Yoga Makes You Well

May you be filled with loving kindness, may you be well,

may you be peaceful and at ease, may you be happy.


The long term effects of massage

Posted on February 10, 2019 at 9:32 AM Comments comments (167)
Massage works very deeply and usually also slowly.  The muscles of the body are innervated by nerves that listen to them and also talk to them.  Massage works to get that system of muscles and nerves communicating more clearly- and more peacefully.  If we take this analogy a bit further, it could be said that pain in the body is loud. Massage clears up some discord and creates some space and opens up a dialogue in the body between some parts that have not been working well together.

Many clients come for massage and they think one massage will make all their pain disappear.  I liken this to imagining that I want to lose twenty pounds and get in shape to run a 5K.  I hire a personal trainer and work out for an hour.  When I leave, I get on the scale and have not lost any weight.  When I try to run, I am still winded.  I tell my personal trainer he misled me.  I have not lost twenty pounds and I still cannot easily run my 5K.  He told me if I worked out, I would get in shape.  I storm off and believe his workout did nothing. 

This seems silly when we look at it through the lens of exercise.  Massage is the same way, though.  Regular workouts and regular massage make the body pump its fluids around- which keeps everything clean and healthy.  I try to get a massage once a month.  Sometimes it is once every two months.  In times of stress, it might be once every two weeks. Whatever the pace, though, the regularity creates the change- just like with exercise.

Little Things

Posted on August 18, 2014 at 6:01 PM Comments comments (31)
One of the ways yoga and meditation and massage could be described would be that they are all conscious cultivation of a better relationship with your own nervous system. 

Get on your yoga mat, you will sweat and breathe and move and align your nervous system in that hour.  Sit on your meditation cushion and you will close your eyes and breathe and still your focus inside your own body at your center point for that hour.  Get on the massage table and you will relax and release hormones that are aimed at feeling better and repairing your system as a whole. 

All of these (and plenty of others are out there) are ways to calm and focus and clear.  They all put you in touch with your actual self.  You become acquainted with the light inside of your own self.  And then things that are good for you start to feel good and right and things that are bad for you start to feel bad and wrong.  You find your own light and then you recognize light outside you too.

Making a massage powerpoint

Posted on July 14, 2014 at 10:52 PM Comments comments (16)
I have been a massage therapist for almost thirteen years.  I am supposed to put together a power point presentation about massage and its benefits and present it for half an hour at a university in a couple of days. 

Awesome, right?  Yes.

And yet I find myself stumped as I face the computer screen.  There is so much to say about massage and so much that no one will ever understand from me speaking.

I was working with a client recently who I had never worked with before.  She described herself as under a lot of stress in the interview.  As I worked with her, I noticed her skin felt tighter when I did long strokes down the back (which most people's tissues respond to well).  I changed to circular strokes and her whole body relaxed.  She took a deep breath and then we could work. 

How do I put that in a power point?

Being a massage therapist has a lot of benefits.  It has taught me to be more present in all my interactions.  Not that I am always 100% present, but that I tend to at least notice if I am not now. 

It has taught me to understand people.  Being in a healer's role will teach you about how we become who we are.  We tend to tell our stories with our bodies.  

Above all, I think massage has taught me how to be quiet with people.  And how to let them be quiet with me.  That is such a gift.  Just letting go of the personality for an hour and just being.  I feel much more able to just be quiet with people in my whole life now.  I give thanks for that.

So now to get back to that power point...

Who Does Not Love a Foot Massage?

Posted on April 7, 2013 at 9:35 PM Comments comments (228)
Who Does Not Love a Foot Massage?
We all do- except for very ticklish people. And even they might like it if they gave it to themselves.

Why does it feel so good?
Foot massage feels fantastic. No doubt about it. But why? The feet, the hands, and the scalp are filled with nerve endings. We sense our world with these places- they connect us to our surroundings and to the earth and each other. The feet are especially attuned to receiving massage because they are hidden away inside shoes all day. They also get sore from carrying us around and gravity pulling everything toward them from above.

Who can do a foot massage?
Anyone can do a foot massage. It does not take any fancy equipment. Some things that are probably at your house already will be nice to use.

