Why Does My Stomach Grumble in a Massage?

Working as a massage therapist ย I’ve learned how to pick up on subtle clues from you to see how the treatment is going. Sometimes you let out an audible sigh with a small smile. Often you tell me, “That feels good right there.” Or “you found the sore spot!”

Other signs of relaxation or enjoyment are not easy to see. Slowed breathing, un-clenched hands, and un-tensing muscles aren’t shining beacons of light to the untrained eye, but they are all things I pay attention to. I want you to be relaxed on the massage table. You should be comfortable and able to rest during your massage. Most of the time your body will settle in to the work and I can see or feel it.

Headache relief with scalp massage
Headache relief with scalp massage

Sometimes I can even hear your body switch from un-relaxed to relaxed. Yep, that’s right. I can hear your body begin to rest. And so can you! Actually, many of you make a comment about this not-so-subtle sign of rest: “I’m so sorry my stomach is growling, I’m not even hungry! It’s so loud.”

This is how I know your body is comfortably resting.

Your body’s autonomic nervous system has three divisions: sympathetic, parasympathetic, and enteric. The sympathetic nervous system is commonly associated with the “fight or flight” response. It’s not uncommon to be in a state of fight or flight during the work-day. You are dealing with stress, driving, meeting deadlines, etc. Your body isn’t usually “at rest” while working. Your energy is used in your activities.

The parasympathetic nervous system is associated with “rest and digest.”

Certain bodily functions happen while at rest: salivation, urination, defecation, and digestion. Your body’s digestive system begins working when you rest or relax. What happens when the digestive system works? It moves and makes grumble-y/growl-y noises!*

Almost every single massage client I’ve worked on this past decade has experienced a grumble-y stomach.

I can even pin-point when your stomach will growl: half-way through the treatment. Sometimes it happens earlier, sometimes later, but it almost always happens. And I smile because I know your autonomic nervous system is responding how you want and need it to.

Your body needs time to “rest and digest.” What better way than with a massage? Please, don’t be embarrassed by your growling stomach, it’s how I know I’m doing a good job!

 

Ways to Fight Off Pain While Working

Is there such a thing as Workplace Pain Relief? Sure. Just incorporate a little self-awareness into your day. Even small moments of focus, stretching or moving can help your body.

Most of you don’t have the option to take frequent breaks while working. You have a schedule and rules to follow so it’s not like you can lay down for an afternoon nap or take a walk whenever you feel like it. So what can you do?

Desk Warriors:

  • Make sure your monitor, keyboard, mouse and chair are all adjusted properly to your height and posture.
  • Once an hour stand up and stretch, shimmy and shake your body for one full minute.
  • Try these stretches for your back, you don’t even have to stand up!
  • Massage your face and scalp periodically to prevent or treat a headache.
  • Massage your shoulders once every couple of hours.
  • Get up and move around any chance you get (without getting in trouble)
  • Walking to the bathroom? Do shoulder rotations, neck rolls, and some stretching on the way. And skip. Skipping is fun.

Stand-All-Day Warriors:

  • Swing your arms occasionally. Yes, just like a little kid waiting in line.
  • Same as above, try some neck and shoulder rotations.
  • Change positions with your feet/legs often. Try not to lock into position.
  • Low back pain? Bend over toward your toes and just hang your arms there for good minute. Yeah, that feels pretty good. Just remember to not hold your neck up. Let your head hang, too.
  • Do the Hokey Pokey. Or the Macarena. Heck, do the Cupid Shuffle if that’s stuck in your head. Just move around!

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Walk-Briskly-All-Day-Warriors:

  • Wear good shoes. And replace them when they wear out. Your entire body will thank you.
  • Swing your arms while walking a couple times a day. (But don’t hit people in the hall, they might hit back.)
  • Stop and stretch every couple of hours.
  • Lunch break? If you have a place that you can, lie down on your back, raise your knees to your chest and breath for a minute. Then slowly drop your knees to one side and then the other. Ahhh, that’s nice.
  • Do the bend over toward your toes thing from above.
  • Actually take your break if you’re allowed one.
  • And skip!

