by Pallas Hutchison
My oldest daughter failed her hearing tests at school for three years (Kindergarten through second grade) before we got referred to a specialist. On the assumption that she was partially deaf, we had begun to work some simple sign language into our lives just in case it got worse over the years. The specialist assured us this was not the case.
My daughter is not deaf, she has an over-abundance of cerumen or earwax that blocked the ear canal and impaired her hearing. She was prescribed drops to put in her ears at night that would soften the wax. We came back a week later to have her ears flushed out. Afterwards, she took another hearing test and scored perfectly. Unfortunately, this is an ongoing problem and she will need to have her ears flushed 2-4 times each year.
Having the ears flushed out is something I have experienced only once in my life. Only once because I will not willingly undergo the process again. Even having used the drops as directed, ear flushing is extremely painful and messy. Hot water is sprayed directly into the ear canal using something similar to a dentistry tool. A cup is held under the ear to catch the water and wax as it splashes out. It feels like severe constipation in the ear canal. There is heat and pressure and pain. The wax blobs don't want to come out.
Forcing a child to go through this procedure multiple times is difficult. Despite her knowing the benefit, she fought against it as fiercely as she fights getting against blood drawn or vaccination shots. Another option had to be available. This is when I was introduced to ear candling.
Ear candling, for my daughter, provides quick and painless results. She can hear her teachers at school, her friends on the bus, and the family around the dinner table. After several years of doing this at home for my family, I began to look into the science behind it I hopes that I could offer other people the same relief that my daughter found. This could easily be added to the service menu of my massage practice. To my surprise, the science proving the efficacy of ear candling doesn't exist.
Most of the websites I've looked at that advocate ear candling fall into two categories: commercial or anecdotal. The commercial sites want to sell their products (ear candles and accessories) to make a profit. The anecdotal websites are similar to this blog; individual people sharing their experiences with minimal science behind it. The science websites tell a very different tale.
Not everyone advocates ear candling. In fact, ear candling is condemned as dangerous and ineffective by the Mayo Clinic, the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, the American Academy of Audiology... These are objective and academic resources that offer unbiased information and research studies. WebMD and other anecdotal sites agree that ear candling is an ineffective remedy for earwax removal. The FDA is also vocal in its opposition of this practice.
My research reminded me of the important role earwax plays in protecting the ear. Firstly, it provides waterproofing. Secondly, the acidity level creates an environment that deters bacterial growth. (WebMD) My assumption of how ear candling actually worked proved false. Multiple studies have proven that there is no vacuum and there is not enough reverse pressure to suck out sticky earwax.
Further exploration into the legalities and liabilities of offering this revealed that ear candling is specifically prohibited for massage and cosmetology establishments. I will continue to perform ear candling for my family because it works for us. However, I will not be offering this as a service through Oasis Massage.
Do you have an experience with ear candling? Which side of the argument do you support? Share your thoughts below!
by Pallas Hutchison
My father once joked that I move in two speeds: fast and stop. While funny, it is also very true. Cognitively, conceptually, I can get on board with yoga because of the many benefits it offers. The lifestyle of yoga, because yoga truly is a lifestyle, creates the amazing opportunity to transform one's life. The reality of it... Let's just say it doesn't fall in my comfort zone.
What I like about yoga:
What I don't like about yoga:
I definitely prefer martial arts to yoga because of the interaction during classes and the faster pace. I force myself to do yoga because I need the strength so I can go back to martial arts, because I recommend it to my clients, and because I know I need to practice self-care. By forcing myself outside of my comfort zone, I will grow as a person.
What is your yoga experience like? Do you have a love/hate relationship with another activity? Share your story below!
by Pallas Hutchison
As I have said for years, my sister Marina got all of the grace. The gawky, loose-limbed adolescent gait that most people outgrow has stuck with me. As a result, I'm a bit of a klutz. After years of ridiculous injuries, I found a positive aspect to being accident prone. It makes me a better massage therapist.
How does that work?
Many of the injuries my clients come in with are things that I have actually experienced, which means I can empathize better. It also means that I have a better idea which muscles were involved and where the pain is located. My clients often comment on how quickly I find their problem areas. This is not intuition; this is experience.
From top to bottom, here a list of injuries/conditions that I have personal experience with:
My personal experience does not make massage an acceptable substitute for emergency medical care. It actually makes me more likely to refer clients to their physician for an x-ray or MRI before working on an injury. Liability is not the only reason for referring clients out before giving massage. The more a massage therapist knows about what is going on, the better they can help the client. Sometimes that means not giving them a massage right away.
by Pallas Hutchison
First time massage clients are often nervous. They don't know what to expect and most websites give ambiguous information or use jargon that the client may not be familiar with. The language of massage can be intimidating if the terms aren't explained.
by Pallas Hutchison
With Valentine's Day coming up this weekend, sharing a post about couples and love seemed appropriate. I designed this service a few years ago after talking to several local couples' counselors. While not the most popular of our services, this is probably the most fun and the most interactive. I have enjoyed working with each of my couples. Through this service, each couple has taught me how to teach and that I love teaching.
Please note that I am not a counselor, a psychotherapist or a psychiatrist. I am not qualified to say what this service does from a psychological standpoint. I do not want to misrepresent myself in any way. I know massage. and, by sharing what I know, I have seen a difference in how couples interact before and after this session.
What is the purpose of an instructional massage?
The goal of this service is to teach the couple a new way to touch each other and develop communication, which ultimately deepens intimacy. People know if their partner has sore shoulders, a stiff back or tired feet; they don't always know how to help effectively. For example, fingertips angled wrong result in sharp nails stabbing into sore muscles. Learning massage techniques and body mechanics help with this problem. Bigger &/or stronger people are often afraid that their strength will hurt their loved one, especially if they appear fragile. This is where communication skills comes in.
What happens during an instructional massage?
A couple comes in and I teach them how to give each other a massage using basic Swedish techniques. Each person receives a four-handed 30-minute massage from their partner and myself. The lesson includes basic safety as relates specifically to their partner (based off of their intake form), a demonstration of what parts of the hand and arm to use for beginner strokes and a general explanation of body mechanics so they won't hurt themselves trying to use these skills.
The session is deliberately focused on the top problem area, the one spot they each would like worked on the most. As I teach, I check in with the client to find out how they are doing. I encourage the partner to ask the questions also. Do they like that technique? Is the pressure too much or too little? Is that the area you want focused on? Depending on how much massage experience the couple has, the session starts out awkwardly. Initial feedback is vague or generic. Touch is tentative. Diffusing the awkwardness with humor allows me to put the couple at ease and tease out more specific, constructive feedback.
By the end of the session, the couple has basic massage skills they can use at home. They also talk to each other differently. Their body language shifts; casual touches that may not have been there before. Without meaning to or even realizing, they show me their love for each other. It is amazing and humbling to see.