What to do when you hurt...This is a problem I hear from clients all the time and a lot of the information is confusing or not good. Depending on how the pain started will determine what is the best choice, but let's review a few basics:
Ice - stops swelling, inflammation and bruising. It is the best choice to use if you have acute pain or have been injured; sprained ankle, bumped your shin, twisted your knee or wrist. Think INJURY when it comes to ice.
Heat - relaxes muscles after inflammation is gone, soothes the body and increases circulation. This is the best choice if you have done too much weeding and strained your back, have an "achy" place.
Moist Heat - this reduces swelling, pain, and increases range of motion. This is an excellent choice for arthritis flare ups or after using ice for a couple of days an injury and to help get circulation going into the area.
I could go on and on, but I usually find someone smarter than me and I found this excellent link that is very informative about what to use and when...just click on it to check it out! Great and easy to read chart.
In the case of muscle spasm, I now have Electrical Muscle Stimulation available prior to your massage. Yesterday I used it on a client with severe back pain and she left feeling much better and reported improvement today too. ( I love what I do! )
First a story...
I am writing in response to your request for additional information in Block #3 of the accident reporting form. I put "Poor Planning" as the cause of my accident. You asked for a fuller explanation and I trust the following details will be sufficient.
I am a bricklayer by trade. On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of a new six-story building. When I completed my work, I found I had some bricks left over which when weighed later were found to weigh 240 lbs. Rather than carry the bricks down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley which was attached to the side of the building at the sixth floor.
Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out and loaded the bricks into it. Then I went down and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure a slow descent of the 240 lbs of bricks. You will note on the accident reporting form that my weight is 135 lbs.
Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rapid rate up the side of the building.
In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel which was now proceeding downward at an equally impressive speed. This explains the fractured skull, minor abrasions and the broken collarbone, as listed in Section 3, accident reporting form.
Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley which I mentioned in Paragraph 2 of this correspondence. Fortunately by this time I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold the rope, in spite of the excruciating pain I was now beginning to experience.
At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground-and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Now devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel weighed approximately 50 lbs.
I refer you again to my weight. As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the building.
In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles, broken tooth and severe lacerations of my legs and lower body.
Here my luck began to change slightly. The encounter with the barrel seemed to slow me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile of bricks and fortunately only three vertebrae were cracked.
I am sorry to report, however, as I lay there on the pile of bricks, in pain, unable to move and watching the empty barrel six stories above me, I again lost my composure and presence of mind and let go of the rope.
As funny as this story is, the lesson is a man that is not attached to the injuries but sees his mistakes and the consequences of his choices. He will probably heal and move on in life with no attachment to what happened.
Many times we suffer injury, disease, accidents and traumatic life experiences and are not able to let go of the story. We play it over and over in our heads and repeat it to anyone that asks and hear the doctors, therapists, family and friends tell others how much we have suffered as a result of ______________. We feel a sense of betrayal or injustice and keep asking, "Why me?"
As harmless as it sounds, it is actually causing your body to react physically and chemically to the trauma again, again and again. This means there is emotion, stress hormones, increase in heart rate and mild shock responses that you go through each time your relive the experience.
People that have had cancer do not want to be called victims because that paints a picture or weakness when a fight against this disease takes warrior spirit and being called a survivor is much more empowering. Reliving trauma causes you and others to start seeing yourself as a victim instead of someone that has over come a challenge.
Begin to see pain, accident, disease, trauma as an opportunity and you will increase your chances of healing. Sound crazy? No. This is an opportunity to give your body what it needs; rest, change in environment, better nutrition, more exercise, etc. Dr. Bernie S. Siegel, M.D., realized this when he was working with cancer patients and wrote an amazing book about his experiences. "Love, Medicine & Miracles"
From my own experience, I have seen clients that seem to suffer more than most with injuries, health problems and disease. As I listen to their story, I see and feel their body respond to what they are saying. Muscles tighten, faces pale, tears well up, pain increases...they can't heal because the problem keeps being relived over and over. They are stuck in the past and can't move out of their suffering.
The more we think about something, the bigger chance of attracting that into our lives and if you continually thing of yourself as your injury, disease, pain or trauma, you will attract more into your life. This I see more times than not. One injury or pain becomes another and another until they believe "this is my nature", or "I am my mother's cancer", or "I deserve this", etc.
