Category Archives: Health & Wellness

On humor, that Gaffigan guy, and teachable moments.


Fun fact: I love Jim Gaffigan’s Hot Pockets schtick. I’ve watched all his stand-up, and I even liked his tv show. (Both seasons. Now you know.)

This morning Gaffigan was on CBS Sunday morning, with a funny little bit about massage. Except, it wasn’t very funny. It was just kind of….ignorant.

He dismissed massage as “decadent and weird.” And said a few other things, that were more ignorant than funny. It’s easy to get annoyed and pissy and blame him for being dumb. But he’s not dumb. He just doesn’t know.

Most people don’t know about massage. It feels weird to type those words, since I live and breathe massage, but it’s true.

A 2016 Survey reported that an average of 19 percent of adult Americans received at least one massage in the year prior. That’s it.

So 81% of the adult population is walking around with no idea how great they could feel. Or they think massage is just a superfluous luxury. Or sex work.

Gaffigan probably doesn’t know that massage is great for headaches, low back pain, and general crankiness.

Maybe nobody told him that that massage can help with depression and anxiety issues. And sleep problems, too.

Probably he never heard about one of my autistic clients who got cozier with touch and started holding his parents’ hands and hugging them more.

In fact, most people don’t realize that “50 percent of people have received a massage for one or more of the following reasons: soreness, stiffness or spasms, to relieve or manage stress, for prevention or to improve quality of life, injury recovery or rehabilitation, to keep fit or healthy/maintain wellness, pregnancy/prenatal, or to control headaches or migraines.”

Twelve years ago when I started in this profession, it was common to hear ”Oh, do you give happy endings?” whenever I said I was a massage therapist. Seriously, this happened while I was sitting next to my dad at a family BBQ. More than once. You pretty much have to have a sense of humor to handle crap like that on a regular basis and still love your job. Thankfully, it’s a rare occurrence nowadays.

I can appreciate a good comic bit. I crack plenty of jokes about massage. At the same time, I can’t help but be aggravated by the ignorance of Gaffigan’s schtick. It’s misleading and perpetuates a disdain for legitimate self-care that I find unacceptable.

Some people are straight up nervous about massage. They think it’s like the movies, and they’ll be all kinds of naked with just a little towel covering their bits ‘n pieces while a therapist beats the crap outta them. They don’t know the massage table is snuggly warm and they can stay as layered up as they want.

But you’re different. You’re a client of mine, and you know the truth. When you hear someone spout a misconception about massage, speak up and share your story.

Tell them how massage has helped you, how it’s part of your wellness plan, just like brushing your teeth or going to the gym. (And if you know someone who could use a massage, send them my way.)

Thanks for being my client, and thanks for being an advocate for massage.

The Connection Between Pain and Stress

Stress can hurt. It can cause real, physical pain. Studies show that depression and anxiety can lower your pain threshold, potentially making minor aches and pains into major problems. If you’ve ever noticed your back pain getting worse when your job gets more stressful, you’ve seen this first hand. On top of that, a common…Continue Reading

Should I cancel my massage if I’m sick?

(If you’re a massage colleague reading this, check out more resources to help you build your business at Short answer: Yes. Long Answer: Yes, please. But there’s more. Massage is great. You know this. But it’s not always a great idea. As cold and flu season approaches again, it’s important that you know when it…Continue Reading

5 Ways to Celebrate National Women’s Health and Fitness Day

September 30th is National Women’s Health and Fitness Day. Hundreds of organizations countrywide will be hosting a variety of noncompetitive events covering everything from group walks to health seminars. In the spirit of the day, we’ve put together a list of 5 ways YOU can celebrate women’s health and fitness on your own. Go inward…Continue Reading

5 tips for a happier holiday season

Happy holidays! Happy ‘getting stressed out, trying to do too many things and please everyone’ season. Oh, wait. That’s not promising. Maybe this is the year to mix it up a little and make the holidays a little easier. Forget perfection Sometimes gingerbread men will be missing a limb. The tree may have a bald…Continue Reading

Massage and HIV

We’ve come such a long way since the early ‘80s, when AIDS crashed onto the scene, killing many and frightening more. There was so little known at that time. It was through the hard work and advocacy of many people that we discovered HIV, learned how to prevent its transmission, and how to hold it…Continue Reading

Gratitude and Joy

In a world that sells dissatisfaction, it’s almost heretical to feel happy about your body. And on the rare occasion when body satisfaction is socially acceptable, it’s usually in the context of “Dang, I look amazing in my wedding dress/tailored business suit/perm/bathing suit/whatever I just spent a lot of money on in order to make…Continue Reading