Friday, August 31, 2012

Massage and World Peace?

A client gave me quite a compliment today.  He said, "If you could find a way to clone your hands, there would be world peace."  Wow!  I was taken aback but such a generous comment.  Interesting enough however, he is not the first one that came up with this idea. I had read something very similar to his wording online just a couple of days ago.  A celebrity in the massage world, Cherie Sohnen-Moe, recently wrote a blog post on the WIBB site.  You can see her full post here.  If you don't know who she is, take a moment to find out.  You will be glad you did.

So am I really contributing to world peace each time I give a massage to someone?  Perhaps I am.  Here's to world peace.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mommy Martyrdom?

Take a moment to read this article from the Chicago Tribune the other day about how moms can get to the point where they feel they are the only ones that can care for their children, and have a hard time breaking away. I'm totally guilty of this one. Whenever I've gone somewhere, and I knew my daughters were not going to be sleeping, I feel guilty. Guilty for leaving them. It took a long time, (sometimes I still do it) to get to a point where I feel somewhat comfortable with leaving them with my parents for a few hours, or with my husband as I run to the store, or with a trusted babysitter. Even though I know they are safe, I still felt guilty. I'd call and check in just to hear their voices to put my mind at ease. After reading this article, I will make it a point to remind myself that I leave my girls in safe hands. To remind myself that it is okay for them to be looked after by someone else once in a while, in fact, it is good for them.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Comforting Touch

This evening I went to a local AMTA (American Massage Therapy Association) meeting. It is nice to get together face to face with other therapists, and talk about what is going on in our practices. We had a special guest this evening come in and talk to us about Compassionate Touch. Donna Schiller works with people in hospice four days a week. She is a wonderful person to concentrate her work in this area of the massage profession. I've worked with only a couple of hospice cases, and it was difficult for me when the person would pass. I wouldn't know how to deal with it, to separate myself, to keep myself grounded if I knew that each person I touched that day was facing death.

There was one client of mine that had accepted me into her home. She and her husband didn't want to believe that she was dying. Her niece had actually found me and hired me to work on her aunt. She had warned me that they didn't know how much time was left in this woman's life. It could have been hours, days, or weeks, but she had been brought home to die with her family. She paid for 2 half hour sessions. When I went to her home the first time, this woman talked about wanting to get out of bed, and trying to walk. Her husband was very positive in thinking that she would be walking soon, and healthy again. The second time, the couple let me know how my work comforted her so much. She was able to sleep for a couple of hours blissfully shortly after I had left. She told me that she was looking forward to me coming back again as soon as I had left the first time. I saw her only twice before she passed, but that was enough time for me to be touched by this couple's life. I'm glad that I was there for her, to bring comforting words, and comforting touch to her in her last days.It took me a few days to come to terms with this situation.  I don't know how Donna does it, but I am glad that she does. 

Mom and Entrepreneur, it's a Balancing Act

Today has been quite a busy day for work. Even though I am at home with my girls during the day, I am constantly working on my business. A few minutes here, a few minutes there.  While the girls are having a tea party, I can sneak away (still in the same room of course) and read an article, reply to some emails, or what have you. This weekend, I have a huge event that I am preparing for, and getting everything together has been pretty stressful, even though I plan ahead for it. Today I mixed together some sugar scrubs that I will offer for sale. I then made some other type of concoction so that my daughter could "help" me. The sugar scrub that I put together will be a new product offered by Melrose Muscle Therapy, so we will see how it goes. I also put together some more muscle soaks (mix of epsom salts and sea salts) that my clients love for those days they just need an escape. I designed and sent out an email blast to my clients. I feel pretty accomplished today. =)

Sometimes it can be difficult to balance being a mom and an entrepreneur.  I wouldn't have it any other way though. There are some days that I don't get anything done for my business, but I get to be Super Mom all the time.  There are times when I get so stressed out with upcoming deadlines, and a baby being sick, or both at the same time that I will cry in the shower just to release the tension.  Once the deadlines pass, and my baby feels healthy again, I will schedule myself in for a massage.  I try to plan ahead as much as I can, but something always comes up when you are a mom.  Not everything can be planned.  I've learned to always have a plan B and a plan C.  I have found ways to keep myself grounded, ask for help if needed.