So, while the story was funny, life can be tough and full of hurt. Be a warrior. Fight. Look for the opportunity to heal and listen to your body. No one can do that for you because only you truly know what you need. Don't buy into the labels that family, friends or the medical community wants to put you into. You are an amazing and beautiful person that is temporarily having a solvable problem and just need the time and resources to do that.
I love what I do and feel I am doing what I was born to do. There was a lot of pain and suffering involved in my learning that, but I refuse to be judged by my past and continue to learn how to realign my future with my reason for being. Without the pain and suffering I wouldn't be who I am or know what I know, so for that I am grateful. I am here to facilitate your healing and even though I can't do the hard work for you, I here to help.
Want to know how to relieve stress and anxiety? Only concentrate on one thing right NOW.
What does that mean? Do you have a big event coming up? Debts, health concerns, big trip or family gathering and you are feeling overwhelmed by all the things you have to do to get ready and prepare? STOP!
Break it down into one thing at a time and stop thinking about the whole big mess. Right now, do one thing that is part of what you need to do. Need to clean the house but don't have all day to do it? Clean the bathroom. It is the smallest and quickest to clean. Tomorrow clean another room and only worry about that. Want to lose 30 pounds? Work on just what you can do today for 10 minutes; go for a walk, eat less at one meal or eliminate one thing from your diet.
We lose momentum and increase our rate of failure because too many times we make the big picture SO BIG and HUGE, that it just seems too much and too hard to accomplish. By just focusing on the next step, right now, you make it smaller, easier and begin to see that you CAN do it.
Want to begin a stretching program? Awesome! Do 5 minutes when you wake up and it is done for the day and you will notice a difference in your day. Here are stretching videos to help you, just click on the link:
I am reading a great book that talks about this problem and easy solutions, "Excuses Be Gone!" by Dr. Wayne Dyer. I highly recommend it.
Do you feel more like flesh or stone?
Pain is a messenger, motivator and dictator. It is a signal to your brain to stop what causes the pain. It will motivate you to do something to get rid of the pain and it will dictate what you can and cannot do. This is when most people will seek help for their pain.
It is my personal belief that pain and rigidity is part physical and part a physiological response to influences and emotions that affect you on a conscious and subconscious level. ("Heal Your Back Pain", by John E. Sarno, MD)
Most of what we do in this world is sitting and forward bending of the shoulders, thoracic spine and head. This causes shortening of muscles in the front of the body and over-stretching and tightening of muscles in the back of the body, hence the pain in the neck, upper back and lower back and/or hips.
In discussion with clients about what was happening in their life when the pain started, I hear stories of all kinds, but it usually boils down to anxiety, anger, lack of sleep and frustration. These are not emotions that we culturally deem "appropriate" so they are buried and we politely agree to take on more than we can do and stay healthy. Then, you bend and pick up something, get out of bed or move a certain way that causes a spasm and that becomes the event we tack onto the message of pain, instead of the root of the problem.
I am not talking about falls or injury, this is something so simple, like picking up a bag of groceries or getting out of the car.
The best thing for any body is stretching and strengthening. Age is not a reason to stop moving. I have clients in their 70's and 80's that do yoga, briskly walk 2-5 miles and speed along on road bikes. There are 94 year old marathoners, so age is no excuse!
Bodies were built to work and move. What are you doing with yours?
Simple techniques to unwind mentally, emotionally, physically:
- MOVE...go for a walk, run, bike ride or dance, yoga, light weights
- Schedule at least 5 minutes of quiet time each day
- "No", is a complete sentence, say it more then reward yourself for taking care of you!
- Stretch at least 10 minutes every day
"Fill your bowl to the brim
and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife
and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security
and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people's approval
and you will be their prisoner.
Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity."
- excerpt from "tao te ching", english translation by Stephen Mitchell
Don't lose today because it is all you really have.
I was listening to someone today that was so upset about several things going on and none of it was "hers" or "today". There was emotional upheaval attached to things in the past, worry and anxiety about the future...all of it about other people. She was not in a place to hear me gently tell her this, but it was a good reminder for me.
How many times do we get all upset and twisted emotionally about past, future or people? The past can't be changed and the future isn't here yet and neither one can be controlled no matter how hard you try. You really only have control of right now, this moment. People are going to do what they are going to do, regardless of what you say or do..
