Get to Know Me

Fantastic instructions on how to schedule an appointment.

#9 of 31 posts in 31 days 

Hi, I’m Tracy Bradley, Licensed Massage Therapist at The Comfort Zone Massage in Paris, Arkansas.

I want to make it easy for you to get an appointment.  You may call, text, email me, send a  Facebook message, or book online.  That’s 5 easy ways to find the perfect time to get a massage.  If you’ve never met me and want to talk, give me a ring, I love to chat!  You can also visit my website to read about each service that I provide.  There is a page to tell you about me and I include a picture.  If you follow my business on Facebook you will see pictures, ideas, interesting articles and openings.  You’ll get an idea of “who I am.”

Proud member of the ASMTA!
Proud member of the ASMTA!

Online Scheduling is new to my business. Let me tell you how easy it is!  I went through the process to see if scheduling a massage appointment was easy or difficult.   SIMPLE.  It was so easy!

Step 1:  Go to my website or click this link –> www.thecomfortzonemassage.com

Step 2:  Click “Schedule Appointment” at the top of the page.

Step 3:  Choose a Service

Step 4:  Choose the day/time perfect for you.

Step 5:  Enter your name, phone number and email.

Step 6:  Click “Schedule Appointment”

That’s it.  You will receive an email saying I have received your appointment request.  I get a text and an email.  In the email I get the option of accepting or declining the appointment.  You then receive an email when I accept it.  Easy.  Quick.

I am easy to talk to.  I call people back.  I even call you back if you don’t leave a message.  I return texts and emails.  I want you to get to know me on my website, blog and Facebook.  And I want to get to know you!  Which is better for you? Phone calls, text, or online?  Please, find me on Facebook and check out the website.  Is my contact information easy for you to find?  Is it easy for you to find me? Go ahead, book an appointment while you’re there!

Amazed

Have you been watching the Olympics?  We have been watching in the evenings.  I enjoy watching all of the athletes who represent the USA.  I must confess to shedding a  few tears during some of the performances of The National Anthem.  The pageantry, the pride, the structure, I love all of it!

But I get distracted.  All. Those.  MUSCLES!   Muscles are everywhere!   When I was a kid I would watch the gymnastics.  I loved the outfits.  I couldn’t tell you what color anyone’s uniforms are this year.  But the muscles, my eyes have been glued to the muscles!  I touch, rub, and knead muscles all day every day.  But I’ve never seen muscles like these in real life.

During the diving and gymnastics the legs grab my attention.  It takes POWER to execute those moves.  Watching theses athletes is like watching anatomy truly in motion.  I am amazed every time I see a set of thighs and hamstrings catapult someone through the air. AMAZED.

The swimmers’ arms fascinate me.  I work on a lot of shoulders. Shoulder pain, frozen shoulder, tight shoulders.  I am not accustomed to seeing shoulders that move so freely!  Did you see Michael Phelps flop his arms around waiting to start his race?!  I think I would lose my hand if I tried to access his subscapularis!  AMAZING.

These athletes are powerful, dedicated, beautiful specimens of the human body.    As they perform their different events, I imagine which muscles are moving and how they are moving.  I literally get lost in the muscles.  I even think about what treatment they might need after an event.  What could I do to help them?

When I ask you, “What do you do?”  or “Where do you work?”  it is because I try to imagine your actions all day.  What do your muscles do to keep you moving?  What muscles help you achieve your work?  What actions do your muscles do day in and day out?  How can I help them?  How can I help YOU?

www.thecomfortzonemassage.com

Musical Magic

#7 in the 31 posts in 31 days.

Music is essential in my massage therapy room.  I simply cannot administer a fantastic massage without music.  (I think I probably could, I just don’t like it.)  I use the typical “spa” music.  The melodies are quite enchanting 🙂

When I receive a massage I like the music that contains ocean waves in between the songs.  And rain sounds, a gentle thunderstorm. Lately I have been so focused on growing my business, improving customer service, and thinking of new ways to make my sessions better that I have neglected to grow my music library.  I hear the same music all day long.

I would like to add to my music library, but I would LOVE to have your input.  You.  The people who spend time in my therapy room. You pay money to be there, what would you like to hear?  I have grand ideas of a vast music selection and giving you, the clients, a choice. “Would you like to listen to Bob Marley today?”  “Your Rainforest Thunderstorm sounds are queued up just for you!”  Maybe the sounds of Jimmy Buffet get you dreaming about the beach?  Does that make sense?