I would love to know if you have any advice for other moms out there that may feel overwhelmed at times, and what they can do if they have a spare moment to themselves (as rare as that is).  Please comment below with any advice.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Benefits for the Parent During Infant Massage

September is full of community events for Melrose Muscle Therapy. On September 22, I will be teaching a free Infant Massage Workshop at the Melrose Park Library. I will be teaching it in English, with a Spanish translator. This will be my first bilingual class, and I'm super excited about it. There is pre-registration required, but it is a free class. It if goes well, we will offer it again soon, and possibly bring the workshop to other places such as the local hospitals, or doctor's offices as a program for their patients. Did you know that infant massage doesn't just benefit baby? It also benefits mom, dad, or whomever it is that is massaging baby.

Benefits of Infant Massage for Parents

  • Caregivers report feeling more comfortable and confident in their ability to care for baby.
  • Parents learn to understand and respond to baby’s cues.
  • Parents learn techniques to comfort, calm and soothe their babies.
  • Provides an additional avenue for close and nurturing contact.
  • Infant Massage is one of the most natural and pleasant methods of providing this important early nurturing and an amazing tool for helping parents become closer to their babies.
(Information about benefits from Infant Massage USA @

So if you are a new parent, a grandparent, expecting mother, babysitter, nanny, or any other caretaker, then please sign up for the free infant massage workshop.  I'd love to see you there.

Oldest Siblings Living in Sardinia

Have you heard the news about the oldest siblings in the world? They are the Melis family and they live in Sardinia. 9 brothers and sisters ranging from 78 to 105 years of age. What are “the experts” saying is the key to longevity? Look at what you eat, what you do, and your outlook on life.

So there it is in a nutshell.
Eat well, and your body will thank you.
Keep moving each day, and you will be able to keep moving as you age.
Stay positive. It is much less stressful, and takes much less energy than negativity.

What do the Melis siblings say is the key to longevity?

According to this article, it is minestrone soup, working hard, and being close to their family.

What do you think? What will you do today, so you are here to see tomorrow?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Melrose Muscle Therapy accepts insurance?

I have had quite a few people ask me if I accept insurance so they can get their massage treatment covered. Unfortunately, in the state of Illinois, an independent massage therapist currently can not currently accept insurance. I can, however, work in conjunction with another medical professional, such as a chiropractor in order to get massage covered by insurance. So, this is what I have done. A small drive down the street from Melrose Muscle Therapy is a fantastic chiropractor, Dr. Jacqueline Martinez, CCSP, DABCO (Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician, Diplomate American Board of Chiropractic Orthopedics, in case you were wondering what those letters stood for). I have partnered up with her to give my clients an option. If your insurance covers massage treatments for you, then you can make an appointment to see me at Dr. Martinez's office. I am there every other week on Friday mornings. You can have any chiropractic treatment done as well, while you are there, or you can come in just for your massage. If your insurance doesn't cover massage, don't worry, just sign up for Melrose Muscle Therapy's email list. You will receive different specials each month, right to your inbox. I hope this partnership will help those of you who haven't been able to come in for massage before. See you soon!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Melrose Muscle Therapy at the Taste of Melrose Park

I'm very excited about some events that I will be doing in the neighborhood in the coming weeks. The first big event is next weekend (Aug 31, Sept 1 & 2) is the Taste of Melrose Park. Melrose Muscle Therapy will have an information booth there for the first time. I have been going to the Taste of MP for most all of my life (missed only one year that I am aware of). It is family friendly, lots of fun, and great food! This year there are over 70 food vendors, mostly family booths, and not restaurants. The food ranges in price from $1-$3, and the best part about it is that you can actually have lunch and dinner there and not be hungry, or out of money at the end of the day. There are a few booths that I look forward to every year: Sfingi (sugar donuts made by nuns), arancini (fried rice ball filled stuffed with meat and veggies), and quesadillas. There is so much food at this event, that I never make it to each booth. This year, I may have a good chance at it, since I will be there the entire time.

