We usually don’t think about our feet…until they hurt. We tend to take them for granted, but like other parts of our body they can get tired, overused, sore, and in need of some attention. When they start to hurt your whole body can begin to hurt.
When your feet hurt you don’t want to do much of anything. You just want to stay off of them. Foot pain can be the cause of other pain in your body. If your foot hurts, you change the way you stand, walk, and move. Those changes affect your legs. When your legs hurt, you make more changes in what you do, which affects your hips, then your back, then your neck.
Some jobs involve being on your feet most of the day. Often it is on hard floors or rough terrain. You may have a long walk from the parking lot to your job. At home we walk around to take care of our place, our family, and our belongings. We shop, stand chatting with a friend, stand in lines, and walk around doing errands. We cook, do laundry, clean and put things away. All these activities put constant strain on our feet.
Then there are our shoes. We squeeze our feet into uncomfortable shoes or boots. Sometimes it may be for the sake of fashion, such as high heels. Other times our work may require us to wear shoes that are uncomfortable. Two of the worst types of shoes for our feet is the flip flop and sandal. They look pretty but they may not provide the support your feet need.
Bottom line is all of your leg joints are affected by your feet. Joints are under pressure from muscles and bones pulling and twisting on them. Relieving foot pain allows your muscles and joints to be in their proper positions and, with less pressure on them, you feel better.
Massage provides relief from Plantar Fasciitis, heel pain, and other common foot pain. Most muscles that move your foot start in your calf, so relieving foot pain can also reduce calf pain too.
Your feet do a lot for you. Don’t have time for a 60 minute massage? Booking a 15 to 30 minute foot massage can do wonders for your whole body. Foot massage can even help relieve anxiety, pain, and depression in those going through cancer or other medical treatments or those loved ones in assisted living or nursing home facilities.
Give your feet the attention they deserve with a massage so you can keep active in the activities you enjoy doing.
Aging is a fact of life. We are all growing older every minute and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. Trust me, I have researched aging and I have found that we cannot stop the aging process. BUT, we can control to some degree HOW we age. Here are just a few things we can do to combat the affects of aging:
Another way we can control the effects of aging is getting regular therapeutic massages. You know I can't leave that out. Regular therapeutic massages keep the joints lubricated, muscles relaxed, and gives us an overall sense of well-being. What could be better than that!
See you soon @ EmbraceLife! Massage. 713-384-9793
Body image. Almost everybody has something about their body that they do not like. For many people it’s a minor issue, no big deal. But for others, they have a major issue with their body image. It affects how they live and their happiness.
Typically, when I share with others that I am a massage therapist, they either tell me they love massages or they don't. If they respond that they "don't like massages", I attempt to determine the "Why"? If I understand the "Why", then it gives me an opportunity to share how massage therapy can address and actually promote a positive body image.
Therapeutic Massage Therapy can really help with body image issues. When I entered massage school I had never had a massage before. When the instructor informed us that we would be undressing, getting under the drapes, and allowing our fellow students to massage us, I think most of us were in shock. What had we gotten ourselves into?
It didn't take long for us to discover that bodies are just bodies. Each one unique. Each one a different shape and size. We became more comfortable with own bodies as we experienced how good receiving a Therapeutic massage made us feel. Then something unexpected happened...we began to notice that when our bodies felt better we felt better about our bodies.
I know it can be a little nerve racking to put yourself in the hands of someone you don't know. It is for me too. But the rewards out way the risks. I believe each of us have two options to consider:
1. Do not get a massage. No risk-no reward. You don't get a massage
so your body doesn’t feel any better and you still have the stress and
pain that you had before.
2. Get a massage. Low risk-high reward. You get a massage and, in
fact, you felt pretty good about your body after the massage.
I've worked on hundreds of people. Each body is interesting and I've yet to come across one that I could not help. If you have been avoiding massage because you feel uncomfortable about your body, let’s find an option that works for you. Leave your clothes on. Stay sitting up, lying on your side or however you want. It's up to you.
It is my job to help you feel better. That's it. Do not let your body image affect how you live or your happiness. You are an individual. You are unique. You are beautiful.
