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For the Mamas – Pre- and Post- Natal Massage

20130822-202909.jpgEveryone’s heard of prenatal massage, but not many know the importance of postnatal massage or the benefits and contraindications of either. With that in mind I thought it would be good to do a quick run through of each.

Prenatal Massage Contraindications (circumstances that would prevent you from receiving massage) – First off, massage is typically not recommended in the first trimester of pregnancy. The reason for this is simply because this time is the greatest risk of miscarriage and we don’t want to disrupt the body during this delicate time. Additionally if mom has suffered a prior miscarriage, preeclampsia (high blood pressure with pregnancy), or has any other medical concerns regarding the pregnancy we require a doctor’s approval before treating you. The chances of massage causing any symptoms or issues is minimal, but even a minute risk is not worth the chance when littles are concerned.

Prenatal Massage Benefits – Obviously, mom goes through a lot of changes while carrying baby. Between expanding, stretching and hormones mama just deserves a little pampering. I mean for pity sakes your growing a PERSON! That’s hard work!! And with all those body adjustments comes plenty of muscle tension and stress that needs to be addressed too. Massage can help with each of these needs to help make pregnancy easier for mama, which in turn makes it easier for baby.

Postnatal Massage Contraindications – In the case of c-sections or complications a minimum of 6 weeks of recovery and a doctor’s ok is necessary. If delivery was fine, 3-4 weeks of recovery is a good wait time.

Postnatal Massage Benefits – I recommend at least one postnatal appointment to my clients for two reasons:
1. To give mom a much needed break after many sleepless nights of newborn needs
2. To check that the body is realigning as it should after the pregnancy. At the end of pregnancy the pelvis really tilts forward. If the pelvis doesn’t shift back into proper position this can lead to low back problems, sciatic issues and SI joint problems (all of which can be painful). Also the “girls” tend to swell and get considerably heavier once engorged with milk, causing the upper back and shoulders to tense up to carry the weight (and let’s all admit there’s no good posture when it comes to nursing). Again, massage is very helpful during this time to help realign the body and ease any new mama discomfort.

Not that I’m partial, but I truly believe massage can make the whole baby growing process go much easier. But once your beautiful bundle of joy arrives don’t forget that you can’t care for others if you don’t care for yourself.

Jennifer Parker, Body Harmony Massage
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Black Friday Sale on Massages? Whaaaaaat??!!!!

Oh yeah it’s coming up on Black Friday time. Highlight of a discount junkie’s whole year. When mobs of crazed shoppers stalk the Wal-Marts of the country like zombies at zero-dark-thirty in bunny slippers and curlers (I used to live in Kansas. I’ve seen it…super creepy).


Scary huh! But you didn’t think we’d miss out on all the fun did you? HECK NO! And we’ll not only save you from the chaos in the streets by offering our deal exclusively online, but we’re also going to one-up those retail yuppies buy running our deal Friday through Monday. Boo-ya! Take that greedy franchisers.

We’re running a Buy One Get One 1/2 Off all gift certificates on our website from Black Friday all the way through Cyber Monday. Just head on over to the Body Harmony Massage website Nov. 29th-Dec 2nd and order online from the comfort of your home in your underwear, if that’s your thing. No judging here. Give them as gifts or use them yourself. Why not? They’re on sale!

On a separate note, pretty please consider buying local and supporting our local economy. The more dollars that change hands between local residents and local businesses, the more our beautiful Treasure Valley can flourish. Hit the mom and pop shops for gifts, get a mani-pedi or massage gift certificate from your favorite place or whatever. Just do your part to help out businesses in Boise, Meridian and all the other surrounding towns with so much to offer. We will be extremely appreciative of your support and able to continue to serve the entire Treasure Valley. We thank you!