Melrose Muscle Therapy will have an informational booth nearby the crafts and other businesses this year. We will have giveaways, information, and free chair massage given by yours truly. I hope that you take some time out next weekend and join us at this year's Taste of Melrose Park. We would love to see you there!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Kids have it easy commercial

I saw a commercial today that left me feeling a bit horrified. It was a 14 year old boy talking to some younger boys about how they have it so easy nowadays. The younger kids were on the couch with their laptop computers. The 14 year old boy spoke about having to wait 1 whole minute sitting in front of his computer for something to download, and now he has back problems. As amusing as this may have been for the commercial, I couldn't help but think how the newer generation will most likely have more back issues due to sitting in front of their computers for hours each day. Technology has taken us all a long way. Many of my older clients that work at a desk position for 8-12 hours a day come in with persistent back pain. Many have smartphones, or ipads, or some other device in which they hold it in a way that they are looking down at their machines. They complain of neck pain, headaches, and other back related issues. As our society becomes more dependent on these devices. I can't help but think about the issues we will be facing in the future. Take this as a reminder to get up, move around, at the very least each hour. Set a timer at your desk while at work. Set a timer for your children when they are doing their homework. Make sure you stretch a bit. Just get up and move. The more mobile we are now, the more mobile we will be in the future.

Your hands must hurt!

I often get asked if my hands hurt after a long day of providing massage, or similar I get told that my hands are very strong that I must get tired after doing so many massages a day.

Truth is, I don't just use my hands when I am giving a massage. I use my entire body as leverage to give the strength that you feel in my massage work. When you ask for more pressure, I step back, get into a lunge and push my entire body forward focusing on my forearm, or palm of my hand (whichever I am using at the moment) and as my entire body moves forward, it gives leverage for my hand or forearm to give a bit more pressure as you wish. 

Strength from leverage

To keep my body from overuse, and daily wear and tear, it is important that I take care of it so that you can benefit from my best work each and every time.

One of my favorite ways to keep my hands in tip top shape between appointments is to shake them out. You can do this too if you have a job that requires lots of hand use such as working at a desk typing all day.

Imagine that you have very sticky tape on your fingers and you want to shake it off. Shake your arms and hands as hard as you can (if this hurts, please don't do the exercise). Try shaking them for at least 10 seconds straight. And stop. I'd say it feels pretty good! =)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Simple Pleasures

Each day I allow myself at least one simple pleasure.  One day it might be an extra scoop of ice cream, another day it may be a few extra minutes of sleep.  The other night, my oldest daughter, Luciana, gave me my simple pleasure.  We currently have a routine where after her baby sister falls asleep for the night, I help Luciana fall asleep by talking about her day, all the while massaging her back.  Last night she asked for me to sing to her a song that I would sing when she was a baby.  As I lay there beside my daughter, massaging her back, singing her lullaby, I could see her smiling as she drifted off to sleep.  By far, one of my favorite simple pleasures. 

What will you allow yourself to enjoy today?

Monday, August 20, 2012

I constantly get headaches. What can I do?

There are many types of headaches, and depending on what the reason is for your headache, massage may be just what the doctor ordered to ease the pain you feel. Here are the two most common types of headaches.

Tension Headaches
High levels of stress, worry, anger can trigger the onset of a tension headache.

It has been in the news lately that women suffer more often from migraine pain than do men. Researchers are saying that the reasoning has to do with genetics and how our sex determines certain parts of brain structure. Regardless of who gets them more, migraines are a pain in the...well, a pain in the head. Migraines share many of the same triggers as tension headaches, but last much longer, and are much more intense. They also are one sided, so the pain is only felt on either the right or left side of your head.

