Taking on Societal Preconceptions around Massage Therapy and Gender
Preconceptions around gender abound in society. They are often formed around societal biases of what is considered traditionally feminine and traditionally masculine, including professions. For example, being an elementary teacher is traditionally considered a woman’s job and a construction manager that of a man. But it goes beyond what society thinks is a good job for the different genders; it’s also about society’s preconceptions about who they are more comfortable interacting with in these settings. All of this is certainly true for massage therapy as well.
There is a lot of stigma surrounding the male licensed massage therapist (LMT). When booking a massage, a lot of people get flustered over the question as to whether they want a male or female massage therapist, and when pushed, the majority of people specifically request a female LMT. We understand–we really do! Getting a massage puts you in a pretty vulnerable state. However, this trepidation often stems from societal preconceptions of massage therapy and who society thinks it’s okay to be a massage therapist. In this article, we are going to dig into the stigmas surrounding male LMTs and then break down the barriers so you feel more comfortable getting a massage from someone of any gender.
Issue #1: Vulnerability
When you get a massage, you are invariably in some state of disrobe, and that can put you in a vulnerable state. Not to mention that massage techniques are performed on bare skin. This can leave many clients feeling uncomfortable, and often believe the preconception that a woman LMT will be less threatening. This vulnerability can also bring up body image issues and many female clients may harbor fears that a male therapist might judge her physical appearance.
Issue #2: The Psychology of Sex
Massage is generally extremely relaxing, but it can also border on sensual for some. Clients are often afraid of becoming aroused during a session. It’s important to understand that this is normal and has nothing to do with sex, but rather the physiology of what is happening to the body during a massage. Massage techniques move blood around the body very quickly and this can lead to sensations of arousal. A good massage therapist understands this and relies on their training to ignore it to help keep the patient at ease.
We also can’t delve into the psychology of sex and massage therapy without addressing homophobia as well. Some male clients don’t like to be touched by another man, let alone while semi-naked. It stems from being in a vulnerable state and thoughts of perceived homosexuality.
Issue #3: Nurturing vs Strength
Across the board, clients often seek out female LMTs for their “caring” touch. They also often see male LMTs as rougher and stronger. However, this is based on the preconceptions that women are nurturing, a role often associated with mothers, and that men are macho and rough. But if you’ve seen women athletes or a stay-at-home dad, you know these are just biases formed by society that have no true meaning.
Breaking Down the Barriers
Now, let’s break down these three stigmas around male LMTs.
First, it’s important to remember that licensed massage therapists of any gender are professionals. Many chose this career to help people heal their bodies. Because of the semi-naked state clients are in, it makes everyone feel vulnerable while getting a massage. But a professional isn’t there to take advantage of you or judge you. They are there to help you heal. To help put you at ease, remember that spas have interviewed all their LMTs. And if you feel uncomfortable about a technique, speak up and set your boundaries. A professional LMT will respect your wishes and won’t judge you for it. If something inappropriate does happen, don’t be afraid to report it. Spas and wellness centers want you to feel comfortable, and that means being unafraid to go to higher ups with concerns.
When it comes to both issues regarding the psychology of sex and massage therapy, keep in mind that massage has little to do with sexual attraction. Rather, massage therapy is about healing your body using relaxation and medical techniques. LMTs of any gender are professionals, and are not there to “feel you up.”
Finally, when it comes to who society thinks is nurturing and who is strong, understand that in massage, a woman LMT can perform a deep tissue massage as well as any male LMT. The same is true that male LMTs can be just as nurturing as the women in their profession.
So set your preconceptions aside; they are often based on biases of gender norms, something that society has been working to break down for many years now. Know that male LMTs are professionals who can help you meet your massage therapy goals just as comfortably and as well as their female counterparts. So next time you call to book an appointment and the receptionist asks for your LMT gender preference, simply ask for the best person that will help you meet your massage therapy goals.
