Category Archives: massage

Is it Time for a Hot Stone Massage?

As the winter is drawing nearer, what would be better than a Hot Stone Massage. This amazing experience is even better than it sounds. It is no wonder Hot Stone Massages are a top seller in most spas, especially ones in cold places like ski resorts.

What should you expect from a Hot Stone Massage?

First, your massage practitioner will apply massage oil allowing the stones to smoothly glide over your skin. Then the therapist will take hot water heated stones and place them on your skin. They will check the temperature with their hands to make sure the stones are not too hot. You must be quite clear about communicating your heat preferences. This is for muscle relaxation not skin burning.

As the stones sit on your skin the heat will sink into your muscles down to your very bones. The massage therapist may even take one of the stones and work your muscles with light or deep tissue massage depending on your preference. The stones will liquify your muscles allowing the therapist to go deeper to work out all of those stubborn knots that have been bothering you for a long time. Stones might even be placed in your hands or on the soles of your feet if you wish. Some massage therapists place stones on points that are thought to be energy centers of the body to rebalance the body and mind.

 What kind of stones and equipment are used?

The hot stones used in this form of massage are usually river rocks that are smooth for gliding nicely and made of basalt so that they retain heat. The stones are placed in water that is heated by an electic device kind of like a big crock pot. The stone warmer is preheated to just the right temperature before you even walk in the room.

~~If any of this sounds tempting to you, I suggest you book an appointment to receive a Hot Stone Massage immediately. I provide them in the Seattle area. If you do a Google search in your area, I am sure you find someone who can give you an amazing Hot Stone Massage. Thanks for reading, PJ Harris, LMP


Can Massage Help Heal Frozen Shoulder

Frozen Shoulder is also known as adhesive capsulitis. The capsule that holds the bones, ligaments and tendons of your shoulder thickens and tightens around the joint causing a restriction in movement.  The symptoms start gradually, get worse over time, and include stiffness and pain in your shoulder joint. Some people might notice their pain getting worse at night when they are sleeping.

There are typically three stages of Frozen Shoulder:

  • Painful stage. This is the stage where pain and limited range of motion start.
  • Frozen stage. In this stage the pain might decrease and, unfortunately, your limited range of motion and stiffness gets worse.
  • Thawing stage. During the thawing stage, the range of motion in your shoulder begins to improve.

Massage can break up the holding associated with Frozen Shoulder. Massage incorporated with exercises and stretches a therapist can give you, will help you to be well on your way to recovery.

Some others things that have been known to help heal Frozen Shoulder:

  1. When lifting with just one arm, lift with your unaffected arm.
  2. When lifting with both arms, do not lift over your head.
  3. Ice your shoulder after heavy activity for up to but no longer than 15 minutes.
  4. Heat your shoulder by taking a shower or using a heating pack in the morning.
  5. Heat your shoulder, if you are not inflamed, before doing your exercises.
  6. Ice your shoulder several times a day when you are inflamed or in a lot of pain.
  7. Support your elbow with a pillow when you sitting and your arm with a pillow when you are sleeping so that gravity does not pull your shoulder down.
  8. In the first painful stage, don’t do something that causes pain. Be very gentle.
  9. Do the exercises you get from your treatment massage therapist every day. The improvement might seem slow but this is very important.
  10. Acupuncture has been known to be helpful with decreasing the pain and symptoms that come with Frozen Shoulder.

Thanks for taking the time and reading this post. If you have Frozen Shoulder, I hope you recover quickly. PJ Harri, LMP

Fun Massage Quiz


I wrote you all a little fun quiz. It is multiple choice to make it easy peasy. The answers are at the end of this post. Find out how much you know about massage and the body. Enjoy!



1. Do you need a Rx for massage to have it covered under insurance?
a. Yes
b. No

2. What is the longest muscle in your body?
a. Sartorius, a muscle in your leg
b. Latissimus dorsi, a muscle in your back
c. Abdominis rectus, in your stomach

3. What is the strongest muscle in your body?
a. Gastrocnemius, a calf muscle
b. Masseter, a jaw muscle
c. Gluteus maximus, your largest glute muscle

4. Which one of these is not a Swedish massage technique?
a. effleurage
b. petrissage
c. tapotement
d. isterband
e. all of the above

5. Is it legal to practice massage in the State of Washington without a license?
a. Yes
b. No

6. Does a massage increase your ability to kiss your elbow?
a. Yes
b. No

7. What is the most common cause of headache?
a. lack of sugar
b. too much television
c. dehydration
d. allergies

8. What part of your body does TMJD (temporomandibular joint disorder) effect?
a. wrist
b. stomach
c. knee
d. jaw
e. all of the above

9. Which one of these is a benefit of massage?
a. Helps relieve stress and aids relaxation
b. Helps relieve muscle tension and stiffness
c. Reduces muscle spasms
d. Promotes deeper and easier breathing
e. All of the above

10. Where does Lomi Lomi massage originate?
a. Burundi
b. Hawaii
c. Switzerland
d. Thailand
e. New Zealand (Maori)







1. Do you need a Rx for massage to have it covered under insurance?
a. Yes, in the State of Washington

2. What is the longest muscle in your body?
a. Sartorius, a muscle in your leg

3. What is the strongest muscle in our body?
b. Masseter, a jaw muscle

4. Which one of these is not a Swedish massage technique?
d. isterband is a type of sausage.

5. Is it legal to practice massage in the State of Washington without a license?
b. No, and a big NO at that.

6. Does a massage increase your ability to kiss your elbow?
b. No. The only thing that might do that is if you shoulder was dislocated. Dont try that at home.