Call today to book your therapeutic massage session this month. Together, let’s find a way to help you relieve your pain and stress. I look forward to helping you with the issues in your tissue.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and most of the articles you will read will be about breast cancer and prevention. But I would like to go in a different direction.
Everyone, meet my dear friend Mary. I see Mary every week at North Cypress Medical Center in the Infusion Center where I volunteer giving free hand/foot massages. Mary has given me permission to share her story. She has Stage 4 Breast Cancer that has metastized to other organs. To keep it under control she receives treatment once a week and has been doing this for many, many years. When her cancer reappeared her doctor gave her 5 years with treatment. But she has proven them wrong and is now well past the 5 years and going strong.
But her cancer is not what this blog is about. It is about Mary's positive attitude. Her doctor tells her that her positive outlook has made a big difference in helping her body fight this disease. Studies have shown that how we think makes a bid difference in our health. Mary could stay focused on her cancer but she has chosen to move past the negative and dwell on the positive. She chooses to keep her eyes on God and focus on all the blessings she has in her life: family, friends, and of course, a good book and coffee!
I wish each of you would have an opportunity to meet Mary. Everyone knows her as the lady with the pink hair. She is the most delightful, caring, loving, and encouraging person I have ever met. She always has a smile on her face. When I arrive in the infusion center she tells me "I am so happy to see you" and I know she means it. She lights up the infusion center with her positive energy and humor.
Mary, you make me strive each day to be a better person. God's love shines through you and brightens the lives of those who come in contact with you. Your light shines so bright that we need sunglasses when we are around you.
I honor you today, Mary. You have become a very important part of my life. I am truly blessed to know you!
"Cancer doesn't define me. It is not who I am."
- Mary M
Anxiety Disorders affect about 40 million American adults in a given year. Anxiety is described as a feeling of dread, fear, or apprehension often with no clear justification. Most people experience symptoms of anxiety at one time or another, but for those with a disorder, normal daily life is often interrupted and limited.
A few common anxiety disorders are panic disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), social phobia (Social Anxiety), and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. While there are varying symptoms with each, many physiological responses overlap with the different disorders. Many people are able to function with symptoms while others are unable cope with them.
Some disorders manifest with physical symptoms like sleeping problems, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, nausea, sweating or dry mouth. Others are purely emotional, denoted by excessive, unrealistic worry, feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness. Usually, there’s a combination of physical and emotional symptoms.
Massage may help anxiety
The American Massage Therapy Association has adopted a position statement based on research findings asserting that “massage therapy can assist in reducing the symptoms of anxiety.” It goes on to say that massage may reduce symptoms of anxiety in women in labor, psychiatric patients, cancer patients, patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, children with illnesses, and many more types of clients.
The effects of massage therapy include reduced blood pressure, slowed/regulated breathing, and a slower pulse rate. If increased heart rate and rapid breathing are symptoms of anxiety could massage therapy may have a positive effect. Simply taking time to relax and removing yourself from the busy-ness of daily life can be helpful in handling some kinds of anxiety.
Those with more complicated anxiety issues may benefit from regular massage in conjunction with talk therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.
If you are unsure about trying massage to help your anxiety, ask questions. Call me and we can talk about your experience with massage and how it may help you. Check in with your health care provider and your therapist or counselor. (Be sure to let me know if they would like more information about massage and anxiety, I can provide that!)
When you’re ready, we’ll schedule an appointment (embracelifemassage.com) and you can see firsthand how massage may help you.
Every day! Well, maybe that’s not practical, even though it would be nice. This is one of the most common questions clients ask about massage therapy, and it really all depends on WHY you get massages. Do you get massages for health benefits? Or, to help you relax and handle the stress of everyday life? Most likely it’s a combination of the two, so let’s look at some of the most common reasons to get regular massages:
Relaxation massage helps to support your body, including blood circulation and flexibility of joints. Regular massage can help prevent pain, muscle tension, and stress points from building up and causing problems. Why wait until you have a problem to get a massage? Massage is perfect for preventing issues with your tissues. Relaxation massage is usually recommended at least once per month, or as often as you want!
