Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Massaging Babies and Toddlers

Evolving Massage

I teach infant massage, and have been massaging my own daughters since the day they were born.  They are getting older, and although they still get their bedtime massage, the touch they get during the day has changed. 

It is much easier to massage a newborn, as they really can't move around much, and you and baby get use to the same massage routine each time.   When they learn to crawl, it becomes a bit more difficult to give an entire massage routine.  So what can you do?   Play massage games!  Below are some examples of massage games to play at various stages of childhood. 

**Remember to get your child's permission before you massage them.

Crawling Around

Get on the floor with your child. If you were doing a belly rub, and your child decides it is time to crawl around, massage whatever is up and facing you.  If it is his back, then rub his back, if it is her side, then massage her arms or legs.  You don't have to go in any specific order. 

This Little Piggy

I'm sure you are familiar with this nursery rhyme.  It is a great way to give a massage for your child's toes.  Roll your child's toes, wiggle them, but don't pull/tug so hard on them.  Make sure not to tickle their feet!

Learning Shapes

My older daughter loves this game.  I stand behind her as she stands in front, and I draw shapes on her back with my hands.  She has to guess the shape.  Sometimes she lays down.  Just be sure that you don't have anything going on that can be distracting for your child, ie...TV on or radio on.  You can do any variation of this game that you find appropriate.  Learning Numbers, or Learning Letters, whatever you are focusing on with your child.

Do you have any massage games to add to this list?  We would love to hear what you do to incorporate massage into your child's life.  Let us know by leaving a message in the comment section.

Monday, August 26, 2013

5 Interesting Facts about Women's Health

5 facts you should know about women's health
This post is in honor of Women's Equality Day (August 26)

1. Women are more prone to certain health conditions than men. 
Did you know that women are more likely to experience depression, stroke, and rheumatoid arthritis. Some conditions, like osteoporosis, are directly related to women’s hormone fluctuations and smaller frames. Others, like fibromyalgia, are much more common in women, but scientists have yet to figure out why.

2. Women do not always experience the same symptoms as men with the same conditions.  
While men are more likely to experience a heart attack than women, women are more likely to die of the same heart attack. The reasons may be related to the publicized symptoms: while everyone knows about chest pressure and pain down the left arm, what they don't know is that these are symptoms typically experienced by men. Women may experience dizziness, become lightheaded, or feel fatigue. Knowing the different ways conditions manifest in men and women can truly be a lifesaver.

3. Women have different risk factors than men.  
Remember that bit about women being more susceptible to stroke? In addition to the risk factors shared with men, there are also many women-specific risks, including being pregnant, taking hormonal birth control pills, using hormone replacement therapy, and experiencing frequent migraines. Unfortunately, these additional risk factors don’t always show up in educational materials.

4. Women and men sometimes react differently to drugs and other treatments. 
Women wake up faster from anesthesia. Some drugs, like ibuprofen, seem to be more effective in men than women, while others like erythromycin (an antibiotic) work better in women. And of course there are medications, typically prescribed for sex-specific issues, that can interfere with each other. As an example, acetominophen (AKA Tylenol) can interfere with the effectiveness of birth control.

5. In spite of all this, women’s and men’s bodies are more similar than they are different. 
We share 99% of our genetic material with every other person on the planet. We have the same basic structure, suffer from most of the same illnesses, and heal in the same way. A healthy diet, active lifestyle, adequate sleep, and positive attitude are beneficial to men and women alike. There are no studies showing whether massage therapy is better for any one subset of people than others. Maybe that research will be done in the future. In the meantime, if you’d like to know whether it works for you, there’s only one way to find out!

Book your appointment online to see if massage works for you.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Massage and the Barefoot Contessa

Regular Massage & Ina Garten

I love when celebrities talk about getting massage on a regular basis.  Did you know that Ina Garten, better known as the Barefoot Contessa, gets weekly massage?  I read about it in the New York Times. Have you ever watched her cooking shows?  I have (and I love it!).  Ina Garten always has this calm aura around her.  Have you noticed it too?  I bet she is so calm due to her weekly massages!  =D

Do you know what the benefits are of getting regular massage?

There are numerous benefits to getting massage, but the benefits compound when regular massage is in place.  Even a monthly massage will give you added benefits.
  •  Reduce Blood Pressure
  •  Reduce Headaches
  •  Boost the Immune System
  •  Dampen Harmful Stress Hormones
  •  Relieve Pain
So instead of 'treating' yourself to a massage once in a blue moon, make it a healthy habit to keep on a regular basis.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Speaking to Future Massage Therapists

Yesterday I spent part of my afternoon speaking with a group of massage therapy students at Everest College.  I had a blast, and I know that quite a few of them learned a bit of useful information about what to do currently as a student to prepare for becoming a professional in the field.