I guess what I’m asking is  What kind of sounds or music would you like to hear while receiving massage?  After 9 years of spa music, I’m up for suggestions.  I would listen to something different every time!  I want each massage session to the best one you have ever had.  If I can change the music, I will.  If I can give you options, I want to.  If you want spa music and nature sounds, perfect, I’ll go shopping.  🙂

I’ve used spa music for so long that I assumed that was the only thing I could use.  I read an article the other day about a spa somewhere advertising rock and roll music.   Hey, if it’s your favorite, why not?

Help me out here!  Tell me what you like to hear during a massage.  Let me improve your experience if it isn’t just what you want!

PS.  My Massage Therapist/Blogger/Advice-Giver/Friend Allissa told me about a website that rewards you with a picture of a cute kitten for every 100 words you write.  I.Love.It.  WrittenKitten.net full of some cuteness! I draft my blog posts there now.  And my gratitude journal.

My Down Time

This is #6 of 31 posts in 31 days.

It’s Monday!  Most of the time that means that it’s my day off work. Which, of course, translates into banking, paperwork, writing, reading, laundry, housework, business-work, and all things mom-related.  Some days are busier than others.  Often, my Mondays are devoted to business-building or financial work.  Nevertheless, I usually end up doing laundry. (Will it ever end?!)

Since school is still on summer break my Mondays have actually been “true” days “off work.”  All three of us are home!  Today, I have spent my day off mostly in my pajamas!  (I’ve had a shower and been to town, I just changed back to be comfy.)  My five-year-old has pretty much led our day in pretend play.  I love it!  My brain has been needing a little break and following her lead is fun way to accomplish that!

So far today I have taken my pretend-kitty to the pretend-vet, watched Olympic diving, read a library book, danced around the living room, and I *may* have unveiled my old Karate Gi and practiced a little Gung Fu with my daughter.  It’s quite liberating to dance like a crazy lady and then giggle uncontrollably!

Do you ever get days off?  How do you like to spend your down time?  I plan on enjoying the rest of the day/evening with my daughter. What might we do, you ask?  Supper, coloring books, puzzles, massages, and reading.  And whatever else she might dream up!

Down time is important.  It isn’t always easy to find it, but if you can schedule it or discover it by accident, you should enjoy it.  Take advantage, even if it’s only 10 minutes.  Recharging your batteries often is a lot better than crashing and burning!

PS. Downtime is my specialty!  Visit www.thecomfortzonemassage.com to see the different ways you can relax with massage 🙂

Why Should You Get a Massage This Week?

5th post of 31 posts in 31 days

Why should you get a massage this week?

1.  I have a few openings 🙂

2.  A half-hour massage is like a super-charged power nap.  You get to rest for 30 minutes AND get your neck, shoulders and feet rubbed.

3.  You battled massive, cranky school-shopping crowds in order to save the sales tax.  Let’s face it, even though you saved a bundle, scored some deals, and made it through alive, an hour vacation from people just sounds AWESOME.

4.  You’ve been working in the yard or garden and your legs hurt.

5.  Hot towels nestled atop your shoulder muscles for a bit feels AMAZING.

6.  A ninety minute massage can melt your stress, make you  drool, work out your muscle knots, stretch your muscles, relax your mind, recharge your batteries and renew your spirit.

7.  Massage feels good.  Especially on the scalp.  And neck.

There you have it!  7 good reasons you should get a massage this week.  There are many more reasons, but I need something to write about later 😉

Choose a reason and schedule an appointment!

Love and Hugs

#4 of 31 posts in 31 days

I am a massage therapist.  I talk A LOT about massage every day.  I think about it, I read about it,  I talk about it, I practice it.  I touch people.  Healthy, nurturing touch, in my opinion, is one of the most essential basic needs that humans must have to thrive.  Tiny babies come into the world needing to be held, needing to be touched, needing to be nurtured and fed.  Nature’s way of feeding babies involves skin-to-skin contact.  We want to hug and snuggle our toddlers and small children.  We wish our teenagers would hug us more often.  We wish our hugs could fix our teenager’s “problems”.  When we fall in love we lavish attention upon each other.   Couples hold hands, hug, kiss, sit arm-in-arm, and sleep close together.

