Monthly Archives: October 2013

7 Ways to Make Mondays Suck Less

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We’ve all woken up on a Monday morning and went “Uuuuuggghhh I hate Mondays!”. Fortunately, they don’t have to be so awful. Here’s 7 tips I’ve found to make them suck a little less. Enjoy!

1. Do something you enjoy on Mondays. Go to Yoga, stop at your favorite coffee shop, have a lunch date with your friends, walk in the park or whatever makes you happy. If you know every Monday you’re going to do something that will make you smile, maybe you’ll start actually looking FORWARD to Mondays! It could happen!

2. Make Mondays “desert day”. Yes, many of us are on a diet of one kind or another. Regardless, even the experts say you should allow yourself an occasional “reward”. Soo…I say we should now dub them “CAKE MONDAYS!” (or pie or wine or whatever your vice is that you’re currently denying yourself). Mmmmm….cake.

3. Have mini date nights every Wednesday. Go have a drink after work with your honey or friends every Wednesday. Part of what makes Mondays suck is that there’s 5 whole days before fun-time Friday gets here. Break up the week a little so it doesn’t seem so long.

4. Schedule Massage Mondays. Yup, I said it. I LOVE getting massages on Mondays. Why? Because it just makes the whole week go by smoother when you start off the week all relaxed and happy!

5. Start your week on a different day (if you can). Mondays are packed full of negative energy because everybody’s grouchy that it’s even Monday. If you can start your week on a different day you can avoid being pulled down by everyone else’s “Monday blues”.

6. Do shower meditation. I’ve recently discovered this one and it really changes my outlook on any day. When you take your morning shower close your eyes and just feel the water pouring over you. Let all the crummy feelings run off with the water and down the drain. I know it sounds a little hooky, but try it. When I do this I step out of the shower refreshed, energetic and ready to take on the world. It’s pretty awesome.

7. Change your perspective. Why do Mondays suck so bad? Is it really because everything bad happens on a Monday? Or could it be that they suck because we get out of bed with a sucky attitude that bleeds into our whole day? Put a smile on people! They’re contagious you know, and you just might start doing it automatically 😉

Jennifer Parker, Body Harmony Massage
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Enter Our Thanksgiving Contest!

thanksgiving2We’ve got alot to be thankful for. Even when times are hard and money’s tight, there’s always something to be grateful to have. Health, home, love, country…so many things we have in this life that get taken for granted every day.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving we’ve decided to have ourselves a little contest for our loyal followers. Send us a short email at bodyharmony@massagetherapy.com in the next 2 weeks, telling us what you have to be thankful for this holiday season. We’ll post them the week before Thanksgiving and let our followers vote on the story that touches their heart most. Then we’ll pick a winner the 1st of December.

The winner will receive a canvas tote bag filled with a few items made by our own Jennifer Parker (including some handmade soaps and scrubs), a 1 hour massage gift certificate, a Discount Club Card giving you discounts for the whole year, and a few other goodies thrown in for good measure.

Please realize your essays will be posted online here on this blog and on our facebook and twitter pages with your first name only. We hope that these stories will spread some good vibes, bring a couple happy tears and help people realize just what they have to be grateful for. Thank you for your participation and good luck! 🙂

Jennifer Parker, Body Harmony Massage
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9 Tips to Help Balance Hormones

Some REALLY interesting info on the function and creation of hormones and how to balance them. An excellent read from “Kim Raya’s Let Me Reach”, one of the many wellness blogs I follow.

Let Me Reach with Kim Saeed

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By Katie WellnessMama

When it comes to health, hormones and gut bacteria have a much bigger effect than many people realize. In fact, these two factors can destroy health even if everything else (diet, supplements, etc.) is optimized. Conversely, fixing hormones and gut bacteria can do a lot to boost health, even if not all the other factors are optimal. In fact, there are even studies about using certain hormone reactions to heal brain trauma.

If you doubt the very real power of hormones to affect everything from mood, to weight, to bowel health – ask the nearest pregnant woman if she’s noticed any difference in these areas since being pregnant. Or ask the nearest 13 year old girl… carefully…

If you have symptoms like fatigue, skin issues, weight gain, weight around the middle, trouble sleeping, always sleeping, PMS, endometriosis, infertility, PCOS or other issues, chances are you have hormone…

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How to: Stretch Pirformis

Great walk-through on how to stretch the Piriformis. I massage this pesky muscle frequently on people with low back and sciatic issues. Stretching this guy can help get you some relief.

Body Poets Massage Therapy

Piriformis - Ottawa Massage BlogOne of the more commonly tight muscles, the piriformis, can be a real pain in your …. well, you know. But stretching it out regularly will help reduce pain and discomfort in your … well, you know. The following stretches aren’t just for the piriformis though. They also help with the gluteus minimus and other external rotators of the hip (there are five others!).

Some indications that you may need to stretch your external hip rotators are:

  • sciatic pain
  • SI joint pain
  • stiffness in the hips
  • postural imbalances such as being ‘duck-footed’ (toes pointing out) or weight bearing on one leg (hip jutting out)

Without further ado, here are some stretches and modifications for the external hip rotators. Find one that best suits your flexibility level.

