Wellness

Energy Aromatherapy of a Different Sort!

Smell coffee for energy aromatherapyWhat is energy aromatherapy? If you’re anything like me, you love you some morning coffee! Sure, it helps you wake up, but did you know that you can simply get a whiff of coffee to sharpen your mind??

According to an article in October 2018 Prevention magazine, the next time you need a brain boost, you can practice this Aromatherapy of a different sort and sniff a cup of steaming java. Yes, sniff: Simply inhaling the scent appears to just start our cognitive power, suggests a new study in Journal of Environmental Psychology. Participants who took an exam in a room that smelled like coffee scored significantly higher than those tested in an unscented room.

Researchers believe the brew’s aroma fires up the mind due to the placebo effect, which is real in its own right. So, especially if you have trouble getting to sleep if you have that afternoon caffeinated pick me up, think about getting a coffee air freshener to put near your desk or hang in your car- it’ll perk you up without the actual biological effects of caffeine.

Learn more about the benefits of massage. Check out my post about the Healing Energy of Massage, and book your massage by calling or texting (518) 744-2315.

Get Rid of Mental Clutter!

Clear your mind. (thank you September 2018 Real Simple magazine)

It’s one of those great ironies of life: We’re too frantically busy to deal with the things that make us FEEL frantically busy. Tackling them might feel like a someday project, but here we share strategies to easy your mind and let you enjoy life a lot more now.

Banish nagging thoughts: You might be a frequent victim of the Zeigarnik effect, named after a Russion psychologist who realized that a waiter could more easily recall incomplete orders than served ones. The follow up study showed that people are 90% more likely to remember undone tasks than those they completed. SO!!! Tell your brain WHEN you’ll get a task done. It kills the worry loop.

Control what’s possible: When we don’t know how something will work out, we worry in order to get certainty. A study found that 85% of things people fretted about had neutral or positive outcomes. But the loop is tiresome. So throw yourself into something you CAN accomplish. It banishes the anxiety for the time being, and you can feel good about a job completed.

Streamline your choices: We are inundated with options for everything from house paint to olive oil. In stores. Online. You either end up getting nothing, or convinced you’ve made the wrong choice. So, limit your choices. Pick one place to shop, and allow yourself only a handful of possibilities. With practice this gets easier.

Loosen up on perfections: We’ve reached a tipping point in perfection. People are realizing we can’t do it all at the level we’re used to. Divvy up responsibilities with a partner, even if he or she does them differently. And decide which tasks can get a minimum effort, which a moderate effort, and which get the maximum. You may be surprised that everything still works out OK 🙂

Need to clear your mind? Just a reminder that I get cancellations on a weekly basis, so it’s always worth a shot to shoot me a text if you’re in the market for a massage! 518-744-2315

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5 Tips To Improve Your Posture

5 tips from the experts at Real Simple (Oct 2018) to help improve your posture:

1. Get Moving! The human body wasn’t made to sit for hours on end. Set reminders to stretch or walk every half hour. Moving around helps blood circulate bringing oxygen to muscles. this improves mobility and strength, which are key components in good posture.

2. Practice breathing. Posture isn’t really about forcing your shoulders back, it’s about helping your spine find its most efficient shape. Force shouldn’t be part of the equation. Your skull should rest over your rib cage, directly above your heart. An easy way to fix your posture is to pay attention to your breathing: for you to take truly deep breaths, your spine must be in proper alignment.

3. Stretch it out. When the chest and neck muscles are too tight, they contribute to hunching. Open your front.

4. Choose the right pillow. An unsupportive pillow can cause neck pain and possibly play a role in poor posture. Stomach sleepers might find they don’t need a pillow, since this position can help keep the body aligned. Back and side sleepers may want to use a pillow to fill the space between the shoulder and neck. (When you sleep on your side your shoulder can be compressed by your body weight, straining your neck.) Since side sleepers have the largest gap to fill they’ll typically need the thickest pillow.

5. Talk to a Doctor. If you have persistent pain, and think it could be posture related talk to someone who can perform a physical exam to assess your posture and alignment. You should then be given techniques to help correct the issue and avoid further complications down the road, such as nerve related pain or other musculoskeletal discomfort.

Not All Calories Are Created Equal

Not All Calories Are Created Equal

You may be surprised not all calories are created equal. (Most of this info is coming from my May/June 2018 Massage& Bodywork magazine) It’s true that fruits and vegetables have more nutrients for our bodies, but what about our souls? I mean, c’mon we heard of Soul food aka comfort foods. Mac and Cheese. Fried anything. Ice Cream. Cookies. Probably I ought to stop now.