Plus Self-Care Ideas to Help You Care for Your Mental Health
Life can get hectic and many of us have so many responsibilities. It can be easy to put your personal needs aside and focus on taking care of others or getting all of your tasks done. However, this can lead to burnout, stress, anxiety and even health issues. This is why self-care plays such a pivotal role in your physical and mental health.
The Benefits of Self-Care
Self-care isn’t just about pampering yourself. It’s about taking a holistic approach to your health and well-being. Self-care helps you destress, relax, rest and live in the moment. It can revitalize you and help you better manage future stress. Here are the benefits you can enjoy when you practice self-care:
Boost Your Physical Health: Self-care often triggers what is known as the “relaxation response.” It’s the counterpart to the fight-or-flight response. By routinely practicing relaxing self-care, you can help your body respond to stress better. How does this help your physical health? Chronic stress can have physical effects on your body, including increased heart rate and blood pressure, weight gain, stomach ulcers and more. By caring for your mental health, you are in turn caring for your physical health!
Improve Your Mental Health: Neglecting your own needs can lead to general feelings of unhappiness. If left unchecked over longer periods of time, it can lead to low self-esteem, feelings of resentment, anxiety, chronic stress and other negative feelings and emotions. By caring for your mental health, you are showing yourself and others that you value yourself. This can help contribute to long-term feelings of overall well-being and increased self-esteem.
Stress Relief and Management: Taking breaks is good! Balancing your leisure time and your responsibilities helps in a couple of ways. First, you are giving your body and mind a break which can relieve current stresses. Practicing self-care generates soothing feelings that help put you more at ease. Second, you are also learning to manage your time better, helping you better manage future stress, especially if you are taking the step of scheduling your “me time” (something you should do to make your self-care a routine).
Our Top 5 Favorite Self-Care Techniques
Now that you understand the amazing benefits of self-care, let’s take a look at our top 5 favorite ways to get in a little “me time.”
1 | Get a Massage: Massage is a relaxation technique for your mind and your body. It helps ease muscle tension, improve your circulation and improve mental clarity.
2 | Get a Facial: Feeling good can also stem from positive feelings about your physical appearance. Taking time to pamper your skin can zap acne (which can be inflamed by stress) and leave you feeling relaxed.
3 | Nourish Your Body and Mind: What goes into your body matters and that is why it is key that you properly nourish your body and mind. Eating nutrient dense foods and cutting back on sugars and bad fats is essential. You can also give your diet a boost with IV Infusion Therapy. It’s effective at delivering the nutrients your body and mind crave because they are directly administered into the bloodstream, making the nutrients available for immediate use by your body.
4 | Schedule Social Time: Self-care doesn’t have to be done alone. Maintaining your social connections is an essential part of self-care. So carve out time for your family and friends by going out to eat, seeing a movie or staying in for a game night!
5 | Talk to Someone: Caring for ourselves also means knowing when you need to seek help. It’s okay to not always feel okay. Remember to reach out and talk with someone you trust when depression gets you down.
We’re Here to Help!
The US Wellness Collective believes in a holistic approach to your health and well-being. We offer a range of services guaranteed to pamper you and help you look and feel better! Contact us today to learn about our wide variety of customizable services that will have you feeling more relaxed, happier and healthier!
9 Tips for Healthy, Dewey Skin in a Dry Climate
Dry climates can be tough on the complexion and lead to some serious dryness year round, but especially in the warmer months. Not only that, but dry climates can exaggerate the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines as well as rough skin texture. Fortunately, there are ways to protect your skin and combat that dryness.
Rule #1, when you are lacking water within your body, the likelihood of your aging signs are much higher. When you are not drinking enough H2O your body is pulling that extra moisture from your skin; think of your skin as a plant, not enough water means wilting leaves and flowers. To know your body’s optimal hydration is a simple calculation; divide your weight in half and intake that number in ounces daily (ex. 150lbs/2 = 75oz/day). Another option to help with signs of aging skin is using a humidifier to put a little moisture back into the air. Your skin will thank you, looking more supple and full.
