Friday, August 31, 2012

"You've got to follow your passion. You've got to figure out what it is you love - who you really are. And have the courage to do that. I believe that the only courage anybody ever needs is the courage to follow your own dreams."
- Oprah Winfrey

I've mentioned before that for me Fridays are a kind of cleanse day. That can mean a variety of activities depending upon my needs and whims. Basically, I try to keep everything about the day as simple as possible. Doing so frees my mind. Having a free and open mind allows me to ponder the ideas put forth in the above quote.

I honestly feel that you don't have a rat's @ss of a chance of knowing what you love and then finding your passion and then developing the courage to follow your authentic dreams if you don't know who you really are.

It all starts with knowing yourself and from there you can begin to picture what you want your life to look like.

My challenge to you this day is to ponder exactly who you are and whether you are happy with who you are now or long for something more. If so what does that something more look like?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ballet Body: Lower Body Review

This is a review of the Ballet Body Signature Series Lower Body Workout. I'm actually making these notes on 8/14/2012 but this won't make my blog until sometime in the future.

My immediate thought was that this really isn't ballet, though it is ballet inspired. Then again the name is Ballet Body so the implication is that your body will look like you are a dancer not that you will be doing actual ballet. My second thought was that Leah means business!

Tons and tons of plie variations, demi plie to be exact though there was a series of deep plies in second position. She also does some interesting and - if the burn in my butt and thighs was an indication - effective thigh, hip and hamstring work where you work while pulling away from the bar. It goes on and on and on and then finally you get to go to the floor. Heh heh and do a pretty intense bridge series that again works the body from a variety of angles.

Finally, just when I was ready to take off my shoe - oh wait! I didn't wear shoes - and throw it at the TV, it was time to stretch. Delicious is how I would characterize the stretch series. Again, plenty of innovative angles. That's what makes it extra delish. It's about 12 minutes long but feels longer and that's nice.

The entire workout is about 54 minutes long and is done in voice over, which means that Leah demonstrates the exercises silently but her voice has been dubbed into the background along with the music, which I'd characterize as unobtrusive. It is not chaptered. I figure that this is on purpose. No one would finish if they could simply skip through the chapters. Bwaaaahahahaha!

I always approach a new method as a beginner. Leah's workout schedule for these dvds states that beginners should do half the reps and all the modifications. This wasn't always easy to achieve. Often the cuing for the modification didn't come until I was well into the more advanced position. I also wasn't sure of how many of each movement I'd be doing or what I should be doing when I wasn't doing the movement. So, I ended up doing much more than half of most of the movements.

Despite taking it easy, I was "wring out your sports bra and top" drenched when I finished and was still perspiring after a cool shower. Isometrics always do that to me. Ya gotta love a good cleansing sweat! Running, even sprinting never does that for me. <sigh>

I thought that this workout would have a lot of dread factor for me. I guess it's like childbirth though... I finished with a prayer of thanks that it was over and seriously thinking I might as well just trade it away but now that I've had a shower I'm thinking I might like to follow her schedule for these three dvds and try it again next week.

If I see that idea through I'll add this review by update or by replying depending upon how much I have to say.

One additional thought: Leah appears to have longer legs with a slightly shorter torso. Maybe a combo bordering on short torso. She is lean and truly does have the ballet body that she is attempting to give to people who engage in her workouts. I'm wondering how my short and tending toward stocky legs would take to a steady diet of this method. I'm not sure I'm wondering enough to actually commit to a trial but I'll let you know if I change my mind.

Below is a clip from youtube showing some of the exercises used in this video.

Editing this to add that I did this dvd again. The second time through I dispensed with the beginner recommendations and just did the workout as presented. Wow! This is some workout!! I'm used to isometric contractions but my legs were burning at certain points in the workout. The crazy thing is that today - the next day - they weren't sore. They basically felt a little tired or muscle aware. I am wondering about dread factor but it might not be an issue since there is no major soreness that follows the workout. I definitely think i'll be doing this one again at some point.
Next off I'll try Leah's core video but not for a day or two. When I do I'll be posting my thoughts on it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

It's a Wrap! Pace Workout 6

This post was written previously but referrs to my impressions of the PACE workout program I was given to review.

This morning was workout 6 of PACE disk 1. The set up was the same as previous workouts. There was a single set of pushups sandwiched into the series of 8 movements. Week 1 Done!

