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Self-Care Assessment

Posted by [email protected] on January 27, 2014 at 1:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Self-Care Assessment

The following worksheet for assessing self-care is not exhaustive, merely suggestive. Feel

free to add areas of self-care that are relevant for you and rate yourself on how often and

how well you are taking care of yourself these days.

When you are finished, look for patterns in your responses. Are you more active in some

areas of self-care but ignore others? Are there items on the list that make you think, "I

would never do that"? Listen to your inner responses, your internal dialogue about self-care

and making yourself a priority. Take particular note of anything you would like to include

more in your life.

Rate the following areas according to how well you think you are doing:

3 = I do this well (e.g., frequently)

2 = I do this OK (e.g., occasionally)

1 = I barely or rarely do this

0 = I never do this

? = This never occurred to me

Physical Self-Care

____ Eat regularly (e.g. breakfast, lunch, and dinner)

____ Eat healthily

____ Exercise

____ Get regular medical care for prevention

____ Get medical care when needed

____ Take time off when sick

____ Get massages on a regular basis (atleast  once a month)

____ Dance, swim, walk, run, play sports, sing, or do some other fun physical activity

____ Take time to be sexual - with myself, with a partner

____ Get enough sleep

____ Wear clothes I like

____ Take vacations

____ Other:

Psychological Self-Care

____ Take day trips or mini-vacations

____ Make time away from telephones, email, and the Internet

____ Make time for self-reflection

____ Notice my inner experience - listen to my thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, feelings

____ Have my own personal psychotherapy

____ Write in a journal

____ Read literature that is unrelated to work

____ Do something at which I am not expert or in charge

____ Attend to minimizing stress in my life

____ Engage my intelligence in a new area, e.g., go to an art show, sports event, theatre

____ Be curious ____ Say no to extra responsibilities sometimes

____ Other:

Emotional Self-Care

____ Spend time with others whose company I enjoy

____ Stay in contact with important people in my life

____ Give myself affirmations, praise myself

____ Love myself

____ Re-read favorite books, re-view favorite movies

____ Identify comforting activities, objects, people, places and seek them out

____ Allow myself to cry

____ Find things that make me laugh

____ Express my outrage in social action, letters, donations, marches, protests

____ Other:

Spiritual Self-Care

____ Make time for reflection

____ Spend time in nature

____ Find a spiritual connection or community

____ Be open to inspiration

____ Cherish my optimism and hope

____ Be aware of non-material aspects of life

____ Try at times not to be in charge or the expert

____ Be open to not knowing

____ Identify what is meaningful to me and notice its place in my life

____ Meditate

____ Pray

____ Sing

____ Have experiences of awe

____ Contribute to causes in which I believe

____ Read inspirational literature or listen to inspirational talks, music

____ Other:

Relationship Self-Care

____ Schedule regular dates with my partner or spouse

____ Schedule regular activities with my children

____ Make time to see friends

____ Call, check on, or see my relatives

____ Spend time with my companion animals

____ Stay in contact with faraway friends

____ Make time to reply to personal emails and letters; send holiday cards

____ Allow others to do things for me

____ Enlarge my social circle

____ Ask for help when I need it

____ Share a fear, hope, or secret with someone I trust

____ Other:

Workplace or Professional Self-Care

____ Take a break during the workday (e.g., lunch)

____ Take time to chat with co-workers

____ Make quiet time to complete tasks

____ Identify projects or tasks that are exciting and rewarding

____ Set limits with clients and colleagues

____ Balance my caseload so that no one day or part of a day is “too much”

____ Arrange work space so it is comfortable and comforting

____ Get regular supervision or consultation

____ Negotiate for my needs (benefits, pay raise)

____ Have a peer support group

____ (If relevant) Develop a non-trauma area of professional interest

Overall Balance

____ Strive for balance within my work-life and work day

____ Strive for balance among work, family, relationships, play, and rest

Other Areas of Self-Care that are Relevant to You




Self-Care Hardware: Tools for Working on Your Own Body By Rebecca Jones

Posted by [email protected] on January 27, 2014 at 1:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Self-Care Hardware: Tools for Working on Your Own Body

By Rebecca Jones



The Sacro Wedgy ($29.95, is a

soft cradle that can be wedged beneath a person’s hips

to isolate and elevate the sacrum. As the body relaxes,

the hips return to a proper alignment, thereby easing

sciatica, as well as leg, low-back, and even shoulder

pain. “If you’ve done 10 massages in a day, you can’t

tell me you won’t be hurting,” says Cindy Ballis,

president of the Mobile, Alabama, company and

daughter of the device’s inventor. The Sacro Wedgy

replicates the osteopathic technique of supporting

the sacrum.


Also based on osteopathic techniques, the

CranioCradle ($34.95, is

placed under the head, neck, and body at specific

locations to relax tense, tired muscles. “It provides

an extra set of hands during a therapy session,” says

Barb Richmond, CEO of Kiss Life, the device’s

manufacturer. But it’s also something therapists can

use themselves between sessions. “It only takes 2–5

minutes for tissues to soften and release,” she says.

“It’s something you can use to de-stress.” Richmond

says massage therapists are constantly teaching

her new ways to use the cradle. “Now we include

a guide with it, showing all the ways people have

found to use it for themselves and in their practice.”


Massage therapist Susan Baer says her left thumb

used to hurt all the time, so she’s now given it early

retirement. Instead, she uses Thumbby ($39,, a soft, cone-shaped massage tool

that feels like a thumb and works like a thumb, but is

eight times stronger than a thumb. “I don’t know of

anything that concentrates force the way this does,”

says Baer, vice president of the Portland, Oregon,

Thumbby Company. Used on a client, the device

can dramatically decrease the pressure placed on a

therapist’s thumbs. And when heated, it works even

faster. “You can let Thumbby do the difficult work of

loosening up someone’s muscles,” Baer says. But best

of all, Thumbby sticks to hard surfaces. So stick it on

the wall at the right height, then just turn around and

massage your own back.


