The Complete Guide to Choosing a Head Rest for Your Massage Table

The Complete Guide to Choosing a Head Rest for Your Massage Table by Leif Montgomery

Bodyworkers are presented with a wide array of choices of head rest support for their massage tables. We break it down for you so you can make an informed choice when you are ready to purchase.

Adjustable Platform

Boiance Pillow Pad by Oakworks

Boiance Pillow Pad by Oakworks

Let’s define what we mean by “head rest”. The Head Rest is an attachment that supports and positions the head and face. It inserts into one or both ends of the table and is comprised of a platform that both inserts into the table and acts as the foundation for the pillow pad (or cushion) which attaches, usually with Velcro to the platform.

There are standard specifications for the fit of the head rest into the table, but not all manufacturers follow it. Standard dimensions are as follows – outside to outside 8”7/8, with 7/8” diameter holes. In theory, if your table has these dimensions, you may mix and match from the array of available head rests (with matching pillow pad) as well as different pillow pads with different bases. If your table does not have standard specifications, then you must use only the manufactures head rest design, or have aftermarket holes drilled to spec for the table. Here is a list of some of the more well-known companies and their specifications. (If your favorite company is not listed, simply ask them if they conform to the standard measurements, or if other manufactures head rests will fit)

Standard Head Rest Outlet Dimensions                       Non Standard Head Rest Outlet Dimensions

Nirvana                                                                                Pisces

Earthlite                                                                               Astralite

Oakworks                                                                            Golden Ratio

Stronglite (newer models)                                                   Stronglite (older models)

Master

MT Tables

We mentioned that the head rest consists of the platform and the pillow pad. So this means, in theory, that not only can you mix and match head rests, but you can mix and match pillow pads. We will talk more about that later.

The Head Rest Candidates:

The plain vanilla Standard Head Rest 

Standard Head Rest

The first Head Rest I am presenting is as extinct as a pterodactyl: the much maligned rarely seen “plain” (straight, standard, non-adjustable) head rest. I aim to bring this head rest back to life. Buy it here.

pterodactyl

Here’s why: Sometime, somewhere, when you least expect it, your fancy head rest will break. Perhaps your head rest is top notch with a lifetime guarantee, or a cheapo model purchased in a back alley. Regardless, all adjustable head rests have moving parts prone to breaking either through regular use, or when someone decides to use the head rest as a support when turning over or decides it’s a nice seat. When this happens, you will wish you had a backup because you will be out of business until you replace the head rest. The plain “pterodactyl” head rest is the perfect for this. Trust me on this!

Basic Adjustable Head Rest

Basic Adjustable

The most common head rest on the market is the standard single lever adjustable head rest. The single lever adjusts both the tilt (angle) and the height of the head rest. This simple design creates one of the most functional head rests. The platform allows an excellent surface foundation to affix the pillow pad (which is usually sold together as a unit). You can easily mix and match different pillow pads with this unit. Many different manufacturers use this head rest design, but quality varies widely. Stick to the major brands mentioned above. This remains my favorite head rest.

Quick Lock Adjustable Head Rest

Quick+lock+Face+Rest+PlatformThis type of head rest is manufactured by Oakworks. The double levers allow a huge range of adjustment in height and tilt, some variations totally out of the realm of what you would practically use. Two things to keep in mind with this design: because of the double pivot design, the pillow pad will sit quite a ways from the end of the table leaving a gap. Also, notice the tubular construction – this has much less surface area to affix the pillow pad – thus you will be limited to using the specific Oakworks pad, which has a platform surface built into the actual pillow. If you try using other pillow pads without reinforced backing, the pad may collapse offering little support for the face. Personally, I am not a fan of this design for tables, however, I do like this on massage chairs, for instance the Portal Pro, where it works great.

