My bodywork and changework practice

I do bodywork at my downtown Austin, Texas, USA, studio (and occasional outcalls if you have a massage table at home), specializing in both integrative Swedish-based massage, including back/shoulders/neck/head sessions, foot massage, Ashiatsu barefoot massage and Ashi-Thai (in studio only), and craniosacral therapy, including clinical treatment for TMJ (jaw) issues.

To read about my offerings or to make an appointment, please click the Schedule Now menu to access my online booking site.

If you’d like to receive my occasional newsletter (no more than once a month) which sometimes has giveaways and special offers, please email me at thewellashiatsu @ gmail dot com with your request.

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Moving toward a more traditional diet

I’ve been working with a local clinical nutritionist/acupuncturist, Olivia Honeycutt, for a couple of months, tweaking my diet so I can be healthier and have more energy. She gave me some forms for noting what I eat for meals and snacks, when I eat, how much water I drink, how many hours of sleep I get and the quality of my sleep, bowel movements, etc. We get together every couple of weeks so I can share my forms. She looks them over and makes recommendations of little changes I can make to better my health through diet.

Although I was already eating very little grains and legume and no gluten before I started working with Olivia, I’m eating more of a traditional diet now. It was a bit difficult to move past the belief that more fat is good, because for most of my adult life, fat has been considered the cause of heart disease and obesity. Especially animal fat. Fat = bad for a long time, and now fat = good (especially animal fat, coconut oil, and olive oil).

Yet here I am, eating butter, ghee, and/or bacon grease daily. I did not want to gain weight, but I have. It’s actually fat turned to muscle, because my clothes still fit. To lose weight eating like this, you eat more fat earlier in the day.

Epic barsThe great thing about fat is that it satisfies. If I’m working for hours doing massage, and I don’t have time to eat, consuming fat will stave off my hunger for longer than anything else I could eat. It’s fuel. I’ve tried eating various fat-laden foods such as almond butter, coconut butter, Epic bison/lamb/turkey/beef bars, avocados, and some organic extra-virgin coconut oil when my hunger is getting the better of me. It works.

One of the biggest adjustments is that from tracking my water intake, I learned I wasn’t drinking enough water. Now I drink 16 ounces upon arising (with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar). My water bottle holds 27 ounces, and I empty it daily. Another 16 ounces in the evening brings my total to 59 ounces, close enough to my goal of 60 ounces a day, or about half my body weight in ounces. I don’t count the caffeinated tea I drink because it is a bit of a diuretic. I like to drink a glass of water about 10 minutes before eating. I usually eat less. It’s easy to confuse hunger and thirst. When my thirst is sated, I’m not as hungry.

Because I work out 3-5 times per week with kettle bells and do physical work as a massage therapist, Olivia has me eating a palm-sized amount of protein at each meal. I am not an athlete, but I get to eat like one! I’ve been making chicken liver paté from different recipes for the past few weeks to get some beneficial fat-soluble vitamins found in liver.

I don’t eat much canned or processed foods. I eat raw honey, raw fish in sushi, rare beef, and fermented food and drink such as sauerkraut, refrigerator pickles, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, Kevita, wine, cider, or cheese nearly every day.

I’m looking forward to obtaining some natto, having become aware of the vast benefits of consuming adequate vitamin K2 for appropriate calcium utilization (i.e., in the bones and teeth and not in the arteries and brain).

I’m learning to soak and dehydrate nuts. (Well, just walnuts, so far.) The cookbook Nourishing Traditions has been helpful. This diet is similar to the Paleo diet, is influenced by the Weston A. Price Foundation‘s dietary principles, and also by Olivia’s understanding of diet and health from her acupuncture training (having to do with heat, cold, dampness, herbs, seasons, etc.).

I try to eat half a beet and drink a cup of dandelion tea each day for better liver function. I eat dark green leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, and tropical fruits. And high-cacao chocolate (over 80 percent).

I also make bone broths, especially in the winter, for the calcium. I save chicken, beef, and lamb bones and veggie scraps in my freezer. Sometimes I just buy bones. I have a big plastic container to store them in, and I also add the water from steaming veggies to this frozen stockpile of nutrients.

When I’ve got enough, I thaw it, put the contents into a stockpot, add water to cover, some apple cider vinegar, and salt, and cook it on low for a day or two, skimming foam off the top when it first rises. The resulting broth is flavorful and extremely nourishing. I drink a cup per day when I have it and also use it as a basis for soups and stews.

In summer, and when I’ve run out of bone broth, I try to consume a tablespoon of gelatin every day for the protein. It thickens smoothies, makes my hair and nails grow thicker and faster, and is good for joints and reducing cellulite. I get the Great Lakes brand sold on Amazon.

