Posted on May 8, 2017
Y.O.G.A. It’s sexy, fashionable, unfocused, accessible and popular. Everyone is doing it. Basic accreditation is easy and unregulated. (But with a little more effort one could say the same thing about Massage Therapy. Get what you get, I suppose.) The point being: it’s an external practice, often shallow and one that very rarely comes off the mat.
But I love
yoga. I attempt to yoga every second I am aware. I breath yoga, I eat yoga, I type, massage, drive and read yoga. I even sometimes yoga my meditation. I do it well or I don’t, but it is always happening.
can literally translate as to ‘yoke’ one’s mind. It does not require poses, mantras, incense or the like, just regular, focused practice. And it’s a lot of work! My massage teacher wasn’t kidding when she used the phrase “monkey mind”: every little thing grabs my attention, pulls my mind in whatever direction it decides to go and my heart bleeds or burns along with it.
we have a choice, though? So when you get on the Y.O.G.A. mat, the zabutan, join your Thai Chi class or wipe the dance floor know why you are there; do you want a beautiful body or are you willing to discover your beautiful mind?
you need help in reaching a state of bliss, naturally give me a call. We can yoga together.
Posted on April 9, 2017
life felt like it was going to be going great. I was doing the work I wanted to do: helping people heal! Taking my work seriously, I never told anybody that I was a healer, always referring myself and other bodyworkers as therapists. Yet the image is hard to escape, the compliments challenging to accept without pride and though I feel that I had some of the best education in the state and there was never any illusion given to us (explicitly) about what we were doing, I began wondering what it was I had actually chosen to take on. Time for some research of my own.
Research on American Style Massage Therapy is like working on somebody’s hand with too much cream; slick, dodgey and a challenge to hang on to. I found three articles off the bat (grain of salt, remember?) that made me question myself especially; one about Thai Massage (that showed Thai compresses working better than anything else), one web article covering a number of trials and this article by a massage therapist-gone-writer. I was so excited! Real information on what the science community had discovered that we were doing! And their conclusion was that Massage Therapy is great for:
Wait, I went to school for what?
To help sad, mopey people get through their day? To remind Anxious Annie that the world is OK and she need not carry it?
Well, yeah, actually. The numbers abound indicating that the United States is one of the most depressed and anxious countries in the First World (the Third might actually be happier). The Anxiety and Depression Association has some pretty scary numbers, as they should, and the National Institute of Mental health isn’t much better. Again, grain of salt.
Even if these numbers are exaggerated, just observing myself gave me a lot to consider when it comes down to being touched. As a male-bodied person in this society, circa 2017, there is only a few times where being touched is acceptable. Sexual anything is the big one, no matter if your beliefs hold to strict or loose ideals on when that should happen, and who can ever escape noticing it these days? Sports is another, which I am going to lump dance into because I can. And don’t forget, the big cultural catch-all: when you are really, really drunk.
It’s different for women-bodied people as well as the whole (more realistic but requiring more wordage) spectrum of body and preference types. But what is common overall is the lack of healthy, nurturing touch. And as a massage therapist that is (another) idealization I intend to create in my work.
Touch as a Therapy
There’s a book I am reading right now called “A Guide to Healthy Touch: Vitamin T“. It is old, it is adorable and though there are some things I squirm at as a mature, modern individual (such as the letter you can write to a ‘spaceinvader’ to get them to respect your boundaries), it has a lot of very valid points about proper etiquette and the importance of healthy touch.
Touch is a very powerful form of communication. Whether or not we are paying attention to it, we are always touching something: our clothes, the hair on our body, the air around us, anything we are using with our hands and even ourselves (think under the arms or between the toes). It’s not a conscious part of most of our existence: We exist in this world through touch, including the ‘touch’ of light on our eyes and the touch of smells in our nose.
This is Why
massage therapy continues to be an important part of modern American society. As a country that has a double standard on touch and the usual variations on ‘acceptable’ negative touch standards we have chosen to maintain and uphold our therapies that require sensitive, kind and healthy intentioned people in order to fill that space. Even if they are not interested in massage I encourage all people to seek out a source of healthy touch in their lives.
My current definition of healthy touch comes from the following Chain of Intent:
Wish to benefit another without expectation -> Understanding that touch is the asked for means in which the benefit can be given -> Mindful-listening of the touch interaction throughout, maintaining previous links -> Providing Healthy Touch
Or W.U.M.P., if you like acronyms.
