Category Archives: Massage Therapy

EverFit Montana Holiday Craft Fair: Chair Massage & Gift Certficates

This year is the 1st annual EverFit Montana craft fair Friday November 10 & Saturday  November 11th  8 am – 12 pm.

It’s a busy weekend for expos and craft fairs in Billings,  Montana but this craft fair is one you’ll really want to stop in and check out! Loads of homemade goodies will be sold by EverFit members and Billings locals making this a great way to get to know the community and check off some Christmas gifts on your list!

Chair massage will be offered to help relieve your aches and pains Saturday morning, along with therapeutic massage gift certificates for yourself or family and friends.

$5 for 10 minutes  chair massage and a free skin therapy gift bag with each gift certificate purchase. The skin therapy gift includes the very popular Pumpkin Seed Body Butter (used in this month’s massage special) along with a body bar and bath bomb.

Stop in to take a look and leave feeling great with homemade crafts and massage.

Alex Stenger, LMT

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Common Health Problems: What can Massage do for YOU?

Massages are often sold as a purely indulgent treat that you get when you visit a spa or go on vacation, but there’s so much more to massage than just a feel good treat. Did you know that the symptoms of many health problems can be reduced and even eliminated with regular massage?

Here are a few conditions that massage can work really well on; a few you probably know and some that may surprise you!

Stress

It’s no surprise that a regular dose of massage therapy is good for your stress levels, it works by helping to lower your blood pressure, improve your quality of sleep, and by reducing your stress levels, it’s also thought to help reduce the risk of heart disease.  In 2008 the journal Psycho-oncology published a study which came to the conclusion “…a significant reduction in cortisol (the main stress hormone) could be safely achieved through massage, with associated improvement in psychological well-being.”

Lower Back Pain

This is such a common problem, often caused by bad posture at work, so no wonder many employers are drafting in massage therapists to help. Poor posture and sitting for too long can cause a lot of lower back problems, as can simply getting older. Get your massage therapist on the case and you can hopefully wave goodbye to a sore back.

Sports Injuries

Fitness and sport are great for your health but they can sometimes lead to injuries and overworked muscles. A regular massage can help to heal any wear and tear on your muscles and tendons, and can also help you manage the pain from a chronic or acute sports injury. Having well looked-after muscles may also help prevent future injuries – one more reason to book those regular sessions.

Joint Stiffness

Massage can be a blessed relief for people dealing with the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis and other joint problems. Research published in 2013 in the Complementary Therapy in Clinical Practice journal said that people with rheumatoid arthritis reported some relief from pain and stiffness after four once-a-week moderate-pressure massages, topped up with self-massage at home in between treatments. Massage can also help with your range of motion and flexibility, which can relieve pain in your shoulders, knees, and hips.

Circulation

There are a whole range of health problems that can be caused by bad circulation, so it figures that boosting your circulation will be a bonus for your whole body. Regular massage helps to get the blood moving, getting essential nutrients to where they are needed in your tissues and vital organs much faster. The squeezing and pulling actions involved in a good massage also help to flush lactic acid out of your muscles and improve the circulation of lymph – the fluid that carries metabolic waste away from your muscles and internal organs.

Migraine symptoms

Nobody really knows what causes migraines, and there isn’t a cure, but if you’re a migraine sufferer you’ll be pleased to hear that studies have shown that massage can help reduce the frequency of attacks, and lessen the severity of the symptoms. Some migraines, especially those triggered by stress, are especially receptive to massage treatment.

Skin Cancer

Of course, we wouldn’t tell you that massage cures cancer; it can’t. But in some cases your massage therapist can notice abnormalities in your skin that you can’t see or just haven’t picked up on, and alert you to them. Regular massage can also be good for your skin as it gets the circulation going and the nourishing oils used in a treatment help to keep skin feeling soft.

Allergies

A massage helps to stimulate lymph flow around your body, which boosts your immune system and can help to reduce the severity of allergic reactions.  Sometimes a therapist might be able to tell just from your lymph nodes if you are an allergy sufferer as they can feel tender or swollen.