Similar to Thumbby is the Tola Neuromuscular

Release System, which offers three differently shaped

points that can be used when lying down, seated,

or standing to access difficult-to-reach places. The

points vary from sharper to flatter contours and can

be combined with angled wedges or a rocking base

to vary the angle and height of pressure application.

The complete set is $39.99 at


Rolling around on a golf ball is great therapy for sore

muscles. It’s just the right size and shape. But a golf

ball can be hard on a therapist’s hands, so Heather

Karr ( created a device

that holds a golf ball and allows the therapist to

control it more easily. She calls it the SPAball Kaddy

($14.99, golf ball included). “Even cooler,” she says,

“is the KaddyBACK [$12.99].” That’s a cloth holder

for the SPAball Kaddy that is slung over the shoulder

and allows the wearer to perform his or her own

trigger point therapy by pushing it against a wall.



Eight years into his massage therapy career, Greg Polins

developed crippling pain in his thumbs and wrists. “I

needed a solution or my career would have been over,” he

says. In desperation, he developed Thumbsavers ($14.95,, a flexible device worn over the

thumb to help the therapist use proper hand mechanics,

thus reducing the chance for fatigue, pain, and injury.


The Pressure Pointer ($38–$50, is for self-applied trigger

point therapy. It looks a little like a cane with a knob on

top and is good for self-massage on the back.

The device is extendable and curved, so

users can actually operate it with their

feet. “Since you’re able to relax the

muscle you’re trying to treat, you

can stretch and move it through

its range of motion while

you’re applying pressure,”

says designer Gary Turell

of Wellington, Colorado.

“You can’t do that with

a hand-powered device,

because you’re flexing your

muscles while you use it.”


Stephanie Whittier, founder of

T Spheres ($20–$35, www.tspheres.

com), hit on the idea of combining a

massage ball with aromatherapy. As the

device is rolled over the skin, it releases an

aromatherapy scent, though it also comes as a nonscented

device for use with aroma-sensitive clients. “You can use

it in your practice,” says Whittier, a massage therapist

for 20 years. “It makes it easier to hit those tough points

without using so much pressure. But it’s also something

you can use on yourself in between sessions.” The ball

can also be heated or frozen, expanding its usefulness.



A massage therapist’s hands flex all the time. That’s

why Performance Health’s Hand Xtrainer ($14.49, is so useful. It’s a hand

exerciser that strengthens the hand by stretching and

extending it rather than flexing it. “Because massage

therapists’ hands and forearms are in flexion most of

the time, exercising and stretching with the Hand

Xtrainer can help balance the muscles,” says Lynda

Solien-Wolfe, director of education for Performance

Health. “It can help strengthen finger, hand, and

forearm extensor muscles, preventing pain and injury.”



Hands aren’t the only things massage therapists need to

protect; elbows also can suffer. When researchers

at the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and

Athletic Trauma at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City

did a study on inexpensive ways to treat tennis elbow,

they abandoned their experiments after two months

because they knew they’d found the answer:a ribbed, pliable, 12-inch

long bar that users grasp, twist, and untwist, flexing the

wrist. Relief comes remarkably fast, helping some sufferers within

three weeks. Researchers dubbed the

exercise the “Tyler Twist,” after physical therapist

Timothy Tyler, one of the authors of the study.  The device

Tyler used to Performance Health's Thermaband Healthbar, 

$19 - $30,  

15 Things Your Massage Therapist Wants You to Know

Posted by [email protected] on December 24, 2013 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)

15 Things Your Massage Therapist Wants You to Know


By Kelli Boylen


Originally published in Body Sense magazine, Autumn 2011. Copyright 2011. Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals. All rights reserved.


1. I am not a masseuse, and, no matter how cool you think that word sounds, your massage therapist probably doesn't like it. Massage parlor is rather outdated as well. In years past, some "massage parlors" were really fronts for sex shops and I did not take out student loans and complete more than 850 hours of training to be associated with prostitution. Trust me--I'm pretty serious about it. Jokes about "happy endings" are outdated as well.


2. Please be on time. We really like to work on you for the entire scheduled time. We often have another client coming in right after you, so it is unlikely for us to work on you past the scheduled appointment time.


3. We don't care about the stubble on your legs. Unless a leg is shaved within a few hours of your massage, it has stubble on it. We don't mind, and we are not going to flip out about leg hair. You don't hear men apologizing for the stubble on their faces? And that stubble is actually rough (although that doesn't bother us either). As long as you are reasonably clean, we're all good.


4. Your perfume may smell beautiful, but since we work in close proximity to you for about an hour, it can get a little overwhelming. We prefer you wait until you leave our office to put it on. Some of our other clients have allergies to perfume, and it's hard to air out smells sometimes.


5. You have no obligation to talk to us during a massage. If talking helps you relax, by all means go ahead. Otherwise, go to your happy place.


6. To us, your butt is not cute, big, small, or sexy. It's a big muscle, and we like muscles. If you have problems in your lower back, chances are that your gluteal muscles are involved with that as well. We can work your glutes with a sheet covering if that makes you more comfortable, but it seems kind of silly not to work on some of the biggest muscles in the body.


7. Even if you are comfortable with nudity, we don't want to see it. We are trained on how to properly drape clients to protect your modesty and ours. Just because we are comfortable with the sides of your buttocks, doesn't mean we want to see anything else.