Today was a teaching day for me so I also got some T-Tapp and postural restructuring. I can really feel that I need a good Ecoscue session to straighten out my sacrum. This isn't due to doing PACE. It's due to skipping Egoscue this week and most of last. Things are getting more balanced so I can go longer between workouts but I'm definitely more comfortable if I do them regularly.

Time for a cute puppy picture. This is our sweet boy Reilly when he was a young puppy. (Before his long fur had come in.) He wore himself out running around getting used to his first harness and found the boot basket a perfect place to nap.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Personal Wellness Rules

  1. If some is good more is not necessarily better. Overtraining, overeating, overbooking your schedule is counterproductive.
  2. Healthy Eating, Healthy Movement, Healthy Mind activities are all best when treated like medicine. Do them daily if possible, be consistent in the dose, chose quality over quantity.
  3. Know yourself and chose activities that you enjoy - don't feel like you have to do something you hate simply because it's very popular right now.
  4. Weight matters but inches matter too. Body composition is a strong predictor of health and can, despite what we're told be changed for the better.
  5. Be an educated consumer. Never stop learning. Over time trends and information available changes. Keep an eye on the changes around you and also the changes within you.
  6. Don't be drawn into hype. Most manufacturers have a bottom line of sales. They do not care if their products make your life better. On the other hand they don't want to kill you - at least not right away - if you die you won't be able to buy more products!
Wow! That last one got me thinking. If manufacturers just make you tired and sick they can sell you loads of products aimed at making you feel better - though not too much better because then.....

Not all manufacturers are that mercenary but then some totally are. I guess on that note I'll call this post finished  - for now - I reserve the right to return and add to it.
    Those are my personal wellness rules. What do yours look like?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Me and T-Tapp and why I'm not a typical trainer

I'm a T-Tapp trainer but with a few differences that I'd like to explain. But first let me explain that I didn't initially "click" with T-Tapp. I was coming from a totally different fitness frame of reference when I was first exposed to this very different method. I was "Firmly" grounded in western training concepts and had been doing pretty much nothing but the Firm (15 years), Cathe (Cathe 2-3 years), and running (about a year) for a very long time. I had dabbled in Pilates and Power Yoga but never much stuck with it. That said, I'll move onto the differences.

  • Other than during your initial T-Tapp bootcamp I don't insist that you can only do T-Tapp. To be fair there are also other trainers that take this approach. I really enjoy helping someone coming from other fitness methods and modalities to find enjoyment and benefit from T-Tapp and I know that they don't want to be sidelined from their other fitness activities.
  • I work other fitness methods into my workout schedule and try new methods. I do this because I enjoy variety and if I'm going to help people who want to do other workouts besides T-Tapp I need to know what's out there and what the movements are like. You can sometimes tell by viewing but often need to do at least a bit of a class or dvd to really know what the movements feel like and how they might mix or not mix with T-Tapp. (My most recent example of this for me was the PACE program.)
  • I can get pretty creative with using T-Tapp as an add on to a main workout rather than simply sticking with a schedule that uses this DVD or that one. Sometimes less can truly be more. I've gotten myself in trouble in the past with trying to use T-Tapp along with other workout methods. It's counter productive and I don't want you to experience the same. (Again, PACE was a great example of this for me.)
  • I always try to plan schedules with the concept of postural restructuring through movement in mind. I'm a massage therapist. I specialize in postural restructuring. I truly believe that a lack of desired "results" can often be due to slight postural imbalances. T-Tapp pulls posture back in line but you can get a synergistic response by "double teaming" your body using other methods to balance posture.
  • I plan to be certified in at least one additional rehabilitative exercise method. That might be taken by some to demonstrate less than complete trust in the power of T-Tapp. I look at it differently. The more well rounded I am in both massage therapy and fitness prescription the better I'm going to get at pinpointing the best plan to help my clients reach their goals be they sports or aesthetic in nature. Everytime I shift my frame of reference I'm able to look at T-Tapp - and massage therapy and fitness - from a different point of view. That's a win win in my book!
  • I'm a grammar and spelling police magnet. LOL! I felt compelled to throw that in. Seriously, there are probably additional differences I can't think of off the top of my head. I'll edit this post or reply to it in order to keep it up to date as they occur to me.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

So Sorry!

