Clients often ask me to explain the concept of mindfulness. Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of your thoughts and feelings. The process might feel like observing your own thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them. When you focus on these observations in the moment there is less opportunity for other thoughts to crowd your mind.
Your massage session is a perfect opportunity to practice mindfulness. If you are observing the sensation of your breath, really feeling it enter and leave your body, you benefit from the absence of stressful thoughts. I can even give you suggestions during the massage to help you focus and relax.
Click on the link below for some very practical mindfulness exercises:
Diet, exercise and sleep. These are the 3 most important elements of a healthy mind and body. I read an article in the New Yorker (February 27 / March 6, 2017) that explained the latest ideas about sleep. While there is lots of research about the benefits of sleep, we are sleeping about 2 hours less than we did a century ago. Studies show that people with irregular or short sleep cycles are at higher risk for diseases like heart disease, diabetes, obesity and dimentia (including Alzheimer’s).
While certain functions in the body rest, there is still lots of activity during sleep that slows down the aging of brain cells. One scientist in the article said “It’s like a dishwasher that keeps flushing through to wash the dirt away.” Without that nightly wash cycle, toxins can build up and cause problems.
Massage helps some of my clients sleep better. Many clients experience an alpha state, which is that state between being awake and asleep when the frequency of human brain waves match the electrical resonance of the earth. Relaxed and restful, this is a major benefit of massage for many clients. If you are having a problem sleeping, give massage a try. If your problem is severe consult your doctor – there are lots of good ways to find out what is causing you to be wakeful, and some solutions that don’t require medication.
Have you ever been ill or injured and felt like you just could not stop long enough to rest and recover? Time won’t necessarily heal your sore shoulder or your painful knee. Oh, you may notice less pain, but your body does not forget an injury, especially if you have not taken the time to let it heal completely.
There are lots of instances where therapy calls for moving a muscle or joint to keep scar tissue from becoming rigid and restrictive. There are also lots of instances where continuing to stress an injury can cause inflammation to prevent healing and create even more scar tissue that will become problematic. Resting for a few days, or weeks (whatever it takes) can help an injury heal more quickly and completely than it otherwise would. The same goes for letting your body recover from an illness and restore the resources that keep you strong and well.
Stop and sleep. The healing that happens when we sleep is profound.
Stop and get good therapy. Massage is great therapy for healing. So is physical therapy, acupuncture, Reiki, reflexology and lots of others. Find the right set of therapies to address your injury and/or your general well-being.
Stop and reconnect. Take the opportunity to examine how you were injured and why. What can you change to reduce the risk of the injury or illness?
If your presence and your skills are important to the people who depend on you, then the best thing you can do is take care of yourself so you can continue to be there for them. It is important to put yourself first so that you can meet your own personal goals and serve others with joy.
If massage is not already part of your healthy lifestyle, maybe it should be. Relaxation is great, but the benefits of massage go far beyond an hour of down-time.
– reduce anxiety and depression
– manage stress
– reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine headaches as
well as tension headaches
– reduce chronic pain
– help injuries heal faster
– improve the appearance of scars and reduce restrictions
– lower blood pressure
– increase circulation
– relieve plantar fasciitis
– reduce swelling due to injury and/or surgery
– manage lymphedema
There are side effects you should be aware of; massage may improve your golf swing. Massage has also been known to cause deeper breathing and increased physical activity.
Happy New Year! Call for an appointment 515-661-8377
I work with lots of clients who are determined to eliminate or at least manage their pain so they can continue to do the things they need to do and want to do. But I am always surprised and sad to hear some people say that they just have to learn to live with their pain because they are a certain age, or because of an old injury or because they are just unlucky.
The truth is that most pain can be resolved or managed, and massage is the very best first step to take. Massage is non-invasive, it can eliminate the need for pain medicine, it can help your body release toxins, relieve stress, boost your mood and create greater body awareness. A good massage therapist can help you recognize why you have pain and suggest changes that can help you stop the pain.
Massage is not the answer to everything, but it is a great place to start. A good therapist will refer you to a physician if needed. I have had many clients who have found relief from carpal tunnel symptoms, TMJ, knee pain, plantar fasciitis, headaches, tendinitis, sciatica symptoms, even relief from allergy symptoms.
So, don’t accept your pain as something inevitable. There might be a good way to resolve it and it might be a simple as a massage.
