Energetic  Associates LLC 

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Energetic Adventures in Massage

I have repeatedly been asked over the years to share my insights and viewpoints on various aspects of the Massage and Bodywork world. These viewpoints are based on my personal experiences over 18 years in an industry that I absolutely adore and has changed my life.

ROB BLACK LMT

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Transdermal Medications...

Posted on August 23, 2017 at 8:30 AM Comments comments (3)

Welcome back Energetic Adventurers......


It is interesting that when I started this blog, I never thought I would be writing not one but two entries on scientific material or even pharmacology, but this topic has blossomed into a many petaled flower that seriously has drawn my attention to itself.


Back when myself and many other therapists were in school almost 20 years ago, there were really only two types of medications that we had to know about and were barely even tested on. Those were blood thinners and muscle relaxers, with an honorable mention of pain relievers. We were instructed, " Hey be careful if you client is on blood thinners because they can be more easily bruised." and of course, " If a client is taking muscle relaxers or pain relievers they may not be able to tell how deep is the pressure."


Then so many of us were sent out into the world of massage and clients who have issues with their tissues...


Over the years I realized that often what I am using on my client will also have an influence on me. The first time was while giving a close friend a massage and I was using Chinese Woodlock oil, which is more of a serum than oil. I was told it is the Chinese version of icy hot, tiger balm or biofreeze. What I was not told was after 5 to 7 minutes of using this serum bare handed on my client that I would lose all feeling and motor control of my hands.....Needless to say I couldn't quite finish the massage.


Most therapists understand the world of aromatherapy and that what scents or oil we use on our clients also effect us. This is also the case with body treatments. When I was working at the four-star hotel and spa, it was almost a daily occurence that a client would request a detox body treatment or massage and within twenty or thirty minutes of the service I would be running to the toilet because my body was also detoxing.


Now we should be aware and potentially concerned with the world of transdermal medications,. These are lotions and patches that release medications over time through the layers of the skin directly into the body's blood stream. This method of delivery is used because the medication can enter the circulatory system directly bypassing the livers metabolic activity, the digestive tracts acidic environment, and is painless.


So what's the big deal..... Why do we need to be aware or even more so concerned with topical medications.. Well going back to what I earlier stated.....What we do to our clients, we can also do to ourselves...or in this case what our clients do to themselves can also be done to us....


The other issue is that our clients may not even think of these topical treatments as actual medications, and may not disclose them to us during their medical history and intake.  What harm could it do to a therapist if their client just took off their nicotine patch on their shoulder prior to laying on the table and receiving a massage. Then later, you as the therapist feel overly jittery...You chalk it up to maybe too much caffeine, or a clients energy, not thinking that you were just dosed by your last client.


Here are some of the medications and supplements that are becoming more and more widely used that we want to be aware of as therapists:

1. The highest selling transdermal patch is the Nicotine Patch

2. Opioid patches for pain relief, potentially dangerous for therapist especially if allergic.

3. Hormone patches/ creams - Estrogen patches are often prescribed for women going through menopause. Men should be very careful not to be exposed to estrogen it can cause a disruption in their own hormones.  Testosterone is also prescribed in a cream and patch form, Female therapists need to be aware if their male clients are on testosterone treatments and need to avoid any area where a patch or cream has been applied.

4. Nitroglycerin patches used for angina, again all therapists need to avoid the area of application.

5. We are also starting to see antidepressants, and ADHD med's become available in pat ch form.

6. CBD's (canniboids) - as I stated in my previous blog can contain up to 25% THC and can come in a medicated cream.


Especially as the baby boomers are becoming part of our aging and elderly clientele, we will be seeing more and more people taking medications transdermally. We need to make sure we are adding these types of pharmaceuticals to both our oral and written intakes and medical histories.


Until next time.....


Marijuana and Massage Therapy

Posted on August 9, 2017 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Hello Energetic Adverturers....

This topic has been a long brewing topic for me as a person, therapist and of educator. Being a child of the 70's and especially the 80's, I grew up with the "War on Drugs" and "Just Say No" and was taught and told that Marijuana is a gateway drug to more addictive recreational drugs. 


I remember literally freaking out when I was first offered Marijuana, and told a close friend of mine " I can't believe they are doing that right out in the open..."


Marijuana and Massage Therapy in some circles have been holding hands for decades. Some therapists in their off hours using it to meditate, and relax.  I have never quite understood this practice as it just doesn't make sense to me.



I have had to advice many students over the years to not mix the two especially in a professional setting.


