As Covid has rocked my world this year, and Thanksgiving is making me ever so thankful for everything have, I started reflecting on where I have been over the last few years since entering the world of massage therapy.
I entered the world of massage 6 years ago. Not very long I suppose, but for me, it has been the most eventful 6 years of my life! Just for some get-to-know-you time, here is a bit of history of the past six years for me.
I enrolled in massage therapy school at Cortiva Institute (now closed) Federal Way after 10 years in the car rental industry. Between long work weeks, travel, nights, weekends, and more, I left rental car feeling defeated and distant from my family. I had 3 kiddos, 8 and 4, I hadn’t seen much of them for about 3 years. My physical and mental health were struggling. It was April, and I entered the beautiful months of Spring and Summer with an open mind and happy heart. I had all the time to figure out what my next steps were.
I had the best summer with my kids. Lots of hours at the parks and beaches, lots of library time, and hours walking around Federal Way. All that time led to hours of reflection. Business management was not going to be for me! I loved the time I had with my kids, and I did not want to go back to where I had been. I did not want to miss any more of their growing up!
On a brisk October day I walked into the Cortiva Institute admissions office in Federal Way to inquire about classes. I was there on the day of orientation for a new cohort. After about 10 minutes with admissions (the two 4 year olds were running wild!) I left, determined I would join that cohort the next Tuesday.
My husband, although taken slightly aback by my determination, was supportive from the start! His only question was, “Do you have a babysitter lined up?”
I believe that it was a calling for me to enter massage therapy school. More on that coming soon!
I would like to thank Angela for the almost two years she was with me at Revive Therapeutics! As many of you know, with the small space we have, we aren’t both in the clinic at the same time. As a business owner that could be nerve racking, leaving your business to an employee 100% of the time with very little oversight. Angela made this such an amazing experience. I know without a doubt that each and every client received the highest quality of care. Angela will be difficult to replace!
Here is a note from her to you, her clients:
As many of you know, my family will soon be relocating to New Hampshire. I want to take this moment to thank you for allowing me to be a part of your healing. The therapeutic relationship is a two way street, and I have received so much knowledge through conversation and palpation with my clients. I’m also very lucky to be able to say that all my clients have been kind and wonderful to work with. Thank you so much, you have each made my time at Revive very special. I wish you all the best!
We would LOVE for anyone who feels compelled to write a review for Angela as she will be continuing as a massage therapist in New Hampshire. Her business Facebook page is linked HERE.
We would also encourage you to leave reviews for us on our website! It is a great resource for us to have feedback from clients when prospective clients are inquiring!
Please send any testimonials to email@example.com
This was an amazing week! Being back, feeling the joy of being back to caring for you all, I might be exhausted, but I am full of so much joy! There were a few hiccups along the way this week, but I think I have ironed most of it out. Thank you to those who were in this week who helped us figure it all out!
So, what did we learn?
I learned that the room gets hot quick with the PPE on! Probably not for you on the table, but I was rather warm 😅 So fans and A/C are our solutions for that problem! We’ll keep the table warmer on for you, there won’t be blankets for a while!
I also learned that with my style and wish to give you as much time as possible, I have to put 45 minutes between sessions. I want you to receive 60 or 90 minutes of hands on time with me and to not feel rushed with oyur get on and off the table time. I just didn’t have enough time to calmly sanitize the room and have it ready for the next person. Thank you to those who were so kind as to watch me prepare the table for their massage!
With adding that bigger buffer to my schedule, I will have even fewer appointment times available.
Fortunately and unfortunately that means my schedule will be full and I won’t be able to accept new clients at this time (*with a few exceptions). I love working with my clients and want to be here for them when they need me. Expanding my hours to see more clients per day is not an option for me for a few reasons. I feel I won’t be able to do my best work and stay true to my passion for the care that I offer each of you. It would also cause problems with me trying to show up for the five beautiful kiddos I enjoy my evenings and days off with!
I also need to control my schedule better so I can coordinate which clients I am seeing on specific days so that I can make sure that my client load is organized in the best possible way. I will be working Monday and Wednesday and then some Sunday and Tuesdays scattered in as well. So I am going to ask current and past clients to email (RACHEL@REVIVETHERAPEUTICS.COM), text or call me (206-451-7037) to schedule their appointments for a little while.
*New Client Exceptions
I feel like new clients can be both challenging and rewarding in so many ways; especially in terms of my growth as a massage therapist. So I will be excited to see your client referrals and will fit them into my schedule as I can. Please have your clients, friends, family, co-workers email me or call/text, but tell them they have to let me know you sent them! Others who are considering my services, I am always open for Prenatal and Doula Services. I have started a new client waiting list for anyone else looking to schedule. So please feel free to email or text me if you want to talk about being a new client or getting on my wait list.
What’s all that stuff?
We are excited to have the locally made, handmade bath and spa products available for purchase at Revive Therapeutics. You can get yours online or at your next appointment! Check out all the available products at http://www.revivetherapeutics.com/shop or ask when you are in for your appointment. Flat Rate shipping or pick up during office hours available.
