First Day of Autumn

Today is the first day of Autumn. School has started, the temperatures are finally cooling down–there’s even a nip in the air whispering that the leaves will be changing soon.

Before the crunch of the holiday season begins, though, I hope you take the time to enjoy the moments of the season…planting the bulbs for spring, enjoying the crisp air, sitting under a tree and daydreaming.

It’s good, on occasion, to connect with yourself and the people and places around you. Take a moment to breathe and just be.

The obvious thing for me to say at this point is, “Get a massage!” And while that’s true and I will welcome people who want to do that, the thing I wish most for my client is to be connected to the people they love, to have peace in their hearts and to be free from stress and anxiety. Take whatever opportunity comes your way to reach that place.

Namaste.

My web page: www.MoonTideMassage.com

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Why Do I Believe in Massage?

I am such a believer in the power of touch. There have been tons of studies done on how lack of touch affects animals. If you’ve ever watched PBS, you’ve probably seen some of them — monkeys deprived of the love of their mothers. And now they are seeing the results in children who were placed in orphanages and basically left to fend for themselves except to be handed food and have diapers changed the first few years of their lives. No one to touch them, no one to nurture them, no one to care. They call it Attachment Disorder.

In today’s world it is becoming more and more prevalent. We are all plugged in to our electronic devices…even our grade-school children. We communicate with each other through cell phones, email and Facebook. We are constantly plugged into some electronic device. Kids look like they were born with ear buds attached to their heads, constantly plugged into some kind of noise that keeps them from having to think their own independent thoughts. Streams of misinformation being fed straight into their impressionable minds.

I find it all to be terribly sad and frightening. What will become of them? How will all of this affect them? How is it affecting us?

This is why I believe massage is so good for our busy, stress-filled society. When was the last time you felt nurtured? When was the last time somebody massaged your head, your back, your legs, or your feet without complaining or expecting you to do something in return? When was the last time you just relaxed and felt safe? When you feel unwell, have you ever thought that it was related to your feelings of being disconnected from other human beings?

I certainly have! I have worked in an isolated office by myself for many years. I’ve not had a lot of opportunity for interaction and connectedness with other human beings. At the time that I made the decision to become a massage therapist, I knew that I needed to connect with people to keep from losing myself. Now that I know how extremely powerful the healing touch of massage is, I just want to share it with others. I want others to feel how I feel when I get a massage.

Maybe you feel connected and grounded and nurtured. That’s wonderful! But if you know someone who doesn’t feel that, perhaps you can recommend massage to them.

My web page: www.MoonTideMassage.com

More Thoughts about Essential Oils

I ran into a guy recently whose daughter was suffering from laryngitis and he felt like he was coming down with the same thing. So I looked up which essential oil might be good for laryngitis and had him rub a drop of frankincense oil on his throat (the outside, not the inside!) as an experiment to see if it would help. It did! Within a day his symptoms stopped and he never got what his daughter had.

Now, I’m not here to say whether or not he would have come down with something worse without the oil. I’m the world’s biggest skeptic, so I’m constantly experimenting with the oils that I sell to prove to myself that they really do work. And I’m constantly surprised and delighted that they DO. I have a stack of reference materials to guide and direct me in the use of which oils to apply to what problem, and I’m always careful to tell people how to use them.

Another friend is recovering from a surgery on his throat, so I recommended that he try the frankincense. But someone had given him some oregano oil for a problem with his arm and he had a bad reaction to it and had to wash it off, so he didn’t want to try any other oils. I have no idea whether the oil he used was pure, or if it was recommended for his problem or how much he used. But now he’s afraid to try anything else. I wish he had talked to me before trying it. There are a lot of people out there who don’t know what they’re doing, so I try to err on the side of caution. I don’t know everything about essential oils, but I have access to materials and people that give me guidance when I need it. I’m willing to admit when I don’t know something, but I’m willing to do the work to find out rather than just guess and hope for the best. I think for that reason, people are more inclined to trust me.

I’ve seen great success with the oils helping some with psoriasis, pain of arthritis, the pain I sometimes get from giving a lot of massages, and I’ve recently sold some oils to a guy with some  knee tissue problems…I’m anxious to see the results of that. The oils have been especially helpful with emotional issues–anger, stress, frustration. There are some oils whose smell just brings on a sense of calmness. They are truly amazing.

Try them sometime. Be sure to ask about the quality of the oils you are buying. Make sure that they are ISO Certified, 100% pure, therapeutic grade essential oils.