EarthLite Flex Head Rest

flex baseThe Flex Rest elaborates on the common adjustable head rest adding flex into the platform. The idea is that movement and flex aids in comfort for the recipient. The Flex flex fullRest uses a memory foam pillow pad that is designed to be used with the flex rest platform. Thoughts on this system. The design allows more adjustment than the standard single lever: it will go lower and higher. However, this comes at a price, in my opinion anyway. The head rest will not sit flush up against the table the way the simple adjustable head rest will. It does not leave as much of a gap as the Oakworks, but still that gap may be issue for some of you. The foam also is quite soft and with deeper work or if the recipient tends toward forward head posture, the recipients face could compress all the way to the platform. If you check other reviews floating around on this, you will see these points repeated.

Earthlite Caress Head Rest

caress baseThe Caress Head Rest is similar to the Flex Rest with the main difference being that it uses a sequence of petals to produce the flex in the platform. The Caress and Flex caressHead Rests use the same type of memory foam pillow pad. The pedals are more prone to getting damaged, so my advice would be: if you like this style of head rest, chose the flex if you transport your table, move it around a lot, or have many different therapists working on it. Otherwise, if your table remains mostly stationary and the head rest is treated with care, the Caress will work for you. Take into account the same considerations mentioned above regarding the flex rest while considering if this design will work for your needs.

Stronglite Curve Head Rest

curve_platform_strongliteThis head rest uses a radically curved platform on which a pillow pad is affixed. Aside from that, it shares the single lever design for height and tilt adjustment. My take is it looked more comfortable than it actually was. The pillow pad is surprisingly hard. Your mileage may vary. curve

That’s it for the most common Head Rest designs.

Now, let’s take a look at the various Pillow Pad options.

As I mentioned before, most manufacturers make the head rest platform and head rest pillow pad as a unit and sell together. But this does not stop you from being able to mix and match platforms and pillow pads if you choose. Just keep in mind that many are sold as a unit for a reason – Like the Oakworks platform (double lever Quick Lock) requires the pillow pad has the support built in, limiting your choices. Otherwise, go ahead and experiment.

Pillow Pad Candidates

Memory Foam Pillow Pad

memory foamThis pillow pad is made completely from memory foam (which contours to the shape of the face when warmed with body temp). It is covered in cloth fabric (rather than traditional, much easier to clean, Vinyl) making it essential to protect and cover this pillow pad.  You can machine wash, but it’s not the easiest thing to remove and re-cover over the foam. Note that you can buy replacement covers at a reasonable price, if needed. This pad is big and soft.  Avoid if easily claustrophobic! Because it is pure memory foam, there is the possibility of it compressing all the way down to hitting the platform with enough pressure and heat. Some like it and some don’t. The one shown in the picture is made by Earthlite.

Oakworks Boiance Pillow Pad

boianceThis creation from Oakworks incorporates multi-layer foam cushioning with water spheres. The aim of this design and construction, according the literature from Oakworks, is to create a comfortable relaxing pillow pad that conforms better and reduces pressure. In my trials of this pillow pad, I find it large and soft, like other aftermarket pillow pads. Initially it feels super plush but as soon as any pressure was applied to my back, my chin started sinking eventually resting on the head rest platform. This is the flaw of most pillow pads that mistake soft and plush for functional. You can try to limit the lack of support by adjusting the pillow pad and changing the height and angle of the platform, but I was never able to get it quite right.

Oakworks Boiance Float

floatThe Boiance Float is a companion to the Boiance. It is not strictly a pillow pad, but an insert that rests between the platform and the pillow pad. It can us used on most head rests, with the exception being the flex and caress as these probably do not offer enough stability to affix it. The Boiance Float allows the pillow pad to float, or move around, during the treatment. It’s like being on a cruise ship. Is that a good thing!? You be the judge. Oakworks’ literature states that the Float eliminates cervical compression. The only thing I noticed is that all the inherent weaknesses of head rests remained while the float was on, but my head was moving around – like a bobble head.

Nirvana Ergo Fix

At press time, this was in proto-type phase, but I was actually able to see and try the product and was pleasantly surprised. I have seen, tried and bought so many headrests over the years and this one approaches positioning from a new perspective. This design adds support to the chin to distribute the weight over the entire face which has the effect of decreasing pressure on the sinuses and relaxing the curve in the cervical spine. Oh, yeah and no more clients complaining that their chins are falling through or fidgeting around to try to get comfortable. 