Did any of those surprise you? Of course, you don’t need to make an excuse for wanting a massage, but if you are dealing with any of these health issues, it’s good to know that your regular massage habit is helping.

 

Benefits of Cold Stone Massage

This summer I’m offering a cold marble stone massage. This therapeutic treatment is a great way to relieve the body of discomfort associated with hot temperatures. Cold stone massage is not as common as the hot stone massage, but everyone enjoys it just the same.

Cryotherapy (cold therapy) has many physiological benefits to soft tissue, and most people don’t understand what they are. Cryotherapy is the application of cold for the first aid of trauma to the musculoskeletal system to promote healing.

What exactly happens to the tissue when ice is applied? Initially, the opposite of what happens when you apply heat. Vasoconstriction. The blood vessels and capillary beds constrict the passage way for blood to travel. Next is vasodilation or widening of the vessels. Followed again by constriction and finally numbness when the ice is then removed. The application of ice allows new blood from the heart that is nutrient and oxygen rich to rush back into the tissues to initiate the healing process. 
There are four stages of the skin’s response to cold.ince-massage

1. Cold sensation with vasoconstriction
0 to 3 minutes.
2. Mild burning, aching with vasodilation
2 to 7 minutes.
3. Stinging sensation with vasoconstriction
5 to 12 minutes.
4. Numbness  7 to 20 minutes.

Although the intention is not to achieve all four stages and numbness of the skin, the use of cold stones as a form of cryotherapy during massage can have many of the same benefits.

The benefits of cryotherapy include: decreases swelling, decreases pain, decreases bruising, decreases muscle spasm, reduces fever, increases resistance to disease, speed up recover time (sprains, strains, contusions, fractures) speeds healing of minor burns, increases removal of wastes, decreases secondary injury causes by inflammatory response.

 

Alex Stenger is a licensed Massage Therapist practicing inside BalanceDiet Billings.

Websitebillingsmassage.amtamembers.com 

Contact: Office (406) 652-9142 Cell (406) 780-0535

Facebookfacebook.com/billingsmassage/

FAQ: Massage at BalanceDiet, Billings

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions from massage therapy clients. If you have unanswered questions please leave a comment below.

What should I expect during my first massage treatment (tx)? 
Completed paperwork (contact info, health history, allergies) is required before your first treatment only. It is very important for you to list all past and current health concerns and medications for the therapist to meet your specific needs.
Arrive early to use facilities and begin the interview process on time. A brief Q & A together of your health history, what your goals are, if massage therapy is appropriate
 for you and creating a tx plan can take 2-10 minutes and begins every massage thereafter. An exit interview concludes each visit, and is a follow up of the initial interview.

What is appropriate to wear?
Wear loose fitted clothing as if you were to exercise. The massage therapist may use techniques that require clothing that do not restrict range of motion. Basic Swedish massage techniques are performed undressed between sheets, and draping that respectfully exposes only the body parts being treated. 

Please practice proper hygiene or use shower facilities (only offered for women), or request a wet towel.

How long is a massage?
30, 60 and 90 minute massage time slots are available. All times include enter & exit interviews.

How often do I received massage tx?
As often as seems necessary. If you are in acute pain from whiplash, multiple 30 minutes treatments in a week may be recommended. If you suffer from chronic work related stress it may take longer to meet your goals and a long-term treatment plan can be created. All plans take into consideration your wellness goals, budget, time allowance and convenience.

Can my doctor prescribe treatments?
Many of my clients are referred by another health care professional to receive massage. This is NOT a prescription for massage. You’re primary care physician can write you a RX that includes how many and how often to receive a massage treatment related to the current medical condition being treated by your doctor. With your permission the massage therapist may contact your doctor.

Does insurance cover my massage?
Check with your insurance provider to find out if massage is covered. Insurance billing is not offered through the massage therapist. A receipt for your records will be issued to you for later submission if you choose. All charting and documentation is available to you upon request and stored within HIPPA privacy guidelines.

When should I NOT receive massage tx?
You should not book a massage if you have a fever, cold/flu, or contagious skin infection. Always ask your primary care physician if massage would benefit/harm your current health conditions.

