the full time, but the spa owner did not. 🙁 10-15 minutes is not sufficient time to ground yourself,  change linens, and prepare for the next session.

Everyone except the spa owners suffer when sessions are cut short. Clients lose a total of one full treatment every six sessions (10 minutes times 6 sessions is an hour)! Therapists don’t get enough time to keep up/recharge and are pressured to try to fit a full massage into 50 minutes, which is hard enough to do even in 60 minutes.  Unless you are dead set on the ‘spa experience’, I would highly recommend an independent massage therapist or a business who can give you the full 60/90/120 minute session.  Pay attention to the time the massage begins and when it ends.  You pay good money for massage so I believe you should get what you pay for!!


Prevent Arthritis Pain!!

I subscribe to the idea of using the food we eat as medicine to keep the body healthy. I was motivated to look up foods that prevent or ease arthritis because it seems to be an issue for many.

Following is a list of 7 types of food to prevent arthritis pain:
1) Green tea
2) foods with Omega-3 fatty acids
3) olive oil
4) food rich in beta carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin
5) foods rich in Vitamin C
6) antioxidant-rich food containing the anthocyanins
7) and food containing spices of turmeric and ginger

And for every list of “do’s” there is a list of “don’ts.” Avoid the foods if you have arthritis:
1) saturated fats
2) trans fats
3) fried food in general
4) refined carbohydrates
5) and foods high in simple sugars




Relieve the Discomfort of Airplane Travel


I thought I’d share a few tips on how to cope with all the hours of sitting in a cramped little seat with the tiny fork and knife set, the tiny meal, served in the tiny dishes, with the tiny drink in the tiny cup.

When traveling, your biggest enemies are inactivity and improper posture.  The combination of them both leads to soreness/stiffness in the lower back, legs, shoulders or neck.  Here are a few helpful tips:

Use Your Pillows &  Blankets

  1. This step should help to reduce the postural strain that improper sitting places on your body.
  2. Sit with your hips back against the back of the seat to get the maximum support from the seat.
  3. Place the blanket or pillow (personally, I prefer to fold the blanket in half) between the small of your back (the curve just above your hips) and the seat back.  This will help support your lower back in its natural curve and reduce low back pain.  It is especially helpful if you are suffering from any disc related issues.
  4. Place the pillow behind your neck and keep the back of your head rested firmly against the headrest so that you can feel your neck being supported.  This helps to keep your neck in its neutral curved position and reduces neck stiffness.
  5. If you follow these steps you should feel like your upper body is fully supported in a more natural position.  You should feel less strain or discomfort in this position

Get some exercise

  1. Too much rest is not a good thing.  All that sitting without any real movement can make you achy and stiff.  The perfect solution is a bit of exercise.  Any simple exercise or movement helps increase blood flow and lubricate your joints.  Improved blood flow nourishes and oxygenates your body’s tissues and helps in waste removal, leaving you feeling healthier and more refreshed.
  2. Get up and walk around.  Use any excuse to go for a walk:  Get a glass of water; Go to the bathroom; take a tour of the cabin; see what movies everyone else is watching; or as they say in the Dead Poet’s Society, view life from a different perspective!
  3. You will probably feel pretty stiff the first time you get up.  This is a sign that you should be getting up more often!

 Choose your seat wisely

  1. Make sure you get an aisle seat.  All that getting up and walking around is never going to happen if you are stuck in the middle of a long row between 6 very close strangers.   Make it easy for yourself to get up regularly without annoying your neighbors.
  2. The aisle seat also means that you have to get up every time one of your neighbors wants out, but if you’re not big on sleeping on flights, being forced to get up is a bit of a bonus and the perfect chance to stretch out a bit.
  3. Don’t take all the aisle seats!  Leave at least one for me unless you want to see me get cranky

Use your time between flights

  1. If you have a few hour layover between flights, take the chance to walk around.  A good solid hour of walking can do wonders to reverse all the damage that sitting for 6 hours does to your body.
  2. Shop.  Not up for a brisk walk?  How about a leisurely stroll through the airport shops?