My web page: www.MoonTideMassage.com

Regular Preventative Maintenance

Ah, stress! It’s one of the biggest health problems of modern life. We rush from one problem to the next, trying to be perfect, trying to accomplish everything, trying to have the perfect life. It’s a bit like trying to herd chickens. Okay, if you’ve never been around chickens, you may not relate to that metaphore, but trust me—it’s not easy. 😀

Stress is something that we all have in one form or another. We’re constantly plugged in. Phones that we carry with us because we think there’s a real need to be accessible 24 hours a day. Phones that have the internet because God forbid that you put off reading that email for an hour or two.  Debts mount, the economy tanks, jobs are tight. Stress, stress, stress!

Stress is a major contributor to health problems. The increased stress hormones work to increase heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension. The constant state of fight-or-flight taxes the adrenal gland. It’s a vicious cycle.

But there is hope. Of course, doctors can prescribe medications that will help, but if you prefer not to go that route, getting a regular massage is something you may want to consider. I stress regular massage because it will help you stay ahead of stress/strain cycle. Think of it as health maintenance. It’s a lot like taking care of your car. What would happen if you only changed your oil when your car developed a problem? It might run better for a while, but not changing the oil again until it developed another problem means that you would soon be sending your car to the big junk yard in the sky, right?

Your body needs maintenance, too. If you schedule a massage on a regular basis, you not only stop most of the stress, you prevent future stress. Waiting until you are in pain and anguish before you go back for a massage is a lot like changing your oil only when your car breaks down.

I generally recommend that people get a massage at least once a month, more often if they are able. My most regular client comes in every two weeks. He says he doesn’t know how people can even live without regular massage; that’s how profoundly it has affected his life.

Go ahead…turn off your phone for an hour once or twice a month and spend some time on some preventative maintenance!

Massage in the Workplace

How would you like to get a massage at work? Many employers are starting to realize how detrimental it is to have employees who are stressed out. Stressed out people generally come to work dreading their job. They aren’t focused and their productivity suffers.

For a nominal fee, the employer can hire a massage therapist who has a massage chair to come to the office and give their employees a massage. Some employers offer it as a reward or incentive; a kind of employee appreciation benefit. Others schedule the service on a regular basis to maintain the benefits. Some even have a massage therapist come in to give clients a massage on “client appreciation day.”

In any event, the benefits are more than just esthetic. Yes, it feels great to relax in the middle of the day, but some of the other benefits are:

  • Reduced stress, which leads to
    • Increased ability to focus
    • Decreased likelihood of illness (many illnesses and diseases are the result of stress)
    • Reduced levels of stress hormones, decreased anxiety and restored calmness.
  • Increased job satisfaction and moral
  • Relieves issues that result from repetitive tasks, helping prevent injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Studies show that employers who offer this service on a regular basis have a better “bottom line.”

Would you like these benefits in your office? If you live in my area (Salt Lake City), have your boss give me a call. Are you an employer who is interested in taking care of their employees? Call me.

Moon Tide Massage … Therapeutic massage for a healthier you!
801.647.3812

My web page: www.MoonTideMassage.com

Everyday Uses for Essential Oils

I was browsing the internet today looking for something. You know how it goes…one thing leads to another and that makes you think about something else, and the next thing you know, you’re looking for something that you’ve always wondered about … and so forth. Does that ever happen to you?

I had traveled down a few side paths and got to thinking about Heloise (remember “Hints from Heloise”?) and a discussion I had with a friend about the pronunciation of the name “Heloise.”  I clicked on a link here and a link there, and never did come up with the difinitive answer to my question, but I did come across an article she wrote about the uses of essential oils in the home:

Air Fresheners. Put several drops of peppermint or cinnamon on cotton balls and place in a margarine container or small jar. Poke holes into the lid and put in an out-of-the-way area behind furniture or in a guest room or bathroom and your guests won’t have a clue.

Scented Lightbulbs. Dab a bit of oil of clove, peppermint or eucalyptus on a cool lightbulb. When you turn on the light, the scent will drift throughout the room.

Refresh Dried Flowers and Wreaths. Add a few drops of the your favorite essential oil to freshen and revive. Do not put oil directly on silk flowers or any material because it could stain.