What do I need to have?
First, you need to have clean feet to work with. Making the foot washing a part of the ritual can be nice. Warm wet towels are always a hit. Or you could have the person whose feet are about to get rubbed soak their feet first in a large bowl of water. This could be as fancy as you like. Basic warm water is good. Warm water with rose petals might be better. Or add some essential oils to it to make it a treat for the senses.
Make sure your nails are trimmed. Using a buffer to smooth the ends will get you extra bonus points.
Lotion- scented lotion is great. Many folks enjoy lavender. Peppermint can be quite refreshing for the feet. It makes you a bit chilled, though, so peppermint works better in the summertime.

Things to consider
Make sure your client is very comfortable. To have the person reclining, propped with some sort of support pillow bending the knees takes the pressure off the low back and allows the person to space out and relax.
Think about your ambience. Little touches make the room so much nicer- candles burning, a good aroma in the air, relaxing music playing. Making the room very nice makes your foot massage a ritual instead of a chore. Just be aware of how nice you make it, so that you are able to stay awake!
Use your whole palm in a steady way to keep from tickling someone who is sensitive. Or work through socks.

What is foot reflexology?
Many people have heard about foot reflexology and wonder… “What is that?” Reflexology is the idea of different points on the foot correlating to different body parts. It is a pseudo-science that has not been well-studied to date. The idea, though, is that the two feet together represent the body. If you place the soles of the feet next to one another, the toes makes the head; the shoulders and chest are at the balls of the feet; the stomach and intestines are in the arches, the hips and reproductive systems are in the heels. The tops of the feet have spots for the arms and legs. It is fun to think about as you give a foot massage, but avoid scaring your partner with dire predictions about their health because their feet are sensitive in some spot that supposedly correlates to an organ.

I am too tense to get a massage!

Posted on April 7, 2013 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (44)
As a massage therapist, I have heard many excuses for why people do not want a massage over the years. I have listed some favorites below.

I am too tense to get a massage!
I wonder what people think will happen if they are too tense and they get a massage. I always envision some sort of Star Trek scene taking place, where the unsuspecting massage therapist approaches and is repelled by the powerful force field of tension on the person’s back. A bright green light flashes and the room shakes as the massage therapist is catapulted across the room. Dazed, she looks up and offers, “I’m sorry- did you say you wanted aromatherapy?”

I might fall asleep.
When I have worked with people who are at work, this has been a common complaint. I have always taken it as code for, “my boss might see me and think I am lazy.” Okay. Fair enough.

I might snore.
This is a very real possibility. Massage tends to put people into a state that is somewhere between sleep and waking. Many folks report hearing themselves snoring on the table. It is a weird place to be- sort of like sun and rain at the same time. But it is nothing to worry about.

It all boils down to fear.
All of the reasons to not get a massage come down to this one. Most people who finally try massage are amazed at how good they feel afterwards. It is common for a newbie to exclaim, “why on earth did I wait so long to get a massage?!”

New Question- What good things might happen?
Instead of letting fear hem you in, turn the question around and look at it from possible positive outcomes. Circulation improves, so your heart benefits. Muscles that have been tied up in knots get back to their natural shape and length, so you can move more easily. Posture improves, so you can breathe more easily. Breathing better improves your mood and your sleep, so your attitude and health benefit in general. Not too shabby, huh?

Racing through life, we miss a lot.
Taking the time to slow down feels wrong to some people. If you stay busy in order to feel like you are being productive and you only do things for others in your spare time, you may have a sense of self that is based on being a martyr. Ultimately, you will come to resent those you spend your life taking care of. Taking some time for yourself will improve those relationships and make you a better caregiver.
How can slowing down make more time in your day?
It does not seem possible that this is true. Yet, taking that time to fill your own cup allows you more time in your day. One way this works is that you are better able to look at responsibilities and prioritize
them. The things that really need to get done come into clearer focus, while the things that do not have to get done are sent to the bottom of the list- or marked off it altogether.

Warning- massage is addictive.
It would be irresponsible to not acknowledge that feeling good and healing are habit-forming. Making the connection in your mind that you do not have to feel bad is an extremely empowering thing to do. Once you start to feel better, you tend to want to keep on feeling better. And you can.