If you've been trying to phone us you have no doubt been faced with an endless busy signal. We wondered why called had dried up and just got our answer. There's an issue with our phone lines. The repair folks have promised to show up tomorrow (Monday 8/27/2012) and once they do our service should be restored. In the meantime you can use the "contact us" area on our website to email us with appointment requests. Many of our customers do this all the time. I can actually sometimes respond to email faster than I can a phone message.

Lymphatic Drainage

I wanted to share this article on the immune system and lymphatic massage. It talks about how lymphatic massage can boost the immune system. Although lymphatic massage will tend to move more lymph than regular massage therapy rest assured that Swedish Massage strokes also increase blood and lymph movement.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Pace Workout 5

"One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today." - Dale Carnegie

BUSTED! The above quote has been me at various times of my life - some times more than others. I'm working on changing that.

Workout 5 - same set up, more core work, in and out, down and dirty. Fini! Left me with more time to smell the roses.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Thought For The Weekend

"Every choice you make has an end result." - Zig Ziglar

This is very true in every aspect of life. It is equally true that our health based choices seem to have more immediate and visible results as we get older. Our bodies don't have the ability to shake off less than healthy behavior the way they did when we were in our 20s and 30s but it's also the accumulation of less than healthy assaults that we've visited upon our bodies over a lifetime.

Wow! That sounds gloomy! Silver lining time!! It's never too late to improve your health. Seriously, you can. Just stack one positive choice on top of the other and watch it happen.

My challenge to you is to take today to review the choices you've made in the last three days. Do they support your vision of who you would like to be?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

PACE Workout 4

This post was written previously but referrs to my impressions of the PACE workout program I was given to review.

I had no time to blog this morning and I have a feeling this is unlikely to change. Some days I'll be able to hop online and blog in the morning some days evening will work, other days I might just have to skip it and update when there is time.

Today was my 4th PACE workout from Disk 1 and again, it was similar and yet different from the previous workouts. It followed the same workout structure I described previously and had a balance and core emphasis. I enjoyed it - short, sweet and sweaty.

As I work my way through these workouts I'm appreciating the effort that was taken to provide solid modifications - both harder and easier. The exercises are also varied in a way that promotes a toning effect and helps to keep things interesting.

I want to write a little about the kit materials. They definitely have more substance than your average infomercial offering. Friday is my rest day so I'll shoot to write about this subject then.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pace Workout 3

This post was written previously but referrs to my impressions of the PACE workout program I was given to review.

I don't really have any time to write. I did my third PACE workout. There was a bit of an upper body emphasis today due to the additions of upper torso twists with static lower body and push ups. Not sure how I feel about that. My HR started lower because I'm half dead when I wake up with low HR and lower BP. It didn't get as high because of that and also because I was trying to be QUIET!

I still got a good sweaty if short workout and it definitely woke me up. I'm craving either T-Tapp or postural restructuring. I'll get to do some T-Tapp during the day today and hopefully carve out time for PR tonight. (more on that later) It's going to be a very busy day. Monday's always busy but I have not one but two appts to keep today and I need to go grocery shopping!

That little guy is Reilly, He's Hutch's brother and also a JR Connemara Terrier. What a sweet guy he is. Tons of personality in a teeny tiny package.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Portion Control: Your Eyes are Bigger than Your Belly

My grandmother used to say that meaning that we would take more food than we could eat. I found this neat little portion control aid that helps you easily size up your servings.

It's called a Meal Measure Portion Control Tool and you can see it at where I bought it if you click on that link.

I don't as a rule use anything other than my eyes and my hand to portion my food but a couple of times a year I like to check those portions as a reality check. I'll normally measure out my food for a couple of days to see what a half a cup or 3 ounces really looks like.

This little gizmo makes it ultra simple.

I read somewhere that Dr. Oz endorsed this thing. I used to be a fan of Dr. Oz but no so much these days. He's become pretty darn commercial. So it seems a little crazy to be endorsing this portion control aid myself but like I said, it's nifty and quite useful.

I don't personally think we should limit vegetables as long as they aren't slathered in butter, oil or calorically dense sauces. You could also use this little gizmo to make sure that you're getting enough in the way of fruit and vegetables instead of thinking in terms of limiting them.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Healing After Exhaustion: Sleep

Sleep was another thing I've found really important as I worked to restore my equilibrium. If I tried to skip out on my Zs I ended up feeling exhausted again and actually still do to a lesser degree.