My gut seems to be working better despite recent stressful difficulties. I take L-glutamine supplements, which help with gut issues and have many other benefits.

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Two remedies for muscle pain that everyone should know about: arnica and epsom salt

MaryAnn Reynolds:

So good, I’m reposting!

Originally posted on The Well: bodymindheartspirit:

A marathon took place this past Sunday in Austin, Texas, and I’ve seen a few runners who came in for massages. (Runners: Ask for Ashiatsu barefoot massage. Every runner I’ve ever worked on loves the deep pressure on the hamstrings and calves.)

It surprises me that so many runners, triathletes, bicyclists, and people who work out are unaware of two over-the-counter remedies that are very effective at relieving muscle pain. Hence this blog post!

It’s not that I don’t want to see you on the massage table. I do. Massage has great benefits, including pain relief. But it’s like this: Very few people can afford to get massage every time they work their muscles so hard they feel pain afterwards. Wouldn’t that be nice, though?

In between massages, here’s how you can find relief from muscle pain. These are remedies professional athletes, dancers, and others who work their bodies hard…

View original 744 more words

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First day it feels like fall

Right now in Austin, Texas, it’s 61 degrees F. The expected high today is 75. This after weeks and weeks of highs in the upper 90s.

Sometimes we don’t get our first cool front until after the middle of October, so this respite is very welcome.

And this early cool front has brought RAIN. Although this past summer was thankfully not nearly as hot as the one 3 years ago that brought devastating fires, still, this August was so hot and dry, big cracks appeared in the ground around my trailer. It was a task to keep the trees planted last year watered.

gingko leaf

Gingko leaf

I’ve got a massage client at my downtown Austin studio this morning, and then I’m heading back home to honor the change in seasons by planting things: a Canby oak, a gingko tree (so excited to have this prehistoric the that turns yellow in fall!), a mountain laurel shrub, a loquat tree, and several yellow bells and Pride of Barbados flowering shrubs for lasting color and hummingbirds.

Then, I’ll be making my first bone broth of the season, from bones saved over the summer when it was just too hot to simmer anything on the stove for hours.

The change in seasons always brings a change in my energy. I need more sleep. My eating habits change. I feel so energized.

So grateful for change after so much sameness!

 

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Pay what you wish: how it works

I’ve been offering pay-what-you-wish massage and bodywork off and on since 2011 for modalities I was getting certified in. This summer of 2014, I offered pay-what-you-wish for all my services at The Well during July and August.

It worked out well. I have had more people coming in to be worked on, new people (often via word of mouth) are coming in, and I am making ends meet, thanks to the generosity of my clients. It’s satisfying.

I am going to continue to offer it indefinitely. I like this way of working. It’s part of the gift economy. (If you’d like to learn more about it, read Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein, visit the website http://sacred-economics.com/, or watch the video below.)

The way I see it, bodywork and healing are what I do, and I’d like to stay busy doing it. I encourage you, if you’d like to receive regular or even occasional bodywork that you can afford to move your life to a higher level of well-being, to connect with me so we can talk about how we can work together, or just make an appointment.

Sometimes people are uncomfortable with this unorthodox concept of pay-what-you-wish, so here’s some thinking behind it, and I hope it will help you feel more comfortable deciding how much to pay for my services.

First of all, by offering pay-what-you-wish massage, it is not my intent to offer “cheap massage”. I work hard to improve my skills. I seek a lot of training, taking classes and workshops, reading, watching videos, and practicing with/on other massage therapists — way, way beyond what Texas law requires to maintain a license. Who knows? At some point in the future, I may be only offering some elite modality and charging top dollar. I’m not there now. I’m having a good time practicing and improving my skills.

Secondly, I want my practice to be full and thriving. If I hold out for top dollar, I will not be working as much. Since I learn so much from doing, making massage affordable gets people on my table more often, and the more I work, the better I get.

Thirdly, making a lot of money is not my top priority. I like money for what it can do for me, and my expenses and obligations are modest. I’m sharing this here because some readers may not be aware that there are real, regular people whose lives and decisions are not driven by the need to make as much money as possible by working at a job that is stressful. I too have had a mortgage, a child at home, a lot of debt, and stressful jobs. Not any more. My work now is driven by my desire to be of service and to take excellent care of myself while doing so.

Fourthly, in the so-called olden days, healers of all kinds – herbalists, hands-on healers, shamans – received support from their communities in many forms in exchange for their services. Entire villages could exist without money being exchanged because people traded and bartered for goods and services, and everyone did what they could to help the whole village thrive. If someone was poor and needed healing, the healers didn’t turn them away. If they could only pay with food or labor or kind deeds that benefited others in the community, that was acceptable.

