It’s Not Your Muscles. It’s Your Fascia

We’ve all experienced body pain and stiffness. And we often attribute it to creaky joints or “tight” muscles.  

And maybe you do a quick stretch or take a collagen supplement, but you can’t quite seem to get at it. 

What if I told you that the main source of that stiffness, achiness, and lack of flexibility could be from a body part you never knew existed? 

Fascia.  

It is believed that fascia contains approximately six times as many sensory nerves as muscle tissue. No wonder you are in pain! 

So what exactly is fascia and how can you reduce discomfort caused by it? 

What is fascia? 

Fascia is connective tissue that forms a web around all of your internal “stuff”. It surrounds your bones, vessels, muscles, nerves, and organs. It basically connects all of our internal structures together – kind of like a three-dimensional flexible scaffolding inside our bodies. It helps to transfer energy across structures and helps to transform the work of our muscles into smooth movement. 

Fascia should be supple and flexible while still maintaining structure. Think of it like a giant sheet of thin rubbery material – flexible enough to take on the shape of whatever it surrounds, but strong enough to maintain its integrity. It’s the Elastigirl of your insides. Okay, not really, but it’s a fun analogy. 

Fascia stretches and moves….until it doesn’t. Sometimes fascia thickens or gets stuck and that translates into stiffness, lack of flexibility, and even pain.  If you can recall my analogy with saran wrap around individual hotdogs? Saran wrap once around those hot dogs it loses its smoothness.

What causes “tight” fascia? 

Fascia can stick – both to itself as well as to the material it surrounds. It can stick to surrounding structures or you might feel little knots or bumps. This can be caused by a number of factors. 

  • Repetitive movement. Do the same thing over and over again such as running or cycling?  
  • Too little movement. Sit at a desk or in a car all day every day and don’t take your body through full range of motion?  
  • Trauma. Injury of any kind (including surgery) can also result in fascial adhesions. 

Fascia and movement 

Fascia helps us to move smoothly and effectively by connecting all of our internal structures together. It allows muscles to move, nerves and vessels to slide between joints, and organs to shift and move as influenced by the body

Fascia enables the transfer of energy and the distribution of tension so our movements are smooth and coordinated. 

Fascia and emotions 

Something that may surprise you is how fascia is tied to emotions.  

Because of the high number of nerves throughout the fascia, dysfunction in the fascia can result in emotional changes as well as physical discomfort.  

Have you ever felt weepy while experiencing widespread achiness? Me too. 

Fascial pain can lead to emotional changes which can lead to further postural changes (the way you slump forward when you don’t feel great). So reducing physical pain can help improve emotional aspects of pain as well. 

Is it fascia pain? 

Typically when there is a dysfunction in a muscle, you will experience pain with a specific movement. If you hurt your bicep, pain occurs when you use that bicep. 

But with fascia pain, your discomfort usually isn’t triggered by a specific movement. Widespread achiness and stiffness is a common complaint. Some people even complain that their skin hurts or experience more intense pain across one area of their body. 

With myofascial pain syndrome, fascial adhesions can worsen over time and develop into trigger points. 

Unlike with muscle injury, gentle movement often decreases fascial pain and improves range of motion. 

Ways to reduce fascia pain 

Heat  

Applying heat to an area of fascial pain helps to restore elasticity allowing you to stretch and move more effectively. So get in that tub or sauna! 

Move more 

Stretching, especially full-body movement like gentle yoga, manipulates the fascia and helps to reduce pain and stiffness. The key is to move the area in all directions. Be sure to twist and bend and stretch in as many directions as possible and hold those positions for extended periods to allow the fascia to release. 

Massage 

Massage therapy provides targeted treatment in specific areas and allows you to address an issue more comprehensively by generating heat, calming the nervous system, and treating muscle and fascia issues simultaneously.  

Massage therapy can also address any trigger points you may have, since trigger points are often hard to self-treat. 

Conclusion 

We all experience pain and stiffness from time to time. If chronic achiness and stiffness has been troubling you, a consistent program of heat, movement, and bodywork can be enormously effective at reducing discomfort and improving performance. 

