The Wellness-Mindfulness Connection

The Wellness - Mindfulness Connection

How are you?

No, really, how are you? Do you really have the information to answer that question? Maybe this is a question you should be asking yourself more often. Anyone experienced in meditation will tell you–answering that question thoroughly can be the quest of a lifetime, and takes more effort than you might think.

We live in a distracted time, so much so that most of us have no idea how to be anything other than distracted–bouncing through our lives like a pinball from one obligation to the next, resorting to our mobile phones or some other bad habit when even the slightest boredom or discomfort threatens our equilibium.

Is this you? If so, what are you afraid of? What’s got you running to cheap thrills every time you feel uncomfortable?

This is how bad habits and addictive behaviors take root in our lives. Some experts think addiction and compulsiveness begin way back in the development of our brains. Inspired by this prospect, a kindergarten in Germany is experimenting with a classroom in which the children are given nothing at all to play with–a room with some simple furniture and some blankets and pillows. Teachers observe, but do not interfere. The children are given no direction in what to play or what to do.

Harsh, you might say, but it’s based on an addiction study which found that, for many, addictive behaviors began in early childhood. In many ways, toys do for kids what bad habits and addicting behaviors do for us: they thoroughly distract us from our bad feelings–at least for a time. The idea is to allow the children to come up with their own games–to give them a chance to find fun in themselves and in each other. The hope is that the children will develop key skills that will help them cope with the adult world–skills like empathy, critical and creative thinking, and above all, self care and healthy self regard.

Could you use a little more strength in any of these areas? (Is there anyone who couldn’t?)

Are you trying to kick a bad habit, lose weight, or just be happier with yourself generally?

Your journey begins with an understanding of how your brain really works as it does its best to keep you happy and breathing. You’ll need a sense of curiosity–adventure, even. Mindfulness isn’t as much a destination as it is a journey into the unknown.

Are you ready? Let’s go.

First, you should understand that your brain is wired to flee pain and seek pleasure. It’s not bad. This instinct helped our ancestors survive. For example, when you find good food–especially high-calorie food–your brain goes out of its way to remember what you ate, how good it was, and where you found it. It doesn’t care that the food is cheap and easy to get, that too much of it might kill you, or that it’s filled with additives that might harm your health. Survival is the priority.

From there, it’s not a big leap to go from satisfying hunger for the sake of survival to soothing other kinds of pain or discomfort. Before you know it, there’s no bad day that can’t be made a little better with pizza or a slice of chocolate cake. The same mechanism works for other kinds of bad habits or addictions. Your body receives a visceral, memorable payoff for engaging in the behavior, and eventually you’re going to it without even thinking.

And the grownup “toys”? They’re everywhere: cheap high calorie foods, social media, alcohol, gambling, narcotics, TV, pornography, and that’s just the beginning. It’s not to say that all these things are bad all the time–there’s nothing wrong with giving a child a toy once in a while. But these distractions, if mistaken for something essential to survival, can destroy your life.

So what’s the solution? Practice mindfulness.

What is mindfulness?
When was the last time you ate a meal–and focused only on the food in front of you and maybe the company you’re keeping in that moment? That’s mindfulness.

Meditation is one method of developing mindfulness. The task in meditation–what makes it such a challenge for so many–is doing and thinking literally nothing. It’s tougher than it sounds. No sooner have you tried to clear your mind than a jingle for laundry detergent or a bill that needs to be paid soon comes flooding in to fill that void.

The trick is to observe yourself calmly and with a sense of curiosity. When mastered, you’ll be able to observe your body and mind working, holding your own consciousness at arm’s length for a moment.

While meditating, one way to gently dismiss thoughts is to picture yourself by a small stream with fallen leaves drifting by on the water. When an intrusive thought comes into your mind, pin that thought to one of the leaves and watch it drift away. When another thought inevitably intrudes, pin that thought on a leaf and watch it drift away.

Are you thinking “this is hokey and hippy-dippy and dumb”? Pin that thought to a leaf and watch it drift away. You can do this with sensory intrusions as well–that car alarm going off, the sound of the heat kicking on, your watch ticking, your phone buzzing at you–pin these to a leaf and watch them drift away. Set a timer and give yourself 15 or 20 minutes to practice this every day. This may feel like a waste of time; it’s anything but. It gets you ready to live in your skin for the rest of the day.