Check out the video for more information.

 

 

Conclusion – So, what to make of all this? Which head rest should you use? Like many things, the answer is not straightforward. Choosing a head rest is a bit like choosing a pair of shoes. Personal preference and tastes will come into play, and what works for one person might now for another. However, within the variations one might choose, all shoes must protect and provide some sort of support for the feet. Head Rests are like shoes, some look great and don’t function well and others you might like so much you buy a pair in every color.  Choosing the right Head Rest should involve a balance between function and comfort. I’ve concluded that sometimes simpler is better.  In doing your own research you should trust your observational skills and brush up on your postural analysis and your anatomical knowledge. Hope this has been helpful.

Guest Post – Things that are funny and things that are not

Submitted by Allissa Haines
http://writingabluestreak.com/2013/09/things-that-are-funny-and-things-that-are-not/

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Foreword by Sue “Ethics Lady” Wood

As I was working on my new ethics class ( and yes, being FB is part of my research), I came across something from one of my favorite MT bloggers – Allissa Haines. This one is a must read! So, excuse me while you’re reading,  I’ll be taking down my “Massage Client BINGO” poster.  Sue

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about professionalism and ethics. Specifically, the differences between them, and the applications of those definitions on our actions and words as massage therapists.

I’ve labored over various definitions. I’ve looked at situations where I’ve used the words interchangeably and probably incorrectly. I’ve though about where I’ve used each word properly. And I’ve come to a conclusion.

ID-10065252I kinda don’t care about getting the exact verbiage right.

I care about the meaning, the intent, and the context of any particular interaction. What follows is the story of how I started thinking about this.

I saw a funny graphic on Facebook. It was pretty funny. It said, ” Crazy Client Request “I want extra work on my neck, but don’t mess up my hair.”” Lots of people commented on how funny it was. A few hundred people have shared it. Because it’s funny. And true. We know it happens all the time.

But it bothers me. It bothers me that a few hundred massage therapists think it’s okay to publicly joke about client requests. (Side note: I expressed this in the comments under the image and got nailed. Rightly so. I know better than to start a fight on someone else’s turf. I should’ve just sent a message to the page owner. I’ve apologized for that. I was an asshat.)

Plenty of people disagree with me and think I’m being a tightass. They are correct. I am a tightass. My question is: Why aren’t they?

If a client walked into your office and said, “I’ve got an awful headache, but please don’t get oil in my hair, I’ve got to go back to work after this,” would you actually say, “That’s a crazy request, hahahah!” Would you holler out to a colleague, “Hey, Jane, check it out, this client wants me to work on her head but not get oil in her hair. HA!” Probably not.

Shouldn’t we all be extra sensitive about accidentally, or intentionally, saying something that may make a client afraid to speak up, or afraid to come to us?

Let’s apply this to real life

Let’s say a very shy person, a potential client, is following your Facebook page. They enjoy your posts about stretching, the links to local community events, and the occasional picture of your silly office antics. They’re warming up to the idea of getting massage as they get to know you through your marketing.

Then, they see a joke titled Crazy Client Request. A joke made at the expense of a client. What’s the underlying message here? If you ask your massage therapist for something, they may make fun of you. Publicly. It’s pretty safe to assume that the shy person will never step foot in your office.

Is this an extreme line of thinking? Yes. As it should be. When we’re talking about the feelings of clients, about accidentally intimidating someone, alienating an otherwise ideal potential client, or about hurting a current client’s feelings, we should absolutely think in extremes.

In the most extreme of circumstances, this man committed suicide. He refused to seek help because throughout his childhood he heard his parents and other medical practitioners breech confidentiality and make sport of their mentally ill patients.

Jokes about hair are not extreme. They are silly and funny. But it’s a slippery slope, and a very easy connection for an already shy person to make.

Ummmm, Allissa? Aren’t you a preacher of Marketing with Personality?