8. We have had extensive training in anatomy and physiology, kinesiology (the study of muscles and movement), pathology, and ethics. If we forget that you may not know all the same terminology we have learned, please ask us what we mean. We know where your medial malleolus is (that's your ankle bone on the inside of your leg), but if you haven't heard of that before, please ask.


9. If you have had a change in your medical condition since you were here last time, it is important that you tell us. If you tell us halfway through a deep-tissue massage that you are taking blood thinners, we are going to be thinking "uh-oh" in our heads.


10. Tell us if you want more or less pressure. We are happy to oblige, and won't take offense. In fact, we love it if you tell us what you like and don't like as we go along--it helps us to individualize your massage to what you want and need.


11. Yes, we put clean sheets on the table for every client.


12. During the massage session, our job is to do bodywork. Your job is to relax. We love the tranquil look people get after their massage, so leave your worries somewhere else and leave your muscles to us.


13. If you are unhappy, please tell us why. Sometimes a client doesn't return and we have no idea if we did something wrong or if you are just busy.


14. If you are happy with what we do, tell your friends. We love referrals.


15. Finally, enjoy your massage! We love our work and hope you do, too.


Kelli Boylen is a licensed massage therapist in Wisconsin and Iowa. She is a freelance writer and author of the blog Boylen Over. This piece originally appeared on



What to expect with your massage

Posted by [email protected] on December 19, 2013 at 6:00 PM Comments comments (0)

What to expect with your massage

*You are in control of the massage session at all times


*What will the massage feel like?

It depends on the techniques used. Many massage therapists use a form of Swedish massage, which is often a baseline for therapist. In a general Swedish massage, your session may start with broad, flowing techniques that will help calm your nervous system and relax exterior muscle tension. As your body becomes relaxed, pressure will gradually be increased to relax specific areas and relieve areas of muscular tension. Often, a light oil or lotion is used to allow your muscles to be massaged without causing excessive friction to the skin. The oil also helps hydrate your skin. You should communicate immediately if you feel any discomfort so that another approach may be taken.


*Must I be completely undressed?

Most massage and bodywork techniques are traditionally performed with the client unclothed; however, it is entirely up to you what you want to wear. You should undress to your level of comfort. You will be properly draped at all times to keep you warm and comfortable. Only the area being worked on will be exposed. The therapist will leave the room while you undress, relax onto the table, and cover yourself with a clean sheet or towel.

You and the therapist will discuss the desired outcome of your session. This will determine which parts of your body require massage. A typical full body session will include work on your back, arms, legs, feet, hands, head, neck, and shoulders. You will not be touched on your genitals (male or female) or breasts (female).

*Are there different kinds of massage?

There are numerous types of massage; Effleurage (Gliding), Petrissage (Kneading), Vibration, Tapotement (Percussion), Friction, Posture/Movement re-education, Application of pressure to specific points, and more. Ask the therapist about the methods he or she uses.

*How long will the session last?

The average full-body massage or bodywork session lasts approximately one hour. A half-hour appointment only allows time for a partial massage session, such as neck and shoulders, back or legs and feet. Many people prefer a 60- to 90-minute session for optimal relaxation. Always allow relaxation time prior to and after the session.

*What should I do during the massage session?

Make yourself comfortable. The therapist will either gently move you or tell you what is needed throughout the session (such as lifting your arm). Many people just close their eyes and completely relax. Others like to talk during their session. Feel free to ask the therapist questions about massage in general or about the particular technique you are receiving.

*How will I feel after the massage session?

Most people feel very relaxed. Some experience freedom from long-term aches and pains developed from tension or repetitive activity. After an initial period of feeling slowed down, people often experience increased energy, heightened awareness, and greater productivity which can last for days. Since toxins are released from your soft tissues during a massage, it is recommended you drink plenty of water following your massage.


• Reduces stress

• Enhances blood circulation

• Decreases pain

• Improves sleep

• Reduces swelling

• Enhances relaxation

• Reduced level of anxiety

• Increases oxygen capacity of the blood

• Increases Hyperemia (dilation of blood vessels)

• Reduces Ischemia (decrease blood supply to organ or tissue)

• Blood pressure temporarily decreased

• Decreases heart rate

• Decreases respirations

• Increase immune system

• Improves appearance of skin

• Helps reduce scar tissue

• Stimulate or relaxes the nerves

• Release of endorphins (natural pain killer)

• Stretches and broadens tissue

• Helps decrease stress and depression

• Relieves muscle tension

• Increase oxygen and nutrients

• Reduce muscle fatigue

• Helps keep muscles flexible

• Temporarily alters the shape of cellulite

• Helps posture

• Loosens phlegm

• Increase output

• Helps reduce the chance of a urinary tract infection

• Helps most headaches

• Helps over-use injuries

• Helps strains and sprains

• Helps nerve entrapment

• Decreases gas build up

• Helps with constipation

• Helps digestion

• Removes build up of metabolic waste

• Greater ability to monitor stress signals

• Increased awareness of the mind- body connection

• Enhanced self-image

• Greater ease of emotional expression

• Satisfying the need for caring and nurturing touch

• Increased capacity for clearer thinking

• And many more…


(Usually need a referral from a medical professional)

• Pain that is local, sharp, dull, achy, deep and or surface

• Inflammation

• Lumps and Tissue changes

• Rashes and changes in the skin

• Severe Edema

• Severe Infection

• Cancer

• Changes in habits such as appetite elimination or sleep

• Bleeding and bruising

• Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea

• Temperature of the skin either hot or cold

• Infectious Skin Diseases

• Local or systemic infections

• Cardiac conditions

• Blood clots

• Varicose Veins

• Acute stage pneumonia

• Advanced kidney failure

• Advanced respiratory failure

• Diabetes with complications (e.g. Gangrene)

• Eclampsia is toxemia in pregnancy

• Hemophilia

• Hemorrhage

• Liver Failure

• Post cerbrovascular accident (CVA, stroke)

• Post myocardial infarction (MI, heart attack)

• Severe atherosclerosis

• Severe hypertension

• Shock (all types)

• Significant fever (above 101 F. / 38.3 C.)