Out there in the trenches of your life, this exercise starts to pay off. You’ll find that when you get a phone notification while you’re driving, you won’t automatically have to check it. When you’ve had a rotten day at work and you suddenly crave cheese fries, you won’t automatically have to give in to it.

These occasions are opportunities to observe yourself, to be curious and collect data about how your body and mind react when a craving comes on. As you work at this, the more intense urge becomes not satisfying the craving, but curiosity about the craving to see what you can learn from it.

Even if you go for that dopamine hit, whatever form that takes for you, observe! You have an opportunity to watch your mind and body as you give in to a temptation. Pay attention to how those cheese fries really taste and how they make your body feel afterward. Ask yourself questions about whether that notification was really worth risking a car accident to check, and what you really got out of the experience. For extra credit, write down what you observe. Journaling adds an extra layer of self-awareness to the exercise which can help develop mindfulness even faster.

The ultimate payoff
Thinking in this way, over time, has a cumulative effect. Your brain is like a muscle. CAT scans of experienced practitioners of meditation show clearly that certain areas of their brains light up more than for the average person. Their ability to observe themselves has grown like a muscle after years of working out. It has an impact on their personality, and these individuals show lower incidence of compulsive behavior and addiction, better focus and concentration, and can better cope with stress.

While it’s true that meditation isn’t a one-and-done proposition, adopting it as a regular practice for even a short time can begin to show significant benefits. In this way, it’s a lot like massage: it feels great once or twice, and can have great benefits long-term, but you have to give it some time.

Honestly, this is just a toe-dip in a vast pool of what there is to know about meditation and mindfulness. There is so much to learn. What’s nice is that if you only want to take it so far, you can. This isn’t a panacea, and there are cautions to consider as you go forward, but just being more aware of your thoughts and your body’s needs is crucial to building more wellness into your lifestyle.

As with everything on this blog, none of this information should be construed as medical advice or care. The employees of The Good Life Massage, including the writers of this blog, are not medical doctors. Consult with your physician before making any changes to improve your health.

Tom Gunn is the blog editor and marketing director for The Good Life Massage. You can hire him to assist with your content marketing and social media by emailing him at tomgunn@gmail.com

4 Early Warning Signs You Need A Massage

4-warning-signs-that-its-time-for-a-massage

Is it time for a massage? Don’t answer so fast. Your body could be telling you, and you don’t even know it.

They say ignorance is bliss, but it can also be very expensive. That pain in your neck could become debilitating, preventing you from working and enjoying your life. Consider the cost of doing nothing, and you’ll see why it’s wiser to take care of yourself from the beginning.

Exhaustion
Are you getting to the end of a normal day feeling like you just did a 50 mile hike? Do you seem to fall asleep the moment you get comfortable? Your body may be working harder than it has to. This could be due to bad posture, poor sleeping habits, a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, or all of the above.

Regular massage can help you feel like yourself again and boost your energy by improving circulation. Massage can also help correct poor posture, making it easier to rest and move your body more naturally.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, massage is one of the best treatments for that. A study by the Mayo clinic found that patients reported better sleep and lower fatigue than a control group. It really does help.

Loss of muscle control
For athletes and musicians, control is everything. Power and energy in using your muscles is important, but control is what turns that power into inspiring wins or beautiful music.

You may not be in pain, but if you’re noticing control errors in your playing, it might be time to schedule an appointment.

Pain that goes away–for a while
Headaches are the most common form of this, but pain can be your body’s way of sending you subtle and not-so-subtle messages. You may try temporary measures to find relief (aspirin, hot or cold packs), and you feel better…for a while. But if the pain keeps coming back, you’re not getting the message.

The message almost always has to do with self-care, but how to best interpret that message depends on the situation. If you just had a massage yesterday, you probably need to rest your body from the usual strain, and probably need additional treatment down the line anyway. But if it’s been some time since your last massage, and the pain keeps coming back, it might be a good time to schedule your next one.

