Every one of us has been a child. And as children, we all know there are two kinds of adults: There are those who get it, who know how to talk, play, imagine, and explore like a kid. And there are, well, the rest of them. The excruciatingly boring ones, the ones who terrify us into swearing, cross our hearts, that we'll never turn into that kind of grown up. The kind that sent Peter Pan hightailing it for Neverland as fast as Tinkerbell could take him.
You may be an adult now, one who pays bills and takes vitamins and reads about the things politicians say, but that doesn't mean you can't have high-quality, meaningful interactions with the kids in your life, whether they're your own or simply the kids next door. Here are three places to start:
Ask different questions
Dinner table or car ride conversation is often stunted. Kids are great at one word answers to typical daily questions like "How was your day? Did you learn anything cool in school today?" And every kid gets the same two questions when they see adults who are not their parents. "How old are you now?" and "How's school?" So mix it up! Here are some great conversation starters to ask (and answer) when you're hanging out with kids.
1) If you were invisible for a day, what would you do?
2) If you could, what type of animal would you be?
3) If you could make up a brand new school subject, what would it be?
4) If you could make up a new holiday, what would it be?
5) If you could put chocolate on any food in the world what would it be?
6) If you could trade places with anyone for one day, who would it be?
7) If someone wrote an article about you in your school's newspaper, what would you want them to say?
We can use the word 'exercise' loosely here. The key is to move around, get the endorphins flowing, and have fun. Play the kids your favourite dance song, and let them choose one, too. Race up and down the driveway a few times. Take out an old jump rope. Even 5 minutes is enough to get the blood pumping and some giggles happening.
Massage each other
Massage does not have to be a big complex endeavour. It can be quick and easy, and you can do it just about anywhere. Watch this video together, and practice massaging each other and incorporating stories. Create your own stories to make it even more fun. This type of anywhere, any-time massage is especially great for kids with anxiety. Try it at bedtime, or in the morning before school, or even in the waiting room at the dentist.
There you have it! Three ways to be the cool adult in your favourite kid's life!
5 Simple Ways to Honour Your Breasts (and Your Body)
Every month should be a Breast Cancer Awareness Month whether you have breast cancer or not. (Men, I'm looking at you too.) Cancer isn't predictable and it isn't pretty, but here are a few simple ways to take care of yourself and honour your breasts.
Lead by Example
Perform monthly self breast exams, get knowledgeable about your body, and schedule regular mammograms. Make sure you schedule a clinical breast exam with your primary care physician, too. Set a good example for the loved ones around you by incorporating healthy practices. This can include, starting a garden, eating as organic as possible, exercising regularly, and packing healthy lunches for your kids.
Talk to Your Family and Friends
Teach your children about self care and good breast health. Tell them about the health risks that come with smoking and alcohol. Talk with your kids, siblings, parents and grandparents about your family's health history. Consider talking to your sister, mom, or best friend about getting a mammogram - or go together!
Give a Meaningful Gift
Go out of your way to show someone you care. If someone close to you is struggling with cancer, offer to get their groceries, bake them a casserole, take them to a doctor's appointment, or just be there for them when they need it. A gift doesn't have to involve money or the purchase of a material item. A sentimental trinket is nice, but having compassion and showing care for someone going through something really difficult is worth so much more.
Consider raising money for a good cause, attending a local event, or starting your own fund-raiser. Plan a breast health workshop or class in your school, organization, or community. Get involved and make a difference.
Take Care of Yourself
Put in the effort to take care of yourself and this goes beyond eating right. Of course, it's good to avoid processed foods, but also make sure you are exercising and curbing any habits that negatively affect your health. Replace them with good ones. Turn your 10 minute smoke break into a 10 minute walk break. Avoid staying up to late and try hitting the sack even 20 minutes earlier. Change your monthly Girl's Night into a Girl's Spa Day and get massages.
It's all about little changes to make small steps toward health. Breast health goes beyond routine breast exams, it starts with the food you eat and getting outdoors to everything in between.
And NO, before you think that I suggest you come to me and expose yourself for a Breast Exam, I do not offer those as a service but for a massage that supports your health and therefore also the health of your breasts, phone me now on 082 792 8886 or go straight to my booking page.
Anxiety Disorders affect a lot of adults every year. Anxiety is described as a feeling of dread, fear, or apprehension often with no clear justification. Most people experience symptoms of anxiety at one time or another, but for those with a disorder, normal daily life is often interrupted and limited.
A few common anxiety disorders are panic disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), social phobia (Social Anxiety), and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. While there are varying symptoms with each, many physiological responses overlap with the different disorders. Many people are able to function with symptoms while others are unable to cope with them.