Jennifer Parker, Body Harmony Massage
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(Image from nytimes.com)

Acupuncture Treatment – My Experience


I often get asked by my clients about other forms of alternative care that I’ve tried and believe in. Of those, acupuncture is probably the one I get asked about the most. Does it hurt? Does it work? What can it do? How big are the needles? Considering this I figured it would be beneficial to my dear blog followers to do a rundown of my experience with acupuncture.

First off, I’ve seen two acupuncturists in my life who are both here in the Treasure Valley. I personally love them both, but I now see Heather Bergstrom at Vitality Acupuncture. She’s frickin’ fabulous! I pretty much see her for anything I can’t treat myself. She’s treated me for low energy, acne, sinus congestion, muscle pain, nightmares, being cold all the time and lord knows what else. Basically she starts with “So what’s new?” and I ramble off some seemingly random stuff like “Oh ya know I’ve been cold alot, my face seem to be breaking out lately and I don’t have as much energy as I’d like.”. Then she takes my pulse in several places, looks at my tongue (acupuncturists seem to be a little obsessed with them) and brings it all together under one or two issues (for that list it was blood deficiency and low iron apparently) and we go from there.

As far as the actual needles part? No, they don’t hurt. They’re itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny needles. I would describe the sensation as the prick of the needle for a split second, then something between an electric tingle and a muscle spasm when she finds the point, then nothing. I couldn’t even tell you where the last needle was once she heads to the next one. Then she puts a nice toasty heat lamp on me and leaves the room while I enjoy myself a nice nap. After around 20-30 minutes she comes back in, removes the needles and I’m feeling all clear headed and chipper. Easy-peasy!

Oh by the way…Get the needle in the middle of your forehead. I don’t know what that guy does, but I’m putty and get a really deep and restful nap when she puts a needle in that spot. I call it the mind eraser point…it’s my favorite 🙂

Anywho, if you want to give it a try or want more information I refer all my clients to her. Check out her website at http://www.vitalityacupunctureclinic.com and browse around, then give her a call and try it out. No need to be scared, I wouldn’t steer you wrong.

Jennifer Parker, Body Harmony Massage
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Tibetan Healing Sounds

I found this exceptionally relaxing to listen to during my nightly hot bath and thought I’d share it with everyone. I use this time to release the stresses and negative energy of the day. I soak in warm water with Epsom salts, breathe deeply and slowly, and listen to music or sometimes read. It helps me relax and sleep better 🙂

Zen Flash

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If You’re Sick Stay Home

20131002-182225.jpgWith the cold and flu season kicking off I feel compelled to give this advice. All the crappy symptoms you’re feeling are your body’s response to an infection. Your fever is to burn it out, your sore throat is your immune system killing off infected cells, and your grogginess is because your body is literally waging war on your tiny invader.

It takes alot of energy to wage a war. GO TO SLEEP! Let’s face it, are you really all that productive (or friendly?!) when you’re trying to power through a cold? Wouldn’t it be more efficient to get over it faster so you can be fully present at work instead of distracted by your currently miserable body? Of course it would.

Rest is key here folks. Go home and sleep it off for a day or two.

And a little tid-bit from the rest of us…we love you, but we don’t want your cooties. Get that business contained in a hazmat suit and stop spreading that particular love around. Also…NO massage while you have symptoms! For one, we don’t want it. For two, massage increases blood flow which could actually spread your infection. Please just call us to cancel asap and go to bed. We’ll understand 🙂

Jennifer Parker, Body Harmony Massage
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Your Perspective Sets Your Reality

20131017-191538.jpgYou’ve heard of “the power of positive imaging”, right? The whole idea of visualizing what you want or acting happy will make you happy?

Don’t dismiss this as wishful thinking folks. There’s some legitimacy to the idea.

Let’s start on the flip side to prove my point. Everyone knows at least one person who is constantly negative about everything. “The Frowner” (picture Jeff Dunham’s “Walter” character here 😦 ). Say you take The Frowner to a restaurant with you. The Frowner will immediately start complaining about the decor, the service, the location, whatever. They’ll finish up their little rant with “and the food’s probably gonna stink too”. They are “glass half empty” people…because that’s the perspective they choose to take on just about everything. They LOOK for the negative! Even if you took this person to the finest place in town they still wouldn’t be happy. Why? Because negativity is the perspective they choose to take on life. You know this guy…and you avoid this guy.