Beware Deep Vein Thrombosis

  1. Deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot that can form in your calf.  It may feel like a bit of pain or swelling in your calf.  This is only mildly annoying, but if left untreated can result in the clot breaking free and blocking the blood supply to your heart or brain.  If you feel soreness and swelling in a calf muscle after a flight, consult your doctor.  The typical treatment is a round of blood thinners to gently break down the clot.
  2. The lower air pressure combined with inactivity and sitting increases your chances of getting deep vein thrombosis. Seniors or women using the birth control pill are especially at risk.
  3. One solution for preventing the deep vein thrombosis from forming is exercise.  It is much more difficult for a clot to form if you are moving about.  Get up and walk around every now and then to keep the blood flowing in your legs.
  4. Try calf raises.  While you are seated you can practise going up on your tippy toes and back down again.  The constant flexion and relaxation of your calf muscles act like a pump and move the blood faster through  the calf.
  5. An Aspirin a day.  Aspirin is a blood thinner in addition to being good for a variety of other ailments.  If you doctor agrees with it and believes you are healthy enough for it, take aspirin daily for 3 to 4 days before your flight.  Remember to be sure to consult with your doctor before you try this.

Additional tips

  1. The air is pretty dry in the cabin, so keep drinking water to keep yourself hydrated.
  2. Try the in flight exercises.  Most planes have neck and shoulder exercise routines available in their in flight magazines.  Try them out.  These exercises might look a little silly, but they definitely help.


Hot or cold compresses for achy muscles/ joints?

Both hot and cold compresses can ease pain, but the trick is knowing which one to use when. Any time you have a sudden onset of discomfort (either from a new injury or a flare-up of an existing one), apply a cold pack for 20 minutes, several times a day. Icing the area decreases blood flow to the injured region, which helps prevent swelling and reduce soreness. Ice is nature’s anti-inflammatory, and with all the controversy over pain medication these days, it’s a inexpensive, safe, smart choice. If you live with chronic achy pain from back pain or arthritis, heat is better; it increases blood circulation, soothing muscles and stiff joints. Many of my clients rave about the one-use disposable heat pads and wraps available at the drugstore—you simply stick them on and go.

Find Painful Muscle Relief Through Trigger Point Massage

What exactly is a Trigger Point or, Myofascial Trigger Points (TrP)?  They are simply a firm, tangible, tender spot found in any given muscle group with symptoms including deep, aching pain, numbness, inflammation and a loss of range of motion.  Many people would compare these spots to knots.  In my practice, I see these occur primarily in the back/neck and Gluteal Muscles, but they can be found on any muscle in the body.  These “knots” are also frequently accompanied by referred pain.  Referral Pain is pain that is felt elsewhere from where the source is.  For example, if I was applying pressure to a tender Trigger Point in the Lower Back of a client, they may also feel that tender pain occurring in their Hamstring.

There are several causes for these painful spots:

  • Over-training and/or improper form
  • Muscle weakness
  • Car Accident
  • Poor Diet
  • Beginning a new exercise program
  • Emotional and/or physical trauma
  • Insomnia/sleep disorders

Trigger Point Therapy has become very popular since its first use in 1843.  Dr. F. Froriep, a German Physician, found tender spots, which he named “muscle callouses” in the muscles of his patients.  He discovered that treating these specific spots brought immense relief.  There has been a lot of research on this issue since, but the most recent and well-respected is from Janet G. Travell M.D. and David G. Simons M.D.  Dr. Travell worked with terminally ill patients.  She found that her patients complained more of and had more concerns with the pain instead of the serious illness that was being treated.  She dedicated her practice to pain syndromes and alleviating patients’ specific pain.

Trigger point massage therapy is specifically designed to alleviate the source of the pain through cycles of isolated pressure and release. In this type of massage for trigger point therapy, the recipient actively participates through deep breathing as well as identifying the exact location and intensity of the discomfort.

The results and benefits of trigger point massage are releasing contracted areas in the muscles thus alleviating pain. You can experience a significant decrease in pain after just one treatment. Receiving massage with trigger point therapy regularly can help naturally manage pain and stress from chronic injuries.