Yup. I even have an adorable ebook about it! (Go get it, it’s free.) I’m a big fan of letting your personality shine through in your business.

But let’s be clear, there’s a big difference between being silly enough to display a Darth Vader cookie jar in your office, and actively making fun of a client.

Marketing with Personality isn’t about casually treating your clients like crap. It’s about being human, warm, and fun in your business. And if you’re too busy to download the ebook, no worries, here’s the important stuff:

You want to be yourself. But you want to be a professional version of yourself. This is a huge topic, we could spend endless chapters on boundaries. Here are some potential land mines to be aware of, and avoid.

Be yourself, unless…

You’re a jerk. If you’re surly and grumpy and super-sarcastic, rein it in. I’m not suggesting that you flip into Happy Cheerleader mode whenever a client walks in the door. Just consider the way your edges could be smoothed to improve the client’s experience.

You’re a flirt. If you’re a highly sexualized person, very flirty and touchy, rein it in. When you are anywhere that could be a marketing/networking possibility, stop it. Don’t do a giggle and a hair flip, don’t talk about sex. Don’t. Just don’t.

Take some time to explore what your weakness are. Recognize them, and have a plan in place to diffuse these land mines before they explode.

Be yourself, unless…

You’ve got a guilt complex. If you’re someone who likes to give and give, and you tend to overcommit and overwork yourself trying to help others in all aspects of your life, rein it in. It’s simply not an effective way to run a business, it’s not a healthy way to work.

You’re a pushover with your schedule. Stop it. Find the easy ways to say no. Practice saying “I’m sorry, I’m booked up.” Get cozy referring out to MT’s who work on your days off.

It’s important to acknowledge that there should be real thought involved in this process. These guidelines are not One Size Fits All. We’re not talking about ignoring ethical concerns and getting casual at your place of business. This is a process, and like any other aspect of business, you need to use good judgement and common sense.

So for me, I think of it this way: I may have clients leave because they don’t like my hands-on techniques. I may have potential clients who never come in because they see an occasional atheist sentiment in my twitter stream. I’m okay with that. But if I ever lose a client or potential client because they felt I was insensitive to their needs, or they feared I would make fun of them, I will consider that a huge professional failure. Huge.

For you: Well, you’ve got to figure that out for yourself. Consider your feelings. Consider the feelings of the people who will see what you ‘like’ and post on Facebook, and interact accordingly.

The Complete Guide to Choosing a Topical Pain Relief product, Warming/Cooling, Gel, Lotion or Balm

This blog was written by Professors Desmond and Stella

Practitioners and consumers have a wide array of products to choose from for topical pain relief, cooling/warming products, that can be used to massage onto the skin to treat specific areas or more regional massage treatments. Picking the appropriate one can be a little confusing. We are going to break it down for you to make your work a cinch.

Professionals and consumers seek these products for pain relief, attributed to muscle soreness from over exertion, sports or arthritis.

Active IngredientsSimplifying the search. There are literally thousands of products that fall under this category. But almost invariably, they all share just 3 active ingredients: Menthol, Camphor, and Capsaicin. And to make it even simpler, Capsaicin is rarely used in massage applications because of difficulty in handling, leaving Menthol and Camphor, in that order, as the common ingredients.

Let’s take a closer look at each one:

ImageMenthol:
Menthol in its natural state is derived from peppermint or other mint oils. It is a waxy, crystalline substance, clear or white in color, which is solid at room temperature.

How it works: Menthol creates the well known cooling sensation not by actually lowering temperature, but by chemically activating the cold-sensitive TRPM8 receptors in the skin. Menthol’s pain reducing properties are mediated through a selective activation of κ-opioid receptors.

Image

 

Camphor:
Camphor is found in wood of the camphor laurel (Cinnamomum camphoraa), a large evergreen tree found in Asia. Today it is mostly derived from the oil of turpentine.

How it works – Camphor is readily absorbed into the skin and acts similarly to menthol with the addition of acting as a slight local anesthetic and antimicrobial substance.

