October Greetings & Housekeeping

Pale ferns

Good afternoon, my friends.  As I watch October unfold before me I am reminded of the incredible transition our landscape is under.  How quickly the lush greens from those early days of September have faded into muted, earthy yellows and browns.  Even the occasional pops of crimson or amber are fewer and further between.  Gone are the roadside wildflower hold outs – the asters and Queen Anne’s lace – taken by hard frosts and heavy rains. The canopy above is brighter; more sparse.  Shadows are longer and days are shorter. My friends have cut back their perennials and harvested the last of their springtime promises.  The grass is still green but the earth is cold under my feet. I hear owls and coyotes at night, blue jays and crows by day. As I walk through the forest the musky aroma of mushrooms and fallen leaves is occasionally punctuated by the perky, sweet smell of a hemlock stand.  Things feel quieter than just a few weeks ago; life around us is slowing down.

How does the saying go? “As within, also without”  I think the inverse is true, too.

Dragonflies are said to symbolize change, transformation, adaptability, joy and lightness. This beauty visited on a sunny September afternoon as I enjoyed birthday tea with a dear old friend.

As I reflect on the transitions of our natural world, I also realize that transitions are afoot in my own life and business.  Wanna hear them? Thought so!

Transition #1 – I’m taking a few months off from my out-call service.  In order to be more efficient and structured with my time, I’m no longer seeing clients in their homes.  If you have never had this service, luckily you don’t know what you’re missing.  To my amazing and wonderful clients who did, “Ho’oponopono “ (a Hawaiian prayer of reconciliation which translates to; “Thank you, I love you, I’m sorry”,  cause I know it was the bomb).

Transition #2 – My hours are changing.  This is going to be a bit of a moving target as I fiddle around, trying to create a schedule that can meet your needs and also provide a healthy work-life balance for me.  I want to try to offer as many hours as I can, at times that work for normal people. (Wait a minute, what are “normal” people?) I’ll be tweaking things here and there, so please check my scheduler often, book when you see something that works and reach out if you don’t see something you want (because sometimes I can move stuff around for you).

Don’t worry, you don’t have to wait until June 2020 to get a massage! I just liked this particular photo from the Bradford Conservation Commission’s fundraiser calendar. Want one of these for yourself? Ask me where to get them!

Oh, and on the topic of scheduling, I highly recommend getting on a regular schedule for massage (shocking, I know).  Whether it’s every week, every month or every 6 weeks, I find that my clients are happiest with their massages when they anticipate them on a regular basis.  Scheduling a few sessions in advance means you will engage in at least some self care in the future, which I find usually leads people to engage in even more self care in between massages.  It’s also a great way to ensure that you can get the slot you want (those evening and weekend slots fill up fast!).  

No matter what you do, be aware that I’m usually booking about a week out.  Some last-minute appointments are available, but not as many as there once were; yay for me, not-so-yay for you.

Transition #3 – “Back up!  Did she say something about weekends?!”  Yup, that’s right, I’m going to start keeping weekend hours!  This is going to be a bit of a moving target as well because, you know what? . . . If I am given tickets to see the Lumineers one weekend and my kid has a ski race the following weekend . . .  I’m going to the concert and then to the mountain and I’ll massage everyone another time.  We can still work together to create a regular-ish schedule for your massages, and I’m hoping this helps out those of you who have a tough time making it in during the week.  

Where do those socks all go?!

Transition #4 – No more PayPal.  You know how you’ll buy your family two dozen socks and then over the next six months, you end up with a laundry room full of “survivor” socks without mates?  Where do those missing socks end up? Is there a colony of single socks living in the attic with my purple glitter covered Converse All Stars that I wore to prom in 10th grade? (No,  because those sweet kicks are not in the attic – I STUPIDLY got rid of them when I was in college. Besides if I hadn’t, I clearly wouldn’t keep them in the attic; I’d be wearing them ALL the dang time.)  Anyway, every time someone pays me with PayPal there’s a sock that goes missing. Rather, a small fee which, while nominal, adds up to at least a pair of Darn Tough socks every couple months.  It’s annoying; I’m not into it. “How about paying you with a credit card?” you ask:  My friends, if you haven’t tried Venmo, I urge you to give it a spin.  So easy, so feeless. Let me know if you want my handle. I still accept checks, I love getting paid in cash and I occasionally like to barter. . . more on that in a bit.

Transition #5 – Hot stones anyone?  OK, OK, , this is a bit of a teaser because I am not offering hot stone massage just yet . . . but I’m gonna!  Be on the lookout for this on my menu of services.  In the meantime, I’m looking for a handful of existing clients to be my hot stone practice peeps.  If you meet the following criteria, let me know!

