Posts tagged ‘massage’

August 14, 2013

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes… Knees and Toes…

I’ll pause while everyone’s inner-80s child sings a few lines of this favored jingle. Back then; my goal was to sing the chorus as fast as possible while managing the coordinating hand movements. The first signs of my competitive spirit came out around that time too… I got good at performing this song and movement combo, and will challenge anyone who wants to try it out again.

This song came to mind, as I completed my studying and testing for my Holistic Coach Certification. Chapter after chapter, lecture and study after lecture and study, it finally clicked that wellness has so much more to do with how you feel/perform outside of the gym or what you prepare in the kitchen (or choose from the food stand at meal time.) Furthermore, it has a lot to do with energy and emotion levels and one of my favorite words: perspective.

Part of being well, is having your “head, shoulders, knees, and toes…” in alignment with what your physique and nutritional goals are. Studying about Chakras (nerve every body has them) was intriguing from the start, but I accepted it only as another perspective from holistic health professionals—nothing more. I didn’t realize how nurturing my energetic makeup would manifest into less anxiety, less fatigue, less pain, more energy, more strength, and a more joyful perspective.

chakras

You have seven Chakras within you. They are the energy centers in our body that manage our overall energy flow. Blocked energy in one or all of our seven Chakras can often lead to illness, or pain, so I thought I’d discuss these briefly to build awareness and understanding.

1. Root Chakra – Represents our foundation and feeling of being grounded.

  • Location: Base of spine in tailbone area.
  • Emotional issues managed: Survival issues such as financial independence, money, and food.

2. Sacral Chakra – Our connection and ability to accept others and new experiences.

  • Location: Lower abdomen, about 2 inches below the navel and 2 inches in.
  • Emotional issues managed: Sense of abundance, well-being, pleasure, sexuality.

3. Solar Plexus Chakra – Our ability to be confident and in-control of our lives.

  • Location: Upper abdomen in the stomach area.
  • Emotional issues managed: Self-worth, self-confidence, self-esteem.

4. Heart Chakra – Our ability to love.

  • Location: Center of chest just above heart.
  • Emotional issues managed: Love, joy, inner peace.

5. Throat Chakra – Our ability to communicate.

  • Location: Throat (duh…)
  • Emotional issues managed: Communication, self-expression of feelings, the truth.

6. Third Eye Chakra – Our ability to focus on and see the big picture.

  • Location: Forehead between the eyes. (Also called the Brow Chakra)
  • Emotional issues managed: Intuition, imagination, wisdom, ability to think and make decisions.

7. Crown Chakra – The highest Chakra represents our ability to be fully connected spiritually.

  • Location: The very top of the head.
  • Emotional issues managed: Inner and outer beauty, our connection to spirituality, pure bliss.

Now that you know what and where your Chakras are, what will you do next? You don’t have to do anything, as they’ll exist without your involvement at all; however, checking in with your energetic system from time to time can assist with your next health and wellness goal. You can nurture your body’s energetic sources with several wellness treatments: massage, ionic foot or hand soaks, chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, low-level laser therapy, Reiki work, and meditation are some of my favorites. Do you pray or wish for less pain, less fatigue, less sickness or more energy, more excitement, more endurance? Consider asking your doctor, holistic healthcare professional, or trainer about potential blocked energy in your body and ideal remedies for your situation and needs.

Feel free to reach out to me as well for referrals based on your specific goals or with questions. Until then, I’ll going to brush up on verse three of the song. I know there’s something after “eyes, and ears, and mouth, and nose,” but it’s been a while…

Have an energetic week, friends!   –Lacey

Oh, and just for fun… and because it’s pretty hot out there… check out these “cool” uses for peppermint oil. Treat yourself to a refreshing drop or two.

Peppermint-Summer-Tip-590x3001

 

July 17, 2013

Therapeutic Bodywork and Detoxification

Dry Saunas, Low-Level Laser Therapy, Stretching, Massage, Foot Soaks, Hydrotherapy, Detoxification, Herbal Cleanses… oh my!

 

EnerChi System

EnerChi System

I’d like to chat for a bit with anyone who has recently completed a fitness challenge or pushed themselves physically with any sport, activity, fitness class, or anyone who has been under extreme stress. Did I include everyone reading this? I’m here to discuss personal wellness outside of the gym—Therapeutic Bodywork and Detoxification Strategies to help you maintain a pain-free and fit lifestyle.

