My Down Time

This is #6 of 31 posts in 31 days.

It’s Monday!  Most of the time that means that it’s my day off work. Which, of course, translates into banking, paperwork, writing, reading, laundry, housework, business-work, and all things mom-related.  Some days are busier than others.  Often, my Mondays are devoted to business-building or financial work.  Nevertheless, I usually end up doing laundry. (Will it ever end?!)

Since school is still on summer break my Mondays have actually been “true” days “off work.”  All three of us are home!  Today, I have spent my day off mostly in my pajamas!  (I’ve had a shower and been to town, I just changed back to be comfy.)  My five-year-old has pretty much led our day in pretend play.  I love it!  My brain has been needing a little break and following her lead is fun way to accomplish that!

So far today I have taken my pretend-kitty to the pretend-vet, watched Olympic diving, read a library book, danced around the living room, and I *may* have unveiled my old Karate Gi and practiced a little Gung Fu with my daughter.  It’s quite liberating to dance like a crazy lady and then giggle uncontrollably!

Do you ever get days off?  How do you like to spend your down time?  I plan on enjoying the rest of the day/evening with my daughter. What might we do, you ask?  Supper, coloring books, puzzles, massages, and reading.  And whatever else she might dream up!

Down time is important.  It isn’t always easy to find it, but if you can schedule it or discover it by accident, you should enjoy it.  Take advantage, even if it’s only 10 minutes.  Recharging your batteries often is a lot better than crashing and burning!

PS. Downtime is my specialty!  Visit www.thecomfortzonemassage.com to see the different ways you can relax with massage 🙂

Why Should You Get a Massage This Week?

5th post of 31 posts in 31 days

Why should you get a massage this week?

1.  I have a few openings 🙂

2.  A half-hour massage is like a super-charged power nap.  You get to rest for 30 minutes AND get your neck, shoulders and feet rubbed.

3.  You battled massive, cranky school-shopping crowds in order to save the sales tax.  Let’s face it, even though you saved a bundle, scored some deals, and made it through alive, an hour vacation from people just sounds AWESOME.

4.  You’ve been working in the yard or garden and your legs hurt.

5.  Hot towels nestled atop your shoulder muscles for a bit feels AMAZING.

6.  A ninety minute massage can melt your stress, make you  drool, work out your muscle knots, stretch your muscles, relax your mind, recharge your batteries and renew your spirit.

7.  Massage feels good.  Especially on the scalp.  And neck.

There you have it!  7 good reasons you should get a massage this week.  There are many more reasons, but I need something to write about later 😉

Choose a reason and schedule an appointment!

Love and Hugs

#4 of 31 posts in 31 days

I am a massage therapist.  I talk A LOT about massage every day.  I think about it, I read about it,  I talk about it, I practice it.  I touch people.  Healthy, nurturing touch, in my opinion, is one of the most essential basic needs that humans must have to thrive.  Tiny babies come into the world needing to be held, needing to be touched, needing to be nurtured and fed.  Nature’s way of feeding babies involves skin-to-skin contact.  We want to hug and snuggle our toddlers and small children.  We wish our teenagers would hug us more often.  We wish our hugs could fix our teenager’s “problems”.  When we fall in love we lavish attention upon each other.   Couples hold hands, hug, kiss, sit arm-in-arm, and sleep close together.

We crave healthy touch.  We need to feel loved, secure, happy, and not alone.  I am attending a wedding today.  The bride and groom are well past seventy years of age.  Each has been married before.  The groom was married for more than 50 years to the same woman. He cared for her when she was sick.  From what I understand he never left her side, except for work.  They lived a happy, committed married life.  The bride started a life and family with her first husband, only to lose him to cancer at the young age of 38.  She worked, raised children and cared for him when he was sick.  She went on to marry again.  They were married for 29 years, committed and devoted to each other.  He suffered poor health and she never left his side.  She loved and cared for him, as his wife and care-giver.

I am honored to attend this union.  I enjoy seeing the hand-holding, the hugs, and the smiles.  I’ve heard laughing that I haven’t heard in a while.  I see joy.  I see the human connection that we all crave, need and deserve.  I am happy to know that these two people will not have to spend another night alone, wishing for a hand to hold, or searching for a kiss good-night.  Their lives will be enhanced by companionship, their sorrow soothed with hugs, and their future filled with laughter and joy.

As I think about these two people and the benefits of healthy, nurturing touch added to their lives, I look to my own life.  I think I will give my 5-year-old some extra hugs, and hold my husband’s hand while we watch TV.

Progressive Relaxation Exercise

This is post #3 in the 31 posts in 31 days challenge!  

