Why is Massage Therapy So Expensive?

(update 9/9/13: Reactions I’m getting on Facebook and in the comments here suggest that I haven’t been clear.
The image is making fun of my past self and other idealistic therapists who aren’t good with money. I do not suggest people should charge $25! I had hoped my post would explain why I think that in some areas where the cost of living is high, and office space is at a premium, even $100 would not suffice to cover the cost and a living wage.
Of course the price of a service depends on value for the customer, so I tried to explain this post is not about top-notch manual therapy, it’s about an “average” relaxation massage.
And last… I do value massage therapy highly, and I know of the benefits. I will not edit the post itself, since that would make a lot of the comments look strange, but I think I should have been MUCH clearer.
Please accept my apologies.)                       Continue reading

Affordable Yoga Classes in Orlando

               (class descriptions by Candice Mitchell)

Don’t let this picture fool you! Nobody wants you to tie yourself into a pretzel (unless you’re a hopeless show-off like me, of course… then we have options for you).

And no, yoga doesn’t have to be expensive–community centers make it possible.

I’m doing nothing but yoga to stay fit. But this is not your run-of-the mill yoga class! I think it’s working so well for me because we’re always addressing different muscle groups with targeted strength and stretch exercises.

Right here in downtown Orlando, at the beautiful Marks Street Recreation Center, we have a great location, and a wonderfully talented, compassionate teacher in Candice Mitchell.
You just walk in, drop your ten dollar bill on the table, and you’re good to go. If it’s the first time, please come in a little early to fill out a release form.

Evenings: Mondays and Thursdays 5:45-7pm
Mornings: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, 9:15-10:30am.

One of the best decisions in my life was to block my schedule for the morning classes at Marks Street, three times per week.
Today I’m more strong and flexible than when I was 18!

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Structural Interventions for Instant Results


In the past four years, I’ve developed, tested and improved my own type of bodywork for quick fixes. It’s based on techniques I learned in Germany 1995-98 when I was studying naturopathic medicine and bodywork, but is also influenced by my current work as a Certified Rolfer™–or, to be more specific, SIFIR is what I do when I don’t do Rolfing®.
I’m not always going for the holistic re-education of the whole body that Rolfing Structural Integration is intended for. Quite often I see clients who are well-integrated and just have a singular problem that needs attention, often related to injury, or just “a crick in the neck”.
Other times there is a problem with pain or limited range of motion that is standing in the way of better integration and needs to be addressed before a holistic approach can be used.

In those cases symptom-oriented bodywork is called for, and that’s what I’ve been doing for the last 15 years. Now I’ve put my quick fixes into a system.

Since my clients often comment on “instant gratification”, I call it SIFIR–Structural Interventions for Instant Results.

This is not about selling “new” techniques. If you have a lot of experience with myofascial work, especially structural bodywork, the techniques themselves are similar.

What’s “new” is that I aim at high efficiency for fast pain relief. A lot of my sessions are just 20 minutes long, and the results are great.
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Do Massage Therapists Expect Tips?

Etiquette around gratuity is puzzling for foreigners like me. But it’s also a problem for Americans! We often don’t know whether a service provider is an employee or an independent contractor, whether they get paid well or the bare minimum, and some people seem to get offended when a tip is offered.

I’ve heard of massage therapy experts who refuse tips with the argument “Do you tip your doctor?”

Then I also hear some who feel insulted because they didn’t get a tip. Continue reading

Core work: Leg Lifts–because pure strength doesn’t help back pain… endurance does!

Studies have shown that endurance training for the core and back has better results than strength training. So lower the weight on these core machines, do exercises more slowly, and be very careful with what you’re doing to your back.
Or just go the supersafe way and use exercises like the one in the video.

But if you really are in acute pain, even that might be too much. In that case, just do simple movements that are not exhausting at all. Just mobilize! Read Paul Ingraham’s manual on Mobilizing!

working towards workshops

That’s how Candice and I prepare our Yoga Therapy workshops–as you see, I’m getting all the benefits!

Check out our Yoga Therapy Videos playlists on YouTube and the long list of individual videos. I’ll be posting more of them here in the blog, too. Please let me know what you like best, and what you’re missing.

If you’re in Orlando, sign up for our mailing list to be informed about upcoming workshops!

Hyper-Lordosis and Lower Back Pain

from stronglifts.com

from stronglifts.com

A lot of my clients with low back problems have some form of hyperlordosis. Lordosis is the normal, slight curve in the low back, so hyper-lordosis means there is too much curvature.

Look at the image here (borrowed from stronglifts.com, who have some good thoughts on the topic).

But before I get any deeper into exploring the topic, a few words of warning: I’m saying a lot of people have hyperlordosis, and a lot of people have low back pain. I’m NOT saying that hyperlordosis automatically leads to low back pain. In my opinion, a fixed position of the lumbars and insufficient movement might cause problems in the lumbar spine, and these could cause pain. Low back pain is difficult to understand because there are so many different factors that contribute to the problem–the biggest factor is your brain.

If people have told you that your pelvis is tilted the wrong way, or one of your legs is a quarter inch too long, please read: “Your Back is Not Out and Your Leg Length is Fine”.  If you suffer from low back pain, buy this Ebook: “Save Yourself From Low Back Pain!”

(No, Paul Ingraham doesn’t pay me for promoting his work. I promote it because more people need to read it.)

Here’s what I know about hyperlordosis: Excessive curvature in the low back is often caused by short hipflexor muscles. They attach on the front of your lumbar (low back) spine and the front of the pelvis, and go to the front of the thigh. Sitting causes them to get shorter, since our bodies adapt to what we are doing. Short hipflexors, especially the psoas, pull on the front of the spine, causing it to bend too much (as explained in a short video). Add pressure from heavy lifting, or just the regular pounding of high-impact workouts, and the discs can start bulging out or even herniating. Continue reading