I think that one of the reasons so many of us have trouble eating well and maintaining a healthy pattern of exercise is that we aren't willing to let go of anything else in our life to make room for the healthy changes. We try to shove it into an already too full life and that usually means we cut out sleep. You can only do that for so long before your inflammation level goes up and your energy drops.

Another interesting thing - well to me it's interesting - is that my weight loss either stalls or I gain when I'm short on sleep or workout too hard or too often. I wish I could afford to have repeat inflammatory marker blood draws. I'd love to know if the markers correlate to how I feel when I am short on sleep or am overtrained. I'm pretty sure my body is already supplying the answer to the question.

The little guy in the picture is Hutch. He's also an expert on sleep, rest and relaxation. Notice that he's pillowing his head on his favorite pull toy and has made sure that his bone is nearby before nodding off.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

PACE: Workout 2

This post was written previously but referrs to my impressions of the PACE workout program I was given to review.

This morning was my second PACE workout. So far so good.
Some initial thoughts about the set:

The set is clean and modern. The floor is wooden and I remember tall, thin white shelves that held white dumbbells and 3 flat screen tvs in the middle with the PACE logo on them.

The participants are dressed in various types of fitness clothing. The style and/or colors of their fitness clothing isn't matchy matchy. I think that lends to the feeling that you're working out with real people rather than fitness icons. I like it.

Look to the right and you see the low impact/beginner modifier. Look to the left and you see the advanced modifier. In the middle back you have two people showing intermediate intensity. Front and center is the instructor who has a set of guns that are big enough to be distracting. Poor guy, he can't help it if he grows muscle like Popeye. Guns aside, he's likeable and he makes it more about you than about him so much so that I can't remember his name. (I'll get back to you on that.) I'm back, I checked, it's Rob Iannuccilli, PTA, CSCS, CPT. He seems to do the intermediate intensity.

The camera angles make it possible to see any intensity modifier well enough to follow easily.

You are introduced to the 8 movements of today's workout along with safety tips - well done. You take a inital heart rate - I looked at my HR monitor. It's nice that they count it down for you so that you are not compelled to buy a HR monitor.

You repeat each of the 8 movements for 30 seconds each. The first time through you are supposed to be at a level 5. This is your warm-up. You rest - I think about 90 seconds. The you repeat the sequence twice more, first at a level 7 then a level 9. You check your HR after each bout and after each rest before beginning again. I just checked and it seems as though my percent of max heart rate is at or close to 50%, 70% and 90% for these three bouts. That's it! It's about 19 minutes from the starting gate to the finish line.

You have a DVD for each of 6 weeks and each DVD has 6 workouts - one for each day with the 7th day being a rest day. So far the first two workouts were different movements and a different cast other than Rob.

I enjoyed the workout and ended up with a good sweat. One snafu I can see would be if a person is an all or nothing type and over does it for the first two bouts. It wouldn't kill you but it might suck any enjoyment right out of the workout. It also might not be appropriate to work that hard for 12 minutes 6 times a week when following the concept of HIIT.

There is a food plan that goes with the system. I'll talk more about that later. I'm not using the food plan because I'll stick with what is currently working for me. The PACE plan is low glycemic and so is the plan I'm using. Given that and the fact that a few of the recipes in the cook book that comes with the plan look wonderful I'll be trying some of those recipes. YUM!

The nice thing about a short workout is that it gives me more time to hang out with my man Hutch (see photo) and our other dog and cat buddies.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Thought for the Weekend

"Every second we choose to nourish ourselves in a way that supports or depletes our lives, and to think and speak about other people in a way that is honoring or dishonoring. What choice are you going to make today." - Gregg Braden

This quote reminds me that food is not our only source of nourishment. If everything is connected to everything - and I do believe that it is - then we are all connected. That means that the hurt that we put upon another spreads to hurt us all. Something you could ponder for a very long time....

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Skin Brushing, Hydrotherapy and Salt Glows

I've spoken about lymphatic drainage and skin brushing in the past but wanted to share this article form It not only provides a little info on the history of skin brushing but talks about follow up hydrotherapy and doing a salt glow and adding aromatherapy to enhance the treatment.