Self Massage – Trigger Points http://saveyourself.ca/tutorials/trigger-points.php

Do Your Shoulders Hurt When you Jog?


We expect pain and soreness in just about every muscle from the waist down when it comes to jogging, but why would we experience pain in the shoulders?

Many of us have some sort of postural imbalance where the shoulders aren’t lined up well.  For just about everyone, there is muscle tension and stress that we keep in our neck and shoulders.  This means that there might be decreased flexibility, mobility, health and strength leading to early muscle fatigue, pain and cramping.  Treating the stress in the neck and shoulders with massage or acupuncture can free them up so that they perform better when jogging.

Another approach is to look at how we jog.  Many jog in a way that increases shoulder tension.  A quick check is to observe your hands.  Are they loose or clenched into a fist?  They should be loose.  If they are clenched in a fist, then you are likely activating and clenching every muscle from your fingertips, arms and shoulders up to your neck when jogging.  This constant tension leads to premature muscle fatigue and pain.  A simple remedy is to be mindful of keeping your hands, arms and shoulders loose as you jog.  It can be hard to be constantly thinking of your arms while jogging, so try this simple technique: touch your thumb to your middle finger lightly and keep it there the whole time that you are jogging.  In this position it is really difficult to have any real tension in your arms and shoulders.  The shoulders will stay loose and the pain will go away.

While I am not a runner, but chose to get my cardio doing other activity, for you all of you who are runners out there: have fun, stay healthy and loose.


Make YOU a Priority!!!!

Isn’t it about time for a MASSAGE???????

Can you even remember the last time you had a massage?

Do you happen to remember how you FELT after your last massage?

“It was wonderful!    Relaxing!       Refreshing!     So Good!”

These comments are typical after a massage.  People often wonder why they waited SOOOOO long since their last massage.  Many vow to go more often. Then LIFE gets in the way……

“I’m too busy.     I don’t KNOW a good massage person.     It’s not convenient.    I don’t have TIME.”  The last comment kills me!  You have to make the time.  Don’t leave your massage without scheduling your next one, or better yet, why not make it a recurring event on your calendar.  Is your schedule too hectic or unpredictable to schedule one on the spot? Ask your massage therapist to contact you in 2-4 weeks to schedule another one.

I hear lots of excuses.  I am sure there are a lot of reasons why it’s not a priority.  I’m sorry, but I just don’t get it. If it feels great, and you know it is good for your health, why wouldn’t you want to make it a priority?  What on earth would stop you?

Yet the feeling after a massage is almost always the same.

“I feel GREAT!  and  Why don’t I get a massage more often?”

It’s TRUE.  A typical massage may seem like a hassle.

  • Find a Massage Therapist.  Preferably one recommended by your friends/family.
  • Make an appointment.
  • Find your way there (try Google Maps or GPS).
  • Get parking.  Good Luck!
  • WAIT in the office for your appointment.  If you are ex-military, you should be used to the “hurry up and wait” issue.
  • Get undressed.
  • Downtime of 60 to 120 minutes.
  • Get dressed again, trying to safeguard your clothes from the greasy goop all over your skin.
  • Then there’s your hair.  WHOA!  Serious bed head!  Perhaps a hat will help.
  • Pay….. $75 to $150 depending on how long of a session you received.
  • Drive home in traffic.  Maybe you don’t even remember the relaxation anymore??!

Is that why you haven’t been back?  Too much hassle?

PUH-LEASE!!!!  Let me offer you some tips for a hassle free massage at Vssage – Healing Through Touch:

  • Make an appointment 24/7 via my website online without having to play telephone tag http://www.vssage.com/schedule-an-appointment/    You may also email or text to schedule an appointment.
  • Parking is easy for my business, right out front.
  • Directions are very simple, right off the freeway!
  • No waiting
  • 60 to 120 minutes of time devoted to you, where you are able to relax doesn’t seem like a hassle to me.  If week days don’t work for you to schedule something, there’s always the weekend!
  • You are offered a hot towel to wipe down after your appointment, or you can take a shower in the bathroom across the hall.
  • My office is centrally located – close to downtown Sacramento, and other surrounding areas.
  • Massage is money well spent.  If you can focus on how you feel AFTER your massage, you may feel motivated to make it a priority in your life.  My goal is to motivate you to make massage a priority.
  • Have someone drop you off and pick you up from your massage, or try to find a massage therapist who is close to you.