If I get headaches often, what can I do?
First thing you should do is start a headache diary. Write down when you get your headache, and how long they last. Write down your activities, what you ate, what emotions you were going through before the onset of your headache. This will help narrow down what your specific triggers are for your pain. Check this link to see a sample diary you can use.

Once you notice a pattern develop, it will be easier to keep your headaches at bay. If you notice that one of the triggers for your headaches is stress related, or due to muscle tension (tight neck, TMJ, or any other tight muscles), then frequent massage will help. Your massage therapist should do a full assessment to help you make some small changes to your daily routine. Anything from the way you are sleeping, to how you sit at work could be causing muscle tension in your neck. Your therapist can give you some ways to help you deal with unusual amounts of stress when you are not getting a massage.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Relieve your Sinus Discomfort Naturally with Massage

Many people have been complaining about their sinuses bothering them this time of year.  The weather is unpredictable, and has been changing from unbearably hot to a nice cool summer day, and back again.  Here are some simple self-massage techniques you can use to relieve any sinus pressure you may have. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Certified or Licensed Massage Therapist, what's the difference?

What is the difference between a certified massage therapist and a licensed massage therapist? Why do we see the letters LMT or CMT after your name? What do those initials mean?

I was asked this question this week. I figured if one person had the question, maybe more of you do too. Here is the answer for those practicing massage in the state of Illinois.

To become certified as a massage therapist, one must attend a accredited school and finish a minimum of 500 hour program (this will soon change to 600 hours). My initial training was 750 hours, and took 15 months to complete. Once you complete the required program, you take a national exam. There are currently two available to take. The National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCETMB ) and the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx). Not all states accept both, but Illinois does. Once one passes this exam, they are a Certified Massage Therapist. They may place CMT after their name.

If you want to legally practice massage therapy in Illinois, you need to get your state license. You must apply for one through the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation. This is the governing body that regulates many licenses.

There are a few things that you need to have in order to apply for the license. You need to be at least 18 years of age. You need to have passed one of the National tests mentioned above. You need to get fingerprinted for a background check, and you need to pay the $175 fee.

So what does all this mean?

Certified massage therapist has all the information to do their job. Licensed massage therapist is one that can legally perform their job.
In certain states, there is not license needed, so CMT will be more commonly seen.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

STD's and Massage (Part 2)

In this series of posts, I will give tips for people with certain conditions to let them know if they should even obtain a massage or not, and what are the important points to go over with your massage therapist.

Yesterday we talked about Mollusum Contagiosum Virus (MCV), Genital Warts (HPV), Syphilis, and Hepatitis. Today the subject at hand is HIV/AIDS.

Can I get a massage if I have HIV?
Since this virus is spread through bodily fluids, and not skin to skin contact, it is safe for a client with HIV to obtain massage.
Your massage therapist needs to take extra care to make sure to not put you at risk for getting sick. She/he may or may not wear gloves as protection for you.

What should I tell my massage therapist?
Inform your therapist what stage of HIV you have. Let them know if you have any other complications related to the virus.
If you are in phase 4-5 of the disease (most advanced stage of AIDS), please tell your therapist. This will affect the type of massage you can receive.

All stages of HIV/AIDS are safe to receive bodywork, but it depends on what phase, and how you are feeling as to what type of bodywork you will receive.
Massage can be a great additional option of treatment for those with HIV/AIDS. In the beginning phases, Swedish massage can be very stress reducing which can help the immune system. In the more advanced stages, energetic work and other non-circulatory massage can become a great source of comfort for a population that is often outcast.

As always, if there are any subjects you would like me to talk about let me know by commenting below, or by sending us an email to info(at)melrosemuscletherapy(dot)com

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

STD's and Massage (Part 1)

In this series of posts, I will give tips for people with certain conditions to let them know if they should even obtain a massage or not, and what are the important points to go over with your massage therapist.