Speaking of office hours
So we are back for 3 weeks, then off for three weeks. I am taking my beautiful daughters to Summer camp, and I will quarantine for 2 weeks after our return to make sure that I do not transmit anything to you! I would rather be overly cautious than have anyone be harmed by me returning right after camp. Upon my return in August, I will be accepting appointments on Mondays and Wednesdays 9am-330pm and every other week Sunday and Tuesday 1pm-8pm. August appointments are now available via email or text!
Missing all of you
Those of you who are not yet ready to return to massage, know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. I miss you dearly, but I know that you will return when you are comfortable with massage again. I wish you good health and peace until we see each other again.
I hope this finds you and your family in good health. While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: my commitment to your safety and health.
By its very nature, massage and bodywork requires skin-to-skin contact and you should be familiar with the fact that infection control has always been a top priority for my practice. As we navigate life with additional requirements and modify existing measures due to the coronavirus, please help me to support all my clients by cooperating with some new requirements.
My practice follows Practice Guidelines recommended by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB), along with infection control recommendations made by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Labor and Industries (L&I)
You may see some changes when it is time for your next appointment. I made these changes to help protect my clients and myself:
- Due to the blood clotting side effect of Covid-19 during and after infection, any client who has been diagnosed with the virus is asked not to schedule an appointment for no less than 3 months after recovery.
- I will have a required telehealth call with you the day before your appointment to obtain updates to your health information and ask you specifically about your potential exposure to COVID-19. We will also schedule your next appointment during this call.
- You will be sent forms for every appointment via Docusign that must be completed prior to your telehealth call. Documents can be signed on a computer, tablet, or smart phone. If you do not have access to that, we will have a very limited amount of them available to sign in the office.
- I will ask you to sign an informed consent form that states, “I understand that close contact with people increases the risk of infection from COVID-19. By signing this form, I acknowledge that I am aware of the risks involved and give consent to receive massage from this practitioner.”
- All payments due must be made via the Square invoice that will be sent to you 48 hours ahead of your appointment time. We will not be taking any in-office payments.
- All appointments will be subject to a $15 Covid-19 expense recovery fee. This is not covered by insurance and must be paid prior to appointments. This will help offset the cost of PPE and sanitation products as well as the increased time set aside for each appointment.
- When you arrive at the office, I will ask that you wait in your vehicle until I text you or call you to come in. This ensures that we do not have too many people in the clinic area at one time.
- If you are walking to the clinic, please do not arrive more than 5 minutes before your scheduled appointment. We have enough time built into the schedule to allow for you to use the restroom and complete any other necessary requirements and you will still receive the full massage time.
- Please bring a face mask to use while you are in the building, and during your massage. If you do not have one, we will require you to purchase a homemade cloth one for $10.
- You will be welcomed into Revive Wellness Center to wash your hands and use the restroom.
- You will be greeted at the door to Revive Therapeutics and use a no touch thermal temperature screening to confirm that you do not have a fever.
- We will ask you if you have developed any symptoms of illness since we spoke on the phone. If you feel ill on the day of your session, there is no penalty for canceling your appointment. Massage is not advised if you have any symptoms of illness.
- All massage therapists will be wearing an N95 mask, googles and apron during your appointment.
I look forward to seeing you again and am happy to answer any questions you may have about the steps I take to keep you, and every client, safe in my practice.
At this time, all scheduled appointments have been canceled. Over the next 2 weeks, I will contact clients who have had recurring appointments with us in the past to set up a new appointment time.
We are tentatively scheduled to open on July 6, 2020. Our business hours will be changing a bit. Due to the increased cleaning and sanitizing the time between client sessions will be increased, decreasing the number of clients we can see each day.
Beginning 6/22, to make an appointment, please call me at 206-451-7037. I will be available between 10 am and 2pm to schedule appointments. We will not be scheduling any appointments online at this time.
Angela will be with us through the month of July but will be moving with her family to the East Coast at the end of the month. It has been a blessing and a pleasure to have her working with me at Revive. I have advertised for an LMT to fill her position but do not have anyone yet.
Thank you for being my client. I value your trust and loyalty and look forward to welcoming you back to a safe, therapeutic touch environment.
And so my children were singing this past week! What a set of storms we had! I almost felt like I was back in the Midwest with all the lightening and thunder. And my garden sure did love the storms. I was happy to not have to head out with the house for a few days and enjoy the rain.
Instead of the weekend in the garden, where I have been for a few weeks now, I was out hiking with the big girls. We are still planing on being on Mt. St. Helens in two weeks! That meant this week was a big training hike. We headed out to North Bend, WA early Sunday morning to hit the trail and go up Mt. Si. Now I have not been on a mountain hike since January and the neighborhood walks where I live are fairly flat. I probably could have stood to go to the office and walk up and down the hill on 50th or some of the side streets a few times.
So we headed up 3188 feet. 22,700 steps later, my knees were killing me. It’s Tuesday, to be honest, my calves haven’t fully recovered yet. When I got home, I jumped in a nice hot bath salt bath. As I was enjoying the soak, I had a few leg cramps. Now, I am not unfamiliar with leg cramps, but these were in a new spot for me. I was cramping on the inside of my leg by my knee. Now there was a lot of steps up on big rocks, and then of course down them on the way back down. My knees received a lot of use on the hike.
