Now a days, most people have a long-distance relationship with their bodies. They pay the most attention when they are in pain. But if we try to reduce the disconnect between our minds and our bodies, we can reduce the stress in our lives. Our bodies constantly offer us valuable information in the form of sensations, feelings, and intuition. But we are so busy thinking and digesting all the stimulation outside our bodies that we forget to go inward, to turn down the volume of the world around us, and to turn up the volume on the awareness within us. One of the best tools we have for managing and reducing stress is listening to our body.
Let’s face it, stress happens. It’s part of being human. It requires effort and skill to take care of ourselves in ways that minimize stress, ensure we truly enjoy our free time, and enable us to be fully present in our lives. When we experience stress our brains trigger the release of stress hormones into our bloodstream. After a stressful situation, it can take anywhere from half an hour to a couple of days to return to a normal resting state. Chronic elevated levels of stress hormones can lead to serious issues. For example, too much cortisol can suppress the immune system, increase blood pressure, decrease libido, produce acne, contribute to obesity, and more.
How can we reset our body and return to the desired resting state, free of stress hormones? Awareness is the first step. Our body can give us signs right away that our physiology has changed. Often, our heartbeat and breathing changes; we can feel heat in our body or sweaty palms. Eating and drinking patterns can change when we are stressed. We may feel the fight-or-flight response.
Our body is our best ally. Learning to listen is a practice. And easy way to start is simply to slow down.
Meditation is one great way to slow down. But if that’s not your thing, no worries. There are plenty of other ways to slow down, reset, and recharge your body and nervous system.
Here are a few ideas:
We can slow down just about anything we do so we are doing it more mindfully, with deliberate focus. This is also referred to as awareness.
By practicing awareness when we are not stressed, we become better at detecting when stress arrives. When we acknowledge what is happening in our body, we can stop those stress hormones sooner. Movement, exercise, and plenty of water are critical when we are stressed. Shake it off, literally. Shift the state in your body by interrupting the stress pattern so the chemicals stop being produced. Find a way to stop thinking about the stressful event. One helpful way to manage stress is with massage and bodywork. Bodywork supports our body’s natural ability to recover from the stress of being human, and there are so many benefits! In addition to relieving stress, bodywork helps manage headaches and reduce muscle tension.
Some people are good at treating their body like a temple, but most of us need practice. We only receive one body in this lifetime, and we don’t need to wait until we are stressed or in pain to take care of it. Instead, we can learn to check in with, rather than check out of, our bodies. Increase the body’s awareness by slowing down, moving, exercising, and including bodywork in your health-care plan. Cheers to wellness!
There are all different types of massage out there. How do you know which one is which, or what they’re used for? How do you know which one will best meet your specific needs? Let’s take a look at two of the most common types: Swedish massage, and deep tissue massage. On the surface, they may look similar, and can have similar benefits as well. But there are significant differences, making them useful for very different purposes.
The most common type of massage therapy, Swedish massage uses long strokes and rhythmic tapping with the fingers and palms, to work the top layer of skin and muscles. It helps blood circulation and stimulates the nerves. The pressure level can vary, depending on your personal preference, but it’s still fairly gentle when compared with other types of massage.
Swedish massage covers the entire body, and is most commonly used to relax and relieve tension. However, it can also be used to treat pain and injury, to some degree. If there’s one particular area that’s giving you trouble, you can ask your massage therapist to focus more on that particular area.
While Swedish massage encompasses the entire body, deep tissue massage is designed to focus on specific areas that are causing problems. It can be used as a full body, relaxation massage, like Swedish, but more often it’s used to treat a particular injury or ailment.
Deep tissue massage a less rhythmic, more vigorous massage, which puts pressure on your muscles and tissues that run deeper than the top, surface layer. In addition to fingers and palms, your massage therapist may also use their forearms and elbows, to apply greater pressure than a traditional Swedish massage.
Deep tissue massage is great for treating sports injuries, which makes it particularly popular with athletes. However, it can also be used to treat chronic pain, and a variety of other problems.
Because of the wide range of uses for deep tissue massage, and its targeted nature, you should talk to your massage therapist beforehand about what, exactly, you expect to get out of the process. Do you have a particular injury? What type of pain are you experiencing, and where?
You should also communicate with your therapist during the massage, to let them know if they’re using too much pressure or causing you discomfort. The more open you are with them, the better they’ll be able to give you what you need and avoid any problems.
When it comes to massage, communication is important no matter what. Let your massage therapist know what benefits you’re looking to glean from your experience, and they can help you determine which type of massage is right for you and how best to administer it. Whether it’s a nice, relaxing, Swedish massage, a vigorous deep tissue massage to treat an injury, or a combination of both, a good massage therapist will work with you to help you get the best possible experience.
Congratulations! You’ve just had a beautiful new bundle of joy! Prepare for the happiest time in your life – and the most exhausting. There may be days when your baby cries all through the night. You’ve fed them, changed them, and done everything else you can think of, but no matter what, they just can’t seem to get to sleep. As exhausted as you are, it’s hard not to have sympathy for a crying baby. Isn’t there anything you can do to help them get to sleep, safely and naturally? You might try infant massage.
If you’re not familiar with infant massage, it’s exactly what it sounds like: gently massaging the baby’s limbs, muscles and joints to relieve tension. Most babies can be massaged as soon as they are born, and the practice offers a variety of benefits. For instance, that period of gentle contact is a great way to help you bond with your baby more effectively. Your partner can join in the process as well!