Calories, the energy obtained from food, do count. But not all calories are equal. As a massage therapist I hear a lot of dieting stories from clients (body image comes up ALL the time in my world).Many are on whatever the latest diet is, some eat “perfectly” and can’t shed a pound- in fact, many of them still gain weight. This is because food contains subtle energy, not only physical energy, and it’s the ubltle energy of a food that often determines its physical and emotional effects.

As compared to physical energy, subtle energy is less measurable and predictable, but so much more powerful. Subtle energies actually organize physical matter. Subtle energies determine what shows up in our body, and cause the conditions creating food cravings, dislikes, issues, and reactions.

There are 3 basic types of subtle energies that impact our relationship with food- Feelings, frequencies, and forces.

This week I’ll cover Feelings. Stay tuned next week for frequencies and forces .

Feelings– It’s well known that our relationship with food is largely based on emotions. Emotions are formed when at least one feeling and belief conjoin to produce a motivating instinct. Our emotions are regulated in 3 areas of our body: Our gut, our brain, and our heart.

Gut related emotions create body based feelings. this means emotional experience slinked to a specific food can produce digestive ease or irregularity. For instance, if you grew up with a mean grandmother who forced you to eat white bread at her house, you will likely grow up to hate white bread. No surprise there. But you may also very well encounter an allergic reaction to white bread which is founded in the same emotional response to your mean grandmother. And you will likely NOT experience an allergic reaction to darker varieties of bread. How is this possible? The enteric (digestive) nervous system is composed of 500 million total neurotransmitters which produce hormonal, biochemical, and electromagnetic patterns and responses. In other words , an emotionally triggering food can stimulate anything from an illness to a stomachache.

What about the brain? In general, our brain responds to foods base on memory associations. Ready for some science-y stuff?? Here goes. Conclusions (memory associations) about food are stored in the hypothalamus, which links our thinking brain with our primitive/survival brain. Our hypothalamus actually determines our subtle or subconscious reactions to a food. while a food might need to actually be eaten for our gut to react (even emotionally), not so where our brain is involved. For instance- lets say your grandma’s awesome now- and you felt closest to her when you ate chocolate covered cherries together. Now you often crave chocolate covered cherries because your brain associates them with love. Guess what? there isn’t a chocolate covered cherry in the world that will make you sane weight. When a positive mmoy is associated with a food, the hypothalamus will stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. The food- or even the thought of it, will relax us. In turn, our gut will cheerily metabolize the heck out of that food. We’ll burn the calories and feel great.

Conversely, if we had been shamed while indulging in chocolate covered cherries, the negative correlation with the food would activate the sympathetic nervous system making the food harder to digest. Not only that, but the extra calories will more easily be stored as body fat, the healthy gut bacteria will diminish in count, the body will become more toxic, and the resulting stress will raise the heart rate and the body’s production of cortisol and insulin. WHEW!! Over time the consumption off negative charged food can cause chronic inflammation, disease- processes, allergies, sensitivities and autoimmune dysfunctions. DAYUUUM.

The final frontier is the heart.
While the heart is a physical powerhouse of electromagnetic and hormonal activity, it is also the center of the spiritual self. In general, foods perceived to reflect spiritual qualities are more life enhancing, while those associated with harmful spiritual norms are more destructive. In other words, foods can carry spiritual blessings.

Intentional Chocolate is a brand of chocolate infused with good intentions by monks. A study published in 2007 showed that this chocolate increase a subject’s well being, vigor, and energy between 67-1000%. There is a reason why most spiritual traditions recommend that we pray over our food.

Ready for massage? Call me at (518) 744-2315 to book an appointment.

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Boost Your Energy Morning Noon or Night!

Enerty

Boost Your Energy Morning Noon or Night!

Did you know that (according to September 2018’s Prevention Magazine) American’s shell out over $12 billion for coffee, and $9 billion for energy drinks?!! Here are some excellent suggestions for natural energy boosters, and some sneaky energy stealers you may not be aware of:

MORNING:

If you take your shower in the morning, after you’ve taken your nice warm shower, give yourself a blast of cold. Once the initial shock wears off you’ll get an invigorating burst of energy as blood flows away from the surface of your body toward your core, kicking your circulation into gear. BONUS- An arctic blast may help your mood. One study found the icy temps help release endorphins which have a mood boosting effect.

  • Walk around: A short stroll will give you an instant hit of energy, but for lasting effects you’ll want to make a habit of it.
  • Delay your coffee: Wait til you get to work to have your coffee. Why???? Because levels of cortisol are highest in the morning- cortisol may be known as the stress hormone but it also is a potent stimulant. Drinking caffeine when your body doesn’t need it much may suppress your production of cortisol and teach your body to lean more on coffee to make up the energy difference.
  • Secret energy sapper: dehydration! If you’re tired for no good reason, have a big glass of water and see if there’s an improvement.