When the mind starts winding itself into knots, the body follows. Many times when I ask clients what is going on in their life, they are really telling me all the reasons their body is uncomfortable. What better way to get your attention than PAIN!?! The body uses several ways to get your attention; anxiety, rapid pulse, high blood pressure, headache, stomach or bowel problems, anger, sadness, and the list goes on...
Eckhart Tolle wrote a book, "The Power of Now", that I tried to read several years ago but at that time it didn't make any sense to me and I set it aside. Two years ago, I picked it up and the message resonated. I was in a place to understand his words and incorporated it into my meditation practice by reading and contemplating each idea prior to meditating.
At the time I began reading this book I had a lot of anger and sadness and was reliving past events that only kept the cycle of pain and anger going. Being able to stand back and realize what I was doing was the first step in healing the pattern and letting it go. I have this posted in my kitchen where I can see it from almost anywhere in my house (I have a tiny house):
"Accept what is,
Let go of what was,
Have faith in what will be."
Reading that every day has helped me focus on the present and step off the carousel of reliving old hurts or creating negative futures.
How many times have you seen someone with a disability or living with some hardship, but they haven't lost their smile? Beliefs and attitude have a lot to do with health, happiness and how well your life or your day goes.
A couple of years ago a client gave me a book that has made a big impact on me. “Peace Is Every Step”, by Thich Nhat Hanh is a little treasure of essays and vignettes of mindfulness and everyday life. One essay, “Flowers and Garbage” is about how everything is inter-related. The garbage is offensive and foul. The Rose is sweet-smelling and beautiful. You can’t have one without the other. The seeds of the rose need the nutrients of the composting garbage and the garbage needs the rose, as it declines and breakdowns, only to once again create the rose.
The challenges and struggles you’ve experienced help hone you into the person you are and/or want to become. Rather than be angry, resentful and hate those events and people that have hurt you, be grateful. You are a diamond that is being cut and polished by the good and bad.
Each negative has a positive. Sometimes you have to search or wait, but you will find it. Loss creates a void that makes room for something better.
Sitting here, I am listening to Andrea Bocelli, a blind man that has a voice from heaven. Thank goodness he chose to make the best of his talents instead of sinking into self-pity and despair. Steve Reeves was a handsome and skilled actor that suffered a horrific accident that resulted in his becoming so disabled he couldn’t even breath for himself. This pushed him to advocate for disabled people and a lot of good was accomplished. Michael Fox, who suffers from Parkinsons, is another example of someone well known and afflicted that has done good work.
Only through acceptance and “surrender” to the circumstances you find yourself in, can true healing and growth take place. Alcoholics Anonymous is an organization that was built on this premise. Holding onto hate, anger, resentment is actually letting your pride resist change. It takes courage and humility to endure and welcome challenge.
Does this mean you need to make big, earth shattering changes? No. Just like a move of even one pawn on the chessboard changes the possibilities of the game, start with small steps. Here are some easy things to do to begin the process:
Life isn’t easy and it can be a struggle to imagine anything good as the outcome. However, staying stuck in that belief only hurts you and attracts more of the same. Whatever you can do to find your smile will heal yourself and move things toward the positive.
Make sure your pets are safe this weekend!4th of July is when the most animals go missing. Keep them in the house and safe, please! To us, it is fun. To animals, it is the end of the world.
To all the humans...
Here’s wishing you a great 4th of July!
To some it is a day to gather with family and friends and celebrations with hotdogs, beer, finished up with displays of fireworks. To others it is a day to remember and reflect the sacrifice and service of all the man and women that have given the utlimate so that we have the freedoms we enjoy. Whatever this holiday is for you, I hope it is enjoyable.
I had a quiet walk in the park this morning with my dogs. I listened to the bells chime for mass to begin at the local church and reflected on how congregations were gathering all over the country. People coming together for a common belief, in peace and fellowship. What would that look like if we could do that on a larger scale?
What if we could do away with judgment and ego in politics, business, relationships, etc? What if instead of polarizing the masses, they were unified? What if the goal was the best interest of the whole instead of the few?
It seems like America is like any other family or group; dysfunctional and chaotic but it works. We have our good points and lots of stuff to work on. It will be interesting with the results of the election this year to see where we end up this time.
Want a chair massage? Come to Farmer's Market on Saturday from 2:30 to 6pm. I will be sharing a booth with Kim Conforti, another massage therapist and we are doing chair massage and selling stuff for a good cause. It is a $1/minute for chair massage.
