Woodstock Therapeutic Massage
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About Us/Newletter

Our goal at Woodstock Therapeutic Massage is to provide our clients with the opportunity to experience a higher quality of life through the benefits of massage.  By assembling therapists with various backgrounds and using our collective knowledge and combined resources we bring years of diverse experience to the table to better serve our clients. All Woodstock Therapeutic Massage therapists are trained in multiple forms of massage therapy and are State Licensed in Georgia.

Ashley Wilson CMT, NMT, LNMT: (Ms. Wilson is not currently accepting new clients)

Woodstock Therapeutic Massage is owned and operated by Ashley Wilson, State Licensed Certified Massage Therapist and Neuromuscular Therapist. Graduating from The Atlanta School of Massage Clinical Massage Therapy Program prepared her to work in a wide range of techniques from recovery & rehabilitation and working with athletes to job related muscular stress reduction. Having an extensive background working in clinical settings prior to her career as a massage therapist allowed Ms. Wilson to incorporate this experience into her practice, which provides her clients with a comprehensive approach to massage therapy. Her multi-faceted career as a Certified Massage Therapist, Certified Chiropractic Assistant, and Life/Professional Coach present a unique perspective that integrates clinical knowledge with care, compassion and encouragement. Ms. Wilson is presently enrolled in the Physical Therapist Assistant program at Chattahoochee Tech. Regardless of the role, her goal is to support her clients in being their best.

Woodstock Therapeutic Massage
Touching Back
Woodstock Therapeutic Massage Newsletter
November 2009
In This Issue
Busy Work
Deals on Massage
About Woodstock Therapeutic Massage

girl mass

Quote  of the Month:

"I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new"

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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wtmfrontNovember news fromWoodstock Therapeutic Massage!
Welcome to the November issue of "Touching Back" the Woodstock Therapeutic Massage Newsletter!  Last month we celebrated the One  year anniversary of Woodstock Therapeutic Massage.  We would like to tell everyone how grateful we are for the opportunity to be of service to you.  In this month of Thanksgiving, we would like to wish each of you many "Thanks" for being a part of our growth and our practice of creating wellness in our community.
In this issue we are featuring an article about unnecessary muscle contraction and how it can effect your muscle health.   
We hope you enjoy your November issue of "Touching Back".  Remember, our newsletter will provide our clients with special pricing and details on massage therapy at our practice along with practical information about getting and staying healthy.  This month we continue to featuring our new client specials and referral rewards programs.  Details are below. Please feel free to pass this newsletter along to your friends and family.  Remember that referrals pay you back at Woodstock Therapeutic Massage with our Referral Rewards program.  Go to
http://www.woodstocktherapeuticmassage.com/Referral_Rewards.html  for more information.
Busy Work

What would you do if your job consisted of 12, 18 even 24 hours of pointless busy work?  Would you not do a good job, working efficiently?  Would you go on strike?  Would you tell your boss where to put it and out-right quit?  Why would you want to waste your hard work, brainpower and skill on unnecessary tasks??? 

Now, think about your toes.  Yes, your toes.  Since you are reading this newsletter, I am going to assume that you are sitting.  Therefore, your toes are not presently necessary for balance, or propulsion.  So then, are they relaxed?  Give them a wiggle and then try to totally relax them.  Ahhhhh.  Next, move to your feet and so on, all the way to your head.

The contraction or tone of a muscle can have many different variables.  Stress, injury, personality, hydration, nutrition and neurological conditions are among the many factors when considering muscle tone. Most of these factors are beyond your mental control.  One that can be affected by thought, however, can play a big role in your overall muscle tone and when left unchecked can contribute to hyper-tonicity and muscle dysfunction.  Unnecessary muscle contraction is the act of engaging a muscle that is not required for the action at hand.  

Now, think about your toes...  As you check your body for unnecessary muscle contraction, you may be surprised at how many muscles you are "holding".  Getting them to relax and STAY relaxed can be quite a challenge. How long to you think this has been going on?  It has probably been going on longer that you would expect. So, be patient with yourself as you re-train these muscles to relax.  Check yourself periodically and you will be surprised at how those muscles will begin contracting again without you being aware of it.  Continue to practice relaxing. 

