Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sensitivity Meter

Ah, the holidays.... exactly like the blissful Christmas shows that are on tv night after night from Thanksgiving to New Year's. Love, happiness and peace on Earth all while soft snow flakes drift down covering the world in quiet wonder.

Not so much the case in your world? My guess is the countdown for holiday shopping is pressing you (and you've already spent way too much), work is demanding production, the family wants your time and 'the weather outside is frightful'......all leaving your sensitivity meter in the red stress zone.

What now? Take a breath. (Take two, they're free.) I know, I know. I always say that. I say it because 1) It's free. 2) Air is readily available and 3) science shows breathing is very very good for you.

Next, recognize what's going on. Your spouse asked "honey, could you please change the toilet paper roll when you use it last?" and you responded with, "yeah, well......maybe if you picked up your socks, threw the junk mail away instead of leaving it on the counter, and fed the dog once in awhile, I would change the toilet paper!" Uh, yeah, you overreacted. That's that sensitivity meter again.

What's going on is that you're on overload with your emotions/thoughts/feelings and you just spewed them all over your spouse who's standing there with mouth agape wondering what in the world happened.

Stepping back and taking a deep breath or two while you realize that it wasn't really your spouse's comment that set you off will go a long ways toward preventing it from happening again.

What else can you do to bring your sensitivity meter back into a normal range?

  • Take a break from the news. News is meant to trigger emotions-and this usually means your negative ones like fear or anger.

  • Set aside electronics. Smart phones, tablets and other electronic devices literally keep us "wired" all day (and night) long. if you find yourself frequently pulling your cell phone out to read or respond to text messages or Facebook; you may have developed a habit that keeps you perpetually keyed up 24/7.

  • Get out. Outside that is. Leave your cell phone in the house, car, office.......anywhere but your pocket and step outside for fresh air and a view of nature.

  • Take time to smile or say hello to a stranger at least once in the course of your day. If they don't respond in kind, tell yourself IT'S OK. Why? Because it IS.

  • Remember, everyone you know is going through something; whether the car broke down, they're working too many hours, the kids have been sick, or whatever. Realize that when someone says something that affects you adversely, it doesn't always mean they meant it in a negative way. Be patient and think it through. Then if necessary, talk it out (not text it out..... grrr....most convenient yet most easily misunderstood form of conversation). Likely you'll find that what rubbed you the wrong way was not intended at all and it was simply your sensitivity meter hitting the red zone.....again.

Happy.........and peaceful holidays to all. And to all a good night (night's sleep that is!)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pets, Stress and You

Want to find yourself slightly more stress-free? Get a pet.

Hairballs? Slobbery kisses? Paper training? I can hear a collective sigh that says "I think that sounds stress FULL, not stress-free."

Not so fast. Studies show that owning a pet helps you live longer. Think about it: who else gives you unconditional love day in and day out? Okay, the dog does. Cats give unconditional love when they WANT to. (But they still love you even if they appear to be ignoring you, honest.)

Taking 10 minutes at the end of the work day to throw a ball with your canine or entice your kitty to play a game of laser light helps to relieve the accumulated stress of phone calls, deadlines, and annoying colleagues substantially. Statistics show that pet owners can effectively lower high blood pressure simply by having a four legged (or two as the case may be) companion.

Think of the exercise involved in walking the dog or just playing with one. It's great for him and for you. A definite win-win!

And then, at day's end; everyone winds down with a wonderful petting session. The rhythmic stroking of an animal's fur soothes not only the beast but the master as well.

Beyond the stress relief and health benefits; a pet is a wonderful people magnet. For some reason, a person is far more likely to stop and talk to you during a walk if you have a dog by your side than not. This is a huge benefit, especially to those who live alone or don't get to public places where other humans abound. In fact, therapy pets are being used more and more in nursing homes and other medical facilities for the social benefits to short and long term residents.

Pets are also fantastic listeners. Especially dogs (your cat may get bored and walk away). They don't offer advice, chastise you for saying or doing something wrong, or get mad at you. They simply listen in their own dog-like way. It can be very cathartic to talk to a pet and your pet will be getting your undivided attention; which is what he loves.

On top of it all; your pet is always there for you. She watches for you to come home, loves to have you feed, pet, play with her. You're not her master. You're her buddy and her world. It doesn't get a whole lot better than that.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Massage Adjustments?

As a licensed massage therapist, a great question I get asked frequently is if I do adjustments. What this refers to specifically is spinal adjustments which are physical manipulations of the spinal vertebrae. The short answer is, no.

The more complete answer is that a massage therapist works with the soft tissues of the body; these being the connective tissue (skin, fascia that covers and holds everything together), tendons, ligaments and muscles. We use our hands, elbows, forearms and sometimes tools to loosen, stretch, shorten or lengthen these tissues so that the client feels relief. Relief from what? Well, that could mean stress relief. Or it could be for pain management, joint comfort, injury rehabilitation or to keep these body tissues supple, strong and moving the way they are supposed to.

Those who work with the spinal vertebrae are also licensed health care practitioners, typically chiropractors or osteopaths. They specifically assess the continuity of the spinal fluids, the vertebrae and any mis-alignments, injuries or degeneration which affect the body's health. These practitioners, just as massage therapists, educate, assess and treat structures of the body. The difference is that I work with muscles and a chiropractor (for example) works with bones.

What's the connection between the two and why do I get asked if I do adjustments? The connection is that the bones and muscles give structure to the body so we don't all look like a bean bag chair. They work in unison to keep the body upright and mobile. Plus, they keep all our other parts from spilling all over the place.