Much love and light

Naomi

It’s Not Your Muscles. It’s Your Fascia

Forearms- YES, those are muscles too!

 It started with a twinge. You know, that sensation between a tickle and a tingle. 

Then it progressed to an ache. And then a throb. 

And now it hurts every time you try to type (which, let’s be honest, is all day long) or hold your coffee mug. 

For such small muscles, forearm injury can pack a real punch (pun intended, thank you) because they are integral to even the most basic everyday activities. 

So let’s break down this mighty group of muscles and learn what they do and how to keep them healthy and pain free. 

What do forearms do? 

The forearm is the lower arm, or the area of your arm between the wrist and elbow. 

Forearm muscles start just above the elbow and cross the elbow, wrist, and finger joints. These long, thin muscles allow you to bend and straighten your wrist, rotate your palms face up and face down, bend and straighten your elbow, and grip stuff. 

Forearms come into play with an endless array of daily activities such as (but not limited to): 

  • Grasping and turning a doorknob 
  • Opening a jar 
  • Holding a glass 
  • Fist bumping 
  • Arm wrestling 
  • Giving a thumbs-up 
  • Typing on a computer keyboard  
  • Playing golf or tennis 
  • Performing push ups, pullups, and holding on to any type of weight 

What are the forearm muscles? 

Muscles of the forearm can be grouped into two categories: flexors and extensors. These muscles affect the elbow, wrist, and fingers, so there’s a lot going on. 

For such a small area of the body, the list of specific muscles gets pretty long (19 or 20, depending on who you ask!) and there’s a lot of Latin, so I’ll spare you the specifics. But if you want to go down that rabbit hole, kenhub.com is a great anatomy resource 

Forearm flexors 

Flexors do just that: they flex a joint (or decrease the angle). Bending your elbow, bending your wrist, and closing your hand are all flexing movements. 

Forearm flexors can also move the wrist side to side and turn your palms face down. 

Forearm extensors 

Like with the flexors, there will not be a quiz on the specific muscle names. The important thing to know is that these muscles extend (or straighten) the elbow, wrist, and fingers.  

Forearm extensors can also move the wrist side to side and turn your palms face up. 

Types of forearm pain 

Forearm pain can be the result of an injury or overuse. Some of the most common forearm pain conditions are: 

  • Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) 
  • Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis) 
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome 
  • Trigger points 
  • Repetitive stress 
  • Arthritis 

Most forearm pain develops over time, and pain can range from sharp and shooting to a dull ache or throb. 

Common treatments for forearm pain 

As always, the type of treatment depends on the exact cause of the pain. You should see a doctor if you’ve experienced a trauma, don’t know the source of your pain, or your pain is worsening over time. 

The good news is that most forearm pain can be successfully treated through behavior modification and some simple remedies. 

The most common treatments for forearm pain are: 

  • Rest 
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs  
  • Ice  
  • Exercise and stretches 

In cases of something like tennis elbow or carpal tunnel syndrome, physical therapy can be very useful to strengthen underused muscles or modify movements to avoid further injury. 

Forearm stretches and exercises 

Many people underestimate the value of stretching your forearms. But you can easily perform these stretches throughout the day while working at your desk, or even in the evening while watching TV. Regular gentle stretching can help ease forearm pain in a very short period of time. 

As with any stretching protocol, maintain a pain free range of motion. You want to feel a sensation and be able to take slow even breaths throughout the stretch. If you experience pain or have to hold your breath, back off. 

Wrist circles 

Making a loose fist, rotate your wrist 10 times in one direction, then 10 times in the other direction. 

Wrist extensor stretch 

Extend your right arm in front of you with the palm facing down. Using your left hand, gently continue to bend the wrist. Hold 10 seconds. You should feel the stretch along the top of your forearm. 

Repeat on the left side. 

Wrist flexor stretch 

Extend your right arm in front of you with the palm facing up. Using your left hand, gently bend the hand and fingers of your right hand back toward you. Hold 10 seconds. You should feel the stretch along the front of your forearm. 

Repeat on the left side. 

Can massage help forearm pain? 