Importantly, there would always be an exchange (because everyone has something to offer, and it’s crucial to recognize that), and if times were hard for the community, times were hard for the healers too.

Now we live in bigger communities in a society that uses money for most of its trade, but the good life is still about being connected and reciprocity.

Fifthly, if it’s not sustainable, it ends. I’ll change the way I do business or find another livelihood. This is what I wish to offer now, and so far I feel great about every single one of my pay-what-you-wish sessions and what I was offered in payment.

Here are some guidelines about how much to pay:

  • If you can afford full price, I gratefully accept. My full-price rate is $75 for an hour. For ninety minutes, full price is $105. (With the customary 20% gratuities, those amounts rise to $90 and $129 if you can afford it. Another great thing about pay-what-you-wish is that tipping is not accepted. Oh, I guess you could give me a tip about a good movie or restaurant, if you wish!)
  • If you are totally flush with money, and you totally loved your session, you can pay  more if you like!
  • If these are beyond your means at this time, here’s something to consider. As of late August 2014, two major “discount” massage chains in Austin offer a 50-60 minute massage for $44-60. Adding the gratuity expected at these establishments puts these massages in the range of $54-70. Scale up or down for 90 or 30 minute sessions. If these prices are what you can afford, please consider booking an appointment with me.
  • Here’s how I differ from a chain: I’m interested in getting to know your body, your tension patterns, your habitual postures, your tender points, so I can deliver relief and healing, so I take good notes and refer to them before your next visit. I want to work with you to reduce your overall stress and pain levels over time. I can advise you on how to prevent/relieve tension from working at a desk job. I can offer to teach you stretches, exercises, and self-care techniques you can do to enhance your quality of life. I can refer you to other good alternative health care practitioners and trainers. I give you the full time you pay for, if you are not running late. I offer better music, nature sounds, or silence if you prefer. I offer a variety of essential oil aromatherapy choices if you want it. I keep arnica on hand for your bruises and muscle pain. I’m more personal, less corporate.
  • If this is still beyond your means and you need bodywork, talk to me. I know incomes can fluctuate. Maybe you’re pursuing work you love, but the income isn’t there yet. Maybe you’re just not driven to earn a lot. Maybe you’ve had some misfortune. Maybe you feel stuck in a low-paying job. Maybe you’ve had some unexpectedly high expenses. You may even be stressed out about your situation, imagine that. I want to help you out, get you back on your feet, relieve your stress, change your energy for the better. Just ask what’s acceptable.
  • I am willing to trade or barter for services I need. Electrical work? Sign painting? Car detailing? Housekeeping? Gardening? Hauling? Delicious meals? Ask.
  • Also, if you would like to offer me a delightful non-monetary token of your esteem (some green or herbal tea, flowers or plants, a nice bottle of red wine, art, music, poetry, books, tickets, pickings from your garden, bone broth or other Paleo/WAPF diet food), please, just go right ahead and enchant me!
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What If?

What if our religion was each other?
If our practice was our life?
If prayer was our words?
What if the Temple was the Earth?
If forests were our church?
If holy water – the rivers, lakes and ocean?
What if meditation was our relationships?
If the Teacher was Life?
If wisdom was self-knowledge?
If love was the center of our being?
~ Ganga White

New addition to my Favorite Quotes page.

Thanks to David Baker for sharing on Facebook. Yes. These are the questions to be asked.

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New video of Tom Best

I found an audio file on my iPhone this morning from April 17, 2011, that I didn’t know I had. What a sweet and unexpected joy it was to hear the voice of Tom Best leading a group of evolutionary NLPers on a hucha-clearing breath work journey, so much sweeter since Tom died the following April. (At least I think it’s been a little over two years since he passed.)

Enjoy this journey of lightening up the heavy events in your life!

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Postural alignment, functional movement, and bodywork for breath and head-forward posture

It’s coming up on a year since I started doing functional movement classes with Matt Fuhrman at Tao Health & Fitness. I thought I’d report on my progress.

I am way stronger and sturdier than before I started doing this. It wasn’t that I was unfit before, but my body was still twisted and unevenly developed. I couldn’t run without paying for it later, not just feeling soreness in the muscles worked. It felt like structurally, the pounding of running was pounding my compensations into my body. Continue reading

Posted in body, breathing, compassion, FMS, functional movement, gratitude, inspiration, massage, spirit, wisdom, yoga | Tagged , , | Leave a comment