Monthly Archives: September 2013

5 Things to do After a Massage Session

bathSo you’ve gotten a massage and are all loosey-goosey…now what do you do? Here’s a list of the most common advice we give after a massage session:

1. “Drink plenty of water” – This little tidbit of advice is surprisingly a controversial one. Some say increased water after a massage is not necessary and does nothing for you after a massage. I believe it does for a couple of reasons. (1) Massage can release muscle waste, like lactic acid, into your body and increase blood circulation. Just like after a workout, increasing your water intake now helps flush those byproducts out of your system and helps the body process them more efficiently. (2) Who doesn’t need to increase their water intake every once in awhile??

2. “Get more massage” – We don’t just say this so you’ll come back (PROMISE!). If you come in for pain, typically one massage (as awesome as we are) won’t completely fix a issue unless it’s very minor. Muscles take awhile to get tight enough to cause pain, so logically it takes a little bit of work to get them to loosen up again and this may take another session or two. If you come in to relax or for stress, typically a follow-up appointment will increase those happy chemicals in the body, allowing you to function better mentally and physically.

3. “Stretch!” – Ultimately, our goal with pain is to get you pain free so you can come in for a nice relaxing session every once in a while. Stretching at home will continue the progress we’ve made in the office, helping you feel better for longer. Your massage therapist would be happy to recommend a few for you if you’d like.

4. “Go home for a hot bath and a nap.” – This one is mine. I tell many of my clients this, simply because I see many clients who could use a little more rest and “me-time”. So many people are so busy doing for others that they forget to take even a few minutes for themselves. I personally do this every time I get a massage (which is every 3 weeks by the way). Doing this lets me relax, and I usually get a wonderful night’s sleep.

5. “Take it Easy” – What good does it do to relax your body and mind if you’re just going to get tight and stressed immediately after your massage? Diddly, that’s what! No running to the gym asking noodle-muscles to work. No heading straight to something you find extremely stressful right after. No softball tournaments the evening of your massage. Seriously…take it easy and enjoy the mellow for the day. You deserve to take it easy for a few.

Those are our most common tid-bits of advice, though they vary by session and client. If you have anymore questions after your session please don’t hesitate to ask. Even if you don’t think of it until you get home, we’re still only a phone call away and are happy to answer any of your questions.

Jennifer Parker, Body Harmony Massage
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Clairvoyant Distance Healing – My Unbelievable Experience

In my personal quest to experience several different alternative healings, I found myself drawn to Chakra Cleansing. Oddly enough, even though I’m deeply involved in alternative medicine this is not typically something I’d even consider. I’m a very “hands-on” type massage therapist and the whole energy healing thing honestly always seemed a bit hookey. I’m a logical, skeptical thinker. A Taurean-Rooster who’s stubborn and, as Erin ended up putting it, suffers from “mental constipation”. This of course I found hilarious, mostly because I always feel I let my head get in the way of things. My point is even after I paid for this and made the appointment I was nervous and had some serious doubts.

Nevertheless, I like to go with my gut on things and I was drawn to one particular website…Guaranteed Healing. Guaranteed? Really? I kept going back to it, but she’s a clairvoyant distance healer no less…so my logical mind kept dismissing it as not possible and I moved on.

But I kept going back. Over and over I’d check out her site, read TONS of positive testimonials and watch the video testimonials from all around the world. All swearing on the wonders of this woman’s abilities. Doctors, Chiropractors, joe-schmos and completely sane sounding people! Finally I said screw it and just jumped in. I purchased a 90min session…go big or go home right?!

I cannot explain to you the shock I experienced from her accuracy just in the first few minutes. She knew little things, that I’m a Taurus & my boyfriend is of Mexican decent…but the big things…those are what get your attention! Details about some big family issues, opinions I had of myself, fears I had for my son and my relationship. Not run-of-the-mill anybody could fit in stuff, but DETAILS. Intimate details all laid out on a shiny silver platter. No sugar coating. Just straight, honest, companionate truth.

