Ok I will just come out and lead with it - Send him or her this link to a Massage Gift Certificate ! Seriously, its not that massage is the only gift, but if you are reading this blog, there is a very good chance it is something you would love, and therefore sometimes it is helpful to give guidance.
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. And expectations sometimes run high. Whether it is the gift, or the card, or the flowers or the dinner - Valentines is sort of like New Years for some - there is pressure to succeed.
Some of you reading this may already be dreaming about roses and Godiva, others a romantic candlelit dinner and a stunning pair of diamond studs.
Still others may just be hoping for a morning to sleep in and maybe a cup of coffee handed to you before you even get out of bed. Maybe more help with the kids, if you have them.
Tips for Making Your Spouse or Significant Other a Better Gift Giver
Don’t make it a guessing game.
Gift-giving shouldn’t be some kind of test—especially not a pass or fail one. For those who are literally happy with anything, I guess this post is not aimed at you. For others, they wish their spouse was more thoughtful, but maybe he just needs guidance and does not excel at reading minds.
There’s no reason to be sly or secretive about what you want for a special occasion. Just be open about it.
For men (and I am assuming most reading this blog are women) I think most would love to make you happy and give you what you would love, so spell it out. Send an amazon link,
But if you have something in mind—even if it’s just the type of present you’d like —don’t just cross your fingers and hope they can read your mind.
Let Him Know When He Gets It Right
When your spouse or SO hits the nail on the head gift-wise, feel free to gush over it—and then demonstrate how much you love it by making a point of using/wearing it in his presence.
Not only will he feel proud of his present of choice, he’ll also be more likely to give a repeat performance!
Tell Him to Consider This - What does he love about you, and then give a gift reflecting that.”
So if your mate is totally stumped, suggest he consider what exactly it is he loves about you. If he loves how organized you keep the whole family, maybe you’ll end up with a beautiful, classy day planner. If he’s grateful for your cooking skills, you might get to enjoy a brand new cast iron skillet. If nothing else, asking that question is a helpful starting point.
Encourage Him to Think Beyond Stuff the Store
A house full of stuff does not a happy person make.
Life is about experiences. And this goes for you too in the giving department, Maybe it is a helicopter flying lesson, or grown up go carts.
A study from researchers at San Francisco State University found that when we spend our money on experiences rather than things, it can actually lead to increased satisfaction and well being. This again is a perfect reason for getting and giving massage.
So help your spouse out and make yourself happier in the process by suggesting he focus on experiential purchases. A gift certificate for a manicure, a pair of tickets to the theater, or a coupon for a skydiving trip (for the thrill-seeking readers out there!) might be in your future.
Remember: It Really Is the Thought That Counts
It is cliché, but it is true. As long as there is thought that goes into it. A thoughtless gift picked up on the way home can hurt, better no gift. But a thoughtful mate might be struggling and one gift you can give him in return is direction.
Note: Because most of my readers/clients are heterosexual females, and because it it too cumbersome to do otherwise, this post is written that way, but it of course applies to all genders and couples. Anyone who knows me knows that no offense is intended. If you are unattached this Valentines day than of course gift yourself....what a wonderful thing to do!
October 22-28, 2017 is National Massage Therapy Awareness Week !
What to expect during your Lomi Massage (updated May 2017)
This is a minor update of a prior post re posted here due to the number of inquiries about Lomi massage and what to expect. The original posts may be found here , here , and here
What is Lomi Lomi Massage ?
Massage is one of the oldest and most powerful forms of healing. Lomi Lomi is one of the most profound forms of massage. So, what makes it so special, what is it, how does it differ from other massage, how does it "work"?
I"m often asked what Lomi Lomi means. The meaning of the words Lomi Lomi in some sense have been lost to time, and are so misquoted on the internet it is hard to keep track!
Because the Hawaiian language was a spoken one, and not written, there are few references to Lomi, prior to the arrival of western missionaries. However for purposes of simplicity, lets just assume that in today's understanding Lomi Lomi might best be translated as "loving touch". But loving not in the sense of romantic love, but in the sense of Aloha. I will write more on Aloha and the history of the word in another post, but suffice to say that Lomi was commonly practiced in families, children on parents, parents on children, and for royalty. It was a part of healing and was also a part or relaxation. Repeating a word in Hawaiian merely emphasizes the meaning. More on this if you are interested.
However, today, what Lomi Lomi is is a unique healing massage derived from the ancient Polynesians and more specifically the master healers of Hawaii. True Lomi Lomi has other components of healing, such as knowledge of herbs and natural remedies, but again, this being today, the focus of this post is really to describe the bodywork experience and environment.