I gave them a bit of information of who I am, what I do, what I specialize in, and how I got to where I am so soon after finishing massage school.  I gave the students the pros and cons of working for yourself, as well as working for someone else.

The questions started rolling in from the students about various subjects relating to massage from what oils I use, to what questions employers ask at interviews, and as soon as I knew it, our time was up.

Had a wonderful time speaking with the students at Everest, and I hope to do it again in the future.



Thursday, February 21, 2013

How heavy is your glass of water?

 A friend of mine recently had this as his facebook status:
A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they'd be asked the "half empty or half full" question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: "How heavy is this glass of water?"
Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.
She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn't change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes." She continued, "The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything."
It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don't carry them through the evening and into the night. Remember to put the glass down!

What is your glass of water?  

Do you sit at a computer all day, or drive long distances often?  Sitting at your computer for much of the day will put strain on your muscles.  The longer you are in that position, the more you will ache.  One long road trip, and you might be sore for a few days.  Driving for hours each day for a few years or more, your aching will seem normal, and you will forget what it feels like to not be sore or in pain.
When stress builds upon stress, it will create layers. The more stress you allow to build up, the more difficult it will become to do everyday activities.  The more your back will hurt, the more your neck feels sore. the easier it will be to become injured.  The harder it will be to heal.

How can you put down your glass?

Before you get to the point of seriously injuring your body, massage can help you feel normal and regular massage can be your way of putting that glass of water down before it starts to hurt again. Book your appointment with Melrose Muscle Therapy and put down that glass, get rid of your stress, and feel better before you feel worse.

Monday, February 18, 2013

How to Make Massage Affordable

Can regular massage appointments be affordable?

There are little things that you can do each day to add a bit more money into your massage bank. (You do have a massage bank don't you?)  There was a post on facebook that has made its rounds through each massage therapist forum.  It has a picture of a gentleman and says, "Actually, a monthly massage would cost less than a month's worth of your daily $6 a day coffees at Starbucks."

So let's do the math.

Say you purchase one coffee a day, 5 days a week, with 4 weeks in a month.
($6 x 5) x 4 = $120
Wow!  Crazy isn't it!?! That is a 90 minute massage at Melrose Muscle Therapy, and you have money left over.

Now let's say you actually buy your coffee at Dunkin Donuts instead, so it costs a bit less.
($3 x 5) x 4 = $60
That is still a great amount.  Get a half hour massage, and put the rest back into your bank. You can alternate getting a half hour and a one hour massage each month.

 What is another way to find the cash to get a massage?

Do you buy or bring your lunch to work on a regular basis?  If you bring your lunch instead of buying it, you can save at least $8-$15 each day.  Now add that up.
($8 x 3 times a week) x 4 weeks = $96
($15 x 3 times a week) x 4 weeks = $180
Now you are getting it.  Don't you think it is time to start doing something for yourself that makes you feel better?

These are only a couple of examples of how you can find the money to get a monthly massage.  What would you change in your lifestyle in order to get a monthly massage?  Comment below to let me know.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Parents love can affect child's brain size

Can a parent's love really affect a child's brain?

Apparently so. I recently read an article which showed the brain size from a 3 year old with a normal size brain, and a 3 year old who suffered from neglect who had a brain which looked very shrunken.  You can read the article by clicking here.  The picture from this article is posted below:
Photo : Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D./Child Trauma Academy) Neurologists say that the size-able difference between these two brains of two different 3-year-olds has one primary cause: the way that their mothers treated them.

Crazy picture isn't it?!?  It does make sense to me that the more you nurture something, or someone, the more it blooms/grows, and the healthier it/she/he is.   Perfect sense. 
"The latest study supports research released earlier this year that showed that children brought up by mothers who provide love and affection early in life are smarter and have a greater capacity to learn."
So on this Valentine's Day, a day known for giving love, I ask that you give the children around you the attention they are in need of to give them a good start at life.  Be gentle when you can, and have patience with them.  Try to attend to them before they begin to cry.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Heart Health Challenge #2 ~ Cut down on Salt

Throughout the month of February (Heart Health Month), Melrose Muscle Therapy will be posting various heart health challenges on our facebook page.  Here is number two:

Cut Down on Salt

Too much salt in your diet can lead to high blood pressure, which in turn increases the risk of getting coronary heart disease.

I've found this great list of ways to cut down on salt.  Click here to read it.  One of my favorites on this list is to remove the salt from your table top, and replace it with different seasonings.

