Therapeutic Massage
Registered Member of MTANS
The Massage Therapists' Association of Nova Scotia
Since 2000
2369 Agricola St. • Suite 202
Halifax, Nova Scotia • B3K 4B7
902 • 405 • 3710
jessica.marsh.hfx@gmail.com

28.11.15

Myofascial Integration Structural Alignment (MIPAWORK)

Since 2008 I have been mentored by Craig Mollins in a type of body work called MIPAWORK : Myofascial Integration Structural Alignment (formerly Whole Body Rebalancing), a synthesis of the teachings of Dr. Ida P. Rolf and Buddhist mindfulness-awareness practice. "a ten-session protocol that balances the human structure with gravity, and mindfulness-awareness practice that synchronizes body and mind in greater harmony."

Over the years, I have used various MIPAWORK techniques with many of my clients, integrated into the massage treatment along with the various other kinds of massage techniques I use (Swedish massage, trigger point release, Thai yoga massage, myofascial release, etc.) Have I gotten you to lay on your side and applied deep pressure around your hip and down the side of your leg? Worked up along the side of your ribcage and into your extended arm? Treated along your shin with my elbows? Worked down your spine with both my elbows as you bend forward from a seated position? Those are MIPAWORK techniques.

So while I have used aspects of it, MIPAWORK is actually meant to occur in a series of 10 sessions, each session designed with a specific set of intentions, techniques and areas of the body to be addressed. 

I have been trained in the first 7 MIPAWORK sessions and I would like to offer them to you.

MIPAWORK is done with one sheet covering the massage table. You lay on the table wearing whatever you feel most comfortable in that allows treatment of your body. Ideally for women - a bikini, bra and underwear or shorts and sports bra. For men, shorts or bathing suit. I use my hands, knuckles and elbows in the application of pressure on your body. No massage lotion or oil is used. The appointments can be booked as 60, 75 or 90 minute sessions. 

Personally, I love MIPAWORK. I have noticed profound changes in my body after the treatments I've received. I feel stronger, my joints feel looser and more mobile, I feel taller and I can breathe more easily.

If you are interested in booking the seven sessions of MIPAWORK or you have questions, feel free to call me or ask at your next appointment.  
"MIPAWORK is a method of soft tissue manipulation that restores your balanced relationship with gravity. The practitioner uses their hands and elbows to work your muscles and connective tissues, using a slow, direct, and sensitive pressure. The work is designed to unwind whole body tension patterns, while at the same time gradually uncovering your body’s natural length, resilience, and graceful ease. MIPAWORK was developed by Structural Integration practitioner and mindfulness teacher Craig Mollins. The method brings together two main streams of teaching: a ten-session protocol that balances the human structure with gravity, and mindfulness-awareness practice that synchronizes body and mind in greater harmony. MIPAWORK incorporates these two streams to create a system of connective tissue manipulation that brings together body, mind, and the field of gravity."

 



6.11.15

RMT = Health Care Provider

It's Monday morning and I just got back from a beautiful fall getaway with my husband. I checked my email and this is the message I found: "Hi Jessica, I found you online. I'm in Halifax for the weekend and am looking for a massage tomorrow (Sunday).  Do you offer 'happy endings'?  I couldn't tell from your site."

Over the many years I have been an RMT, I occasionally get emails and phone calls with a variation on this question. If I'm feeling generous I answer politely. If not, I just don't answer. But I found this email insulting on two counts. First, as a professional health care provider. Second, as a writer. Is my writing so vague and this blog so unclear that someone could read through it and be confused about the nature of my work?

Let me make myself perfectly clear. The answer is NO, I do not provide any sexual services.

When you see RMT after a massage therapist's name, it signifies that they are a Registered Massage Therapist. It means we are health care providers. Compare it to a Physiotherapist or an Occupational Therapist if you must, in order to understand. It means we have successfully completed a rigorous, two year, full time college program consisting of studies in anatomy, pathology, orthopaedic testing, therapeutic massage, hydrotherapy and clinical practice. We learned how to use massage therapy as a means to treat symptoms resulting from cerebral palsy, whiplash, muscle spasm and plantar fasciitis and many more conditions. It means we learned how to do a relaxation massage to decrease the effects of stress from working all day at a desk or walking around a hospital floor all day. It means once we graduated from our program, we became members of a professional association. In my case, this is MTANS, the Massage Therapists Association of Nova Scotia, " a self governing body of massage therapists dedicated to protecting the public, serving its members, and promoting the highest possible quality of the practice of massage therapy."

If you are looking for sexual services, you are not looking for an RMT. You are looking for a sex worker. I don't judge people who provide sexual services for money and I don't judge people who go to them. That is their choice. But that is not what I do. That is not what any massage therapist with RMT after their name does.

Equally important:
If the massage therapist does not have RMT after their name, do not assume they provide sexual services. I know many skilled Massage Therapists who offer massage therapy but who do not qualify to join a professional association and earn the designation RMT, usually because they were trained in another country and cannot attend massage school in Canada or join an association, due to language barriers.

TO REVIEW: 

1. If a Massage Therapist has RMT after their name, they are a health care provider and they will NEVER provide sexual services. 

2. If a Massage Therapist does NOT have RMT after their name, it does NOT follow that they are a sex worker. Do not assume anything. 