Even aside from forging a bond with your child, though, there are plenty of other benefits – both physical and mental. Not the least of those benefits is helping your baby to sleep.
A massage will help your newborn relax their muscles, as well as their mind. This alone is a great first step towards helping them to sleep. But in addition, massage can also help alleviate a lot of the other ailments that might be disturbing their sleep cycle.
It helps stimulate the digestive system, which can relieve things like gas and constipation. It also stimulates the circulatory system, which can help alleviate pain and cramps. And if your baby suffers from colic – i.e. crying frequently, or for an extended period of time (more than three hours a day), infant massage can be a great way to help calm them down so they can get a good night’s rest.
It probably goes without saying, but a massage for your infant isn’t the same as what you would get on a spa day, or what your partner does when you get those knots in your shoulders. It must be done very gently to avoid causing any harm to the child. It might behoove you and your partner to take a class in infant massage, to learn the different techniques and be sure you’re doing it properly, for maximum effectiveness.
Once you’ve got your technique, it’s important to establish a routine. Choose a specific time of day when you do it, such as just before bed. Turning it into a nightly routine for the whole family will not only aid in the bonding process, but also allow your child to associate that time with massage in their mind, helping them relax better and sleep even more soundly.
If you’d like to know more about the benefits infant massage can have for both you and your baby, feel free to contact me, and I’ll help you learn the massage routine that’s right for your baby!
Drumming is a part of our ancestral heritage. Cultures all over the world have used the drum in their everyday lives. The call of the drum is unmistakable and awakens something ancient and ancestral within us. It quiets the thinking brain and makes room for experiencing what exists outside of us. The drum beat is the pulse, the heart of the universe and helps us connect with and understand the mystery and power and the Spirit in all things. The drum produces a highly concentrated focus, causing the brain to slow down into a trance-like state.
During Spirit drumming sessions, the focus will be on the experience of listening and feeling the vibrations of the drums. The beat of the drum is used to create states of altered consciousness using a repetitive sound ranging from 180-220 bpm. This state of consciousness is relaxing and meditative.
I will be holding space and drumming for you. If you already have a practice using the sound of the drums you can do that. For others this may be a first experience with something like this. It is not necessary to have any experience at all to join. Some ideas of what you can do while I drum for you:
What to expect for our time together:
Some suggestions of what to bring with you (or just bring yourself – that’s fine too!):
WHEN: March 31st. Start time 5PM.
WHERE: 6441 Enterprise Ln., Ste 212, Madison WI
COST: $20 per person — cash only
When I do shamanic healing with a client for the very first time, I like to start with power animal retrieval. Why do I start there? Everyone needs an ally when they first start to navigate working with Spirit. Power animals are usually very eager to help and love connecting with “their humans.”
The first kind are the ones that have been with you since birth. Ones that are part of your personality and make up the core values of who you are. The others are situational. They show up and offer their wisdom when you are in a situation where you are feeling stuck or is causing you stress.
How do you know the difference between the two?
Do you have a gazillion chatchkis of a particular animal? Every time you go on vacation, you find a souvenir to bring home that is of the same animal? Is your Christmas tree covered with ornaments with that same animal? For me, it’s penguins. Before I ever knew what a power animal was, I had (and still have) a healthy collection of penguin paraphernalia. At my wedding I had a penguin wedding cake topper, threw beanie baby penguins instead of my wedding bouquet and even had mechanical penguins dancing on the dance floor. Yeah, you could say that Penguin is a power animal of mine!
The situational ones, present themselves, when there is a situation you are in and you start to notice them. Say every night for a week straight, you hear an owl hooting outside your window – where you never heard them before. For the past 3 mornings, a crow seems to fly above your car on the way to work? Or in my case, I walked out my front door one morning and was greeted by a dead baby skunk in my walkway. Spirit was definitely trying to tell me something.
Why are they important?
When first starting to work with Spirit, it is helpful to have a guide with you. Your power animal can be that guide. If you have never meditated or “connected with Spirit” before you might feel more comfortable taking a guide with you. They will be by your side offering guidance and support and helping you listen to messages from Spirit.
If you’re interested, you can schedule a shamanic journey online.
Here are 11 proven tips to help you do just that!
I hope these tips help you feel great in-between your massage sessions.
Thank you for visiting Lighthouse Healing Massage Therapy!
Most spas schedule on the hour. I can be flexible. I can schedule you on the half hour, quarter hour, early morning (before the spa opens) or after spa hours. I also schedule time before and after your massage so you can get dressed, ask questions, and just sit for a few minutes before running back into the world.
and not whoever happens to be on the schedule that day. You know I will be the one doing the massage. I know you and your body. I already know that you like the table warmed up, want a bolster under your knees, and hate Enya with a passion. You don’t need to tell me every time we meet that you have chronic pain in your neck and your right knee gives out on occasion.
Yup. I am not a chain or a big box store. I do not do a “one size fits all” kind of massage and I am not your typical massage therapist. I am a little quirky with a big heart and have no problem giving you a hug before you leave.
Don’t like oil? No problem – let’s use cream. Do you hate “spa music” – let’s listen to Depeche Mode or you can bring whatever music helps you relax.. If you are uncomfortable getting completely undressed, we can do reflexology just on your feet, you can leave all of your clothes on and just take off your socks! There are some things I can’t do. If you don’t like draping, well, I can use a sheet instead of a blanket, but draping is a must.
You don’t have to remember to call me during business hours or leave me a voicemail. At 4AM, in your pajamas, you can go online and schedule an appointment.
Thank you for visiting Lighthouse Healing Massage Therapy!