You Really Don’t Have Time?

I hear more often than not “I don’t have time to get a massage, even if you came to my office.” So from what I understand, you are OK with dealing with pain and stiffnness in your:
Neck and Head – Leaning forward toward computer desktop monitors, laptop and smartphone screens contribute to a stiff neck and eyestrain. Taking frequent breaks to have your eyes focus on more 3-D objects approximately 20 feet away can help your eye muscles relax, and not be contracted to focus on flat, 2-D objects closer to your face.

Shoulders– Your ears and your shoulders should be like exes; Aware of each other, but nowhere near one another. Your shoulders should be relaxed, and not rolled forward

Good Door Stretch

Excellent Shoulder Stretch (Image Credit- www.Abbotcenter.com)

(slouching posture). If you lean against a wall, your shoulder blades shouldn’t be the only things touching the wall. Stretch your pecs in the doorway, doing a forward lean, to help release the tension in your shoulder blades.

Lower Back – Locking your knees does nothing good for the lower back. It tightens and compresses all the lower back muscles in to one small area. Remember when you sat in the back seat of the car as a child on long road trips, all stuffed and cramped back there? Well, now you know how your lower back feels! Bending your knees slightly, not so bent that you are slouching, will help all muscles responsible work together to help you stand better, be more agile on your feet, and tilt your pelvis to give your lower back muscles more room to move.

High Heels– I know, your legs look GREAT in your favorite pair of stilettos, but being in

High heels look great, but is it worth all the pain in your feet? (Image Credit - webmd.com)

those shoes does more harm than good. You already know about your Achilles tendon shortening, heel pain, hammer toes, and your toes crammed into too small of a toe box contributes to bunions with prolonged use of high heels. What about your overall posture, hip displacement and muscle pain, especially your calves, shins because you’re walking on your tiptoes? Massage would be great to help your muscles in your lower back, thighs and calves feel better and help articulate your ankle to improve mobility.

Backs of Legs/ Sitting all Day – We spend WAY too much time sitting down. Whether it is at the computer, behind the wheel, on the couch, et cetera, we weren’t designed to be sitting all day long. Even if we work out after sitting all day, the detriment will outweigh the benefits. Take breaks and walk around throughout the day if at all possible. Stand when you can, and make sure you slightly bend those knees!

Taking care of yourself, a few minutes each day will do WONDERS for your overall health, stress levels, and your personal well-being. If no one has told you, you are definitely worth all the effort that it takes to take care of yourself. If you don’t, how will you do what you love to do?

If you want to feel better at work, talk with your massage therapist to come up with a
customized stretching regimen so that you feel better throughout the day. If I happen to be YOUR massage therapist, why haven’t you called me yet?

You Haven’t Had a Massage? Why?

According to the American Massage Therapy Association, 15% of Americans have gotten a massage to reduce pain or manage stress, and only 7% got massages to relieve muscle pain and stiffness. That made me wonder about the rest of you, and I just had to ask – What is it about getting a massage puts you off about getting one?

Many people responded that they didn’t know enough about massage to even want to get one themselves. And then, the questions came! So here are the top questions you wanted to know about a massage, but were too afraid to ask:

  • Does the pressure have to be so hard?! – Not always. Relaxing massages can be slow, and light to moderate pressure. Not everyone’s pressure needs are the same, so if the therapist is pressing too hard, and you’re making faces, let them know. On the other hand if you have some knots that you want out, it can feel a little achy, some of my clients call it a ‘good hurt’. Taking deep breaths can alleviate the ache, and help dissipate the knot.

 

  • Do I have to be naked? Here is a question that I get often. In the case of therapeutic table massage, not completely. The blanket covers the body, and the part of the body to be worked on is uncovered. The sheet is tucked in, to allow for modesty and mobility of the limb. If I am working on your glutes (your backside, and YES you can get knots there), and you’d prefer that they stay covered, by all means, let me know, and I can work through the sheet. Once that area is done getting worked on, the blanket and sheet can be put back. For pregnancy massages after the first trimester, you will be put in the most comfortable and modest position that is possible for you.  Your underwear can stay on, but if I’m working on your back, it’s best to take your brassiere off.  In the case of chair massage, you keep your clothes on, and I can work through the clothes. If you have a short skirt on, a jacket can be placed over your lap for modesty.

 

  • What happens if I fall asleep? If you fall asleep, you fall asleep. I can still work on helping you feel better. The way I see it is this – two things are going on when you fall asleep; either you feel so comfortable that you are able to relax and receive a great massage, or you are too tired to care. Don’t feel bad if you fall asleep. You are rejuvenating the body, and getting a great massage. Just think of it as recharging your batteries.

These are just a few questions that I answered, I’ll answer more next time! Feel free to leave me a comment, and don’t forget to chime in on the poll below!

What Do You Do to De-stress?