However, Lomi, for me, is more than a technique. It is a life style and a journey to know one's self on a deeper level
To understand the depth of Lomi Lomi massage, it helps to have an understanding of the Hawaiian philosophy called Huna, and how the philosophies of Huna relate to bodywork and healing.
A fundamental assumption of Huna is that everything seeks harmony and everything seeks love. So how does this relate to massage? Perhaps this can best be understood by taking the concept of "Loving Touch". The reason for this is that it works gently yet deeply into the muscles with continuous, flowing strokes, totally nurturing the body and, enabling the recipient to relax, give in and simply be. So while technique is a part of the massage , much of the work is done by intuition, and feeling, with the focus of the practitioner on the client being deep and complete, using loving hands and a loving heart.
This flowing with total energy, using the long continuous fluid strokes, combined with the very loving touch, relaxes the entire being, assisting in a letting go of old beliefs, patterns and behaviors.
The Hawaiians look at things in terms of energy flow, following the idea that an idea or belief can block energy flow as much as muscle tension can. Lomi Lomi helps release the blockages, Thus Lomi Lomi is not just a physical experience; it also facilitates healing on the mental, emotional and spiritual levels as well. The Hawaiians view all aspects of the body as one and believe that the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual are all part of the "whole" self - when healing is effected on one level, all levels are affected. This is balance. True balance.
So, what happens during a Lomi Lomi massage? How is it performed?
Every Lomi session begins with pule (Prayer) and intention. For me, a simple intention would be "Lomi begins when I wake up in the morning and go to bed at night. I ask myself, how can I contribute?" Alternatively or as well, the client may be asked to set their intention for any healing they would like to receive.
There is a stillness between the practitioner and client - often with the practitioners hands gently resting on the clients back. In this stillness the practitioner will quietly say a chant or prayer asking for whatever healing is needed to take place during the massage.
The practitioner then works very intuitively with the client. In this respect there is no set format or sequence for the massage and no two massages will ever be identical.
The massage is given in fluid, rhythmic motion using the forearms as well as the hands. Some people have described this as feeling like gentle waves moving over the body. Another feature is that different parts of the body may be massaged at the same time, for example one arm or hand may be working on a shoulder and the other hand may be working on the opposite hip. This assists the recipient in totally relaxing as it is impossible or at least extremely difficult for the brain to focus on the two different areas at once. By not working on areas in isolation a deep sense of balance and harmony is achieved. The client on the table is not viewed as someone to be fixed, but a being to be returned to harmony and balance. It is important to remember that Lomi does not seek to "fix" any specific thing, but in working on the entire being, the idea is that any specific issue will have been addressed.
What to Expect -
Your Lomi experience will take place in a comforting, calm, clean well-heated space.
Hand blended aromatherapy oils, and a combination of music will allow you to be carried away by this wavelike massage.
It’s about being present and supportive and encouraging deep breath. There is generous use of warm oils. So dress and plan accordingly for when you leave.
A word about draping - Lomi draping is often shown on the internet as very minimal. It is true that for some of the strokes more of the body is exposed than in Swedish or Sports massage, however draping is always respectful, and in compliance with local rules. No part of the body is ever unnecessarily exposed and is not for titillating purposes but for access. For those who have questions or concerns about the draping, it can always be modified to satisfy the concerns of the client. Lomi can even be done fully clothed! It is a different experience to be sure but Lomi is about the touch, its about the connection, not the amount of exposure. You must have trust between the practitioner and the client to be able to fully "let go" and to allow for complete relaxation.
For those who feel only "deep" work is true massage, I simply offer that Lomi is less invasive but no less effective. Poetically described, "Lomi, in essence, is like floating on a raft in a peaceful lake. You are invited to deeply relax and release stress, to clear my mind and allow yourself to simply be in the moment."
For many who come and experience Lomi for the first time, they often describe it as "the best massage experience ever".
Lomi Lomi is a feast for the senses,
I invite you to try this unique experience for yourself and to make it a regular part of your life, not simply a one time luxury.
6 Myths about Massage
Its amazing to me when I read the offerings that are out there for a variety of different treatments ho many claims, and exaggerated claims exist about massage and massage therapy. As well, there are some urban myths about do's and dont's. I can tell you there are enough positive benefits to receiving regular bodywork that one needn't exaggerate the benefits. Merely ask any of my regular or repeat clients why they come back again and again. "It feels good" Even if that were the sole benefit, wouldn't that be enough? Who doesn't want too feel good? I know I do. It is a primary motivator for almost everything we do in life. Happiness, mind and body feeling good. What else is there?
I have written about the countless ways in which bodywork can be good, but I am also careful about making any exaggerated claims. They are not necessary.
For example one thing I often hear is that I did hear that it helps flush out toxins and remove lactic acid from the body if you need to recover from a work out.