Good Kitchen Smells Without Cooking. If you don’t have the time to bake all day in your kitchen, create an inviting smell instead by putting a few drops of cinnamon, anise, orange or peppermint oil on a cotton ball and put it on the inside of the cardboard tube of the paper towel roll or dab on a dried-flower arrangement. Simmer a small pot of water and add a drop of the essential oil that matches the mood you want to create.

The article can be found here

I really love essential oils. I keep some around just because they smell great. I can use them like perfume without getting that chemical-induced migraine headache that stabs me right between the eyes. You have to be careful doing this, though, because a lot of essential oils have therapeutic benefits that can affect how you feel. The above uses would be classified as “aromatherapy” because you don’t apply them to your body; you just have them around and enjoy the fragrance. The above scents are invigorating and uplifting.

Make sure that the oils you buy are 100% pure, therapeutic-grade, ISO certified oils for the best results, especially if you are putting them on your body.

My web page: www.MoonTideMassage.com

Stress Relief

Stress is an important and useful part of life. It stimulates learning and personal growth, and is a part of any major accomplishment. The healthiest and most effective people are not those who avoid stress, but those who respond successfully to it.

Therapeutic massage is a remarkable tool for helping you manage stress. A deeply relaxing massage can give you a welcome break and help you feel better physically and mentally. Over time, regular massage can help you develop healthy and productive responses to life’s many challenges.

The stress response

Under stress, your body really has just one response: it mobilizes to fight or flee. Your nervous system becomes highly activated and hormones such as adrenaline prepare your body to respond to an emergency. Muscles tense for action, heart rate and blood pressure increase, breathing becomes rapid and shallow, and digestion and other maintenance functions are put on hold.

Unfortunately, fighting or running is rarely a useful response to modern difficulties, such as moving to a new city, relationship upheavals or a job change. In addition, today’s stresses are often ambiguous and ongoing, for example money worries or interpersonal conflicts. This means your body and mind do not receive a clear signal and that it is safe to stop, relax and recuperate.

As pressure mounts

You may find that as your stress goes on without relief, you become less and less able to unwind. Muscle tension can develop into problems such as chronic headaches or shoulder and back pain, which are themselves stressful. Worry and physical tension can interfere with sleep, leaving you exhausted with little energy or mental focus to tackle your problems. You may even find your normal coping strategies add stress as you struggle to find time for exercise or social engagements.

As pressure mounts, the level or stress hormones in your bloodstream can become so high that very little is needed to trigger a stress response. You may find yourself constantly agitated, reacting not only to actual events, but to anticipated events and memories.

Massage for immediate relief

In a stress emergency, massage provides immediate relief with soothing sensations and refocus your attention away from your worries and tensions. Studies show that massage triggers the relaxation response, taking your body off alert and setting in motion the biological process needed to restore your resources and reverse the physical responses of “fight-or-flight.” With massage, calming touch sends your nervous system the signal that it is okay to take a break, allowing your body and mind to relax and unwind.

Renewing your energy reserves

When you are overtaxed and running on empty, massage can help you recharge and restore your energy and creativity.

Massage relieves painful muscle tension that saps your energy. It softens your muscles and their connective tissue coverings (called fascia) and releases painful trigger points in both muscles and fascia. What’s more, while the effects of a single session may be temporary, a well-spaced series can actually reverse chronic muscle contraction.

Massage increases circulation, clearing out accumulated stress hormones and waste products that can make you feel tired and sore, and bathing your cells with nutrients vital for tissue repair. A short-term increase in oxygen to your brain can reduce mental fatigue and improve your ability to concentrate and attend to your problems.

The quality of restful sleep improves in the days following a massage. This give your body a chance to further repair and restore your energy levels.

Massage supports you psychologically by giving you a measure of control. Just knowing there is something you can to do take care of yourself helps you feel less at the mercy of external events. You may even experience relief from emotional symptoms such as anxiety or depression, along with a renewed sense of optimism which can last for days.

Learning how to relax

Relaxation is a skill that can be learned. With massage you experience deep relaxation, making it easier to consciously recreate that state in daily life. Massage also focuses attention on sensations in your body which can increase your awareness of early stress signals, such as stomach or shoulder pain. You can then act to take control of your situation and your response to it.

Support for healthful changes

Massage is a simple way to care for yourself that may help you develop more energy for other healthful activities such as exercise or spending time with family and friends. Your massage therapist may also be able to recommend additional strategies, such as stress management counseling, yoga or stretching classes, biofeedback, nutritional support or exercise alternatives.