• Systemic contagious/infectious condition

• And many more…

*Are there any medical conditions that would make massage inadvisable?

Yes. That's why it's imperative that, before you begin your session, the therapist asks general health questions. It is very important that you inform the therapist of any health problems or medications you are taking. If you are under a doctor's care, it is strongly advised that you receive a written recommendation for massage or bodywork prior to any session (If you have any doubts). Your therapist may require a recommendation or approval from your doctor.


*What are the possible side-effects from a massage?

• Soreness, it’s like an aerobic workout for the muscles (Usually a day or two after the massage) (Any more then 1-2 days, ask the therapist to back off on the pressure a little next time you receive a massage)

• Flu like symptoms (Drink a lot of water after the massage)

• Headache (Massage is a diuretic and it depletes the body of water)

• Bring up old pain (Pain from a accident a year ago or more)

• Nausea or Dizziness (Move slow after the massage)

• Blood pressure can rise or lower after the massage (Get up slow after your massage)

• Possible bruising (If you are low in iron…it can happen), also arms and any boney areas are more prone to it

• If you are diabetic, your blood sugar could go up or down

*Recommendations after a massage

• Keep moving after the massage (A body in motion stays in motion)

• Drink extra water (Double of what you are use to taking in) and alcohol, coffee and pop does not count

• Take a hot bath or shower (Helps hydrate the muscles)

• Stretching (You could stiffen up after your massage if this is not followed)

• Hot (Increases circulation) or cold (Decreases circulation) packs (10-20 minutes)

• Ingesting 1000 mg of vitamin C per day may prevent or at least reduce muscle soreness. Similar reports seem to result from the ingestion of vitamin E.

• Detox

EDUCATION & MASSAGE: Depth & Pressure in Massage

Posted by [email protected] on December 12, 2013 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (0)

I came across an article written by a fellow massage therapist named Destiny Toro.  This article expresses my thoughts exactly.  So I am posting it to my website and adding it to my facebook page.  Thank you Destiny!

“I can take a lot more pressure, you know.”

I hear this statement, as well as similar statements and questions regarding depth and pressure, often as a massage therapist. Most of the time, I hear it within the first 5 minutes of a massage. Depending on the situation and the body type, I might just say, “Okay,” and work a little more deeply. I also might quickly explain, “I’m just warming up the top layers of tissue.” Sometimes, I’ll say, “Working deeply isn’t my style of massage,” which isn’t necessarily true. I don’t at all have a problem working deeply. But if I’m giving you a 10 minute chair massage, and you have very thick, tough connective tissue in your low back that requires application of several minutes of a moist heating pad that I don’t have access to, as well as several more minutes of physically warming up the tissue before we can even approach getting deeper, I’ll just tell you, ”Working deeply isn’t my style of massage,” and explain why after. In this situation, just working more deeply isn’t effective and may actually be harmful.

It takes time to work through the layers of the body in a skilled and healthy way.

In this post, I’ll discuss what depth and pressure in bodywork mean to me. By the end, you’ll understand:

• Why I think working deeply is misunderstood and why working deeply depends on the situation.

• Why this misunderstanding is bad for the client and therapist.

• What does working deeply in healthy way mean?

Depth and pressure are two different words, with two different meanings. Depth is your position within the layers of the body; pressure is the amount of compression or weight added to the body. Pressure, by many therapists, is used to gain depth. While this is essentially true, it is also, I believe, a misconception.

I view massage as a conversation with the body, regardless of the type of session I’m doing, where on the body I’m working, regardless of the techniques. At any moment in a verbal conversation, there can only be a talker and a listener, put very simply. If both are talking at once, there is chaos. If both are listening, there isn’t a conversation; there is just silence. Conversation in the form of bodywork is talking and listening through touch. The tissue talks back in response to my touch by either relaxing and letting me in more deeply, or telling me to back off, “I’m not ready to open yet,” and hardening, creating a barrier. (Also simply put. Just as vocal conversation has many complexities and intricacies, so does conversational bodywork. But for the sake of this example…;)

When in sincere conversation with the body through touch, when simply observing and feeling the tissue, understanding how it is reacting to my touch, and respecting the reactions that I’m receiving, as well as the timing, the body feels safe. When the body feels safe, it will allow me in. The tissue feels safe when it is warm, when it has had a chance to relax, when it is comfortable. When it is ready to allow me in to deeper layers, it almost draws me in. It isn’t even an invitation, it is an insistence. The slightest pressure will allow access to the next layer of tissue. Kind of like quicksand. Definitely like cornstarch and water, if you’ve ever played with that. (You should play with that!)

When the body feels pressured, rushed, forced, unsafe to open, it will resist entrance to the deeper layers. When the tissue isn’t ready to let me in, well, it simply won’t let me in. If the appropriate techniques haven’t been employed to help the tissues feel safe and relaxed, the tissue will stay hardened or harden even further and create a wall that prevents me from accessing deeper layers.

“Well, I like really deep pressure. It feels good to me. I don’t care if my tissue is responding to you or ‘having a conversation’ with you,” you might say.

It does feel good to some people! Why? Because it releases endorphins! The feel-good chemicals! In some cases, heavy pressure feels great because an area of the body has had a chronic injury, and over an extended amount of time, the brain decreased sensation in that area so it isn’t constantly irritating. This happened to me a few years ago in my upper shoulders. The only way I could feel my shoulders was if the therapist used the heaviest pressure, and it felt great when she did it. It also felt like she could never get deep enough. It wasn’t her needing to use more pressure, and it wasn’t about me feeling my shoulders right then; it was about the journey it took to get back to that sensation in a skilled and healthy way, not just plowing through tissue. After several sessions of appropriate work, full sensation flooded back into my shoulders in a moment that lasted less than 60 seconds and hasn’t left since. That was actual relief. Heavy pressure was the misconceived relief.