Loss of emotional control
Your feelings are like lightning calculators, taking the input your brain receives and manifesting a tidy sum response to that input. What most people forget is that your feelings are responses–not just to what happens to you–but what’s happening inside you as well.

Pain can be like an annoying sound in the background–you may almost forget it’s there or how irritating it is–until, suddenly, it’s gone. Your body can develop a tolerance for it, a numbness. But your feelings and emotions aren’t so easily distracted.

Irritation in the body can come out as irritability with friends or with yourself. Are you feeling more sad for no apparent reason? Are your responses to things more dramatic than usual, in either a happy or sad/angry direction? Do you ever feel like you’re watching yourself react, but can’t stop the reaction?

Regular massage can help you stabilize your emotional responses by reducing the input your mind is receiving from within–quieting that noise of the body so you can respond to the stresses of life in a balanced and healthy way.

Do any or all of these describe you? Consider a massage. It really isn’t just a luxury, and you really don’t have to be rich to get it on a regular basis. And it could be a lot less expensive than trying to go without it.

When you come in, be open with your practitioner about what you’ve been going through and what you need. The more you tell them, the more effective the treatment will be.

As with everything on this blog, none of this information should be construed as medical advice or care. The employees of The Good Life Massage, including the writers of this blog, are not medical doctors. Consult with your physician before making any changes to improve your health.

Tom Gunn is a freelance writer and social media editor. He is also the editor of this blog and the marketing director for The Good Life Massage. You can see more of his work or hire him at www.TGunnWriter.com

Know Your Practitioner, Part VI: Charlie Fadness

Know Your Practitioner is your chance to become more familiar and comfortable with your massage practitioner. If you aren’t sure which of our talented practitioners would be best for you to come back to regularly, this is a great way to meet them and get to know who they are, both personally and professionally. This is Part 6 in the series. To learn more about our other therapists, check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.

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We’re pleased to introduce you to Charlie Fadness, LMP. Charlie is highly skilled, and comes to us with a great facility for deep tissue work, and can get good and deep with the pressure if that’s what you need. Being fairly new, Charlie isn’t our busiest therapist as of this posting, but we’re confident that will change soon; his clients are already starting to come back for more. We sat down with Charlie to talk about his experience, his inspiration, and his motivation for working in massage.

View the video version of this interview below:

Tell us a little something about your personal life: hobbies, interests, family, friends, etc.
My name is Charlie Fadness. I’m born and raise here, living in Seattle most of my life, kind of jumping around a little bit, kind of going towards south, then kinda coming back to Seattle. My hobbies right now are spending time with family and friends, and then occasionally gaming on my computer from time to time. When I go out with my friends, I usually either try to either catch a bite to eat, or go to the movies, or kind of try a new activity. Our last activity was going to an archery range and then going out for dinner. That was really fun.
Tell us about your career in massage. How did you get started? What events lead to you working here?
As a kid I’ve always done massage, just kind of massaging my dad’s back, and my older sister would always make me massage her hands and feet before she went to bed. So I was always doing massage in my life. But the one thing that kind of triggered it was I was playing volleyball with a friend, and we were playing and she injured her shoulder. And I really wanted to figure our what was going on in the muscles. So I was kind of feeling around and seeing what was going on in there, but I couldn’t really find out what was going on. But I really wanted to know. So I believe that kind of sparked it all, really.

Before The Good Life Massage, I started at a chiropractor. That was my first job. I was excited! It was fun. And then slowly I moved over to Massage Envy just because the hours were a little bit better. Working at The Good Life Massage, everyone is kind of one big family. Everyone gets along. The atmosphere is really great. The clients are really great.

What’s your favorite part of this job? What gets you excited to come to work?
My favorite part about massage has to be the clients, because each day you walk in the door, you don’t really know what you’re expecting, so it’s like a whole new challenge every day, which I really like. I’m not a big fan of the “go to this job and you only have to do this set of things and not much really changes. So, when you’re in an atmosphere where everything changes, even by the minute, it’s really fun and exciting. You never know what you’re gonna tackle.

