Thanksgiving for Your Body

This Thanksgiving I’d like to suggest that among the offerings of gratitude for family, friends, health, and happiness, you take a moment to appreciate all the ways your body serves you in life. The body is a magnificent piece of machinery if not art capable of an intrinsic intelligence no man-made machinery could ever achieve. It allows you to interact with this world, accomplish work, and give a loving touch to a child or loved one. The body provides us opportunities every second of our waking day to do more for ourselves and others. It definitely deserves our appreciation and gratitude. This Thanksgiving, take a moment to admire all that it does for you. Without it, you would not even be on this planet experiencing the highs and lows and everything in between. While many of us will overindulge on Thanksgiving, be sure to include some exercise to help it process all those delicious side dishes, desserts, and of course turkey, even tofu turkey. Sitting on the couch after an enjoyable meal feels wonderful but after a while, give it a bit of relief by taking a walk with a family member, playing a game of touch football, or going for a bike ride. Both you and your body will feel all the much better for it.

Here is my short list for my Thanksgiving for my body. Maybe it will inspire you and give you a reason to pause and think about what you may be grateful for as well.

  • I am thankful that I have eyes to see, ears to listen, and the ability to taste food, healthy or not.
  • I’m grateful to be able to walk, use two arms and hands, a voice to communicate, and a mind to navigate through this complex world.
  • I am grateful my body lets me know when it needs to rest, eat, and give special attention to areas that may be in discomfort.
  • I am grateful to breathe on my own.
  • I am grateful for its elasticity to improve physically, deal with change, and heal.
  • I am grateful that I can convey kindness, love, sympathy, and help by writing a note to a friend in need, listening to others, smiling, or an understanding touch.

None of the above would be possible if I didn’t have and use my body for my own well-being and others. All too often it’s easy to criticize ourselves or others, become frustrated over our limitations, or simply not take the time to listen to what our body needs until we become sick. I hope this Thanksgiving you will include your body in whatever way you give thanks and in a way that perhaps you never have before. No matter your situation, we all have a lot to be thankful for. Focus on the positive and what you can do. Appreciating yourself is just as important as appreciating others. This Thanksgiving be sure to do both.

As always, feel free to email me with feedback, questions, or suggestions for topics that interest you. I can be reached at smsunrise@yahoo.com or contact Bria directly. Thank you for reading!

 

This blog pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about med­i­cine, health and related sub­jects.  The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker. Never dis­re­gard pro­fes­sional med­ical advice or delay in seek­ing it because of some­thing you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a med­ical emer­gency, call your doc­tor or 911 immediately. The views expressed on this blog and web­site have no rela­tion to those of any academic, hospital, practice or other insti­tu­tion with which the authors are  affiliated.

Emergency Ab Workout 101

All of us want a strong core. Why else would we be doing pilates? OK. It feels wonderful but so does eating a home-cooked meal or imbibing in a glass of wine. However, neither of those help us achieve our fitness goals. Sometimes we can hit a plateau in our pilates practice. Despite our best efforts, the results just aren’t there. Well, here’s a little bit of hope for you.

I came across an article that amazed, intrigued, and yes, even gave me the results I have been seeking for a very long time. I’m rarely impressed and even more rarely forward articles I read on-line, especially from Yahoo. That said, I’d feel really remiss if I didn’t share this with you. I hope it can help you achieve your goals if you are experiencing this same plateau or alternatively, be an added tool to keep in shape when you travel, can’t get to the studio, or just simply a tool to explore other ways to increase your strength on your own time.  You should notice that many of these moves are pilates based but what I was impressed by is the simplicity, clear instruction, modifications, and of course, results. Hopefully, you will be feeling the burn from a great workout like I did and who knows, maybe those extra pounds so many of us gain during the holidays will be a thing of the past.

https://www.yahoo.com/health/lose-the-pooch-the-best-exercises-for-lower-abs-102023490603.html

As always, feel free to email me with feedback, questions, or suggestions for topics that interest you. I can be reached at smsunrise@yahoo.com or contact Bria directly. Thank you for reading!

 

This blog pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about med­i­cine, health and related sub­jects.  The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker. Never dis­re­gard pro­fes­sional med­ical advice or delay in seek­ing it because of some­thing you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a med­ical emer­gency, call your doc­tor or 911 immediately. The views expressed on this blog and web­site have no rela­tion to those of any academic, hospital, practice or other insti­tu­tion with which the authors are  affiliated.

Pilates and Wrist Pain

Many of us has experienced it; few of us know what to do about it. So why can wrists hurt so much for some and not for others during a pilates workout? Regardless if you’re doing mat or a reformer class, let’s explore why it occurs and then continue on to what you can do about it.