STD's and Massage (Part 1)

Although most sexually transmitted diseases are only spread through sexual contact, there are a few exceptions.

Mollusum Contagiosum Virus (MCV), Genital Warts (HPV), and Syphilis
These viruses can be spread through any kind of skin to skin contact. They can also be spread with contact to contaminated linens. Treat these STDs first and postpone any massage appointments until there is no chance of spreading the infection to others.

If you know that you have any type of STD, make sure you treat your infection. Once the infection is cleared up, you can make your appointment for massage.

Let your therapist know if you have any open wounds, or small cuts anywhere on your body. Your therapist may wear gloves during your massage as a precaution for two reasons: first to protect you, and second to prevent transmission of the disease. Please do not take offense if they choose to wear gloves. They may have a cut on their hand, or fingernails. I have had quite a few massages where we practiced with gloves during my massage training. If your therapist is good, you won't even realize the gloves are on.
If your Hepatitis is in the acute stage, certain types of massage strokes should not be used, so please make sure your therapist is aware of what stage you are in. If your Hepatitis is in the chronic stage, you may have the option to get a circulatory massage. You may not, if your overall health isn't well. Each person is different, and you should discuss with your massage therapist what your benefits are from having massage. Energy work and non-circulatory massage are options that you might consider during all stages.

As always, if there are any subjects you would like me to talk about let me know by commenting below, or by sending us an email to info(at)melrosemuscletherapy(dot)com

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I have brittle bones, is massage safe for me?

In this series of posts, I will give tips for people with certain conditions to let them know if they should even obtain a massage or not, and what are the important points to go over with your massage therapist.

Yes, massage can be a safe option for you to relieve any discomfort you are experiencing from having weakened bones.  Keep reading to find out what you should know to keep your massage safe.

Do you have Osteoporosis?

It is very important to inform your massage therapist that you have Osteoporosis. You would not want to get a deep pressure massage, as that could have the potential to fracture your bones. That wouldn't be very relaxing now would it?

That being said, gentle massage can be very beneficial to someone with Osteoporosis. It can naturally relieve the pain and discomfort, however temporarily, that you feel from the loss of bone density.

If there is ever a time where you feel your massage therapist is giving you too much pressure, please tell them right away.  Remember, the time you have on the massage table, is YOUR time.  If you are ever uncomfortable, let your therapist know.  

Do you have a current fracture?

Inform your massage therapist how acute the fracture is, the degree of fracture (hairline fracture or complete broken bone), and the location.
You can not receive massage in the local area of the fracture, but the rest of your body can receive bodywork.

Example of how massage can help you:
If you have a hairline fracture on your left foot, your right leg will be working harder to compensate for the lack of movement from your left leg. You will not get massage on your left foot, but it would be beneficial to you to get massage on your right leg and foot since those muscles are currently working harder than they are used to.

I will continue to post about some other conditions such as Asthma, Cancer, etc... Let me know if there are any subjects you would like me to talk about by commenting below, or by sending us an email to info(at)melrosemuscletherapy(dot)com

Monday, August 13, 2012

Arthritis and Massage

A few days ago I wrote about having a fever, cold or flu and obtaining a massage. Yesterday it was Diabetes. I tend to talk about all the times when you should get a massage, such as to relieve tension, ease back pain, or many other times when it is appropriate. In this series of posts, I will give tips for people with certain conditions to let them know if they should even obtain a massage or not, and what are the important points to go over with your massage therapist. Tonight’s topic is Arthritis.

Do you have Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Your basic Swedish Massage can help you as long as your RA is not in an acute stage. If it is, you will want to make sure to explain that to your massage therapist, as it will determine the type of strokes they use with you during that time. During the subacute stage of RA, it is safe to obtain a circulatory massage such as Swedish. Massage can help maintain and even increase joint function.