7. What is the most common cause of headache?
c. dehydration.

8. What part of your body does TMJD (temporomandibular joint disorder) effect?
d. jaw

9. Which one of these is a benefit of massage?
e. All of the above

10. Where does Lomi Lomi massage originate?
b. Hawaii

Thanks for reading this week everyone. PJ Harris, LMP

A Frequent Culprit of Shoulder and Upper Back Pain II

bad postureIn the original post “A Frequent Culprit of Shoulder and Upper Back Pain” we spoke to the issue of having a bound up Subscapularis and how that can pull your shoulders inward causing them to be rounded. There have been so many hits on that post. So, I thought I would write about another issue that is a culprit for medial shoulder rotation or rounded shoulders and sunken chest. I see so many people at my Seattle Treatment massage practice with this issue.back-bones-muscles

Often if you have a bound up or tight muscle pulling a joint in one direction out of alignment while you have another muscle on the other side letting it go. How does this happen? Usually, one of the muscles is weak and not pulling it’s weight, literally. Often with medial shoulder rotation the muscles that are weak are your upper back muscles.

 To help with upper back muscle strengthening I have posted videos of a few great exercises below. Always consult with your physician before doing any new form of exercise.






Remember if you want to get rid of pain and stiffness in your shoulders and upper back from sitting, standing, walking or sleeping with poor posture, you need to make sure your upper back is strong enough to correctly hold your frame. Thanks for reading this post and watching the videos. PJ Harris, LMP

How To Give a Great Shoulder and Neck Massage

I spent quite a bit of time reviewing online how-to-videos for neck and shoulder massage. Before I share my favorites, I want to give you some quick tips about giving massage.

1. Start with asking them to take a deep breath.
2. Breathe regularly and relax and it will rub off on your massage recepient.
3. Start gentle and work slowly and only work to a quicker or firmer pressure if your recipient wants that.
4. Check in from time to time, asking if they would like more or less pressure.
5. Be especially careful when working around the spine. Don’t use too much pressure in this tender area.
6. Have them sit facing a table or turned around facing the back of their chair and put a pillow in front of them so they can relax into it and not hold themselves up.
7. If you can’t do number 6 then make sure you are not pushing them to far forward.

This list of neck and shoulder massage videos is in order of preference.

Thanks again for reading (and watching) PJ Harris, LMP

Can You Get a Massage If You Have Cancer?

50933_FullThere are so many ways someone with cancer can benefit from massage. Massage is incredibly nurturing. This is much needed by a person living with cancer. They often feel isolated, depressed and positive touch deprived. Many times their loved ones can not support them due to living far away or sometimes they are afraid of the stigmas attached to the disease.  Loved ones also might feel afraid that they might hurt the cancer patient if they touch them. Massage provides relief from stress and restlessness, sleep improvement and pain relief. Fortunately, there are many hospice and cancer support organizations that have massage practitioners who donate their time.

Old school beliefs were based on the opinion that massage increases circulation and can promote the spread of cancer. We now have seen many studies that state that massage does not promote the spread of cancer, though some types of massage are inadvisable for certain types of cancer. For example, we need to be especially gentle when touching people with bone cancer, so deep tissue massage is a very bad idea. Another example might be someone undergoing cancer treatment might have nausea and jostling their body or aggressive movement of their limbs could agitate their symptoms. So, as always, talk to your oncologist about whether or not massage is a good idea for you. If your oncologist gives you the green light, make sure you find out what parameters the therapist should work within. I also suggest you see someone who is trained in how to address the special needs of someone dealing with this disease.

If you know someone with cancer, suggest to them to get a massage. They especially deserve some enjoyment from life. Thanks for reading, PJ Harris, LMP.

6 Tips for Strong Ankles

anklesThe importance of strong ankles is far reaching. It greatly affects the fluidity in your walking stride. A disjointed stride can cause knee, hip, low back, mid back or even neck pain. Many of the people who come to me for knee pain can trace the cause to their ankles. In order to have strong ankles you must also have flexible ankles. Flexible and strong ankles are especially important if you run, play basketball, soccer, football, ride bicycles… or just want to stay active for many years to come.

 Here are a few exercises to retain or regain ankle strength and flexibility:

1. The first exercise is called calf raises. Here are a few examples on how you can do these at home:

2. This video includes the exercises of ankle circles and alphabet ankles:

 3. Another great ankle strengthening exercise is balancing on one foot:

 4. This exercise involves sitting in a chair with your feet flat on the floor in front of you. With you heels firmly planted on the floor, slowly raise your toes up and down.

seated toe raise




5. Here is a great stretch for the front of the lower leg and ankle:

6. Keeping your calves flexible are also important to ankle health. You can do this stretch with the back leg straight and then do it again with the back leg bent.

calf stretch





 Always check with your doctor before you begin a new exercise routine. If you find your ankles or lower legs are pretty tight and stiff, call your injury treatment massage therapist to help you find relief. Thank you for reading, PJ Harris, LMP.