August 19, 2013

Reward: Used Maroon Astra-Lite Table with Wheeled Black Carry Case….

Other than a rare bad check, my massage practice and business has never been ripped off – until last month. Armed with a pizza, the dog, my phone and laundry, I neglected to make sure all the doors were securely closed on my car that Sunday night.
Monday, after doing about 10 errands, I noticed things looked different in my car. The console was light on pennies, dimes and nickels; the papers usually on the glove box shelf were on the floor.  Where is my gum?

I stopped at the next errand and looked in the trunk. My massage table was gone. Along with a nice big bag of clean laundry (they left the bag of dirty sheets) and my coffee can full of pens, cheater glasses and odd bits.
“Aren’t you mad somebody ripped you off?” a friend said. “Don’t you feel violated?”
Well, actually I didn’t feel that way. I thought about putting a $100 bill in the middle of a bear trap in the driveway, but it seemed like it might create too much paperwork. I don’t look good in an orange jumpsuit. Who does?
Revenge takes too much effort. A cracked-open door with a wrapped birthday present on the front seat loaded with exploding skunk stink packs would be too elaborate. Plus, burglars and thieves injured on or by other folks property can sue their homeowner’s insurance and often win. Plus-plus, I can’t wrap presents very well.

Back to the $100 bill fantasy, this time coated with herpes simplex virus, itching powder and dog floop.

Things happen, especially when you don’t make sure to lock the car. I was thinking about a new table anyway.

Meanwhile, if someone tries to sell you a used maroon Astra-lite with wheeled black case….

August 17, 2013

Forever Gifts

Gift certificates for a massage are always welcome, and if the massage therapist who wrote them is lucky, the certificates are used and result in a new client; if the massage therapist is lucky in another way the certificate is never used.
Heck, in California, and possibly a few other states, gift certificates never expire. Once, I had an ancient gift certificate redeemed, after our prices had gone up. The certificate read for a 90-minute massage, and the client had paid $20 less than our current fee. After that I learned to put a dollar amount rather than only a timed service on the gift line.
The banks, ever enterprising, have figured out that while certificates don’t expire they can add fees. If the certificate or card is never used, it is eventually swallowed by those fees. They have the fine print to support it. I just can’t see doing that on a slip that says Happy Birthday or Merry Christmas.

Some gift certificates pop back up, mysteriously coffee-stained or crinkly, years later. Did I already mention that they never expire?
A couple I had not seen for eight years wandered in this past weekend. The children had bought mom a gift certificate for Mother’s Day – in 2005. She had gotten him one for Christmas in 2006.
 “Ooh, this expired yesterday,” I cooed. He grinned back, a little embarrassed, but not enough. “Of course this is still good,” I said. “Always.”
Glad for the opportunity, I suggested they were both overdue for massages. “I can’t believe you haven’t had a massage since 2006,” I said. “This is good for you.”
This couple was a little tight, a little tired and a lot stressed.

“What is the occasion?” I asked.

“We are going to Costa Rica for three weeks.”
 Oooh, speechless am I.

August 3, 2013

The Diabetic Foot

Some regular massage therapy is a good thing for most diabetics. Swedish strokes tend to help lower blood sugar, and structures suffering from loss of blood – from bones to the soft tissues, enjoy a boost of circulation.

Most people think of diabetes as an imbalance of insulin hormones, but we massage therapists see the true disease – lack of circulation throughout the system as cells struggle with basic movement of nutrients.

With many clients this massage therapist works intently to improve circulation, especially in areas of the hands and feet. Such detail as massaging each toe can help prevent diabetic ulcers and other skin breakdowns. I am always on the lookout for any signs of skin compromise so it can be evaluated quickly.

With insulin-resistant diabetics, Type 2, I also look for ways to improve their ability to walk moderately to lessen the effects of the disease. Some diabetics, however, who have had the disease for a long time can develop a softening of the foot bones that can lead to collapse of the structures. The condition is called “Charcot foot.“

I had seen Charcot only in books until a recent client came in hoping to relieve some back pain. Massage for the back pain and hip muscles relieved her troubles for a few days, but as time passed her lumbar pain returned.

When I looked to her feet, I found bumpy surface lacking all three arches. The main medial arch was flat and had a very hard, round spot dead center – a foot bone had possibly dropped down through the arch. The lateral arch was also flat with another dropped bone. The last arch at the base of the big toe and second toes was also flattened and most of the toes had hammered down in response.

Her ambition to walk 30 minutes a day on the line, she checked with her doctors, and they diagnosed the Charcot foot.

Her doctors have advised her to wear orthotic, supportive shoes at all times – not just when out of the house. Also, she has to wear supportive arched wet shoes when doing pool exercises.

As massage therapists, we are often telling people with arch problems to make sure their feet are supported around the house and patio in addition to when they walk outside.

With this and other diabetic clients, we massage folks can help not only with suggesting people have their feet checked closely for ulcers and skin breaks, but also for structural problems worsened by the disease.