Here are links to some recipes that are sans (or very little) salt.
Salad Dressing
Vegetable Stock
Shrimp Creole - use your own stock to have even more control over the salt
Beef and Barley Stew

I hope this gives you some ideas on how you can cut down on the amount of salt in your diet to keep your heart healthy. the less salt you use in your diet, the less you will want it, and the easier it will get to cut it out of your diet.  Do you have any recipes to share?  Please write them in the comments below.

Cheers to a healthy heart!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Are stressed out babies more likely to get sick?

There is a new book called: Scared Sick: The Role of Childhood Trauma in Adult Disease.  Here is a description of the book found on Amazon:

The first years of human life are more important than we ever realized. In Scared Sick, Robin Karr-Morse connects psychology, neurobiology, endocrinology, immunology, and genetics to demonstrate how chronic fear in infancy and early childhood— when we are most helpless—lies at the root of common diseases in adulthood.
Compassionate and based on the latest research, Scared Sick will unveil a major public health crisis. Highlighting case studies and cutting-edge scientific findings, Karr- Morse shows how our innate fight-or-flight system can injure us if overworked in the early stages of life. Persistent stress can trigger diabetes, heart disease, obesity, depression, and addiction later on.

This is very interesting to me, and I look forward to someday soon reading this book. I found out about it from reading this article on modern mom.

As a massage therapist, I am always looking at how stress affects the body, but this is a look at how stress early on in life has lasting affects into adulthood.  Now a little bit of stress is good for you, but constant stress, without giving your body a bit of relief, is horrible for your body, mentally, physically, emotionally harmful. I teach classes to families, couples, and parents about giving massage to each other, and I explain some of the benefits during the class.  So if you know me, you know the affects of stress, short term and long term on your body.  It is interesting to see how stress from a pregnant mom-to-be affects her unborn child, and stress on a newborn or toddler affects them later in life as well.

Massage is a great way to relieve stress - for kids too!

As a mom, I read up on research that is done on how stress affects our children. I share that research here in this blog, as well as on Melrose Muscle Therapy's facebook page. So you know there are ways that you can handle stress at home, such as taking a long bath, reading (if you like to read), giving your self a time out..and on and on.  One of the best ways to break up chronic stress is with regular massage visits. 

Book your appointment online, and we can talk about different ways you can take care of yourself, as well as your children.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Mommy Snow Days

Being a mom isn't easy.  What can make it even  more difficult is not being able to take the kids outside to play.  Living in the Chicago area, we are no stranger to snow.  When a snowstorm hits, you can get stranded in your home for a couple of days. Here are some wonderful ideas to keep little ones busy when you are stuck inside for a while.

Make a snowman.
  1. Have dance parties 
  2. Play tag
  3. Bring out the playdough
  4. Bake some cookies
  5. Make some snacks, and watch a movie
  6. Make forts with the couch cushions
  7. Read stories to each other, or make them up
  8. Get some stickers and go crazy with them
  9. Paint some pictures
  10. Put together some puzzles
  11. Put up your tent and go camping in your living room
  12. Bring some snow inside and have a sensory experience (great for really little kids)
There are so many activities that can be done indoors, but as soon as the storm has cleared, and it is safe to do so, go outside and play in the snow!

What do you do when you are stuck indoors for a while?  Comment below.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Ways to Avoid Mommy Burnout

If there is something I've learned (the hard way) it is this:

If you can't take care of yourself,

there is no way you can take care of your child.

The demands of being a mother (especially  a new one, or one with infants and toddlers at home) can be intense.  You are the one to get u in the middle of the night to feed them and comfort them.  You are the one that gets up early with them.  You clean up after them, you change them, feed them again, you are constantly at their beckoning call.  It is an exhausting job.  You don't get a break from being a mom.  It is not a 9-5 job, but a 24/7 kinda job.

After a while, if you don't take care of yourself, you become overly tired, extremely cranky, you can't think straight, and your patience runs thin.

Here are some ways to avoid what I like to call Mommy Burnout:

  1. Don't neglect your body. If you eat junk food, you will feel sluggish.  Add some healthy fruits and veggies to your diet, and you will feel all the more better.  Get your exercise in.  don't think you can do that with a baby?  I'll be writing another post later this month all about doing exercise with your kids.
  2. Acknowledge that you are a good mom.  Don't be so hard on yourself if you see another child knows their ABC's before yours does.  You and your babe are just focusing on different tasks right now, and I'm sure your baby can do something that the other child doesn't grasp just yet.  It doesn't mean that your child is slow, or that you have failed as a parent.  It just means that you are both learning something else instead. 
  3. Don't expect perfection.  If you have kids, you are not going to have a spotless house, every meal made, or any numerous other things that are on your list of perfection.  It is okay if once in a while you need to order dinner, or you wait a day to do laundry.  Kids grow up quick, so make sure you are spending your time with them creating memories, instead of worrying about the cleaning and the cooking.
  4. Ask for help.  there are days that will test your patience, and you will feel that you are about to snap.  that is when you absolutely should ask for help from a friend.  Ask if they can come over and help you watch your kid so you can get some time for yourself, or ask if they can tag along on a shopping trip or other errand run to make it easier for you to get things done.
  5. Change your perspective.  Instead of thinking how difficult it is to be able to take a shower without someone walking in on you, think about the big picture: the joy that comes with becoming a mom, and all the fun you have with learning from your children and watching them learn from you.
Take some time for yourself mommies!  One of the best ways to take care of yourself, is to get a massage.  You de-stress, which allows you to clear your mind to make better decisions for yourself and your family.  Visit me at Melrose Muscle Therapy.  We even have infant massage classes, where you can connect even deeper with your newborn baby.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Heart Health Challenge #1 ~ Get Moving