Progressive Relaxation is a fantastic process to learn.  You can use progressive relaxation to reduce stress, pin-point and prevent muscle tension, relieve muscle tension, fight insomnia and help with anxiety.  It is a simple process that requires you to slow down and focus on each different muscle group slowly.  By taking the time to focus and exert control over your muscles, over time you may be able to notice when you are holding tension in certain areas when you are working.  Maybe you shrug and tense your shoulders when you are angry.  You might clench your teeth and jaws while typing a report.  The sooner you notice these things the sooner you can relieve the tension and hopefully prevent or reduce painful symptoms.

I found the following Progressive Relaxation Exercise at Natural Touch Marketing.  I use the exercise myself and I recommend it to my clients.

Lie down or sit in a chair, wherever you are comfortable.  You will tense and hold each body part for about 10 seconds and then release it completely for at least 10 seconds.  Count to yourself silently from one to ten.

1. Clench your right fist, tighten the right arm and hold them tight.  Completely relax them, and then clench again.  Relax.  Now clench and relax your left arm in the same manner.  Now observe how your hands and arms feel.

2. Stretch your right leg out.  Draw the toes of the right foot toward the knee, tighten the whole leg, and hold.  Relax and then stretch and tighten again.  Relax completely.  Now do the left leg.  Now point the toes of the right foot, tense and hold.  Relax.  Left leg next.  Relax completely and observe how your legs feel.

3. Draw together the shoulder blades.  Tense and hold.  Relax completely and tense them again.  Relax.

4. Exhale and pull the abdomen in tightly and hold.  Inhale, and relax completely.  Again exhale and pull the abdomen in tightly and hold.  Inhale and relax.  Now observe how your back, chest and abdomen feel.

5. Tighten the muscles around your eyes and mouth, and hold.  Relax and repeat.  Relax completely.

6. Now breathe and observe your body.  Notice how you feel.  Do you feel differently?

This is great for those times you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep.  I also recommend doing this exercise regularly when trying to figure out why a certain muscle group always hurts or becomes tense.  Try it and tell us what you think!

Migraine Q & A

This is day 2 of the “31 posts in 31 days” blogging challenge. 

 Q- I know there are many things out there for headaches, but I’d like to hear what you have to say.  I have recently weened myself off of my Topomax due to the negative findings related to the drug for migraines.  I am having headaches almost everyday but not at all like the migraines before.  What do you recommend I do between massages? 

A- I visited MayoClinic.com to research this question.  I work mainly with tension headaches so I wanted to get accurate information about migraines.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that some of the same things that I recommend for tension headaches are recommended for migraine headaches.


Please consult with a doctor before using or discontinuing any medications.  I am not suggesting anyone stop medications, simply suggesting a few things to do at home to hopefully prevent headaches. 

These tips are taken from the website www.mayclinic.com, but they are also things I recommend to people suffering from headaches.

*Muscle Relaxation Exercises- Progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, and yoga.  You may also try spending at least a half-hour per day doing something fun!

*Get Enough Sleep- The average adult needs 6-8 hours of sleep each night.  Your body likes to go to bed and wake up at the same times, too.

*Rest and Relax

*Headache Diary- Keeping a headache diary is great way to figure out headache triggers.  You may discover a food trigger or hormone trigger.  Learning these things may make it easier to adjust things to reduce headaches.

*Manual Therapy- Massage Therapy and Chiropractic treatments may help reduce the frequency of migraines.

In between massage sessions, you could practice progressive relaxation techniques (tomorrow’s post!), and self head and neck massage.   If you work at a computer take frequent breaks, adjust your chair and monitor, and move around as much as you can.

Do you suffer from migraines?  Do you have a way to prevent or relieve the pain? Please share in the comments!

PS.  I fight headaches with my bare hands atwww.thecomfortzonemassage.com 🙂 

Relaxation Massage

I have taken a challenge from a fellow blogger to post 31 times in 31 days!  Let’s hope I can make it!  Please, if there is a question or topic you want to know more about e-mail me or ask it in the comments.

I am a full time Licensed Massage Therapist working with different types of people.  I believe that a fantastic relaxation massage is a great foundation to have when addressing common aches and pains, shoulder pain, lower back pain, headaches, and stress relief.  These issues are the issues that are presented to me every day.  How do I begin to help these people?  Relaxation massage.  Almost every one I see has some sort of “problem area” or area of discomfort.  I pay special attention to these areas and utilize many techniques for pain relief.  At the core of it all, though, are my relaxation techniques.  It makes sense to me to relax the whole person, as well as “dig in” to the problem areas.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to have an entire hour (or more) to receive a blissful, relaxing massage, complete with a scalp massage AND some trigger points, friction, and deep kneading on tight shoulders?