ImageCapsaicin:
Capsaicin is the active component of chili peppers.

How it works –  Capsaicin works by depleting or interfering with substance P , a chemical involved in transmitting pain impulses to the brain.

Making your decision:
Choose your Strength Percentage – Now that you have an understanding of the active ingredients and their properties, it’s time to decide how strong or concentrated you want your application. Higher percentages, 6-12%, tend to be used for spot treatments, or a take home application for consumers. The more dilute formulas, approx 3%, are suited to more broad area applications where you will be incorporating the product in your massage or deep muscle treatment.

The Hard Part (lots of choices) – Now comes the part where you have to choose how you want the active ingredients delivered. There is a wide range of variation here. You’ll find balms, gels, lotions, sprays, patches. There are very clean formulas, somewhat clean, and downright chemically formulas I wouldn’t touch in a hazardous materials suit.

We have a list of some of the more popular items below with ingredients.  Outside of that, armed with the knowledge learned here, you can do independent research to see which items suit your needs.

Here is a closer look at some products:

ImageBiofreeze – probably the most popular entry in the category. You may be surprised to learn the menthol content is only 4% (10% in the sprays) because it feels quite strong. Note that alcohol is present in the formula creating an evaporation effect adding to the cooling sensation. Biofreeze is offered in everything from a roll on to single use. It’s trademark green color is derived from artificial coloring, but smartly, a colorless formula is available.

ImageTiger Balm – another well known brand. Tiger Balm has 10+ percentages of menthol and camphor making it a spot treatment only application. Tiger Balm uses paraffin petrolatum and mineral oil in its formulas. Not my cup of tea – I’d prefer to avoid that on my skin!

ImageSacred Earth Warming Lotion – really nice consistent product. Big customer favorite. 3% menthol means is great to incorporate into a full treatment. But why “warming” you ask? I ask the same question and directed it to Kyle of Sacred Earth. (You can call also and probably get to speak to him directly. Sacred Earth and Kyle get a 5***** rating in terms of information and ethics). I learned it’s the addition of cinnamon that creates the warming effect. Fantastic. I urge you to try this product.

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Icy/Hot – This is one of the common national pharmacy brands. Read the ingredient list….fast, without stuttering. >>>>Camphor 4%, Menthol 16%, acrylates/C10-C30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, capsaicin, cetyl alcohol, citric acid, diisopropyl adipate, disodium EDTA, ethoxdiglycol, glyceryl stearate, glycine soja sterols, menthyl lactate, methylparaben, PEG-150, sterate, phenoxyethanol, ploysorbate 80, propylene glycol, SD alcohol 40, stearenth-2, steareth-21, tocopheryl acetate, triethanolamine, water, xanthan gum<<<<<. Wow, probably works get for paint removal also.

ImageSoothing Touch Narayan Gels and Balms – We just love these formulas. One reason is the ingredients: pure and straightforward INGREDIENTS INGREDIENTS: BEES (CERA ALBA) WAX, CANDELILLA (EUPHORBIA CERIFERA) WAX, SESAME (SESAMUM INDICUM) OIL, ESSENTIAL OILS OF CLOVE (EUGENIA CARYOPHYLATTA), EUCALYPTUS (EUCALYPTUS GLOBULUS), PEPPERMINT (MENTHA PIPERITA), WHITE CAMPHOR (CINNAMOMUM CAMPHORA) AND MENTHOL (MENTHA ARVENSIS). Choose gel or balm in both regular and extra strength. A must in your cabinet!