What is it about your massage that keeps your clients coming back? What makes you stand out from the other GLM therapists?
One of my strong points in massage right now is going and finding knots. I love working out the knots, and a lot of clients have told me I just kind of know where they are, and so they’re really fun for me to work out, and it brings a lot of tension release for the client.

Pick a superpower: flying or turning invisible. Explain your answer.
If I could pick a superpower, I think I would pick flying, because if you’re invisible, you can still be invisible. If you can fly, you can get to distances really quickly. So I just feel like it would be like soaring through the sky like a bird. It would just be amazing, and the views and the landscapes would all be amazing and breath-taking.

We’re all about wellness here. What’s your favorite health habit? This can be something that you’re working on, have mastered, or just feel like our clients should be doing.
Right now, as for health for myself, I’ve been really trying to eat healthy–rarely going out to eat, making all of my dinners, making all of my lunches. So that’s really be healthy for me. And drinking a lot of water and starting to exercise a little bit more, and you really feel that. Eating healthy nowadays is really important for the body just because of all the chemicals and stuff that are in the food, and sometimes when you go out you don’t really know what’s inside the food. But when you’re at home making it, you know exactly what’s inside the food. I feel like it’s a lot more beneficial for our bodies.

Is there a client you’ve worked on who stands out in your memory? Someone for whom massage made a big difference?
One of my clients that I’m seeing now has benefited a lot from massage. She would always wake up every day and have to kind of pop her hip into place. That really irritated her until her friend recommended massage. So she went in one day and I was working into her glute muscles and her hip muscles and she felt a lot of relief. She didn’t have to pop the muscles in her hip all the time, and she was really happy. I took quite a long vacation, and when I came back, she made me feel so welcome. The first time she saw me after I came back she was jumping in joy. So that made me feel really happy and excited inside.

Finish this statement: I wish my clients knew …
I wish my clients knew how important their bodies are, and how we influence the muscles in their bodies, and just kind of moving things around–that can benefit them so much.

Thanks, Charlie!

Book a massage with Charlie today through our website, or give us a call.

425-243-7705

Please note that Charlie is unable to perform the aromatherapy enhancement due to an allergy.

Tom Gunn is the blog editor and director of marketing at The Good Life Massage. You can find him online at TGunnWriter.com or on Twitter, @ElManoRoboto

Feel Better Now! The Pros and Cons of 30 Minute Massage

Without question, the most popular massage we offer is the 60 minute Swedish massage. But sometimes our book gets full. (Okay, real talk: it’s full most of the time.)

And sometimes your busy schedule won’t allow for an hour session. Sometimes you’re just in pain and need work done in one specific area.

For that, we offer 30 minute massage sessions.

Book your a 30 minute massage today.

Pros
Less time! You might think an hour massage is just an hour of your time, but think again. New clients need to factor in time to complete paperwork, and everyone needs to factor in the unforeseen delay. There’s also the time getting undressed and then dressed, checking out, etc.

A half hour session can be a great way to get the work in that you need without the big commitment. (Bonus: since it’s a smaller unit of time, it’s actually a little easier to get in on short notice.)

Focus. When you go in for a half hour session, it’s understood that there’s only really time to treat one or two focus areas. Your practitioner won’t be worrying about making time to get in a full body massage. Their treatment is focused, and so is their attention.

Treatment. Got a terrible crick in your neck? Is there just one area where you have persistent pain that just needs to be rubbed out? A half hour session might be all you need. Keep in mind, though, that the more chronic the pain is, the more regular massage sessions it will take to heal the problem. You can’t expect to reach your fitness goals after just one workout, right? Massage can be the same way. Having said that, many clients report feeling better after just one focused treatment. Your mileage may vary.

Cons
It’s over already? If you’re looking for a relaxing experience as well as treatment, you might want to consider going with a longer session. A half hour usually isn’t enough time if your goal is to release the cares of the day and escape your stress for a while. Sixty minutes is enough to get that job done for most people, but have you tried a 90 minute or 120 minute session? That is relaxation.

Not the best value. Half hour sessions are proportionally more expensive than full-body sessions. It’s like buying a small soda: you’re not getting the best value for your money, but maybe that doesn’t matter to you as much as getting only the amount you want.