Research shows that blood lactate levels return to normal ranges within 20-60 minutes regardless of any interventions. Lactic acid is not even a waste product, but rather metabolic fuel for the muscle.
Here are just a few myths that are worth dispelling - but of course if there is evidence to the contrary, I will be happy to correct myself here.
#1. Toxins can be flushed out of the body via Massage:
This is an interesting myth as it’s probably the most popular. The body processes excess waste (by-products of food, drink, air born pollutants etc.) in a variety of ways i.e. sweat, urine, feces, or if you’re ill by vomiting. Your liver, kidneys and skin do a remarkable job of getting rid of these ‘toxins’ on a daily basis. Massage does, however, increase blood supply to various parts of the body and can regenerate a lack-luster circulation as well as stimulating the lymphatic system. This may be what is actually being referred to. Drinking water is a good and pleasant thing to do after a massage, but not in any way a means of flushing out the toxins.
#2. Massage will get rid of cellulite:
If massage therapists could really banish cellulite, we would have a line a mile long and we’d never see a dimpled thigh ever again. However, cellulite is persistent subcutaneous fat and it’s appearance, mainly in women, is determined by hormonal factors, genetics, diet and lifestyle. Eating a healthy, low fat diet, rich in fruits, vegetables and fiber and taking regular exercise is the best option to prevent and reduce the appearance of cellulite.
#3. The sign of a really good massage is that you feel quite sore the day after . WRONG
How many people come to me and talk about their massage pain experiences. Maybe it stems from the "no pain no gain" mentality ? Everyone is different and some people are more sensitive than others but just because you don’t feel sore the next day doesn’t mean you had a bad massage. In fact quite the opposite. Significant pain in soft tissue areas can be an indication that something went wrong, not right.
The sign of a good massage is that you ‘feel better’ than you did before – it may take a while to feel the full benefits but you should experience some of the following:
This one drives me a bit crazy, maybe because my specialty is a very light touch but this goes hand in hand with the above. While there is certainly an express preference for "going deep" by some clients, it is by no means a measure of the quality of a bodywork how "deep" one goes. In fact a properly applied light tough will migrate into the deeper tissues. Everyone falls victim to this myth. Perhaps because pain is measurable it seems one way to quantify the experience? Or perhaps if you have a therapist that is "too light" with their touch, it may have more to do with the fact that you have the wrong therapist. Maybe he or she is just not good.
#5. You shouldn’t get a massage if you have cancer
Massage Therapists and cancer patients have often fallen prey to this myth. Until recently, it was thought that the action of massage could actively spread cancer cells throughout the body. However, cancer cells are caused by the body’s immune system malfunctioning and cells that turn cancerous will do so regardless of massage therapy stimulus. If massage did cause cancer cells to move through the body then the same could be said of any form of exercise. I believe this stems from an over exaggerated sense of the effect that massage can have on the body.
#6. You shouldn’t have a massage if you’re pregnant
Massage Therapy does not induce an early labor and is perfectly safe for both mother and baby during normal pregnancies. It can be extremely beneficial for the Mom-to-be and offer a way to relax and unwind during a physically and mentally tiring time. Massage is also a great way to keep the muscles ready for the big day. Post-natal massage can be equally beneficial too.
Hopefully if you are reading this you are already aware of some of the benefits of routine bodywork. I encourage you to read some of those articles here as well and share this information with friends.
Surprising facts about touch
Touch is perhaps the most overlooked sense.
Every one of us receives tactile information about the world around us every second of the day. Right now, if you're sitting, your bottom is being squished into your chair. Your fingertips are probably touching a mouse, or swiping the glass of your phone. All this information is so omnipresent, in fact, that the only way to make sense of it is to tune most of it out — you probably weren't paying attention to these sensations until you read those words.
"You can't turn off touch. It never goes away," says David Linden , a neurobiologist at Johns Hopkins and author of the new book Touch: The Science of Hand, Heart, and Mind. "You can close your eyes and imagine what it's like to be blind, and you can stop up your ears and imagine what it's like to be deaf. But touch is so central and ever-present in our lives that we can't imagine losing it."
In the book, Linden explores all sorts of fascinating aspects about this enigmatic sense.
Your brain pays wildly disproportionate attention to touch on different parts of your body
The cortical homunculus — is a human figure scaled to match the proportions of how touch sensors are represented in the brain.
"The part of your brain that processes touch information has a map of your body surface. But this map is very highly distorted," Linden says.
"It over-represents areas that have lots of fine touch receptors (like the face, the lips, the tongue, and the fingers) and under-represents areas that don't have many receptors (like the small of your back, your chest, and your thighs)."