There may be times in your life where you experience higher levels of stress and more muscle tension than normal. It is especially important to practice good self-care during these times. When we “don’t have time” for a massage, is usually when we need one the most. Make yourself a priority even during stressful times, your health is worth it.
In a high-stress job or work environment where you stay in a certain position for a long period of time (at a computer for example), you may begin to develop tight or “knotted” muscles. This will frequently occur in your shoulders, arms, and back. All of this increased muscle tension will make movement harder and can cause a great deal of pain. Regular massage can help to keep you loosened up and will help to prevent pain and stiffness.
Chronic Health Conditions
People with ongoing health issues often find massage very helpful to alleviate symptoms. Chronic health problems that greatly benefit from massage therapy include back pain, joint pain, and localized inflammation. If you get therapy for specific issues, the frequency of getting massage therapy varies with the type of condition you have and how severe it is. Relief from pain can usually be achieved with 2-4 massage sessions per month. Your massage therapist will work with you to help you get on the best schedule for your body.
Those who are going through chemotherapy or radiation treatments can greatly benefit from receiving regular massages. Usually the best time is a day or two before they receive their next treatment. They have more energy and feel better by that time. Massage can help to relieve anxiety, depression, fatigue, nausea, and insomnia. After treatments are done, massage therapy can help you to find your body's new normal.
This covers a wide spectrum of people. We enter the geriatric stage of live when we hit the age of 55. But we are living longer and more active lives than ever before. As we age, we can begin developing aches and pains we hadn't noticed before. Also, sometimes our health changes. These changes need to be taken into consideration and discussed with your massage therapist.
Those in assisted living or nursing homes can sometimes suffer from loneliness, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and aches and pains. Massage therapy session length will depend on how robust the person is. Most session usually last 20 min to 60 min.
Pregnant women can greatly benefit from massage therapy! Prenatal massage and is popular among expectant mothers, who often experience a lot of aches and pains as their pregnancy progresses. Many women suffer from back pain, hip & sciatic pain, headaches, and tired legs & feet. But you don’t have to. Going to your massage therapist once or twice a month can help with the symptoms caused by pregnancy, and it can even help you sleep better. Of course, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor and your massage therapist to ensure that you don’t have any pregnancy related conditions that would contraindicate massage therapy for you. Most women experiencing a healthy pregnancy can and should enjoy regular massage sessions.
Families are in the trenches fighting cancer every day. If cancer hasn’t crossed your path, whether directly or through a loved one, consider yourself lucky. It’s easy to feel helpless when friends and people close to you are struggling. Since September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month here are a few simple things you can do to help those who are facing the dreaded “C” word.
Do. Don’t ask.
It’s easy to say, “let me know if you need anything.” What the family needs is someone to say, “hey, I’m making you dinner.” Or “I’m babysitting - just tell me what day (or night).” Don’t give them the burden of asking. Just offer it.
Gift cards/Massage gift certificates go a long way.
Treatments can sometimes take a patient and family far from home. Do a little research and purchase gift cards for restaurants, hotel chains and gas stations near the hospital they are using. Also, quarter rolls for vending machines are helpful when family cannot get away to eat.
And, of course, a therapeutic massage gift certificate(s) [embracelifemassage.com] is a perfect way to care for your friend. Don’t forget the care givers. Soothing, comforting touch during a time of harsh treatments. A group of friends, co-workers, or church family can go together to purchase gift certificates.
Remember the siblings.
Cancer affects the entire family. Siblings often are trying to navigate many emotions like fear and jealousy. Commit to a sibling and offer to be there for them. Be a friend. Be someone they can lean on and talk to.
Shortly after diagnosis, a family will receive calls, cards, and meals. Anything to help soothe the heartbreaking news. After time, these things fade away and the family is still traveling the long road. But don’t disappear. Meet them where they are. Sometimes there are no words. Just be present. Reach out and enlist the help of others to send cards, letters and other nice/silly/fun things that will brighten the family’s day. Even an “I’ve been thinking of you” text speaks volumes.
These tips might not seem like much, but it can mean the world to a family facing cancer. Long days and sleepless nights can be an endless cycle. Little gestures of kindness can bring the family loads of comfort.