So, we leave it to your best judgment. If you don’t feel like you need the length of a regular session, or if you’re short on time, a half hour session might be the ideal way to feel better right now.

Book your 30 minute massage today.

Tom Gunn is the marketing director and blog editor for The Good Life Massage. You can find him online at TGunnWriter.com

7 Mendacious Massage Misconceptions

Massage is becoming more popular every day. The public is finally getting educated on what regular massage can do to benefit your mental and physical health.

Having said that, there are a surprising number of myths and misconceptions about massage that we feel the need to clear up here and now.

This came up as a subject recently in our post about pre-natal massage. In my interview with Christie Ellis, formerly of GLM, the following misconception about prenatal massage came up:

“Prenatal massage can induce labor”
I’ll let Christie take this first one:

“That is a myth! Massage does not cause labor. Acupressure can precipitate labor, and that would be on the level of applying director pressure on a very specific spot for two or three minutes every fifteen minutes over the span of about forty-eight hours.

So there’s no way to come in for a prenatal massage and come out a mother?
“(laughs) No! And to be clear, acupuncture and acupressure are very different than massage. We’re using much broader strokes with massage and there’s absolutely no concern that a nice foot massage could put a woman into labor.

“Another myth I would point out is that abdominal massage can cause miscarriage. That’s out there, too, especially for people who are concerned about the first trimester.

“I do think it’s important to have someone that’s trained for any sort of abdominal work, but massage in general is very safe for expecting mothers.”

But there are plenty of other misconceptions about massage out there. This should put a dent in a few of the more common ones:

“Sure, you feel great right after a massage, but the effects are only temporary”
This idea probably comes from those who really need regular massage, but only tried it once, and went back to the status quo after a day or two. If you suffer from chronic pain or posture issues, regular massage can be particularly beneficial in “retraining” your muscles and your body to be well and whole.

Massage Results take time

You wouldn’t expect to reach all your fitness goals with just one workout, right? Massage is the same way: long-term improvements in your physical health almost never come in the form of a magic bullet. It just takes time and persistence.

If cost seems to be a barrier to getting the treatment you need, you might not have all the facts.

“Does it hurt? It’s supposed to. Just let it happen.”
If you feel pain or discomfort during your massage, say something! While it’s true that some discomfort can be expected in treatment massage, you need to keep talking to your practitioner about your comfort and the treatment they’re doing. Even if a particular stroke or method is supposed to be therapeutic, your therapist can and should honor your requests. The kind of care you receive is entirely in your hands, and should be wholly directed by you.

What’s more, too much pain can actually be counterproductive. If you’re sincerely in pain, you’ll unconsciously tense up other muscle groups, creating the exact opposite of the desired effect for your massage.

“Massage releases toxins and cleanses your system”
Not really. It depends on what you mean by “toxins”. What massage does do is help stimulate circulation throughout your body. This can be helpful if you’re injured. Increased blood flow can be very beneficial in that case. That circulation can include run-of-the-mill cell waste, but there’s no medical magic in stimulating processes that your body routinely caries out anyway. You can get the same effect from vigorous exercise.

“If you don’t walk away feeling like a million bucks, you got a bad massage”
It’s true that, for most cases, people walk away from their massage feeling relaxed, limber, even a little euphoric. But while this is commonly the case, a good massage can sometimes make you feel, well, lousy–at least immediately afterward.

Are you fighting a bug? If you’re getting sick, a massage can sometimes accelerate how quickly you feel the symptoms. You may walk in feeling fairly well, oblivious to the fact that you’re about to get sick, and then get off the table feeling a little weak and achy. If that turns into a bout with a cold or the flu, we feel your pain. But you can’t blame the massage therapist or the job they did for making it happen.

Another scenario is when deep tissue treatment is called for and requested. When your practitioner needs to go deep below the surface tissue to release trigger points and send circulation to distressed areas, this may cause some discomfort both during and just after the treatment.