Some disorders manifest with physical symptoms like sleeping problems, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, nausea, sweating or dry mouth. Others are purely emotional, denoted by excessive, unrealistic worry, feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness. Usually, there's a combination of physical and emotional symptoms.
Massage may help anxiety
Research findings show that massage therapy can assist in reducing the symptoms of anxiety. Massage may reduce symptoms of anxiety in women in labour, psychiatric patients, cancer patients, patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, children with illnesses, and many more types of clients.
The effects of massage therapy include reduced blood pressure, slowed/regulated breathing, and a slower pulse rate. Counteracting the increased heart rate and rapid breathing which are symptoms of anxiety, massage therapy has a definite positive effect. Simply taking time to relax and removing yourself from the busyness of daily life can be helpful in handling some kinds of anxiety.
Those with more complicated anxiety issues may benefit from regular massage in conjunction with talk therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. You are welcome to chat with me about a combination of techniques I have on offer that incorporate more than just physical massage e.g. Sound Therapy.
If you are unsure about trying massage to help your anxiety, ask questions. Call me and we can talk about your experience with massage and how it may help you. Check in with your health care provider and your therapist or counsellor. (Be sure to let me know if they would like more information about massage and anxiety, I can provide that!)
When you're ready, schedule an appointment and you can see first-hand how massage may help you.
You don't need a National Women's Health and Fitness Day or something similar to celebrate yourself. I've put together a list of 5 ways you can celebrate health and fitness - regardless if there's an official day. Declare today as being your own National [Put Your Name Here]-Holiday!
Good health starts within. Too often our lives are so busy that we forget to remember ourselves. Spend a little time thinking about what you want for yourself and what fits your wellness goals. Practising yoga, meditation, and even a daily drawing habit can help push you toward a more healthful and balanced life.
If working on the inner stuff is important, it's just as vital to do things in an outward fashion too. Take a long walk, go for a hike, play a sport, go out dancing or even meeting up with friends can have a major impact on your emotional well being.
Learn something new
There is nothing like stepping out of your comfort zone. It might be a stretch and sometimes a little uncomfortable, but those growing pains can pay off. Try taking a new fitness class, learn about Ayurveda, tinker with a new craft... anything outside your normal routine has the ability to encourage growth, which opens our eyes and sometimes new doors.
Eating healthfully might look good on paper, but once you're in the thick of it, it may be challenging. Be gentle with yourself. Learn a new recipe, take a cooking class, educate yourself on the types of foods you consume. Find out where your food comes from and don't be afraid to ask questions. Eat because it nourishes your body and find healthy foods that taste good!
Get a massage
What better way to celebrate a National [Put Your Name Here] -Holiday than with a massage? The benefits of massage can't be overstated. Massage can help everything from an old sports injury, scar tissue, stress relief, headaches, fibromyalgia, TMJ, anxiety/depression or just good ole' health and wellness maintenance. (Click here to make a booking)
Each day is a chance to celebrate YOU and your health and good well-being is part of that. And next week can have another National [Put Your Name Here]-Holiday!
Having a good stretch once or twice a day feels good and can help prevent injuries (flexible muscles can do more), improve your posture (and as a result help with back pain), increase blood and nutrients to your muscles, and help you to feel less stressed. Here's what to do:
Lie on your back, bring your knee to your chest and then across your body. So your right knee will go over to the left side of your body. Hold this for at least 30 seconds. Then stretch the other side.
Sit with your legs straight out in front of you stretch your arms up to the sky and then bend forward as far as you can.
Still sitting with your legs in front of you, bend one knee to your chest then twist your body and hug your bent leg.
Other quick stretches (you can do these at your desk)
Clasp your hands behind you and pull back to stretch your chest. Hold your arm in front of your body and stretch it into your chest Stretch your neck from side to side or do neck rolls
How to Offer Support to Families Dealing with Cancer
Families are in the trenches fighting cancer every day. If cancer hasn't crossed your path, whether directly or through a loved one, consider yourself lucky. It's easy to feel helpless when friends and people close to you are struggling. Here are some simple things you can do to help those who are facing the dreaded "C" word.
Do. Don't ask.
It's easy to say, "let me know if you need anything." What the family needs is someone to say, "hey, I'm making you dinner." Or "I'm babysitting - just tell me what day (or night)." Don't give them the burden of asking. Just offer it.
Gift cards go a long way.