There are a lot of small little bones that connect the arm to the hand. There are no muscles to support this connection at the wrist unlike many other areas in the body. There are, however, forearm muscles that come down into hand in addition to all the little muscles inside it. Imagine the space you’d create if you were going to palm a basketball and took the basketball away but keeping your hand static. A small, hollow area is created in the palm of your hand. Keeping this form in place during a movement reduces the weight of your body into your wrists. In other words, the weight doesn’t sink into your wrists but utilizes other active, stronger muscles in your hands, forearms, and shoulders. If you’re on the mat, try pushing into your fingers and creating this small space beneath the palm of your hand. You’ll notice other muscles engaging and less weigh bearing down and into your wrists. Keep in mind it will take time to condition and actively engage your hands and arm muscles during a movement. The fact is we don’t often take a lot of weight into our hands though we can and do overuse them in everyday activities. Those activities though don’t take in most of our body weight such as a push up. So every day, all day we are using our hands but not in the way we use them in pilates class. The point is to not sink into your wrists and whatever you can do to actively engage other muscles groups, then you are in the process of conditioning your muscles in the right way.

Another area to be aware of is the shoulder girdle. If you are down on your knees and hands or just your hands as in a plank position, be aware of how broad your shoulders are. Are you sinking into your hands or is your shoulder girdle strong and more level? While on all fours, try sinking in on purpose and then bringing the opposite to your awareness by letting your shoulders actively engage. What difference do you feel in your wrists?

I won’t address physical issues that a person may have such as carpal tunnel syndrome but there are things a person can do to relieve the weight bearing load into the wrists. One common prop is folding a sticky mat and placing under the wrist so that the wrist is not only supported but propped up slightly if you are on a mat. This will prevent some of the pressure from sinking into your wrists until you have improved both your awareness and conditioning. There are gloves and other products you can use as well with similar results. If you’re doing mat work or you are in a yoga class, you can also move to the edge of the mat which will give you about the same incline as the sticky mats. Just be sure your mat is not really soft. Otherwise, it may prove to be counterproductive. A softer surface will allow more sinking. If you’re in a reformer class and your hands are on the bar, try sending your fingers out lengthwise to get a co-contraction of other muscle groups. This again should lead to less discomfort and pain. One final note: you also have the option of using the box whether in yoga, mat, or a reformer class. By placing your forearms on the box and removing the hands altogether, you are decreasing weight in the hands and wrists.

The bottom line is that there are many options. Don’t settle for pain. Talk to your instructors before or after class and if needed, get outside help either through your doctor or physical therapist. Wrist pain should not prevent all the benefits you can receive from pilates. You have options so it’s up to you to discover what those are through your expert resources.

As always, feel free to email me with feedback, questions, or suggestions for topics that interest you. I can be reached at smsunrise@yahoo.com or contact Bria directly. Thank you for reading!

 

This blog pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about med­i­cine, health and related sub­jects.  The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker. Never dis­re­gard pro­fes­sional med­ical advice or delay in seek­ing it because of some­thing you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a med­ical emer­gency, call your doc­tor or 911 immediately. The views expressed on this blog and web­site have no rela­tion to those of any academic, hospital, practice or other insti­tu­tion with which the authors are  affiliated.

An Interview with Joanna Nichols, LMP, at Light of Hand Massage

Ahhh….a massage. How many of us have received a gift certificate or scheduled a massage for ourselves as a special treat? Massage is often considered an indulgence or a luxury and not as a regular tool for good health. Research has shown though that aside from stress and muscle relaxation massage is complementary to many health issues such as nerve and joint pain, fibromyalgia, headaches, digestive disorders, and anxiety. There are many different types of massage, all of which can be confusing, so take time to discuss particular needs with your practitioner. Not all practitioners can deliver every type of massage and it’s important to see someone who is skilled in the area of massage that you need. The most common are Swedish, deep tissue, sports, and trigger point.

Recently, after a few too many hard workouts and unsuccessful attempts to loosen up my muscles, I went to Joanna at Light of Hand Massage for a deep tissue massage. I’ve had massages before for the same issue and I can honestly say that Joanna is one of the most sincere, caring, and gifted massage therapists I’ve come across. She is the only therapist who took a significant amount of time to understand my needs and treat accordingly which incorporated deep tissues and Swedish, not just the deep tissue I originally sought. I subsequently decided to ask her to join me in an interview on massage therapy for Bria’s blog. Light of Hand Massage is located next to Bria. Be sure to check out the current discounts and Groupon offerings at the end of our question and answer session. A link to her website and how to get in touch with her is also included. Joanna may or may not be the right therapist for you but massage therapy isn’t just an indulgence but a way to improve physical and mental health. Since when did good health become an indulgence? Never. We all deserve to feel good. If you aren’t there yet, hopefully you will be soon.

How did you come up with the name of the business?