Finding what’s best for you

When and how often you get massage varies from person to person. You may want to schedule just before or after a stressful event to cultivate a calm state of mind or help you recover. If you are in crisis or want to reverse the effects of long-term stress, consider scheduling a series of massages. If you feel you are under so much pressure you can’t afford to relax, you can even request a massage that leaves you feeling alert and energized.

Massage for ongoing relief

Although stress is a fact of life, therapeutic massage can help you feel better, teach you to consciously relax and increase your ability to cope. When you feel at the mercy of events, massage can give you a welcome stress break. By making massage a regular part of your life you can experience ongoing, cumulative effects of reduced muscle tension, increased vitality and a calmer state of mind.

My web page: www.MoonTideMassage.com

Injuries and Healing

Another question I’m asked is, “Can massage really help me heal from an injury? How?”

The short answer is: Absolutely! Unfortunately, the long answer isn’t quite so simple.

I recently had a client tell me of a child who had suffered from a broken elbow. The bone had long since healed, but the child still complained of pain and cried when attempting to move the injured joint. At first, I thought that maybe the child was milking the situation to get attention and sympathy — you know how kids are! But then she mentioned that the child had experienced some numbness and tingling in some of her fingers and had also experienced some loss of use. To me, this indicates nerve damage.

First of all, a brief and very simplified explanation of how the body heals itself is that as soon as tissue is injured, your cells send out the signal that help is needed. Immediately the blood cells bring in reinforcements to surround the wound with protective fibers to prevent further injury and loss of blood. The injury is contained. Next, cells are produced that will repair and replace damaged cells. This process can take days or weeks, depending on what has been injured (bones generally take about 6 weeks). The more serious the wound, the longer it takes to heal. As the healing takes place, the dead cells need to be disposed of. They are broken down by the T-cells and await transportation to the bloodstream, where they will be processed and disposed of through the organs of the body.

The bloodstream is the main source of transportation for the cells being brought in and carried out. The blood sends nutrients and healing properties into the tissue by squeezing them out through the membrane of the capillaries. By process of osmosis, it picks up the waste that is hanging out in the tissue and carries it back to the heart, which sends it to the organs for final processing. Unfortunately, the blood system only picks up about 90% of the waste that is in the tissue. The rest is absorbed by the lymph system. The lymph vessels run parallel to the blood vessels and pick up the leftovers that the capillaries leave behind, and then process the waste and debris in your lymph nodes. This is where the “bad” cells are destroyed and are carried away to the heart, and then they are dumped into the blood stream for processing. (Pretty neat, huh?)

This is where massage comes in! The lymph system, unlike the blood system, does not have a pump, so the fluid moves very slowly. In fact, the only things that move it are gravity and the movement of your muscles. So if you are immobilized, guess how much the lymph fluid moves? Exactly. Not very much. Massage can help your body move the waste products into the lymph system and help the lymph system, in turn, carry it out of the body. This is why you sometimes feel light-headed or nauseous after a massage — If your body has to process a lot of waste at one time because it hasn’t done so in a while, it can be a little overwhelming, especially if this is your first massage! Drinking plenty of water all the time helps prevent this feeling. Drinking water following a massage helps alleviate it.

Meanwhile, the injured tissue spends some time healing, and then the body breaks down the protective fiber and carries it away. Sometimes, though, the protective fiber is so strong that it forms a tough scar. A skilled massage therapist can manipulate the scar tissue and help it to break down so that the body can dispose of it. When I was younger, I was involved in a motorcycle accident that left me with a scar on my lip. For a long time afterward, I had a hard knot of tissue in my lower lip that felt like a rock and it wouldn’t go away. I found myself gnawing at it with my teeth frequently, and eventually the scar tissue broke down and went away. I didn’t know it, but I was “massaging” my lip and helping it to heal. It took a long time; if I’d known proper techniques, I probably could have shortened that time quite considerably.

In the case of damaged nerve tissue, the story isn’t exactly the same. Your nerves are the electrical wiring of the body. It is a different kind of tissue than blood and muscle. It isn’t readily fed by the blood system and it doesn’t have a circulatory system attached to it. Therefore, damage isn’t healed quite as quickly. I have a client who was severely injured in a bicycling accident that broke his pelvis and damaged the nerves going to his legs. He endured a lot of pain in his leg and a terrible burning and tingling in one foot. He received a few massage treatments, but started coming to me on a regular basis when I was in school and needed someone to practice on. He continues to come in for massages on a regular basis. He reports that in the time he’s been coming to me (since 2007) his leg experiences hardly any pain, and the burning in his foot is only occasional, usually when he’s exerted himself (he’s an athlete).

