Reflexology

Healthy at Any Age

beach-2090181_1920

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone told me about an ailment they’re experiencing and concluded that “it must just be because I’m getting old(er).”

While it’s true that there is a degeneration that happens as we age, and we can’t get away from that entirely (our parts weren’t meant to last forever, sadly), there IS much we can do to improve our health, functioning, and mobility. Getting older doesn’t have to equate to living in pain or lacking in vitality.

In a recent issue of “Spry Living,” author Marygrace Taylor shared strategies for staying young literally from head to toe. Here’s a summary of her tips:

For your brain: listen to music! Music stimulates the parts of the brain responsible for processing not only sound, but movement (like dancing!), emotion, memory, rewards and patterns. Neurologists suggest that we challenge ourselves to listen to new, unfamiliar music in addition to our favorites. This requires “a greater degree of cognitive effort to process, and may lead to the formation of new connections within the brain.” Sounds good to me!

For your eyes: eat up your veggies! Carrots aren’t the only vegetable that are good for your eyes. Leafy greens like spinach and kale deliver important antioxidants that help protect our sight by supporting the retina’s ability to defend against stressors like sunlight and smoke.

For your face: get some beauty sleep! No kidding, sleep is critical for helping skin stay supple and fresh. In one study, women who slept better had fewer fine lines, better pigmentation, and more elasticity in their skin. They also healed faster from damaging conditions like sunburns and dehydration.

For your heart: hug it out! Managing stress turns out to be just as important as eating right and exercising when it comes to heart health. Hugs trigger the release of pleasure hormones while reducing levels of stress hormones. One study even concluded that women who received more hugs from their partners had lower blood pressure and resting heart rates!

For your muscles and bones: keep moving! Exercise is the single most important thing we can do to prevent loss of bone density and lean muscle. You don’t have to be a marathon runner or a gym rat. Dr. Vonda Wright, who authored “Fitness After 40” recommends walking up to 2 miles, 3-5 times per week on a local high school track, and then adding some step-climbing on the bleachers. Or, if you have knee issues, work out in a pool, walking forward, backward, and lunging side to side in chest-high water for 40 minutes.

For your feet: relax with a nice soak! Older feet have experienced a lifetime of pounding. When we hurt, we can alter the way we walk, which can lead to more problems and more pain. Regular soaking in a gallon of warm water with a 1/4 cup of Epsom salts for 15 minutes can ease stiffness and soreness. Adding a couple of drops of lavender essential oil smells good (eliminating foot odor!), helps us relax, and even helps prevent fungal infections around the toenails.

I would, of course, add that foot reflexology is a GREAT way to keep your feet—and your whole person—in tip-top shape!

If you feel age is a limiting factor, maybe this will provide inspiration: click here

Article source material: “Your Total Body Anti-Aging Plan,” by Marygrace Taylor, “SpryLiving” March 2017, parade.com

Category : Blog &Massage Therapy &Personal Growth &Reflexology

Energy Behind the Wall

electricity

 

People ask me, how does reflexology work?

There really are two components to this wonderful healing art. The first is that reflexologists (at least the ones that train through the Academy of Ancient Reflexology as I did) use rhythmic, alternating pressure, with care given to how we “flow” from one area of the foot or hand to the next. The client gets to decide what amount of pressure is comfortable for them. It doesn’t have to hurt to be effective. In fact, we believe that pain is not healing. It’s much better to allow soothing touch to lull the nervous system into a deeply relaxed state—that’s where healing can really happen.

When we’re in that relaxed state, our bodies leave “fight or flight” mode, and enter into “rest and repair” mode. When we’re stressed, our bodies naturally divert energy to mechanisms that get us ready to fight or flee: our heart rate and breathing increase, our pupils dilate, our hair stands on end, our skeletal muscles get the lion’s share of blood so they have oxygen and energy to MOVE!

Because of this, internal systems are a little bit deprived of blood supply, and things slow down or even shut down. Digestion and fighting infection, for example, can wait until the “threat” has passed. That’s why people who are always stressed out tend to have gut issues and can get sick all the time. They live in habitual fight or flight mode.

As reflexology helps us shift into rest and repair mode, our breathing slows. Blood and lymph circulation improve, digestion is supported and better able to deliver nutrients—all the “internal operating” systems can work at their optimal level because nerves are calm and blood is no longer being diverted to the extremities.

