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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears.

Marcus Aurelius

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Runner's Remedies

Runners and cyclists rejoice, the season is just getting started and whether you are an avid racer or just a fair weather jogger, the opportunities to get off the treadmill or stationary bike are coming - even if it does seem at times that there will be six more months of winter.

Should I heat or should I ice? You may find yourself asking yourself this question. Simply put ice is best for acute injuries (that ankle that only started hurting today) and heat is best when applied to chronic injuries (the other ankle - the one that you nearly lost in the skiing incident of '94 when you didn't quite hit that mogul the way you should have.)

Ice reduces swelling and pain, because it constricts the blood vessels which limits internal bleeding at the injury site. You can apply ice to the affected area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time - several times a day for up to three days.
Side note - this can also be effective for chronic injuries that are brought on by certain activities - ie the shoulder that was injured in the great football moment that hurts after pitching a few innings to your little league team.

Heat on the other hand increases circulation and raises temperature of course. It can be an effective preventative when applied to an injury before exercise or above average use. Similar time frames 10 - 20 minutes. Also note that applying heat to inflamed areas(swollen or red) is a bad idea and overheating should be avoided (you don't want to turn it into a burn site). Heat can also help relax tightened muscles - moist heat is best - a relaxing bath after a run can do a body good.

If an injury worsens or does not seem to be getting relief after 48 hours you should consult a physician or other health professional.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Learn ABOUT the ACL

About dot com is a great resource for information regarding just about everything.

I only recently discovered that they've caught on to the Youtube-type format and they have some great short vids regarding health and wellness.

Follow the link below for a great brief video of what the ACL really is (BTW - ligaments are bone to bone attachments, tendons are muscle to bone attachments)

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Spring Finally

It's finally spring. It feels as though the winter was going to hang around endlessly. The sun came out a bit infrequently and with the "spring forward" time change it altered the evenings a little. Today, however, feels like a spring day. The air is slightly crisp, but the sun feels warm and has definitely brightened a once dreary backdrop.
During a massage session I could hear the birds in the background. For the most part it's a day off for me, barring yoga class, a meditation group, and one massage (a trade with another local massage therapist).

I hope I can find my way outside to enjoy it.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Fitting it all in

At my RYT class the subject of fitting things in to your schedule came up and was a common theme among nearly every student. One factor I certainly hadn't thought of was fitting in a personal yoga class when we become teachers. Teaching classes, work, family, attending classes, daily meditation - at times it can feel like your juggling too many things.

However, there are certain things that seem to lend themselves to better time management - meditation, yoga practice, etc. Taking time for yourself is somehow seen as a negative among some people, however, this tends to also be their biggest complaint. Taking time for you - whether mere moments or even an hour, can be very beneficial to overall well-being. It seems counter-intuitive that dedicating an hour or so to oneself lends to better time management, but using your time wisely to relax and refresh yourself so that you in essence become more productive. More focussed and better able to see events, problems, quarrels, and the like in a calm and rational manner.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Fit Fair - 3/22

Dr. Anastacia - The wonderful chiropractor - will be at the Fit Fair being held at the Springfield YMCA this Saturday. This table-top event will have many of the areas best in the health industry - from financial health to physical health.

Your health should be your top priority and you should talk to the experts and stay informed whenever possible.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

First Massage - What to Expect?

Recently, I have had a few clients who had never before received a massage.

For many the first exposure to massage is through a gift certificate. While this can be a great introduction to massage, it can also make or break feelings towards massage. Some may even never use the gift certificate because of all of the unknowns and what ifs. If you have questions - talk to the therapist - ask any question. Massage Therapists are accustomed to fielding a wide variety of questions and if the one you talk to doesn't respond in a kind, understanding manner. Find another therapist.
Massage Therapy is about you feeling relaxed and comfortable.


Honestly fill out a health history.

  • The information you provide will then be reviewed with you by the therapist.

  • Questions?

The therapist should then describe the session

  • How to lay on the table

  • Session Sequence including what areas will be targeted

  • Where to put your clothing (note: it is very seldom necessary to remove everything)

  • Questions?

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The power of Association

Massage Therapists have options when it comes to professional association membership. I myself, am a member of ABMP - the other option is the AMTA. Both have their benefits, these associations are focussed on educating the public, their members, and students of massage.
I've found that the forums on the ABMP site are very beneficial as far as sharing information and seeking guidance about business, practices, modalities, etc. I noticed something today when perusing this part of the site, many of the same massage therapists post or reply regularly. While there are so many members of these associations there seem to be so few who actually take an active role.
It is probably similar in many organizations, the 80-20 principle seems to ring true in many aspects of both business and our personal lives. I learn a lot from these other therapists and I'm sure it goes both ways. I'm proud to say I'm an Active Member of this organization and I'm sure as time goes on I'll increase my activity as it seems to be a natural progression. It makes me wonder though, about those who choose to have an association simply to say so more than anything else. It'd be amazing how much power any organization or business or anyone in particular would be if they reversed the principle somehow.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Manic Tuesday

Ah the change of seasons what wonderful chaos it brings about. Time changes, temperature changes, attitude changes, with so many changes what are we to do. I'm finding myself reminding myself to breathe, to eat, to relax - I should be an expert as a massage therapist, but as with anything it's easier to teach others than it is to take your own advice sometimes.