Treatments can sometimes take a patient and family far from home. Do a little research and purchase gift cards for restaurants, hotel chains or other shops near the hospital they are using. A gift subscription to an online movie provider may be helpful to someone who is bedridden. Some downtime and low key entertainment might be just what they need. And, of course, a massage gift certificate [contact me and I will glady assist] is a perfect way to care for the care givers.
Remember the siblings.
Cancer affects the entire family. Siblings often are trying to navigate many emotions like fear and jealousy. Commit to a sibling and offer to be there for them. Be a friend. Be someone they can lean on and talk to. If you send the cancer patient a gift, make sure you give something to the sibling and include them.
Shortly after diagnosis, a family will receive calls, cards, and meals. Anything to help soothe the heartbreaking news. After time, these things fade away and the family is still travelling the long road. It could be months or even years. It's a financial and emotional weight. Keep them in mind and reach out well after the dust settles.
It's hard to know what to say to a family that's struggling with cancer. But don't disappear. Meet them where they are. Sometimes there are no words. Just be present. Reach out and enlist the help of others to send cards, letters and other nice/silly/fun things that will brighten the family's day. Even an "I've been thinking of you" text speaks volumes.
These tips might not seem like much, but it can mean the world to a family facing cancer. Long days and sleepless nights can be an endless cycle. Little gestures of kindness can bring the family loads of comfort.
Archaeological and genetic evidence indicate that our canine companions evolved from wolves. Over tens of thousands of years, the individuals best suited to living amongst us - those who had a taste for our food scraps, who were not too afraid to approach us, and who were best able to trigger our affection - selectively passed on their genes, thereby strengthening those traits. Later, once dog-human companionship was established, humans took active control over their breeding to develop traits that made dogs even more sociable. Other dogs were bred to help us herd animals, or to hunt. Humans and dogs became interdependent.
Dogs - and the wolves they descended from - are profoundly social animals. To survive and thrive they must adapt to the customs of their group, figure out their place in the hierarchy, and be forgiving. While we influenced their development in major ways, we could not have done this with just any animal species. Dogs are trainable, and suited to being our companions, because they have an appreciation for the social order that is built into them from the start.
For all of these reasons dogs, possibly more than any other animal species, are able to influence us in ways that are good for our physical and mental health. Simply having a dog has been linked to greater health and longevity. Though the precise reasons for this are not known, some likely explanations are that the act of dog walking is healthy exercise, and that having a canine companion protects us from loneliness - and loneliness is deadly. Just being with a dog can reduce stress, and petting a dog has been shown to reduce blood pressure and to stimulate the release of oxytocin, a hormone associated with bonding and love.
Of course, dogs benefit from our companionship, too. In addition to getting their basic needs for food and shelter, they want and need our companionship - anyone who has come home from work to a bouncing, tail-wagging pooch can testify to that. And much like humans, dogs like and benefit from touch, though each individual dog has its own preferences; some may only want to be petted very little, others a lot. Petting should be adapted to suit the individual dog.
If a dog likes to be petted, does it logically follow that he/she might really enjoy a massage? Well, why not? Though you may never find a dog that is as into massage as this Corgi (click here for the youtube video), if your dog likes to be petted there is no reason not to give him/her a basic canine massage. With practice, you should be able to customize the massage to best suit your dog. Meanwhile, you'll be strengthening your bond all while getting your own health benefits.
While I don't offer doggie massages yet, their owners are most welcome at Little Heaven Massages. Phone me now on 082 792 8886 or go straight to my booking page.
"Good hurt" vs "Bad hurt" Do massages have to hurt to be effective?
Have you been wondering if a massage has to hurt to be effective?
If so, you are not alone. Many people believe that a massage has to hurt in order to be effective. Well it doesn't! You'll be happy to hear that the saying, "No pain, no gain" doesn't apply to massage therapy. Sometimes the most effective massages are the ones that don't cause you any pain. Something that feels marvellous, and it's good for you too? It doesn't get much better than that!
Deep Tissue Massage might cause some discomfort...
A deep tissue massage is when a massage therapist manipulates the deeper layers of your soft tissue. Soft tissue includes your muscles, ligaments, fascia, and tendons (it's pretty much everything that isn't bones or organs). Usually the therapist will use lotions or oil, and will work lighter at first, this is important, it helps relax the top layer of tissue and muscle, meaning less pain for you. Then the deeper layers of muscle can be worked on more easily and with less pain. This will feel much better and you will get better results! Typically, deep tissue massage is recommended for those with chronic pain caused by tight muscles or injuries. Deep tissue massage can be very therapeutic because it helps with relieving patterns of tension that have developed over time and helping with muscle injuries. With a good deep tissue session massage will feel more relaxed after the massage if no pain was endured during it. It's hard (nearly impossible) to relax if you are in pain, and muscle tension will release in a state of relaxation. Deep tissue massage is not for everyone! You are not a wimp if you don't like it. It is one of the more involved and intense massage techniques. Some people simply like the feeling of more pressure, and a firm massage isn't always deep tissue. Just be sure to communicate with the therapist about what you prefer and need. Speak up!, I or whoever is your therapist will appreciate your feedback, happy clients are regular clients, and we want you to love your massage.