We crave healthy touch.  We need to feel loved, secure, happy, and not alone.  I am attending a wedding today.  The bride and groom are well past seventy years of age.  Each has been married before.  The groom was married for more than 50 years to the same woman. He cared for her when she was sick.  From what I understand he never left her side, except for work.  They lived a happy, committed married life.  The bride started a life and family with her first husband, only to lose him to cancer at the young age of 38.  She worked, raised children and cared for him when he was sick.  She went on to marry again.  They were married for 29 years, committed and devoted to each other.  He suffered poor health and she never left his side.  She loved and cared for him, as his wife and care-giver.

I am honored to attend this union.  I enjoy seeing the hand-holding, the hugs, and the smiles.  I’ve heard laughing that I haven’t heard in a while.  I see joy.  I see the human connection that we all crave, need and deserve.  I am happy to know that these two people will not have to spend another night alone, wishing for a hand to hold, or searching for a kiss good-night.  Their lives will be enhanced by companionship, their sorrow soothed with hugs, and their future filled with laughter and joy.

As I think about these two people and the benefits of healthy, nurturing touch added to their lives, I look to my own life.  I think I will give my 5-year-old some extra hugs, and hold my husband’s hand while we watch TV.

Progressive Relaxation Exercise

This is post #3 in the 31 posts in 31 days challenge!  

Progressive Relaxation is a fantastic process to learn.  You can use progressive relaxation to reduce stress, pin-point and prevent muscle tension, relieve muscle tension, fight insomnia and help with anxiety.  It is a simple process that requires you to slow down and focus on each different muscle group slowly.  By taking the time to focus and exert control over your muscles, over time you may be able to notice when you are holding tension in certain areas when you are working.  Maybe you shrug and tense your shoulders when you are angry.  You might clench your teeth and jaws while typing a report.  The sooner you notice these things the sooner you can relieve the tension and hopefully prevent or reduce painful symptoms.

I found the following Progressive Relaxation Exercise at Natural Touch Marketing.  I use the exercise myself and I recommend it to my clients.

Lie down or sit in a chair, wherever you are comfortable.  You will tense and hold each body part for about 10 seconds and then release it completely for at least 10 seconds.  Count to yourself silently from one to ten.

1. Clench your right fist, tighten the right arm and hold them tight.  Completely relax them, and then clench again.  Relax.  Now clench and relax your left arm in the same manner.  Now observe how your hands and arms feel.

2. Stretch your right leg out.  Draw the toes of the right foot toward the knee, tighten the whole leg, and hold.  Relax and then stretch and tighten again.  Relax completely.  Now do the left leg.  Now point the toes of the right foot, tense and hold.  Relax.  Left leg next.  Relax completely and observe how your legs feel.

3. Draw together the shoulder blades.  Tense and hold.  Relax completely and tense them again.  Relax.

4. Exhale and pull the abdomen in tightly and hold.  Inhale, and relax completely.  Again exhale and pull the abdomen in tightly and hold.  Inhale and relax.  Now observe how your back, chest and abdomen feel.

5. Tighten the muscles around your eyes and mouth, and hold.  Relax and repeat.  Relax completely.

6. Now breathe and observe your body.  Notice how you feel.  Do you feel differently?

This is great for those times you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep.  I also recommend doing this exercise regularly when trying to figure out why a certain muscle group always hurts or becomes tense.  Try it and tell us what you think!

Migraine Q & A

This is day 2 of the “31 posts in 31 days” blogging challenge. 

 Q- I know there are many things out there for headaches, but I’d like to hear what you have to say.  I have recently weened myself off of my Topomax due to the negative findings related to the drug for migraines.  I am having headaches almost everyday but not at all like the migraines before.  What do you recommend I do between massages? 

A- I visited MayoClinic.com to research this question.  I work mainly with tension headaches so I wanted to get accurate information about migraines.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that some of the same things that I recommend for tension headaches are recommended for migraine headaches.


Please consult with a doctor before using or discontinuing any medications.  I am not suggesting anyone stop medications, simply suggesting a few things to do at home to hopefully prevent headaches. 

These tips are taken from the website www.mayclinic.com, but they are also things I recommend to people suffering from headaches.

*Muscle Relaxation Exercises- Progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, and yoga.  You may also try spending at least a half-hour per day doing something fun!