Using heavy pressure to gain access to deeper layers of the body before it is time could

• damage your tissue - from least extreme to most: soreness, bruising tissue, tearing tissue, and you can even fracture bone if it is weak and brittle enough (elderly folks with fragile bones, for example).

• and damage the therapist. Yes, and us! We are prone, like many of the folks that come into our studios, to repetitive motions, bad postures, and other damaging work related situations. Many of us pay attention to the way we use our bodies in massage so that years from now, we can still be healthy and happy and providing bodywork for you. Sometimes when I’m asked for more pressure, it isn’t healthy for my body to give more pressure: maybe the angle isn’t right or maybe I feel like I’m massaging a concrete wall that needs much more time (maybe even several sessions) to warm up.

However, nothing is ever black and white, there are always exceptions, and it will always depend (on all the factors and variables of the person and situation). I will confidently say, in three years, I can count on one hand the amount of folks that said, “I can take more pressure,” and their body actually responded to more pressure by letting me in, rather than kicking me out. A handful.

So, now you might be thinking, “Ok, uh, so I should never ask for more pressure in a massage ever again!” Not true! I am explaining the way I work from my experience and the way I was taught by my incredible teachers, and not all therapists work this way. And maybe there are other skilled therapists that haven’t experienced this at all and possibly have experienced the opposite. This is my observation from my practice.

So what does working deeply in a healthy way mean?

To me, it means communicating skillfully while understanding the concepts that I’ve explained here.

Talk to me ~ or the massage therapist you are seeing ~ about pressure before the massage starts. Agree on wording to use. Talk about using a 1-10 scale. Understand that the therapist might not want to give deep pressure constantly. A verbal conversation is dynamic, it isn’t just yelling all the time! So is conversational bodywork. And sometimes I’m using light pressure because I’m just feeling what is going on, what has changed, and comparing tissues; I’m not actually massaging you.

What is healthy is working appropriately through the layers of tissue and allowing the body to let me in with the least amount of work on my part. If the slightest pressure will let me in with the appropriate work, then why would I need to muscle my way in?

By working in this way, I can access deep layers of tissue without it being a drama or being traumatic for you. Bodywork is supposed to be healing. Healing isn’t always comfortable, but it shouldn’t be traumatic! I can access deeper layers without as much soreness, bruising, etc.

Some folks tell me that my work is gentle and don’t use a lot of pressure, and that is true in some cases, like toward the beginning of a session when I’m warming up the surface layers of the tissue, or when you receive a chair massage at the end of a busy day and I’m tired and sore too! But in other cases, I’m so surprised when someone says that to me, and I think back on our session and how deeply into the layers of tissue we went.

Timing is everything.

Opening can be graceful.

Pressure doesn’t equal depth.


Running Injuries, Sports Injuries and Prioritised Treatment

Posted by [email protected] on August 17, 2013 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Running Injuries, Sports Injuries and Prioritised Treatment

A guide to cutting your recovery time by days, if not weeks!

Part 1

I get a lot of questions from people asking about specific treatments for sports injuries, like running injuries and other common pulled muscle complaints. The unfortunate thing about most of these requests is that the injury occurred some time ago. This time lapse between the injury occurring, and treatment sort, is the biggest stumbling block to a full and complete recovery.

If you suffer from sports injuries or are seeking to prevent their occurrence it is important to follow the information in this article. In addition, adding a few simple stretches to your fitness program will also help. To get started on a safe and effective stretching routine that's just right for you, check out the Ultimate Guide to Stretching & Flexibility.

As always, before I sit down to write this newsletter, I like to spend a few hours surfing the net for information that relates to the topic I'm going to write about. In most cases, I find a great deal of useful information that relates to what I'm looking for; but not this time.

What I did find, was a lot of information which related to treating specific sports injuries long after they'd occurred. However, I found very little information relating to the immediate treatment of sports injuries. This was quite disappointing, because if people are only treating injuries long after they've occurred, they're really putting themselves at a great disadvantage.

What follows is a complete three part series of the most appropriate initial treatments for all soft tissue, sports injuries. This information will definitely cut your recover time by days, if not weeks.

Before we start!

Lets have a quick look at the type of injuries I'm talking about. The type of sports injuries I'm referring to here are the soft tissue injuries, which are very common in most, if not all sports. These injuries include sprains, strain, tears and bruises that affect muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints: The soft tissues of the body.

Examples of common soft tissue injuries would include things like hamstring tears, sprained ankles, pulled calf muscles, strained shoulder muscles and tendons, corked thigh, etc. Remember a sprain refers to a tear or rupture of the ligaments, while a strain refers to a tear or rupture of the muscles or tendons.

The sort of injuries I'm NOT talking about here are injuries that affect the head, neck, face or spinal cord. Injuries that involve shock, excessive bleeding, or bone fractures and breaks. The treatment of these type of injuries goes way beyond the relatively simple soft tissue injuries that I'm discussing here.

Priority Number 1

The first priority when treating any sports injury is, "Do No Further Damage." So before we get into the treatment of soft tissue injuries, there's one important point that I should discuss first.

Before you start treating any injury, whether to yourself or someone else, first STOP and take account of what has occurred. Consider things like; the area safe from other dangers? there a threat to life? the injury serious enough to seek emergency help? Then, using the word STOP as an acronym;

S: (stop) Stop the injured person from moving. Consider stopping the sport or game if necessary.

