Gift suggestions that increase well-being

If you’re looking for gift ideas for those you care about, here are a few suggestions. Since I am a licensed massage therapist, that’s where I’ll start.

Although there are a few people around who don’t like to be touched, most people enjoy a professional massage that’s tailored for their needs: the right modality, the right pressure, the right length. One thing people say they’d do if they had unlimited resources is to get massages more often.

Massage gift certificates are welcome gifts, especially with a personal note from you letting them know how much they deserve to be pampered. If the recipient is a busy person, adding the promise of watching the kids or making dinner afterwards so they can enjoy the afterglow is an extra nice touch.

massagetableYou could also give a loved one a massage table if there’s room to set it up in their home and they would enjoy (and can afford) a massage therapist coming to them. You may not need a professional quality table if they will be using it just once or twice a month. You can get a table inexpensively on Amazon, at Costco, or used on Craigslist, but make sure the table you get is rated to hold the weight of the person who will be receiving massages.

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Hot vegetable juice (aka soup) brings the yum in fall

I’ve slacked off on eating as many vegetables as I know are good for me for so many reasons, like vitamins, minerals, other wonderful nutrients, and fiber, as well as tasty.

blended veggie soupWith the change in seasons, I haven’t been consuming green drinks or making salads like I do in summer. In Austin, where fall, winter, and spring are fleeting, it’s an in-between time, with some days warm and humid and others cool and dry. This fall in particular has alternated between drought and deluge and has been warmer than usual.

My nutritionist, Olivia Honeycutt, suggested cooking some vegetables and then running them through the blender or Vitamin. It’s like I would a make cooling green drink of veggies and typically one fruit in summer, only warmed.

Where I come from, that’s soup.  Continue reading

Easy improvisational curry (vegan, vegetarian, and carnivore versions)

This recipe is like jazz: you can improvise based on what you have on hand and what your tastebuds desire. It’s a great way to eat lots of veggies because it’s so delicious. It’s easy because everything can be chopped roughly to bite-size, which adds to the charm; precision is not needed. It’s colorful, too!


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Juicing with watermelon

Here we are at the beginning of fall. The last watermelons are in the stores while pumpkins are beginning to appear in Central Texas, USA.

This past summer of 2015,  I had a blast making juices with watermelon as the main ingredient. Seedless watermelons are so easy to work with, abundant, and inexpensive. You start with the sweetness of the watermelon and can add layers of flavor: sour, hot, herbal, fragrant, smoked, savory, and/or salty elements to that yumminess.

Although I make a lot of juices that are all veggies or veggies plus fruit, for some reason it seemed important to keep the juice red in color, so I didn’t try adding kale, spinach, or parsley, which I’m sure would have made the juice more nutritious, if less pretty to look at.

I had fun combining watermelon with other flavors, and I usually tweeted the recipes. I don’t measure, so measurements aren’t included. Use your tastebuds and common sense! Continue reading

A case study for massage therapists: distinguishing myofascial neck pain from herniated disk pain

In my craniosacral therapy-related work, I learned to work on TMJ/jaw issues. It didn’t take long to realize that distress in the jaw joint is accompanied by distress in the neck. With the intent of providing even more relief, I studied Tom Myers’ DVD course, Easing the Neck, and after practicing it, began using it.

My recipients loved this neck work, even when they didn’t have TMJ issues or forward head posture, so I incorporated these myofascial release techniques into a new offering, my Back Shoulder Neck Head sessions, into which I added trigger point work, lymphatic drainage, and range-of-motion testing.

I was excited about adding this to my repertoire. Clients loved it, and I was getting great results. When I learned that a woman I knew was suffering from neck pain, I offered her a session, and that’s where the learning started.

This client has given me permission to share this story on my blog.

Looking back at my notes from over a year ago, I see that my intake form didn’t inquire about the history of her neck pain, whether she had a medical diagnosis (and if not, what she thought was going on), changes in symptoms, what made it worse or better, how it affected her activities of daily living, what other health care practitioners she’d seen and whether what they did was helpful, and more. (My current intake form asks for all that from clients who come in with specific injuries and conditions.)  Continue reading

Pelvic rehab update: getting bodywork, exercises, kinesiotaping

A couple of weeks ago, my advanced program class at Lauterstein-Conway Massage School did our final exam for the orthopedic massage training. We were assigned a partner in the class, and our job was to interview them, observe, palpate, check range-of-motion, and do special tests if needed to identify the tissues involved.

