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November 2, 2017

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What's better than a gadget?

November 25, 2017

Wait, before you buy that massage gadget on a Black Friday weekend deal for your loved one, try gifting them with an actual massage!  (And no, I don't mean by doing it yourself, unless you are a trained professional).  While convenient and providing a little pain relief, these machines don't quite cut for someone with chronic muscular pain, which is probably the reason you are considering buying it as a gift in the first place.


The reason that many of these gadget end up lying in a dusty basement are many:

1. Precision--There are many different body types, and these gadgets are meant to fit only some of those bodies and only the largest, most accessible, muscle groups.  A professional massage will be customized for each client.  For example, many clients I see come with neck and shoulder issues, and the machines usually only can get to the very back and largest part of these muscles with their knobs, and completely miss the tiny suboccipitals, the more anterior scalenes, and the deeper semispinalis capitis.  In the low back, there is very little hope of reaching the deeper quadratus lumborum or the hard to reach iliolumbar ligament which often are the main causes of low back pain.

2. Size and shape of tool--The knobs on these gadgets only come in a few sizes.  Massage therapists use different parts of their hands and arms to work different muscles in different ways (fingers, knuckles, palm, forearm, elbow) to get to each muscle the most effective way.
3. Personal connection--I usually spend a bit of time each session trying to troubleshoot each client's needs and then making recommendations on self care.  Many times just by talking to a client, we can figure out simple ergonomic changes to support their activity and some specific stretches to use at home.  Maybe in the future Alexa will be able to do this, but until then, a trained therapist will be your best bet!


But maybe you wanted to plunk a few thousand dollars on that newest chair from the Sharper Image that you loved at the store?  It turns out you can save that cash for your next vacation.  If a client is needing more than one massage for chronic issues, I usually recommend front loading them if they have the time and budget.  Usually a series of 4 customized massages, once a week for 4 weeks in a row, can relieve most issues for the long term, even if they don't get massages for months afterwards:


So, contact a quality local therapist and see if you can purchase gift certificates.  Never a bad gift!






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© 2017 by Linda Kang, LMT