T: (talk) Ask questions like; ..what happened? did it happen? ..what did it feel like? ..where does it hurt? ..have you injured this part before?

O: (observe) Look for things like swelling, bruising, deformity and tenderness.

P: (prevent) Remember, do no further damage. Prevent further injury.

Once you've taken a few moments to make sure the injury isn't life threatening, it's then time to start treating the injury. Remember, the sooner you start treating a sports injury, the more chance you have of a full and complete recovery. The longer you wait, the worse it's going to be.

What is R.I.C.E.R.?

Without a doubt, the most effective, initial treatment for soft tissue injuries is the R.I.C.E.R. regime. This involves the application of (R) rest, (I) ice, (C) compression, (E) elevation and obtaining a (R) referral for appropriate medical treatment.

Where the R.I.C.E.R. regime has been used immediately after the occurrence of an injury, it has been shown to significantly reduce recovery time. R.I.C.E.R. forms the first, and perhaps most important stage of injury rehabilitation, providing the early base for the complete recovery of injury.

When a soft tissue injury occurs there is a large amount of uncontrolled bleeding around the injury site. This excessive bleeding causes swelling, which puts pressure on nerve endings and results in increased pain. It is exactly this process of bleeding, swelling and pain which the R.I.C.E.R. regime will help to alleviate. This will also limit tissue damage and help the healing process.

The diagram below is a comparison of the same injury treated with the R.I.C.E.R. regime and without. The top row of pictures show the effects of a soft tissue injury when the R.I.C.E.R. regime is not used. While the bottom row of pictures show the effects of a soft tissue injury when the R.I.C.E.R. regime is used.

The first diagram in the series shows a rupture in the soft tissue immediately following an injury. 24 hours later, when R.I.C.E.R. has not been used, there is a large amount of uncontrolled bleeding and swelling. However, in the bottom diagram, the application of rest, ice, compression and elevation has significantly reduced the amount of bleeding and swelling.


Picture courtesy of Dr. Barry Oakes, MB, BS, MD, F.A.S.M.F.

Senior lecturer in the department of Anatomy, Monash University, Victoria, Australia

How to apply R.I.C.E.R.

R: (rest) It is important that the injured area be kept as still as possible. If necessary support the injured area with a sling or brace. This will help to slow down blood flow to the injured area and prevent any further damage.

I: (ice) By far the most important part. The application of ice will have the greatest effect on reducing bleeding, swelling and pain. Apply ice as soon as possible after the injury has occurred.

How do you apply ice? Crushed ice in a plastic bag is usually best. However, blocks of ice, commercial cold packs and bags of frozen peas will all do fine. Even cold water from a tap is better than nothing at all.

When using ice, be careful not to apply it directly to the skin. This can cause "ice burns" and further skin damage. Wrapping the ice in a damp towel generally provides the best protection for the skin.

How long? How often? This is the point where few people agree. Let me give you some figures to use as a rough guide, and then I'll give you some advice from personal experience. The most common recommendation is to apply ice for 20 minutes every 2 hours for the first 48 to 72 hours.

These figures are a good starting point, but remember they're only a guide. You must take into account that some people are more sensitive to cold than others. Also be aware that children and elderly people have a lower tolerance to ice and cold. Finally, people with circulatory problems are also more sensitive to ice. Remember to keep these things in mind when treating yourself or someone else with ice.

Personally, I recommend that people use their own judgement when applying ice to themselves. For some people, 20 minutes is way too much. For others, especially well conditioned athletes, they can leave ice on for up to an hour at a time. The individual should make the decision as to how long the ice should stay on.

My personal recommendation is that people should apply ice for as long as it is comfortable. Obviously, there will be a slight discomfort from the cold, but as soon as pain or excessive discomfort is experienced, it's time to remove the ice. It's much better to apply ice for 3 to 5 minutes a couple of time an hour, than not at all.

C: (compression) Compression actually achieves two things. Firstly, it helps to reduce both the bleeding and swelling around the injured area, and secondly, it provides support for the injured area. Simply use a wide, firm, elastic, compression bandage to cover the injured part. Make sure you bandage both above and below the injured area.

E: (elevation) Simply raise the injured area above the level of the heart at all possible times. This will further help to reduce the bleeding and swelling.

R: (referral) If the injury is severe enough, it is important that you consult a professional physical therapist or a qualified sports doctor for an accurate diagnosis of the injury. With an accurate diagnosis, you can then move onto a specific rehabilitation program to further reduce your injury time.

Before we finish up, there are a few things which you must avoid during the first 24 to 72 hours after an injury. Be sure to avoid any form of heat at the injury site. This includes heat lamps, heat creams, spa's, Jacuzzi's and sauna's.

Avoid all movement and massage of the injured area. Also avoid excessive alcohol. All these things will increase the bleeding, swelling and pain of your injury. Avoid them at all costs.

The above information takes care of the first 48 to 72 hours. Follow the above advice and you'll cut your recovery time by days, if not weeks. But what happens after R.I.C.E.R.? There's still a little way to go before you're completely over that injury. Click here to view part 2; the next phase of your rehabilitation.



Article by Brad Walker and Injury Fix™

Copyright © 2013. All rights reserved. Terms of Use



About the Author: Brad is often referred to as the Stretch Coach and has even been called the Stretching Guru. Magazines such as Runners World, Bicycling, Triathlete, Swimming & Fitness, and Triathlon Sports have all featured his work. Amazon has listed his books on five Best-Seller lists. Google cites over 100,000 references to him and his work on the internet. And satisfied customers from 42 countries have sent 100's of testimonials. If you want to know about stretching, flexibility or sports injury management, Brad Walker is the go-to-guy.