This can be the case for specialty treatments we offer, including deep transverse friction and myoskeletal alignment. People sometimes report feeling sore after these kinds of heavy treatment-style massages. That does not mean your practitioner did a bad job. In fact, that can be a sign that more regular treatment is called for. It shouldn’t hurt every time, and there should be significant improvement after a good night’s sleep.

“If you have cancer, massage will spread the cancer cells through your body”
This is basically impossible. Massage moves lymph, but cancer doesn’t spread through the lymphatic system. Metastization (the spread of cancer) is due to genetic mutation and a number of factors that have nothing at all to do with the functioning of the lymphatic system.

Having said that, if you’re a cancer patient, it’s wise to consult with your oncologist before scheduling a massage. Relaxation massage at any stage of cancer can actually be immensely beneficial, reducing depression and anxiety. Some studies have even shown that it reduces nausea and pain.

Are there any others you’ve heard that we didn’t cover here? Do you have any questions about massage and what it can do for you?

Let us know in the comments below.

You can also contact us by phone at 425-243-7705

or by email at support@goodliferenton.com

As with everything on this blog, none of this information should be construed as medical advice or care. The employees of The Good Life Massage, including the writers of this blog, are not medical doctors. Consult with your physician before making any changes to improve your health.

Tom Gunn is the marketing director and blog editor for The Good Life Massage. You can find him online at tgunnwriter.com

Amy Gunn, LMP is a co-founder of The Good Life Massage and has been a licensed massage practitioner since 1999. 

What the Expecting Can Expect – A Primer on Prenatal Massage

Massage can be a great help, especially when the stresses of life–good or bad–become more intense than usual. Pregnancy is one of those times of life that, for most, is an exciting and anticipated event, but which brings with it challenges that massage can help you handle.

Christie Ellis, LMP, formerly of The Good Life Massage, is an expert in prenatal and post-natal massage.

Our resident expert in prenatal massage, Christie Ellis, LMP is a former employee of The Good Life Massage and has special training in prenatal massage. As a prenatal massage expert we consulted with her to share some of the fundamentals and benefits of prenatal massage.

What exactly did your special training consist of, Christie?
“Most people don’t get a lot of training other than just very basic contraindications (signs that prenatal massage should be avoided). So I actually got extra training in prenatal techniques at Bastyr University. Carol Osborne was my instructor there, and she is one of two or three national experts on training massage therapists in prenatal massage. So I took her training, which was four days, and it was all just exclusively prenatal and post-partum massage. So I’m certified in that, and I just have more experience in working with that population than most.

You’re a mom. Did you have any experience getting prenatal massage during that time?
I did, once. That was for my first pregnancy. It was actually my first-ever professional massage. I don’t think I even began to understand the positive impact that massage can have on the pregnant body. I think I totally thought of it as a luxury service, just getting pampered. But I didn’t know it would have an impact on my bodily structures. I think that was something I didn’t really understand until after I had my second child and was post-partum and was having all kinds of problems after having two babies.

What are some of the major benefits of prenatal massage?
I would say that there is stress relief, which is really valuable. It effects the nervous system, and is able to calm down everything when there’s anxiety, potentially, about becoming a parent, giving birth, and just preparation for the big event–it lets the brain kind of take a break for a while.

And then, I think, dealing with common pre-natal concerns like psiatica, low back pain, and pain in the shoulders can be alleviated or mitigated with prenatal massage.

What’s the value of one session versus regular sessions for expecting mothers?
Essentially, there is value in one treatment. When you’re doing fewer treatments, the value is more for the nervous system. It takes longer for lasting value and lasting change for the muscles.

I think weekly massage is very reasonable for pregnancy, and is not overkill. Definitely monthly, weekly, or twice a month is great to be able to address issues and kind of help compensating muscles as the baby’s growing and putting stress continuously, increasingly over the pregnancy.

Are there any safety concerns?
Prenatal massage completely safe. Our bodies are protective, and there are a lot of protective structures in between the outside of our body and the baby.

Having said that, there are precautions that need to be taken. Someone adequately trained should be taking those precautions, such as using a side-lying position later in pregnancy or elevating the side of the pelvis, and avoiding areas of inner-tension, such as the inner-thigh. That is, the inner thigh should be an area where caution is used in late pregnancy and post-partum. When you have a practitioner who is trained, and who knows those caution areas, it’s just as safe as any other time. There shouldn’t be any alarm about it causing any harm to the baby.