These receptors, he says, come in four varieties. "There's one receptor for sensing vibration, one for tiny amounts of slippage, one for stretching of the skin, and one that senses the finest kinds of textures. The last one, called a Merkel ending, is only in the parts of your body you use to feel something really finely — like your fingertips and lips."
You have a special system for feeling emotional, social touch
"There are two touch systems," Linden says. "One that gives the 'facts' — the location, movement, and strength of a touch — and we call that discriminative touch."
"But then there's the emotional touch system. It's mediated by special sensors called C tactile fibers, and it conveys information much more slowly. It's vague — in terms of where the touch is happening — but it sends information to a part of the brain called the posterior insula that is crucial for socially-bonding touch. This includes things like a hug from a friend, to the touch you got as a child from your mother, to sexual touch."
"It's not just a different kind of information that's conveyed by the same sensors in the skin that allow you to feel a quarter in your pocket. It's a completely different set of sensors and nerve fibers that wind up in a different part of your brain."
Touch is mysteriously crucial for a baby's development
"The best examples of this come from Romanian orphanages after Ceaușescu's fall, when there just weren't enough people around to take care of babies. They were barely touched during the day," Linden says.
"These kids didn't just have a host of emotional problems — though they were depressed and had high instances of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other issues — but they also had a whole raft of physical ailments. They had weakened immune systems, and skin ailments."
"Other research has confirmed this phenomenon. We're not entirely sure why it happens, but it seems that early touch experience is extraordinarily important for development both cognitive function and a healthy body."
"This is why, nowadays, when premature infants are born and put in isolators, they're taken out for a few hours a day, and pressed against a parent's skin. Initially, when isolators were first invented, people thought you should just leave them in there alone, so they don't get infected. But then they might not get touched for the first two months of life, which turns out to be disastrous."
The emotional context changes our physical experience of touch
As we all know well, touch can actually feel physically different based on the social context of the encounter. Consider the example of an arm around the shoulder, said Linden: Whether it's coming from a good friend, your lover, your boss or a person you don't like very much will change the way you experience that touch, even if your skin is being stimulated in the exact same way.
"It's not just that the context is different -- it will actually feel different," Linden explained. "The reason is because these emotional touch brain areas are getting information about the social context from other parts of the brain."
Because of this separation of the two pathways used for processing touch, is that in some people with certain brain disorders, the physical sensation of pain can be separated from its emotional impact. So too, can the pleasurable aspect of touch be removed from the actual sensation.
Touch shapes first impressions of people in weird ways
"Incidental touch can help form our impressions of people's character," Linden says. "In one experiment
people were holding either a cold iced drink or a hot drink when meeting someone, and those with a hot drink literally rated the people they met as warmer — as in, having a more pro-social personality. They didn't rate them better overall — say, as smarter, or more competent — they just rated them as warmer."
"There was another study in which people evaluated others' resumes on a clipboard, and if they were on a heavy clipboard — rather than a really light one — they were rated as having more gravitas, more authority. Once again, people didn't think they were smarter, or better team players, or things like that. The weight made them seem weighty."
"When these studies first came out, no one really believed them — but they've since been well reproduced. It's also not a quirk of English, it happens across cultures. It's been done in Papua New Guinea."
"It points to an idea that's come up in social psychology again and again: if you're evaluating someone for the first time, the first decision you make is friend or foe. Is this person warm, or are they a threat? Then the second thing you evaluate is whether they're competent — which means that it matters if they're a threat or not. And it seems that touch information helps us make these distinctions, even when it's irrelevant."
We still don't really completely understand how sexual touch works
"We know embarrassingly little about it," Linden says. "Here's a very basic question that we can't fully answer: what makes the genitals different from the rest of the body? Obviously other parts of the body can lead to sexual stimulation, but there's something special about the genitals. And we just don't know what it is."
"If you look at the skin in the genitals, there are some structures — including one called a mucocutaneous end organ — that are present there at higher densities. So it seems likely that it's involved in sexual sensation. But in truth, we don't have a way of activating those nerve endings on their own, so we just don't know."
Sexual sensation affects so much in our lives, our social organization, and what makes us human — and yet we know embarrassingly little about the biology of it.
Touch can be therapeutic
A large body of research -- much of which has been conducted by Tiffany Field of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami -- suggests that therapeutic massage can be useful for a number of physical and mental ailments.
These therapeutic applications include pain relief, addiction recovery, and maintaining emotional equilibrium, cognitive function and mobility among an aging population, Linden suggested. Research has also shown that massage may be an effect way to treat anxiety, insomnia, headaches and digestive problems.
I write about things that I myself need to be mindful of. ways in which I would like to improve. It is not from the perspective of preaching - but rather writing helps me work out what I myself need to do - we are all in this together.