A salt glow is one of my favorite treatments whether I have it done for me or do it myself. Skin brushing combined with hydrotherapy and a salt glow done with aromatherapy is a simple and inexpensive luxury you can provide for yourself in the privacy of your home.

If you've never tried it I can't recommend it highly enough!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

T-Tapp Tempo Basic + Workout

This is an updated version of the original Basic Workout Plus. I've had it for a while but I can't remember trying it - I tend to fall back on my old original T-Tapp VHS tapes - yes I'm one of the few people in the world who still owns a VHS player.

Despite the fact that I know T-Tapp - and this workout - very well it was a pleasant surprise. It is Teresa in her livingroom. Yes, it really is her livingroom! Primary Back Stretch is really slowed down and I was streaming sweat by the time I was halfway through. My first thought was, "At this speed this workout is going to take a half an hour to get through." But it didn't. :)

The workout is listed as lasting 18 minutes and according to my DVD player it lasted 17 minutes and 45 seconds. Workouts that tell you they are one length and then end up being shorter or longer are one of my pet peeves so I was very happy to see this one is pretty much on the money. My schedule is busy enough that it's a trial just to find time for my workouts. If I schedule 20 minutes that workout needs to come in at or just under that time limit!

The other thing I love about this DVD is that the movements are also chaptered individually. This will make it easy if I want to just do PBS (Primary Back Stretch) followed by TTT (T-Tapp Twist) and a set of Hoe downs on some mornings.

Please note: If you use this DVD and decide to use some but not all of the sequence it is important to keep the sequencing and not do the movements out of order. One movement builds upon the one before it so sequencing is important!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

PACE: A Review

Please note that the info below was written up several months ago. I just never got around to publishing the posts to this blog. So while it reads real time it's actually old news. It does however represent my actual feelings about the workout set. Since I will be publishing my thoughts from time to time rather than one post after the other I'll let you know that I didn't end up finishing the entire plan. You'll have to wait to find out why until I publish the last post. heh heh heh

Dr. Al Sears has provided me with a complimentary set of his PACE exercise method. It's based upon HIIT. (High Intensity Interval Training)

I've always seen T-Tapp as a kind of HIIT because your heart rate goes up quite high and then you recover and you repeat this for 15-40 minutes depending upon the workout you use and for that reason I had a real interest in checking out this set.

PACE is designed to be used for about 20 minutes a day, 6 days a week. There are specific Heart Rate targets that you are trying to hit so a HR monitor is helpful. Normally HIIT is not done 6 days of the week because of the intensity. Dr. Sears has used a stairstep effect along with 3 levels of intensity, with modifiers to follow to allow a 6 day a week plan. Your actual exercise is limited to 3 four minute bouts - 12 minutes total so it's very time efficient.

I can't forgo all extra exercise because I still have to teach my classes and I want to keep up with at least one or two postural restructuring sessions because it keeps me pain-free. BUT, I am going to stay away from my additional exercise for at least a couple of weeks and see what this PACE system does or doesn't do. I'll record my workouts, feelings about the workouts and results or lack there of on this blog.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Healing After Exhaustion: Recovery Isn't Always Enough

While I've probably previously alluded to having gotten really run down and the fact that I've been working on healing and making a comeback but I haven't said much about what actually happened or what I've been doing to heal. It was during that time that I gained the 20 pounds I've since lost. I'm not going to revisit all that brought me to the point of exhaustion but I thought that over time I'd share some of the things I've found to be helpful in restoring my equilibrium in case they might help someone else finding themselves worn out, a little depressed and just plain old exhausted.

At first I thought that I all I needed was a little recovery. I've known that recovery is important for a long time. I first learned this concept back when I was running long distance but even back then I tried to cut corners and skimp on recovery. I figured that a day of rest from exercise was plenty.

Well, I'm here to tell you that recovery really is important and it becomes even more important as we age. Boy do I hate to write that - but it's true and just think about the alternative to aging! And yeah, you 30 and especially 40 somethings are also aging and need to pay attention to recovery.

Had I been smart enough to pull my head out of the situation and plan some days off and time for recovery my body might not have become so inflamed. Instead I changed my exercise around, tried to take rest days from exercise but often ended up doing massage on a rest day. (If I've ever given you a massage you know that I'm not resting when I give massages using full body passive range of motion.)