What muscles are we talking about?
If you know me at all, you know I love visualizing what our muscles are doing! So here is the visual of the two muscles that are causing pain.
The Sartorius muscle originates at anterior superior iliac spine (a bony projection on the uppermost part of the pelvis) and travels to the upper shaft of the tibia, or shinbone. The Sartorius is the longest muscle in the human body. The Gracilis muscle is one of the muscles found in the groin. It starts at the external point of the ischiopubic ramus (on the pubic bone) and extends down to the upper medial (middle) shaft of the tibia, or shinbone. Both of these muscles join others in responsibility for flexing, adducting (moving across the center line of the body), and rotating the hip as well as flexing the knee.
So where do you feel the cramping after a long walk or lots of steps? A few different spots that can feel the cramping of these two muscles. Right in the knee area on the inside of the leg is one, sort of where your two knees hit together. This is where the tendons of the muscle are crossing the knee from the lower leg. Another would be just above that as the tendons of these muscles become muscle belly. And then again on the opposite end of the muscles. For the Sartorius the ache would likely be felt at the most exterior or outside part of the leg at the top of the crease between your leg and abdomen. You would feel pain from the Gracilis right in your pubic bone area, generally radiating up the pubic crease to the front.
Now you know where the muscles are, but how can you overcome the pain?
Here are the steps for stretching the Sartorius:
- Start on the ground supporting yourself on both knees. Your spine should be straight with your head held high.
- Raise one leg so you are resting on one knee and one foot. Both knees should be bent at right angles. You will be stretching the sartorius muscle on the leg that is kneeling on the ground.
- Lift both hands in the air as high as you can. Lace the fingers of both hands together then turn your hands over. Both palms should be facing the sky. Keep your hands laced together throughout the sartorius muscle stretch.
- Tilt your head back and look at your hands. This should force you to lift your shoulders higher. It is important to keep your shoulders high throughout the sartorius muscle stretch.
- Slide the foot you have planted on the ground slightly forward. This will open up a wider space between your foot and the knee that is resting on the ground. A few inches should suffice.
- Lunge forward toward the foot that just slid forward. This will force the other thigh to extend and stretch the sartorius muscle. You should feel a pulling sensation on the top and inside of your thigh. This is the sartorius muscle extending. Perform this motion slowly. If you make a sudden, jerky motion you could cause injury.
- Hold the sartorius muscle stretch for a count of five then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat the sartorius muscle stretch several times then switch legs. To make the stretch more challenging, move your forward foot further out and reach your hands higher into the air.
Standing Stretch of Gracilis Muscle:
- A standing stretch is ideal if you’re not very flexible.
- Spread your feet apart, legs straight, until you feel a stretch in your inner thighs.
- As you build flexibility, you can bend one knee, sinking into a side lunge to intensify the stretch on the other side.
- Spend an equal amount of time stretching both sides of your body.
- Avoid the temptation to sink all the way down into the side splits because it’s hard to control your body weight in that position, and unless you’re extremely flexible, you could end up hurting yourself.
To get the most out of your stretches, follow basic best practices for stretching:
- Stretch after your muscles are already warm, either after your workout, after a few minutes of brisk cardio or after soaking in a hot bath
- Stay relaxed and breathe normally throughout the stretch
- Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, without bouncing
- Repeat each stretch three to five times per side
- Try to stretch at least once or twice a week.
The muscle stretches should only be performed if you feel a mild to moderate tightness in your thigh. If there is a burning or tearing sensation in your thigh you should not perform the muscle stretches. It could cause more damage to your injury. Instead, see a doctor immediately.
A friend who lives in Germany laughed at me this past week when I explained to him that the recommendation for Massage Therapists, to protect themselves and clients, is to wear full PPE. His comment was “that is like having to eat through a tube, the whole experience is missing.” I agree with him 100%. The experience itself becomes crinkly PPE gowns, face masks, difficulty breathing (for both of us), and attempting to drown out the awkwardness with music, since we shouldn’t talk.
I have been asked many times, “When will you reopen?” and I just have to say “I don’t know.” The image above, although of a doctor or nurse, is an image I cannot get out of my head as I struggle to decide when I will be back to work.
For me massage is the giving of Compassionate Touch. What I struggle with is the idea of being recommended to not give skin on skin TOUCH, the thing that defines my massage in so many ways. When I was in massage school I had the opportunity to write an essay on “why I want to be a massage therapist.” I enrolled in massage school overnight after listening to advertisements on Pandora for Cortiva Massage School. After a few weeks of being in school it became very evident to me that it was a calling. Pandora may have gotten me through the door, but I was meant to be there. I was there to become a servant. To serve those in need of compassionate touch. To help heal those who need healing, and to give touch to those who need intentional touch. The joy I receive from giving myself wholly and caring for one person completely is profound. You give me the gift of being able to do it throughout my day. The idea of wearing full PPE stands in the way of that gift.