When a muscle "behaves" a certain way over extended periods of time, this behavior becomes normal for that muscle.  When this happens it can create pain in the muscle from over-use and fatigue.  The result from pain can be a spasm in the muscle.  Unlike unnecessary muscle contraction, a muscle spasm is an involuntary muscle contraction.  This often creates a pain-spasm-pain cycle, which usually requires some sort of intervention, such as massage, to break. Computer work is an action that can be a good example of unnecessary muscle contraction.  When doing computer work, you only need to be primarily moving your fingers and wrists.  Most often, however, we find ourselves involving our neck and shoulders whether it is due to improper ergonomics, intensity or stress.  This is unnecessary "busy work" for your muscles, which often results in muscle spasms in the neck, upper back and shoulders and the pain that accompanies it.

So, think about your toes.  Are they considering going on strike?  What about the rest of you???  Keep checking yourself and practicing relaxation.  Give those muscles some time off...

Yours In Health, 
Ashley Wilson
~Inspire Someone!

Great Deals on Massage:

New Client Special
$49.00/hr for your first visit at Woodstock Therapeutic Massage or purchase this as a gift for a friend or family member for their first visit to our practice!  And remember that when you refer someone to our office for an hour massage you receive $10 off your next session!!!

Ask us about our Gift Certificates Program for your business with no up-front cost!

backAbout Woodstock Therapeutic Massage...

Our goal at Woodstock Therapeutic Massage is to provide our clients with the opportunity to experience a higher quality of life through the benefits of massage. Woodstock Therapeutic Massage therapists are trained in multiple forms of massage therapy and are licensed in Cherokee County and the State  of Georgia.

Ashley Wilson NMT, LMT:
Woodstock Therapeutic Massage is owned and operated by Ashley Wilson, State Licensed Certified Massage Therapist and Neuromuscular Therapist. Graduating from The Atlanta School of Massage Clinical Massage Therapy Program prepared her to work in a wide range of techniques from recovery & rehabilitation and working with athletes to relaxation and stress reduction. Having an extensive background working in clinical settings prior to her career as a massage therapist allowed Ms. Wilson to incorporate this experience into her practice, which provides her clients with a comprehensive approach to massage therapy. Her multi-faceted career as a Certified Massage Therapist, Certified Chiropractic Assistant, and Life/Professional Coach present a unique perspective that integrates clinical knowledge with care, compassion and encouragement. Regardless of the role, her goal is to support her clients in being their best. 

Mallory Merkle 

Mallory Merkle is a graduate of Rising Spirit Institute of Natural Health where she became certified in Swedish and Deep Tissue Massage, Neuromuscular Therapy, Reflexology and Chair Massage. After graduating, she became Nationally Certified by the NCBTMB.
Having had health problems herself when she was younger, she was tired of being medicated and pushed to the side by unsympathetic doctors. Once she began to take yoga, Mallory became increasingly aware of herself and started to be introduced to natural, alternative remedies. As she began to seek the help of a Medical Intuitive, Mallory felt better physically, emotionally and mentally. Her Medical Intuitive helped her to realize that she too had a gift for healing intuitively and urged her to pursue it. Mallory chose the path of Massage Therapy and quickly realized that she had found her calling in life. She specializes in Neuromuscular Therapy and Deep Tissue Massage. 

chairChair Massage At Your Office!!!
Remember that we are available to come to your office, special event or party with our Chair Massage service.   Chair Massage requires very little space, the recipient remains fully clothed, and sessions are relatively short in duration (usually between 10-20 minutes).  Chair massage is affordable at $1/minute.  It is a great benefit that your company can provide it's employees at no cost to the business with the "Employee Pays" program.  
We are also available to come and speak about the benefits of Massage Therapy to your group or community.  Please feel free to email or call us for additional information.

Who can we help???
We are looking for teams, groups, clubs, etc. to introduce ourselves to.   If you are a member of a tennis team, women's club, scrap-booking group, adult softball team or any community, social or sport group, let us know.  We can provide you with information to hand out to those who might be interested in giving us a try.  Remember referrals from you earns you free massage!!!  We appreciate being a part of your choice to live a better life.  We look forward to seeing you again very soon!
Contact Info
phone: 770-500-8079

Hydrate...To Feel Great!