I really pay attention to this these days to the point of doing a body scan and putting off an exercise session if I need to. It's so hard to get into our Western Minds that rest can be as beneficial for the function and even esthetics of the body as exercise IF rest is what the body needs.

All that said, back when I was severely inflamed rest wasn't enough to do the trick. I needed a more comprehensive plan to pull me out of the energy hole I had put myself into. I'll talk about the elements of the plan that helped me from time to time.

The picture? That's Starsky our cat and Reilly our Connemara JR Terrier. I need to take a lesson from those two. When an animal needs rest they rest and they never EVER feel guilty about it!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Restore with Yin Yoga

Because Yin Yoga asks that I let go I savor it for a recovery day. It can be a particularly healing practice for us "fuss budgets." My definition of a fuss budget (another of my Grandmother's terms) is someone who has difficulty with just sitting still.  To the left is a video in which Bernie Clark talks about Yin Yoga. His website has a page with links to several Yin Yoga Asanas - or poses - some of which also have videos that both explain and demonstrate the poses.

Below is a sample of Paul Grilley's Yin Yoga DVD . He is quite talkative and for some that's an issue. I find that his talkativeness serves to help me with the stillness, which certainly doesn't come naturally to me. Don't let the flexibility of the participants turn you off. You can actually modify the poses to suite your flexibility and over time that flexibility will increase. Grilley does a good job of explaining this in his DVDs.

Sarah Powers also had a Yin Yoga DVD available and also tends to be quite chatty. She has a very Eastern approach to Yin gives several wonderful lessons on the meridians, one of which you can hear below.

If the prices of the above practices holds you back you should consider Jennifer Kries, Yin Yoga, which is considerably less expensive. The holds are also shorter but it's a nice, less expensive introduction. I like it for times when I know I'm too antsy to hold poses for a long time but still crave the stillness of Yin - or when time is simply short. Below is a sample of her teaching style.

This post is already long enough but I'd like to mention one additional practice and that's Deep Stretch/ Yin Yoga with Mimi Solaire. While this is a lovely stretch video and leaves you feeling great when you're finished I don't consider it true Yin simply because the holds are so short. Still, if you find you aren't mentally in a place where Yin works for you, this might be the next best thing. Below is an example of what the dvd is like.

If you already enjoy Yin Yoga or discover another practice I'd love to have you comment on your experience. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Caring for your Inner Child
Imagine that the care of a small child has been entrusted to you. This poor child is stressed out and unhappy - a sweet innocent little thing. What would you do for her - we'll assume it's a girl.

I bet you'd show her love and caring. You'd make sure she ate well, had opportunities to get out and play and at night you'd make certain that she got to bed at a decent hour.

Now pretend that you're that child. How do you treat yourself - the child? Are you loving? Do you make sure that you eat regular meals? Meals consisting of healthy, fresh foods? Do you give your inner child the opportunity to come out and play and experience healthy movement? Does your inner child get enough sleep? Does she drink healthy drinks and plenty of water?

HMMMM something to think about, isnt' it? Which body do you think is most likely to respond to diet and exercise? The one that is constantly berated for being too fat, out of shape and lazy or the one that has healthy diet, exercise and stress reduction introduced in an atmosphere of self acceptance in love? I can tell you from personal experience that it's the latter body that will best respond the best. I also believe that the body that achieves change in a climate of self acceptance and self love will also tend to maintain those changes with greater ease.

So I challenge you to consider yourself as a child you are caring for and assess just how loving you are to yourself. Then if there is room for improvement go ahead and make some changes and reap the benefits of having done so.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Thought for the Weekend

"How many of us go through our days parched and empty, thirsting after happiness, when we're really standing knee-deep in the river of abundance?" - Sarah Ban Breathnach

I like this quote because it reminds me to look for the good in life. When things aren't going well it's easy to concentrate only on the stressful or negative aspects of our day, week, month or even life. I've found that my mood almost instantly lifts when I don't allow the not so great occurances to overshadow the good that's always there waiting to be noticed.

If your new at this concept try making it a habit to take time to simply look back over your day and identify even one good thing that happened. It could be something someone said to you, a sunrise or sunset you enjoyed, even the fact that you were first in line to check out when you stopped at the grocery store. The more you practice the better you will get at noticing these small but important occurances and the more you notice the more rich your life will feel.