I practice what I preach. I receive a massage generally, at least 1x a week. I began getting massage in my late 20’s.  After my first massage, I was hooked and ready to make it a priority.  I budgeted for it by cutting back on my daily Starbucks/Jamba Juice addiction.  Who knew I would end up enjoying massage so much that I would eventually make it my full time profession!


Music CAN Soothe The Soul….

Last week, while at an outcall, I noticed that two dogs (Nina and Shay) were in the room, lying near the massage table, hind end to hind end, fully relaxed, enjoying the fact that their Momma was getting a massage and savoring the music I was playing while she relaxed.  It was an adorable thing to witness.

Since I have had a lot of inquiries recently as to where I get my music for my massage playlist, and now that I have confirmed that dogs like my music selection also, I thought it would be a good time to share that information.  I use Pandora (internet radio) for most of my music needs. It’s worth it to pay the nominal $36 yearly fee and NOT hear intermittent commercials.   For massage, I use the following playlists:




Zen Garden Radio



Classical Lounge Radio


‘Tis the Season to Purchase Massage Gift Certificates!!

Still looking for the right Christmas gift this 2012 season? Before you give up, waste your money, and settle for a Walmart gift card, a lame ass tie, or some other unwanted gift that will quickly be re-gifted or deposited to the nearest trash receptacle, consider purchasing a instant massage gift certificate. (https://vricci6.boomtime.com/lgift)

A massage session or package of sessions makes a great gift and shows how much you REALLY care.  For more info on package pricing/purchase:  http://www.vssage.com/pricing/

To Purchase or not Purchase a Gift Certificate

When buying a massage gift certificate, it’s important to carefully consider the person whom you’re buying it for. If the recipient isn’t a person who likes to be touched, is very shy or is self-conscious about their body, then a massage gift certificate is not a good gift idea for them. A massage is a very personal thing, it requires that one be comfortable with being touched, or even pampered. If someone you know is stressed out, is having some health problems, or experiencing pain, then as long as they are comfortable with being touched, a massage gift certificate can be an excellent gift idea. Be sure to carefully consider these things before buying that massage gift certificate!  Many gift certificates are never redeemed because not much thought is given to if the person will actually like it.

When looking for a massage therapist or spa to buy a massage gift certificate from, make sure you do your due diligence! Talk to others who have used that person or spa’s services.  Check reliable online review sources such as Yelp. Check your local and state laws concerning licensing for massage therapists and find out what the requirements are, also check into health regulations. Make sure before buying that gift certificate, that the person or spa has the required certifications and training, and that they follow local, state and/or federal health ordinances. It may take more time to check into these things, but it guarantees a good experience for the recipient.

Be prepared to spend some money. A good, reputable massage therapist or spa isn’t going to be inexpensive. A good massage can cost anywhere from $75.00 up to $100.00 for an hour. Make sure that you aren’t getting ripped off though, just because they charge a higher rate doesn’t necessarily mean they’re better than any other business. Again, this goes back to checking into licensing, training, health ordinances, and getting references if possible.

If at all possible, check out the massage therapist or spa’s massage office/rooms prior to purchasing the gift certificate. Are they comfortable, relaxing and have a calm atmosphere? Or is the massage table crammed into a corner of a harshly lit cluttered room. A calming, comfortable atmosphere is key to a good massage therapy experience and a good massage therapist or spa will have a quiet, comfortable, dimly lit room, with calming “mood” music as well. It will be a relaxing and therapeutic atmosphere, and won’t feel like a sterile doctor’s office.

A massage gift certificate is a wonderful gift idea for someone who would appreciate or need it, and if these guidelines are followed, not only will your gift be appreciated; it will ensure an excellent experience for the recipient. Don’t rush out and buy a certificate from the first massage therapist/spa you find, do your homework.