Pain versus Discomfort
Muscles naturally react to any sort of pain. When your muscles feel that your body is about to be injured the reflex to deflect the pain is stimulated. If a massage therapist is ever applying too much pressure, your muscles tighten together to naturally counterattack the force, and that is not a great way to relax. A massage is meant to relieve the tension of your muscles so if you feel as though I or whoever is your therapist is applying too much pressure for comfort, just ask to use less pressure. Seriously, we want you to. Don't go into the massage thinking there won't be any discomfort at all though. Pain and discomfort are two different things. People usually describe discomfort as a "good hurt" - especially in reference to getting a massage. When you experience pain during a massage, it is more than discomfort and could even cause bruising or injury. Everybody has different tolerances for pain, so a massage that is painful for one person may not be painful for you. If you find that your massage therapist isn't working between your tolerance levels for pain, then it's important that you say something. Massages should almost never cause you physical pain and very rarely is it okay for you to be left with marks on your body afterwards. If you are booking your first massage, you probably don't want to start out with a deep tissue session. Ease your way into massage therapy and start with something less specific, like Swedish massage or come and experience the gentle sound massage with Tibetan Singing Bowls.
When you come to my studio, I will gladly combine different massage techniques and to give you a treatment that is the best for you and what you need.
Every day! Well, maybe that's not practical, even though it would be nice. This is one of the most common questions clients ask about massage therapy, and it really all depends on WHY you get massages. Do you get massages for health benefits? Or, to help you relax and handle the stress of everyday life? Most likely it's a combination of the two, so let's look at some of the most common reasons to get regular massages:
Relaxation & Stress Relief
One of the very best reasons to get a massage is for relaxation. Relaxation massage helps to support your body, including blood circulation and flexibility of joints. Regular massage can help prevent pain, muscle tension, and stress points from building up and causing problems. Why wait until you have a problem to get a massage? Massage is perfect for preventing issues with your tissues. Relaxation massage is usually recommended at least once per month, or as often as you want! There may be times in your life where you experience higher levels of stress and more muscle tension than normal. It is especially important to practice good self-care during these times. When we "don't have time" for a massage, is usually when we need one the most. Make yourself a priority even during stressful times, your health is worth it. If you are in a high-stress job or you work in an environment where you stay in a certain position for a long period of time (at a computer for example), you may begin to develop tight or "knotted" muscles. This will frequently occur in your shoulders, arms, and back. All of this increased muscle tension will make movement harder and can cause a great deal of pain. Regular massage can help to keep you loosened up and will help to prevent pain and stiffness. Living with high levels of stress for a prolonged amount of time increases the risk of contracting heart disease and other diseases. It has been estimated that 75 - 90 percent of all visits to physicians are for stress related problems. The good news is, massage can help! Just knowing your massage is coming up in a few days can help to relieve stress, and a massage every 2-4 weeks will help with stress related tension.
Are you a weekend warrior, or do you just like to stay in shape? Either way, massage can help with sports performance and recovery. Many athletes and physically active people receive sports massage because it enhances their performance, prevents injury, and speeds up their muscles' recovery. Competitive sports can put a lot of stress on a person's muscles! Research shows that massage reduces inflammation and stimulates the growth of new mitochondria, the energy-producing units in the cells, after strenuous exercise. This means that massage can help relieve pain, build muscles and help with muscle recovery too! For these benefits it is recommended that you get a massage up to three times a week or at least three times a month.
Chronic Health Conditions
People with ongoing health issues often find massage very helpful to alleviate symptoms. Chronic health problems that greatly benefit from massage therapy include back pain, joint pain, and localized inflammation. If you get therapy for specific issues, the frequency of getting massage therapy varies with the type of condition you have and how severe it is. Relief from pain can usually be achieved with 2-4 massage sessions per month.