Hamstring Stretches and Hamstring Injury Treatment

Posted by [email protected] on August 17, 2013 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Hamstring Stretches and Hamstring Injury Treatment

Discover the Causes behind Hamstring Injury, and what you can do to Treat it and Prevent it.

Hamstring stretches and hamstring injury treatment is vital to the overall health and condition of the hamstring muscles.

The hamstring muscles are very susceptible to tears, strains and other common sporting injuries. Athletes particularly vulnerable to hamstring injury are competitors involved in sports that require a high degree of speed, power and agility. Sports such as Track & Field (especially the sprinting events) and other sports such as soccer, basketball, tennis and football seem to have more than their fair share of hamstring injuries.

If you suffer from hamstring strain or are seeking to prevent its occurrence it is important to follow the information in this article. In addition, adding a few simple stretches to your fitness program will also help. To get started on a safe and effective stretching routine that's just right for you, check out the Ultimate Guide to Stretching & Flexibility.

What is Hamstring Injury?

A hamstring injury or strain is an injury that results from a pulling action, which stretches or tears the hamstring muscles and/or tendons. (The term sPrain refers to an injury of the ligaments, as opposed to a sTrain, which refers to an injury of the muscle or tendon.) Remember; ligaments attach bone to bone, were as tendons attach muscle to bone.

Injuries to the muscles and tendons of the hamstrings are usually graded into three categories, and these injuries are referred to as: first; second; or third degree strains.

A first degree strain is the least severe. It is the result of some minor stretching of the muscles and tendons, and is accompanied by mild pain, some swelling and stiffness. There is usually very little loss of function as a result of a first degree strain.

A second degree strain is the result of both stretching and some tearing of the muscles and tendons. There is increased swelling and pain associated with a second degree strain, and a moderate loss of function.

A third degree strain is the most severe of the three. A third degree strain is the result of a complete tear or rupture of one or more of the muscles and tendons. A third degree strain will result in massive swelling, severe pain and gross instability.


Hamstring muscle group image from

Principles of Anatomy and Physiology.

Hamstring Anatomy

The hamstring group of muscles, located at the back of the upper leg, are actually a group of three separate muscles. The top of these muscles are attached to the lower part of the pelvis, and the bottom of the hamstring muscles are attached to the lower leg bone just below the knee joint. The technical or anatomical names for the three hamstring muscles are semimembranosus, semitendinosus and biceps femoris.

The picture to the right shows the muscles located at the rear of the upper right leg. The three specific hamstring muscles can be seen on the picture, by looking for the anatomical names located half way down the right hand side.

What Causes Hamstring Injury?

Now that we know exactly what and where the hamstrings are, let's take a look at some of the most common causes for hamstring injuries. By far the most common cause of hamstring injuries originates from an imbalance between the quadriceps muscles (located at the front of the upper leg) and the hamstring muscles.

The quadriceps are a very large, strong group of muscles that help to extend the leg. These muscles can become so strong that they overpower the hamstrings, putting a massive amount of tension on the hamstring muscles. Combine strong quadriceps with weak hamstrings and you have a hamstring injury waiting to happen.

Other factors that contribute to hamstring injuries are a lack of flexibility and poor strength of the hamstring muscles. Also, when the hamstrings become fatigued or tired they are more susceptible to injuries.

Preventing Hamstring Injury

Mark my words, "Prevention is much better than Cure." Anything you can do to prevent an injury from occurring is worth it. The prevention of hamstring injury comes down to the conditioning of the hamstring muscles and tendons, which ultimately involves both stretching and strengthening.

The best preventative measures involve a consistent program of both stretching and strengthening exercises. Increasing flexibility, with regular hamstring stretches, will contribute greatly to the ability of the hamstring muscles to resist strains and injury. To follow are two very effective and very safe hamstring stretches.

In the stretch to the left, simply kneel down on one knee and place your other leg straight out in front with your heel on the ground. Keep your back straight. Make sure your toes are pointing straight up and gently reach towards your toes with one hand. Use your other arm for balance. Hold this stretch for about 20 to 30 seconds and repeat at least 2 to 3 times.

In the stretch to the right, stand with one foot raised onto a chair, fence railing or similar object. Keep your raised leg slightly bent, with your toes on the edge of the chair. Let your heel drop off the edge of the chair. Keep your back straight and gently move your chest towards your raised leg. As above, hold this stretch for about 20 to 30 seconds and repeat at least 2 to 3 times.

While the recommendations on this page are a good starting point, you'll get a lot more benefit when you include a wider variety of exercises. So to improve your athletic ability, reduce injuries and really take advantage of all the stretching exercises on offer, grab a copy of the Ultimate Guide to Stretching & Flexibility (Handbook, DVD & CD-ROM).

In total, they include 135 clear photographs and 44 video demonstrations of unique stretching exercises for every major muscle group in your body. Plus, over 80 printable stretching routines for 22 sports and 19 different muscle groups.

The DVD also includes 3 customized stretching routines (8 minutes each) for the Upper Body; the Lower Body; and the Neck, Back & Core, plus a bonus CD-ROM that allows you to print out over 80 stretching routines that you can take with you where ever you go.

The Handbook and DVD will show you, step-by-step, how to perform each stretch correctly. Plus, you'll also learn the 7 critical rules for safe stretching; the benefits of flexibility; and how to stretch properly. Check out the Ultimate Guide to Stretching & Flexibility for yourself.

Also, don't forget the common injury prevention techniques like, warming up properly and using a bit of old-fashioned common-sense. However, for the most part, stretching and strengthening are going to be your best defence against hamstring injury. Even if you don't have a hamstring problem now, the following suggestions will be helpful.

■A general warm up, followed by an activity specific warm up, will help reduce the likelihood of hamstring injury.