I was sitting down with my boyfriend and I had no idea what to call the name of the business. This was the hardest part for me and he just said, “why don’t you call it ‘Light of Hand Massage”? It’s a play on words.” At first I didn’t like it and then it became the whole idea behind the business too. When I think of “Light of Hand” and I think of the logo and the name of the business….it just sort of evokes caring and warmth for me. This business is my heart. I’m living from my heart. I don’t call it work. It’s a dream come true for me.

What can a client expect from a massage at Light of Hand?

If it’s their first time, usually I will walk them through the entire process. I will tell them to keep in communication with me and I’ll keep in communication with them. I let them know their modesty will be respected at all time. I really like to tell people to melt on the table. I like to get people into a place where they are almost falling asleep, where their body just completely lets go. And I feel like a lot of work can be done by getting people to that place, more so than just digging my elbow into their shoulder. I pay attention to details, down to the linens, the color of the walls, the temperature of the room, the type of candles I buy. It’s all part of the experience even if they don’t notice. It’s very personal. Very intimate.

What is your background and experience?

This process started in 2011. I’m actually from Mississippi so when I was living there, I started massage school and was absolutely enthralled with it but unfortunately, finances kept me from finishing. I finished about a third of the program and then I lived in Denver for a little while. There, I also studied naturopathy and I went to a school in Boulder. I studied herbal medicine, reflexology, and all of these wonderful things. That again was sort of a finance thing and maybe too it just wasn’t the right time to be studying. As soon as I came to Seattle, all of the pieces sort of fell into place by themselves. All I had to do was walk this path that was laid out in front of me. For me. That was what it sorta felt like. So I started massage therapy school at Everest College and I literally just made up my mind that day. I walked in there and enrolled the same day and started two weeks later. I started in June 2013 and finished in late March 2014. So, I’ve only been at this 7 months but I feel I’ve been doing it for 20 years. It’s almost been surreal in how quickly I’ve adapted and be involved with this work that I’m doing. I feel so connected to what I’m doing. It feels natural, like I’ve been doing it forever.

What are the benefits of massage that you see most often in your clients and how often will they need to come see you to see those benefits?

The benefits with massage in general are so vast from increased circulation, decreased stress, maintaining integrity of your muscle tissue because you’re bringing more oxygen to your muscle tissue. Not only that but there’s also an energetic and emotional aspect of massage too. I know this sounds cheesy but they tell you in massage school that the “issues are in the tissues”. You can hold emotional issues in your muscle tissue. Sometimes people will have sort of memories of a time when they were at their grandmother’s house. That’s a part of massage that I find fascinating besides all the physical benefits. The emotional and spiritual benefits of massage therapy are just as great as the physical benefits.

Regular massage is once to twice a month and that’s ideal. I think twice a month is ideal. I think there are a lot of people who feel guilt over spending the time, and/or money, and/or energy on themselves to get a massage because a lot of people still sort of see it as this luxury which is understandable but I think that it’s an invaluable tool because you come into a massage studio, you speak with a massage therapist, and for that whole hour or hour and a half is all about you and they are asking you about you. You’re laying on a table and they’re holding space for you and when else do you get that?

 

Do you work with pregnant women?

So with women who are pregnant, obviously there are a few things that are different about the massage. You don’t want to have them lay on their stomach. We typically will use pillows and/or   bolsters to get them in positions that are comfortable for them.  The main different though is that they will be in a position called “side line”  which is essentially when you have them lay on their side and have some support between the knees. There are certain precautions you want to take as well. A lot of women don’t want massage during their first trimester. [Later on in pregnancy], a lot of women want deeper pressure when they’re pregnant, especially around their hips.

Do you take insurance?

I don’t currently take insurance but it’s not something that I’m not willing or wanting to do. It’s just that having a new business I’m trying to take things one step at a time.  So it’s probably something that in the next year I will offer. A lot of people have actually asked me that. Hopefully that will be something I can do in the future.

[Note: you may be able to use your employer-provided PSA account or be reimbursed partially through your insurance company. Just check before you assume but it’s definitely worth investigating!]

I hope the above interview has inspired you to explore this measure of good health for you or someone you know. If you want more information, please contact Joanna at lightofhandmassage@gmail.com or visit her website: www.lightofhandmassage.com. First time clients receive 25% off the first session – 30, 60, 90, or 120 minutes -and Bria members get 10% off any session thereafter. Be sure to check out the current Groupon offering as well.

As always, feel free to email me with feedback, questions, or suggestions for topics that interest you. I can be reached at smsunrise@yahoo.com or contact Bria directly. Thank you for reading!

 

This blog pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about med­i­cine, health and related sub­jects.  The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker.Never dis­re­gard pro­fes­sional med­ical advice or delay in seek­ing it because of some­thing you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a med­ical emer­gency, call your doc­tor or 000 immediately.The views expressed on this blog and web­site have no rela­tion to those of any academic, hospital, practice or other insti­tu­tion with which the authors are  affiliated.