Still, over time practitioners have been able to identify specific reflex points in the hands and feet that correspond to all our organs and glands and parts of the body. We’ve never identified direct nerves from the reflex points to the corresponding body parts. Its more likely that information is relayed to the brain, and then from the brain to the body part.

Is this directly and only through the nervous system? We don’t think so. The second component of how reflexology works is through “subtle energy.” Until recently, this has been largely a mystery to explain. In the eastern philosophies, people are more likely to accept that something works because of the results experienced. But here in the analytical west, we like empirical evidence. Well, experts now are beginning to think, in western terms, that a connective tissue called fascia is involved in assisting the nervous system with the communication between tissues.

Acupuncturists learn about meridians that run through the body, connecting disparate body parts like a conduit for energy. This may seem kind of odd, but it’s possible that the meridians are actually embedded in the fascia, which does have “planes” that run three-dimensionally through the body in measurable and predictable ways.
Think about the electric wiring in our homes. It’s behind the walls. We can’t see it, but we know it’s there. If we want to turn on an overhead light, we don’t actually have to touch the light fixture itself. We can flip on a wall switch some distance away from the bulb, and “magically,” in a way that’s not visible to us, the information travels to the light and turns it on. This is kind of how acupuncture points—and reflex areas—work.

Category : Blog &Health &Massage Therapy &Reflexology

Celebrating Love

skeletal love

 

Americans have turned Valentine’s Day into a multi-billion dollar consumer holiday, demonstrating love with greeting cards, chocolates, flowers, dinner dates, and jewelry.

And while there’s nothing wrong with taking a moment to celebrate couples and romantic love, there’s a lot more to love than that!

In an exercise in my reflexology certification program, we were challenged to think about our core values—what really drives us to do what we do? Because if we want to market our skills successfully, we have to make sure that our message is genuinely in line with our beliefs.

What I learned about myself is that love really is at the core of everything I do. Loving myself fuels me to do my best every day. Loving the community I live in (and the planet I live on) motivates me to do what I can to make the world a better place. Love inspires me to give caring attention to my clients and help them love themselves and their own healing process. I believe that love is what connects us at a deeply subconscious, spiritual level. Love is at the center of empathy, compassion, strength (what is worth fighting for, after all? Something or someone you care deeply about—something or someone you love). Love is at the core of any passion!

Whenever I am in a challenging situation or dealing with a difficult person, I try to remember this mantra: Pour some love on it. Honestly, even when people are being ugly, they need love. They probably need love most of all.

If “love” is too intimate a word for you, try “kindness.” In 2017’s first issue of Parade magazine, writer Paula Spencer Scott challenged us to make kindness a resolution. Clearly, with everything going on in our world these days, we need more of it. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has launched a kindness challenge. One suggestion is to write a thank-you note to a different person each week of the year—52 opportunities to show gratitude and boost happiness! Another suggestion is to make it a point to do something—one simple, kind thing—every day. There’s a book by Orly Wahba called Kindness Boomerang: How to Save the World (and Yourself) Through 365 Daily Acts with specific ideas that make it easy. (Wahba has a TED talk called “Kindness Boomerang” as well.)

Psychologist Harriet Lerner states that the more we see a lack of kindness in public, the more it trickles down into our own personal lives. “But kindness is not an ‘extra,”” she states. “It’s at the heart of intimacy, connection, self-respect and respect for others.”

The good news is that any of us can turn it around. Author Leon Logothetis knows from experience, traveling the globe as an experiment just to see how far he could get relying on the kindness of strangers. He says, “On the surface, we’re in a kindness deficit, but underneath there’s a vast stream of it—if you just scratch the surface.”

Kelsey Gryniewicz of the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation agrees: “That’s the power of kindness—it just takes one person, one act. You don’t need money or a ton of time.”

And showing love (being kind) brings us multiple benefits.

1. It feels good. Literally, it lights up our brain’s reward center. And, there’s a real phenomenon called “social contagion.” So when you do your one small act of random kindness, it gives you a lift, it gives the person you are kind to a lift, and it also lifts up everyone who witnesses the act! Then everyone is inspired to “kind it forward.”

2. It improves our physical health. The article in Parade states that “When patients receive kind treatment from medical staff—better communication, an effort to get to know them as people—they have less anxiety and pain and shorter hospital stays… Doctors and nurses, in turn, feel more engaged and less exhausted.”