So yes, massage is extremely helpful in the healing process. It probably won’t happen in just one session, and may take a long time, depending on the injury. Be prepared to be patient and be prepared for the healing to take time. Your body will thank you!

Your First Massage

I’m sometimes asked, “This is my first massage. I’m a little bit nervous and don’t know what to expect! What am I supposed to do? What is going to happen?”

It’s reasonable to be a little apprehensive on your first visit. Until recently, massage has been associated with questionable activities that a lot of people want to avoid. Television sit-coms have not done much to improve that image. It’s no wonder people are timid about their first experience!

First of all, be assured that every precaution will be taken to protect your privacy and personal boundaries. If at any time you feel uncomfortable, you should let your therapist know and not be embarrassed about what they might think. This experience is about you. Every massage therapist I know would rather be informed about the client’s boundaries than inadvertently do something that makes that client uncomfortable.

When you arrive for your first appointment, you will be asked to fill out a client intake form. This form asks for information about your medical history and asks for your signed consent to perform the massage. The information on this form is kept strictly confidential and will not be shared with anyone without your permission.

It is important to inform your therapist about any illnesses, diseases, etc., that you might have. Massage can have a dramatic effect on some medical conditions, and if you are contagious with a cold, for example, your therapist needs to be aware of these conditions for health reasons, both yours and hers!

Your therapist will discuss with you any conditions that may be of concern. This is a good time to ask any questions you might have or let her know about any special considerations that you would like addressed. For example, if you hate having your feet touched, if you have any areas that need more work, or if you prefer deep work or a gentle touch. Some people love having their abdominal area massaged; others dislike it. Speak up! In order to make massage a positive experience, your therapist needs to know what’s on your mind.

After the initial consultation, you will be shown to the massage table. You will be asked to disrobe and lie on the table under the draping sheet with your face in the cradle. Most people remove all of their clothing, but some are uncomfortable doing so for personal reasons. Some leave their underwear on, and a few prefer to remain fully-clothed. The choice is yours. The therapist will leave the room while you get ready, and will return only when you tell her.

During the massage, the therapist will un-drape only the body part that is being worked on. At no time will genitals or breasts (on women) be exposed or touched. I try to keep the massage room at a comfortable temperature for the client. If you feel too hot or cold, please let the therapist know.

The massage itself will last about 50 minutes. The lights are dim and relaxing music will play to help you relax and enjoy the experience. It’s perfectly okay to chat, remain silent, or even fall asleep. This is your time. You get to relax the way that best suits you.If you have come for help with a specific complaint (such as a tight muscle), it’s important for you to communicate with your therapist about how the treatment feels to you. Do you wish to receive more or less pressure? Is she working in just the right spot? Do you need more work in a certain area? On a scale of 1-10, what is your pain level? When the time comes to turn over, the therapist will lift the sheet to make the transition easier for you. She will stand so that she cannot see your body while you turn.

When the massage is finished, your therapist will let you know, and then leave the room. When you feel ready, you can get off the table (Be careful! You might feel a little bit light-headed.) and get dressed. You will be given some water to drink. It is normal to feel dizzy or even nauseous after your first massage. This normal, especially if this is your first massage or if you are a little dehydrated. Drinking plenty of water will help your body process things more efficiently.

Afterward, you may feel invigorated or relaxed. You will probably sleep much better for several nights following your massage. If you had a cold or were coming down with something at the time of your massage, you might feel quite ill for a day or two afterward. This is because the infected cells have been forced through the lymph system faster than they normally would have been. The good news is, your cold will probably not last as long as usual and you will feel better more quickly than normal. The bad news is, you may feel worse than usual for a day or two. Be sure to drink lots of water take plenty of Vitamin C to help your body heal!

If you have questions or comments, please leave me a note!

Networking

There are many things I like to do to promote my business and get my name “out there.” One of them is networking. I belong to a networking group that refers business to each other, helping each other to grow and prosper. It’s not only paid for itself in the referrals I’ve received, it’s also been a great learning tool to help me in my business and help me to serve my clients better. If you live in my area and would like to come with me to a meeting, I’d be happy to bring you as a guest. If you don’t live in my area, I can help you find an awesome group like mine that you can visit and join. Just send an email to Maria@MoonTideMassage.com.

My web page: www.MoonTideMassage.com