Use a Gentle Cleanser
Be sure to use a gentle cleanser to remove the grime and dead skin cells from your face. Try a low pH cleanser to keep your skin balanced and hydrated. Cleansers with a high pH can actually dry out your skin even more.
Get a Boost with a Serum
Boost the moisture in your skin with an antioxidant or hyaluronic acid serum. Be sure to apply it to your face while your skin is still damp for the ultimate lock in of moisture.
Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize!
Get a great moisturizer that will replenish your skin’s moisture. However, avoid humectant-only moisturizers. These moisturizers pull moisture from the air to feed to your skin, but when there is little to no moisture in the air, these creams won’t do you much good. Instead, choose an oil-based moisturizer or one with essential fatty acids. Don’t forget to use a good cream or lotion on the rest of your body as well! Book an office visit with us so our experts can provide you with options best suited to your skin’s needs.
Many dry climates are sunny year round and some are even high altitude, leaving you vulnerable to sunburns all year long. Be sure to use a sunscreen or a moisturizer with sunscreen to protect your skin. Invest in a good high-SPF sunscreen (30+). If you are outside enjoying the sun, be sure to reapply throughout the day. Don’t forget to apply to the tops of your ears, the back of your neck and other other places that are often missed in sunscreen application.
The lack of humidity can leave skin looking dull and lead to the buildup of dead skin cells on the surface of your skin. Exfoliating your skin one to two times per week can reveal fresh, glowing skin underneath and help keep your pores from becoming clogged. Choose a light exfoliator that won’t irritate your skin and be sure to not over-exfoliate.
Mask It Up
Soak up some more moisture by using a face mask once a week. Choose a mask that delivers extra moisture and follow the directions on the back. When you take off the mask, pat in the extra serum to get the full benefit, then lock it in with your daily or nightly serums and moisturizer.
Don’t Forget Lip Balm!
Did you know the first sign of dehydration is chapped lips?! Seriously, avoid chapped and dry lips by drinking plenty of water and applying lip balm throughout the day, until no longer needed. In fact, if you use lip balm too often your lips no longer produce it’s natural layer of oil causing you to have to use it more often than needed.
Get a Facial!
Get a facial once a month. Skin cell turnover happens once about every 28 days and getting a facial regularly can help remove dead skin cells, replenish moisture, reduce pore sizes and even help with fine lines and wrinkles. Your skin will be healthy and glowing all year long!
Here at the US Wellness Collective, we know that no two people are alike so we offer fully customized facials to fit your skincare needs and goals. Our licensed estheticians will have you looking and feeling your best with our 30 or 60 minute facials. Book your appointment today!
5 Tips to Help you Look and Feel Younger, Including Hydration and Cryoskin!
Everyone gets cellulite at some point in their life. And while it is completely normal, it isn’t something we all enjoy seeing on our own bodies. Cellulite often appears around the hips, thighs and the buttocks. It is caused by fat deposits under the skin pushing up toward the surface, creating that uneven or dimpled texture.
Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to get rid of cellulite and smooth the appearance of your skin. Here are our favorite tips to help you look and feel younger.
A slow metabolism can increase the amount or the severity of cellulite. To kick your metabolism into high gear, exercise regularly. Not only does it help your overall health, but it can help destroy fat cells that cause the appearance of cellulite.
Just like regular exercise, a healthy diet can help you manage and destroy fat. Make sure you are eating nutrient dense foods, like veggies and salmon, to give your body the fuel it needs to get through the day. Also, cut back on sugars and bad fats that will just make you gain weight and won’t give you the energy your body craves.
Being dehydrated depletes your skin’s volume and can make cellulite that you do have more visible. So keep sipping on that water all day to keep your skin healthy and youthful!