Massage is extremely useful in reducing forearm pain and helping to keep you pain free over time. While you can massage your own forearms, it can create more stress on the working muscles as you try to access hard-to-reach areas or grip using muscles that are already irritated. 

Massage therapy to the forearms can improve circulation which can help reduce inflammation. It’s also best for a licensed massage therapist to help assess and treat trigger points that might be contributing to your pain.  

During your massage treatment, passive stretching through your range of motion can also be critical to helping you feel good again – not to mention it feels great. 

Experiencing forearm pain? 

Want to reduce your forearm pain? I’d love to help. So use those forearm muscles to click here and set up an appointment. 

Forearms- YES, those are muscles too!

Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome with Massage

When you think of massage therapy, what comes to mind? Perhaps you consider those aches and pains in your shoulders and neck, or maybe your sore, tired, or swollen legs, or even a way you can cope with excess stress. 

However, the therapeutic nature of massage therapy extends far beyond just relieving stiff muscles or alleviating stress and anxiety.

You can actually ease the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome with massage therapy. 

So what exactly is carpal tunnel syndrome? Why do certain people develop carpal tunnel syndrome? And how does massage therapy improve your life if you are dealing with the pain and discomfort of carpal tunnel? 

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a fairly common condition that affects the hand and wrist. It causes pain, numbness, tingling and weakness. This happens when there is an increase in pressure in the wrist, which compresses a nerve known as the median nerve, which runs through the wrist.  

This median nerve is what allows your thumb, middle finger, index finger and even part of your ring finger to sense things and receive impulses from the brain and nervous system. While it does not affect your small “pinky” finger, carpal tunnel syndrome impacts much of the hand, and beyond the pain and discomfort it causes, it can impact your work and personal life too.

Carpal tunnel syndrome affects as many as 10 million Americans, and while it’s very treatable, many suggested remedies include surgery, painkillers and splints, which are temporary fixes and highly invasive or mask the problem rather than dealing with it. 

With carpal tunnel syndrome, not only do you lose range of mobility, but as a result of the pain and stiffness, muscles in the hand and thumb begin to atrophy, and basic skills become harder and harder to accomplish.

What Is the Carpal Tunnel?

Your carpal tunnel is a small pathway through which the median nerve and several tendons run from your wrist to your hand. It helps connect the hand to the forearm. Think of it as a railway tunnel, and the median nerve and tendons are the train tracks that run through it. When the tunnel is compressed or experiences pressure, it can affect the railroad tracks that run through it.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

There are a few other, similar conditions that may be confused with carpal tunnel syndrome. So how do you know if it’s actually carpal tunnel syndrome? Here are a few signs to watch for:

● Hand and wrist pain

● A burning sensation located in the middle and index fingers

● Numbness in the thumb and fingers

● A sensation like an electric shock that runs through the wrist and hand

● Insensitivity to heat and cold

Who Is at Risk of Developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

There is a common misconception that only factory workers who perform repetitive motions for hours each day or office workers who spend hours typing at their desks can get carpal tunnel. 

The truth?

It can affect anyone who uses their hand or wrist over and over again in the same way and can be caused by work or play. In fact, you can develop carpal tunnel syndrome from playing video games.

So who is at a higher risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome?

● Women are three times more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome than men, probably because their carpal tunnels are narrower.

● People with diabetes or other metabolic disorders that affect the body’s nerves have more likelihood of compression

.● Adults over the age of 20 also are at higher risk.

Other important things to know? It is especially common in people who work with their hands: those performing assembly line work (because of the repetitive nature of the work), those in the manufacturing business, those who sew or spend a lot of time with tools like hammers or wrenches, and those in the meat, fish and poultry packing business.

How Massage Therapy Can Help

Carpal tunnel syndrome can require many different kinds of treatment, including surgery, to address the pain and numbness.  Massage therapy is a highly effective method for dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome. There is a significant, measurable change in symptoms and severity for those who received massage therapy for their carpal tunnel syndrome. 

And it’s non-invasive and cost-effective and will get you back to work (or play) in no time.

Through our work together in massage therapy sessions, I can apply techniques to help break down any existing scar tissue, release compression in your carpal tunnel and median nerve, and restore elasticity and strength to your wrist, fingers and hand. 