Product Active Ingredient % Ingredients Comments
 Biofreeze  Menthol  4-10% Menthol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Arctium Lappa (Burdock) Root Extract, Boswellia Carterii Resin Extract, Calendula Officinalis Extract, Carbomer, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Camphor USP, Glycerin, Llex Paraguariensis Leaf Extract, Isopropyl Alcohol, Isopropyl Myristate, Melissa Officinalis (Lemon Balm) Leaf Extract, Silicon Dioxide, Tocopheryl (Vitamin E) Acetate, Triethanolamine, Purified Water USP, Blue 1, Yellow 5 (no coloring in colorless formula) One of the most well known brands. Available in every conceivable style (with more to come I am sure!) – gel, roll on, spray, sample size, on to go single use, etc……..
Biotone Polar Lotion  Menthol 6% Purified Water, Menthol (Mentha arvensis), Natural Glycerine, Vegetable Derived Emulsifying Wax, Aloe Vera Oil (Aloe barbadensis), Essential Oil of Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens), Extracts of Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Juniper (Juniperus communis), Peppermint (Mentha peperita), Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), Sodium Myreth Sulfate, Phenoxethol and Mixed Parabens, Alcohol, Carbomer, TEA Popular formula from the biggest name in massage lubricants – note: it appears this formula still uses parabens – but to be fair, if you are not using parabens, you are using some other preservative….and no matter what anyone tells you, there is no “natural” effective one.
 Bon Vital Sport  Menthol Purified Water, Alcohol SC 40B, Menthol, Polysorbate, Carbomer, Sodium Hydrozide, Sodium Hydroxymethylgrycinate, Camphor Bark Oil, Silica, Tetrasasodium EDTA, Lavender Oil, Lemon Peel, Melissa Oil, Peppermint Oil, Juniper Berry Fruit Oil, Cinnamon Leaf Oil, Clove Flower Oi Bon Vital’s version available in multiple sizes.
Icy Hot Camphor 4%, Menthol 16%, Camphor, Menthol, acrylates/C10-C30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, capsaicin, cetyl alcohol, citric acid, diisopropyl adipate, disodium EDTA, ethoxdiglycol, glyceryl stearate, glycine soja sterols, menthyl lactate, methylparaben, PEG-150, sterate, phenoxyethanol, ploysorbate 80, propylene glycol, SD alcohol 40, stearenth-2, steareth-21, tocopheryl acetate, triethanolamine, water, xanthan gum Check with a Dr, or maybe a shrink or consult a dictionary before using!
Prossage Menthol Safflower Seed oil, Menthol, Lanolin, Lavender oil Customers report liking this……
Tiger Balm Camphor 11% Menthol 10% Cajuput Oil, Cassia Oil, Clove Oil, Dementholized Mint Oil and Paraffin Petrolatum Everyone knows Tiger Balm – International Brand
Sacred Earth Warming Lotion  Menthol 3% Purified Water, Organic Sunflower Oil, Octyl Palmitate, Vegetable Glycerin, Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Panthenol, Allantoin, Organic Menthol Crystals, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Cinnamon Leaf Oil, Organic Lavender Extract, Organic Arnica Extract, Organic White Tea Extract, and Organic Chamomile Extract, d-a Tocopherols, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Borage Oil, Organic Tamanu Oil, Sodium Carbomer, Phenoxyethanol, Ethyl Hexyl Glycerin Nice smooth formula from a very well respected company.
Soothing Touch Narayan Extra Strength Gel and Balm Menthol 8-10% INGREDIENTS: BEES (CERA ALBA) WAX, CANDELILLA (EUPHORBIA CERIFERA) WAX, SESAME (SESAMUM INDICUM) OIL, ESSENTIAL OILS OF CLOVE (EUGENIA CARYOPHYLATTA), EUCALYPTUS (EUCALYPTUS GLOBULUS), PEPPERMINT (MENTHA PIPERITA), WHITE CAMPHOR (CINNAMOMUM CAMPHORA) AND MENTHOL (MENTHA ARVENSIS) If you have not noticed…we like!

No preservatives (really!), no petrolatum.

Ethics Schmethics

Submitted by Desmond Slattery

Many people commented this past Sunday on how “ethical” I looked. Perhaps this is the result of having attended or staffed all of Instructor Sue Wood’s previous Ethics classes. Curiously, the entire GotYourBack staff is suddenly “busy” every time Ethics rolls around. I guess they did not get the memo, Ethics with Sue is actually……………………….FUN!