But I’m getting off track here…the healing is what I was after. So Erin, super sweet crack-up that she is, goes through each Chakra one by one. She tells you what she sees there, allowing you to recognize it and let it go. Then she removes what she calls “entities”. What feel like negative energy pools that attach to bad experiences in your life and muck up your Chakras, preventing your energy from flowing and blocking positive energy & experiences from coming in because you’re to full of negative energy to accept any positive. (At least that’s my general understanding. Her website & personal description gives much better detail)

Starting with my crown chakra, which tingled the whole time by the way, she tapped on pains in my life that brought me nearly to tears. She helps you let go of the pain and through visualizations & affirmations be an active participant in your own healing, which i feel is the only way one can truly heal. Once we got through removing the last entity here, the tingling in my head stopped and I felt that those experiences were…finally…over in my life.

By the time we got to the heart chakra I was feeling pretty good and, despite myself, was thoroughly impressed with her knowledge and abilities. What I didn’t know was the heart would be the hardest one for me. I’ve had several experiences in my life where I felt let down and outright betrayed by people who I felt should have been there for me. People I’d give my life for. And apparently I held all of that here. This negative energy, when she had me acknowledge it and asked me to give it to her, felt HUGE. As I visualized giving it to her it felt like roots of a tree, black and tarry, filling my chest. I felt the only way to get it out to give to her was to burn it. I burnt it to ash in my mind, mentally put a pile of ash in her hand, then instantly broke out in a sweat and fought the urge to bawl. She said “wow that was a big one” and the tears just started coming…from me the non-cryer…the strong one.

How do I explain what I felt once we were all done? I wasn’t all giddy and stupid happy…but I definitely felt a change. Before the session I would describe myself as “on the brink of sadness”. Not actually sad. Perfectly functional. But always a feeling of “waiting for the ball to drop” and that when it did, it would be the end of my control. I would say I actually feared it. Feared that if one more bad thing happened I wouldn’t bounce back this time. So I tried to control things, emotional things, to make sure I kept the ball up. I don’t feel that now. I’m…good. And even though “good” is the best I can describe it, “good” is freakin AWESOME. This must be what “at peace” feels like.

I’ll definitely be talking to Erin again soon. And I highly recommend anyone who has felt unexplainably “off” in their life to try her. She’s so good she offers a guarantee! Check her out at Guaranteed Healing and tell her I sent you 🙂

Jennifer Parker, Body Harmony Massage
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Hypermobility…My Chronic Pain Condition

20130912-171913.jpgAs some of my clients know, and as I’ve said on my website, I myself have a chronic pain condition. I’m genetically hypermobile, meaning all my ligaments are to loose, resulting in unstable joints. It doesn’t take much for me to suffer a partial or full dislocation. Over 32 years I’ve dislocated my right hip, left collar bone at the shoulder (twice), all of my ribs at least once, my knees hyperextend and I’ve rolled my ankles so many times they don’t even bother to swell up anymore. Needless to say, high heels are not my friend.

Also, because my ligaments aren’t doing their job my muscles over tighten to compensate and try to stabilize my joints. This leads to chronic muscle tension and, if left unchecked, even calcification of my muscle tissue. That means that the muscles are so tight for so long the body decides “must be bone!” and starts throwing calcium in there, giving the muscle a grainy texture.

Yay for me huh :p Fortunately, I found massage in my early 20’s which helped a ton. The muscles stopped pulling my bones so hard, so I ended up with fewer dislocations. I have to be more careful now, and admit that I may not actually be She-Ra Princess of Power, but I have felt 100+% better since I found massage therapy. I was so impressed with the improvement I became a massage therapist.

Many of my chronic pain clients find comfort in my experience and understanding of what they’re going through. Because I was also told that I was lazy or needed to suck it up, I get very defensive of my clients who’ve been told the same. I’ve dedicated a good portion of my education and research to chronic pain conditions and the correct techniques to give them relief from their pain. We have to accept that these conditions are a part of us…but we don’t have to believe there’s nothing we can do about it. Keep looking for your solution. It took me years to find mine and I’m grateful every day that I found massage and alternative care. It’s given me my life’s purpose…and I never would have found it if I never had this condition.