Happy Shopping!

Get the Most Out of Your Massage!

Getting a massage is a great way to relax  your body and mind. It also helps to release toxins from your body. There are several things that you can do to get the biggest physical and mental benefit from your massage. First, make sure that you choose the type of massage that is right for you. There are specialists that do deep tissue massages, Swedish massages, sports massages, and pregnancy massages in Sacramento, to name a few.

Before your session

The mood of your session can be affected by the things currently influencing your life. You can improve your results by preparing yourself before your massage. If you can put the events of your life on pause for a little while and truly devote your session time to taking care of you, the benefits you experience can be greatly enhanced. Life really will wait a couple of hours for you — and you’ll be in much better shape to deal with your responsibilities when you are feeling your best! Other things you can do, as time allows:

  • Take a relaxing bath or shower before your appointment time.  Don’t shave immediately before  as your skin is more easily irritated after shaving.
  • Limit consumption of caffeine and sugar, as well as other stimulants
  • Avoid eating immediately before your appointment.  It can be uncomfortable to lie on your stomach or receive a massage if you are too full.
  • Do your therapist a favor and avoid using heavy lotions or fragrant perfumes.
  • Allow extra time in your schedule so you don’t have to rush to be ready for your session. Otherwise, it may take longer to reach a relaxed state.
  • Be aware of your current condition so you can report anything that needs attention. It’s important to explain what’s going on with your health, because changing health conditions can affect your massage needs.

During your session

  • Share what’s going on. If you have a tender spot or an injured area, bring it up so it can be addressed. If you feel you need more pressure or a lighter touch during the session, please say so. If everything is great, you can lie back and relax. If you find your attention is on something, bring it up so you will be able to lie back and relax!
  • Specify your preferences. Everyone has different needs and wants, so share yours! Is everything in the massage environment okay? The temperature? The lighting? Any other distractions? Are you completely at ease? Do you like certain music? Is the volume okay? Do you like specific techniques? More time spent on a certain area? Make sure to communicate with your massage therapist. Let them know if you would like them to focus on any particular muscle group or if the level of pressure is right. Each session is especially for you, so please communicate about what you want! If there is anything you don’t understand, please ask so we can discuss it.
  • Let it all go and relax! One of the major massage goals for many people is to lessen tension and stress. Many of those aches and pains that demand our attention are linked to stress. In fact — according to Dr. Sandra McLanahan — eighty percent of disease is stress-related, so maximizing the relaxation in each session should help you to maintain a much higher level of well-being!
  • One way to quiet your mind is to focus your attention on the session — really get in tune with your sense of touch.
  • Proper breathing helps you to relax and to reach your session goals. Slow, deep breathing (from the gut) will provide your body with much-needed oxygen, while signaling your body to let go of its tensions.

After your session

  • If at all possible, allow for some quiet time before you continue your busy life.
  • Drink extra water!! Massage releases waste products and toxins from your muscles.   Staying hydrated is also a great way to prevent sore muscles. Increasing your fluid intake lowers this toxicity and lessens the strain on filtering organs.

Before your next session

  • Make your massage results last by avoiding as many stressful elements as possible.
  • Schedule your next appointment!  You can schedule before you leave or at anytime 24/7 via my website http://www.vssage.com/schedule-an-appointment/  If you don’t wish to prepay, or have already purchased a package, just check the online calendar for a date/time that works for you, then email or text me with the desired time and I will set it aside for you. When you make bodywork a regular part of your life, you are helping your body to maintain a better state of balance. In the long run, you stand to enjoy much better health gains through consistent sessions.
  • Make note of anything that occurs between sessions to bring up next time.
  • Enjoy your life!

Nothing is more important than your well-being, so make taking care of yourself a high priority. When you feel your best, you are in a much better condition to deal with all of life’s challenges and demands.

Hopefully, this list has given you at least a couple of helpful hints. If there are any other points you’d like to bring up, please do so. And if you have any questions regarding your massage and bodywork sessions or your health, feel free to ask.