After students are lured into the class (and this past Sunday we lured a full class) we lock the doors so no one can escape. Then we sedate them with our tea bar and snack table. Some participants demand my coffee which sets up our first ethical dilemma. I can only make 2 cappuccinos at a time via a lengthy espresso making procedure. With 40+ people in the class, some caffeine addicted, confrontations are inevitable. Fortunately, Sue never travels without a security detail during Ethics, and order is quickly restored.

The class proceeds with the required instruction of required core topics such as informed consent, subcontractor/employees status, record keeping and confidentiality, fine print in Massage Law, differences in state laws, and so on. What I have learned attending these classes is that the most interesting part is listening to the comments and contributions of the participants. Their experiences, questions and knowledge make this possibly one of the most engaging classes. Once the class and conversation gets rolling, Sue just guides and probes, pointing out the ethical considerations while the security details limits the throwing of objects and guards the cappuccino machine. There was a guy at Table #3 who, like a lawyer, kept reciting details and subsections of contract details and massage law adding great information on the topics being discussed. Turns out later we find out he is a lawyer/MT!

Sue introduced to us the absolutely fascinating story of a British Massage Therapist working closely with a top level professional sports team. Over the course of several years it became apparent to the therapist that team members were engaging in illegal doping. There are many other bits to this story that have recently been in the news, but for us the crucial parts are the ethical questions raised. At Table #5, an MT who has a colleague who contracted with this team was exchanging text massages detailing more information on this subject allowing us to consider the “ethics” with more factual information.

Sue made the error of allowing me to take over the class for a few minutes while she took a break. So I bored them with the following story: Many years ago I was managing some young employees (approx 20 years old) and shared with them what I thought was some worldly experience. I said, “There are many things you cannot control in business – customers showing up late, being rude, the weather, etc, but there is one thing that remains in your control and you can be steadfast  – your ethics and reputation. I added that your good reputation may serve you later, but upholding ethical and moral standards can actually feel very rewarding”. They looked at me like I was some kind of lunatic. I do not think they believed a word I said!

It was getting late and I was not getting bored or anything, but when were we going to talk about sex? I mean, what is an ethics class without sex? Finally I had to forcefully step in and ask Sue, “when are we going to talk about That Book”?  Sue looked slightly irritated and so  the subject was brought up. The book in question, if you have not heard, is “Touchy Subjects, Tales from the Massage Table”. Neither Sue nor I can claim to offer a review of this book because to be honest with you, we could not read more than 5 pages. It’s not that its poorly written…we are told there are some solid redeemable massage nuggets, but it was page after page of soft porn. So the subject of sex was covered. It’s a pretty straightforward and clear cut issue; easy to cover and move through quickly. This was remarkable to me! 10 years ago, if massage was portrayed badly in the media, everyone would be up in arms claiming bias or injustice. Now it’s just a minor irritant….oh look, a dinosaur! To me this means that the field has come a long way and massage therapists feel much more confidant with their value and reputation.

So, time was up and class had ended. Normally, people rush for the exits, but not with Ethics. People lingered and chatted and were making a commotion. Instructor Sue Wood does the impossible – makes Ethics fun!

Oh, I did notice, the security detail forgot to unlock the doors……………………………………………….

Sue Wood is a PA licensed massage therapist and an AOBTA certified shiatsu practitioner. She is also a graduate of the shiatsu Instructor’s Training Program at the Meridian Shiatsu Institute in Wayne, Pennsylvania. She has served in the Wellness industry as a teacher, department supervisor and advisory board member in massage programs in Philadelphia and the surrounding region.

What constitutes a lightweight massage table?