Seriously! Try it and see for yourself.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

What is 31 Oil?

31 oil is one of, if not my favorite Swiss Just products. I love using a mixture of 31 oil in jojoba oil when I perform massage. It was the first Swiss Just product I discovered. I tried it and was so pleased that I tried additional products and eventually become a Swiss Just wellness consultant. It's literally a mixture of 31 essential oils.

The Swiss Just website describes the benefits of 31 oil more succinctly than I ever could. "Applied through massage, relaxes and restores the body’s natural energy and ability to move comfortably. Eases tensions that generate headaches and muscle pain." I linked to the 31 oil area of the site above. The page I linked to has customer testimonials and a reference guide for how and when to use it.

You may have already experienced this very special oil when you had a massage at Quintessential Bodyworks, LLC. I stock both this oil and the smaller, very portable 31 cream shown below.

31 oil and cream are both fantastic at taking the edge off of headaches, many times completely relieving them.

I'm not sure of the exact mechanism by which this occurs but I believe that it's at least in part due to the muscle relaxation they bring about. I also love mixing a drop or two of 31 oil with Juniper cream to relax tight sore muscles.

Usually Swiss Just products are only available via a "Wellness Spa Party." I don't have time to run regular Wellness Spa's so I generally place an order once a month as a kind of "virtual Wellness Spa." You can email me using the "contact us" area of our website to learn more. No worries. You won't be  hounded because you ask a few questions.

If you're a massage therapist or other health practitioner I'd be happy to tell you about the various ways I use this product as a massage and exercise adjunct.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Another use for Pool Noodles

Yes, you can play with them in the pool but even better you can also use Pool Noodles to help loosen tight muscles. I've linked to them on but you can usually find them in most Walmarts, some drugstores and even a dollar stores. Obviously you should not take this post as medical advice and if using a pool noodle as I'm about to describe causes pain be smart and stop immediately.

You can try lying on top of the noodle with the noodle running from above your tailbone up the center of your spine. You want your head to also rest centered on the noodle so that your head doesn't fall back allowing your neck to hyperextend. This will allow your chest and the front of your shoulders to fall open. Since most people are tight in this area it can really feel great and be beneficial since it will gently stretch the area.

There are a number of other ways you can use pool noodles to passively stretch your body and realign your posture but they are beyond the scope of this post. I'm happy to provide our clients with an individualized "noodle" stretching plan.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Passive and Active Range of Motion and Massage Therapy

It never fails to amaze me when a client who has previously had regular massage expresses delight and surprise that we use Passive and Active Range of Motion as part of our massage protocols.

Range of motion (ROM) is actually part of  Swedish Massage termed "Swedish Gymnastics" and has many benefits.

  • When you stretch and decompress a joint you increase blood and lymph flow to the area. You increase circulation of synovial fluid in synovial joints thereby nourishing those joints. All of these things increase the elimination of waste products in the area that's being ranged.
  • ROM can also loosen adhesions which in turn may help decrease pain to the area.
  • ROM improves flexibility and that leaves your body feeling more open and free.
  • ROM increases nervous system  stimulation and can slightly raise the temperature of the area.
  • Finally,  most clients just tell me that it feels wonderful!
From the therapist's perspective ROM allows me to sense sometimes subtle differences between one side of the body from the other or one limb or joint from the opposing limb or joint. This can really help me in my goal to gently realign and rebalance posture. When I'm able to re-establish body alignment and balance I find that the body moves with greater ease and generally feels more relaxed.

That allows your massage to leave you feeling better for longer than the time you spend on the table. You carry the benefits of massage with you into the rest of the week or even month.

I would hope that most massage schools teach ROM but the reality is that few Massage Therapists use it. If you've never experienced a massage with it you deserve to experience the difference it makes. You may think that you can achieve the same end through self stretching but I assure you that it's really quite different.

Monday, August 6, 2012

How long have you been here?

After 6 years we're closing our Twin Mountain office. Since we don't plan to advertise our new location I guess we're even a better kept secret!

We will continue to honor previous gift certificates at our new location. On rare occasion we will be accepting new clients through referral.