Massage therapy sessions also can work to reduce friction in areas that are inflamed—areas with chronic compression or pain. 

My work is focused on alleviating these issues that come along with carpal tunnel syndrome. Massage therapy is there to lessen your symptoms, ease your pain and increase your grip strength all at once, without surgery or painkillers.

Don’t let your issues with carpal tunnel stand between you and the rest of your life. Let me help you discover a non-invasive, therapeutic approach to lifting your carpal tunnel-related pain, discomfort and numbness.

Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome with Massage

Calf Muscles 101: What You Need to Know

It’s a beautiful day on the tennis court. You’re up 45-15, and the ball comes sailing across the net, perfectly aimed for you to return the shot. You gracefully (of course) lunge to the right to return the ball and…..feel searing pain in your lower leg. Calf muscles. We all have shapely bits of flesh tacked onto our lower legs, and maybe some of you even spend time in the gym sculpting them into a more pleasing form. But what do the calves DO, why do they hurt so much sometimes, and how can we treat calf injury and prevent problems from recurring?

What are the calf muscles?

Calf muscles are certainly not the largest muscles in our body. But they manipulate two joints and keep us standing, walking, running, jumping, and dancing. It’s a tall order for a seemingly small group of muscles. Our legs and feet take a beating every day, and calf injury and dysfunction is common and can keep us laid up for extended periods.

But exactly what makes up our calves?

Calf anatomy The calf is the back portion of the lower leg and consists of three main structures:

Gastrocnemius muscle – This is the muscle we think of when we think about the calf. It’s the larger muscle on the back of the lower leg that provides the rounded shape.

Soleus muscle – Soleus is a flat muscle (shaped like a fillet of sole) located beneath the gastroc.

Achilles tendon – The gastroc and soleus merge together and transition into the achilles tendon. The achilles tendon then attaches to the main heel bone.

Why is it called the calf?

If you are at all like me, you’re not thinking, “That’s interesting. Thanks for the information.” Instead you’re thinking “Where the heck does it get its name, then, if none of the structures that make it up have the word “calf” in it?”

Full disclosure…I had to look this up, but still couldn’t find a definitive answer. Apparently, the word “calf,” in reference to the back of the lower leg, appears as far back as the 14th century and is derived from the Old Norse “kalfi” and possibly related to the Irish Gaelic word “calpa.” As to why it’s called a calf, there doesn’t seem to be a consensus.

Some argue that the shape of the muscle resembles a young calf (the animal). Another idea is that it’s related to being a separate, smaller version of a whole (akin to an iceberg broken off of a glacier). How’s that for a non-specific answer? Moving on…

Affected joints

Calf muscles cross both the knee and ankle joints.

Gastroc starts above the knee joint and ends at the achilles. It affects the knee (bends the knee) and ankle (lifts the heel).

Soleus starts on the lower leg and ends at the achilles. It affects the ankle (lifts the heel).

The achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in the body and connects the calf muscles to the foot so we can walk (and jump, and dance, and run). It transfers all the power of the calf muscles to the foot.

Types of calf pain

Pain in the calf can range from dull soreness to constant throbbing to sharp and searing depending on the cause.

Calf injuries are very common and can be a result of accident, injury, overuse, or other medical reasons. But injuries aren’t limited to sports-related activity or accidents. Tight calves due to lack of stretching can also cause a large amount of discomfort and affect our ability to do the things we like to do!

Common calf injuries

Sometimes, calf pain is the result of a problem with the muscle or tendon itself, and other times calf pain is a side effect of another problem.

Muscle/tendon injuries

  • Calf strain
  • Plantar fasciitis (pain in the bottom of the foot)
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Charley horse/cramp
  • Bruise/trauma

Non muscular causes of calf pain

  • Blood clot
  • Baker’s cyst
  • Arthritis
  • Nerve pain

When should I see a doctor for calf pain?

Seek medical attention if there was no obvious event that caused your pain or you do not know the recommended treatment. Sudden onset of pain without warning or unusual symptoms is always a cause for concern.