Do you have Septic Arthritis?

Do not get a massage! SA is a kind of arthritis that is brought on by a bacterial infection. Massage would only make that infection spread. Massage is advised, however, once the infection is completely gone. It will help regain some of the range of motion that was lost due to the infection.

Do you have Osteoarthritis?

If you are in an acute stage where you have pain, heat, and redness at the joints affected, then do not get massage in those areas. If you are in the subacute stage of Osteoarthritis, then massage can be very helpful in reducing pain with soft stretches included in the massage.

Over the next few days I will post about some other conditions such as Osteoporosis, Asthma, Cancer, etc... Let me know if there are any subjects you would like me to talk about by commenting below, or by sending us an email to info(at)melrosemuscletherapy(dot)com

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Diabetes and Massage

A few days ago I wrote about having a fever, cold or flu and obtaining a massage. Tonight I will write about Diabetes. I tend to talk about all the times when you should get a massage, such as to relieve tension, ease back pain, or many other times when it is appropriate. Over the next few days, I will talk about times when you shouldn't get a massage, or should find a massage therapist with extra training that specializes in your condition.

Do you have Diabetes?

Some tips for you if you want to get a massage:

  1. Make your appointment at least an hour after you have taken your insulin injection, or before you are going to eat/take your insulin shot.
  2. At your appointment, before your massage, inform your therapist where you inject your insulin. This will help your therapist choose what type of strokes to use and where during your massage.
  3. Make sure to tell your therapist when you last took insulin.
  4. During your massage, if you are starting to feel dizzy, weak, or have any other symptom of insulin shock, please tell your massage therapist. Do not be afraid or embarrassed if you need to stop your massage. Your health is the priority.
  5. If you have advanced Diabetes with kidney failure or arherosclerosis, a Swedish massage would not be advised. Find a therapists that specializes in energy techniques instead.

Over the next few days I will post about some other conditions such as Osteoporosis, Asthma, Cancer, etc... Let me know if there are any subjects you would like me to talk about by commenting below, or by sending us an email to info(at)melrosemuscletherapy(dot)com

Friday, August 10, 2012

Massage and Fever

I tend to talk about all the times when you should get a massage, such as to relieve tension, ease back pain, or many other times when it is appropriate. Over the next few days, I will talk about times when you shouldn't get a massage, or should find a massage therapist with extra training that specializes in your condition.

Do you have a high fever?

Do not get a massage when you have a fever. There are a few simple reasons as to why.
  1. Massage can be taxing for your body. If you have a fever, your body is already fighting something in your system.
  2. You should be at home, resting so you can feel better.
  3. If you have a fever in conjunction with a cold or flu (or some other underlying infectious disease), you could pass that on to not only your massage therapist, but to anyone that enters the same building after you.
  4. Do you really want to get massaged when you have a fever? I know I wouldn't want to.

What if you have a cold/flu?

Massage during a cold or flu can make your symptoms worse, but the duration of your sickness will be shorter. But once again, if you have a cold or the flu, you should stay home and take care of yourself until you are not contagious anymore.

Over the next few days I will post about some other conditions such as Osteoporosis, Diabetes, Asthma, Cancer, etc... Let me know if there are any subjects you would like me to talk about by commenting below, or by sending us an email to info(at)melrosemuscletherapy(dot)com

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Stress and Disease

So many problems are related to being overly stressed. Here are quite a few of them:

Loss of sleep
Can't concentrate
Can't seem to remember much
Always tired
Constantly suffering from pain
Heart Disease
Change in your weight
Heart Attack

So what can you do if you are suffering from any of these, or prevent you from getting any of these? How can you change your stress levels to a much lower manageable state?