As most of you know, I am always reminding my clients to drink more water.  Our bodies consist of about 65% water, so you can only be at your best when you are well hydrated.  Your muscles will not function properly if you are not properly hydrated. So, if your muscles are behaving improperly, dehydration may be part of the cause.  Below you will find some great information on how to make sure you are properly hydrated and signs of dehydration.  So, pour yourself a tall glass of water and take a moment to learn a bit about the importance of cool, clear, water...

How much should I drink?  For many years we have been told to drink 8 glasses (8 oz each) of water a day, however, for most of us, that is not sufficient.  To calculate the proper amount of water to consume per day divide you weight in half and use that number to show the amount of water in ounces to drink daily.  For example, if you weigh 150 lbs you would need to drink 75 oz of water per day.  How does that compare to your normal water consumption in a day?

What is water?  Of course water is two Hydrogen molecules & one Oxygen molecule.  We all know that.  Perhaps a better question is: What is NOT water?  So often I hear people say, I drink water.  It is in my Coke, my sweet tea, in my beer... Sorry, but the only thing that counts as water, is water.  Even these new products to "jazz up" your water prevent it from actually being truly water any longer.  If your body has to filter ingredients from your water then you are not receiving its full benefit.  If that product also contains caffeine or alcohol, then you are actually de-hydrating your body and should then consume that much more water that day.  So, one 8 oz cup of coffee adds 8 oz to you required water intake for the day.

Why is water so important? About 65% of the human body is water, your muscles are 75% water, the brain is composed of 75% water, the lungs are nearly 90% water, your bones are about 22% water and about 90% of our blood is water.   Here is a list of some of the things that water and proper hydration provide our bodies:
·    Water is required for expiration (breathing out)
·    Regulates body temperature
·    Carries nutrients and oxygen to all cells in the body
·    Moistens oxygen for breathing
·    Protects and cushions vital organs
·    Helps convert food into energy
·    Helps body absorb nutrients
·    Removes waste and toxins
·    Cushions joints

How do you know if you are dehydrated?  If you are not drinking the recommended half of your weight in ounces, then you probably are dehydrated.  Listed below are some of the signs and symptoms of dehydration.  Someone exhibiting signs of severe dehydration should seek emergency help immediately.

Mild Dehydration:
·    Thirst
·    Loss of Appetite
·    Dry Skin
·    Skin Flushing
·    Dark Colored Urine
·    Fatigue or Weakness
·    Chills
·    Mild muscle spasms
·    Head Rushes

Moderate Dehydration:
·    Increased Heart Rate
·    Increased Respiration
·    Decreased Sweating
·    Decreased Urination
·    Increased Body Temperature
·    Extreme Fatigue
·    Muscle Cramps
·    Headaches
·    Nausea
·    Tingling of the Limbs

Extreme Dehydration:
·    Severe Muscle Spasms
·    Vomiting
·    Racing Pulse
·    Shriveled Skin
·    Dim Vision
·    Painful Urination
·    Confusion
·    Difficulty Breathing
·    Seizures
·    Chest and Abdominal Pain
·    Unconsciousness

Dehydration can be the result of many things aside from not drinking enough water.  Some other causes of dehydration are vomiting, diarrhea, blood loss, and malnutrition.  Illnesses that cause fever and sweating can also contribute dehydration.  Here is a GREAT link that shows how water affects different parts of your body.

The simple act of drinking water can give your body so much of what it needs to function at full capacity.  Whenever you are feeling sick, sore, tired, or just not yourself one of the first questions you should ask yourself is "Have I been drinking enough water?"  If you aren't drinking half of your weight in ounces, then you now know the answer.  So, get yourself a stainless steel water bottle (for your health and the health of our earth) and drink, drink, drink.

Yours In Health, 
Ashley Wilson
~Inspire Someone!
March '09

Spring Forward:

Creating Momentum in Your Life

Very often, when I tell someone I am a coach, I witness a similar reaction.  Their head tilts ever so slightly, their brow begins to furrow and a confused tone emerges from their mouths as they ask..."Basketball? Softball? What do you mean?"  Although coaching was developed over 20 years ago, it is still in its infancy as a career and is unfamiliar to most people today.  Knowing this, my typical response is..." I partner with people to create momentum in their lives. Tell me about something you would like to accomplish."  