Pregnant women can greatly benefit from massage therapy! Prenatal massage is popular among expectant mothers, who often experience a lot of aches and pains as their pregnancy progresses. Many women suffer from back pain, hip & sciatic pain, headaches, and tired legs & feet. But you don't have to. I am unfortunately not qualified in this dicipline (could not find enough woman to practise on :-) but a certified massage therapist can help to relieve those discomforts. Going to your massage therapist once or twice a month can help with the symptoms caused by pregnancy, and it can even help you sleep better. Of course, it's always a good idea to check with your doctor and your massage therapist to ensure that you don't have any pregnancy related conditions that would contraindicate massage therapy for you. Most women experiencing a healthy pregnancy can and should enjoy regular massage sessions.
Ok, I am no expert on woman's health, but I can help spread the word. I found these interesting insights that I wanted to share with you:
1. Women are more prone to certain health conditions than men.
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, these are symptoms typically experienced by men. Women may experience dizziness, lightheadedness, or 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, acetaminophen (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!
Busy-ness is the trend these days. People carry over-packed schedules like winning trophies. "I'm SO busy at work!" "How do you have time to do that? I'm too busy to read/watch TV/exercise/do anything fun." "I can't get monthly massages I have too much to DO!"
Too much "busy" could be making you tired, sick, and probably cranky.
When do you relax? RELAX. "Relaxation" is a word we hear often, but don't always know what it means. Here, I've compiled some options for you. re-lax verb \ri-'laks\
1: the state of being free from tension or anxiety.
2: a way to rest and enjoy yourself
3: recreation or rest, especially after a period of work.
4: the loss of tension in a part of the body, especially in a muscle when it ceases to contract.
5: something that you do to stop feeling nervous, worried, etc.
More importantly, what does relaxation mean to you?
If you're not a "hot bath and good book" kind of person, you probably cringe at spa photos of people with stones piled on their backs. But here's the beauty: You can make your own definition of relaxation. It's your job to figure out what you enjoy doing, what makes you smile, and what makes you feel like you are a hundred miles from work or home jobs?
Then, make time for that.
You have a schedule. Write in special time for a hobby, a nap, massage, your favourite show, a weekend getaway, a new class, ANY thing you enjoy can be relaxing.
Why don't you create your own National Day of Relaxation. Here are some ideas:
- Spend part of the day alone.
- Spend part of the day with your family, doing ONLY fun stuff.
- Devote time to your hobby.
- Sleep in. Or get up extra early. Whichever excites you!
- Arrange for take-out or pre-cooked meals all day.
Here is a list of 9 out-of-the-norm (and some normal) ways to reach out and be kind to your fellow humans.
Randomly offer to help someone with a task. If you see someone bogged down with grocery sacks, offer to lighten their load. Chances are they'll wave you off with a "no, thanks," but no doubt the unexpected offer of help will be remembered.
Say thank you
Crazy isn't it? Two simple words can have a way of making someone's day. I recently heard a story about someone who manned a drive-thru window, she said the amount of people who acknowledged her presence was minimal. As long as they got what they wanted, they didn't even say a word or look her in the eye. A drive-thru window may seem like such a brief exchange, but it can still have an impact.
Be open to conversation
We all have busy schedules, things to do, and places to be. We stand in line at the bank, the grocery store, the Post Office. Each line is an opportunity to strike up a conversation with someone you don't know. Think about it; Every person you walk past is a chance to converse with someone who's had a very different journey.
Give the benefit of the doubt
If you live in an area that is prone to road rage, flipping people off, and flat out confrontation, this one might be difficult. Maybe they are going through something and maybe their not. Giving the benefit of the doubt can be a way to be kind to yourself, too, since it lets YOU off the hook from stressing about it.
Make extra soup
And share some with your neighbour. We all live behind our high fences and electric wires. Do you even know your neighbours?
Yep. Not much to it. A smile can go a long way.
Tell people you love them.
Even the difficult people. We all have reasons to not speak to someone who use to be close but has since drifted away. Maybe someone in our lives has changed so drastically we can't stand to be around them. Whatever the case, if you love them, say it. It might be cliché to go on about how life is short and blah blah, but you have no idea when speaking lovey words might no longer be an option. Say them.
Get them a massage
One of my favourite ways to be kind to humankind is massage. Surprised? Nah, didn't think so. I could list for days the benefits of a great massage, but no one has time for that. Giving a gift certificate (email me to order one) for massage is really sending two messages: 1. I care about you. And 2. You should care for yourself. And who doesn't love massage? (Ok, some people might not, so get them a gift certificate for a foot rub instead.)
Get a massage for yourself
You count. Be kind to yourself. 'Nuff said.
Being kind to humankind doesn't have to be all big and flashy, unless you want it to be. If big and flashy is your thing – go for it. There are so many ways to be kind; volunteer, join community organizations, and, if you've got them - act on those big ideas!