I have seen many news reports and Facebook posts about our need for a hug and the struggle medical professionals are having working through full PPE. Here is my favorite so far. Although this is a great solution to getting a hug, it won’t work very well for giving and receiving a massage.
As I navigate the next few weeks, my goal is to find a way to be safe, for both you and me, and to navigate the necessary changes while maintaining the integrity of compassionate touch I give each one of you.
I’ve been thinking about all the changes so many of you have gone through over the past two months. Besides missing out on your time with me, your at home desk is likely not as ergonomic as your office desk. Many of you have jobs that keep you moving during the day, and now you are working at home and spending more time sitting than you normally would. I know I am! I think there is a “Covid-15” in my future, much like the “Freshman-15.”
And then the gardening. On my walk around my neighborhood I have noticed how many lawns and yards have been improved over the last few weeks. It is just beautiful seeing all the fresh looks. My own yard is getting some much needed improvements, it is always last on my to do list. All of that bending over and pulling on weeds or planting of plants and hauling dirt around can cause low back pain. I know many of you have expressed to me in the past the post-gardening pain you have experienced.
And what can we do at home to relieve the pain?
Just as I find myself treating the front side of your body to relieve back pain, these exercises will focus on strengthening your abdominal muscles. Weak, tight, or injured abdominal muscles and tight gluteal and quad muscles are primary causes of low back pain.
Here are some general guidelines to follow when stretching:
- If your muscles are tight, take a warm shower or bath before doing the exercises.
- Exercise on a rug or mat.
- Wear loose clothing.
- Stop doing any exercise that causes pain until you have talked with your provider.
- These exercises are intended only as suggestions. Please consult your Medical Doctor before starting any exercise routine if you have any preexisting conditions that warrant it.
- Caution: If you have a herniated disk or other disk problem, check with your healthcare provider before doing these exercises.
- Standing hamstring stretch: Place the heel of your injured leg on a stool about 15 inches high. Keep your knee straight. Lean forward, bending at the hips until you feel a mild stretch in the back of your thigh. Make sure you do not roll your shoulders and bend at the waist when doing this or you will stretch your lower back instead of your leg. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
- Cat and camel: Get down on your hands and knees. Let your stomach sag, allowing your back to curve downward. Hold this position for 5 seconds. Then arch your back and hold for 5 seconds. Do 3 sets of 10.
- Quadruped arm/leg raise: Get down on your hands and knees. Tighten your abdominal muscles to stiffen your spine. While keeping your abdominals tight, raise one arm and the opposite leg away from you. Hold this position for 5 seconds. Lower your arm and leg slowly and alternate sides. Do this 10 times on each side.
- Pelvic tilt: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Tighten your abdominal muscles and push your lower back into the floor. Hold this position for 5 seconds, then relax. Do 3 sets of 10.
- Partial curl: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Tighten your stomach muscles. Tuck your chin to your chest. With your hands stretched out in front of you, curl your upper body forward until your shoulders clear the floor. Hold this position for 3 seconds. Don’t hold your breath. It helps to breathe out as you lift your shoulders up. Relax. Repeat 10 times. Build to 3 sets of 10. To challenge yourself, clasp your hands behind your head and keep your elbows out to the side.
- Gluteal stretch: Lying on your back with both knees bent, rest the ankle of one leg over the knee of your other leg. Grasp the thigh of the bottom leg and pull that knee toward your chest. You will feel a stretch along the buttocks and possibly along the outside of your hip on the top leg. Hold this for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
- Extension exercise: Lie face down on the floor for 5 minutes. If this hurts too much, lie face down with a pillow under your stomach. This should relieve your leg or back pain. When you can lie on your stomach for 5 minutes without a pillow, then you can continue with the rest of this exercise.After lying on your stomach for 5 minutes, prop yourself up on your elbows for another 5 minutes. Lie flat again for 1 minute, then press down on your hands and extend your elbows while keeping your hips flat on the floor. Hold for 1 second and lower yourself to the floor. Repeat 10 times. Do 4 sets. Rest for 2 minutes between sets. You should have no pain in your legs when you do this, but it is normal to feel pain in your lower back. Do this several times a day.
- Side Plank: Lie on your side with your legs, hips, and shoulders in a straight line. Prop yourself up onto your forearm so your elbow is directly under your shoulder. Lift your hips off the floor and balance on your forearm and the outside of your foot. Try to hold this position for 15 seconds, then slowly lower your hip to the ground. Switch sides and repeat. Work up to holding for 1 minute or longer. This exercise can be made easier by starting with your knees and hips flexed to 45 degree angles.
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I think the month of May crept up on all of us. My April Calendar, like many of yours, was empty. Not full of weekend outings, meetings, choir, kids activities. Just empty. And now it is May. No choir concerts, no end of year events, no prepping for Summer Vacations. And by the way, Mother’s Day is on Sunday. Yes, this Sunday! It came out of no where for most of us. Now, most of the time, I would be encouraging you to purchase massage gift certificates, because who doesn’t benefit from Mom getting in for a massage? But right now, that massage won’t come for a very undetermined amount of time.