*Get Enough Sleep- The average adult needs 6-8 hours of sleep each night.  Your body likes to go to bed and wake up at the same times, too.

*Rest and Relax

*Headache Diary- Keeping a headache diary is great way to figure out headache triggers.  You may discover a food trigger or hormone trigger.  Learning these things may make it easier to adjust things to reduce headaches.

*Manual Therapy- Massage Therapy and Chiropractic treatments may help reduce the frequency of migraines.

In between massage sessions, you could practice progressive relaxation techniques (tomorrow’s post!), and self head and neck massage.   If you work at a computer take frequent breaks, adjust your chair and monitor, and move around as much as you can.

Do you suffer from migraines?  Do you have a way to prevent or relieve the pain? Please share in the comments!

PS.  I fight headaches with my bare hands atwww.thecomfortzonemassage.com 🙂 

Relaxation Massage

I have taken a challenge from a fellow blogger to post 31 times in 31 days!  Let’s hope I can make it!  Please, if there is a question or topic you want to know more about e-mail me or ask it in the comments.

I am a full time Licensed Massage Therapist working with different types of people.  I believe that a fantastic relaxation massage is a great foundation to have when addressing common aches and pains, shoulder pain, lower back pain, headaches, and stress relief.  These issues are the issues that are presented to me every day.  How do I begin to help these people?  Relaxation massage.  Almost every one I see has some sort of “problem area” or area of discomfort.  I pay special attention to these areas and utilize many techniques for pain relief.  At the core of it all, though, are my relaxation techniques.  It makes sense to me to relax the whole person, as well as “dig in” to the problem areas.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to have an entire hour (or more) to receive a blissful, relaxing massage, complete with a scalp massage AND some trigger points, friction, and deep kneading on tight shoulders?

The National Institutes of Health has written a nice article about massage therapy.  It is a general description with some positive statements.  Humans have a basic need for touch.  Massage Therapy is a great way to administer and teach healthy, nurturing touch.

Well, how is my first post of the challenge?  Please put post ideas in the comment section!  I can’t wait to see what I write about tomorrow!  (That’s right, I am going to fly by the seat of my pants!  Not too much planning…)

PS.  If it’s been a while since you’ve had a Fantastic Relaxation Massage, visit my website and schedule an appointment!

www.thecomfortzonemassage.com

Should I Drink Water After a Massage?

Since I have encountered a minor case of The Writer’s Block, I asked the land of Facebook to present me with questions for a Q & A post.  Only one person responded, but with a FANTASTIC question.  A question that is important, as it addresses one of the many “Myths of Massage.”

Q: “Why is it important for me to drink plenty of water after getting a massage?  What will happen if I don’t?  What will happen if I drink other fluids?”

A: It is not important to drink water just because you got a massage.  If you don’t drink water after a massage you probably won’t die or suffer in any way.  If you drink other fluids, you will be fine.  Coffee will keep you awake and too much alcohol will get you drunk.  

OK, I can hear you freaking out over there, but I’m serious.  It is a common “Myth of Massage” that a person must consume water after receiving massage.  It has been passed down through the “generations” that massage therapy somehow releases “toxins” in the body and water will “flush it out.”  I will admit to you all right now, I was taught this.  I repeated this to clients for SEVEN AND A HALF YEARS.  I wrote about toxins for two years in another blog.  (I deleted it when I discovered I was passing on incorrect information.)

I must interject, WATER IS NECESSARY FOR LIFE, I am NOT saying that water isn’t important.  I am saying it isn’t ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to drink water to flush toxins after a massage.  I offer water to each and every client at the end of his/her massage because I tend to be thirsty after a massage.  My mouth gets dry, much like after a nap.  I offer the water because he/she might be thirsty.

The last year or so of my life has been dedicated to learning more about the body and massage.  I have discovered a science-based person who wrote a great article, full of chemistry, biology, anatomy and physiology to fully answer this question.   This article has a lot of science in it, but he throws in a little sarcasm and humor.  You can check it out here .  And I must say, the video he links to by Laura Allen is awesome!  She is one the greats in the massage world!  She is someone I look up to, I even have one of her books.

So, I’ve admitted to be wrong, rocked your world about toxins and water, and let someone else answer the question.  How’s that for my first  Q & A?!  This question is asked by hundreds of people every day, so I hope I have helped spread the truth a bit.