When I was a reserve firefighter, in Los Osos, we answered the call of a woman that thought she was having a heart attack. We arrived at her home and her husband rushed us inside to where she was sitting in her living room with the TV playing in the background.
She was pale. Her breathing was rapid and shallow and she was having chest pain. She was obviously in distress. We hooked her up to the EKG and took her vitals. After running all the tests, the paramedics surmised she was having an anxiety attack. After questioning her about how it was triggered, it started while she was watching a market report. The market had dropped significantly that day and she lost a major portion of her retirement investments. We recommended she visit her doctor as soon as possible, just to make sure there was nothing else going on, not watch the news and we left.
Anxiety and panic attacks can happen anywhere to anyone at any time. Life is full of ups and downs and twists and turns that can be pretty rough for even the most stoic. With world events becoming more and more turbulent and violent, finding joy and taking a time out can help to keep calm.
Get out in nature, watch the bees at work, the treessway in the wind, or the fog lazily wrap up the coast. Take a hike and enjoy the view. Take an afternoon to visit with a dear friend or loved one. Read a good book. Make time in your day or week to do one thing, even for 5 minutes, that brings you joy.
Powerful hormones and endorphins are released when we experience positive feelings that can help with lowering blood pressure, stress levels and boost the immune system.
What brings you joy?
Many of you have had success in doing the stretches and are doing them regularly. Yay! Here is the link, if you want to get started. VIDEOS
Massage openings this week:
Wednesday - 1:30 3, 4:30, 6pm
Thursday - 3, 4;30, 6pm
Friday - 11:30, 1, 2:30, 4, 7pm
Saturday - 11am, 12:30, 2, 3:30, 5pm
The world is a crazy place...and it just seems to get worse. No matter where you turn, there is disturbing news and events taking place in every corner of our world. It can be hard to find the good and still keep a smile on your face. For me, taking time to meditate, walk on the beach or take a hike helps me get connected to my better self and keep my smile.
Some easy ways to find your "island of calm":
- Turn off your phone for an hour
- Do not watch the news or read the paper for a day
- Find a quiet place to read a good book
- Have coffee with a good friend
- Do something kind and unexpected for a stranger
_Before you get out of bed, in the morning, remind yourself of 5 things to be grateful for
These are just a few suggestions that might help you find your smile and your island of "calm". When all else fails...get a massage. It is the one place you don't have to talk to anyone, falling asleep is a compliment and it is all about you!
Happy Father's Day! Enjoy this day and celebrate the men in your life. Being a dad isn't easy and the job gets over-looked and under-appreciated many times. My dad isn't alive anymore and he wasn't perfect but he did his best. I am grateful that he was part of my life. Take the time today to be grateful for those in your life, perfect or not, because they helped influence you into becoming the amazing person you are.
The other day I was watching an interview of Steve Maxwell, a 63 year old, former fighter, fitness coach/trainer and functional movement guru. I find his ideas and techniques simple and effective. He is also mentioned in Christopher McDougall’s recent book, “Natural Born Heroes”.
During the interview, he mentioned Dr. John Kirsch and his book, “Shoulder Pain? The Solution and Prevention” and how this doctor found that something as simple as hanging was effective in helping heal and prevent problems… WHAT!?!?! That sounded interesting!
After looking up “shoulder hanging” on Google, I found a video and more interesting information.
Many times in the massage room, I have clients with pain, mobility issues and/or restrictions related to shoulders and sometimes it goes up into the neck. There can be several things going on, but if the muscles surrounding the shoulder blade are tight and restricting movement, that can be the source of numerous problems.
There are nerves and blood vessels that flow between the rib cage and shoulder joint. If muscles are tight or posture is poor, these can be impinged and pain will result, not to mention lack of circulation of toxins out and nutrients in.
In experimenting with hanging, my own experience has been that I feel like the shoulders have opened up and there is less pain in the area injured several years ago. Massage work also causes me to be in a shoulders forward position, much like working on a computer. Stretching the muscles in the chest area helps relieve the tension and strain on the muscles of the upper back.
I would encourage you to be gentle and begin with the doorway stretch. DO NOT BEGIN HANGING WITHOUT SUPPORT! Go to the local school and use the monkey bars and keeping your feet on the ground, just lower yourself slowly and feel what is going on in the shoulders. Watch the video before you go out and try this!
I would love to hear some feed back on your experience.