No Massage? So what now? It’s time to think outside the box, or I should say, to look inside a box, for hours and hours of relaxation for Mom. I have partnered with 3, yes THREE local, women owned businesses to bring Mom, or maybe you, the best at home Spa box possible! Packed into this box are 6 hand made products made just for hours of relaxation!
All Moms need to be spoiled, and how better to take care of someone than offer them a gift that will do some real good. Moms are busy, almost all of the time. You see her doing her very best to keep everyone happy – take notice of the things she says about her mood, her body and how she’s feeling and try to find her the right type of massage.
Maybe Mom does everything for everyone and you think it’s about time that she was treated to a little relaxation time? Here is a gift set of pampering spa products to gift her a little spa and massage related self-care in the comfort of her own bathroom. Just being a little bit thoughtful will get you a long way.
So what’s in this great Spa box?
Each of these companies are Seattle-Local women owned businesses!
2 Beautiful bath bombs from Fizzy Fairy Apothecary
Artisan Soap Bar and 12oz of Bath Salts from The Bath House Co.
Coca-Loco Shea Nut Spa Lotion and Pink Himalayan Salt Body Scrub from MiCreationsByShawn
Purchase a box for local pick up or USPS Flat Rate Shipping right on our website at Revive Therapeutics
I continue to look for ways to maintain some easy self-care. I’m looking for self care for myself that is inexpensive with a small time commitment and has great results! In one of my continuing education classes we talked about dry brushing. Although I haven’t implemented it in my massage practice, I have added it to my self-care routine.
Dry body brushing, this is something quick and easy you can do for your skin, circulation and lymph system. Dry brushing should always be done toward the heart and you can vary the pressure but it doesn’t need to be hard or rough to be effective.
You can dry brush any time of day, but the morning is good because it really wakes you up. It’s great to dry brush before a shower, bath or applying a natural moisturizer.
More benefits of body brushing:
- Exfoliates dry, rough skin, enabling moisturizing products to absorb into the skin and opens pores to help with eliminating toxins from the skin.
- Assists with stimulation of sweat and oil glands, contributing to the restoration of moist, supple skin.
- Gentle stretching of connective tissues from brushing helps to regenerate production of collagen and elastin fibers.
- Alleviates vein and lymph congestion to reduce the appearance or cellulite.
Here’s a video to help you get started! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoTBP_WJy9E
For sharing options, click YouTube icon at bottom of video to view in YouTube, click Share below video title, and choose your option. To embed video in your blog post, choose the Embed tab in the Share options, copy the iframe code and paste into your blog editor.
Great Ways to Start Your Day!
Today we are talking about starting the day. How you start the day can set the tone for the whole day and leave you feeling frazzled or calm and ready to tackle your day.
Morning routine ideas:
- Wake up 20-30 minutes early to fit in some “me time” with a good book, journal, or meditation (and coffee!!).
- Start your day with no news or internet for 30 minutes (exception: your morning meditation).
- Write three things you are grateful for in a gratitude journal each morning. For a challenge try to write three different things each day, and by the end of one year you will have over 1000 things to be grateful for!
- Drink some water to hydrate your cells and brain.
- Visualize your day and how you would like it to go to start a positive intention for the day.
- Listen to uplifting music as you get ready.
- Stretch even if just for a minute.
- Have a green smoothie!
- Have your clothes picked out the night before, to make getting ready easy.
- Put a list of these on your bedside table, with a pen, journal and water bottle.
It has been hard to figure out how to balance home, work, kids, relaxation, the list can go on and on! I am realizing that setting up some daily routines that fall back on things I do typically, even without thinking about it, is important. For my kids and myself I have added time for prayer, baking, and movement. This week, we are going to make sure to do a yoga routine every day. If you want to find your inner child or have a young one at home, I recommend Cosmic Kids Yoga!
If you need to add some easy stretching to your day, here are a few ideas for you to start doing. Remember, a good stretch once or twice a day feels good and can help prevent injuries (flexible muscles can do more), improve your posture (and as a result help with back pain), increase blood and nutrients to your muscles, and help you to feel less stressed.
Here’s what I do:
Spinal Stretch – lie on your back, bring your knee to your chest and then across your body. So your right knee will go over to the left side of your body. Hold this for at least 30 seconds. Then stretch the other side.
Forward bend – Sit with your legs straight out in front of you stretch your arms up to the sky and then bend forward as far as you can.
Spinal Twist- still sitting with your legs in front of you, bend one knee to your chest then twist your body and hug your bent leg.
Other quick stretches (you can do these at your desk)
Clasp your hands behind you and pull back to stretch your chest.
Hold your arm in front of your body and stretch it into your chest
Stretch your neck from side to side or do neck rolls
I bet you are feeling better already!
Also check out You Tube for some quick stretching routines:
It has been hard to get back into the habit of posting these past few weeks. My heart is heavy for so many reasons. My 9 year olds are devastated that they will not finish 3rd grade. 7 of us are cooped up in the house full time. I haven’t massaged in 2 weeks and I don’t know when I will again. (o.k. the kids might convince me to set my table up at home!) I realized today that the best way for me to overcome how down this could bring me is to post to all of you. I am so lucky to have such a vibrant massage practice! I will focus on the return to you, not the distance from you during this time. Here are a few ideas for you to consider on how to find the positives in these crazy times!