 

Alex Stenger is a licensed Massage Therapist practicing inside BalanceDiet Billings.

Websitebillingsmassage.amtamembers.com 

Contact: Office (406) 652-9142 Cell (406) 780-0535

Facebookfacebook.com/billingsmassage/

 

A Year in the Books

This month marks the first successful year of my massage therapy practice. I wouldn’t be here without the wonderful support of all my clients and the people at BalanceDiet Billings.

Two weeks before I graduated from Health Works Institute I decided to no longer work at the spa in Big Sky. Working there over the past 2 years was such a wonderful time spent with the owner Jacque and all the therapists and estheticians, but there was something calling me back to Billings, MT where I am from.

When the original location in a salon fell through, I was relieved because I knew my practice wasn’t the type to be in that particular location. I had training in clinical massage therapy and the luxurious type of massage (a lot of Swedish) wasn’t what I wanted to do.  So,  I replied to a craigslist ad at BalanceDiet, a women’s weight loss facility, and after the interview I knew this is exactly where my practice could grow.

Since graduating I’ve received certification as an Integrative Reflexologist. This is something my grandmother taught herself and practiced many years of her life and I watched growing up. To now offer reflexology to clients is rewarding on so many levels. I have’t decided what continuing education I will pursue this coming year, so if you know of a modality or training you’d like to see me offer please comment below!

What I love the most about my practice over the year is the wonderful variety of people I meet and help. Their needs are all so different and I constantly reference my text books, the internet and latest massage research for new or forgotten techniques to help them with their pain.

What I like the least about my practice over the year, and a new client told me this the other day “It’s so hard to get in to see you.” Now, I understand there is a compliment below the surface of that statement, but when someone is experiencing discomfort and pain in that moment and it takes 3-4 days to get in to see me the compliment goes from sweet to salty real fast.

 

Alex Stenger is a licensed Massage Therapist practicing inside BalanceDiet Billings.

Website: billingsmassage.amtamembers.com 

Contact: Office (406) 652-9142 Cell (406) 780-0535

Facebook: facebook.com/billingsmassage/

Lower Back Pain, Repetitive Motion and Massage Therapy: A Case Study

This is a retrospective case study of a client who came in for low back pain. I prefer to present the data in a story format without the SOAP charting jargon for those of you who are not familiar with charting terms. If you would like more information on the objective findings and exact treatment please contact me.

The study is a 57 year old female who works full time at UPS in shipment/package processing. She complained of low back, upper shoulder and neck pain. She described a feeling of her breath ‘taken away’ when laying on her back.  Her job at the time was very stressful as it was the beginning of November and the busiest season for shipping.  She describes to me what her job consists of daily. Lifting boxes with both hands and twisting to the left to place them elsewhere. Over and over again.

The postural assessment revealed a short leg of about 1 inch difference.  The left side of the back was severely elevated in comparison to the right (see photo below). She also presented very limited neck, shoulder and hip ROM.

benson_1
Severe L side elevation causing low back pain and tension in the shoulders and neck.

Over the next 5 months the client received a 30 minute treatment once a week. During the first month we were able to decrease pain symptoms in the low back, shoulders and neck with Swedish Massage and Trigger Point Therapy allowing her to lie flat on her back without the sensation of not being able to breath. We then addressed the leg length discrepancy and balanced the hips with Myofascial Release. Around month 2 the short leg length began to decrease and stay consistent of 1/2 inch. The following months consisted of maintenance massage over the entire back, shoulders, neck and hips.

At month 5 we were able to increase the time between massage to 2-3 weeks. The client began yoga at home, and exercised regularly. She was no longer feeling the neck and shoulder tension, some low back pain on occasion and commented that she was finally able to enjoy the massage without the presence of therapeutic pain.

benson_2
Change in elevation treated with Swedish Massage, Trigger Point Therapy and Myofascial Release.

This case study was 100% dedicated to finding relief through massage therapy.  With patience and persistence she is now taking control of life with out the pain.