The National Institutes of Health has written a nice article about massage therapy.  It is a general description with some positive statements.  Humans have a basic need for touch.  Massage Therapy is a great way to administer and teach healthy, nurturing touch.

Well, how is my first post of the challenge?  Please put post ideas in the comment section!  I can’t wait to see what I write about tomorrow!  (That’s right, I am going to fly by the seat of my pants!  Not too much planning…)

PS.  If it’s been a while since you’ve had a Fantastic Relaxation Massage, visit my website and schedule an appointment!

www.thecomfortzonemassage.com

Should I Drink Water After a Massage?

Since I have encountered a minor case of The Writer’s Block, I asked the land of Facebook to present me with questions for a Q & A post.  Only one person responded, but with a FANTASTIC question.  A question that is important, as it addresses one of the many “Myths of Massage.”

Q: “Why is it important for me to drink plenty of water after getting a massage?  What will happen if I don’t?  What will happen if I drink other fluids?”

A: It is not important to drink water just because you got a massage.  If you don’t drink water after a massage you probably won’t die or suffer in any way.  If you drink other fluids, you will be fine.  Coffee will keep you awake and too much alcohol will get you drunk.  

OK, I can hear you freaking out over there, but I’m serious.  It is a common “Myth of Massage” that a person must consume water after receiving massage.  It has been passed down through the “generations” that massage therapy somehow releases “toxins” in the body and water will “flush it out.”  I will admit to you all right now, I was taught this.  I repeated this to clients for SEVEN AND A HALF YEARS.  I wrote about toxins for two years in another blog.  (I deleted it when I discovered I was passing on incorrect information.)

I must interject, WATER IS NECESSARY FOR LIFE, I am NOT saying that water isn’t important.  I am saying it isn’t ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to drink water to flush toxins after a massage.  I offer water to each and every client at the end of his/her massage because I tend to be thirsty after a massage.  My mouth gets dry, much like after a nap.  I offer the water because he/she might be thirsty.

The last year or so of my life has been dedicated to learning more about the body and massage.  I have discovered a science-based person who wrote a great article, full of chemistry, biology, anatomy and physiology to fully answer this question.   This article has a lot of science in it, but he throws in a little sarcasm and humor.  You can check it out here .  And I must say, the video he links to by Laura Allen is awesome!  She is one the greats in the massage world!  She is someone I look up to, I even have one of her books.

So, I’ve admitted to be wrong, rocked your world about toxins and water, and let someone else answer the question.  How’s that for my first  Q & A?!  This question is asked by hundreds of people every day, so I hope I have helped spread the truth a bit.

The Waiting Room Headache

Do you ever get the feeling that you are different? I stuck out like a sore thumb today!  While sitting in a waiting room, I noticed that almost everyone is reading something. Several people were reading magazines, two people were reading electronic tablets, and one person had a book. I, too, had a magazine to read. However, I looked a little different.

All the people held their reading material in their laps. Heads were thrust forward, shoulders sagging, and backs were all wadded up like an upright fetal position. Comfy, right? And then there was me. I held my magazine directly in front of my face. I looked as if I was hiding! You know, hiding in plain sight like on a sitcom.  “You can’t POSSIBLY see me with this magazine covering my face!”  I don’t know if I looked like a fool or not, but I know I looked different from everyone else.

 

It’s amazing what I notice when surrounded by people. I am in the business of pain relief and I have gotten pretty good at spotting pain. The people who stared into their laps all day probably ended up with a headache. And neck pain. And shoulder pain. Holding the reading material in front of your face helps hold your head up. The neck muscles don’t have to strain or pull on the back of your skull causing eye-gauging pain. Well, it *might* not be eye-gauging but it could be. Why risk it?

What did I do differently? I sat with *mostly* good posture while holding the magazine up to my eye level. I also stood up and walked around periodically. Sitting for long periods is hard on the body. After I rode in the car for an hour, sat in a waiting room for three hours, and rode home an hour, I was EXHAUSTED! And my shoulders hurt a little bit. I tried to walk around frequently and still ended up in pain.

The next time you have to wait somewhere and you whip out your phone or magazine try holding it closer to your eye level. It works, trust me! If it’s too late and your neck and shoulders already hurt please visit my schedule to see if there is a massage opening for you. It’s easy! Choose a service then a day/time.

See you soon!

A Certain Pain in the Neck

Neck Pain.  A pain in the neck.  Unable to turn the neck one way or the other.  It burns.  It stabs.  It ACHES.  And it just won’t go away!  You know what I’m talking about.  Well, know what I’m talking about because, some days MY neck hurts!  And do you know what?  I don’t like when my neck hurts!  Yes, I stretch.  Yes, I get a massage week (really).   But I like to know WHY my neck hurts.  Or why YOUR neck hurts.  So I investigate.