Posted on March 22, 2017
stretching. It hurts, it’s time consuming and I don’t ever see much improvement. Besides, most of the time I feel just fine. I mean, my back aches a lot. And my hamstrings are still crazy tight. My left side hurts just a little. But yeah, I feel fine.
visualizations, though, and when a friend of mine connected me to this webpage maybe I wasn’t inspired to do more stretching, but I was intrigued with the excellent visual presentation of what exactly I was doing when I did stretch.
There are a number of great stretches in here that I highly recommend using and maybe between you and me and these pretty pictures we can both benefit a little. Par example:
If you do a lot of the action pictured above, these are great for you because your neck is feeling abused and can’t take it anymore. By practicing:
- 7. Lateral Side Flexion of the Neck
- 8. Neck Rotation Stretch
- 9. Neck Extension Stretch
- 10. Lateral Side Flexion of the Neck with Hand Assistance
the already shortened muscles of your neck will have the opportunity to lengthen again and you will be less prone to headaches induced by these overworked muscles.
Recovery from Sitting
Don’t be fooled, your longevity and health has very little to do with your top score in your favorite game (or achievement or new armor or whatever). Try performing (carefully)
- 11. Half Kneeling Quad / Hip Flexor Stretch
- 15. Lat Stretch with Spinal Traction
- 16. Lat Stretch at the Wall
- 20. Seated Forward Fold
- 21. Single Leg Forward Bend
before, during at intervals (start at about every hour or so and see how it feels) and after your intense hacking sessions to not only make your walking experience after more enjoyable, but your next session relaxing and easier to work through. Adding 22. Deep Squat wouldn’t hurt either.
Walken / Walking A Lot
Even without high heels this gal doesn’t look comfortable. Also without high heels, these stretches will help your legs recover from a full day of pounding the cement:
- 11. Half Kneeling Quad
- 14. Standing Assisted Neck Flexion Stretch
- 18. Standing Calf Stretch
- 23. Seated Half King Pidgin Pose
- 26. Supine Twist
- 33. Down Dog Variation at the Wall
If that wasn’t enough
Try them all out anyway, because with careful application you can always use more movement and flexibility in your life!
And of course, please feel free to call on me for help. I’m pulling for you, we are all in this together.
Posted on March 6, 2017
OK, I know that I have been adamant about keeping my massage practice “clean”, ie no hippy-dippy, meditation, chakras, astrology, etc and this is how I intend to keep it. But the little truth you should know, with a lower case ‘t’, is that I practice Buddhism. And the other little truth you should know is that though one may be against religion or spirituality in general, it can’t be denied that G. Lucas provided us with some subtle incites that certainly took me some studying to start recognizing and valuing.
Three Subtle Star Wars truths
There are a lot more than three, but it is a good start. There are also a number of things that are not so great about Star Wars that one should be aware of, but that’s not what I am going to concentrate on today. Grain of salt, you should take your entertainment with, mmMMmm.
My Thai Chi teacher has a great saying whenever somebody asks about when will we be able to do the technique he is demonstrating: “How long will it take? As long as it takes.” This is always accompanied by a coy smile and a little nod. And this is a truth; I definitely spend a lot of time daydreaming about when I will be somewhere, someone or doing something else and it’s AMAZING how awesome I am in that dream.
Then I trip over a stone in the sidewalk. Or cut myself slicing an apple. Or, in this case, get a stern correction in my now-incorrect body position. Yoda put it another way when he told everyone’s favorite hero-dolt, “For the Jedi it is time to eat as well!”
You see, you can’t be anywhere else but Here, doing what you are doing Now and the only one who appreciates how amazing your future self is you. And even if you achieve your future Amazing self, you will still find that there is an even more Amazing you that you are then dreaming about.
So grab your body by your control outputs, listen to your sensor inputs and do what you are doing right now to your very best, for you will never have this opportunity again!
“Do, or do not; there is no try.” If you intend to cut carrots, cut carrots with your whole self. If you are reading a book, read a book with your whole self. If you are talking with somebody, talk with your whole self.
See if this sounds familiar: You are conversing with an acquaintance and your schedule says you should be going on to your next activity. The conversation goes on and you find your eyes drifting away from contact or getting more intensely focused on theirs in an attempt to subliminally signal that you need to go. “Uh huh” and “yeah, yeah” or something similar become your responses as you are thinking ahead to how to exit this conversation and what you will be doing when you are done. What are you doing then?
Not talking to them. If you need to stop the conversation, be honest about that to yourself and them by just ending the conversation, preferably politely. Do what you are doing right Now, fully. Be cautious of always looking to the future, the horizon. Focus on what you are doing, where you are going.
3. Do the Impossible
Your imagination is suuuuuuppper powerful: it can take you places you would never normally visit, bring forth solutions to new problems and allows you to expand on what you are experiencing. But when it comes down to implementing that brilliant idea you just had it also is great about exploring other opportunities to avoid the work needed to do it. Soon it has created this list of impossibilities that make it harder and harder to make it happen.