Boost Your Metabolism with IV Infusion Therapy
Jumpstart your metabolism with one of our Infusion Therapies, like our Detox/Weight Loss IV or our Lipo B IM Injection. The premium quality compounds in our Detox/Weight Loss IV are designed to help you feel more energized, burn fat, boost your metabolism and provide your body the nutrients it needs for optimal wellness. Our Lipo B IM Injection is a supplement designed to help reduce excess fats from specific areas of the body. Each individual component of this injection has a lipotropic effect, which is believed to work synergistically in getting rid of body fat!
Enjoy the Benefits of Cryoskin
Cryoskin is changing the way we look at weight loss and plastic surgery! If you are experiencing stubborn cellulite, this revolutionary treatment offers a painless and convenient way to effectively reduce fat cells and increase collagen production, which gives your skin youthful volume and a glowy complexion. Cryoskin applies very cold temperatures to specific areas of your body. This then causes a process known as apoptosis, which tears down fat cells and increases blood flow, resulting in weight loss and skin toning!
Look and Feel Younger Today!
Here at the US Wellness Collective, we believe in a holistic approach to weight loss and cellulite reduction. If you are ready to lose some of that stubborn fat and cellulite, we offer many different treatments to help you no matter where you are in your weight loss journey. We offer nutrition and health management services with the Detox/Weight Loss IV and Lipo B IM injections administered by our very own RN! We also offer Cryoskin services, including croytoning, cryoskin fat and cryofacials.
Book your appointment today!
The Benefits of Massage for Relieving and Reducing Pain, Including Chronic Pain Conditions
Massage is a great way to relax the muscles and can leave you feeling refreshed. It used to be considered an indulgence, but now studies have shown that therapeutic massage is a way to legitimately reduce pain.
How It Helps Relieve Pain
Massage helps relieve pain through several mechanisms. These include:
- Relaxing painful muscles, tendons and joints
- Decreasing tension
- Relieving stress and anxiety (which have been shown to increase pain)
- And can possibly help to “close the pain gate” by stimulating competing nerve fibers and impeding pain messages to and from the brain.
Therapeutic massage has actually become an active area of research, studying its effect on pain in the back, hands, neck, knees and other areas of the body. A study published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice showed a reduction in hand pain and an increased grip strength among people who had four weekly hand massage sessions and did self-massage at home. It also showed that participants slept better and had less anxiety and depression. Massage has also been shown to help with chronic pain as well.
Types of Massage Therapy for Pain Relief
A variety of massage types can be used to treat pain and chronic pain. These include:
- Sports Massage
- Deep Tissue Massage
- Remedial Massage
- Therapeutic Massage
- Myofascial Release
It is important to note that massage does not have to be painful to be helpful. Some people may find some forms of massage, like deep tissue, painful. For example, people with certain chronic pain conditions, such as Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, may only be able to tolerate light pressure. So be sure to discuss with your massage therapist if you prefer a lighter touch, firm pressure or hard pressure.
The Benefits of Receiving Massage for Pain Relief
We’ve looked at how massage can help relieve pain, but let’s dive a little deeper into the benefits of massage therapy for pain relief. There are other benefits to massage besides reducing or relieving pain.
One of the other benefits is an increased range of movement. When you receive a massage, it increases blood flow to the treated areas, causing the muscle temperature to rise. This in turn helps to relax and loosen muscles helping you have greater range of movement. When range of movement is increased through a reduction in muscle tension and tightness, pain is also reduced!
Massage also helps to increase relaxation both physically and mentally. By physically relaxing the muscles, you’ll experience a reduction in pain and the restriction of movement. By emotionally relaxing you, you can experience a decrease in stress and anxiety while increasing positive hormones such as endorphins. Stress and anxiety have been shown to have negative physical effects on the body, not just our mental health.
Finally, massage helps to relieve muscle tightness. Muscle tightness can restrict our mobility and can cause further pain. Relieving that tightness by increasing blood flow improves tissue elasticity and thus, reduces pain and restriction of movement that can cause further pain and damage.