Are these miracle cures for all pain? No. Will they help your muscles and break up the monotony of your day? Absolutely. Plus, if you and your co-workers break out in the Hokey Pokey or Cupid Shuffle there’s bound to be laughter and smiles. Laughter makes everything better.

PS I’ve a heard that minute or two of twerking might make your back feel better after long hours of sitting or driving. I’m not saying you should just start doing this at work or anything but what you do at home is your business ๐Ÿ˜‰

Embrace

In a world in which we work side-by-side for hours on end, ย why has it been days since our last hug?

In a time when our family is all under one roof, why aren’t we holding someone’s hand?

When words aren’t enough to extend comfort to a hurting friend, why don’t we share an embrace?

While our children melt down during homework, why don’t we wrap an arm around their shoulder?

Why are we reluctant to reach out to those we care about?

We hold our babies tight to our chest day in and day out because we know they need it. Did you know we need it as teens, too? And young adults, parents and grandparents?

Children feel more than love with regular hugging. They feel safe, secure, capable, confident and calm. They could experience less anxiety and fear. We need that as adults, as well.

We often think about and give gifts during December. Why don’t we add to the material gifts we buy and add a few things into our daily routine.

Remember all the bedtime and morning hugs with our toddler/preschool aged children? They wanted one more hug, one more story. Let’s offer our teen one extra hug good night every night. (Don’t force it, offer it)

Let’s send our kids off to school with hugs and kisses. Let’s greet them at home with high-fives and hugs.

Homework time is when they need us the most. Arguing over homework will drain us all. Let’s try calm voices and a steady hand on their back. Tears welling up in their eyes? Offer a hug before pushing them on. (Hint: this will calm us down as well as them!)

Let’s hold hands with our family as we watch our favorite shows. Teen doesn’t want to watch? Let’s invite them to join us with their electronic device. We can sit next to them and extend a hand.

Let’s hug our best friend when we see them next. Or at least offer a two-handed hand shake.

We rush around every day in order to get things done so let’s slow down at home. Let’s leave the supper dishes to play with the children. Let’s put off the laundry to go visit the grandparents/aunt/uncle who would be surprised by a hug.

Let us hold hands at dinner, hug during homework and embrace as we separate for the day. Let us hug our family to give them confidence to get through the day.

A Moment

We raked leaves Saturday afternoon. When I say we raked leaves I mean we raked LEAVES. I think there is around a ton and a half in our yard. Give or take. As we were making and moving large piles our 6-year-old was running around.

“Daddy, can I jump in the leaves?”

Being the awesome dad that he is he scooted together a large pile of leaves especially for her to jump into. She was instructed to stay out of all the other piles, only jump in that one big pile.

“Look at me, mommy!” followed by a sprint, jump and leaf-scattering landing ๐Ÿ™‚

Next up, running in circles around the leaves before jumping into the middle. “Heeeeeeee, yeah!”

“You try it, mommy!”

I threw my rake to the ground and promptly trotted over to leaf pile and jumped feet first into the middle! Oh, she was pleasantly surprised. We took turns jumping for a few minutes before I returned to work.

I looked up to see the widest smile, the fastest run with a “WAHOO!” She was running and playing at full speed. No filter. No jogging. No thinking. No worrying.

Just being. In her moment. In her game. In her joy.

When was the last time you had a moment like that? Just joy? Or just a laugh? Or just an “ahhh” moment? Nothing creeping into your your thoughts about what to do next, what’s left undone.

Act like a kid sometime soon. Take a moment or two to enjoy something. Relish a view. Cherish a smile. Extend the length of a hug. Smile for no reason other than it feels good.

And then yell “WAHOO!” at the top of your lungs ๐Ÿ™‚

Black Friday Sale

Massage gift certificates will be on sale for one week only!

**Black Friday Sale**

November 29, 2013 through December 6, 2013

Buy 2 60 minute massages get a coupon for 30 minutes FREE!

Gift certificates will have a 2 year expiration and the coupon is valid until January 31, 2014

Spend $100 get $30 free!

blackfridaypic

Why Should I Get a Back or Body Scrub?

Why should I get a back or body scrub? What is it?

Simply put: I use my hands to apply a salt or sugar scrub in small circles either on your back or most of your body to remove dry, dull skin.