Image

Stefania Molinari-Lee, Therapeutic Massage Therapist

I’m lucky to live close to Stefania Molinari-Lee, a therapeutic massage therapist, who has helped me maintain aggressive strength endurance training the past six months. If you know me, you know I am a runner at heart, but that I recently implemented challenging “boot-camp” style workouts and strength endurance training into my physical fitness routine. I set out to change my physique, and in doing so, was reminded that my recovery time and needs changed too

The soreness and stiffness in my muscles had some to do with the aggressive training (uneven running surfaces) but also with my internal inflammation levels and stress levels. Through therapeutic bodywork, Stefania was able to re-align muscles and tendons, and relieve pressure points with built up strain.  If you’re thinking, “a massage sounds relaxing,” think again? Therapeutic bodywork isn’t the relaxing, nap-time you may be used to with your current massage therapy. You’re awake and fully-engaged with each muscle release.  Although some parts of therapy bring temporary uncomfortable pressure (depending on what’s happening in your body and to specific parts), it’s short-lived and provides a beneficial part of recovery.  Don’t fret, deep breathing gets you through everything.

Image

After a session, I feel like I grow two inches, and my body is ready to go again… this time operating on all cylinders and soreness/pain-free. Of course, with all of the toxic debris released during one bodywork session, you should chug-a-lug (with water) for the next 24 hours and refuel with alkaline foods.

Image

I’m getting better at making time for stretching, yoga, deep-breathing exercises, and detoxification foot soaks; however, now I will make time for periodic visits to Stefania for therapeutic massage therapy.

Image

 

There are many post-workout therapies to assist you with staying on you’re a-game. Aside from fueling with anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, alkaline foods, hydration, and adequate rest, consider checking out therapeutic massage therapy and foot detoxification soaks. Also, if it’s been a while since your last herbal detox, consider cleaning out your systems so you can recover effectively and continue performing your best!  –In health, Lacey

 

For more information about Therapeutic Bodywork, contact Stefania Molinari-Lee via Facebook, or check out http://pedersonchiropractic.com if you’re in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Separately, if you’re interested in other pain relief strategies, detoxification foot soaks or herbal cleansing solutions, contact me at info@laceypruett.com or via Facebook! We’ll find something that works best with your body and your goals.

 

February 12, 2013

Love on the Run

hearts

Hi, there! It’s Brooke here. Valentine’s Day is growing closer—will you be ready? By that I mean have you been treating yourself with loving kindness? Or have you been running yourself ragged moving at Mach 10, desperately hoping you don’t fall apart before you finish all the things that MUST BE DONE? I have absolutely no idea what that feels like—ha! With this craziness in mind, I’d like to share several of my favorite tricks on how to relax when your time is tight. As with any healthy relationship, not every caring gesture has to be grand. Little things can be profoundly powerful, as you will see.

breathe rock

Deep Breathing: You’d think we’d know how to breathe correctly, seeing as how we’ve been doing it all our lives. But we would be wrong. Most of us breathe shallowly from our chest, our shoulders naturally rising on every intake of breath. Yes, this gets the job done, but at a cost. We form the habit of shallow breathing and the muscles we use to do this (chest, shoulders, neck, and back) compensate by becoming stiff and tight. When we are stressed or worried, especially over a period of time, our body’s stress response causes us to take short, small breaths, which then causes our shoulders to creep upward toward our ears, when then causes those shoulder, upper back, and neck muscles to tighten up. Before we know it, we feel breathless and trapped, with burning, aching muscles and a raging tension headache. No, no. This won’t do!

Try It!

Start by putting your left hand on your chest and your right hand on your belly. Now, breathe in like you normally do (using your mouth or your nose), with your chest rising below your left hand. That should feel natural to you. Now, breathe in through your nose while expanding your belly below your right hand. Do you feel the difference? Try it again, noticing the way your breath slows down as you inhale through your nose and the larger capacity your “belly,” or diaphragm, has for expanding. This is called deep breathing, or belly breathing. This action floods your cells with oxygen, clearing up your muddled mind, and slows your heartbeat, lowering your blood pressure. Take another deep, slow breath in through your nose, expanding your belly, and then breathe out from your mouth. Do this 3-5 times.

love hand

Healing Touch: It’s nice to have a great massage therapist on your speed dial, but escaping to her quiet studio for an hour is not always possible. Luckily, you can enjoy the healing power of touch given by your own two hands.

Try It!

First, find a calm place. Then as you look at your hands, set your intention to spread healing through your touch. This doesn’t have to be weird or woo-woo. Just notice the warmth and strength of your hands as you work. Starting at your left hand, use your right hand to firmly squeeze the muscles of your left palm and fingers. Then let go and move up your wrist an inch, then squeeze again. Let go and inch your way up your arm the same way, firmly squeezing then moving up, all the way to where your shoulder meets your neck. Then switch hands, and work your way from your right wrist up to the top of your right shoulder. Gently place the palms of both hands on either side of your neck, resting your fingers around the back of your neck (but don’t squeeze!). Just rest your hands gently around your neck for 10 seconds.

occipital massage

If you have a tension headache, this is your go-to move: Take your palms and place them gently over your ears, then spread your fingers out. Your thumbs should be almost touching along the bony ridge on the back of your head. Now take your thumbs and move them outward along that ridge to the bony edge half an inch behind your ears. If you feel softness and not bone, keep moving away from your ear until you feel the bony ridge of the base of your skull. Hook your thumbs underneath that bony ridge and press upward firmly (according to your comfort level) and hold for 10-15 seconds. Then move each thumb half an inch toward the middle of the back of your head and press upward again and hold. Do this until your thumbs meet in the middle.