  • Are you one of my wonderful existing clients? – sorry no newbies for this offer.  I love you, but we’re just not there yet.  
  • Have you received hot stone massages from another massage therapist at least 3 (preferably more) times?
  • Are you comfortable giving me honest feedback? (I really dig honesty, even if it’s tough on my ego). 
Before I perform hot stone massage I require clients to recreate this exact sculpture. . . J.K.! That’d be absurd!

In exchange for your patience and feedback I’m offering a limited number of 90 minute sessions for $75 each (that’s $15 off the normal 90 minute rate).  Once I brush up on my protocol, I’ll offer the service to everyone else and let the warmth and relaxation begin!  

Not transitions, but important nonetheless:

I’m not here to start a conversation about the merits or evils of eating meat, but as a conscientious meat-eater myself, it occurs to me that in this season of hunting and slaughtering, some folks may have more in their freezers than they need. I happen to have the opposite situation, so if you have humanely-raised (or hunted) pork, beef, chicken, turkey or venison and you like massage, let’s chat.

A rather bold young dear outside my kitchen window on a recent frosty morning. Perhaps too little to be freezer-bound, but maybe she has a friend?

Likewise, I’m looking for someone to plow my driveway. Know anyone who might like massage in exchange for this service? The person receiving massage doesn’t even have to be the person doing the plowing (but it’s not a bad idea as those long nights/days behind the wheel, turning around to see behind you, are rough on the back and neck). Bartering credits are certainly transferable to friends and family, so let me know if you’re interested or pass along word to your favorite plow person.

Sometimes people ask me how often they should come in for a massage, or how long of a massage to book. The simple answer I give is this; come as often as you like, for as long as you like. But that’s a pretty annoying answer, so I elaborate . . . The deal is that it really depends on what’s going on.

If you have an acute issue (muscle strain, ligament sprain, intense headaches or pretty much anything that came on suddenly and/or is unusual) I recommend coming a couple times within a week or two so that I can attend to the damaged tissue before it gets into bad habits or creates a cascade effect elsewhere in the body. Even if this means just a couple 1/2 hour sessions over 5 – 7 days, it’ll really help aid recovery and reduce pain.

If you have a more chronic issue going on (something that has been around weeks/months/years, or something that tends to come and go, isn’t causing a ton of pain but is annoying) it can make more sense to spread out your sessions to every other week or so.

If you’re using massage to manage stress, elevate your well being, help with sleep or just keep the aches and pains at bay, it’s completely up to you how often you come. A lot of my clients in this category come once a month.

As far as duration, I’ve had several clients opt for 90 minutes lately, and here’s why: If you have an area of concern (ie. an acute or chronic issue) it’s best if I can dedicate 20-30 minutes to that one area. In a 60-minute full-body massage this doesn’t leave as much time for all the other parts that deserve attention. If you have a couple issues going on, say, chronic lower back stuff and an acute calf strain, we really need a full 90 minutes to address everything and then tie it all together. Sure, I can totally get right down to business on the problem areas and then send you on your way, and sometimes that’s all people have time or money for. But when resources allow, 90 is better if there are “issues in your tissues” (as my massage teacher says). Pro tip: 5 and 10 session prepaid massage packages offer significant savings and are available for purchase on my website. Click here to purchase or book!

Regarding my relaxation clients (those who generally feel alright but like to get a tune up now and then), I think anything you can manage is great! Even a little bit of TLC will make a big impact. That said, if you’ve never been melted by a 90 minute massage, you should probably treat yourself at least once! Fun story: Long before I ever considered becoming a massage therapist I wished I could stay on the table and snooze a bit before I had to get up and function again. Now that I am one, I made it an actual thing! You can add an extra 10 minutes of hands-off, room-to-yourself time to any duration massage for just $5. The clients who take advantage of this love it!

Friendly reminder about Free Massage Fridays!
Don’t forget that I offer free 30 minute massages on Fridays! My clients often tip me (totally unnecessary, but much appreciated) which means I can offer a limited number of free massages each week. Folks can book these as stand-alone sessions or they can book them consecutively with other paid sessions to create a longer duration massage at a reduced rate. If you or anyone you know would like to take advantage of this, please pass on the word and reach out soon! Offering affordable massage is an important part of my mission; use this resource!

OK, I think that’s it for the housekeeping stuff. . . .  
In my last blog post, I brought up the importance of maintaining physical, mental AND spiritual health and eluded to a future post in which I would discuss the latter.  It’s no coincidence that it’s been a really long time since then.  Talk about putting my foot in my mouth; a teaser for a post I was wholly unprepared to write.  After all, I’m still trying to sort out what spirituality means to me and I’m pretty private when it comes to the topic anyway.  I didn’t really want to write it, but when I have resistance to something it usually means that’s where I should shine some light, soooooo. . .  I promise, next time I post it’ll be about spiritual health!