Now lets think about that one person in our lives who’s always smiling. Let’s call them “Sunshine” (like those ever-smiling yellow happy faces 🙂 ) and take them out to dinner. Sunshine notices every cute nuance in the decor, the waitresses nice shoes, the flavor of the food and OMG look at the DESERT MENU! Everything makes Sunshine smile and get all gitty about silly little things that don’t even get noticed my most others. You cannot rain on Sunshine’s parade…they’ll just look up and wait patiently for their rainbow. They’ve chosen the “bright side” perspective in life. By doing so they are surrounded by things that make them happy regardless of the dung pile they may or may not be standing in…and people flock to their side to enjoy the light that emanates from Sunshine.

Who would you rather be? Your reality is set by your perspective. If you see the good, the world IS good! Am I saying if you choose the positive perspective you’ll win the lottery? No. What I’m saying is if you choose the positive perspective the simple things like a hug will make you feel like you just did.

Jennifer Parker, Body Harmony Massage
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5 Ways to Stress Less this Thanksgiving

thanksgivingTurkey day is on it’s way and though the holidays are a time of celebrating family and friends, sometimes it can be a time of stress and utter frustration. The trick here is to acknowledge what it is that causes your stress and address it before it becomes a problem. Here’s a few tips to point you in the right direction:

1. You are allowed to say “No”. – Not every request has to be granted. You don’t have to visit every family member’s dinner every year. You don’t need to make the requested ham and turkey or two different kinds of stuffing. Realize that if you become the “yes man” everything you do will end up being sub-par because you’ve stretched yourself to thin. Decide what’s a priority and what you can legitimately handle, then stick to it. “No” is not a dirty word and you should not feel guilty about using it when necessary.

2. Delegate. – My family did a pot-luck Thanksgiving for years and it worked out great. Whoever’s hosting makes the turkey and a couple other easy things. Everyone else gets assigned the fixin’s. Less stress for the hostess (since getting my house clean and ready for company is usually stress enough) and everyone gets to share their signature dish. Win-win situation.

3. Prep in advance. – Do not wait until the week of to go grocery shopping! The crowds alone will immediately make you want to kick yourself. Let alone the inevitability that the store will always be out of some critical ingredient you need by then. Plan your menu and shop 2-3 weeks early. Also, if you can find any make-ahead recipes (I make my mashed potatoes in advance and freeze them) they are a huge time and stress saver.

4. Accept that you can’t make everyone happy all the time. – Families are diverse…and to some degree every one is dysfunctional in their own special way. That being said, they will not all be happy all the time and that’s ok. Grandma will hate the gravy, your sister will pick a petty fight, your uncle will hate your stuffing or your husband will buy the wrong wine. Regardless, you’ve done your best, you’ve spent quality time with the people you love, and you’re thankful for another year with those closest to you. That, my dears, equals a successful Thanksgiving…no matter how the turkey turns out 🙂

5. Schedule a massage for right after everyone’s gone. Have it already booked. I know this sounds like a shameless plug, but hear me out. If you went through the entire week of Thanksgiving KNOWING there was a massage waiting for you at the end…wouldn’t things stress you out a little less knowing you had a prize waiting for you afterwards? It’s like a kid who braves the doctor knowing they’ll get a sucker and a sticker afterward! And don’t you think after coordinating the family feast you earned a little relaxing “me time”? I think yes!

And a little extra bit of advice: Don’t get so caught up in the stress of the holiday season that you forget the whole point. This is the time of year when we make a little extra effort to show our love and appreciation for friends and family. It’s not about gifts and food and marketing…it’s about celebrating what we already have and being thankful for it all.

Jennifer Parker, Body Harmony Massage
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