The reason I get asked about adjustments is because often after a massage therapy session, a client will move a certain way and feel the relief of that familiar "crack" when a vertebrae re-aligns itself spontaneously. Though I say spontaneously, this isn't to be mistaken for "coincidence".

Why is this? Simply put, because the bones go where the muscles put them. This is why you could go to get weekly adjustments for your neck and yet it continues to "go out". If the muscles of the neck or shoulder are continually tight and shortened; as soon as an adjustment is made to the vertebrae, it will be pulled back out of position by the offending muscle(s) structure.

I've seen clients that have received adjustments for years without significant relief of their problem and once they incorporate massage into their wellness regimen, they find the spinal adjustments begin to hold for longer periods of time between visits.

So again, I don't "do" adjustments. But with the help of massage therapy, your body frequently is able to do it's own adjusting.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New Year, New You

It's a new year and you've got high hopes that this year is the one that you'll lose weight, make more money, exercise more, stop smoking, be happier. On week 3 of the first month of 2012, how is that going for you?

Have you kept any of your resolutions? Are they hit or miss? Or have you given up?

Resolutions are easy to make and tough to keep.  Most of us will find that we set similar resolutions the year before and the year before and the year before..... That's not meant to depress, cause undue despair or otherwise make you come down hard on yourself. It just IS.

The question is WHY?

Do we tackle too big a concept? Do we make it too broad of a focus? Do we choose things we know we can never achieve because we always set ourselves up to fail?

Lots of questions, but the bottom line is WE ALL DO IT.


What if there's a way to get RESULTS instead of simply setting resolutions?

Hypnosis gets results.  Try it. Build your confidence in all areas. Be amazed.
I have many of Wendi's programs and I use them personally and with my clients. She has an amazing voice and her programs are creative and highly effective. For a short video on addiction and how hypnosis can help eliminate it; scroll to the bottom of the page.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Don't Let Irritable Bowel Syndrome Make you Irritable

Post-holidays, irritable bowel syndrome can really rear it's ugly head. For those who suffer the ups and downs of the yo-yo digestive (and elimination) tract; the stress and altered eating patterns of the holiday season can wreak havoc. So that makes this post perfect timing as everyone tries to get back on track, lose holiday weight gain and determinedly stick to those resolutions (or have you given up already?)

Before I offer some help to the long suffering IBSer; I feel I should at least describe the condition. And realize, though I may speak with humor there's really very little to laugh about if you're caught up in the throes of the discomfort IBS can instill. Any humor I inject comes from 1) familiarity with the issue and 2) the belief that the more lightheartedness you can add to any situation; the better your outlook will be. Pretty simple, yes?

So, IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is a collection of symptoms that can include abdominal discomfort, bloating, cramping and alternating constipation and diarrhea. These symptoms vary from sufferer to sufferer and day to day. Because of the erratic behavior patterns of this health condition; most IBSers know EXACTLY where a bathroom is located no matter where they are. It's a pain......well.... in the ass. Sorry, I had to.

IBS doesn't just cause physical pain and discomfort but also mental duress which can be severe. Loss of self esteem, the blues, anxiety and others can make one feel uncomfortable enough to not even want to leave the house. This sets the IBSer up for even more severe emotional problems such as agoraphobia or clinical depression. Yikes.

A diagnosis of IBS usually comes after a lengthy discussion with a health care provider. Said provider will, hopefully, rule out more serious diseases instead of just making a blanket diagnosis of IBS. If indeed, that is what the problem is determined to be, the IBSer will likely be offered various pharmaceuticals to control symptoms. Be warned that many drugs will ease one symptom only to cause another. It's the nature of the Pharma Beast.

Fortunately, because IBS has been around for awhile and lots and lots of people suffer with it; there have been breakthroughs in alternative treatments for the condition which are more gentle, infinitely more effective overall than traditional health care methods, and less inexpensive.
  • Massage. What would you expect me to say, I'm a massage therapist. :-) Seriously, I wouldn't advocate it if it didn't work. Massage facilitates the calming of an overactive nervous system which is part of the IBS complex. The more your entire body relaxes, the more your colon will too. Because many IBS sufferers have a predominance of either diarrhea or constipation; a therapist can use specific abdominal strokes to hasten or slow the motility (movement) of the colon contents.
  • Diet. Most sufferers already have a pretty good idea what foods/beverages they should avoid to manage IBS attacks. The problem here is not adhering to the diet that makes one feel the best. That's a choice. If you have IBS and you know that dairy causes cramping and diarrhea but you still eat cheese; that's a choice you've made. I'm being kind of harsh and I could apologize but I won't. YOU can control what goes into your mouth and many types and combinations of foods will trigger IBS symptoms like clockwork.
  • Supplements. Fiber, probiotics, calcium and magnesium, oil of peppermint or fennel and others may all be useful in quelling the symptoms of IBS. It's important to research the effectiveness and quality of any supplements so that symptoms aren't made worse or money wasted on ineffective products.
  • Hypnotherapy/EFT/BodyTalk/Others. Many mind body therapies use energy psychology to elicit a healing response in the body. Energy psychology is a synergistic blend of body work with tapping into one's emotions to clear blockages in the mind and body that inhibit healthy function.
Talking to other IBSers to learn how they cope may also be helpful as long as one skips the "whine" with the cheese...... Remember that being proactive in one's own health care, including having a positive outlook, is often the best medicine.