Then we treated them, and they did the same for us.

My partner, James, did a great job of reassessing my pelvic alignment, first done back on June 22 by our teacher, Jan Hutchinson, PT/LMT. I’ve been wearing a sacroiliac belt around my hips much of the time since then. My hips feel tighter, and my walk has changed for the better. I rarely feel much discomfort at the left SI joint any more.

But I’m still not there. I still had a slight lateral tilt, an anterior tilt, with the left innominate having more of an anterior tilt than the right, and the pubis was also tilted. James watched me walk and could see that it affects my gait.

James applied what we’ve learned in the class. Since the bones are supported by the muscles, we learned techniques to length and shorten muscles to move bones into better alignment.

By the end of his treatment, he retested me. Everything was aligned. No tilts! Good job, James! Continue reading

If you want to get better at healing others and/or self, read this blog post

My wonderful craniosacral therapy teacher of the past few years, Ryan Hallford, wrote a blog post entitled Soft Mantras for Hard Lesions. Although specific to biodynamic craniosacral work, in my opinion it applies to so much more – all types of healing work with others and all healing work on self.

ryanSubstitute “stuck places” for lesions and consider his statement that this post is about our mindset when encountering them, and you can understand how applicable this is to all realms of life.

Toward the end of the post, he lists three mantras (internal prayers) that a person intending to heal (self or other) might find helpful to ask.

I’ve read this blog post three times now and decided to write down the questions to carry with me at all times. This is a practice I use when I want to integrate something new into my being. The writing of it helps me commit it to memory as my pen moves across the paper letter by letter, word by word, and carrying the written paper with me signals my commitment to integrate it.  Continue reading

New science about heart disease, sulfate, glyphosate, sunlight, statins, and aluminum

I listened to a podcast earlier this week that was pretty scientific (for me), yet fascinating. The Bulletproof Exec (Dave Asprey) interviewed Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a senior researcher at MIT. For three decades she’s been doing interdisciplinary research where biology and computers intersect.

It was so full of information, I could hardly keep up with the podcast while driving. Later I went online to read the actual transcript. Here’s the link, and the page also has video of the Facetime-Like conversation.

I am not a scientist, but the findings and recommendations that I found intriguing in this lengthy and wide-ranging conversation are listed below. If you want to learn more about any of this, there’s a lot of good information available online. There are open-access scientific journals and papers available on the internet that are free. And you can google “Seneff”.

  • The cause of heart disease isn’t high cholesterol, it’s a deficiency in sulfate.

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SI belt update, plus insoles for Morton’s foot

The sacroiliac belt is still working for me. It’s been 3.5 weeks since I started wearing it 24/7. It can get hot and a bit itchy at times, but I love what it’s doing for me.

Remember, my plan is to wear it so much that my pelvis and sacrum become aligned and I don’t have SI joint discomfort. It takes time for ligaments to adjust, but I’ve been assured that they do adjust. I’m willing to give this a few months.

Last week I started wearing something else designed to improve my alignment. I have a condition called Morton’s foot (or Morton’s toe). It’s very common and is often called Greek foot. It’s something people are born with.


Consider the image above as a guideline, because toe length is actually irrelevant. Metatarsal length is what counts. Continue reading

A cheaper sacroiliac belt, working toward “the new normal”

I went to an informal gathering for Zero Balancing practitioners (certified or not) Thursday evening, and I was very fortunate in that the man I partnered with is an experienced Zero Balancer, massage therapist, and physical therapy assistant.

I received first on our trade. I told him I wanted to take off my sacroiliac belt (repurposing a torso wrap for an ice pack) before getting on the table, which engendered him telling me what he uses to make SI belts for his clients.

He goes to a sporting goods store and gets a product sold as a waist cincher or a slimmer belt. It’s made of black neoprene with Velcro at one end, has anti-microbial properties, and is about 42 inches long and 8 inches wide.

He then takes a pair of scissors and cuts it in half lengthwise. The cut velcro can be sewn, glued down, or left as is. Continue reading