Some medical conditions like diabetes or cancer can cause calf pain, so always contact your doctor if symptoms begin or increase without warning.

Calf pain treatment

Obviously, the most effective treatment for calf pain depends on the reason. But let’s talk about common treatments for the muscle/tendon injuries we discussed above.

Rest

The first (and often very effective, not to mention cheap!) treatment for almost any injury is to rest the area. Don’t use the muscle and allow time for the inflammation to subside. A rest period may also include ice, elevation, or a therapy tool like a boot depending on the nature of the injury.

Stretching

Calf muscles are typically over stressed and under stretched. Along with massage, daily stretching can help to provide big relief! The good news is that stretching your calves only takes a few minutes and can be done while watching TV or waiting for the coffee to finish brewing.

Massage therapy

If you suffer from consistently tight or sore calf muscles, stretching alone often isn’t enough to keep it at bay. In addition to stretching, you can use a stick roller or foam roller to massage your calves. But often the most effective approach is treatment by a massage therapist. I’ll be able to get at the muscles from all angles as well as release tension in the surrounding leg muscles. I can often do this in a much less painful and more relaxing way than if you used a foam roller. This means a more balanced treatment and longer-lasting relief.

Physical therapy

PT is often appropriate for severe issues like an achilles tendon tear or chronic sports-related issues. Physical therapy can help identify patterns of weakness or overcompensation and teach you more productive patterns of movement so you can avoid injury in the future. Massage therapy is often used in conjunction with physical therapy to help address surrounding tightness and help to move inflammation out of the affected area.

Need help with calf pain?

I’d love to help you manage that pesky calf pain and get you back in the swing of things again pain free. Set it up here .

Calf Muscles 101: What You Need to Know

What to Expect for Your First Massage

A massage is intended to be a calm and relaxing experience. But if it’s your first massage, you may feel a little trepidation. Don’t let that hold you back. With a little information about what to expect, you’ll walk into your first massage feeling like a confident pro!

Expect Communication

Expect a lot of questions at your first massage appointment. I’ll need to know a little bit about your health history and what your goals are for that session. Upon booking your first session you will be directed to fill out an Intake form. Your clear and honest answers will help perform the best massage possible for you.

We’ll talk about why you’re coming in for a massage and what your goals are for the session. Are you having pain? Do you need to relax?

I’ll show you the massage room and walk you through the process. We’ll decide what to prioritize and how you should lay on the table (face up or face down, or on your side) before the massage.

Expect to Dress or Undress to Your Level of Comfort

What does that mean exactly? Many people worry about having to be undressed for their massage.

Most massage techniques are traditionally performed with the client unclothed; however, what you wear is entirely up to you. Simply put: you can leave your underwear on or take them off.

I’ll leave the room so you may undress, get on the massage table (it’s super-cozy), and get comfortable under the draping sheet & blanket.

Movies and TV shows always show massage clients naked on a table with just a tiny towel for draping. That’s not what real massage draping looks like! I use sheets that cover your whole body. You’ll stay covered throughout the massage, I’ll only undrape the part of your body that I am massaging right then.

Expect More Communication

When I come back into the room, I’ll help you get comfortable with pillows or bolsters. Don’t be afraid to adjust and fidget as needed during the massage to stay cozy.

It’s great if you can let your body relax and sink into the table. If I need to move your arms or legs, etc, I’ll do the work! This takes practice, you’ll probably try to help me. I’ll remind you. With a little wiggle or a calm deep breathe.

It’s really important for you to tell me if any massage techniques I use cause pain. Pain is not okay. There may be a certain level of discomfort and ‘good ache’ if we’re working on a problem area. It’s important that you tell me about that, too, so we can tailor the massage to be most effective without causing injury.

I’ll check in with you as we go, but please speak up if you become too warm or too cool, if you are not comfortable on the table, or need another pillow, or if you just hate the music!

I’ll tell you when the massage is over and leave the room so you can slowly get up and dressed. All I ask is just open the door for me when you are dressed and ready.


Expect Some Final Instructions

You should expect to feel mellow and relaxed after your massage. We’ll talk about how you feel and I may show you some self care stretches or share some tips to keep you feeling great between appointments. We can also talk about how frequently you may want to get massage to keep on feeling great.