Massage at the US Wellness Collective
We believe in a holistic approach to your health, treating your mind, body and soul! We also believe in a fully customized approach to massage therapy because no two individuals are alike! We offer a blend of unique massage techniques to leave you feeling relaxed and more pain free, including these specialities that you can incorporate into your session:
- AromaTouch Technique
- Hot Stone
Book your appointment today! We offer sessions from 30 minutes long to 120 minutes long.
What is PRP and What can It be Used to Treat?
If you are ready to look and feel your best, PRP might be a treatment for you! Platelet Rich Plasma, or PRP, has had a 30-year history of being used in orthopedic surgery, dentistry and rehabilitative medicine. It has been used in plastic surgery and dermatology for about 10 years.
What is PRP and What is It Used to Treat?
PRP is a three-step treatment in which a person’s blood is drawn, processed and then injected or microneedled as a serum to the areas of treatment. Your plasma contains white blood cells and platelets, which are rich in growth factors that signal the skin cells to function. PRP can be used to treat hair loss by stimulating hair follicles to promote new hair growth and it can also be used to improve the appearance of scars, lines and creases on your face. The treatment takes about 40 to 60 minutes. During the first 20 minutes, your blood is drawn and processed; the US Wellness Collective has a pretty cool process. Then, the microneedling or injecting takes about 10 to 20 minutes.
PRP is injected in a manner that is very similar to other injectable fillers, like Juvederm. Because PRP is a liquid, it is able to be injected with a much smaller needle, which means less pain and bruising than fillers. Some have compared the feeling to that of a Botox injection.
Is it Painful?
Generally speaking, PRP is nearly painless. Many say they feel a sensation of mild heat or itching under the skin as the PRP is injected. You may also experience small muscles near the injection twitching as the PRP activates the nearby tissues. This twitching resolves in about 10 to 15 minutes for most people. After the treatment, you will experience mild swelling for about two to three days. And because PRP is created from your own bloodstream, there have been no recorded complications from its application, other than the side effects of mild bruising and swelling for a few days.
If utilizing PRP with a microneedling treatment, there is a numbing cream used to help offset any possible discomfort. We’ve even had people fall asleep during this treatment! There is little to no discomfort once the treatment is completed and you are ready to get on with your day without down time.
What are the Benefits of PRP?
Other than the first two major benefits of filling in areas of your face and stimulating new hair growth, there are a few other benefits of PRP.
Rejuvenation: PRP stimulates collagen and elastin production, giving your skin a youthful “bounce.” This effectively smooths out wrinkles and fine lines and can improve your skin’s overall texture and tone.
Treats Delicate & Difficult to Reach Areas: Because of the small needle size used, PRP is an effective treatment for areas that are delicate or otherwise difficult to treat, such as the under eye area.
Natural and Safe: Because it uses your own blood without the addition of any foreign products, PRP is a natural type of cosmetic injectable and there have been no recorded complications other than the mild side effects of bruising and swelling for a few days after the treatment. This also makes it safe to use on any type of skin!
Long-Lasting Results: While results take a few weeks to appear, the results are generally long lasting, or about 12 to 18 months after the initial three treatments.
When Will I See Results and How Long Will it Last?
Because PRP stimulates your body to produce its own natural collagen, the results are gradual. Generally, most start to see results about a month after the initial treatment, with full results in about three months. Generally, it is recommended to have about three treatments spaced four to six weeks apart to see the full effects. After that, you will need one to two treatments a year to maintain those effects.
The results of PRP are long lasting, with results lasting about a year to 18 months. This is why it is recommended that you have at least one additional treatment per year to maintain your results.
A Holistic Approach
If you are ready to look more youthful with gorgeous skin or regrow lost hair, the US Wellness Collective is ready to help you! We understand that looking good can also help you feel good, so we take a holistic approach to our services. Book a PRP treatment with our RN today to get great skin and hair again!