AFTERNOON:

  • Sit up straight! Scientists at San Francisco State University confirm what your mom always taught you- Maintain an upright posture, which may improve your energy (and your mood!).
  • Breathe Better: Breathing deeply with awareness stimulates blood and oxygen flow to the brain, which can awaken he brain’s verbal and critical thinking centers.
  • Let there be light: If your’e face-planting on your keyboard, turn on a bright desk lamp or go outside for a shot of natural light. (this is my favorite afternoon slump strategy!! Amazing what a little UV will do for that post lunch “siesta” feeling)
  • Make your to-do list now, not at bedtime: Writing you your tasks and obligations generally makes your mind race. Give yourself 10-15 minutes after your midday meal to jot down what you need to do or any concerns you have- leading to a less stressful and more energetic tomorrow.
  • Beware of energy vampires! We all have friends who lift us up and those who sap our spark. But its not always obvious who is who- ask yourself these questions- Am I excited when they call? Do I feel relaxed during our get togethers? Am I 100% myself around them? Do we put equal time into our relationship? If you answered “no” to more of these questions than not, perhaps its time for some distance.

EVENING:

This is the worst for me!!! I leave work and somewhere about 5 minutes into my 10 minute ride home I’m exhausted!!! I’m gonna have to try some of this advice.

  • Help someone out: On your way home, let someone with only one item go in front of you at the grocery store, pick up a piece of trash on your way to your car, or pause for pedestrians. Doing something considerate can give you a boost and wipe away energy sapping stress.
  • Try a twist: (no, not in your martini) Muscle tension can sap energy but a stretch can be a good solution. ( I think this will be there one I try first- stretch before I leave for the day and see if it perks me up when I get home)
  • Turn off the news: Bad news (and c’mon, when has good news ever been the regular headlines) can activate the areas in the brain that are related to the stress response system. Not exactly a great set up for a peaceful night or peppy tomorrow. Switch it off!! Besides if you’re reading your news at night its not news anymore- wait til the morning.
  • Find your sleep sweet spot: Subtract 7.5 hours from when your alarm is set to go off and head to bed at that time. For instance, if your alarm needs to go off at 6:30, go to bed at 11. Keep it up for 5-7days, noting what happens when the alarm goes off. If you’ve been awake for a few minutes prior to the alarm, you’ve found your ideal bedtime. If your alarm usually wakes you up, it’s likely you need more sleep. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier each night until you wakeup just before your alarm sound. I know someone who started setting an alarm to go TO bed. Okay,more of a pleasant chime to remind themselves to head to the sack. Its great so we don’t get caught keeping ourselves up too late with some mindless blather.

Hope this advice helps you boost our energy morning noon or night!

Feel free to text me this week if your’e in need of a massage – you never know what has opened up in my ever changing schedule! 518-744-2315.

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How To Switch A Bad Mood To Good

Real Simple’s August Issue

Hey there! Sorry I missed you guys last week- I was busy camping and totally forgot to write a blog. But its all about balance, right? Here’s some advice from me via the August issue of Real Simple about how to switch a bad mood to good:

We’ve all experienced it. We’re hoping for sunshine and rainbows and then something difficult happens and we turn dark and stormy. And when that happens we might tend to think our entire day is ruined. But guess what? Its normal to experience negative emotions. They’re not bad or wrong, they’re just giving you important information. We just don’t need to linger in them if they’re serving no immediate purpose. So, here’s some real life scenario’s w/a handy-dandy coping mechanism that may help you turn negative into positive (flip that switch!).

YOU’RE DREADING A LOOMING DEADLINE: Get moving! Your initial urge may be to procrastinate, but low energy begets low energy. Instead of retreating, get active.

SOMETHING IS SERIOUSLY WEIGHING ON YOU AND YOU’RE CONSUMED WITT WORRY: Write it out. Worry can hijack your day by taking over real estate in your brain, or keep you up at night. Writing helps you work through your thoughts. But also, by putting them down on paper we get them out of that real estate in the brain department.

A BUNCH OF LITTLE THINGS ARE ADDING UP: You’ve spilled coffee on your blouse, traffic…etc. Do anything you enjoy to break the spell. Take a minute to sing along with a favorite song,

YOU’RE TO-DO LIST IS OVERWHELMING: Breathe. Deeply. Refocus. Pick one thing on the list to do.

FRUSTRATED: If you’re so frustrated you could cry, message someone you love, or do something nice for someone else. We get frustrated in situations we can’t control. Doing something nice for someone else takes the focus off ourselves and puts that energy to work in a positive way.

Need to switch your bad mood to good? Just a reminder that I get cancellations on a weekly basis, so it’s always worth a shot to shoot me a text if you’re in the market for a massage! 518-744-2315

Have a great week!

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5 Quick & Easy Ways to Improve Your Mood

improve mood

The easiest, quickest pick-me-ups for those of us with only a minute to spare!