■Reducing the frequency of, or stopping completely, any activities that aggravate the hamstring.

■Completely rehabilitating a hamstring injury before returning to activity.

■Rest in between training sessions or competition allows the body to heal the minor injuries and repair the muscles to be ready for the next round of activity. Rest is the time that the body uses to repair and rebuild.

Treating Hamstring Injury

If you do happen to suffer from a hamstring injury, it's important that correct first aid principles are applied immediately. The RICER regime explains the correct treatment for all muscle strain injuries. RICER stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, and then obtaining a Referral from a qualified sports doctor or physiotherapist. So, as soon as a hamstring injury occurs, rest the injured limb, apply ice to the affected area, apply a compression bandage and elevate the limb if possible.

This treatment needs to continue for at least 48 to 72 hours. This is the most critical time for the injured area; correct treatment now can mean the difference between an annoying injury and a permanent, re-occurring, debilitating injury.

After the first 72 hours obtain a referral from a qualified professional and start a comprehensive rehabilitation program. This should include a great deal of strength and stretching exercises, as well as other rehabilitation activities such as massage and ultra-sound. Watch instructional videos of hamstring stretching exercises.

Click here for a comprehensive, in-depth article on the proper treatment for sports injuries such as sprains, strains, and other pulled muscle injuries.



Article by Brad Walker and Injury Fix™

Copyright © 2013. All rights reserved. Terms of Use



About the Author: Brad is often referred to as the Stretch Coach and has even been called the Stretching Guru. Magazines such as Runners World, Bicycling, Triathlete, Swimming & Fitness, and Triathlon Sports have all featured his work. Amazon has listed his books on five Best-Seller lists. Google cites over 100,000 references to him and his work on the internet. And satisfied customers from 42 countries have sent 100's of testimonials. If you want to know about stretching, flexibility or sports injury management, Brad Walker is the go-to-guy.


Are You Stressed ~ The Stress Effect

Posted by [email protected] on June 21, 2013 at 7:00 AM Comments comments (0)

You on Stress


Up at six.

Off to the office by 7:00.

Sit in traffic 'til 8:58.

Hit the door at 9 on the dot.

Bring up computer by 9:02.

300 unopened emails.

Note from System Administrator: ACTION REQUIRED – your mail box is over limit. You will not receive or send emails until you dump 150 emails.

Note from Real Estate:  ACTION REQUIRED – we will be changing out the carpet on your floor of the building. You are required to get everything off the floor in your cube by Monday.

Note from Executive Director’s Executive Assistant:   ACTION REQUIRED – your entries in the purchasing database are incomplete. Complete the Transaction Checklist for each of the 50 transactions that you have completed year to date, have your supervisor sign them and upload by next Monday.


And so it goes... Downsizing/Upsizing of assignments and responsibility. Is it any wonder all of Corporate America wears their shoulders around their ears?


Effects of stress


Distress causes body-wide reactions: arm, leg and jaw muscles tighten, the body braces for action, blood re-routes from core restorative functions & digestion to the extremities for action. Blood pressure skyrockets. Excessive stress brings on stress-related diseases, such as headaches, gastrointestinal difficulties, high blood pressure, anxiety, sleeplessness, weight gain and muscle tension and body aches.


Bracing Patterns – The Fish Bowl Effect


We hold stress in our bodies, experiencing bracing patterns or somatization as a "locked down" feeling. Our bodies toughen and harden under the long term effects of stress. Muscles that remain tense are like your goldfish bowl that never has the water changed: new blood and oxygen cannot get in and old blood and metabolic wastes cannot get out, resulting in toxic atrophy and tissue damage. Muscles may shorten from constant contraction or may even transform into fiber, with resulting loss of range of motion and quality of life. Long term stress also causes release of coritsol, which causes fluid retention, hypertension, muscle weakness, osteoporosis, breakdown of connective tissue, peptic ulcer, impaired would healing, vertigo, headache, reduced ability to deal with stress, hypersensitivity and irritability, weight gain, nausea, fatigue and emotional disturbances.


Massage to the Rescue


Most Americans are looking for release from the bracing patterns of stress and its body-wide effects. Massage reverses the fishbowl effect by inducing the "relaxation and restorative" response, resulting in the renewal of the inner and outer person. Massage enhances general wellness and releases bracing patterns, creating space in the body. Massage keeps your body-mind functioning optimally: improves circulation of blood and lymph, relaxes muscles, opens connective tissues, improves immune functioning and brings about relaxation, renewal and rebalancing of your entire body-mind. Massage is a component of your wellness plan. Being in Balance is Living Well!

by Lucile McConnell 

Part-Time Jobs for Adults

Posted by [email protected] on April 13, 2013 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0)

The market for part-time work is booming, and these jobs offer more than just a steady paycheck - by Cari Wira Dineen

Your Goal: make more than minimum wage, now

Service Hourly Jobs

Caregiver jobs        

Babysitter or Petsitter

Inventory Counter  


Your Goal: Health Benefits, 401K , life insurance, stock options and tuituion reimbursement -

Keep in mind that the hourly requirements to qualify for benefits vary from employer to employer.


Your Goal: flexibility


Champion Learning Center  

The Academic Advantage      


Other Options




Posted by [email protected] on April 13, 2013 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Exercise can help you blast fat - and tone up.

Choose your favorites:

Workout                                                                                                Time In Minutes                                     Calories Burned

Walking outside briskly                                                                              30                                                               150

Swiftly walking on an elliptical trainer                                                      26                                                               150

Jogging 5 mph on a treadmill                                                                    9                                                                100

Walking on a treadmill @ 3 mph @ a 7% incline                                 12                                                               100

Jumping rope                                                                                                4                                                                  50 

Light weight lifting                                                                                      13                                                                   50


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