Customizing Massage: Questions to Ask to Improve Client Comfort

When dreaming of how to become a massage therapist, a person might think of all the incredible healing techniques they’ll learn at massage therapy school. However, a high-quality school of massage must also teach therapists how to communicate with clients before, during, and after the massage. Asking the right questions can help create a customized healing experience that clients won’t soon forget. Here are a few questions students at our school of massage are trained to ask to optimize each client’s massage session: 1. Do you prefer lotion or oil? Each emollient provides a different viscosity for delivering massage strokes. However, it is also very different from the client’s side—lotion makes some people feel slippery or cold, while others complain about the greasiness of oil. It never hurts to ask; you might be surprised how many people have a preference about receiving massage with lotion or oil. Even a seemingly small question about emollients can show clients how well attuned you are to their needs. And if you remember their preference for the next session, they’ll probably be impressed! Would you like a bolster under their knees/ankles? Again, it comes down to client comfort. In a supine position, Some people…  Read More »

Creating a Safe Place for Healing: Scar Tissue Massage

Following an accident or surgery, patients need a safe place to heal. A massage therapist can create an atmosphere of trust and safe touch, to allow for deep healing. Massage therapy can help heal scar tissue on physical as well as emotional levels. From minor cuts to surgery scars, massage therapy can benefit all types of scar tissue. Scar Tissue Issues There’s a common misconception that scar tissue is inevitable—that it’s impossible to change or heal. In truth, scar tissue is part of the living matrix. All tissues are made up of the same elements, such as collagen and elastin. Cells deliver nutrients and release waste from all tissues in the body, including scar tissue. As such, scar tissue can be revitalized through self-care, including receiving massage therapy. So how is scar tissue different than regular tissue? Scar tissues do not have melatonin, meaning they cannot tan but will rather burn. Always put sun block on your scars! Collagen fibers in scar tissue to not grow in the same direction as the original tissue, leading to discoloration and uneven texture. A massage therapist sees opportunity where others might shy away from scar tissue. Therapists can also speak with clients about…  Read More »

The Science of Human Touch: Haptics, Technology, and Healing

Can you imagine a virtual environment that relays touch through tech-smart fabric? Or a personalized massage therapy session delivered remotely, through wearable technology? If so, you might be ready for haptics, the field pushing the envelope on touch technology. Let’s examine haptics, what it says about the physiological benefits of receiving touch, and whether haptics can compare to the benefits of hands-on massage therapy. What is Haptics? Haptics, the technology of touch, examines how we can enhance technological interactions through touch. Haptics researchers study the two main aspects of touch–first, tactile components, including contact location, pressure, shear, slip, vibration, and temperature. Second, researchers look at position, orientation, and force, kinesthetic information the brain uses to complete our incredible sense of touch.3 Katherine Kuchenbecker is a mechanical engineer specializing in haptics at the University of Pennsylvania. She describes her field as “interactive touch technology.” In a 2012 TedEd Talk, she explained that haptics requires developers to first measure the motion of someone moving through world. Next, they relay this data into sensations that could be felt in the real world, via “virtual touch.” Dr. Kuchenbecker is developing haptics applications for remotely feeling surfaces, such as old fabric in a museum display…  Read More »

We are excited to announce our new Continuing Education Coordinator, Tori Gomez, LMT#23897

Tori graduated from East West College of the Healing Arts in September 2017. She worked in our Alumni Clinic as an Licensed Massage Therapist up until July of this year when she accepted the position of Continuing Education Coordinator. Tori is now in charge of scheduling and supporting over 100 Continuing Education classes a year. Tori is a great fit for this role and are happy she is continuing to be part of our team! We interviewed Tori about accepting the new position. Read on… What drew you to apply for the CE Coordinator position? It wasn’t any one specific thing, but more of a feeling. When I heard that the position had opened up, I just felt really drawn to it. Having trained at East West College to become an LMT, I have learned to trust my intuition as much as my knowledge and the idea of being able to help people while still challenging myself was an opportunity that I didn’t want to pass up on. How are you settling into your new space and job duties? Tina did an amazing job trying to get me up to speed and I value her insights and strategies in keeping…  Read More »

Beat the Heat with Cooling Massage Products from the East West College Store

sombra

There’s more than high-quality education at our massage school. Portland, OR massage therapists can also purchase high-quality massage products at the East West Campus Store. The East West Campus store is the regional source for all things massage therapy, including massage products to beat the heat. As Portland bakes under the hot summer sun, massage therapists can offer clients delightfully cool variations on massage oil, gel, and lotion. Cooling eye masks and therapy packs offer another way to tame the summer heat. While cool products are naturally appealing in the hot months, cold therapy—or “cryotherapy”—is effective all year long. Think ice packs, ice baths, and cold packs. This approach is nothing new; Egyptians were using cold to minimize inflammation more than 4,000 years ago. Hippocrates wrote about using cold to treat painful swelling in 400 BCE. And in 1050 CE, Anglo-Saxon monks started using cold to combat pain. Read on to discover cooling products to incorporate in your next massage. Portland, OR therapists can find these items on the shelves of the East West Campus Store. Cooling Massage Products at the East West Campus Store Biofreeze Gel, Roll-On, and Spray For 25 years, therapists have trusted Biofreeze as a trusted…  Read More »