There’s an increased volume of blood in the inner thigh during prenancy, and most women have a good amount of blood clots in the inner thigh. The hormones released in giving birth cause those to dissovlve on their own, but heavy pressure on the inner thigh can dislodge them and cause problems. It’s better to just keep the pressure light. And then, a few months post-partum, regular pressure can resume.

Are there a lot of signs or contraindications women should be aware of to avoid prenatal massage?
Very few.

If there is a complication, such as preeclampsia, that is probably the biggest red flag to not proceed. Some of the indicators of preeclampsia include high protein in the urine, and high blood pressure to the point where it could cause fetal demise. It’s a highly managed complication. If someone has it, they’re in with their doctor a few times a week, probably.

Where there’s high blood pressure, massage would have to be at the discretion of the healthcare provider as to whether or not the person could tolerate that.

But for the bulk of people who just have aches and pains, maybe a little nausea, but no medical complication: with proper positioning, there are no concerns.

What session enhancements would go particularly well with prenatal?
I think one of the things that is most helpful is hot stone spot treatment. This is because, especially with late pregnancy and the positioning being on their side, getting on the deep pressure can be more challenging. But if the practitioner has a tool, such as a stone, to really go into the muscle with added heat, it can really get to a deeper muscle change than without it. Those are really nice. For work along the spine and pelvic work, it’s really nice to get to those with hot stones.

I also think aromatherapy is a nice enhancement for stress relief and also, again, since the positioning forces us to use less pressure, and because pregnant women are more sensitive to pressure, aromatherapy using something like the deep blue fragrance, or something that will relax the muscles is a nice way to still get the muscle change you want with the limitations on pressure.

Are there any myths about prenatal massage that are worth dispelling?
That it can put you into labor! That is a myth! Massage does not cause labor. Acupressure can precipitate labor, and that would be on the level of applying direct pressure on a very specific spot for two or three minutes every fifteen minutes over the span of about forty-eight hours.

So there’s no way to come in for a prenatal massage and come out a mother?
(laughs) No! And to be clear, acupuncture and acupressure are very different than massage. We’re using much broader strokes with massage and there’s absolutely no concern that a nice foot massage could put a woman into labor.

Another myth I would point out is that abdominal massage can cause miscarriage. That’s out there, too, especially for people who are concerned about the first trimester.

I do think it’s important to have someone that’s trained for any sort of abdominal work, but massage in general is very safe for expecting mothers.

Thanks, Christie!

Book your prenatal massage now.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about your particular case:

Email:
support@goodliferenton.com

Phone:
425-243-7705

As with everything on this blog, none of this information should be construed as medical advice or care. The employees of The Good Life Massage, including the writers of this blog, are not medical doctors. Consult with your physician before making any changes to improve your health.

Tom Gunn is the marketing director and blog editor at The Good Life Massage. Find him online at TGunnWriter.com

Turtle Power, Part One: 5 Reasons Slow is Better

Pretty businesswoman experiencing road rage
Is faster really better? How many times have you been aggressively passed on the highway by someone who just has to go faster than you, only to look over and see them next to you at the next traffic light?

This post is part I in a two-part series. Follow our blog to catch the next installment!

Slow down! Sure, you could probably stand to break your lead foot habit. But slow is more than just a mode or an easier-to-catch version of speed. It can be the way you live your life–a philosophy that can absorb you and enrich your life in ways you may never have considered.

Here are GLM, we try to embrace this way of thinking in everything we do. Of course, we’re prompt and we stick to our schedule, but the way we structure that schedule is informed by this idea: slow is better.

For example, some massage clinics only leave a five minute gap between appointments in which the practitioner is supposed to be able to change the sheets, run to the restroom, take a deep breath, greet their next client, and start the next session.

We actually extend that 5 or 10 minute gap to 30 minutes. We do this not just for the practitioners (though we’re thinking of them, for sure), but for our clients as well. If the clinic becomes a revolving door of clients with therapists striding up and down the hallway in a rush to get the next person on the table, that doesn’t create a relaxing environment for anyone.