I would argue that any time we can use better communication and make an effort to get to know someone as a person—even if we are in a debate with someone who holds a view contrary to our own—we’re both going to have less anxiety, feel more engaged and less exhausted.

3. Kindness improves neighborhoods. This is my favorite example, again from Parade: A candidate running for mayor of Anaheim, CA in 2010 was inspired by signs made featuring a simple message: “Make Kindness Contagious.” (These were signs celebrating the life philosophy of a 6-year-old who’d been killed in an accident.) The young girl’s father was a doctor, and he told the candidate that “in medicine, you can treat the symptom or you can stimulate the body to heal itself.” The candidate wondered if the same principle could be applied to a city. “What if a culture of kindness could stimulate the city to heal from within?” he pondered. He has since started programs to help neighbors get to know each other. They form neighborhood watches to minimize crime, and they are more likely to rush to each others’ aid in an emergency or disaster. He encourages volunteerism and participation in the One Billion Acts of Kindness campaign. He even helped bring the Dalai Lama to give the keynote address on kindness to the U.S. Conference of Mayors. These are all good ways to foster connection and help make up the “kindness deficit”!o

There’s more in the article, related to nurturing emotional intelligence in kids and using kindness to combat bullying, acknowledging that millennials lead the way in seeking social workplaces and recognizing empathy as part of a sought-after skill set, and establishing that kindness is key to breaking down barriers socially and building a more connected world.

The call to action is making kindness a verb—to do kind things and live kindness. “It’s easy, it’s free, it feels good—and it really makes a difference,” writes the author.

So this Valentine’s Day, let’s pour some love on everyone we meet. Sure, you can shower your sweetie with gifts if you have one. But everyone needs loving kindness. Pass it on!

Category : Blog &Health &Massage Therapy &Reflexology

Good Ways to Strengthen Your Immune System

pole walking

We’re still in the midst of cold and flu season, and some people struggle with all the fluctuations in weather we’ve been having, or simply from being in closed spaces with less fresh air for long periods of time.

According to WebMD and what I know from my own training in massage and reflexology, here are some tips for boosting your immune system naturally to stay healthy and avoid getting sick:

Spend time with friends. New studies show that strong human connections are one of the most important factors in overall health. WebMD states, “People with healthy relationships are likely to outlive those with poor social ties.” Reach out to the friends you already have, and/or meet new like-minded people by volunteering, taking a class, or joining a club that interests you. (There are many, many groups listed on MeetUp.com if you need help finding one.

Do your best to stay positive. From WebMD: “When you think good thoughts, your body’s defenses work better… Savor the things you enjoy. Look for a silver lining — even in tough times — and try not to dwell on the bad stuff.”

Laugh! Truly, a good belly laugh gives our immune system a boost. Watch a funny movie or even a short video. Or visit a website with good jokes.

Adopt a dog. Being around any pet you love can be soothing (even staring into a fish tank can actually lower your blood pressure!), But dogs come with the added benefit of encouraging us to exercise more. Walking pumps our lymphatic system via the abundance of lymph vessels in our feet—so taking your furry buddy for a stroll is good for hearth health, mental health, and immune system health!! If you can’t commit to owning a pet, you could consider volunteering at a shelter.

Relax. Too much stress weakens out immune system. Make sure you have leisure time to do things you enjoy, and true down time to just rest or sleep.

Eat fresh produce. Fruits and veggies are full of vitamin C and antioxidants that guard against free radicals that damage cells. Go for the full spectrum of the rainbow, because each color provides a different abundance of nutrients.

Check with your doctor or nutritionist about supplements. Some foods and supplements can very specifically support our immune system, but some supplements also can interfere with medications you may be taking, and some can even be harmful when taken in excess. Best to talk with a professional before self “prescribing.”

Exercise! We already mentioned how good walking is. A half hour of exercise daily is a great way to reduce stress, boost the immune system, and promote overall health. It doesn’t have to be vigorous. See if you can find something you love, and feel free to mix it up: walking, swimming, cycling, yoga, tennis, dancing, golf etc. Just move!

Sleep! Good quality sleep is every big as important as exercise. (And regular activity can actually improve sleep!) Without sleep, your immune system won’t have sufficient strength to fight illness. To get the best night’s sleep, try to give yourself time to unwind in the evening, have a consistent bedtime schedule, stay active during the day, skip caffeine late in the day and alcohol near bedtime, and keep your bedroom cool.