Most of us are not hard to sell on the idea hat we need to take better care of ourselves. Exercise, eat right, get plenty of sleep. Beyond that we often find therapies and activities that add to our sense of well-being. It’s not hard to see the benefits of an aerobics class or a regular massage, but it can be hard to find the time.
Here’s a new year, a fresh calendar and a new opportunity to schedule those things that matter most to your self-care. PUT YOURSELF ON THE CALENDAR FIRST!
Make a commitment to self-care with massage and I will help you stick to it. I will send you a reminder and even give you a discount when you purchase multiple sessions in advance!
My experience is that clients who schedule their massage sessions ahead of time realize more stress relief. Not only do they get to enjoy the effect of stress-relief during the massage, but most of these clients report that they are able to cope a little easier between massage appointments just knowing that the next massage session is on their calendar.
Yesterday a client fell asleep during his massage. He apologized, but I told him that the value of that relaxation and the rest his body enjoyed was a very important benefit of his therapeutic massage treatment. Massage won’t get rid of the things that cause your stress, but it can turn off the effects of that stress, and that can be the most important therapeutic reason for some people to schedule regular massage sessions.
Research shows that massage can lower blood pressure, reduce pain, lower blood sugar, and improve mood. These things happen because touch causes real responses in your body that help it to heal itself, and find the balance that makes you feel your best.
Back aches and neck pain are obvious signs that you need a massage, but be aware that when you feel stressed your body needs a break. An hour in a relaxing setting with the support of caring touch, can help your body cope. Clients often tell me they cope better when they schedule their next session and look forward to it.
Give me a call today to schedule your massage appointment. 515.661.8377
Nancy Barnett, LMT
1000 73rd Street, Suite 8
Windsor Heights, IA 50324
I have moved! Relocating a business is never easy – even if all you have to move is the contents of one room. Now the moving is done and I am planning to enjoy the new space and being able to focus more energy on the needs of my clients.
I am looking forward to being part of the Windsor Heights community. The new location is close to I-235, closer to downtown Des Moines and still convenient to most residents of Clive, Urbandale and West Des Moines. The space is comfortable and beautiful, and I still get to enjoy the synergy that comes with working in a place with other talented therapists who are giving the best of their skills and abilities to help others enjoy their best life.
Give me a call soon to schedule your massage! 515.661.8377
One of the best things you can do for your Valentine is to keep your own heart healthy.
Plug into the American Heart Association for great tips on getting healthy and staying healthy. Find information about symptoms and treatment, food, exercise and all the other factors that create a healthy lifestyle. Connect on the web at http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/GettingHealthy_UCM_001078_SubHomePage.jsp
The benefits of MASSAGE should also be part of your healthy lifestyle. Massage lowers blood pressure, has a positive effect on blood sugars, reduces stress, and relieves anxiety and depression. The state of relaxation achieved during a massage can be as beneficial as several hours of sleep. All these things help to make your heart healthy.
So while you are trying to decide what is the best way to honor your Valentine this month, consider the gift of a healthy heart – YOURS!
January is a time when we push the re-set button and make life-style changes to improve our health and vitality. You might be embracing a new diet or tackling a new workout at the gym, looking for a new job or making a commitment to organize your home. While these are all good changes to make, change can be uncomfortable and you might even wonder if the pain is worth the gain.
Massage is a good way to support the changes you are making, relieve the aches and pains and the stress response that comes with exercising your body and mind in new ways. Massage is an excellent ‘reward’ for sticking to your plan, and if you have hit the gym every day for a week, changes are a massage is in order in more ways than one!
Massage will be a great way to support your change in diet. The lymphatic effect of massage coaxes your body to let go of toxins that get stored in the muscles and lymph system. Massage won’t be the thing that makes you lose weight, but it will be a good assist to the efforts you are making.
January is full of stressful tasks related to ending the old year and beginning a new one. Long hours at the office can become less than productive, so it might make sense to schedule a massage one evening every week instead of working late.
January is also a season of ‘the blues’. A very real condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a big problem for lots of people. Massage can help stimulate your body to produce endorphins, dopamine and seratonin which are natural mood-enhancers. Many of my clients report that riding the wave of a massage and looking forward to the next one really helps them manage symptoms of depression without medication (or with less medication)
My next post will be about self-care. Be prepared to stop thinking about massage as a luxury!