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I was looking for a motivational quote to tie in with this post which I had planned to title:

“The benefits of regular massage therapy sessions”.

While this proverb isn’t necessarily motivational it made me laugh and it’s true “Talk doesn’t cook rice”.  Now to figure how to compare the many benefits of regular massage therapy and why it is a great thing to do for yourself with a grain? I’ve worked on a few backs that could be compared to uncooked rice – hard and dehydrated. Okay I’ve got nothing with the rice part.

When I meet people they mention how they love massage, how good it feels or that they would like to try it. So as” talk doesn’t cook rice”  talking about massage therapy won’t ease your muscle pain, help you sleep better, increase your flexibility, breathe easier or make you forget how bad stress makes your body feel.

But getting massage therapy will help with all the above. So put the rice on to boil, pick up the phone and let’s talk about how scheduling regular sessions, while it will not make you a master chef, it will help you feel better and move easier.

Next week – another improbable quote and a quest to make it work for promoting massage…. 🙂

“Our bodies are miraculous machines, but they need constant maintenance”

I read these lines tonight and they resonated. Eating a healthy diet, sleeping eight hours a night, 8 glasses of water daily and exercising 30 minutes a day are the standard recommendations and in a perfect world they would be adhered to faithfully.

But I’ve met few people who live in a perfect world. Many people I know plan to eat a healthy diet, but being pressed for time they end up grabbing fast food, because well it’s fast. I don’t know anyone (over the age of seven) who enjoys 8 hours of sleep a night. When they finally climb into bed they are either so exhausted they can’t sleep or they can’t shut their minds off – their to do list or a hundred other things keeps churning through their brain. Well hydrated – does coffee, colas or energy drinks count?(Nope). I see people carrying bottles of water, but they may be drinking the same one all day. And exercise….well, if only they could find the time.

And yet these magnificent bodies of ours just keep chugging along until one day they don’t. It’s usually about that time we find our doctor telling us to eat, sleep, drink and exercise…….

So what can we do to maintain these miracle machines we are walking around in? The best we can on any given day. Adding fruit and veggies to our diet . A few minutes of mediation and a note pad at bedside to write down our to do list may help quiet our brain enough to fall asleep. Water tastes better when cold – add ice. And exercise – a ten minute walk is a great place to start. (It will help us sleep better too). Sometimes we start small, but we start.

I offer the suggestions above not as medical advice but as an example of my own ongoing struggle with maintenance and this has been working so far. I started small and am working my way along. .

Oh yes, another great addition to help maintain your miraculous machine is to see your massage therapist for a tune up. It feels good and it is certainly good for you.

One other thought on constant maintenance – it would be a good name for a middle-aged rock band……..

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Gratitude

Gratitude – the quality or feeling of being grateful.

Feeling gratitude has always come easily to me.  I’ve always been grateful for the smallest of things and even on a very bad day I would find at least one thing to be grateful for – sometimes just that the day was over. These last three weeks have brought me to my knees seeking to find the state of gratitude.  It has been a heart wrenching process, but gratitude is there waiting for me to step into it.  Gratitude for 57 years of her care, for teaching me what unconditional love looks and feels like, for the values she passed to me and my siblings, for providing me with such a large, loving, supportive of each other family. Gratitude that she didn’t have to suffer long-term. Gratitude for friends near and far who have reached out to cushion me and my family. Gratitude for clients who have put their own needs on hold for mine. Gratitude for flowers and cards with heartfelt messages. Gratitude for my beliefs, evolved from hers, that are being tested now. Gratitude for those who’ve listened and offered a shoulder while I cry. Gratitude for my advisor who gives me wise counsel. Gratitude for my husband who understands. Gratitude for Love. The deepest gratitude for having the Mother I had.

There is much to be grateful for and I recognize this. The state of gratitude waits for me, I’m getting there gently.

“Let it Be”

I’ve been thinking a lot about stress and out of curiosity looked up the definition.

Stress:  importance or significance attached to a thing, the physical pressure, pull, or other force exerted on one thing by another; strain

Other than our own thoughts and actions there is truly little we have control over and having little or no control can be one of the biggest causes of stress.  How able we are to be in control of important or significant situations with our jobs, bosses, family, friends, illness, politics, traffic, weather or when the newspaper gets delivered can be frustrating, aggravating and make us want to scream sometimes.  But we generally don’t scream, we take that stress we are feeling and bury it inside of our bodies where it can manifest as insomnia, over or under eating, worrying, stomach distress, trouble concentrating, lack of energy, apathy, irritability, panic, frequent illness, inability to relax, no enthusiasm and forgetfulness. The force of our thoughts and emotions exerted in our bodies.