Everyone has goals and dreams.  Some are light and ethereal, flitting about in our imaginations, while others are so real you believe they could manifest themselves directly from your minds eye.  To see these ideas to fruition you must remain inspired, encouraged, and focused on why you began the journey toward your goals in the first place.  If you had someone in your corner, cheering you on, helping you back up if you stumble, and holding you accountable for what you aspire to do, you could be unstoppable. This is the role of the life coach.

So, how do you determine if coaching is right for you?  Where are the areas in life that coaches are most often called to offer support and assistance to their clients?  The list below highlights some reasons to enter a coaching relationship.  Coaching could be the key to creating momentum in your life.

·    To identify the goals that YOU truly want to achieve in life.
Coaching can help you sort through what is most important to you, define your values and create a solid foundation to begin working on what you want in life.

·    To create workable plans in order to accomplish your goals.
Your coach helps you identify the best course of action for your particular situation, implement this process and hold you accountable for the commitments you make toward achieving your goals.

·    To empower yourself to make more money.
Your coach may challenge you toward financial increase by tackling tasks such as asking for a raise, choosing a different career path or starting a business.

·    To nurture an environment of happiness in your life.
Coaching helps you determine what you value in life so you spend more time on what matters to you.

·    To live the life you desire and deserve.
With a coach, you have an ally to support you as you identify and work toward living your life's purpose.  It is your life.  You deserve to live it.

This article is published in it's condensed version.  To read the full article, please visitwww.intentioncoach.com/Articles.html

About the author:
Ashley Wilson is a Personal and Professional Life Coach. She may be contacted by email at Ashley@intentioncoach.com or visit her website atwww.intentioncoach.com
March '09
Spring Training

Ah, Georgia in March, one minute it is 65 degrees and sunny and the next snow is collapsing to the ground in chunks and we are rushing to the store to fill our pantries with necessities.  It's hard to know how to act this time of year.  We go from spring-cleaning mode back into hibernation as fast as a cold front rolls in.  But of course, we know that Spring is upon us and before long we will be trying to crank the lawnmower for the first time, trimming back the monkey grass and pulling up the pansies to make room for the emerging Gladiolus.  It's time for spring training.

I get very busy this time of year. After months of being somewhat sedentary, on those first warm days, we begin doing very physical exercise when working in our yards.  It is then that the calls start coming in begging for the earliest available appointment.  Although I love my work, I prefer my clients to stay happy and healthy. Even for those of us that have been working out throughout the winter, yard work can take its toll.  Unlike running, riding a stationary bike or using the elliptical machine, yard work is not a linear activity.  You are moving in all directions, many planes of movement.  Yard work is a functional exercise.  It takes core strength and flexibility to withstand the bending, squatting, rotating, reaching, pulling, pushing and all of the other actions that are part of working in the yard.

As with any exercise, you should stretch to prevent injury.  It is best to warm up a bit before you stretch, so take a brisk walk around your yard to assess and plan out your work for the day.  Not only will a warm muscle will stretch better, but it will also be less prone to injury during the stretch.  Think about the activities you will be doing and make sure to stretch the muscle groups you will be using the most.  At minimum you should be stretching your hamstrings, calves, quads and pectorals.  Here is a great resource for stretches:http://www.ahealthyme.com/topic/stretchguide.  This website shows the doorway stretch (they call it a shoulder stretch) as opposed to the corner stretch. Many of you know how I LOVE that corner stretch, so I would still recommend you do that instead. Remember to hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds and to try to relax into the stretch.  If you have to "hold" the muscle to withstand the stretch, then it is counter productive.  You would be better off not going quite as deep into the stretch and relaxing into it.  Also, you want to make sure you are doing static stretches.  This means go into the stretch position and hold the pose.  Do NOT bounce.  When you bounce it is called ballistic stretching.  This type of stretch can cause injury.  So, go slowly into the stretch position, hold and slowly back out.  You should also stretch again after you are finished with your activity.  By stretching properly you can help prevent injury, and have a lesser degree of soreness for the days following the new activity.