The news is overwhelmingly negative at the moment, people are
frightened, worried about what’s going to happen to themselves,
their families and jobs. It can seem as if there is no gap in the clouds
at all…but when you’re having one of those days cooped up indoors
and wondering when all this will end, there are a few ways you can
try to re-frame what’s going on to make it, if not entirely positive, a
slightly more positive experience.
This Too Will Pass…
Yes, it’s an old line, but it’s true. While we’re stuck in what seems like
a never-ending quarantine it might seem that it’s never going to get
better, but it will. Remind yourself that although this is horrible,
scary and makes life difficult for us all, it’s temporary. While we don’t
know how long it will last, normal life will resume at some point and
this will all be a memory.
Find the Lesson
There will be something we can learn from the current situation,
even if we’re feeling a bit lost at the moment. Psychologists who deal
with trauma believe that an important way of helping someone work
through it is to help them see that they have some agency, and an
ability to do something to find their meaning. Think about whether
there are any lessons you can learn from this crisis, things you may
have found in yourself, your home, your job that can be changed in
the future? Look at the bigger picture too – has the crisis fired you up
to join a political party, a charity, volunteer for something? Then it
hasn’t been totally in vain.
Move Left and Right
That sounds odd but stay with us…Research has shown that doing
repetitive movements like knitting, coloring and painting – even
jumping rope, are helpful at self-soothing because of the way they
engage your brain in the activity and need you to concentrate. Even
better are activities that engage the left side of your brain: running,
drumming, skating, or hopping. These simple things can be
surprisingly calming…Probably why adult coloring books and running
are so popular?
Express Yourself Artistically
Many people seem to be indulging their creativity at the moment,
and there’s a good reason to encourage this. The part of the brain
that deals with emotions is very receptive to creativity, and this
makes creative pursuits a great way to express your feelings. Stick
with something you know or try a new pastime – but make it
creative: drawing, dancing, music, singing, learning a musical
instrument. It doesn’t matter if you’re technically accomplished, it’s
about releasing emotions and engaging your creative brain.
Start A Long-Term Project
So, you’ve always wanted to learn how to play an instrument, there’s
a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle or expert LEGO set you’ve been meaning
to tackle, and you’ve never completed a Rubik’s cube. What better
time to make a start? Your choice of project doesn’t have to be
anything challenging or highbrow either – perhaps you’ve always
wanted to read the Harry Potter books or watch Game of Thrones
but never got around to it? Start now, give yourself something to
distract you from the things you have no say or control over.
Keep calm and stay safe…
We are bombarded with messages all the time telling us that we need to relax – but at the same time, it seems as if we are also bombarded with reasons not to! The truth is that if you take care of your body and mind, it pays dividends and can help you to deal with some of the unwelcome things in life that give stress us out in the first place. The first things to tackle are getting your share of rest and relaxation. Here’s why.
Your Body Needs to Rest
Getting enough sleep, and good quality sleep at that, is absolutely essential for functioning optimally. Whether you’re working, learning or just living, sleep is key. Sleep is also vital for is essential for restoring your body’s energy, repairing muscles and promoting good appetite. Quality of sleep matters as much as the amount of shut eye you cram in. The more time you spend in the REM stage of sleep, the better, as REM (dream) sleep is the most restorative – ideally you should spend about 25% of time in this type of sleep (if you have a fitness tracker, the sleep tracking function can be a real eye opener). Lack of good sleep can lead to a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, headaches and depression. Of course, sleep isn’t the only way to rest, relaxation while you’re awake is very important, too.
You may have heard of the fight-or-flight response? Well, it has an opposite – the relaxation response. This happens naturally when your body no longer thinks it is in any perceived danger, and when the autonomic nervous system returns to normal after a stressful situation. The relaxation response is like an off switch, where the body moves from a stressed state (physiological arousal) to one of calm. You can bring this response on deliberately by using techniques that are designed to relax both body and mind. Some of the most effective ways to do this include:
- Breathing Exercises
- Massage therapy
- Spa Treatments
How to Relax
Making time to unwind and enjoy life is really important – and often undervalued. Relaxation has many physical benefits; it can decrease your blood pressure, help to relieve pain, and also improve your immune and cardiovascular systems. Did you know that a good belly laugh is one amazingly effective way to de-stress, too? Get the funny films out, a big laugh can potentially help your heart and lung health as well as promoting muscle relaxation. We all know that a good giggle can help our mental health too; as well as flooding our body with feel-good chemicals, it helps to reduce anxiety.
If you aren’t getting enough time to relax, you may find yourself feeling tense and stressed out. Next time you feel the fight-or-flight feelings getting on top of you, or you notice tell-tale effects of stress like break outs or constant headaches, stop it in its track with a massage session, yoga class or some deep breathing exercises and feel that relaxation kick back in…
Stress seems to be almost unavoidable in our busy lives. It’s easy for people to suggest that you might feel better if you’re less stressed, but if you’re already stressed, that’s just going to stress you out even more! Adding to the problem, stress can cause a lot of unwanted symptoms in your body, including pain. In some cases, stress causes pain to develop, like headaches. In others, it makes existing pain worse.