This seems to ring true for other wellness professionals and colleagues. Self-care can often be last on the list for those of us in the Healing Arts. OMG we're human, it happens, this is often the source of our own humility and humble nature. We treat people most often because we are like them not because we are in any way superior. It's not always easy to be personally aware of what thoughts or activities are getting in our own way or contributing to our emotional or physical state. Sometimes we don't realize until we're hit head on with the reality that we've been sort o living a delusion, no matter how brief or long.

Hopefully, the change greets you well on the other side. Whether there was some small lesson or not(which is not-likely, there's nearly always a lesson) hopefully you find yourself richer for the change.

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Monday, March 17, 2008


It was the second in our series at 755 Grattan St. The turn out was a little light, but I have high hopes for the growth of our 3rd Saturday Free@3 Series. I myself, had to leave early so I wasn't too sure how it all turned out in the end. I came to find that it was actually quite a productive little group in the end. It shows that sometimes you never can tell. Even the smallest efforts can produce big connections.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008


"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
Mahatma Gandhi

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Perfect Cancellation

As a massage therapist I know that not every client will be able to make their appointment. Things come up, things go down - Life Happens. While there are certain ways I try to protect myself from these things happening again and again. Recurring lateness, last-minute cancellation, no shows, can often be avoided.

I had a perfect cancellation the other day. The client called a few hours before the session. "I'm not going to make it to my appointment today."

Then she did the perfect thing. "However, I am available the following days."

This set the stage for a perfect compromise - she was able to give me at least some advance notice that she would not make her massage session and also she gave some options so that our schedules could blend.

The perfect cancellation - reschedule - anyone in a service industry like massage should understand that life happens, and more often than not - not exactly according to plan. If you're a massage therapist, it can be difficult at times to think to suggest a better time for the client's schedule, and, if you're the client you may be thinking of only the immediate - I can't make that appointment, understandably so. However, a little consideration on both sides goes a long way.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Massage Frequency - when is enough enough?

I'm often asked just how often is often enough to get massage.

Mainly, it depends on your goals and what sort of condition brings you into the office in the first place. Like any other service, self-care or otherwise, the decision is yours. You may consider how often your symptoms present themselves, be they stress, tension, or pain, are you looking for things to subside as they appear, or could the condition possibly get worse. In some instances, greater frequency may be recommended at the begininng of treatment however, this may be reevaluated after the first few months or weeks.

The best course of action is to get informed. Your massage therapist can help to inform you as to what the possible causes for your condition might be. However, you hold the key to most of the information how often do your symptoms inhibit your activity? Are there certain things you just can't do or that may be getting more and more difficult? Are you constantly feeling stressed? Are you having trouble sleeping more than a few nights per week?

If you have goals in mind - make them clear to your massage therapist. They may be just the massage therapist to help you achieve your goals or perhaps they could refer you to a colleague - acupuncturist, chiropractor, Physical Therapist. If you don't feel that the massage therapist you've found is going to be able to help you for what ever reason, you will more than likely be right. There are some great studies being done on the placebo effect and just how important it is to wellness. (Translation - Your body believes everything you tell it.)

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Greta is Great

I see Greta Williams for acupuncture over at Indigo Massage. This evening I attended a special presentation she gave on stress and exhaustion. It turns out the season is priming us for both in its own way. Greta provided great insight into chinese medicine and its view of our constitution. Tune ups might not be just for cars anymore. This morning I had a Great session with Greta - it always amazes me how the points are activated and the difference I feel before and after a session. At one time I thought it was primarily due to the meditative state that can be brought on while the needles are doing their work. Lately however, I'm realizing more and more just how much work the needles actually do. If you haven't tried acupuncture I highly recommend going over to Indigo or someplace similar - Indigo offers a low-cost clinic, however, full sessions are well worth the investment in your self.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

catching up

So part of the "big lesson" (see yesterday) was that I should take some time for myself - one of the forgotten edicts of working with people. So why am I compelled to work my day-off away. I should definitely not be blogging on such a day. I'll try to stop but I'll probably make yet another post as there were some days I recently missed. If I should be catching up on anything it should really be nothing. I am creating my own workplace stress - easy to do I guess when you are the only one in the office. I think I can - I think I can - I think

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Constructive Criticism

I had a client recently give me excellent feedback. While it wasn't all positive I was extremely happy to receive it. Clients often feel guilty about expressing negative experiences. The trouble is that failure leads to more growth than success.

