Flip-flops line my pockets in the fall… avoid them for happier feet!

In the past 21 years of my massage practice, almost every autumn since I began, there has been an uptick of clients marching in (well, limping in, actually) with foot pain and leg fatigue. The first few years I could not make the connection between the time of year and the trend. Finally I figured it out—it’s all about the flip-flops! Flip-flops, slides and even some types of clogs can make the feet unhappy by summer’s end, resulting in plantar fasciitis, stiffened toes, sore knees and even sore hips and low backs.

These unsupportive shoes make the toes and the calves work overtime to keep them on the foot. The muscle tension can be very subtle, but over time can create havoc. By summer’s end, when it’s time to put on more supportive shoes and boots, their extra structure seems to shock the feet even more.

Some flip-flops have more arch support than others—they are fine for when it is beastly hot outside and you are doing a quick run to get the newspaper, or are headed to your backyard, the beach, the pool or to a neighbor’s house nearby.

The worst are the ones really designed to be worn in a public shower for hygiene reasons. Avoid wearing those, unless of course you are wearing them for the intended use!

Feet are happiest when they are in shoes that tie (lace), buckle or have some sort of secure fastener (Keen bungee cords, for example). Feet should be able to roll from heel to toe with each stride, with you taking confident steps. If you are shuffling, tightening your calves or clenching your toes, it’s a bad sign.

If you stop wearing flip-flops in spring and summer, I may have fewer clients in the fall—but you will have happier feet!

For more ideas about foot care, foot reflexology and sports massage, please make an appointment to visit my studio—spring, summer, winter or fall!

Inspiration this fall at Ocean Shores massage education conference

Sandy beaches and high-quality education meant an inspirational weekend for me and 400 other licensed massage therapists two months ago. As the weeks whir by, the memories of dramatic weather (heavy rains AND deep blue sky!) and information-packed classes at the AMTA Washington Chapter Educational Conference at Ocean Shores continue to inform my work and my discussions with clients. Usually I stay in Seattle for my continuing education credits—we are fortunate here; there is no need to travel for excellent instructors—but because I had a significant practice anniversary this fall, I decided to treat myself to a conference in a new location. I loved friendly Ocean Shores and the seminars were fantastic.

This time I chose discussion vs. hands-on training. For years I’ve dragged my table to classes and spent the weekend getting dressed and undressed under a sheet (LMTs practice on each other). While hands-on work is wonderful, this time I wanted to sit wrapped in a cozy sweater and soak in the knowledge. It was a perfect strategy. I learned more about massage for elders, and more ideas for self-care for longevity in massage therapy careers. It was thrilling to be among LMTs with two years of experience and some with forty. Everyone had wisdom to share.

One class I took because I knew nothing about the subject—topical cannabis creams, oils and lotions, often called “CBD” creams. We learned about the history of cannabis; its use around the world and in the United States; when and why it became illegal, and the biology and science of the cannabis plant. We learned the rules and regulations for its use, the indications and contraindications for clients and massage therapists, and how to incorporate cannabis topicals into our practices legally and ethically in Washington if we want to go that route. This is new, uncharted territory, and much research still needs to happen to understand exactly these topicals work. At present, I don’t plan to use CBD creams or lotions in my practice—there are too many different kinds and there is not one universal one that works for all. But because the creams are popping up everywhere. Bartells’! The local mailing center! I feel good knowing I can have an informed discussion about them with clients.

All-in-all the weekend was a success — I returned recharged, looking ahead and ready to continue my massage practice into the next twenty years!

Lindsay Butler Receives Her 20 Year AMTA Pin

Have you ever received something unexpected in the mail that made you smile and brought a tear to your eye simultaneously? I received my 20-year anniversary pin from the American Massage Therapy Association recently, and that was my reaction. Those 20 years sure went by quickly! Holy cow — a two and then a zero! I think about the amount of massages experienced, the continuing education classes in so many modalities. Wonderful teachers — this area has so many. So much learning and sharing. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to help people be comfortable and pain-free in their bodies and therefore more comfortable and productive in their lives. Each person is unique and has so much to teach me. I hold this little gold pin in my hand, smile and breathe out: Thank you… thank you.