I often think that everything that could ever be done in this world has been done in some general way or another. This is both a depressing and relieving thought, as that means total uniqueness is impossible and also that everything is totally possible to do. Don’t believe me? Look at the Internet: if it has been thought of it exists out there, you just have to look.
So when you find your impossible, remember that your mind is biased against you; don’t let be with you what cannot be done. You will have to perspire a lot, but your thoughts only control you if you let them. And being open to unthought-of solutions to your current challenges helps a little, too.
There you have it, three subtle truths Star Wars gave to a wide-eyed and star struck audience. Until next time, may the Mass X Acceleration be with you!
Posted on February 14, 2017
The Thunderbird/Gmail Dilemma
I have been using Mozilla Thunderbird fooooorreeeevvvvveeeerrrr because it is the same interface on all operating systems and has been a nice, consistent system to use. And it works great in the tray in Linux. 🙂
For about as long as I have been using Thunderbird I have been using it to manage my GMail account and also since them GMail has not allowed Thunderbird to connect with anything but the old fashioned “Less Secure Authentication”. Well, I just spent 5 minutes looking it up and now that is no longer a problem! Now you don’t have to gimp the security of your Google account for the sake of simplicity:
Step 1: Turn off “Less Secure Authentication” in GMail
Unless you need this for other apps, then don’t. If you don’t know what I am talking about and you know you have setup your own external access (through your phone, for example) then this step is unneccessary.
Go to your account settings in Google. Under Connected apps and sites unset “Allow less secure apps”, so that it says “Allow less secure apps: OFF”.
Step 2: Turn on OAuth2 on all GMail accounts
Follow this link for specific details, no need to re-invent the wheel.
And there we go, high quality security for your Thunderbird.
Posted on February 13, 2017
As some of you may know I spend a lot of time on the RTD bus and rail system. It’s usually a relaxing adventure, riding back and forth from work: quiet, meditative and without the struggle of driving in Denver and finding a place to park. There are usually a plethora of people to watch and sometimes they like to be talked to as well. Topics range from the weather to politics, bus fares, favorite routes, weekend plans, religion, people watching, activism and usually sports get involved somewhere.
The question of my job comes up eventually and fortunately most people, including myself, enjoy talking about the life-changing experience of bodywork. Things get uncomfortable for most folks when the question of my prices comes up and today I want to clarify my reasoning a little: Why is it worth it to spend the extra 15%-30% I and other therapists charge for our services?
Every bodywork specialist, whether they are a chiropractor, massage therapist, acupuncturist, physical therapist or any other you can think of, while you are on their table should be dedicating their full attention and time to you. At the spa, studio or office attention to the client’s needs in the present moment is paramount in this field. But what about before and after? If the session was great, but you felt rushed or neglected coming in or going out, what is that worth? A (idealized) private MT (massage therapist, getting lazy about typing that out) will not only be focused and attentive while you are on the table, they will welcome you into their space, make you comfortable with water and create a smooth transition from paperwork to under the covers. Afterward there should be zero rush on check-out and an opportunity for you to talk with them about what was worked on, what to work on next time, next appointment scheduling, etc.
TL;DR: With a private MT you get the time setting up the session (scheduling, setup), the time in the session and the time after completely dedicated to you.
Similar to Time, a private MT puts forth their attention toward your well being for the duration of the session as well as before and after. As part of the preparation, a good massage therapist performs self care, grounding and paperwork review. This may involve stretches, meditation, review of your history, research on techniques and helpful stretches for your condition, drinking water or getting a snack. And after you have left they might confirm scheduling, update their notes on your progress, thoroughly clean and clear the space (depends upon the therapist and how hippy-dippy they are) for the next client.
TL;DR: A private MT will dedicate their attention to preparing for, providing and cleaning up after your session. Maintenance of your history and their self care are high priority to ensure the best experience possible.
For you and for them, your private MT will be mindful of body mechanics and proper techniques. The funny irony about being a massage therapist is that we too need massage in order to massage. If your MT is on top of it, the amount of bodywork they will require to ensure your bodywork is on par will be for maintenance only due to their use of excellent body mechanics, correct application of techniques and rapt attention to both of you and their comfort. They will also take the time to eat and drink between sessions (and drinking during as well), rest their body by providing the proper amount of bodywork that they can safely handle in a day/week and prevent you from getting sick with them by rescheduling your session and maintaining a clean studio space. Participation in physical self care outside of work such as Thai Chi, Youthful American Gob-removing Activity (see here for some observed difference between this and yoga), Chi Gong and even climbing.