I try my best to provide the best experience possible for all clients, however, I am human. It would be nice to be perfect, it's on my list somewhere below attaining enlightment. As a massage therapist I do have to remember that I need to communicate and do my best to facilitate communication - this is often where problems lie.

While I can make any number of excuses and list reasons(my own neglect of self-care, timing) as to why this client's experience was not optimal I do have to look closely at the root of the problem - which was (and typically is) communication. I spend time educating myself and I need to take the same care when it comes to my clients.

Education is power - expectation, techniques, basic anatomy, goals, pressure - to name a few these areas are what clients should be aware of before, during and after each session. If I can't communicate what you will get, how can I expect you to be a happy receiver.

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Sunday, March 9, 2008

Bodies Revealed

I had an amazing experience at the Bodies Revealed exhibit. I went through at least four times - finding myself drawn to something diffent each time. The body is so complex there is no better way to "put it together" than the physical models. Each display was fascinating in the way it highlighted different aspects of anatomy. I was glad to have made it on it's last day in Hartford - I had been trying to find time, and someone to attend with me, but finally carved out a few hours and went myself. I spent quite some time in front of the larger displays especially those that drove home the relationships of muscles and bones. The physical really is much better to learn from than any text or picture. While I do have quite a few anatomy books that I reference often, the collection in the exhibit has certainly helped me to put things together.
There were also a number of attendees overheard to have revelations regarding conditions - breaks, strains, and the like - these aha moments are why this exhibit is so educational beyond compare.

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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Whole Health Expo - Northampton

I was able to run through the Whole Health Expo. I had a little bit on my plate for the day and wasn't able to peruse quite as much as I would have liked. I did however, get an introduction to some great practitioners and a myriad of new ideas. I particular liked the Omnivos booth. You may have seen there wares at your yoga studio or perhaps if you have had a sound healing session. These bowls produce tones that are truly amazing and bring a smile to your face almost instantly. I am quite fascinated by acutonics and the effects of sound on the body. While in my own practice I focus mainly on anatomy and the muscles relationships to pain - sound does have a profound effect on the body. (how long have you gone without listening to one piece of music?)

I was also glad to see other practitioners and friends from the area both those who had booth space and those that were "mere attendees" I've heard that some of the presentations were great and plan on making the time next year to participate and learn. I was able to stroll through the books downstairs and pick up some things that will be sure to help me in my practice.

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Thursday, March 6, 2008

your shoulder and its attachment disorder

Your scapula, as a bone, is not like the vertabrae or elbow, it is somewhat connected to the humerus, albeit delicately. However, it is not attached to your ribs in the same way. The scapula is where it is mainly because of the muscles attached to it. These many muscles need to work together, both for effective use of the shoulder, but in conjunction to hold the arm where it's supposed to be. So many Range Of Motion problems are caused by these muscles that must work in near perfect harmony.

The Rotator Cuff is a group of muscles - Supraspinatus - Infraspinatis - Teres Minor - Subscapularis that work together to keep the humerus (upper arm bone) held in the facet of the scapula - a lot of work for four not so large muscles.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

New Habits

It was recently pointed out to me that when I speak - especially in front of groups - I casually rub my hands together as I talk. It was brought to my attention because someone thought it was some sort of subliminal message. It's purely subconcious, I hardly realize that I do it myself. It's funny the things that people pick up on when we speak and the way they translate them for themselves. This perhaps is why politicians use these little details - which color to wear, how they use their hands when they speak. We actually do pay attention to the slight nuances and they matter. I have to admit it made me a bit more mindful of the other ways I present myself when I speak. To be attentive to our bodies may be just as important as being attentive to the words and ways we speak.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

driving rain

I was driving in the rain on my cell phone and got myself totally lost. I obeyed all traffic rules, rights of way stopping at stop signs however, I somehow managed to miss a turn or sign. I am not frequently a drive while talking person. I try to use the cell phone only when I am stationary - as I don't have a hands free device. Even still it wasn't that my attention was pulled from the traffic in essence it was that it made me somewhat disregard the larger surrooundings, buildings and identifiers that would have helped me find that lost turn.

I eventually made it to my destination but it made me reconsider my decision to talk and drive - hands free or not. the world can wait - but if you use your cell phone while driving it will wait awhile longer in most cases.

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Sunday, March 2, 2008

Meditation and Insight

I had a great experience at during Guided Meditation this evening. At first, I was under the impression that in order to truly meditate there was only one road. However, through recent training and the experience with people like Russell Clay I've realized that as in most things in life, sometimes there is more than one way and each has its own merit. Russell has recently decided that he wants nothing more than to teach others about meditation. If you get the chance no matter what denomination you feel a part of (or distant from as the case may be) gathering any bit of guidance from Russell is highly recommended.

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Saturday, March 1, 2008


“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”

Anna Quindlen

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