Drink in moderation. Many of us socialize and celebrate with a bit of booze. While there is nothing wrong with a little alcohol (and perhaps even some benefit!), too much of it can weaken our immune system and cause us to get sick more often. The recommended limit is no more than two drinks a day for men and one for women.

Have sex! Believe it or not, people who enjoy a healthy sex life get sick less often.

Quit smoking. Do your immune system a favor and stay away even from second-hand smoke.

Wash your hands. You don’t have to use an anti-bacterial soap, but a good scrub of at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water will wash away germs so your body doesn’t have to fight them off.

Enjoy a reflexology or massage therapy session. Both can gently push fluids along their lymph vessel path, flushing out metabolic waste and boosting the immune system. And, of course, both can help us relax and recover from stress.

Do dry brushing at home. Using a soft, natural bristle brush to stimulate the lymph vessels just under the skin can do wonders for your immune system. Some people like to do this every day before they shower as part of their routine hygiene discipline. There is a specific technique to use; contact me if you’d like a video about it.

Sweat! Find a spa that offers infrared sauna sessions. The heat penetrates more deeply, and you can sweat out a lot of toxins for a real immune boost! Always shower after to wash away the “dirty” perspiration and walk away feeling super refreshed. (Always check with your doctor first to make sure there’s no medical reason to avoid raising your body temperature this way.)

Hydrate! Different experts recommend different amounts of water to drink each day, from simply choosing water every time you naturally feel thirsty, to shooting for a specific target up to half the number of ounces as your body weight in pounds (so 80 ounces per day if you weigh 160 pounds, for example). Whichever recommendation seems right to you, there’s no question that we are comprised of mostly water, and our bodies need hydration as much as they need food and rest to stay healthy.

girl jumping on the beach

Category : Blog &Health &Massage Therapy &Reflexology

Give all the Love You Can

model-956676_1280

I recently met a woman who was born and raised in a not-so-prosperous part of Mexico. To her credit, she went to a state-funded university and earned a law degree.

Her career path led her to practice some form of immigration law. She didn’t like it. The other lawyers were conservative and competitive, judgmental of each other to the point that she felt she had to look a certain way, act a certain way. She tired of pushing papers around and longed for something more fulfilling.

A friend encouraged her to use what little discretionary income she had to buy a camera and pursue her love of photography. She did, and she’s tremendously talented. As of our meeting, she was taking a break from her professional photographic work to create a program voluntarily teaching her craft to persons with deafness. She had reached a point where she needed to go back to work to earn funds to keep the program going.

She had gained some insights that made her reconsider whether she would enjoy practicing law again–perhaps now being better able to distance herself from the pettiness she saw in other lawyers, and do her work with more genuine intention. Her words were: to give people who need help all the love you can.

She smiled when she learned I was a massage therapist/reflexologist, and commented that this is exactly what I get to do every day: give people love.

I don’t think she was motivated to return to law to make more money. I think she realized, in the newfound maturity that her 30s provided, that it’s best to do the work of our highest calling and greatest good. With compassion. With love. For her, maybe that will be photography, or maybe it will be practicing law but keeping her free program going for people with disabilities.

I feel blessed every day to have the opportunity to do work that is my highest calling and allows me to give people love. It’s so tremendously rewarding! What a blessing, too, to connect with this compassionate young woman on a seemingly random snorkeling adventure that she could scarcely afford, but went with a more affluent friend who just happened to be visiting for the weekend. Sometimes it takes a stranger to remind us of the gifts we might otherwise take for granted.

So whether it’s in your professional life, a hobby you feel passionate about sharing, or in meeting a stranger, I wholeheartedly encourage you to give all the love you can. I predict you’ll receive it back many times over!

Category : Blog &Massage Therapy &Personal Growth &Reflexology

Coming Soon!

julies-show

November is shaping up to be a busy month for Holistic Massage & Reflexology!

Art & Gift Show 11/19
As you probably know, in addition to providing massage therapy and reflexology, I also make beaded jewelry. And our resident nutritionist Amanda Perrin makes wonderful miniature tea sets, whimsical castles and huts, dollhouse accessories, and whole dioramas in walnut shells! Together with local artist and author Tina Verduzco, we’re having an art and gift show on Saturday, November 19 from 10-5.

