Friday, December 30, 2011

More exercises to do at your desk

As promised, here are some more exercises you can do at your desk while at work. As always, if any of these bother you, as in they really hurt to do, then please don't do them, but try another exercise.

  1. While sitting, lift up your legs onto the balls of your feet and then release.
  2. Continue until your legs and calves are tired.
  3. Repeat every 10-15 minutes for an hour.
  1. Holding abdominal muscles in, extend leg until it is level with hip.
  2. Hold for a few seconds and then repeat with other leg.
  1. While seated, lift one leg off the floor a few inches with knee bent.
  2. Hold for a few seconds and then repeat with the other leg.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Exercises you can do at your desk.

Our bodies were not made to be sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day.  Our bodies were designed for movement. Think about how stiff your body feels when you first wake up in the morning.  Now think about how fluid your body moves after you have gotten up and walked around a bit.  Movement of the body helps you to move your body.  Does that make sense to you?  Try these exercises while you are at work so you don't feel so stiff during the day.  You may actually be able to get more work done by taking small breaks to take care of yourself.
**If any of these exercises bother/hurt you to do, please don't do them.  

  1. Extend your right arm in front of you placing your palms up.
  2. With your left hand, grab your right hand's fingers.
  3. Gently stretch your hand down, bending your wrist backwards. Stop when you start to feel the stretch in your forearm.  Hold for a few seconds, then gently let go. 
  4. Repeat with the other arm.
  5. Extend your right arm in front of you placing your palms down.
  6. With your left hand, grab your right hand's fingers.
  7. Gently stretch your hand down, bending your wrist forwards. Stop when you start to feel the stretch in your forearm (hairy side).  Hold for a few seconds, then gently let go. 
  8. Repeat with the other arm.
Wrists and Forearms
  1. Press palms of hands together in front of chest. Keep elbows bent and parallel to the floor.
  2. Gently bend wrists to the right and left.
  3. Repeat several times.
  1. Sit straight in your chair and place your right arm behind your right hip.
  2. Twist to the right and hold for a few seconds.
  3. Switch to your left arm on your left hip and repeat.

I'll post more exercises soon!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Prevent and Relieve Back Pain

It is getting colder out, and I seem to be hearing many more stories of people injuring their backs this time of year. Following are some easy stretches for the back (especially that lower back) that can help prevent that soreness you feel after putting up those holiday lights.  The lower back resting pose is also great for if you already feel you may have slightly injured your back.  (If you have injured yourself, it might be a good idea to go visit your doctor or chiropractor first to rule out any serious injuries.)

 As with any exercise, if it hurts to do any of these, please do not do them!  Consult with your doctor if you have any concerns.

Lower Back Resting Pose (my favorite!)
This exercise is done near an ottoman or chair.
1. Lie on your back with the chair at your feet and raise your legs in the air.
2. Bend your knees and place your lower leg on the top of the ottoman or chair. Your lower legs should be at a 90 degree angle with the floor and your bottom should be near the base of whatever you are using as a leg rest.
3. Relaxing your lower back, rest in this pose for 10-15 minutes. You should feel a decrease in the strain on your lower back muscles. If not, try adjusting your position.
4. While in this position, concentrate on your breathing.  Take a few deep breaths and as you inhale, your belly should rise, then your chest and then your shoulders.  As you exhale, bring your shoulders back down, your chest falls, then your belly falls as well.

Lumbar Vertebrae Stretch
1. Lie on your back with knees bent.
2. Pull in and tighten your stomach muscles while flattening your lower back to the floor.
3. Hold for a few seconds. Repeat several times.

Neck and Lower Back Wall Stretch
1. Stand with your back straight against a wall.
2. Gently move your lower back and neck toward the wall. Without over stretching, hold for a few seconds.
3. Repeat several times.

Friday, October 21, 2011

How to Relieve Stress at Home

A list of ways to reduce your stress.
  1. Massage – of course you expected that one, but you don't have to go get one to feel some relief. You can give one, and you can obtain some of the same benefits of relaxation. Even if it is giving a massage to your pet. Even a few minutes can help!
  2. Exercise – in any form, blowing off steam by exercising is great to relieve some stress in you life. And an added plus – it is healthy for you!  Have little ones at home, have them join in!
  3. Laugh – There is a new therapy out there that I have recently heard of called Laughing Therapy. You force yourself to laugh until you are actually laughing. Try it out.
  4. Listen to Music – Calming music, raging music, a song that brings you back to a pleasant memory.
  5. Clear the Clutter – Clean! I always felt better after cleaning a room. Bonus, you can multitask this one by listening to music while you clean. You can get it done faster, and you will be exercising while you do it! Feels great doesn't it?
  6. Eat – Now I don't mean gorge yourself with ice cream and cake, or salty chips. I'm talking about getting a bowl of your favorite fruits or veggies and chowing down on them. You will feel better about what you ate, and in turn your body will feel better for you.
  7. Time Out – Just give yourself a second to clear your mind, and not think. Give yourself a break from everything.
  8. Stretch – While you are giving yourself a timeout, stretch your arms alternately reaching into the air. Right arm reach up, then left arm reach up. As if there were a money tree above you and you were reaching for those dollars! Breath in as you reach up, breath out as you bring those arms down. Focus on your breath and feel the stretch down your back.
  9. Make a List – Write down what you need to take care of today. Not tomorrow, not next week, just today. Now number them in order of importance. Now that you see your list, start with something easy so you can cross it off. Then go down the list in order.
  10. Journal – Write down when you feel stressed. Write something when you don't. This can help you figure out what is going on, and can help you combat it for the future.

What do you do to relieve stress?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Giving and Getting

I have always been involved with helping charities all of my life. I knew that I would make charitable giving a part of my massage business. I have found that it is also a great way to do some of my marketing - since the best way to get a new client is to get your hands on them. Here are some of the things we do at Melrose Muscle Therapy:
  1. We give gift certificates for raffles (30 min treatment for free and the client is able to upgrade to one hour for a small fee).
  2. We volunteer our time to give free massages at charity events such as Relay for Life (each person that gets a massage, is given a promotional item with a coupon)
  3. We also get hired to help raise money for charities. We have a program where we give chair massage at a charitable event, and 70% of what we are given goes straight to the non-profit. The 30% that we keep usually is just enough to cover any costs associated with being at the event, paying my employees, and other materials. (each person that gets a massage, is given a promotional item with a coupon).
  4. Every year on our anniversary, we hold a fundraiser. Our first year we did a fundraiser for the National MS Society - Greater Illinois Chapter complete with raffle, chair massage, and bake sale. All raffle prizes and baked goods were donated. This helped get the word out on other businesses as well as our own. Creating a community.
  5. Just joined Hands for Heroes. We give Veterans free bodywork as a thank you for their service. I have Gift Certificates available for 30 minutes of our Signature Therapy which Veterans can use one every 6 months. I limited it so that we can give as many Vets a chance for free bodywork as possible. During the rest of the time, they are given 10% off all treatments.
I also limit what we support as a business. I listen to my clients as to what non-profits they support and see how I can support them, and also any fundraisers that may be happening in my community.
By doing this, we are not only doing good in our community, but we are also getting our name out there to people, creating a brand awareness that advertising dollars won't achieve. You feel good about giving back, and people will feel good about spending their hard earned dollars with you. Win – win.