If we addressed pain issues, you may immediately feel a reduction in pain, or it may take a day or two before you feel that relief.

You can make the most of your first massage by knowing what to expect and asking all the questions you like so you can feel cozy before, during and after the massage. See you at your first massage! Can’t wait to meet you!

Love and Light,

Naomi

What to Expect for Your First Massage

Why Your Hands (and Forearms) Need Massage

Gripping a steering wheel. Working a trackpad or mouse. Hovering over keyboards. And stoves. And laundry. You get it.

We put our hands and forearms through an awful lot of stress every day. Squeezing and clenching and buckling and writing. All of it. And yet, when I start to massage a hand and forearm, I often hear, “Oh! I had no idea my arms were so sore!” It’s a common surprise, but not really a surprise.

They get sore. And when they get really overworked, we end up with carpal tunnel, tendonitis, trigger finger and a whole host of other issues.

The upside here: it’s pretty easy to massage your own hands and forearms.

Here’s how:

Start at the top. Using the opposite hand, gently squeeze the meaty, fleshy areas just below your elbow. Squeeze on the inside of your arm then on the outside. Gently is the key here, don’t be jamming your thumb in there hard and causing pain. It should feel good, and if it doesn’t, back off a bit.

If you want to get fancy, roll the wrist around and wiggle the fingers as you squeeze. Do that light squeezing all the way down to the wrist, and do this a few times, up and down the forearm to cover all the territory there.

Then move to the hand, using a light pincer grip, squeeze that meaty area at the base of your thumb. Lightly squeeze up and down all those finger bones through the palm, and up each finger. When you find a good spot, stick around it for an extra minute.

Whatever feels good to you is just fine. Then, switch hands and do it again on the other arm! Better yet, find a buddy and massage each other’s arms and hands.

If you’ve got carpal tunnel or tendonitis, or just achiness and pain that you can’t figure out, you may need even more attention to keep those issues at bay. For this, I suggest you see a massage therapist. Yup. That’s me. I can work on those issues, and teach you some self care techniques to practice at home, too.

Love and light!

Naomi

Why Your Hands (and Forearms) Need Massage

5 Tips for Surviving the Holidays


5 Tips for Surviving the Holidays

The holidays are kinda weird. For all the ‘Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ jingles, it’s also the toughest for many people. Some people over-commit to family, friends, volunteer tasks and find themselves over scheduled and unable to actually enjoy the season. Some of us dread the inevitable, obligatory socializing and the pressure of being ‘on’. Some of us are grieving.

So here are a few less-typical Holiday Survival Tips. Some of them are brilliant. Some of them are not. But maybe you’ll find a nugget in here.

Ditch obligations

Just because you’ve always gone to Aunt Sue’s for Christmas Eve doesn’t mean you always have to. You can stop going.

Say, “I’m starting a new tradition this year, I’m really looking forward to cooking with my kids and having a quiet family night.” Then set up another time to visit Aunt Sue when you’ll actually be able to visit her, instead of just a hug between appetizers while stuffed into a small house with 30 loud relatives.

Reframe obligations

When I hear people complain about all the ‘stuff’ they have to do, I usually say, “Dude. Stop doing it.” The typical reply is, “Oh, but I really like having 37 different types of cookies and seeing all my 3rd cousins!” Cool. I can respect that. But stop looking at (and speaking of) the tasks and events like chores.

This isn’t a martyr contest. Nobody gives a darn that Betty SUV Soccer Mom makes her bundt cake from scratch and you use a mix. Except Betty, and that’s her issue. Do stuff because you want to, because it brings you joy. And quit doing the stuff you don’t want to do.

Stick with the people who warm your soul

Some of us are not close with our families. For many, many people, family relationships are rarely nourishing and often painful. We’ve built friendships that stand in for the sibling and parental relationships that will simply never be fulfilling.

So why feel obligated to spend a holiday with anyone other than those who bring us joy and unconditional love? Create a holiday plan with the people you most enjoy and cherish. or at the very least, an escape plan to unwind with the people who will let you vent after a stressful family interaction.