 

Alex Stenger is a licensed Massage Therapist practicing inside BalanceDiet Billings.

Website: billingsmassage.amtamembers.com 

Contact: Office (406) 652-9142 Cell (406) 780-0535

Facebook: facebook.com/billingsmassage/

Sleep and Massage

A very common question I ask before or during a massage is how did you sleep last night? The all too common answer is not very well followed by I couldn’t stop thinking about work, my partner snores, the animals are bed hogs, etc.

When life gets in the way of our sleep habits there can be big consequences to our overall health. One of the biggest consequences for women who struggle with weight loss is when our sleep deprived body releases the hormone ghrellin which increases our appetite.  

So how can massage therapy help us sleep better and possibly manage hunger? Because massage has been found to directly increase the body’s production of serotonin, which is essential for the production of melatonin, the client experiences improved sleep.

There are many types of massage that can help including these:

  • Swedish
  • Deep Tissue
  • Sports
  • Trigger Point
  • Reflexology

Skip the pills and sleep better knowing there are alternative and complementary methods of medicine like massage to get more restoration and rejuvenation through the night.

 

Alex Stenger is a licensed Massage Therapist practicing inside BalanceDiet Billings.

Website: billingsmassage.amtamembers.com 

Contact: Office (406) 652-9142 Cell (406) 780-0535

Facebook: facebook.com/embodimentmassage/

 

A Fictional Case Study. Massage Therapy.

My Physiology/Pathology class has assigned a fictional case study assignment in the past in order to better understand a symptom picture in a massage therapy setting. For a massage therapist, we are always assessing the subjective and objective information to create a treatment plan targeted at relieving the client’s signs and symptoms.

Below is a fictional case study I have written pertaining to a pathological disorder of the Nervous System. At the end I have written 5 discussion question and answers.

Traumatic Brain Injury: Concussion

Rhonda is 46 years old. She called in the late evening to make an appointment complaining of a headache not allowing her to sleep. Her speech was slurred and difficult to understand. Rhonda arrived the next day an hour early for an afternoon appointment. When she signed the logbook she seemed very confused when told in fact the day’s date was Monday. not Sunday. and that her appointment was booked for 12 pm and not 11 pm. When standing up Rhonda asked for assistance to her treatment. She steadied herself along the walls and complained of feeling dizziness after standing up. The entire time Rhonda was in the office she was wearing her sunglasses and mentioned the light irritates her headache. When she removed her sunglasses in the treatment room both  pupils were dilated.

 

  • How do I interact with Rhonda during  the conversation over the phone?
    • Because of Rhonda’s slurred speech I should gather as much subjective information as possible in a few minutes regarding why she needs to get a massage as soon as possible and when she can get in.
  • What do I suspect?
    • Rhonda is a long – time client who does not drink regularly. The possibility of her slurred speech due to over consumption of alcohol is unlikely.  The headache she explains could be a migraine causing the slurred speech. The abnormality of her late night call to make an appointment and slurred speech is a sign something severe is going on and I make a note to very carefully observe her  tomorrow.
  • What other symptoms of a migraine does Rhonda present?
    • Her loss of motor control and dizziness after standing up and complaining of sensitivity to light are symptoms of migraines but her confusion over  the date and time of the appointment has lead me to believe her symptoms are not due to a migraine, but something much severe.
  • Has Rhonda suffered from any acute injuries?
    • While asking Rhonda about all the things she had done in the past 24 hours she mentioned going to church, having lunch with her daughter and then spending the rest of the afternoon in the barn. While outside  the wind picked up and a stall door swung and hit her on the forehead. She did not lose consciousness and decided to take aspirin and continue her chores. After dinner is when she started to get a headache, decided to lie down and could not fall asleep.
  • What do I suspect?
    • An acute injury to her frontal lobes could be the cause of her slurred speech, motor dysfunction, and dilated pupils. The loss of brain function could be due to a Traumatic Brain Injury and a possible concussion. It is important that Rhonda see her primary care physician to assess the severity of the impact on her brain before massage can be performed. Rhonda should be taken to the hospital as soon as possible.