Sunday, October 19, 2008

Entire Class of Massage Students ABDUCTED!! Alien spaceship seen over massage school!

Sunday. October 19th. 7:30 pm. The last day of student clinic was winding to a close. The clinic had been successful one and the students were proud of themselves. The clients had come in the door tense and left relaxed. I thought everything was going well.....until the next day, that is.

Monday. October 20th. 9:12 am. No one had shown up for class yet. It wasn't like them to be late, except for Little Red. He burst in the door. "They've ....... all ....... been ...... TAKEN!" he stammered between labored breaths.

"What? Who? Who's been taken?", I asked.

Again the answer came between ragged breaths, "My ...... classmates ......... and ......... they ........ almost ........ got ........ me."

Monday. October 20th. 9:16 am. I turned it over and over in my head. Who could have abducted an entire class of massage students? The Mafia? Aliens? The FBI? The NSA? The military? The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills?

"NO!!!!!" Screamed Little Red, catching his breath at last after the long run across the parking lot, "it was the ..... the ..... the ..... CLIENTS!!!"

Oh my, I had heard comments all last week from clients stating that they wanted to take their student therapists home with them, but I did not think it would lead to this.

I called 911 and waited for what seemed like an eternity when the black and white pulled up with two of Lake Charles' finest. "Good morning, ma'am, what seems to be the problem?"

"An entire class of students has been abducted by their clients from last week's student clinic," I explained. The two officers exchanged nervous glances. "Why would anyone kidnap an entire class of massage students? What motive could they possibly have?" the taller officer asked.

"Obviously, you two have never had a massage. Little Red, give the officers a quick chair massage." Twenty minutes later, the officers had a better understanding of the situation. "Ms. Salvo, we're taking Mr. Red down to the station for further ....... uh ...... questioning. We'll get back to you when we finish our investigation." I never heard from Little Red again, but crime in our town is down 20% and our city's police officers look more refreshed than ever.

I guess abduction (alien or not) is just one of the everyday job hazards in our line of work.

Martha Stewart - are you ready for a sheet folding THROWDOWN?

TWO CHAMPIONS IN THEIR FIELDS - Domestic Diva Martha Stewart, takes on challenger Susan Salvo in the ULTIMATE SHEET FOLDING THROWDOWN! We go now to the challenger's dressing room for a special interview.

"While I may not cook like Bobby Flay, the star of Food Network's show Throwdown, I can outdo anyone in the laundry room." says Salvo.

Salvo continues, "During student massage clinic, we average about 3 to 4 overflowing baskets of linens per day. The school uses a linen service for class, but during clinic, more linens are used so I haul them back home to wash."
"Loads and loads of linens make their way through the 3 machines - the washer, the dryer, and finally ME, the folding machine. I'm fast. I'm tenacious. I'm totally methodical. And I'm unstoppable." remarks Salvo.
After further questions, Salvo says that the massage table is perfect for the repetitive slinging and stacking of sheets. She adds, "My husband and teenage daughter, Chelsea, don't try to help me with the linens - I don't want them to - they just slow me down. Picture the Tasmanian Devil spinning through a clothesline at 90 miles per hour and leaving a pile of neatly stacked rectangles in his wake. That's me. Dillards and J.C. Penney have offered me jobs in the linen department. Hotels and hospitals want me to give seminars to their housekeeping staff. Dry cleaners are all envious of my extreme folding skills."

Salvo continues, "By early morning, all the linens have been washed, neatly folded, and stacked symmetrically in laundry baskets, which my husband loads into the back of my minivan. And while I'm grateful for his assistance in loading, I'm secretly glad that the neighbors are still asleep and don't see him in all his morning glory - boxer shorts, tousled hair, and bleary eyes. Then it's back to the massage school for another day of student clinic. Needless to say, I gets lots of practice during the four weeks of student clinic."

At the end of the interview, Salvo smiles and states that she hopes Martha Stewart is feeling frisky and she might even "cut Mrs. Stewart some slack and only fold with my left hand."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Increasing Student Success

We all want to succeed. Massage instructors want their students to succeed. Massage schools want their graduates to succeed. Massage school graduates want to succeed, which means passing licensing exams.

The key to learning is repetition. That deserves an encore. The key to learning is repetition. To help students pass their licensing exams, administer practice exams while they are still in school! Start administering these exams about 3 months prior to graduation. Use or compile a question bank (more later) and generate at least 3 practice exams. Administer these exams at regular intervals. Once students receive their scores, give them the correct answer and explain why it’s the correct answer. Then, let them keep their corrected exam as a study guide.

If your school uses my textbooks, a question bank with 400 items is available on the Elsevier’s EVOLVE website. Registration is required to access these and other great resources, but they are free if your school uses Massage Therapy: Principles and Practice or Mosby’s Pathology for Massage Therapists. Both students and instructors can register. Instructors have access to all student resources as well as instructor resources. Here is the URL

Please share what has worked for you. This is one area we all need help with!

