Leg Pain and Swelling? Blame Gravity!

feet up for leg pain

Blame Gravity. Sitting or standing in one place for a while an make things difficult for your second heart. Wait! What?! Second heart? Yup! Not the ticker in your chest, but ticker number 2, in your calves. In massage school we learned that the lower leg muscles in your calves are referred to as your second heart because they pump blood back up to your real heart in your chest. When these muscles can’t do their job that well, fluid can build up in your ankles. But gravity can ALSO be the solution. To help combat leg pain and swelling, put your feet up!

There are a few other things that can cause leg pain and swelling in your ankles, such as too much salt in your diet, or a day at the beach. Heat makes things swell – imagine taking off your rings when your hands are hot vs when they’re cold! Also, let’s face it, age plays a roll in this as well. We see times effects on our faces and the outside of our bodies, but age happens on the inside as well. Bummer, right? Ah well, sure beats the alternative!

Massage can also be a great way to beat leg pain. A targeted pain relief massage can help heal sore muscles and increase circulation – which helps with any pain or swelling that can be caused by pesky things like gravity! Give me a call if you want to schedule an appointment.

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The Weight of Secrets

keeping a secret

Want to hear a cool study that shows just how strong the mind/body connection is? According to an online article in Scientific American, we refer to keeping secrets as if they are material things. (and material things have actual weight, right?) Well, a new study suggests that when we know a secret, we perceive ourselves as being physically burdened.

Researchers recruited participants to write a description of either a serious secret, like a story of infidelity or sexual orientation, or a more trivial secret. Then they looked at a hill straight on and were asked to rate the hill’s steepness. Those subjects who wrote about an important secret perceived the hills as steeper than those who wrote about trivial secrets. The research is in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.

Earlier studies have shown that people who are actually physically weighted down also perceive hills as steeper than those who are not!!!

In a separate investigation, researchers found that subjects who recalled a significant secret also judged a target to be further off in the distance than those who remembered a less meaningful secret.

Now I have to look for a study that tells us what the result of sharing secrets! Does it make us feel as if the physical burden has been lifted? Stay tuned…lets see what I dig up!

Don’t forget that massage can be great for your mental and physical self! Give me a call to see how massage can benefit you, or contact me online.

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Mindfulness, Your Body, and Massage!

mindfulness

Prevention Magazine (my favorite source of interesting tidbits to share!) recently had an article about mindfulness. Mindfulness is something we have all heard of before, but what is it really? Its very simple: mindfulness is a form of meditation which only requires you to pay attention.

“Mindfulness means being intentionally present in whatever you’re doing with an engaged curiosity of some kind” says Elisha Goldstein, a psychotherapist and author.

Mindfulness is a challenge for most of us as we rush through our days on autopilot, going from one errand, obligation or social event to another. Harvard researchers have found that we spend up to 50% of our lives distracted by past or future concerns rather than in full awareness of our surroundings at any given moment. This frenetic activity taxes our brains and bodies.

I always feel that getting a massage is a great way to practice mindfulness. Use the time to just let go and take a walk in your body. Check in with it, see how its doing. Ask it a question or two if there’s something physical you’ve been struggling with, and then just relax and listen to what it tells you. Personally, I can’t think of a more useful and pleasant way to get some great information that might help you take care of yourself!

Don’t forget that even if I’m fully booked, you can always let me know you’re interested and I can contact you in the case of a cancellation, or can refer you to others practicing in my Glens Falls office that may have availability! Give me a call at 518-744-2315 if you’re interested.

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Keep Your Brain Young

brain young
Most of my clients are over 45, and as a result I have a lot of conversations with folks about caring for aging parents. And whether we like to think about it or not, the over 45 set are going to be those aging parents that their kids are now caring for sooner rather than later. And from what I hear, its much easier to take care of aging parents with physical difficulties than mental difficulties. So lets try to take care of our brains!
A recent article I read in Prevention Magazine cites the following common problems that can hurt your brain:

  1. Sleep deprivation: Too little rest not only leaves you foggy the next morning but also may make your brain more vulnerable to the buildup of proteins thought to cause Alzheimer’s disease.
  2. Lack of Exercise: Regular aerobic activity stimulates blood flow, including to the brain. Cardio can reduce insulin resistance and inflammation, both of which are linked to memory loss.
  3. Chronic Stress: Tension can shrink parts of our brain and trigger the progression of mild cognitive impairment to full blown dementia. Meditation, breathing exercise, and, of course, massage can help mitigate the effects of stress.