Figure out what is causing you to stress. What can you do to relieve some of those stressful agents? Just taking a few moments to yourself to clear your mind can help. Turn off every distraction for a moment. Focus on your breathing so that you can't think of anything else. If you can't find a place to be free of distractions, then get a massage. Even a short 30 minutes can help you de-stress so that you can get back to solving any problems that are in front of you.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Living Purposefully and Responsibly

Inspiration from a fellow blogger who has been writing about living with a purpose. You can read his posts here.

The idea of living with a purpose, the way I understand it, is to have goals that you are reaching for and striving for each day. Here is my step by step plan on how to live with purpose.

  1. Ask yourself what do you want.
Write down your goals. Do you want to go back to school? Do you want to de-stress your life? Do you want to eat healthier? Whatever it is that you want to attain, write it down.
  1. Ask yourself what actions are needed to meet your goals.
      Break down your goals into mini attainable goals if needed. Example: If I wanted to write a novel by next year, I would try to write at least a few pages each week, or day. Each month I would a have a goal of having written at least a chapter. So I have goals set for the year, for each month, and each day. Create a schedule for yourself and try to keep to it.
  1. Hold yourself accountable.
Understand that you and only you are responsible for your choices and your actions.

Let us know what you are striving for. How will you live with purpose today?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Helping Students in Need with School Days Supply Drive & Contest

I remember at the end of the school year during my time in elementary school, the teachers were always scrambling for supplies.  We always seemed to run out of paper and chalk and pencils before the year was over.  I vividly remember one year it was October and we didn't have any orange paper left in the entire school.  No pumpkin craft.  We were pretty disappointed kids.  There was another year where we ran out of chalk in each of the classrooms and I remember my teacher purchasing her own to bring in to school.

My elementary school has since closed down, but there are a few schools still in the area.  With state budgets cutting back on school budgets, I figured this year we should do a supply drive for District 89 students and teachers.  To make it a bit more fun, I've included a two part contest as well.

I asked the local school district what their wishlist was, and the number one thing on their list was a surprise to me.  White uniform shirts.  Second on the list - socks.  So if you are shopping one day and you see some uniform shirts on sale, please pick up a few, and bring them in, any and all sizes for the kids.  For a complete wishlist, visit the link above.

When you participate, this is what you will get in return- (besides that warm fuzzy feeling) a chance to win a free 60 minute Hot Bamboo Massage.  You also get 10 minutes added to your current massage session and a free Hot Bamboo upgrade to your 30 minute appointment this month.  Oh, and one more thing, if you happen to be the winner of drawing, you also get to pick an area elementary school at which Melrose Muscle Therapy will provide the faculty and staff a day of free massages as a 'thank you' to all they do. =)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Keeping Cool in the Summer Heat

I have been watching the Olympics, and this evening the short distance women runners caught my interest. I used to be a runner during my high school years. I remember how difficult it was to run in the heat during the summer, and at the beginning of the school year. Here are a few tips for you if you are feeling inspired by this years Olympics, and have begun running, or any other activity out in our current heat waves.

Keep hydrated. I say this a lot to my clients throughout the year, but if you are active, it is even more important to avoid dehydration. When you drink anything with caffeine (coffee and teas included), or alcohol, it actually acts to dehydrate you.

Wear cool clothing. Wear lightweight fabrics that allow your skin to breathe. Wear a visor or hat to protect your face. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.

Pick the most comfortable route. On really hot days, try to run in the morning or evening hours when the temperature is a bit cooler. If you do choose to run in the daytime, find a path that has a lot of shade.

Protect your skin. Wear sunscreen with a high SPF. (If you have already been sunburned, schedule yourself for a 'Cool as a Cucumber' Body Treatment and Massage.)  =)

Don't overexert yourself. Heat exhaustion is no fun. Make sure to listen to your body when beginning a new program, or when adjusting your current routine.

What tips do you have for any new runners, especially in the summer heat? Let us know by commenting below.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Have you ever heard of the 42 lb. head?

To quote Eric Dalton, “According to research, every inch the head moves forward of the shoulders, weight is amplified by 10 pounds. As a result, a 12 pound head held 3 inches forward causes the cervical extensors to isometrically battle 42 pounds against the relentless force of gravity.”