Think about it; if you’re tensing your body up and putting stress quite literally onto your muscles, you are going to feel the effects of that in a sore back, shoulders and head. If you suffer with chronic pain anyway, stress can exacerbate it.
At one point or another, most of us have to deal with a certain amount of stress. Without it, some of us just wouldn’t get anything done! It’s when the stress builds up that it can start to cause issues in your body and make you hurt. One study found that 33 per cent of adults said they were dealing with high levels of perceived stress – you’re not alone if one of them is you.
Stress affects more than just your mind – if you hold on to too much tension, it will most likely lead to muscle stiffness and pain. Too much stress is also linked to headaches, fatigue, digestive problems, and insomnia; one study of people who suffered with chronic headaches found that 45 per cent said they’d been through a stressful event before they started to get the headaches. Other aches and pains can also be blamed on stress – it’s thought that the stress hormone cortisol could be to blame for chronic pain. A study compared 16 people with chronic back pain to a control group and found that the people with chronic pain had higher levels of cortisol.
It pays not to let the stress build up, and one good way to physically disperse stress before it causes too much trouble is a good massage. Massage is the perfect way to relax you and improve your mood. Whatever effect stress has on your body and mood, treating yourself to a massage is one of the most relaxing ways to deal with a build-up of toxic stress or anxiety.
Almost every symptom of stress that’s been listed by the American Psychological Association can benefit from massage therapy. Research has even shown that massage therapy can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, (which can be raised when you are stressed) as well as soothing stress-related pain by relaxing your muscles and increasing the production of endorphins, which are your body’s natural feel-good chemicals. A massage can also boost your body’s production of serotonin and dopamine, giving you a feeling of well-being that releases the stress, calms your mind and gives you the physical and mental break your body needs from all the stressful things that are making you hunch your shoulders.
Next time you feel the stress start to build up, don’t wait until you get the tell take sore head or tight shoulders. Call Revive Therapeutics and get it out of your system…
The news is full of information about the Coronavirus. It is important for us to all understand precautions we can each take. Most of these ideas are not new, many are things both Angela and I do each and every day and between each and every client session, but it is important for you to know that we are doing them. It is also important for you to know what things you can do to help us and yourself regarding massage. This is the information we sent out in an email last week, but we would like to share more about the precautions we are taking in the office.
WHAT WE ARE DOING:
- 100% of linens cleaned and changed between every client: All linens are washed after each use in hot water with unscented laundry detergent and a powdered bleach substitute. You enjoy a fresh set of sheets for each and every massage!
- Washing hands: We both wash our hands and arms with soap and water and dry with paper towels before and after each and every client. If needed, we will wash again during a session.
- Disinfecting surfaces between clients and at the beginning and end of every shift: We use Clorox disinfecting wipes on all surfaces between each and every client. We disinfect everything that gets touched by clients and/or us, including but not limited to the massage table (face cradle and support cradle, table top, knobs, table warmer controller, etc.), table tops, door knobs, cabinet handles, light switches/controllers, emollient bottles and our stool seat and lift handle. Our table top has a vinyl cover on it to ensure that we can properly disinfect the surface between each client. We are adding to our list toilet handle and lid/seat, soap dispensers, sink and other bathroom fixtures, phone, pens, and keyboard/tablet screen.
- Client chair: I have taken the cushion off the client chair so that the surface can be disinfected. Unlike the fabric of the cushion, the surface of the chair can be treated with disinfectant between clients.
- Ask you to wash hands: You can expect us to ask you to set down your belongings and go wash your hands before getting settled in for a session. Since we massage your hands and forearms, and they are #1 areas that could be carrying germs, we ask that you use soap and water to remove any germs off them before we start. This will prevent us from picking them up in the emollient and carrying them to other parts of your body, likely to your face, an area where the germs can easily enter your fluid system.
- Waiving late-cancellation fee for illness: You must communicate with us prior to your appointment time to get this waiver. If we don’t hear from you (no-show) or if you have to cancel at the last minute because of a reason other than illness, the late-cancellation fee still applies. Our goal is to make you feel comfortable canceling because your health requires it.
- Supporting you in making your own health decisions: We understand and accept without judgement any decisions you make regarding self-quarantine or opting out of bodywork at this time. Please take the steps you feel are necessary to take care of your mental and physical health. We will look forward to when we see you in the clinic again. If you are opting out but are not ill, our 24 hour cancellation policy will remain in effect. Please use the links in your confirmation email to cancel if you need to.
- Awareness about our health: As some of you know, Rachel suffers from seasonal allergies in the Fall and Spring. So far, that has manifested as congestion and a cough this Spring. If she ever have symptoms of illness, such as a fever, or symptoms beyond the allergies, we will cancel your appointment.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
- Cancel your appointment if you feel sick or if you think you might be getting sick: If you have generalized fatigue, sniffling/sneezing, fever, or other sensations and symptoms of illness, please cancel your appointment. The best time to do a self check is 36-24 hours prior to your appointment. If you have any question about your wellness, cancel your appointment with at least 24-hours notice. If symptoms develop at the last minute, you may still cancel your appointment, but any advance notice is much appreciated.