How to Become a Massage Therapist

Do you dream of a job in a peaceful environment where your work makes a real difference in the lives of others? Do you enjoy working with your hands? Can you connect with people and put them at ease while still maintaining a professional demeanor? If so, massage therapy may be right for you! Read on to learn how to become a massage therapist in Oregon. Figuring out that you want to become a massage therapist is the first step. Next, you must apply to accredited massage schools in your preferred area, and with the academic programs you desire. Following acceptance into a program, you must complete the classes and hands-on clinical work required by your state. Each state has unique requirements for massage therapist licensure. The last step is to pass state licensure test. Below, we cover these steps in more detail. An Eagle Eye’s View of How to Become a Massage Therapist Take our Massage Career Readiness Quiz. This is the beginning of your self-inquiry about massage therapy. We also recommend that you speak with family and friends, read online articles about becoming a massage therapist, and thoroughly educate yourself on the pros and cons of this healing…  Read More »

Senior Massage: Why and How

senior getting a massage

Massage careers come many shapes and sizes, but all massage therapists have one thing in common: compassion. Therapists are healers first and foremost, and an empathetic heart is a prerequisite for this kind of work. In our youth-centric culture it is easy to overlook seniors, a population that definitely needs massage. After a lifetime of work, many seniors are better able to afford massage. Portland therapists who choose to work with seniors will find this work to be enriching personally and professionally. Let’s take a look at the many benefits of massage for seniors. Later, we’ll look at a couple things you can do to cater your massage practice to a more mature population. Benefits of Massage for Seniors Improved circulation and flexibility through massage are major benefits for seniors who receive massage. Moreover, massage can help soothe the symptoms of many geriatric chronic conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, and COPD, according to Ann Caitlin, OTR, LMT, occupational and massage therapist in eldercare. Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways that massage therapy can benefit seniors. Alleviate Chronic Pain. As the American Massage Therapy Association highlights, massage therapy has been shown to successfully treat chronic pain, particularly…  Read More »

Top 5 Benefits of Regular Massage & How to Make Massages Happen

massage

Many people schedule a massage only when something is wrong—they’ve tweaked a muscle, a certain body part won’t relax, or they’re feeling especially stressed. However, science is discovering more and more benefits to regularly receiving massage—even when nothing’s really “wrong.” According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), 87% of people see massage as beneficial for overall health and wellness. Research supports this belief. Let’s examine health benefits of regularly receiving massages. Top 5 Benefits of Regular Massage 1. Massage Boosts Immunity. By stimulating the lymphatic system, a good massage can increase the presence of white blood cells throughout the body. 2. Massage Improves Detox. The lymphatic system also assists with detoxification. Unlike the heart, the lymphatic system has no pump; only muscular movements can allow it to flush out waste. Massage also increases lymphatic detoxification. 3. Massage Lowers Stress. Massage activates the parasympathetic nervous system, activating the body’s “Rest and Digest” state. This counteracts the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the “Fight, Flight, or Freeze” stress state. Lowered blood pressure, decreased anxiety, and lowered depression are additional stress-related benefits of massage. 4. Massage Alleviates Muscle Pain. According to the AMTA’s survey, 29% of respondents have used massage…  Read More »

Cammie Toloui

Cammie Toloui

Will you please introduce yourself? I’m Cammie Toloui. I’ve been a photographer for most of my life, doing work for publications and shooting weddings, family portraits and events. Around the time I was turning 40, I decided I needed a change and I chose to study massage. I graduated from East West from the 801-hour program in 2010 and immediately started working in the clinic at school and did that (in addition to starting my own practice) for about a year. I rented a room with one of my former classmates and built up my business for about 2 years and then my life changed radically! My son went off to college and I went on a trip to England to do some street photography, which is when I met the man who eventually became my husband. So I moved to a small town in southeast England and had to figure out how to start my business up again in a foreign country. What drew you to massage therapy? When I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do besides photography, I took a class designed for women of a certain age who were thinking of re-entering the…  Read More »

Spring Allergies: How Massage Can Help

Springtime: It brings beautiful flowers, sunny days, and, for many, allergies. If you experience itchiness, stuffiness, and general brain-fogginess this time of year, consider adding massage to your allergy-fighting game plan. Read on to learn how regular massage helps offset allergic inflammation. We’ll also touch on how four types of massage (facial massage, craniosacral massage, acupressure, and reflexology) can help reduce allergy symptoms. Finally, we’ll list massage resources for fighting allergic reactions. How Allergies Work: Overactive Inflammation Whatever your allergy symptoms, one thing’s certain: They are all related to inflammation. Think of the immune system as the body’s defensive army. Some of its troops are tasked with detecting invaders, such as toxins. In the case of springtime allergies, pollen or grass clippings are inappropriately flagged as dangerous, so the immunity army kicks into gear to kick out these “invaders.” Step one: release histamines, blood-borne triggers that activate various immunity responses in the body. All allergy symptoms are ultimately the immune system’s misguided attempts to kick out invaders. Medications called antihistamines attempt to quiet allergy symptoms by blocking the effects of histamines. Antihistamines block the receptors where histamines attach to cells, thus preventing histamines from carrying out their job of triggering…  Read More »