Step back from the gift-giving (and receiving) or just change it dramatically

Do you really want another gift set of perfumey bath gel and body lotion? Do you really want to be giving that to someone else? Blech. Maybe it’s time to reexamine your gift-giving habits. Instead of exchanging gifts with your adult friends and family, can you decide to spend that money having a great dinner together in January?

If you feel really attached to giving a tangible object, can you simplify the process? Find one universal gft, and give it to all your people. A jar of local honey from you favorite apiary, a holiday ornament purchased from a local charity.

Rethink your assumptions

Just because you’ve always done the holidays a certain way, doesn’t mean you have to keep doing that. It’s all a choice. Sometimes you don’t even need to change the pattern, just recognizing that it’s a choice is enough.

What changes have you made to improve your holiday season? Help a sister out and share in the comments!

Wishing you a happy, merry, joyous whatever-you-celebrate. I hope you get exactly the holiday you want (and deserve).

Love and light!

5 Tips for Surviving the Holidays

Stop headaches before they start!!

headache

June is Migraine and Headache Awareness Month and we are going to jump right in and look at some ways to stop the pain before it starts. Are you ready? Let’s go.

 

Avoid triggers

If certain foods or scents have triggered headaches in the past, it could be time to make a note of them and avoid them at all costs. Things like caffeine, cigarette smoke, and bright lights can be a big culprit in spurring on pain, but it doesn’t have to be that obvious. Perfumes, loud noises, flowers, and even lunch meat have the power to make you miserable.

 

Workout often

Exercising on a regular basis reduces tension and can help prevent headaches. Choose something you enjoy doing – walking, biking, kayaking, hiking, etc. – and follow the proper guidelines for the exercise you’re engaging in. That means stretching and warming up slowly. And don’t forget proper hydration.

 

Bonus: It is also said that obesity can be a factor in triggering migraines, so exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight or lose excess pounds.

 

Eat and sleep regularly

Lack of sleep and skipping meals can aggravate symptoms for the migraine sufferer. Make sure you are getting enough fluids and are eating meals at regular times. Lack of sleep (or even getting too much sleep) will also aggravate symptoms, so implement routine and stick to it.

 

Control stress

Stress. Stress. Stress. It happens. Sometimes it’s hard to avoid. The only thing we can change is our response to it. Learn techniques to reduce stress levels like breathing, yoga and meditation. You can also combat stress with a massage, a long walk, a hot shower, or whatever you need to do to take the edge off.

 

Aromatherapy

Essential Oils are a wonderful tool to reduce the pain associated with headaches. Personally I have had migraines in the past, this was when I was first introduced to EO’s as a medicine versus aroma/perfume. Currently I have found that using a Peppermint inhalant helps to reduce the pain.   **please note: be sure that the oils you are using are from a trusted source. Any questions I will be happy to direct you**
According to the Migraine Research Foundation, nearly 36 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches. Acknowledging the triggers and patterns surrounding your migraine episodes will help you figure out what’s causing them and minimize your chances of experiencing headache pain.

 

Love & Light!

Naomi

Stop headaches before they start!!

Love your skin!

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As a child I never really enjoyed laying out in the sun. Although a few childhood summers  I just wanted to be like everyone else with the sun kissed hair, and the bronze skin. So I attempted to make a peace sign out of cardboard, I laid out on my driveway with my cardboard cutout on my leg, the radio blasting Paula Abdul, waited for my sun made tattoo and instead burned. Ever since I never have the golden bronze days just the lobster red. As a child of the 80’s & 90’s sun screen was known, but not forced to use like it is now. I bring my kids to summer camps with a mad dash of application just before they hurriedly run in! If they are  not smelling like coppertone they will call me back to lather up my kids! By the end of summer we have the routine down, I’m looking forward to a smooth summer of 2016! 