1. Step into a cold blast.

Hehheh. Crank the shower to cold for a few seconds if you dare, or at the very least splash your face with cold water. Even just a brief exposure to the cold is invigorating many experts say.

2. Opt for orange.

The bright color is stimulating. Why? We associate orange with energy, and our body (and mood) responds in kind. Throw on a vibrant orange sweater, pour a glass of orange juice, or use an orange accent rug.

3. Open your heart.

Yoga. I’m talking yoga. There are many “heart opening” postures in a yoga practice, and they’re designed in part, to bring up our energy.

4. Turn on the tunes.

Research shows that music you like will deliver a dose of positivity. Genre doesn’t matter as long as the music jazzes you up.

5. Get a whiff of citrus.

Try an essential oil pick me up! Citrus (Orange!) or even rosemary are naturally uplifting.

Still have a case of the blahs? Try some of my other easy pick-me-ups! Or give me a call at (518) 744-2315 to discuss other ways I can help you improve your mood, sleep better and more!

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6 Plants to Help Cultivate Better Sleep

plants sleep

I’ve been really longing for spring! Here’s a way to get started early (from an article I stumbled upon from AARP magazine) Insomnia? Allergies? Stress? Let’s clear the air. Some houseplants not only remove toxins in our environment but also promote drowsiness, several studies confirm.

Give these plants a try in your bedroom to help cultivate better sleep:

JASMINE

Jasmine fragrance, working in ways similar to barbiturates, eases anxiety and encourages sleep. German researchers tested the scent on mice an watched them curl up an sleep.

ENGLISH IVY

English Ivy plants help clear the air of mold spores, says a former NASA scientist who has researched how to keep space station air clean.

LAVENDER

Lavender bouquets and essential oils are popular as sleep inducers, but try a houseplant too.

ALOE VERA

A hardy succulent, it vacuums up unhealthy indoor chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) while you catch your zzz’s, another NASA study showed.

BOSTON FERN

Back in the day, upscale hangouts were called fern bars because of this ubiquitous decoration. Turns out that Boston ferns remove formaldehyde from the air.

SNAKE PLANT

No green thumb? Snake plants, an air cleaner, is about the simplest to care for.

Did you know that one of many benefits of massage is improved sleep? Contact me today at (518) 744-2315 to experience it for yourself!

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Hobbies with a Purpose: How Having a Hobby Enhances your Health

hobbies

Free time? Does that even exist anymore? When every second of your day is packed, it can seem laughable to add one more thing to your to-do list. But many of us already have hobbies we use to unwind and relax.

If you don’t have any hobbies, here’s why you should: Taking on a hobby that makes you happy can help you reduce stress, get more focused and unleash creative brainpower.

Here’s a short list:

  • If you want to stay calm in stressful situations, practice music.
  • If you want to improve your public speaking, sign up for a creative writing class.
  • If you want to work on your leadership skills, try team sports.
  • If you want to be more productive start a recipe club.
  • If you want to be more strategic play a video game.

Thank you to Real Simple Magazine for a great article that I am heavily borrowing from!

Looking for some more little life tips between blog posts? Follow me on Facebook for more insights on wellness, mental health and massage.

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Do I Really Need a New Mattress? How Your Mattress Affects Your Sleep

replace mattress for better sleep

Its been going on for months. That feeling of sinking into a pit of quicksand that I can’t get out of. The sagging. The sagging??? Wait! What did you think I was talking about?! My mattress is the actual subject. God, I’m so funny sometimes, aren’t I?

Seriously though. I’ve been thinking it’s time for a new mattress since last fall. And I just googled the symptoms:

  • Muscle soreness and stiffness when you get up
  • There’s a dent in the mattress (actually 2 dents- his and hers, if you will)
  • You wake up feeling stuffy
  • Oh, wait, the fact that our mattress is at least 10 years old (possibly closer to 12). UGH.

A good mattress lasts 9 to 10 years, according to the National Sleep Foundation, but consider replacing a mattress every 5 to 7 years if you have sleep troubles. A study at Oklahoma State University found that most people who switched to new bedding after 5 years sleep significantly better and have less back pain.

I have to remember that the last client who had to bite the bullet and buy a new mattress, hasn’t stopped telling me what a good decision it was. I know, I know, but it so much more fun to spend one’s hard earned money on a vacation. Buying a mattress is right up there in my opinion with having to buy new car tires. Or a hot water heater. Okay, okay. I’ve only done a dozen blogs over the years about how important sleep is. I guess its time to listen to my own advice and get a new mattress.

How about getting a massage along with your new mattress to really up your sleep game? Massage therapy not only relieves stress, but also improves sleep patterns! Give me a call or contact me online to setup an appointment.

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