Pigeon Pose: Kneeling on all 4s, bring the right knee forward to the right wrist. Let the right knee sink out toward the ground…

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My Theory on Low Back Pain in Men

Take that big fat withered wallet OUT of your back pocket. I will personally petition for a resurgence in the coolness and popularity of fanny-packs for you guys if you would just pretty please at least take the wallet out when your sitting down!

Ok, I’m good now. Back to business. Though this little beauty of a tip may just cost me some clients who won’t need massage so much. Oh well…healing’s the goal!

What you fellas aren’t seeing from the perspective of a body worker is that you are wreaking havoc on your spine. By sitting on your wallet you are raising one side of your pelvis, sometimes by an inch or more. This tip in your pelvis eventually leads to a curve in your spine and a ton or low back pain. Check out this picture:

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See! Bad ju-ju! You don’t even get a cool story to tell when you get asked about what happened to your back (sad face). Ok, I’ll take back the fanny-pack comment. You can keep your worn out old friend in your pocket while you’re up and about. But take it from me if you stop sitting on that guy all day your back will thank you. Just sayin’ 😉

Jennifer Parker, Body Harmony Massage
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In honor of World Mental Health Day, let’s talk about depression.

Excellent blog post about Depression & mental illness

Invigorate Massage and Wellness

An estimated 1 in 10 adults in the United States suffers from some kind of depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That’s around the same percentage of American adults who are left-handed, and yet while handedness is seen today as a quirky curiosity (or sometimes an advantage, in the case of athletes), there is still stigma and silence surrounding depression as an illness. So let’s talk: what is depression? Why is it problematic? And is there anything that can help?

What is depression?

Let’s start with what depression isn’t: a bad day, a brief period of mourning after a loss, or a pessimistic outlook on life. It consists of a period of more than two weeks of a bad mood, decreased interest in things that one normally finds enjoyable, and can also include fatigue, changes in weight, difficulty concentrating, inappropriate guilt, and even suicidal thoughts. While two weeks…

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My Theories on Fibromyalgia

painLet me first say I’m not a doctor. Anything stated here is solely based on my observations as a massage therapist and are in no way medically solid. I simply feel the need to write this as I find many similarities in my fibro clients that, to my knowledge, have not been brought up in medical studies. My observations are just something I thought we might all consider about this particular disease.

Now, I’d like to throw out a giant defense to all my chronic pain clients, especially fibromyalgia clients. “Just because you can’t see or understand these people’s condition does NOT mean it’s all in their head!” I’ve seen way to many clients come in truly upset because no one wants to accept their pain is real. I must admit my “mama bear” instincts kick in when I hear this as I find it extremely upsetting when someone dismisses what another person is feeling and will defend you dear people to my bitter end.

So I’ve noticed many, not all, of my clients have several of these traits in common:
1) They are givers who tend to put themselves at the end of their caretaking list…which makes them high-stress people. Not in an anxious kind of way, but more in a “weight of the world” kind of way. And the more stress the more pain.

2) Many are carrying a few more pounds than their frame should carry. Every body structure is different and I’m in no way judging here. I do believe that there’s a HUGE difference between “skinny” and “healthy”, and a healthy weight for your body type is always more beneficial than being skinny for society’s sake. However, these clients seem to be more sensitive to extra pounds.

3) They have very poor sleep patterns. Part of this is the nature of the condition as pain keeps them awake, and part of this is from stress as well. Their minds don’t stop just because it’s bed time.

4) This one threw me for a loop at first – When the touch is expected, like in a massage session, they’re typically ok. When it’s unexpected…that’s when it can be quite painful. A bump from a passing person, a hug that’s tighter than expected, a shirt that’s too tight; the things they don’t know and accept are coming seem to be more of a problem.

Because of these particular traits, I’ve wondered if stress and adrenaline have a part to play in this condition. We all know long term stress is bad for the body. The reason is that stress produces adrenaline, which is meant to be a short term chemical for self preservation. It is not meant to be in the body long term. It makes you hyper sensitive to outside stimuli…including touch. It makes you unable to relax and sleep. AND it slows down digestion (an unnecessary place to waste energy when your life is supposedly in danger) which over a longer period of time could lead to weight gain and digestive problems. My fibro clients have these problems! Could they at least partially be a symptom of adrenal overload?

I spoke to my acupuncturist about this little theory of mine. Her response was “Huh, that could actually make sense.” So what do I recommend? Relax more. Saying “no” to people is ok if you know you’re going to pay for it later. Learn breathing or meditation techniques to calm your body and mind. Take up Yoga. Get more relaxing massages. Try acupuncture. It’s ok to care for you. I’ve seen clients decide to make a commitment to care for themselves first have fewer flare-ups and are much happier overall. Try it….see if it helps. It’s just a theory on my part, but I’ve shared this theory with a few clients and it seems to help.

Jennifer Parker, Body Harmony Massage
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