Give me a call if you want to treat your body AND your brain with a massage! You can contact me online or give me a call at (518) 744-2315.

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Stressed? Try Planning a Vacation!

planning a vacation

If you’re feeling worn down, it may be time to consider planning a vacation day. Having a little something to look forward to, maybe a girls’ weekend or a day off to yourself, can increase your happiness right now.

Set a goal. Even if its just to get one last trip in to the beach before fall officially sets in, planning a vacation can bring you peace in all the weeks and days leading up to that trip. Keep your sights set on that goal, and before you now it, you too will be sharing sunset photos with all your stuck a work friends.

But Don’t plan it while you’re at work! A recent study showed that people who booked vacations at work spent more money and expressed more dissatisfaction with their choice than those who planned at home!

Taking care of yourself is important for your mental and physical well being. Stress and worry can have a number of negative affects on your health. And don’t forget, a nice relaxing massage is a great boost for that little vacation you’re planning! Contact me to setup an appointment in my Glens Falls, NY office!

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Control vs Trust: Control Your Life, But Trust The Universe

control and trust

The idea of trusting the universe is a popular one these days, but many of us don’t know what this really means and we often have a hard time doing it. This is partly because the story of humankind is most often presented as a story about struggle, worry, control, and survival, instead of one of trust and collaboration with the universe. Yet, in truth, we need to use both ideas- the middle path….here’s what I mean:

On one hand, there is much to be said about exerting control over our environment. We create shelter to protect ourselves from the elements. We hunted for animals and invented agriculture to feed ourselves. We build social infrastructures to protect ourselves and create community. This is how we survive and grow as a civilization. However, it is also clear that there are plenty of things that we cannot control, no matter how hard we try, and we often receive support from an unseen force, a universe that provides us with that which we cannot provide for ourselves.

At a certain point, when have done all that we can (we have shelter, food on the table and community around us) and life is still a struggle for one reason or another, we must let go and allow the universe to take over. This requires trust. It requires a trust that runs deeper than just expecting things to turn out the way we want them to. Sometimes they will, and sometimes they won’t. We develop equanimity and grace as we learn to trust that, with the guiding hand of the universe, life will unfold exactly the way it should. We are engaged in an ongoing relationship with a universe that responds to our thoughts and actions.

Want to book a massage appointment? Give me a call at 518-744-2315! If you’re flexible, let me know and I can even reach out to you if I have a cancellation.

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Learning to Let Go of Sentimental Possessions

sentimental possessions

George Carlin had a great bit about “things and stuff.” Anyone remember that? We hold onto material possessions because we think they make us feel secure, when in reality they are cluttering our lives, or as George Carlin put it…when we have too much stuff in our house, we just buy a bigger house.

It would seem we tend to have an easier time acquiring possessions than we do getting rid of them. Just as we harbor emotional baggage that is difficult to let go of, our lives can tend to be filled with material objects that we may feel compelled to hold on to. Most people are not conscious of how much they own and how many of their possessions are no longer adding value to their life. They fiercely hold on to material objects because this makes them feel secure or comfortable. While it’s true that the ownership of “stuff” can make you feel good for awhile, it rarely leaves one feeling fulfilled or satisfied for long. Possessions can have a huge emotional hold on us.

So why do we tend to hold on to objects? I think the most common reason to hold on to material objects is fear that as soon as we get rid of the item, we’ll need it for something. But also, giving away the souvenirs from a family vacation may feel like we are erasing the memory of that time in our life, or we may also worry that our loved ones will feel hurt if we don’t keep gifts they’ve given us. BUT, holding on to unnecessary possessions often goes hand in hand with holding on to pain, anger, and resentment, and letting go of your material possessions may help you release emotional baggage.

When you make a conscious decision to fill your personal space with only the objects that you need or bring you joy, your energy level will soar. Clearing your personal space can lead to mental clarity and an improved memory. As you learn to have a more practical and temporary relationship to objects, positive changes will happen.