In this section we look at relative weights of massage tables from standard to lightweight to super lightweight. We are not looking at the specific construction of each table but rather at the weight categories (although we will add that every table mentioned in our review is one that we have used and sold). For more on choosing a table read Leif Montgomery’s Guide to Choosing a Massage Table in the Buyers Guide Section of this blog.
While the specific weight of each massage table is useful information, we have found a discussion of relative weight to be more relevant  for those choosing a portable massage table for transportation. How does the table “feel” to you compared to your current table? While 30 pounds may sound manageable – think about carrying your table up stairs, lifting it in an out of your car or carrying it for 2 blocks / 5 days a week!
Categories and Weights
Standard Portable – 30lbs (add kilograms too for metric) and up. This is the most common category of portable tables used and sold today. The table shown in our video is the Oakworks Nova, Other tables in this group include the Earthlite Spirit, Nirvana 2N1, Stronglite Premier, etc.
Lightweight – 25-30lbs. Here we look at the Stronglite Versalite. Others tables in this category are the Earthlite Luna and Oakworks Wellspring. You may have noticed that our measured actual weight varied by quite a bit from the manufacturer’s stated weight. Things like variations in fabric and foam can contribute to small variances in weight but over 1 pound is a big variance when you are talking under 30 pounds.
Super lightweight – 25lbs and under. Here we looked at the Dharma Super Light. The other table we like in this category is the Pisces New Wave.
Note – table weights generally refer to the table only and do not include the weight of the carry case or head rest. During actual use, you will tote a few accessories like a head rest and bolster which will add a few pounds. A carry case with well designed handles and shoulder strap will distribute the weight over your body making it easier to carry.
Bulk – Besides weight, the bulk or size of a table also factors into the ease of transporting it. Always go as narrow as you can without sacrificing comfort.
So now, we come back to the true test in choosing a table that will be transported and used for out calls. Lift it in the real world under working conditions! We have found over the years that most therapists, especially new practitioners, find that standard weight tables “feel” OK when you lift them the first few times. Many therapists re-evaluate after carrying their tables around for a few years. This is when practitioners may decide to explore purchasing a lighter table or they may even encourage their clients to buy their own table. Lightweight Massage Tables can save the practitioner up to seven pounds! This may be too heavy for some people with back or strength problems. If you fall in this category then you should consider investing in a super light massage table. These tables feel remarkably and refreshingly light, as you can see on the video, “woo hoo”!  When you get under 25lbs, even 1-2 lbs variations can make a big difference, so choosing foam and fabric variations to save weight makes sense.
Good luck in you table search! For more fun and information watch our video on the Science of Choosing Lightweight Tables

Mission Accomplished – Bradley Wiggins Update

As we anticipated, the headline today reads,

Bradley Wiggins Wins 2012 Tour de France

Congratulations Bradley! What an accomplishment!

Everyone can participate in their own way in the sense of accomplishment from a job well done.

It all starts and ends with Gratitude.

Fit in 3 Minutes!

not 3 minutes a day, 3 minutes a week!
Submitted by Desmond Slattery
In previous blog posts, Leif Montgomery instructed you to drink when thirsty and sleep when sleepy, now you can exercise just 3 minutes a week. Like most things, there is a catch. First, this is hard as hell! We are talking High Intensity exercise (maximum effort) type of exercise. Whether its cycling, sprinting or rowing, you will not even be able to complete the 3 minutes in one effort. You will need to break it up in 20 or 30 second blocks. The health markers used to determine the efficacy of the routine was insulin response and aerobic fitness. In general the results were positive. However, in a bit of divine injustice, there were a segment of people with the wrong kind of genes who, no matter what, did not find their aerobic fitness increased. I am sure, there is some compensation such as these people get the money gene or the lots of friends gene.
If you are addicted to exercise, or you like to exercise, then 3 minutes will simply not be enough for your emotional needs. But if you are lazy like me, this is good news.
Correlated with this are stories about sitting and how a sedentary lifestyle could be taking years off your life. Interestingly, even if you exercise, the sitting is detrimental. Many of the readers of this blog will not be affected by this as your jobs involve lots of movement throughout the day. But it certainly pertains to your clients. For years, at GotYourBack, we have enjoyed chairs that are dynamic, meaning they engage your core and force you to actively sit, thus offsetting the harmful effects of sitting. I’ll try to post some pics of the industrious staff here at GYB and core movement sitting. Read more here and here.
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