The Horror of Hurricanes...

I'm not sure what is worse - the physical damage caused by the storms or the emotional upheaval that is the combination of: the media frenzy, the local goverment's overreaction (or underreaction), the preparation work (boarding of windows, removal of possible wind borne projectiles), the evacuation with its inevitable road gridlock, the worry and wonder about property and loved ones during the time away from home, the financial burden caused by evacuation or damage, the exhaustion of riding the storm out, the question of deciding whether to rebuild or relocate, the worry of whether this was just the 100 year storm or result of climate change, the realization that we may have to deal with this every 3 to 5 years from now on, orthe frustration of dealing with FEMA, insurance companies, and government assistance programs.

We were fortunate. Rita devasted southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas in 2005 and yet it has become "the forgotten storm". Eclipsed by Katrina's effect upon New Orleans, our little corner of the state has been all but forgotten. We were impacted by Rita, 14 trees down, 18 holes in the roof, carport, patios, screen porches destroyed. Miraculously, we were functional within 2 weeks! Most of our neighbors were not as fortunate. The storm surge from Rita produced a 3 foot flood of water from the Contraband Bayou along our street. Our home was not affected but others were. THE PHOTOS BELOW ARE FROM RITA IN 2005:

The Hawsey home across the street
One of the 14 trees down on our home

This year, 2008, produced several other hurricane disasters for the Louisiana coast. The first was Hurricane Edouard. Next was Gustav. Then came Ike, the biggest storm to hit the Gulf of Mexico since the 1900.

Our Back Patio Before Ike

Our Back Patio During Ike

Ike pushed a tremendous wall of water that surpassed the flooding of Rita. Our street took 4 foot of water this time and the lake overran the seawall and flooded the downtown area. Fortunately, the trees were all gone and damage from wind was minimal by comparison.

For all of you who have called or emailed, thank you for your concern. My family is doing well. We watch as 12 of our neighbors try to sell their homes or rebuild.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Trade Secret #1

What keeps you hydrated, has beneficial antioxidants, and offers a little kick?
It's that good old southern standard - Iced Tea. And that's fresh brewed, unsweetened ice tea - no instant mixes, no lemon, no sugar, no nutrasweet, no splenda. At first, it took a little getting used to, but now it is my personal standard of drink. When I have a full day of massage, I keep an insulated, lidded cup in my massage room so I can drink this amazing beverage (through a straw- so I won’t have to touch the cup during the session or stain my teeth with the tea).

I even replaced drinking water at the gym with drinking ice tea. I usually keep quiet about it in class, but one day I had a see-through straw. As I was drinking, my instructor saw the brown-colored liquid going up the straw and I was busted! She gave me a long lecture about the importance of water. I asked her to try it sometime. Now she drinks tea during class. Go figure.

My recipe: First, use quality ingredients. I like Tazo Awake Tea. I use a coffee pot and put 5-6 tea bags into the top basket (where coffee grinds go). Fill up the water container to 12 cups and press “go.” While it is brewing, place 5 half-gallon pitchers on the counter. When the first tea batch is made, pour the tea in equal amounts into all 5 pitchers. Using the same tea bags, make a second pot of tea. When the second tea batch is made, again, pour the tea in equal amounts into all 5 pitchers. Repeat the process until all 5 pitchers are full. Let the tea sit on the counter until cool, put on the lids and put it in the fridge.

Now, you have 5 pitchers of delicious ice tea with only about 1 tea bag per half-gallon. If you need a slightly stronger tea, instead of increasing the tea bag count, place a coffee filter in the basket before the tea bags. This will keep the water in the basket a little longer and produce a slightly stronger tea.

Lastly, I don't always have time to brew up a fresh batch when I need it most. So, learn the restaurants in your area that serve fresh brewed unsweetened tea. Avoid anything that comes out of the same dispensers as carbonated beverages as these are made from concentrate and are inferior beverages. Most coffee shops and sandwich shops still brew their own. From there, it's a matter of personal preference about the ice - cubed, half-moon, cylindrical, crushed, cracked, etc.; but then, that's another story...

Let me know your trade secrets.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Insomnia - an author's best friend

It's 6 o'clock in the morning and I can smell the aroma of coffee drifting up the stairs from the kitchen. Mike has done his nightly magic and set the timer to percolate another pot of java (the baby boomer generation's equivalent of Red Bull). I've been up for a little more than two hours now, trying to put the finishing touches on the 2nd edition of the pathology book. I'm almost a year past the original deadline and it's scheduled to be on the shelf in December. Fortunately, I work well under pressure - I can't sleep worth a darn, but I do work well.

Powered by sugar and caffeine, I begin work on "THE BLOG". Sounds like a 50's horror movie. I envision a place where students can critique my work, catch my mistakes, and make suggestions for future editions of my books; a place where teachers can exchange ideas about teaching anatomical science and massage therapy; and hopefully, a place where all (including myself) can be entertained in the process (hopefully without being consumed by a gelatinous mass of red protoplasm).