Tina co-authored “Storm and the Mermaid’s Knot” with Meghan Richardson, and will have copies for sale. And if we’re lucky, she’ll also bring a few of her inspired sculptural pieces. Here’s a link for more information about her beautiful novel: https://www.amazon.com/Storm-Mermaids-Knot-Meghan-Richardson/dp/1936573156

Below is a link with more information about the art and gift show. If it’s a nice day, the Pink Pineapple Boutique might just have a sidewalk sale for us that day. I will donate 10% of my jewelry sales to local hurricane recovery efforts. Mark your calendars for this fabulous day of shopping for unique items, supporting local artists and hurricane survivors!!

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/holiday-art-gift-show-tickets-28933474802

Acupuncture to Be Offered on Thursdays!
I am very excited to announce that Michele Rehrer, AP, RM will be providing acupuncture in the office on Thursdays in the very near future. Michele is a Florida board certified licensed Acupuncture Physician. She graduated from Dragon Rises College of Oriental Medicine in Gainesville, FL. She is a Reiki Master and a Qigong instructor.

From her website: “Michele believes that acupuncture gently encourages the body to regain balance by looking at the whole person and gets to the root cause of the disharmony. Michele is focused on providing quality holistic healthcare with the highest level of professionalism and patient satisfaction. It is her philosophy that in order for every patient to achieve optimal wellness, they must be heard. She strives for excellence in listening, gentle needling technique, and encourages patient involvement in their journey to wellness.”

I have been seeing Michele for several months for a variety of issues, and I can highly recommend her skills and encouraging, gentle demeanor. For more information, visit her website: www.hhacu.vpweb.com To make an appointment, contact Michele at 352-682-6206.

Foot Reflexology Workshop starting 11/29
Beginning in April, I embarked on a teacher training program in reflexology with my mentor, and the founder and director of the Academy of Ancient Reflexology, Karen Ball. As my final student teaching project, I’ll be offering a full workshop in foot reflexology on four evenings: 11/29, 12/1, 12/6 and 12/8. This workshop is not for credit, but is for me to gain experience teaching. It will be held at my office from 5-9 each evening. The cost is only $25, and it’s very important that students be committed to attending every session in its entirety.

In this workshop, students will learn a little about the history of reflexology, how reflexology works and what conditions it helps, when reflexology is not appropriate, foot anatomy and common foot ailments, the location of more than 30 reflex points/areas in the feet, and how to perform relaxation and reflexology techniques. At the end of the class, students will be able to perform a complete foot reflexology session for the purposes of relaxation. In the state of Florida, you will not be able to provide reflexology for compensation without additional licensing, but you can appropriately and effectively work on friends, family, neighbors and loved ones—and yourself!

The only prerequisites are short fingernails, clean feet, and a willingness to touch others’ feet and have your feet worked on. Class size is limited—if you’re interested, please contact me at 904-377-6696.

Category : Blog &Events &Health &Massage Therapy &Reflexology

A Reflexology Demo

If you’ve never experienced foot reflexology before, you can view a sample here! It’s a link to a video that shows yours truly doing a demonstration for this year’s Academy of Ancient Reflexology’s certification students.

I’m showing them a protocol I developed to perform an abbreviated session—one whole foot is covered thoroughly in just 15 minutes. It’s a good practice to be able to work on both feet in their entirety in 30 minutes. Sometimes a shorter session is appropriate; for example, for a baby, an elderly or medically fragile person. Sometimes people who’ve never had reflexology just want to try a short session without committing to an hour (though I HIGHLY recommend giving yourself more time to reap the full benefits of deep relaxation and therapeutic touch). Many of my clients have added a half-hour reflexology session to precede their hour massage.

Don’t worry, no one expects you to watch the whole video! But if you’re curious, you can see how reflexology is done: relaxation techniques, thumb walking and finger walking. Slow, rhythmic, alternating pressure engages the part of our nervous system that’s responsible for calming things down. The recipient was VERY relaxed and feeling good after just thirty minutes.

Enjoy, and let me know if you’d like to try reflexology for yourself! I am also certified in hand reflexology, and I have a hot paraffin treatment for hands that’s terrific for arthritic joints and the aches that comes from overuse.

 

Category : Blog &Health &Massage Therapy &Reflexology