If you’re looking to make some positive changes in your life, give me a call (518) 744-2315 and we can discuss which of my services can kick start your healing process!

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The Wisdom of Not Knowing

not knowing

There is wisdom in not knowing. Nobody knows everything (even though there are those of us who like to think we do!). And there are many types of wisdom. Yet, even experts in their fields do not know all there is to know about mathematics, yoga, literature, science, psychology, or art. It is a truer master who professes ignorance, and continues to learn.

There is freedom in saying “I don’t know”. When we admit that we don’t know something, we can then open ourselves up to the opportunity to learn. And there is power in that. We can’t possibly know everything. And when we think we do, we limit ourselves from growing and learning.

A person who can admit to not knowing tends to be more confident than someone who pretends to know everything. They also tend to be more comfortable with who they are and don’t feel the need to bluff or cover up any perceived ignorance. People can actually end up appearing more foolish when they act as if they know something that they don’t.

There is wisdom in respecting people who freely admit when they don’t know something. They are being honest, with us and with themselves.

Did you know there’s some interesting science behind the power of touch and massage, and how it can affect your mind and body? Give me a call at (518) 744-2315 to learn how massage can help you.

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Worrying: How to Fight Back

worrying

We have all had the experience of worrying about something at some point in our lives. Some of us have a habitual tendency to worry (I’m guilty of this for sure!), and all of us have known someone who is a chronic worrier. Worry is an extension of fear and can be a very draining experience.

In order for worry to exist, we have to imagine that something bad might happen. Pure fantasy. But still, we worry. Why? Possibly we feel like we’re not in control. You know…the scenario where we worry about our loved ones who happen to have to be driving in bad weather. Worry doesn’t guarantee their safe passage, but we worry til they’re home safe and sound. Worry is just an attempt to feel useful and in control. But it changes nothing, except to have unpleasant effect on your body and mind.

The good news is that there are ways to transform that type of worry so that it has a healing effect. Worry preys on our imagination, but we can use our imagination to fight back! The next time you find yourself worrying, imagine the best result instead of anticipating the worst outcome. Use the power of positive thinking to mentally create the path for your travelers that is void of obstacles and clear as can be….what a way more useful way to use our imaginations than the endless draining cycle of worry!

Worry and stress can have a lot of negative affects on your body. If you feel all wound up, let me know! I’d be happy to help you unwind with a relaxing massage. Come visit me at my downtown Glens Falls location!

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Let’s Learn About the Chakras

chakras

About 5 times a year I get a question from various client’s asking me about Chakras. I’m far from an expert, but I took yoga for years and the term was always tossed around. Then!! I came across this explanation in one of my massage therapy journals!

Without further ado, let me share with you what it said:

Chakras are subtle energy centers that convert physical to subtle energy and vice versa. The location of the main 7 in-body chakras are:

  • seven chakrasChakra 1: The hips, its function is security.
  • Chakra 2: Abdomen, its function is emotions.
  • Chakra 3: Solar plexus, its function is mentality.
  • Chakra 4: Heart, its function is relationships.
  • Chakra 5: In the throat, and its function communication.
  • Chakra 6: Brow, its function is vision.
  • Chakra 7: In the top of forehead with a function of spirituality.

Chakras are formed from vortexes that transfer subtle energies between a chakra and the body. Ideally the energy moves fluidly, sometimes spinning clockwise and other times counterclockwise. When the energy is moving clockwise the chakra is taking in energy. It uses some of this incoming energy to make decisions about the future. When the energy is flowing counter clockwise, the chakra is releasing energy, processing information about the past and putting energy into our memory banks.

If these spins get off kilter we experience an imbalance. If a chakra’s energy is moving too fast and only clockwise, it’s stuck in future forward. Relative to that, a person could be fearful or anxious about the future. If a chakra’s energy is moving too slowly and only counterclockwise, it is over processing information about the past.

Some of this ancient wisdom makes sense, doesn’t it? We’ve all met people too future forward (cart before the horse people), and those that can’t let the past go (there’s a whole Disney song about it!).

If you’re feeling a little off-kilter, consider booking a massage appointment by giving me a call at (518) 744-2315! The power of touch can have some amazing benefits for your mind and your body. Give it a try!

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