With my lack of sun tanning  and  the few times I times I laid in a tanning bed (I can count on one hand). I never thought I would be a candidate for Melanoma. I was wrong… August of 2003 I went in for a routine lady OBGYN visit and well long story short I had 9 small dark spots and two large brown areas tested and sure enough some came back positive and the borders needed to be fully removed. It was an eye opening experience. YOU CAN GET SKIN CANCER WHERE THE SUN DOES NOT SHINE!  So please in addition to your sun exposed skin please get your “entire” body checked! Hair/scalp, armpits, genitals.  

Simple Steps to Prevent and Detect Melanoma/Skin Cancer

Summer is right around the corner and where there is more sun, there is often more skin exposure. May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month and we are going to look at some ways you can prevent and detect skin cancer.

PREVENT

Cover up with clothes and sunscreen.

As a rule of thumb, cover up as much as possible. Be sure to wear a broad-brimmed hat and UV blocking sunglasses. Use broad spectrum (UVA/B) sunblock with SPF 15 or higher every day. If you’ll be active outdoors, opt for a water-resistant, UVA or UVB sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. (Sunscreens should be used on babies over six months of age.)

Avoid harsh sun and tanning.

Avoid getting a sunburned at all costs. Skip the tanning and never use UV tanning beds. The sun is strongest between 10AM and 4PM, so try to avoid the sun during these hours and find some shade. Make sure to keep newborns out of the sun.

DETECT

Perform a head-to-toe self exam.

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends everyone practices a self examination every month.  Skin cancers found and removed early are, more often than not, curable. You may find having a doctor perform the initial examination will help assure you that any existing spots, moles or freckles are totally normal and treat any that aren’t. After that a routine self exam shouldn’t take you longer than 10 minutes.

Get your partner involved.

In addition to seeing your physician annually for a professional skin exam, have your partner keep an eye out for any changes in your skin. Sometimes they see parts of our bodies that we don’t see everyday (like the small of our back or behind your neck). Have a discussion about the importance of paying attention to changes in your skin and make sure you return the favor by keeping an eye on any changes on their skin.

Get regular massages.

First, you should know, it’s not up to your massage therapist to check you for signs of cancer, but it definitely can’t hurt having an extra set of eyes on you! When you are a receiving regular massages, as your massage therapist, I will become familiar with your body and all the little markings that go with it. Sometimes, a massage therapist is a first line of defence since I will notice if a birthmark, freckle, or mole has changed size or shape.  

Prevention is only half the battle. And hopefully it’s the only battle you will ever face. If you should happen to find yourself in a different battle, the early detection of skin cancer is paramount. The sooner you catch it, the better your chances are of beating it.

Enjoy your summer, but remember to protect yourself from the sun and bring ANYTHING suspicious to your doctor immediately.

Love  & light!

Naomi

Love your skin!

Stress? What Stress… We got THIS!

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For stress awareness and national anxiety month, I want to pass along some tips to calm those nerves. First, let me say by no means am I a stress expert. Though, I have had my fair share of it, along with the rest of the world. In fact with all that is going on in current news we all should take 5 minutes a day to get back to our center, so we can fully handle what life is going to offer!

  • Exercise: Go for a walk, a bike ride. Do jumping jacks anything to get that blood pumping and flowing bringing all the good oxygenated blood throughout your entire body!
  •  Get regular sleep: Being tired and cranky can always make for a bad stressful situation. Prevent the stress blues by catching up on your ZZZ’s.
  • Massage!!  Keep up with massage maintenance!!

 Finally last one! It’s so simple you may laugh… BREATHE… YES! 

“But I am breathing, all the time in fact!” You say!

Well yes my friend you are, surely you are! You are alive and reading this!(thank you)  BUT, with this fast paced society we live in we don’t really take the time to ‘just breathe’. I mean deep down into your gut breathe. Pushing your inhale down into your belly, imagining, this breath, as a hand inside pushing your belly button out. What you are feeling is your diaphragm expanding. Now slowly exhale, being mindful, that upon exhaling you are bringing your belly button back into your spine. Try again! Deep inhale of life-sustaining air, try not to raise your shoulders, you are breathing into your gut. Exhale slow, steady. How do you feel? Life doesn’t have to be stressful. Breathe and know that our universe has this path for you and you’re exactly where you need to be at this very moment!   

Love and light,

Naomi

Stress? What Stress… We got THIS!