With any kind of activity, be sure you are well hydrated, take care to work within your limits and give your body what it needs to stay healthy.  Remember that getting regular massage therapy can help you prevent injury, increase flexibility and perform better.  So, be careful out there and happy gardening!!!

Yours In Health, 
Ashley Wilson
~Inspire Someone!
February '09
Massage and a Healthy Heart

During this month, our focus falls on matters of the heart.  In fact, February is American Heart Month.  If you Google "heart health", aside from all the drug ads, you will likely retrieve responses about healthy diet, exercise and reducing stress.  What you may not find, however, is how massage therapy affects your heart, by affecting your cardio-vascular system, Autonomic Nervous Systems (which controls heart rate, digestion, respiration rate, etc.) and even the endocrine system (glandular/hormones).   Massage can create tremendous change in your body and it is important and helpful to know how that change affects you. 

Massage therapy creates changes in your blood pressure.  When your massage therapist performs the most basic methods of treatment known as effleurage, such as long superficial strokes, kneading and tapotement (chopping and beating types of movement), it stimulates receptors that send messages of relaxation to the central nervous system.  These reflexes cause vasodilation, which is the widening of the blood vessels that results in decreased blood pressure and heart rate. 

When your massage therapist uses more specific methods of treatment, typically aimed at breaking up scar tissue and freeing areas of immobilized muscle fibers called adhesions, one side effect can be an increase in blood pressure.  These more specific treatments work by allowing the cardio-vascular system to move stagnant blood out of a tightened area and flood it with new, fresh blood that aids in healing the damaged tissue.  This increased blood circulation can increase intra-vascular pressure.  For most of us, this is a VERY good thing as it provides our muscles with the oxygen they need to be healthy. Due to the changes in blood pressure that can occur during and after a session of massage therapy, however, those with uncontrolled high or low blood pressure should avoid massage therapy unless they have received permission from their physician. In fact, there are studies that show the lighter forms of massage can aid in reducing hypertension in many cases.

In addition to the immediate effects on blood pressure, massage can help reduce the effects of stress on the body.  Our autonomic nervous system has two "states of being", fight-or-flight (sympathetic nervous system) and rest-and-digest (parasympathetic nervous system).  The sympathetic nervous system helps mobilize the body for action when we are faced with a stressful situation.  Very often, the daily stresses of our lives, and sometimes our diet (especially excessive amounts of caffeine) cause us to stay in this fight-or-flight state, which has a negative effect on our bodies including increased heart rate, increased blood pressure and increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol.  Massage therapy can help the Autonomic Nervous System shift into the rest-and-digesstate.  Many studies have shown not only decreased heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels, but also decreases in depression, hostility and anxiety.

By taking steps to reduce the effects of stress on your body, you can do your heart a world of good.  Remember the old adage, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" and be proactive about your health.  Eat right, move your body, do everything you can to keep stress at bay and have a happy American Heart Month.

Yours In Health, 
Ashley Wilson
~Inspire Someone!
January '09
Resolution Solution

Every year, as the holidays approach, we begin to look back at the year that is passing, remembering, reflecting, and assessing the events that have carried us to this point in our lives.  With 20/20 hindsight we vow to continue new good habits and turn away from the bad ones...  

My gym is packed on January 2nd.  There is not an available treadmill or elliptical to be found, and my favorite locker is being used by someone who does not know of the special need it fills in my mildly compulsive nature.  There are so many new faces, inspired to succeed as they reintroduce themselves to their athlete within.  They hold a bright fire in their eyes and will reach their goal, one Stairmaster step at a time.

By January 30th my sweet reunion with locker #17 will have come and gone and I will have my choice of cardio equipment.  What will have happened to all the good intentions of my new workout buddies?  Let's face it.  It can be difficult to start a new healthy habit, or let go of a bad one.  It is said that it takes 30 days to create a new habit.  That makes sense, but what happens when your health prevents you from doing what you resolve.   Your car is built to go 0-60 in 15 seconds.  We are not.  When we spend the majority of our time sedentary and then decide to workout everyday, we are asking our bodies to go 0-60 with old cruddy oil in our engines and not breakdown.