I even had former students come up to me after they graduated and confessed, "You know when you thought I was always tired in class, I had actually been smoking pot."


My personal opinion has always been what you choose to do in your personal time is your business, as long as you are not practicing under the influence and possibly endangering a client, which is not only unprofessional but also illegal.


Now of course we have the changing landscape and reputation of this medicinal plant. With more and more states legalizing medical marijuana, and even some legalizing recreational use. We are starting to see a huge cavalcade of products that contain portions of the plant.


Among those are massage creams, oils and balms for pain relief.  So now we, as an industry, and as professionals have to weigh in on the subject.


In the current August 2017 issue of Les Nouvelles Esthetiques and Spa magazine, There is a huge article called " The Rise of Hemp and Cannabis in the Spa, by Aurora Solis.  (www.LNEonline.com)

The article discusses how different hydro, massage and body treatments are incorporating parts of the hemp and marijuana plants. 


So here are some basics on the products:

The active ingrediants in these products are THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabinoids) . These are the ingrediants that give you the euphoric feeling.


Now in Florida because of current prevailing laws the CBD products are mainly dervied from the Hemp plant. This keeps their THC & CBD percentage of around .3%


In states like California where marijuana has been legalized, the CBD oil is derived from the marijuana plant and the percentage is up to 25% which is what gives the person the "high"


So now we have to really start paying close attention to how this growing, no pun intended, trend affects how we perform our profession of healing.


It is only a matter of time before CBD products derived from marijuana make their way to the massage trade shows and into our spas and lives.


Let me know your thoughts?








Welcome to my Energetic Adventures

Posted on August 6, 2017 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (0)


So welcome to the first of many entries to my blog. As I said on the beginning of this page I have been asked too many times to count that I should publish my thoughts, feelings, and opinions on massage and the many related topics in the field.

Please know up front that these thoughts come from 18 years of expience as a massage therapist and bodyworker as well as an educator... Also remember that these are my personal professional opinions, I encourage all of you to go out and experience the amazing world of bodywork for yourself and form your own opinions.


So where do we begin? Well why dont we start with the most basic, Swedish Massage. Swedish or Relaxational massage is probably the most well know style of massage out there and believe it or not is also the one that is most misunderstood by the public and even by therapists.


Swedish has been given a bad reputation as everything from a "fluff and buff" to a rub down.  The fact of the matter is Swedish Massage is just like meatloaf, or curry. Everybody has their own personal receipe for making one and not everyone likes what everyone makes.


Relaxational massage for most therapists is a hodge podge of different strokes from various styles of massage that they have learned through out their experience. The intent behind the massage is to relax the body and promote wellness.


Which if you think about it from a health standpoint, is probably the most important, thing you can do for yourself. Helping the body relax actually disengages the body's fight or flight reactions, which the majority of us are operating in 99% of the time, and engages the body's rest and digest reactions. Studies have shown that stress itself is one of the leading causes of many of the conditions and disorders that we develop.


Unfortunately most people who book an appointment for massage come in when their body needs more specific work because they have stressed out their physical body too far and the body is in pain. Kind of like when you run your car too long with out changing the oil and then your engine starts making noise and eventually will seize up. 


When this happens the massage therapist has to work longer and deeper in more specific areas to release the deep held stress to help the body heal itself.  This is why therapists tell clients, "Hey come back in for an appointment next week, so we can continue your treatment."  Of course the vast majority of clients may think it is the therapist trying to get them back in to spend more money.  Actually it is just the opposite, the therapist is not trying to take advantage of the client they are actually trying to help them get out of pain and get them back to living their lives. 


Most clients think that Swedish massage doesnt "do" anything for them that is why so many clients request deep tissue. They may have had a bad experience where they felt the therapist wasn't working deep enough for them. The funny thing is when a therapist asks a client how the pressure is, the client answers "it's fine".  So the client will lay there, and possibly fall sleep, then at the end feel like they didn't get the work they wanted.


Some therapists also feel that swedish isn't a "real" massage because they aren't digging deep into their clients musculature. Some therapists enjoy going deep into the layers of tissue, not realizing that if they go too deep they can actually be damaging the tissue, not helping it.


Swedish when it is done right is an amazing massage. It has a fluidity to its flow and movement that other types of massage dont have. It allows the therapist and client to connect through breath and touch. It allows the body to unwind without forcing the tissues. Thats why it has been around for over 100 years, and is still the most widely practiced type of massage. Well that's all for this first installment.


Stay tuned for more Energetic Adventures in Massage and Bodywork...










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