Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Is Your Massage Therapist Nationally Certified?

Do you know whether your massage therapist is nationally certified? There are still many states that do not require certification and/or licensing. In fact, Michigan has only recently passed a law to require massage therapists be licensed--though our state has not yet enacted the process for handing out those licenses. That being said, in order to be licensed, one must first be nationally certified by the National Certification Board of Therapeutic and Massage Bodywork (NCBTMB). This means a person has gone through a qualified massage therapy school and completed at least 500 hours or more of education or proven that s/he has worked a certain number of years in massage therapy.

Because licensing and certification are not yet required (or enacted) by all states, there are many places where massage therapy is offered by people who are actually unqualified. Why is that so important? Well, because passing the NCBTMB test maintains the highest degree of validity, integrity, and reliability. Being nationally certified means you represent the highest of standards in the massage therapy profession, distinguishing you above the rest. It means that those who are certified have the adequate and proper knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and pathology as well as therapeutic massage modalities. Someone with this level of knowledge is likely to know exactly why something is bothering you and when it is or isn't safe to massage.

Think of it this way: would you go into a doctor's office to be treated for a serious illness if s/he didn't have a medical degree? Of course you wouldn't! So going to a massage therapist who isn't nationally certified would be like rolling the dice at the craps table. You might get lucky, you might not. Would you really want to risk having someone who doesn't know what they're doing to work on you?

Consider this possible scenario: a client walks in to receive a massage. He is a soccer player who was injured during a game after another player kicked him in the lower left leg two weeks ago. He complains that his right calf has been painful and swollen ever since then and thinks a massage will make him feel better. A massage therapist who has been to massage therapy school and has learned about the pathologies that would contraindicate massage (that is, someone who knows when it's not safe to massage due to injury or disease) would refuse to massage this client. Why? Because the client is displaying possible signs of having a deep vein thrombosis--clotting in the leg. If the therapist were to massage this client, it's possible to dislodge the clot which could travel through the blood stream into the brain and possibly cause a stroke. And as scary as that sounds, this type of situation can and does happen.

If you're not sure whether your massage therapist is nationally certified, ask them! If you're in Ann Arbor, MI and need a massage therapist, look no further--I am NCTMB-certified. For more information about my qualifications and to contact me, please visit my website at

Monday, April 12, 2010

Do you REALLY have Carpel Tunnel Syndrome or is it something else?

Are you experiencing pain, numbness or tingling sensation in your arms, wrist and/or hands? Have you been diagnosed with Carpel Tunnel Syndrome? It's possible you may actually have Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, but it's possible you may have been misdiagnosed.

Carpel Tunnel Syndrome is caused by compression of the median nerve in the wrist. This compression is caused by inflammation of the retinacular tissue in the wrist. This leads to pain, numbness, and weakness in the hand and wrist. People experience pain upon doing things like opening jars or have trouble grasping objects.

However, there are some people who have been misdiagnosed with Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. What may be happening is muscular compression of the brachial plexus nerves. In plain English, there are a series of nerves that pass right through the middle of a set of muscles in the neck called the scalenes. When the scalenes are tight, they can squeeze the nerves which causes pain, numbness and other sensations to travel down to your hand, actually mimicking Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. This is why many people are misdiagnosed.

The good news is I can help those of you who have this "pseudo-Carpel Tunnel Syndrome." By loosening the muscles surrounding the nerve, I can help restore your proper range of motion and feeling in your arm, wrist and hand. Schedule a massage with me today and we'll work together to rid you of this annoying problem!!


Got Back Pain?

Did you know that working in an office all day might actually be causing your back pain? It's true! When you sit in one position all day and don't get up to walk around much, you may be contributing to your low back pain.

Human bodies weren't made to stay in one position for long periods of time. Sitting in an office chair, staring at a computer screen for 8 hours a day isn't good. Your quads and lower torso muscles become tight and over-shortened while glutes and hamstrings become overstretched, not to mention that sitting for long periods of time decreases blood flow. As a result, pain can manifest in the low back, hips and thighs which can be exacerbated if you don't exercise regularly and use a chair with inadequate padding and lumbar support.

What can you do? Well, obviously, the first step is to start exercising regularly. Try taking short 5-10 minute breaks throughout the day with short walks around the building or avoid the elevator by going up and down stairs instead. Get up and stretch at least a few times a day. Do some side stretches, bend over and touch your toes, put your hands on your hips while bending backwards, and do some twisting at the waist. This will help loosen up those tight muscles and keep you more limber. Also, make sure to pay attention to your posture. As your mother told you, slouching is bad. But what she didn't know is that even sitting too straight can tax your back muscles and cause pain.

If you are also experiencing neck pain that frequently turns into tension headaches, it's possible this is caused by your computer monitor being set at the wrong height. Try raising or lowering your monitor to see what effect it has on you. You shouldn't have to bend your neck up or down to look at it--it should be right at your eye level.

Of course, the best thing you can do is get a massage on a regular basis. Massage therapy can be extremely helpful in getting rid of that chronic neck and low back pain. I can help! Make an appointment with me and I will work with you to define your pain issues and decrease your pain. For those of you in Ann Arbor massage may be the answer you're looking for. Find out more about how I can help you by visiting my site:

Read about other causes for back pain:

Coming soon: Do you have Carpel Tunnel Syndrome or something else?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Amy Prior Massage Ann Arbor Welcomes You!

My name is Amy Prior and I am a massage therapist. I offer deep tissue massage therapy in the Ann Arbor, MI area. If you experience lots of stress and anxiety, chronic pain issues, muscle soreness, throbbing tension headaches, low back/neck/shoulder/hip pain, postural imbalances, or reduced range of motion, I can help!

Work situations, posture, and sleep positions are some of the things that can contribute to muscular imbalance leading to chronic pain. I focus on neuromuscular massage therapy and myofascial massage therapy. I work with you to determine your pain issues and attack areas of pain and tension by loosening the muscle and fascia and bringing you better muscular health and balance.

I also practice Swedish relaxation massage therapy for those of you who don't want deep tissue massage.

Cash/check/credit card payments accepted.

Visit and schedule an appointment with me today!