Jennifer Parker, Body Harmony Massage
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(image from en.lecturas.org)

Cross Tension & Your Mind

Did you know your brain will create tension patterns to compensate for a painful area? That one single injury can cause problems in a seemingly unrelated area? Hmmm…what does that mean for muscle tension??

Welll…say your left foot hurts from stepping on a lego. You start favoring that leg and putting less weight on it. Do that long enough and you’ll end up with a tension pattern that hikes up that left side a little for you, resulting in a pelvis that is higher on the left.

Theeenn your low back gets all grumpy, with tension on the left side and over stretching on the right. Now, since your spine is a nice straight line this throws your upper body off to the right. What happens next you might ask? Well, your brain will tell your muscles to tighten in the left mid-back vicinity to pull your shoulders back over. Inevitably your muscles, poor dumb creatures that they are, will pull to far so you’ll have to tip your head slightly to the right. Mission accomplished: Eyes now at the level! Way to go brain :p

So what do we have now: a left foot that hurts, left IT band all tight, a sore rear end, low back pain, shoulder tension, a tight neck and probably headaches. Again…Way to go brain.

Now this is a slight exaggeration of a lego incident, but similar to what we see in massage all the time. One thing in an unrelated area causing a zig-zag of cranky muscles. A cross-tension pattern.

“But how can I prevent this atrocity from happening to me” you might ask your friendly massage therapist. My advice: learn to be “body aware”. Check yourself before you wreck yourself as my honey would say (though I think he’s referring to my attitude or something *insert rolling of eyes here*).

Anywho, the pelvis is a good place to start. Go look in the mirror. Start by checking your hips at the little bony points in the front, called the ASIS. Is one side higher or farther backward? What about your shoulders? Any difference there? If so you may have an alignment issue, which can cause a tension pattern of compensating muscles. If you see any of these variations it’s a good idea to visit your massage therapist or chiropractor to check for any potential problems and prevent future discomfort.

Jennifer Parker, Body Harmony Massage
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Cupping – Our Sept. Treatment of the Month

20130822-201106.jpgRecently I’ve realized that we have several awesome services in our office that many of our clients have never tried. It seems they’ve found something they love already and don’t really want to venture into new massage services. I really feel it’s important to try new things every once in a while, so we’re starting our new “Treatment of the Month”. Each month we’ll run a special on a specific service we offer so you can try it at an affordable price.

And we’re starting with Cupping! I’m currently the only therapist who offers this at the office, but I have a feeling the other girls will get trained in it soon. I received Cupping one time and fell in LOVE! I immediately set off to learn this awesome treatment.

Let’s run through a quick description. Think Deep Tissue Massage results, but in reverse with significantly less pain. Awesome right?!

Basically, a cup is applied to the skin and then a vacuum is created to pull the skin up into the cup. This is not painful when done properly. The suction stretches the underlying connective tissue and fascia, and holds that suction for a time which allows the tissue to stretch and release. This is similar to when you are stretching a muscle and must hold that stretch for a few moments to get the full benefit.

After a few minutes the cup is gently removed. This leaves you with two things:

1. Lovely suction marks making you look like you lost a fight with a giant squid. These marks are not bruises, are not painful and fade (some in a few hours, some in a few days depending on how tight the muscles & tissue was in the area). Ah the marks of a healed body 🙂

2. The connective tissue & fascia, which is many times the most sensitive, is all loosey-goosey now. This desensitizes the area which allows me to work with much more cooperative and less tender tissue, resulting in greater relief during the session.

I’ve treated everything from knotted muscles to fibromyalgia to plantar fasciitis with this treatment with fabulous results. The area is less sensitive so I can make real progress in the treatment and give my clients greater relief from their pain.

Interested? Click here to be taken to the special for this month – A full 90min session, which includes a full one hour massage session with additional 30 minutes of Cupping work, for only $75 OR a 30min Cupping Only session for $25. You can schedule your session now or purchase a gift certificate for later to take advantage of this deal.

See you soon!
Jennifer Parker, Body Harmony Massage
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