DO NOT make an appointment with any Massage Therapist of any kind and ask for a sexual act in person or worse, in the middle of a treatment. If you absolutely cannot tell from their advertising, it's a simple question you can ask by phone or email ahead of time. If you ask in person and they are not a sex worker, you will make that Massage Therapist feel startled, uncomfortable, confused, threatened and probably angry. If you ask for sexual services in person or during a treatment, your RMT or Massage Therapist might phone the police and report you. So figure it out ahead of time and make a well informed decision.


20.7.15

Talking vs. Not Talking During Massage

To talk or not to talk. That is the question. At least that's the question people sometimes wonder about getting a massage. Whether or not you feel like talking while you get a massage is a completely subjective choice. It's your treatment; it's your time. Here are some pros and cons of each.

Talking During Massage
Sometimes your mind won't let you rest, right? It bounces around like a peppy monkey and even when you stop talking, it keeps poking at you. Sometimes talking can help you relax.
  • Talking during a massage treatment can give you single line of thought to follow, like pulling string out from a big, tangled knot and watching it become a simple, single line. 
  • If you're dealing with stressful situations or issues in your life, talking can help you let go of what's bothering you. My boss is driving me crazy - My kids are driving me crazy - My friends came for a visit and won't leave - I hate my job - I hate this weather. You might want to get your troubles off your chest and then settle into silence, or you might want to keep untangling the thoughts through your whole treatment. 
  • Everything you say in a massage treatment is confidential - and sometimes having that private space can be a helpful opportunity for you to talk about your problems and concerns without worrying that you're hurting someone's feelings or talking too much about yourself to your friend or family member. My scope of practice involves the body and physical realm - I am not a counsellor or a psychologist. But I'm a good listener and can give some basic feedback based on my personal life experience. 
  • Some people think memory can be stored in muscle and soft tissue. Massage can trigger surprising thoughts and images and sometimes people want to talk about it. 
Not Talking During Massage
  • We all have what some Buddhists call "monkey minds"; minds that chatter away to us no matter what's going on in our day, perhaps at no greater time than when we are silent. It can be a strange and uncomfortable thing to be in silence and to check out what's going on in your mind. We live in an age of constant influx of information and most of us are not used to being quiet. One good reason to be silent during a massage is that you can get familiar and maybe even comfortable with whatever is going on in the silence. 
  • When I do a massage treatment for you, I'm having a conversation with your body. And it doesn't have very much to do with you. By that I mean - the conversation I'm having with your body has nothing to do with your mind - the words you are speaking or the thoughts and feelings you are having. When I put my hands on you, I'm gathering information and receiving messages about the state of your muscles, joints, ligaments - and your breathing. I'm tuning in to what your body has to communicate. If you and I are talking while that's happening, it's as though I'm trying to have a conversation with two people at the same time. And as I'm sure you have experienced, when you talk to two people at once, your attention can be diluted. 
  • Massage is a great opportunity to check in with your body. Our culture is very mind oriented, encouraging people to identify with their thinking and feeling and speaking. But what about your body? What does it feel like to really be present in your body? During a massage if you draw your attention to the specific areas you're having treated, the overall feeling it brings about in your body, how it changes your breathing - all the sensory experiences you are having in your body, you can gain a greater sense of awareness about your body and open the door to a much deeper sense of relaxation. 
  • If you want to try not talking during a massage but you know you're the kind of person who talks out of habit, when you arrive and you're getting ready for the treatment you could say "I think I won't talk during the treatment today," and then we both know what your plan is. 
So the choice is up to you. I will let you lead - if you want to talk I will listen. If you want to talk with me, I will talk with you. And if you want to be silent, I will be too. Everyone chooses for themselves and sometimes people make different choices on different days. Remember that when you decide to get a massage you are paying a significant amount of money for someone to take care of you. This is your way of taking care of yourself and it should be all about you. Honour that decision and make sure the treatment is exactly as you want it to be - the volume of the music, the temperature of the room, the pressure on your body, the techniques used. And only talk if you feel like talking. It's all about you.





New Appointment Times


Starting this week, I have new appointment times. Check the column to the left of this post or click here.



No Comment

A client I hadn't seen for quite a while came in for a treatment. We chatted for a bit and just as I was leaving the room so she could get on the table she blurted out "Aren't you going to say anything? Didn't you notice? I've lost twenty pounds!"

You would think that of all the people in your life, your massage therapist - the person who sees your body in much more detail than most people in your life do - would be the first person to say something if you lost weight. But I've made it a steadfast rule that I never comment on my client's bodies, unless I see something I'm concerned about, like a rash, an abnormal looking mole or a bruise. There are many reasons why a person loses or gains weight; many reasons why a person's body changes during their lifetime. They might be sick or they might be depressed. They might be struggling with an eating disorder. Also, if I say "You look so fit and healthy!" to a client one day, maybe when they come in the next time, if I don't say the same thing, they might wonder if they don't look fit and healthy that day.

I also never comment about body piercings or tattoos. Tattoos are frequently done to commemorate a significant life event - a death or a loss - that might be painful to draw attention to. I know someone who had a tattoo of her husband's name. Her divorce was painful and stressful (as most are), so on her birthday that year she decided to treat herself to a massage. It turns out the massage therapist was an acquaintance. As the treatment was starting, the therapist said "Oh, that must be your husband's name! How romantic. Wait, that is your husband's name, isn't it? Uh... is he still your husband?" Needless to say, her massage was not as relaxing as it could have been.

I want my clients to know they are in a safe space when they come to me for treatments. I want them to know that I am not judging their bodies, whether that judgement be positive or negative. I take care of my clients and I love them and I love their bodies, just as they are.




"I Thc That I Am Byotfol"
by Momiji O'Malley 2012