Throughout the month of February (Heart Health Month), Melrose Muscle Therapy will be posting various heart health challenges on their facebook page.  Here is the first one:

Get Moving!

Adults need at least 30 minutes of moderate level activity each day. Children need at least 6o minutes!

If you haven't worked out in a long time, start small and work your way up to 30 minutes each day. 

Here is some information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how to find out if your daily activity is moderate:
One way of monitoring physical activity intensity is to determine whether a person's pulse or heart rate is within the target zone during physical activity.
For moderate-intensity physical activity, a person's target heart rate should be 50 to 70% of his or her maximum heart rate. This maximum rate is based on the person's age. An estimate of a person's maximum age-related heart rate can be obtained by subtracting the person's age from 220. For example, for a 50-year-old person, the estimated maximum age-related heart rate would be calculated as 220 - 50 years = 170 beats per minute (bpm). The 50% and 70% levels would be:
  • 50% level: 170 x 0.50 = 85 bpm, and
  • 70% level: 170 x 0.70 = 119 bpm
Thus, moderate-intensity physical activity for a 50-year-old person will require that the heart rate remains between 85 and 119 bpm during physical activity.
So now that you know how to measure the intensity, let's come up with some exercises you can do.
  1. walking - If you are not used to walking, get up and walk to the end of your block, turn around and go back home.  Once this becomes comfortable, go to the next block, and so on and so on.  If you are used to walking, pick up the pace and walk briskly for a while.  See how long you can go to get to 30 minutes.  If you need a break, slow down the pace again.
  2. yoga - Try a beginners class at your local yoga studio.
  3. hula-hoop - Use a basic hula hoop, and try hooping for 10 minutes.  too easy for you?  Get a weighted hoop.
  4. jump rope -
  5. play catch - remember when we were little, and we played catch for hours?  try doing it for a small amount of time.  Make sure you don't over do it as your muscles will be sore since we don't typically use our arms in this fashion in day to day life.
What are some activities you can think of that we haven't listed here?  Comment below.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Valentine's Day Packages from Melrose Muscle Therapy

Valentine's Day Packages

The following packages are only available
between February 10th - February 23rd, 2013 and
must be booked by calling (708) 612-9228.

Chocolate Indulgence Massage

$40 for 30 minutes, $80 for 60 minutes

Make your chocolate cravings disappear with the Chocolate Indulgence Massage. Our luscious-smelling, tastebud-tempting cocoa infused massage oil will transform you to the most decadent place.

Includes a single rose, and a box of chocolates.

Private Couple's Massage Lesson

90 minutes, $100

Private and educational, you and your loved one will give and receive a 30 Minute Massage from each other, under Luisa's instruction.

Includes a single rose, a box of chocolates,
and a small bottle of massage oil to take home.

Hand Massage with Paraffin Dip

30 minutes, $25

Soothing massage of the forearm and hands with lotion, followed by a moisturizing paraffin dip.

Includes a single rose, and a box of chocolates.

1811 N. Broadway Ave., Melrose Park, IL 60160 ~

Thursday, January 3, 2013

20 Ways to Take a Break

We all need to take a break once in a while from all the stressors we face each day.  Here is a list of ways you can take a break and give yourself a moment to regroup.

20 ways to take a break

  1. Focus on your breath
  2. Color in a coloring book
  3. Stretch
  4. Read the comics in the paper
  5. Drive to someplace new
  6. Pet your dog or cat
  7. Listen to some of your favorite relaxing music
  8. Go to the park and swing or go down the slide
  9. Think about something you are thankful for
  10. Turn off the TV and sit in silence
  11. Dance
  12. Smell some fresh flowers
  13. Write a letter to someone
  14. Watch a movie short
  15. Write in a journal
  16. Call someone you haven't heard from in a while
  17. Light a candle
  18. Go for a walk
  19. Grab a hula hoop and hula away
  20. Take a short nap
What can you add to this list?