Now, press the heels of your hands into your scalp, moving around your head after each squeeze. Take your fingertips, and carefully press your temples (or rub in circles). You may want to wash your hands for this next part if your skin is prone to breakouts. Your face is delicate, so you will use just your fingertips now. Start at the middle of your chin and gently squeeze your skin along your jawbone between your thumb and first two fingers, working out toward your ears. Then, come back to the center and while keeping your mouth relaxed, squeeze your lips between your fingertips—it’s probably best that you do this move looking away from other people (or toward a mirror if you need a laugh!). Now, starting at the crease where your cheeks meet your nose, gently press two or three fingertips in place along your cheekbone, working in little increments toward your ear. Then come back to the center, and with one or two fingertips, do the same gentle press along the lower orbital bone (below your eye), working outward and around the entire bone (above your eyes). For an instant stress reliever: Starting at the inner edge of each eyebrow, squeeze and hold the eyebrow between your thumb and forefinger for 8-10 seconds. Then work your way outward, squeezing the eyebrow as you go.

lavendar bushes

Soothing Scents: Depending on your mood, you may lean toward calming scents or revitalizing ones. There are so many lovely possibilities when aromatherapy is involved, but we’ll explore just a few. If you are in need of peace and relaxation, try lavender or eucalyptus essential oils. These scents are classic choices for all manner of calming rest. If you need a little boost, peppermint, spearmint, or wintergreen are excellent choices. Another category of invigorating scents are the evergreens—cedar, spruce, and pine. You can find these essential oils in grocery stores, online, or my favorite massage supply store—Body Logic (www.ebodylogic.com) for $4-$15. These oils are very powerful, so if you want to use them on your skin, be sure to dilute them by adding them to a safe carrier oil or unscented lotion. You can also use these oils by making “smelling salts”—put ½ teaspoon of kosher salt into a little glass vial and then add 5 drops of your favorite scent and cover tightly. Anytime you need a whiff, just open the vial for a portable pick-me-up. You can also add a few drops of oil to a tissue or paper towel tucked nearby and enjoy. And if you don’t have oil, a nice fragrant (unused) tea bag unwrapped on your desk can transport you in no time flat (my favorite for tea-bag aromatherapy is Tazo tea in Earl Grey).

For Valentine’s Day and every day, may you find a few stolen moments to treat yourself to some TLC. Goodness knows we all need it!

XO, Brooke

November 30, 2012

How I Accidentally Nurtured Myself . . . And You Can Too!

 

Ok, so I’m going to let you in on a dirty, little secret. I’ve been a massage therapist for 4 years, and I can count on maybe one hand (possibly part of another) the number of massages I’ve received over the years. I know it sounds bad. It IS bad! Not only is it a crime how knotted my rhomboids and traps are, but spending my days encouraging all I meet to enjoy the benefits of massage and not going myself is just plain fraud. In the past, if one of my clients would ask me how often I got massages, this standard refrain would ring out inside my head, “Me get a massage? You must be joking. I don’t have time to relax! Now, you there on the table, just close your eyes and breathe deeply. Relax . . .” Can you feel the hypocrisy dripping right off? Wow.

Fast forward to a particularly stressful and horrendous week, when I felt like the juggling act that is my life was not going well. I reached my breaking point when I just had to surrender and call in reinforcements. “Help me, please!” I cried to my favorite therapist. My massage was heavenly and profoundly healing, as I knew it would be. And I made that secret promise to myself (again) that I would come back on a regular basis, and then floated out the door. I swear that the grass and gardens I passed going to my car glowed vibrantly greener, and my view seemed more panoramic than before. Remember Brad Pitt’s character in Interview With a Vampire, when he wakes up in the garden after becoming a vampire and stares up at the angel statue, every sense heightened, as if he can feel everything “living” in Technicolor around him? That’s how I felt as I melted homeward.