Further, we believe stress can actually be contagious. If a therapist is hungry, exhausted, rushed, flustered, and stretched to her limit, is it really likely that some of those feelings won’t spread to the client through the touch therapy?

If your massage practitioner doesn’t have a chance to slow down and take time for self-care, and to make sure the job is done right, we will never be capable of giving the kind of massage you deserve and need.

Think for a moment about how that same principle might be expressing itself in your own life.

No, really.

Stop skimming this at light-speed for a second, close your eyes, and think about how rushing might be harming your life. Just a second or two is enough, but take all the time you need.

Go ahead, we’ll wait.

What did you come up with? Write your answer down somewhere.

Answering some of these questions might help:

How could your rushing around and “busy-ness” be effecting your spouse/partner? Your children? Your co-workers and subordinates? Do you really like living life at high speed, or do you just have problems with procrastination? Is being busy too much a part of your self-image and sense of worth? It might be time to questions those ideas.

Let it go
Is being busy a part of your self-image and sense of worth? It might be time to questions that.

If you’re still not convinced that slow is better, we have at least five reasons you should consider lifting your foot from the gas pedal of your life.

Greater awareness
When you’re slow, you’re present in the moment. You’re experiencing the precious time of your life as it passes irretrievably into the future. You’re living your life as it was meant to be lived.

How much time do you have left on earth, anyway? You have no way of knowing for sure. Speeding through your life may help you believe the lie that you’re packing a lot in, but are you really tasting it? Do you appreciate how fragile your life is, and how quickly it’s passing?

The span of your life is like an ice cream cone on a hot day: you better savor it, because it won’t last forever.

Slow is cheaper!
Moving, thinking, living at high speed comes with a high cost. In your rush to get things done, you may find that you all-too-easily stay busy while not actually getting much done at all. While checking to see how fast you’re moving, you may not be noticing in which direction you’re going.

Ever hear the expression “Haste makes waste?” Old proverbs like that get passed along because they’re catchy, sure, but also because they’re true. Have you really saved time rushing out the door in the morning at top speed if you forgot something important and had to go back for it?

Moving fast, isn’t
Don’t believe me? How many times have you been aggressively passed on the highway by someone who just has to go faster than you, only to look over and see them next to you at the next traffic light?

For most things in life, you’re not earning any extra points for speed. So why not take your time?

If a job’s worth doing…
It’s worth doing right, which means taking the time it takes to do a task with your full attention. Here’s a mind blower: you know that multitasking thing you’ve heard so much about in job descriptions? It doesn’t exist. Human beings aren’t capable of it.

You can do one thing–ONE–at any given time, and no more. You may be able to shift between things rapidly, but only one will ever have your total focus in the moment. Remember that the next time you’re playing with your kids, or when you get behind the wheel of a car.

Where you place your focus and attention truly matters.

Your physical health
Ongoing stress can tax your body in ways you don’t realize. It increases the risk of heart disease and several kinds of cancer, not to mention high blood pressure and hypertension. Slowing down puts you in tune with your body’s natural rhythms and pace.

While vigorous exercise is important, consider the exercise methods that also bring outstanding health benefits, but which are much slower by nature.

Handsome young man resting after workout in gym
Working the free weights–slowly and steadily–increases muscle control and endurance.

Yoga and tai chi are great examples of this kind of exercise. But this approach isn’t limited to eastern traditions and practices. Even good-old-fashioned weightlifting has benefits when you decide to slow down your reps and focus on control. Your mind can focus more intently on each motion of your body as you go through your routine. If possible, consult with a trainer for a session or two. You might find that your form is much worse than you ever thought!

Also, slow-lifting increases your muscle endurance, de-emphasizing the explosive motion and training your muscles to endure great weight for longer periods of time.

Are you convinced yet? If you’re not sure where to begin, that’s understandable. In the next part of this series, we’ll address the nuts and bolts of throttling down your life and living with more intent and focus.

Tom Gunn is the director of marketing and blog editor at The Good Life Massage. You can find him online at http://www.tgunnwriter.com.