You can see an article that he wrote about this here, complete with a few pictures that you can reference.

When you think about it, it is pretty crazy to think that just a small amount of movement forward, can cause such strain for your neck muscles. These muscles are meant to hold up your head in an upright position quite easily. They are not meant to carry such a heavy load, or force. If you have been having a lot of headaches lately and your neck has been bothering you, you may have what is called upper-crossed syndrome. (More about upper-crossed syndrome in a future post)

What causes you to have a 42 pound head?
Technology isn't helping. If you have a smart-phone, a tablet, or an mp3 player, you may be constantly holding these items down as you look at them.

The same goes for reading too. Watch the way you hold your newspaper, books, magazines, or e-reader. If you are keeping your head held down for a long period of time, you are straining your neck muscles.

What can you do to reverse the damage done?
Raise your electronics up so that they are at your eye level instead of holding them in a way that forces you to look down. This will greatly reduce the strain in your neck muscles.

Get a massage. Actually, get a few of them. This will help remind your muscles how to relax, and this benefit will compound each time you receive bodywork.

If you are having headaches and/or neck pain, make some changes to your daily habits, and make an appointment with us.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Reduce Baby's Fever Naturally

The benefits of massaging an infant are numerous. One benefit is to lower your infant's fever.
Whenever your baby has a fever, please do check in and consult with your pediatrician first.

Before beginning any massage strokes, ask permission from your baby first. Let them know what you are about to do. This may sound silly, but your child will communicate with you to let you know, and the more often you perform massage with your baby, the easier it will be for you to communicate with each other and this will bring you closer to them and help you to increase your bond together.

When performing massage with your baby, you would normally use oil. When your child has a fever, skip the oil, and use warm water instead. When your baby has a fever, it is very important to keep him/her covered. Perform the massage while only working a small section of the body at a time, with the rest of the body clothed. The strokes that you would use during this time would move in a certain direction – from the chest towards the hands, or towards the feet. You will keep your strokes soft and fairly light. The idea here is to soothe your baby and comfort her/him. Dip your hands into the warm water and apply that water to your infant's body using quick massage strokes. The heat from their body should come towards the skin to evaporate the water and help cool them down. If at any time during the massage, your baby looks distressed, stop the massage and listen to what your baby is telling you. She/he may want to be held instead, or the water may be too hot, or too cold. Make sure that your baby is comfortable. Once your child is ready, you may begin the massage again.

To learn more about infant massage, you can visit the websites of Infant Massage USA or the International Association of Infant Massage.

If you would like to take an infant massage class from me, you can find more information here.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Backpacks and Back Pain

Did you know that choosing the right backpack can help prevent serious back pain and injury? Did you also know that the way your child chooses to wear your bag can also affect back pain? Here is a simple list to follow on what to do and what not to do when it comes to choosing and wearing a backpack.
  1. Look for a backpack made out of a lightweight canvas material. The lighter, the better.
  2. Find a backpack with thick, padded straps. Wider straps provide optimal support.
  3. Adjust the shoulder straps so that the bag sits close to your child's body.
  4. If you find a backpack with an extra waist strap, make sure your child uses it for even better for weight distribution.
  5. When wearing the backpack, your child should use both straps, and not carry it on one shoulder. If he/she does do that, it will lead to uneven weight distribution and can lead to long term back problems in the future.
  6. When filling the backpack, make sure to put the heaviest items in first so they are closest to your child's body. This will help keep your child standing upright and minimize leaning forward.
  7. Make sure your child's backpack isn't too heavy for them. The full bag should not weigh more than 15% of his/her body weight. So for a 100 pound child, their bag shouldn't weigh more than 15 pounds.

    While you are purchasing all the basic school supplies such as pencils, pens, notebooks, rulers and so on, make sure that the backpack they keep everything in is right for them.