I don't have a picture of a scrub so here is a foot massage.
I don’t have a picture of a scrub so here is a foot massage.

Still don’t know if you want one? Check this out:

  • A gentle scrub removes the dead, dry skin that results from tanning in a tanning bed. It doesn’t take off the tan but it does remove the blotchy dull stuff that can make your skin look a little funny. Scrubs make it smooth.
  • Periodic scrubbing makes the skin feel silky smooth. And I quote a client, “After my scrub my husband touched my arm to tell me something. And then he touched it again. He just kept rubbing my arm saying ‘Wow!’ He even sat by me on the couch!” If you have rough spot a gentle scrub could help that even out a bit.
  • They smell fantastic! I use either a Wild Pomegranate or Chocolate Scrub. Yum!
  • Did I mention the body butter after? Oh, yeah, I almost forgot that part. You get rubbed down with either a matching oil or body butter for extra smoothness. So if you get this with a massage you get a second, shorter massage because I can’t help but knead the muscles while applying the oil!
  • It adds time to your service if you choose a scrub as an add-on. Yep, a little more time to be in The Comfort Zone away from your phone, work and other stress inducers. A little more music, a little more aromatherapy, a little more alone-time. Oh, yeah.
  • Lots and lots of hot towels. You are wrapped in hot towels and then the scrub is removed with them. Oh my bliss!

You’re thinking about it now, aren’t you? Just try the back scrub with your next massage. It’s only $5 and you can see if you like how if feels and smells. It isn’t easy to scrub your own back so why not have me do it?

PS Oh! I forgot the best one! The back scrub feels like someone scratching your whole back, top to bottom and side to side. Feels A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. What are you waiting for?

Scalp Massage, Yes, Please

You’re laying there warm and still, your body so limp from the hour of a kneading and rubbing that you can’t tell the difference between the massage table and your body. Your chest rises and falls ever-so-slowly as you listen to the waves crash into the imaginary beach in the corner. Sigh. Sigh. Sigh. You aren’t ready to uncover yourself to climb off the warm cozy table. Isn’t there a snooze button at the end of a massage?

Just 10 more minutes, pleeeeeaaaaase….

Headache relief with scalp massage
Headache relief with scalp massage

Yes, you can keep your eyes closed for just a bit longer. Yes, you may rest your arms under the soft sheet and blanket for 10 minutes more. Please don’t move yet, I’m just starting the grand finale of your already-awesome massage experience.

 

My hands will massage your scalp for 10 more minutes. Ten solid, uninterrupted minutes of hair and scalp massage. All ten of my fingers shall knead the skin of your scalp releasing built-up tension. I will do my absolute best to caress your headache away.

Extended scalp massage could very well be the thing that takes your 90% relaxation rate all the way to 100%. Don’t be left with an ounce of tension. Hit the snooze button on your massage. Ask for an extended scalp massage and be prepared, you might drool.

Simple Ways to Activate Breast Cancer Awareness

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. So how can you be more aware? I mean, you probably already know that breast cancer affects thousands of women every year. But did you know that “about 1 in 8 U.S. women (just under 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.?”ย According to Breastcancer.org about 2,240 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in men in 2013. Yep, men can get breast cancer, too.

Let’s help each other out, be more aware. Sure, you can wear pink and post a color to your Facebook wall to “raise awareness,” but we can do more. How many people in your community are currently in treatment for breast cancer? Do you know of anyone specifically? Now that we are aware what can we do? How can we activate our awareness?

  • When you see pink: remind yourself to do a self-breast exam. Or remind your best friend/mother/sister/spouse or anyone you care about.
  • Share with your peeps this great chart explaining the best way to do a self-exam. Thank you, nationalbreastcancer.org!
  • Offer to drive someone to a treatment. This often takes several hours. You could provide good company or silent support.
  • Can’t take off work to drive someone? Send gas or lunch money. If you think it might be awkward to hand someone money simply put it in a nice card and mail it. Not much is better than surprise snail mail ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Drive a loved one to their mammogram appointment. Those can be scary and uncomfortable. Make a day of it! Go to lunch, go shopping and make it a “me” day.
  • Make a meal or send a gift certificate to someone in treatment. Even if they are responding well to treatment fatigue is often unavoidable. And people need to eat.
  • Offer to mow the lawn, rake the leaves, clean the tubs, or mop the floors. Again, fatigue is real. This may take some asking, be gentle and loving. If they refuse that’s fine because the simple fact that you asked will show them you care.
  • Donate money to the research/fundraiser of your choice.

