Health and Hotness is more than just working out. Yes, we want to burn fat. Yes we want to preserve and/or build muscle. But if you reeeeeally want to live the good life, you’ve got to actually take care of your body. You’ve got to drink water. You’ve got to sleep a reasonable amount. You’ve got to occasionally defend Manhattan from the advances of dragons, pirates, and other undesirable forces.
And you’ve got to take care of your tissue quality. If your muscles are a knotty mess, it’s unlikely you’re moving very well. It can also lead to pain, poor mobility, and emotional sadness (kidding about that last part! …. kinda…) For you actor/dancer types, it’s CRUCIAL. And there’s no more effective way than working with a qualified massage therapist.
Happily for my beloved readers who frequent midtown Manhattan, I know just such a guy. And don’t worry… he’s Patti LuPone approved (seriously, check out the testimoinals on his site).
Ladies and gentleman, I give you Tim Sutton… Ninja Massage Therapist.
MFF: So Tim. You’re a massage magician. Can you tell my readers a little bit about your background? Schooling? Experience? Apprenticing under wizards?
TS: Well, let’s see, I started out at Hogwart’s but transferred early on to the Swedish Institute in New York City since I ultimately wanted to focus my practice on the muggle population. Though, just between you and me, that wizarding lot could definitely benefit from a regular schedule of massage and fitness — lots of carpal tunnel in the wand wrist and lack of cardio fitness for obvious reasons.
I graduated from the Swedish Institute in 1997 and began doing massage full time as soon as I got my license in October of that year. The first half of my career, I juggled different aspects of the massage profession – teaching at the Swedish Institute (6 yrs), spa work and development (9 yrs) and a private practice – before devoting all of my time to my private practice in 2006. I had many great opportunities, including the sports massage team at the U.S. Tennis Open for 2 years and at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. To see a more detailed resume, you can go to my website suttontim.com
I did not apprentice under any wizards after I finished my formal education, but I have learned a lot from colleagues, students, continuing education courses, from receiving massage and, most importantly, from each and every client who has given me the opportunity to work on them.
MFF: Right on. Muggles 1, Wizards 0. Thanks for choosing us! I do my best to explain the value of tissue quality when pursuing health and hotness. However, sometimes it’s a little hard to see how tissue quality is gonna lead to either of those things. Give me your elevator pitch for why people need to make massage work as a regular part of their fitness regime.
TS: It’s not necessarily tissue quality that we are pursuing when we talk about massage and fitness. The ultimate goals of massage with relation to fitness are three-fold — 1. increase blood flow to the muscles and surrounding tissues, 2. assist the body’s own mechanism for removing metabolic waste, 3. promote relaxation.
Whenever we work out, we are putting stress on our musculoskeletal system and many times breaking down the muscle tissue itself. Massage – either generally or specifically depending on the technique being used – floods the musculature with blood; carrying in electrolytes and vital nutrients so that the muscles can function properly and also begin to heal.
One of the results of exercise is the presence of metabolic waste like Lactic Acid in the musculature and surrounding tissues. The lymphatic system is designed to cleanse the tissues and remove these byproducts of metabolic activity, but it is generally a slow process since the system does not have a pumping mechanism like the heart but rather depends on muscle movement to facilitate its activity. (SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE BAD) The lymphatic system works really well dealing with the results of day-to-day activity, but exercise dumps more volume in a shorter amount of time. By manipulating the muscles and surrounding tissues, massage helps to address the overabundance of metabolic waste, assisting in clearing out the space of junk so the muscles can take advantage of the nutrients and electrolytes coming from the blood. In essence, regular massage may facilitate a quicker recovery between workouts.
Finally, our bodies heal when they are relaxed. Massage, even deep massage, can promote a state of relaxation.
MFF: Awesome. Tim speaks the truth kids! You can only train as hard as you can recover; recovery really IS that important! Let’s talk turkey (I hate that term why do I use it oy I could go back and just delete it that seems hard oy I’m just gonna keep typing). How often should people work with a massage professional?
TS: Everybody finds their own pattern of frequency, and, honestly, most of the time, it boils down to money — what can they afford? Regularity is the key here. Whether you are coming every day, once a week, once every other week, or once a month, the most important thing is to find ways to manage the time in-between so that you can stay present in your body the way you are when you leave a session, and to find ways to utilize the information your body gets during the massage. Have you ever been in a massage and thought, “I didn’t know that part of my body was tight.” This type of information is helpful because you can stretch or roll into those areas during your daily workouts and begin to take charge of your body. Finding ways to live in-between massages by using the information you receive during the massage is the key to an optimal relationship with regular massage.
MFF: Is there anything outside of working with a magician like yourself that people can do to take care of their tissue quality?
TS: We’re not re-inventing the wheel, here. A healthy, balanced diet including plenty of fluids, appropriate amounts of sleep, exercise combined with plenty of focused stretching and rolling, some consistent form of meditation (active or sedentary) that facilitates a way for the body to approach life from a “relaxed” place instead of from an “OMG the predator is gonna get me” place.
MFF: What if (HORROR OF HORRORS) one of my readers doesn’t spend their life in midtown Manhattan and can’t work with you in person? A frequent lamentation (BOOM awesome word) in Mark Fisher Fitness world is the sometimes less than stellar qualifications of fitness professionals. Is there anyway to know if a massage therapist is rad before you cough up the beans? Any credentials to look for or questions to ask?
TS: The best way to find a good massage therapist is by word-of-mouth. Ask people you know and trust who they go to, but more importantly, ask them WHY they like the massage from any given person. That will give you information that could help you know whether that therapist will be good for you.
Always find out if they are licensed to work in New York State (which means they have had at least 1000 hours of training).
Most importantly, if possible, talk with the massage therapist prior to scheduling an appointment, then follow your gut. More than anything else, the therapeutic relationship is about trust. A therapist can have awesome technique, but if you aren’t comfortable with him/her as a person the quality of the massage experience will diminish.
MFF: So now my readers are sold on your brilliance and salivating over your expertise and “feel good makin’ skillz”. How can they get in touch with you?
TS: Everything anyone needs to know about me or my work, including my schedule, can be found on my website: suttontim.com , my email is [email protected], and my phone number is 917-687-6508.
Thanks a million.
MFF: Thanks so much Tim! You rule for taking the time to share knowledge bombs!
Well there you have it guys. I hope Tim’s words of wisdom push you over the edge to prioritize massage work as a crucial part of your health and hotness regime! It’s not an indulgence my friends… get into massage work!