- Wash your hands upon arrival at the clinic: We respectfully ask you to wash your hands before getting settled in the treatment room for your massage.
- Take care of your health and know you are doing the best you can. This is an unpredictable time for all of us. You are not alone in not knowing how worried to be or how best to react to what is happening.
There’s no escaping the truth; winter has arrived! The Seattle rain has taken its toll on many of us in various ways. Between sniffles and full blown colds, to simply longing for Summer. It’s not unusual for people to get the ‘winter blues’ – which is a condition many people in the northern hemisphere are afflicted with due to lack of sunlight during the colder and darker winter months.
The good news for everyone is that massage therapy can help increase health happiness for everyone during the cooler months of the year. Here a few reasons why…
Massage May Help to Banish Seasonal Affective Disorder
As we’ve mentioned, Seasonal Affective Disorder – sometimes known as the winter blues – is a problem for many people when there’s less natural sunlight. This is because sunlight causes the brain to release a feel-good chemical called serotonin that improves our mood. When there’s less sunlight, less serotonin is produced, which can lead to low mood, lethargy and difficulties in getting out of bed in the morning. In some people it can even cause serious depression enough to warrant visiting a doctor. It’s not a happy place to be, but the good news is that booking in a regular massage can help to lift a low mood. A regular massage session will help to relax stressed minds and bodies, as well as releasing the serotonin and endorphins, the same chemicals produced by the body when you’re happy.
It Can Give Your Circulation A Boost
Massage therapy may also help boost circulation during a time of the year when nobody wants to get up and go outside for a run. Everybody knows that getting regular exercise helps keep circulation running smoothly, and also gets the oxygenated blood pumped around our bodies faster. This is all very well, but a lack of movement in the winter months can result in feeling sluggish, while poor circulation can lead to lethargy, aches and pains. Here’s where a massage has extra benefits; it can help blood to pass through any congested areas and boosts overall flow, which also helps the lymphatic system to remove waste that builds up. At the same time, massage is well known to help decrease blood pressure.
It May Help Your Body to Fight Off Minor Infections
For anybody that’s prone to suffering from colds and infections during the winter season, massage might be the way forward. It’s been found that massage sessions can help to boost the effectiveness of the immune system, helping to fight off the bugs and viruses that circulate in offices, shops and schools at this time of year. A gentle massage of the area around the lymph nodes also encourages white blood cells to circulate, and as this increases blood flow it also stimulates the white blood cells to start fighting any infection in your body.
These are just a few of the many benefits that massage therapy can bring during winter. Of course, there’s also the feel-good aspect of a warming hot stone massage, delicious aromatic massage oils and even just the act of taking time out to look after yourself when you need it.
Are you the type of person who puts off getting a massage? You think that because nothing actually hurts, you don’t need to worry about it? Many people think the same way and then end up at the massage clinic feeling sorry for themselves with a painful back or an injury.
Massage is wonderful if you do have an injury or are already in pain, but why wait until there’s something wrong before you take action? Massage can be part of your preventative therapy, a way to stop aches and pains from developing into anything more serious.
Keep On Keeping On…
If you, like most of us, have to work for a living, looking after your back and your musculoskeletal system will save you and your employer a lot of stress and money in the future. It’s frightening, but did you know that according to the Global Burden of Disease 2010, a staggering thirty-one million Americans say that they are dealing with the symptoms of low back pain at any one time, costing over $50 million dollars in conventional medical treatments, worker’s compensation, and absence from work?
Why risk it when a study that was carried out in 2011 proved that having regular lower back massages helped to relieve the pain before it got to the stage where it needed medication or taking time off from work?
Another cause of time off work is stress and/or anxiety, so you’ll be pleased to hear that a regular massage session can help you beat the build-up of stress and keep you calmer for longer. It’s well known that many conditions are either brought on or made worse by stress. Booking time out for regular massage therapy helps to lower your body’s cortisol levels and increase happy hormones serotonin and dopamine. It really puts you in a better mood. On top of this, it’s also thought that because a deep tissue or Swedish massage in particular help to get your lymph fluid moving, this type of massage can help boost your immunity. This means less coughs, colds and illnesses, which is all good.
Beat the Pain of Inactivity
I know, most of us can’t help it, but the average American sits still for eight or nine hours every single day. If your job means that you have no choice but to sit at a wheel or desk, it will pull your shoulders forward and cause them to become rounded. This has the effect of weakening your upper and lower back muscles, which is why you’ll be feeling that pain in your upper body.
If you can manage to get up and about regularly to do some exercise, and team this with a regular massage, your posture will thank you for it and you should reduce any pain you feel from sitting still for so long during working hours.
Have we convinced you to make a massage part of your regular routine? Of course, it’s not all about preventing illness or relieving pain, having a massage is a deliciously comforting and beneficial therapy in itself, and many people book their regular massage therapy sessions just because they know they will spring off the massage couch with a smile on their face, feeling amazing.