Understanding STRESS

Stress Defined
In the broadest sense, stress is defined as any event that threatens homeostasis and causes the body to adapt. This might include any change in external temperature, water intake, physical exertion, dietary changes, or even positive excitement like that experienced at a sporting event. Physiologists point out that while the reaction of the body to cold temperatures is different from its reaction to fighting an infection or to an event that causes anxiety and fear, in one respect, all of these types of stress are the same—they all cause an increased secretion of cortisol by the adrenal cortex. Therefore, physiologists define stress as any event that causes increased cortisol secretion.

Discover how stress affects the body and how massage counters these negative effects! READ MORE >>>

Q & A with Bill Semenchuk, LMT, founder of MedMassage

Discover why MedMassage has been Cleveland’s trusted source for professional massage therapy for over 20 years…

Q.   What are some essential techniques a massage therapist must be trained in to produce positive-lasting effects for patients?

A.    The training of a massage therapist begins after graduation from an accredited school and obtaining their license from the State Medical Board of Ohio.  With these qualifiers, the real journey begins. Mastery will not be immediate. What is essential first of all is a thorough understanding of all hands-on bodywork movements, and how they are distinguished from each other. This will give the therapist solid grounding in which to launch their own careers.

Specific techniques I would consider important include learning deep tissue techniques, proper application of hot and cold modalities, and learning range of motion and a basic knowledge of stretching applications, in particular, orthopedic physical assessments.

The thought of becoming proficient in a specific bodywork movement has caused frustration and overwhelmed potentially great therapists who have the basic raw talent to excel and succeed. If focused on having to learn one specific technique, say neuromuscular or active release therapy, they miss the big picture of how techniques and movements work together.

Positive lasting results happen when a synergy of bodywork techniques and movements are utilized. While no one theory, style, or school of thought is the answer, one fact remains.  There are only so many ways to affect and move soft tissue.  The healing art of massage is just that, an art form, learned over many years and practiced on many types of muscular-skeletal disorders.

Q.   How do patients benefit from following the home stretching techniques suggested by MedMassage?

A.   In general, your body has the natural ability to heal itself. We can help to facilitate this process.  With our massage experience treating numerous soft tissue issues, we are well adept to assist with the recovery process, whatever the soft tissue injury.

Our massage therapy approach is not a spectator sport. There is audience participation during sessions as well as our suggestions for home stretching to assist in the recovery of specific soft tissue concerns.  Patients who use our suggestions until their next visit show advanced improvement. These improvements include increased range of motion and decreased pain or discomfort levels without, in many cases, the need for prescription medication.  However, with any soft tissue injury prescribed drug intervention may be the prudent course of treatment.

Q.   Why have professional sport teams as well as athletes in general trusted MedMassage to provide their massage therapy for so many years?

A.   We are dedicated not only to massage therapy, but also provide an organized method and delivery of our services.  There is constant communication with athletic trainers and team physicians with regard to a specific player’s condition. The same quality hands on treatment are given across the board in what we call RESULTS-BASED therapy.

Of course this organized feedback works for individual athletes including marathon trainers and weekend warriors as well. Our patients have grown to appreciate our professional involvement with their physical pastimes. Some of our patients have been with us for over 18 years. Word of mouth is our best endorsement, and has inspired new patients to seek our services for specific issues as well as maintaining their own wellness regime.

Q.   Can you tell our readers more about what MedMassage is doing to “bring massage therapy back to healthcare”?

A.   History of massage therapy and its nature of creating metabolic changes to the body is proof that it is a health care modality. Reams of research papers have proven this to be fact. Over 80 percent of primary physician visits are stress related. These life stresses may manifest themselves in serious life threatening illnesses.

Massage therapy is by its nature suited to address these life stresses. Sometimes people find our deep tissue approach to healthcare mildly painful, and others find it relaxing. In both regards positive metabolic changes are occurring and because it may be relaxing do not classify it as a beauty treatment.

We are among a growing list of therapists who define massage therapy by its true nature, that of healthcare, or HEALTH ASSURANCE. Trust and confidence in our message needs to be earned one body at a time.

Q.   What changes to education and training do you feel are necessary to ensure newly licensed massage therapists are capable of providing results-based massage?

A.   Although discussing my massage therapy training sounds as if I’m an old sage, it still bears mentioning to put in perspective with regard to how therapists are currently trained.

When I was in school I was fortunate to have physicians as instructors for anatomy and the other basic courses of study.  We attended human dissections and autopsies as part of our training to give us a real understanding of how the human body is truly presented beside textbook diagrams.  These are just a few examples of learning the profession with a medical background that was provided in my study of the human body.

Current curriculum does not include these studies and so dilute and streamline the learning process. I would say it is extremely important to have physician instructors and hands on dissections and autopsy inclusion to gain a better understanding of the human body. It would be my wish that a basic understanding of human psychology would be added to the curriculum as to its importance in treating the patient as a whole.

At MedMassage we insist on at least three years of field experience before we talk to a therapist about joining our team. Even with this we still put them through hands on training to master basic techniques not taught through their formal educational courses.   This is not done for exclusivity but so a therapist has some background working on different body types and conditions. This creates an understanding of why we deliver only result-based therapy to our patients.

Granted it takes many years to be proficient at true massage therapy but I have hope in the future there may be a formal intern or residency program after licensing, similar to physician training, to cover this critical learning gap before entering the workplace.

Q.   What sets MedMassage apart from the rapidly growing massage franchise and spa boutiques?

A.   These franchises and spa boutiques have helped deliver massage to people who may not have experienced a massage, so they have helped get the word out.  Unfortunately, they create negative feedback by looking at massage as if you were buying a pack of gum. We hear this all the time. Someone was given a gift certificate. They went with high hopes of a positive massage session to provide relief from injury or simple for relaxation. What they also received was pressure to become a spa member.  Their therapists were expected to perform the job of a salesperson for add on beauty services the person didn’t need or want.

Also affected by this franchised business model are the many talented massage therapists who through economic necessity are working at these spas. It is professionally unfulfilling to sit and wait for a client at a fixed hourly rate. The therapist then becomes disillusioned with the profession, performs routine massages and the end result is that the general public goes to the spa for one session, never to return. This leaves us with having to defend why we charge what we do, as well as the importance of massage therapy in general.

MedMassage has proven over 20 years that experienced hands make the difference in achieving results-based therapy, bringing massage back to its roots in healthcare. MedMassage IS Health Assurance. We look forward to working with you on your healthcare quest.
Bill Semenchuk
Bill Semenchuk, LMT 
Founder of MedMassage