To give yourself a better opportunity for success with your new workout program, spend a few minutes planning how to proceed. Taking a more calculated approach and ramping up your activity to the place you aspire to be is a safer and healthier way to start your new workout program. 

1.    Assess your current fitness level 
       ·    Record your heart rate before and after a one-mile walk. 
       ·    Record the time it takes to complete a one-mile walk.
       ·    Measure your flexibility (toe touches, side bending, etc.).
       ·    Record your body measurements (hips, waist, upper arms).
       ·    Record your weight and body mass index.

2.    Create your plan
       ·    Determine your goals.  Do you want to run a 5K race, lose 10 pounds 
            or keep up with the grand kids?

       ·    Consider the recommendations of being active at least 5 days a week at 30 
            minutes per session.

       ·    Start slowly and work up to more intense workouts as your fitness level 
            progresses.  If you have a medical condition to consider, consult your 

       ·    Consider different pitfalls such as your daily schedule, or preventing 
            boredom by adding variety to your workout.

3.    Make it happen
       ·    Set a schedule and stick with it.  If you cannot follow through on one day, 
            then make up for it later in the week.

       ·    Get your family/friends involved.  Find a walking buddy or tell your spouse
            or children about your goals.  You may inspire someone else to change his 
            or her life while helping you stay motivated.

       ·    Listen to your body. Dizziness, nausea and shortness of breath are 
            indications you are pushing yourself too hard.  If you are not feeling well or 
            have over-done it, give yourself permission to take a day (or two) off.

4.    Give back to your body
       ·    Stretch before and after your work out.   Stretching a few minutes before 
            you warm up your muscles and stretching thoroughly after your workout 
            will reduce your chances of being sore or getting injured.

       ·    Remember to eat healthy whole foods and drink plenty of water to give your
            body the fuel it needs to support your new lifestyle.

       ·    Get massage therapy regularly.  Massage helps keep your muscles more 
            pliable.  It reduces your chances of injury and minimizes the pain that can 
            come with increased activity.  Massage can also help you perform better by 
            increasing the overall function of your muscles.

Anytime is a good time to start a new fitness program, but we all seem to get re-inspired at the New Year.  I have committed to take at least one class a week at my gym this year to switch up my routine, give myself a little excitement and meet a few new people.  Remember, it takes 30 days...  I would love to hear about your new fitness goals for 2009.  Let's make it a great year!

Yours In Health, 
Ashley Wilson
~Inspire Someone!
December '08  -
'Tis the Season for Stress Related Issues

"Hustle and bustle" hardly describes the stress we can experience during the holiday season.  Between the work related angst of reaching year-end projections and the nutrition depriving noshing at the social gatherings, our bodies take the brunt of the abuse during the five week endurance event that is the holiday season.   Here are some tips to help you go from surviving to thriving this holiday season:
  • Drink plenty of water - you should be drinking half of your weight in ounces of water per day.  You should also consider drinking an additional 8 oz for each dehydrating beverage (soda, coffee, alcohol) you consume each day.  Water is a major component of healthy functioning muscles.  A dehydrated muscle is more prone to spasm, pain and injury.
  • Take time to stretch and quiet your mind - mental and emotional stress can cause tight muscles.  When this tension is left unaddressed it can perpetuate itself into what is called the "pain/spasm/pain" cycle.   Taking the time to begin and end your day with a few quiet moments of stretching can help prevent emotional related muscle spasms.
  • Fuel your body - make sure to give yourself proper nutrition.  Planning our meals often goes out the window during the holidays.  Make sure to eat well as often as you can to offset those naughty nibbles at holiday parties.  Remember you are what you eat and if you eat poorly, you will feel poorly.
  • See your healthcare provider - make sure you follow through with your healthy practices.  It is even more important during stressful times that you take good care of yourself.  Continue your wellness plan and see your Massage Therapist, Chiropractor or whoever is best capable to ensure your good health during this holiday season.

I hope you can use these tips to help get the most out of your holidays.  Remember to live in balance, reduce the excess and give yourself a break from time to time.  Taking the time to take care of yourself this holiday season can help you make it the best year ever.  Have a great (and safe) holiday!