There are many causes of neck pain in our every day lives.  Driving, talking on the phone, lifting, reading, and a thousand other things can cause neck pain.  But there’s a cause for burning neck pain right under your nose…literally.

I thought for a while that my vigorous work schedule was the cause of my neck pain.  I hurt while giving massage, after giving massage, at home on the computer, and even just sitting to watch TV.  I couldn’t figure it out.  And then…

In an effort to reduce my discomfort one evening while on Facebook  blogging, I put a pillow under my laptop to raise the screen closer to my eyes.  Aha!  It only took me two days to figure out the cause of my pain!  The laptop!  I spend several hours a night with my face buried in the laptop, sometimes working, sometimes just reading stuff.  Well, let me tell you, the lap is no place for a laptop!

When the laptop is directly in your lap your head is tilted down and forward.   (Check right now!)  One or more hours in this position puts a huge strain on ALL of your neck muscles!  And shoulder muscles.  And mid-back muscles.  And lower back muscles.  Should I go on?

So what now?  No laptop on the lap?  All things in moderation, I suppose.  For me, if I have a big work project like working on my website, the laptop and I will be at the kitchen table.  It isn’t perfect, but it is an improvement.  And for the casual internet surfing, webinar, and blogging?  I put one or two pillows between the laptop and my lap.   I’m looking into some kind of tray or portable desk.  I also take breaks, stretch and rotate the neck muscles.   And massage!  I get massage 🙂

The next time you have a burning pain in your neck, try to find what’s causing the pain.  Then find a way to lessen the pain.  Visit my website to see if there is a massage right for you!  www.thecomfortzonemassage.com  

6 Steps to Fight Your Headache

Headaches.  I’m sure this word brings a series of wonderful words to mind if you suffer them.  Many of my clients tell me they suffer from frequent headaches.  Headaches aren’t fun.  I decided to write about headaches today because my head hurts.  I don’t like it and I feel like whining.  Since whining isn’t helping I decided to use this energy for good!  I did a few things to make my head feel better and thought, “HEY!  I could write this in my blog for someone else with a headache to read!”  So, here you go.  Six steps to Fight Your Headache.  I tried to make it five but I really didn’t want to leave any of these steps out because they all work together.

1. Neck Rotations

You don’t even have to get up!  Start by looking over each shoulder.  Slowly.  Relax your shoulders and straighten your spine so your chest is open.  SLOWLY turn your head to look over your left ear.  SLOWLY move to look over your right ear.  Do this 3-5 times slowly.  (See the trend?)  Now rotate your head so that your chin moves in a circle towards your chest, from side to side.  Do this 4-5 times.

2. Shoulder Rotations

Take a deep breath to relax your shoulders.  Now move your shoulders in circles, forward and backward.  5, 10 to 15 times feels great.  This gets the blood moving and the muscles start to loosen.  Now shake them out a little bit.  

3. Massage Your Neck

Take one hand, with fingers together, and make a “C.”  Put this “C” on your neck vertically.  Now move your fingers.  You can squeeze, push, shake, push, or pull.  Whatever feels good at the time.  Massage each side of the neck for a bit.  1-3 minutes should be great.  Or stop when your arm starts to hurt. 

4. Pressure

At the base of your skull there are two indentations on the side of neck.  These are a great place to apply pressure to relieve headaches.  Once you’ve found these indentations take one thumb and push into one side.  Hold for about 10 seconds.  You may push lightly or you could push very hard, whichever feels best at the time.  Push 3 times on each side.

5. Face Massage

Take your fingertips and rub circles into your forehead.  30 seconds to a minute feels good.  Rub gentle circles at the temples for as long as you like.  Rub your eyebrows.  You can apply direct pressure to your brows and cheekbones.  These areas can use a little more pressure.  Now rub big circles on your cheeks.

6. Scalp Massage

Lift your hands.  Spread your fingers out and bend them a bit to look like a claw.  Put your “claws” on your scalp and rub.  Fast.  Slow.  Deep.  Gentle.  Circles.  Lines.  ANY and ALL of them!  The people around you may look  at you funny because you might be moaning and groaning by now!  Do this scalp massage as long as you want to.  

Hopefully your head feels better now!  Mine does.  Even if your headache isn’t completely gone it should feel a lot better now.  You’re welcome 🙂

I give this advice to my clients and I hope it helps you!  I like to tell people that I fight headaches with my bare hands!  

Did it work?  How does your head feel?