TL;DR: A private MT will take care of themselves in order to take care of you.
Though not required in some states, continuing to educate themselves is an important aspect of any great massage therapist. Though not specific to a private massage therapist, having an MT that not only explores new ways to help their clients, but also ways to help you specifically is one to find and keep. Discovering advanced methodologies for handling your challenge with arthritis, carpal tunnel and sciatica from classes, seminars and other therapists is an invaluable aspect of your chosen massage therapist.
TL;DR: A MT that educates themselves and you is worth keeping and a private one that actively invests in their education for your specific benefit is good expenditure of your extra dollars.
And lastly, as a private massage therapist will very likely have their own space with their own equipment you are guaranteed the benefit of not encountering other therapists or clients using or leaving or taking over the table before and after your session. You will always be shown into the same location with the arrangement that you appreciated the last time you were here and though the session itself will change with your needs the guarantee of the consistency in the space and style is extremely comforting.
TL;DR: You will end up in the same room with the same arrangement and style with a private massage therapist.
So what are you getting for the extra chunk of change? A whole lot and all of it for your benefit as well. Think of investing in a good private massage therapist as that extra 3 miles on top of that extra mile you are investing in by getting a regular massage anyway. And by working with one therapist consistently in their own space they have the unique opportunity to create the extra mile you need that you may not get otherwise.
Yes massage is expensive and a private therapist more so and if what you truly need is just therapeutic touch then the cheaper options that are a wonderful effect of our capitalistic culture are available. The value-added bonus of a private MT can and usually does go well beyond what one can purchase at bargain bin prices.
So, what do you think? Worth it or no? Why not find out!
Posted on September 1, 2016
Good Morning Adventurers!
Today we are exploring how to improve your gaming skills:
Here are the links that I found to support this claim:
Posted on August 18, 2016
I (and Reworks) am proud to announce the Reworks Reset video help guide adventure. Semi-weekly (or whenever the film crew gets back from Endor) I will be posting a fun, useful and hopefully educational video tidbit for your viewing pleasure.
Last week we had the Introduction video, which I hope you enjoyed immensely. This week, we are tackling Pokemon Go and how some self care, forethought and massage can help you Catch Em All:
The research crew does apologize for coming up short on valuable information related to socializing on your Poke-ventures. No bothans were harmed in the struggle, but a few might have been bumped and bruised a little.
ALSO: Come join me this weekend (August 20th & 21st) at Board Game Republic for their Grand Opening! There will be hourly drawings, half off gaming fees, tourneys, drink and food specials and, of course, excellent massage.
Posted on July 23, 2015
When I sit down with a client and ask them how best I can help them today, the first thing that is on my mind is how best I can provide for them the space to be comfortable, not just on the table, but in communicating with me their desires, discomforts and anything else that might come up during the session. Then I promptly forget everything they say, put on my black gi, sneak through their ear into their mind and through my psycho-ninja superpowers I perform the best massage they have ever encountered.
And I have a bridge to sell you. However, the last sentence in the previous paragraph is a humorous example of a partial myth that I would like to comment on: Massage therapists have psychic powers.
As a massage therapist, I am trained to touch people. Whether it is deep, fast, light or slow, my job is to seek out the physical (and sometimes energetic) aspects of a person’s body and help change them in ways that the person cannot do themselves. By touching a person in a manner called palpation (the Wikipedia article was just too clinical for my tastes), I am learning about the quality, position, texture, shape and general feel of the tissue and making decisions as to how to work on it. This is a marvelous skill that I am very grateful to have been introduced to and is certainly a key element to my work.
It does not make me psychic, unfortunately, and I still need more information. The best way this is achieved is by watching my client and listening to them. Clients, this is where it is most important for you to say something and mean it. Tell me what your goals are for the session, show me where you have been hurting or are stiff, promptly inform me when I am doing uncomfortable work.
When I ask you for feedback, it is because I want to know that I am making the experience comfortable and safe for you. If I am working at a pressure or depth that is not to your liking and you do not speak up, I am going to keep working in that manner because you have not said anything, not because I ‘know what is good for you’. If you suck in your breath and tense up, I need to know from you whether you mean ‘ouch’ or ‘hurts so good’.
Verbal feedback is important to the therapeutic process, especially with new clients. The reason I can work on repeat clients with less verbal feedback is that we have already established what their physical reactions mean. It is a learning process for both of us and I believe that, even for the lightest, most palliative sessions knowing that I am providing the experience you want to the best of my ability is one of the best ways to help me do my work. The session is all about you: help me make it happen.