What would you add to this list? How can we be more aware of those in our own community?

We Carry Our Children

We carry our children, don’t we? We carry them in our body, cradling them in safe, warm darkness with the rhythm of our heartbeats a steady comfort.

We carry them in our arms, cradling their head in the crook of our arm, firmly pressing their little bodies to our breast. The darkness is gone but the rhythm of our heartbeat remains a constant, our caress still warm and safe.

We carry them on our hips, their heads held high with shining smiles. Our heartbeats remain close, chest to chest, cheek to cheek. Our grip tightens with added healthy growth.

We carry them to bed. We carry them to the laundry room. We carry them to the store. We carry them to church. We carry them on walks. We carry them to the doctor. We carry them to grandparents.

We carry them where ever we go.

It never seems to hurt at the time. We do it so much we don’t really feel it. We just carry them.

Maybe it’s difficult to rise up out of a chair. Maybe it’s a struggle to get comfortable in the bed. Maybe the bending to pick them up is painful. But we don’t really feel it, do we?***

***This may be where you expect me to say, “Put the baby down.” Each mother/family has her/its own way of taking care of baby. I would never presume to tell a baby-wearer to put her baby down or suggest that babies don’t need to be held. However, I know that taking care of a baby is physically and emotionally demanding so I won’t act like I have all the answers. There are many bouncers and swings to hold a small baby for short periods of time. There are also baby-carrying slings. Or maybe someone there can do the chore while you snuggle the baby? Maybe there is someone there to snuggle the baby while you do the chore? I can’t tell anyone that they should put their baby down. All I have are some basic self-care suggestions.

  • Try to switch sides with the baby often so you aren’t bearing the weight on only one side.
  • Try different carriers or slings that work well with you and your baby.
  • Try to rest when you can. (This one may be laughable to some, but I have to say it.)
  • Try squatting to pick up your child instead of stooping over.
  • Stretch your muscles. Is there a gym nearby? Join a yoga class or buy a DVD.
  • Take a walk by yourself. And swing your arms while you do it. Move, move, move the arms since you hold them in one position so often.
  • Self-massage. Check out this post.
  • Professional massage.

Any parents out there with other suggestions on how to relieve aches and pains from carrying our children?

#19 of the Business Blogging Challenge: #31 posts in 31 days

 

Between Appointments

People with neck and shoulder issues often have their pain return before their next massage appointment. Work, play and children all make demands on the body. A dull ache can quickly turn into a burning pain especially while folding laundry, doing yard work, playing on the computer or any of the other million things you do.

What can you do between professional massage appointments to relive neck and shoulder pain? *

  • Take short breaks as often as you can if you sit at a computer all day. Move your shoulders around and s-t-r-e-t-c-h!
  • Do the “Hokey-Pokey!”ย If you have a job where you sit all day your body is begging for you to get up! Maybe you can’t dance around but you can certainly move around whenever you start to feel those burning pains.
  • Are you “hands free” yet? Holding your hand to your head to talk on the phone for long periods of time is killing your shoulders. You know what I’m talking about, your shoulder burns when you do it, right? Or you hold the phone between your cheek and your shoulder. Not much better. Invest in a hands-free device ASAP! Sure, they look funny but many of your painful symptoms will disappear quickly. There are many employers who will make the switch for the office phone if you just ask. This goes for your personal phone, too. Get the device, your neck will thank you ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Self-massage. Try it, you might be surprised how much it helps!
  • Take a look at the muscles of the neck and shoulders. Sometimes knowing where they are and how they work can help you readjust your movements to feel better.

*Yes, I write some of these suggestions many times on this blog but neck and shoulder pain is a big deal around here. I get asked questions about this all the time so I write about it frequently. I want to help in any way I can ๐Ÿ™‚

 

What are some things that you do to relieve pain between massages?

#18 of Business Blogging Challenge: 31 posts in 31 days