Public domain image, royalty free stock photo from www.public-domain-image.com

A calm hush had fallen over my weary spirit, and it was so long overdue that my heart just wanted to cry. I needed to nurture myself, as I would anyone I love. So, once home, I put on a comfy shirt and my favorite, butter-soft jeans, and then finally took the time to do a scrub and ultra-moisturizing mask while I (gasp!) sat still. Then I gathered the ingredients for a wonderful green smoothie. I’d never had one before, but it just felt right. Like I needed to cleanse and heal my insides as the massage had done for my outsides. My favorite recipe right now is modified from the Glowing Green Smoothie from Kimberly Snyder’s The Beauty Detox Solution:

  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 head organic romaine lettuce, chopped (I use ½ package of Power Greens—kale, arugula, chard, and spinach)
  • ½ head of large bunch or ¾ of small bunch organic spinach (I use a large handful of bagged organic spinach)
  • 3-4 stalks organic celery, chopped
  • 1 organic apple, cored and chopped
  • 1 organic pear, cored and chopped
  • 1 organic banana
  • Juice of ½ organic lemon (I don’t use this because I like my drink sweeter)

In a blender, add the water and chopped greens, and mix until smooth. Add the celery, apple, and pear, increasing the speed as you go. Add the banana last, and if you like your smoothie thicker (and colder), add some ice cubes. This recipe makes about three or four 10 oz. servings, and you can store any unused smoothie in the blender in your fridge and re-blend when ready. Super easy!

green smoothie banana

I took my smoothie and my books and curled up on the couch, contemplating how to take better care of myself. I even took a lot of very deep breaths. It was a lovely afternoon that brings me peace even now as I remember it. Since that afternoon, I’ve been trying to do better, be kinder to myself. I’m a work in progress, as we all are. But I wish you lots of joyful pampering of yourself and your family during this busy holiday season. You are wonderful and you deserve all the happiness and help you give to others.

XO, Brooke

November 16, 2012

Personal Musings of a Massage Therapist

Hello, Family and Friends! This is Brooke. For the last 4 years, I’ve been blessed to be a licensed massage therapist at a beautiful retirement community. Massage therapy itself is truly a special occupation, one that allows you to help people in so many ways. I love being able to take my fascination with science and anatomy and use it to solve problems that people have with their bodies—maybe an injury here or there, a little tweak in the back, a stiff neck and shoulders, a tension headache that needs soothing. I also confess that I like to be needed and I adore making people happy. So, therapeutic massage is a gift I can share with people.

Some people may find the practice of therapeutic touch mysterious or unfamiliar, but really, it is very simple. The manual manipulation of soft tissue not only loosens tight muscles, but also reduces pain, warms tissues, increases blood circulation and lymph flow, improves immune function, reduces blood pressure, increases respiratory capacity, calms the nervous system, and influences hormone levels (among various other things). These effects are physical, and so can be observed and measured. However, the emotional components of massage are just as powerful. Recipients of therapeutic massage report feelings of well-being and happiness, of acceptance of their body, of connection and being cared for.  Actually, some psychological benefits of massage stem from physiological means—massage can reduce cortisol, the stress hormone, and can increase serotonin, the “feel-good” hormone.  Also, massage can increase oxytocin, the bonding hormone that helps you feel nurturing connection with others. Now, I’m certainly not saying all good feelings and happiness can be explained by scientific rationalization, but in case you are the pragmatic sort, actual clinical evidence supports the benefit of therapeutic touch. There you go. Now for the more touchy-feely stuff . . .

Everyone has personal space, the invisible but palpable field of energy around them that is closely, often subconsciously regulated. One allows others into that personal space according to the social relationships he or she maintains with the others. For example, you allow your friends and loved ones close to you, but door-to-door solicitors you probably keep at a distance. When clients come to me for an appointment, they are allowing me to be in that personal space with them and share my therapeutic touch—this is a great honor. They trust that I will be professional and respectful while helping them to relax or relieve a painful knot or move more easily, and I convey my care for them through my hands and how I communicate with them. My hope for my clients by the time they leave my spa room is that we have accomplished what they asked for help with, and that they are calmer and happier than when they arrived, with looser muscles and softer spirits.

But what’s on the other side of this interaction? Most of us know what it feels like to receive a massage, but what’s your therapist thinking? I can speak only for myself, but while I try to convey a calm, peaceful, positive vibe to people I interact with, my mind is often filled with thoughts of the day feverishly pinging around like an out-of-control pinball machine.

Once a session begins, however, my monkey mind is forced to be present and connected with my client. I wrangle my thoughts and tuck them quietly away as the music provides a soundtrack to the action of my hands, and I am lulled once again into peaceful contemplation. Massage becomes a moving meditation and calms my anxious spirit, in spite of myself. Often I feel the same peace and expansiveness my client feels as we work together—we are sharing the same air and energy in the dim room after all.  As I ponder this interchange of energy, I think of this quote by Ofer Zur and Nola Nordmarken, which feels true to me: “Touch is our first language. Long before we can see an image, smell an odor, taste a flavor, or hear a sound, we experience others and ourselves through touch, our only reciprocal sense. We cannot touch another without being touched ourselves. . .”

Blessings and happy Friday!

~Brooke