Lotions and Potions, Oh My!

I strive to create the highest quality massage experience at my Magnolia studio. That effort includes the lotion I use for a variety of massage modalities. After trial and error (with error too strong a word—nothing was horrible) I’ve found a non-scented lotion that facilities glide for Swedish and relaxation massage, yet is sticky enough for deep tissue, sports and injury massage. According to reviews of the lotion, it’s deeply moisturizing, and includes antioxidants to protect skin against free radicals. It has no oily “after-feel.” I’ll never forget when I received a massage once and I was covered in a certain brand of massage oil that took three soapy showers to remove from my skin and hair. Yuck!

My clients are busy people. They want to be presentable after their massage session, and they definitely don’t have time to add an extra shower into their schedule. Very often they are on their way to work, or to a luncheon meeting if the massage is in the morning. Even if they are receiving a massage in the evening, they still might have an errand or two on the way home. When a new client calls and makes an appointment, I assure them they won’t leave the studio all icky-sticky, but with moisturized skin and a relaxed body. I can avoid messing up your hair, too, unless you’d like a scalp massage.

A few clients do prefer a massage with oil, and I have some on hand. Occasionally some are allergic to the ingredients in the massage lotion, and I have alternatives. Also, I’m trained to massage through clothing, using no lotion at all. Massaging through clothes is common practice in sports massage, on-site massage (in an office, for example) and also in working with disabled or injured people.

I’m not telling the lovely brand of massage lotion I use, because a gal has to have some trade secrets. I will say the inventor of “Biofreeze” deserves a Nobel Peace prize. That weird-looking, pain-relieving blue gel works super-fantastic—it’s not just for athletes anymore

Lindsay Butler, LMT, RF

Tickling is no joke!

Over the last 20 years, I noticed a trend with clients who report frequent low back pain and tension: as children, they were tickled by a parent or sibling until gasping and even sick. I grew curious about the connection between back challenges and tickling and did some research on-line. Turns out there are many articles about the adverse effects of tickling, mostly in parenting magazines. All the authors view tickling a child (or anyone!) beyond a few seconds as a form of abuse.
In one client’s case, his father tickled him to extreme measures, but when challenged, the father always argued his son was laughing when it was happening. This is not real laughter, but a nervous system override trying to help release the alarm and tension the brain and body are experiencing.

Bottom-line: don’t tickle your child or grandchild, and don’t allow anyone else to do it, either. According to the on-line articles, some adults use tickling as a way to be physically close to their child because they don’t know another way to do it. Some suggestions: hugs, giving piggy-back rides, sharing a lap blanket while reading or watching TV together, sitting together to brush a pet or sharing gentle shoulder rubs, foot massages or back scratches (the non-tickling kind!). These ways of connection will bring sincere smiles and laughter, and obviously, happier childhood memories — and maybe a healthier back in adulthood as well.

Lindsay Butler, LMT, RF

The difference between massage modalities is intention…

The difference between massage modalities is intention.

Most massage sessions with Lindsay include at least a few minutes of each kind. Please read below for more details.

Relaxation massage

Relaxation massage isn’t just about reducing stress and blissing out for an hour or so (although that’s pretty great!). Regular relaxation massage supports stronger immunity throughout the body, and helps people maintain better balance and body awareness while moving through their day, reducing chances of injury.

Sports massage

Athletes, whether they are weekend warriors or daily practitioners, are looking for muscle rejuvenation and recovery in their sports massage sessions. Regular massage in areas of repetitive motion helps an athlete achieve fitness goals and if they are competitors, helps keep their bodies moving at optimum levels.

Injury treatment

Although Lindsay is not a listed insurance provider, she’s highly trained in injury treatment. She’s found almost everyone who walks in her door has an old injury, either years or maybe just weeks old. Whiplash, healed bone breaks, hip and knee replacements, oral surgery—the list goes on and on. She has techniques in her tool kit to address those problems even though they may not be the primary reason for a person’s visit.

Contact us today to learn more about the different massage modalities and how we can help you!

Lindsay Butler, LMT, RF