Established clients may continue to contact us for appointments.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Symptom Checker for Knee Pain

I found this SYMPTOM CHECKER for knee pain on the Mayo Clinic site and thought I'd share it. It shouldn't replace a necessary visit to your doctor but it can certainly be helpful in determining if you need one.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Internal Versus External Awareness and Stress Reduction

This LINK will open a great short article on a very simple method to get in touch with your body and by doing so reduce stress.

Getting back in touch with your body is one of the best ways to enrich your life. Sure beats the technique shown below.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Thought For The Weekend

I believe that being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can't truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles. - Zig Ziglar

Sadly, this is a concept I truly embraced later rather than earlier. Happily it is a concept that I eventually embraced and since then it's enriched my life more than I ever thought possible.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Carving out Sculpted Arms 2: The Plank

My posts have been so heavy duty this week that their weight is palpable. It's definitely time to lighten things up so I decided to talk about yet another way to lighten up our arms.

Planks! Simply put, planks are the top part of a pushup. They're very strengthening and quite safe when done mindfully. They work the entire upper body and so also have the potential to define it quite nicely.

You can find information on how to plank at The willPower Method. Here is their PDF on how to plank. I really like the fact that SLK provides modifications for those with hand or wrist issues along with a safe plan to progress your plank sessions.

There are several fitness methods that rely heavily on the concept of a plank. These include but are not limited to Ballet Body and Horizontal Conditioning. I've read posts where people attempted these methods only to find that their wrists or hands didn't so much care for all the plank work. You could modify the plank work and to be fair modifications are provided on  the BB website and it looks like HC has beginner dvds that no doubt are designed to help you build up to it. I've never tried either of these two methods so I can't help you with any questions about them. I'll update this post if I ever do try them but right now it's not looking likely.

OR how about a different no cost approach? Check out the above PDF and begin your own plank program. It only takes a few minutes and if you follow the directions should be safe. You'll find out how your body, specifically your hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders and back take to holding a plank. If you really love it you can always come back and check out the links I provided or choose to simply add a plank segment to the types of workouts you're already enjoying.  Win Win!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Unlock Your Hip Flexors and You'll Unlock a Whole Lot More: Part 4

Well, here it is....the final installment I promised. I have to admit that this installment isn't "writing itself" with as much ease as the previous ones. I think that's because I really want to explain my thoughts in a way that the "Western mind" will "get" and that's seldom easy. Hey, I guess when I put it like that, this post is just another step outside my comfort zone. So it's all good.

Yesterday I talked a bit about Body Reading. I believe that my thoughts on a locked up hip and pelvis area flow from that concept.

Think about women. Think about our life transitions, specifically those that center on hormonal changes; puberty, the potential for childbearing years, perimenopause and finally menopause. Looking at those stages of life clinically, they initially prime our female parts to do the work they were created for and then later slowly but surely close up shop. Did that read as an oversimplification? Of course it did. That's my point.

We in the west tend to look at this very natural process with less than the wonder and joy that it deserves. In some cases it becomes a process that we feel compelled to slow down and stop or if we can't stop it at least deny that it's taking place. Sometimes we even label it as a pathology; something to treat with hormones and medications.

The problem is that you can't fool Mother Nature and sooner or later despite our denial we do become post menopausal and then what? Well some of us will fall into depression over the loss of our ability to bear children. We feel as though our purpose in life has been taken away. We no longer feel vital or attractive or useful. We feel old.

While I don't want to minimize the above feelings and sentiments because they are certainly valid for the women who feel them - I do want to tell you that what we lose is so small compared to what we gain - if we are willing to explore it. And that of course is another subject for another post.

The idea of menopause or even peri-menopause being a representation of the end of womanhood is something that the western media and even we ourselves as women perpetuate. In thinking that way we label our childbearing organs as dead. They're still there of course but we ignore them and in ignoring them we may just end up ignoring the entire area. Things that are ignored tend to shrivel up and shriveling is also a tightening up and so after more build up than it probably ever deserved is my whooo whooo concept as to another reason why our hip flexors and other muscles in the pelvis may just tighten up as we age.

My challenge to you is to think about where you are on the continuum of which I spoke above. How do you feel about it? Are you less able to embrace life because of those feelings and beliefs? And of course my challenge wouldn't be complete unless I ask you how your hip flexors feel - any tightness there? ;)