Yours In Health - 
Ashley Wilson
~Inspire Someone!
Your HSA or HRA May Pay for Massage

Do you contribute to a Healthcare Savings Account (HSA) to help pay for your annual medical needs?  Does your employer offer you access to a Healthcare Reimbursement Account (HRA) to pay you back for your co-pays and other medical expenses?  These new programs are available through many employers as an added benefit or can be managed through those with individual insurance programs.  The idea is that the money that you anticipate needing to use for medical expenses is put aside before it is taxed. At the moment, about 50% of businesses offer these types of plans to their employees, but the popularity of these programs is growing every year.

So why is there an article about HSA's and HRA's in your massage therapy newsletter, you ask?  Well, in many cases, the companies that manage these accounts consider Clinical Massage Therapy a valid expense.   Most plans require the session be related to a medical condition or that a medical doctor recommend the therapy.  However, many of the clients that I see who currently use their HSA to pay or their HRA to reimburse them for their massage sessions have not come via doctor's recommendation.  How tightly managed or restricted an HSA or HRA is depends on the company handling the program.  

There are a few ways to determine if your HSA or HRA will pay for your sessions at Woodstock Therapeutic Massage. 
·    I would suggest starting off by calling the customer service number for your program and asking for details about "Therapeutic Massage" with your plan.  If a doctor's referral is required, follow the necessary steps to obtain that referral.  
·    Very often with HSA's in particular, the company issues the participants a debit card to use for their medical expenses.  If your company has issued you such a card, we can try to use this to process you payment for your session.  If the charges are declined as a non-medical charge, then we will know that massage is not an immediately covered charge.  If the charge is accepted, then in most cases the fund will pay for the expense.  However, they may always come back and ask for documentation to validate the expense.  We can provide office notes (or SOAP notes) to document, but a referral from your doctor may be required.
·    Ask your fund manager is reimbursement is possible.  Healthcare Reimbursement Accounts (HRA's) do just that.  They reimburse you for your medical expenses.  The good news about this is that even though it often requires more work on your part (submitting the necessary paperwork) very often the funds are provided by your employer and are not your pre-taxed income.  That's right.  I'm talking about FREE MASSAGE here folks!!!

So, check with your Benefits Coordinator at your office to see if these options are available to you.  Depending on when your business has their open enrollment for insurance, you may want to consider implementing one of these plans with your exhisting insurance program if it is available.

These types of plans have been around for a little while, but they are gaining great popularity.  It is very appealing when you think of it as paying 25-40% less or getting your care for free... especially your massage therapy.

Yours In Health, 
Ashley Wilson
~Inspire Someone!


Feeling tense or overwhelmed with stress? Did you know the answer to your problems could be in your feet? What many people don't realize is that your feet are like a roadmap to the rest of your body. The science of reflexology dates back thousands of years-some speculate that it began in Ancient Egypt while other believe the origins lie in the east, traced from India, China, and then to Japan. But the questions remains, what is reflexology?
There are many misconceptions about what reflexology actually is. When some people think of reflexology, they think glorified foot rub. Although I'm never one to knock a foot rub, reflexology is a bit more complex. Both foot massage and reflexology tremendously benefit the local anatomical systems, however reflexology also deals with pressure points on the feet that correlate to various specific parts of the body. The reflex areas are connected to all parts of the body via energy pathways, or channels. By stimulating these reflex areas through a type of compression massage, the therapist is able to clear the energy channels and allow the body's own healing energy to flow uninterrupted. 
So why is reflexology necessary? We have approximately 7,200 nerve endings in our feet alone. The ultimate goal of a reflexology session is to help the body return to its natural balance. Reflexology also assists the body with detoxification, improved circulation, as well as stress reduction and tension relief. Some common types of ailments that have been known to benefit from reflexology are: back pain, thyroid dysfunction, chronic headache/migraine, digestive problems (i.e. constipation, irregularity and chronic indigestion), and it also aids in the stimulation of the Central Nervous System and overall health of the body.
Experience reflexology today!  During the month of October, I am offering reflexology for $40 for your first 45-minute session scheduled with me. (That's $10 off the regular price of $50) Call today to schedule an appointment. I look forward to seeing you soon!

Mallory Merkle
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