High blood pressure is known as the silent killer because they are no visible outward signs as there are for a stroke or heart attack. Dealing with high blood pressure can lead to a stroke if not kept under control by diet, exercise or medication. Regular massage sessions with the intention of reducing stress have been shown to have lowering affects on those with high blood pressure. (Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, Vol.4, Issue 1, pg 31-38. Published in issue: January 2000). Modalities such as Swedish massage and Reflexology are good for those dealing with high blood pressure.
When we are dealing with life in general, situations happen that can cause short term or long term stress. It is the long term stress that can cause damage to our bodies. Stress itself can be a good thing, but when it becomes a daily part of our life then it can lead to overeating, lack of exercise, depression, anxiety, and lack of sleep. With a consistent massage routine the effects of stress can be diminished. Getting a Swedish massage which consists of long slow strokes helps to calm down the fight and flight response of our nervous system. As the nervous system calms down, breathing slows and the body begins to relax. Sounds great doesn’t it!
As a massage therapist if a client has marked “high blood pressure” on the intake form I always ask if they are under a doctors care and, if so, are they on any medication. If it is not controlled with medication your session will be geared towards relaxation only. If blood pressure is under control (stays in a normal range) then your massage session can include deeper work as needed.
Always be sure to be totally honest with your therapist. We are here to help you and look out for your best interest.
Call to make your appointment today. 713-384-9793
I was asked recently why I became a massage therapist. I thought for a moment and said "My mom". Here's the story: My mom had a hip replacement and was given medications that she should not have received. This caused many complications in her recovery which in turn has impacted her ability to drive, walk, etc. It so happened that it was at a time in my life where I had the opportunity to make a career change. I looked into Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy but soon realized I would be using a walker by the time I graduated. One day a friend of mine suggested Massage Therapy. I researched Massage Therapy and eventually enrolled in classes and my life has never been the same. Thank you Sandy!
Next question was "Why Oncology massage and Geriatric Massage"? My response was "Both of these groups of people need touch...loving, compassionate touch." For those in treatment for cancer, many times they feel their identity is the cancer. Not at all...they just happen to be an individual who is dealing with an illness. They are not the illness. Therapeutic massage sessions remind them that they still have control over their body and how their body feels. Oncology massage or Cancer Care Support can help with the side effects of treatment. For the Geriatric client, many feel isolated, lonely, and depressed. Many have lost their loved ones and friends over time. They live in assisted living facilities or nursing homes. Having someone come and offer compassionate, gentle therapeutic massage as well as conversation gives them something to look forward to. There are many health benefits as well.
I knew from day one that I wanted to work with the elderly. Never once did it cross my mind to work with individuals who have or have had cancer. I really was just ignorant of the fact that we could. I lost a sister many years ago to a rare brain cancer and in 2014 my dad was diagnosed with a form of leukemia and went through chemotherapy treatments. Praise God he is doing great! Soon after his diagnosis I received an invitation to MDAnderson Integrative Medicine Conference for Massage Therapists, Acupunturists, and Yoga Instructors. Talk about divine timing! I signed up immediately and that began my journey into oncology massage.
During the conference, MDAnderson brought in a couple of patients to speak to us about their experience of receiving massage therapy. Both stated that massage therapy sessions helped them get through their treatments. After hearing them speak I had such a tugging in my heart to expand my practice to include cancer care support through massage therapy. I searched out training and the rest is history. I feel absolutely honored when someone allows me to help them through treatment and recovery.
Truly blessed to be a massage therapist!
What a wonderful video about Gratitude! Think of who had an impact on your life and spend some time reflecting on him/her/them. Then watch this video and take the next step....call them! You will be filled with GRATITUDE!
Thanksgiving is all about being grateful for those who we have or have had in our lives. I lost a sister many years ago to cancer. I cannot tell her now how much I love her, wish she were here, wish we could have known each other better. She died at age 42. My other sister I still have the opportunity to tell her I love her. My parents the same. Probably don't do it enough though. But I am going to call them after I finish this post and tell them.
What I am GRATEFUL for:
So to each of you....Thank you!
Massage Therapist specializing in Therapeutic, Oncology, and Geriatric massage.