You cannot avoid negative stress, just like you cannot avoid breathing. You can deal with it, abate it, ignore it, or increase it. Getting rest in the afternoon is great, but can disrupt your sleeping habits, if you sleep too long. Complaining about it, especially to people that cannot do anything to change the source of the stress, can abate it, transfer the stress to the person that you are complaining to, but it does not do much to change the source of the stress.

What do I do to reduce my stress levels?

  1. Laugh my butt off – Sometimes there is nothing funny about certain stresses in the immediate moment, but later on, there can be something funny about it. I had someone close to me die at age 104. She babysat my sister and me as children, our kids, and the neighborhood kids. She was a staple in the neighborhood, and she will be sorely missed. As I was relaying this message to a friend that knew the woman, she asked me how the woman died.

      “Really?!?” I replied, taking a page from Bill Engvall, “She wrecked her Harley at Bike Week. She was 104!!!” I burst out laughing, knowing that Ms. Pryor would have laughed too, upon hearing that.

Laughter releases all sorts of endorphins and helps increase immunities, and reduces other hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, a ‘fight or flight’ hormone, which can lead to adrenal fatigue. Having a good laugh also engages the core abdominal muscles and diaphragm, gives the heart a good workout, relaxes the shoulders, and increases the oxygen intake throughout the body. If you ever meet me, ask me what songs are on my Mp3 to help me de-stress.

2.   Exercise – Taking 20 minutes out to just get away, to take a walk, workout, yoga, tai chi, Wii, PS3 Kinect, just getting out there and MOVE helps gets the body to reduce stressors. Boxing on my Wii is my de-stressor of choice. I can work on my stress, and get some exercise done in the process. Personally, I hate to sweat, but the after effects of working out outweigh the not moving of it all. I get over it, and get going.

3. Finding different ways to say “No” – Someone’s always going to want your time. There are going to be times that you are going to want to scream “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO” at the top of your lungs, but you don’t. You can say, ”Let me get back to you”, or “Let me sleep on it”, etc., so that you can take a breath before you commit to something. Find several different ways to say no, and reply to the request accordingly.

4. Meditation – Taking a few minutes to clear your mind will help decrease stress levels and may give you a new perspective on the very thing that stressed you out in the first place. There are many ways that one can meditate, which is great, because one always cannot do Downward Facing Dog in your cubicle.

5. Massage – Massage releases muscles that have been overworked and taut due to stress, also releases endorphins, reduces anxiety and increases calm, but I’m sure you knew that already.

These are only a few ways that you can de-stress. What do you do to reduce your stress levels? Can’t wait to hear from you!

Are You a Pain in the Neck?

You’ve been sitting at your desk, leaning into your computer screen, bent over your laptop, or hunched over your smartphone. After a bit, your neck feels a little stiff, your eyes feel a little out of focus. You begin to rub your neck, and wonder why you feel so tired.

Leaning forward into your screen for long periods of time, whether it is your laptop, desktop or phone stretches the muscles in your neck and increases the tension at the back of the head. The neck muscles and cervical spine are not designed to stay like that for LONG periods of time. The average head weighs between eight and ten pounds. For every inch you have your head out of normal resting posture, it adds approximately 10 pounds of weight AND tension to the BACK of your head! This weight and tension pulls against the eye muscles that connect to the back of the head, pulling on the retinal wall, and creates that out of focus feeling you tend to experience. This posture also contributes to rounded shoulders, fuzzy thinking, lack of concentration, lower back pain, among others.

OK, so what do you do about it? Retraining your muscles is a great way to help get your posture back to where it needs to be. Here’s a few great stretches most you already know how to do –

  • Tilt your head up towards the ceiling, and lower your shoulders. Then, bring your chin to your chest. This helps the muscles in your neck release and relaxes the tension in the shoulders.
  • Gently tilting your head from side to side, while extending the opposing hand towards the floor helps as well.
  • Pulling the arms back, squeezing the shoulder blades strengthens the muscles there to help give a stretch the pectoral muscles in the chest. This also helps increase the volume of oxygen in the lungs, clearing up that ‘2 o’clock fog’ you are probably experiencing.

    Seated Stretches

    2 Great Stretches to help you throughout the day.

  • Straighten arm over the head, bend at the elbow, your hand behind the head. Place other hand on bent elbow, gently pulling towards the ceiling. This stretches the backs of the arms, but also releases the tension in the tops of the shoulders.

‘Stretching at Your Home or Office’ by Bob Anderson is a great stretching resource. Here’s a great link for Desk Stretches that you can also use.

Other things to consider:

Look at your desk in your space, and see where you are in relation to

your screen. If you’re leaning into your screen, you can get a computer monitor arm to bring the screen closer, or you can always dial up the font size.

Monitor Arm

Monitor arms keeps you from leaning too far into your computer screen.

Wireless Keyboard and Mouse combos are great tools to use at your desk. You can still sit in a comfortable position, arms not be overstretched, or with your wrists feeling strained.