On my intake forms I ask why someone has come in for massage therapy.  Are they looking to relieve pain, improve mobility, overall wellness, relaxation or to relieve stress?  I’m noticing more they are looking to relieve stress.  It’s good that people are more aware of their stress levels and are looking for ways to relieve it. Awareness can be the first step to change.

So how can we find relief from stress?  It will be different for everyone and each will find their own path when they begin to look for it.  For some it will be through meditation, breathing exercises, eating better, laughter and play. Others will find stress relief in prayer, caring for animals, talking with friends or getting closer to nature. And some will find stress relief from the therapies talk or touch. Any one or a combination of these may start us on the path to relieving stress. There are other ways to relieve stress, these are just a few.

For myself talking with friends, planting flowers, reading, time with my furkids and getting a massage helps keep my stress levels low.  I’ve learned that there are very few things in my control and I am always learning to be comfortable with that and to let it be.

What just happened?

I’ve heard that you burn 150 calories an hour banging your head on the table.  I don’t know if this is true or not, but if it is I have burned multiple calories in the last ten days.  It was then I decided my URL was too long and I would shorten it.  Easy enough, right?  Yep, easy to do, but it wasn’t a well thought out idea.  Upon hitting the send button my tiny website unlinked and disappeared into the ethers.  My tiny website upon which I had spent many hours learning how to create an online presence.  My tiny website was plain, but it had been a terrific way for new clients to find me.  How many times do we wish we could immediately undo what we just did?  But we can’t undo time or actions, life doesn’t work that way.  We pick up where we are and proceed pausing occasionally to bang our heads on the table.  I did what one does, resubmitted and waited and waited and waited.  It’s back on-line now, my little website, with the shortened URL and I am glad, Yeah.

I remembered a few things during this process:
Sometimes We Have to Wait
Think Before You Do
The World Doesn’t End If Your Website Disappears
Getting Mad at Yourself Serves No Good Purpose
It Always Helps To Have A Sense Of Humour

While looking through the many offerings of WordPress for a theme I stumbled upon this one.  I like many things about the picture but what caught my eye was the multiple paths.  In massage/bodywork there are a myriad of paths of study one can choose from.  The last time I glanced at a list of the different modalities there were over 250 styles of work.  I’ve heard of most of them, I’ve studied some of them and I specialize in a few of them.  When first beginning I studied the energy modalities, next the more traditional styles in massage school, then after graduating onto the Oriental offerings of which you could study a lifetime and only know a small bit of.  I think we grow into our specialities.  You believe you will go one way and you end up another.  What finally grabbed ahold of me was Ortho-Bionomy.  It offered everything I was looking for.  It’s gentle for the client, it’s effective in reducing pain, it’s educational in nature and it feels complete to me.  I’m moving through the 500+ hour Practitioner Training program and letting the concepts of Less is More and Move into Ease become not only the essence of my massage practice, but the essence of my life.

Bridge of Sighs – a lovely song by Robin Trower and also the sound we make when we let go.

Putting together print media can be challenging for me as I am still, after all these years, learning how-tos.  Recently I’ve been looking for massage photos for my brochure, website, etc.  I appreciate photos as they break up all those words, they can be interesting and they give my eyes a rest.  While looking through multiple sites and requesting photos that represent massage therapy I’m often offered photos of cucumber slices, flowers and bamboo.  While I like flowers and bamboo (cucumbers-not so much) I don’t see how they depict therapeutic massage?  I’ve never given anyone a massage and while doing so placed flowers in their hair and yet there are a multitude of images of women with flowers entangled in their tresses while relaxing on a massage table.  The photos of cucumber slices placed on someone’s eyes don’t lead me to think “Oh man, my shoulder is killing me. I need a massage STAT”.  Bamboo stalks and potted plants appear in many photos in the massage category.  They are pretty, but how do they represent Ortho-Bionomy, Myofascial work or any pain relief modality?  So while these pictures are lovely, relaxing and some can be amusing I don’t see them representing the work I do and I won’t be buying them for my brochures.  Now to keep looking for pictures that do….c.o.