A tale of recovery: my path from traumatized to healer

I had lunch a few weeks ago with John, someone I’ve known for about 12 years but haven’t seen much in recent years. He commented that I am a very different person now from when he met me, and that would not be apparent to people who hadn’t known me that long.

When we met in 2004 (I think), I seemed troubled to him, and I was. John said that now, I appear to be happy and “like a fountain” (which I love), and he was curious about that.

Other people have said I’ve changed more than anyone they know. Well, that’s probably because I was starting from a more troubled place than most.

So I’m reviewing my path in search of insights to share. This is for you, John, and I know that some of you are interested in recovery from trauma, and some of you are interested in personal growth, so this is for you too. Continue reading

6 variations on the chocolate breakfast smoothie

 

For months, I indulged daily in eating pieces of chocolate bars with 70 percent or more cacao. It was intensely deep dark chocolate. On good days, I could eat just one small square, and my tastebuds felt gratified and satisfied.

On bad days, half the bar – or the whole dang thing.

I’m not sure if it was the wee bit of sugar or the chocolate that led me to overindulge like that. Chocolate contains magnesium, a mineral most of us are low in, and stress depletes magnesium. Hence chocolate relieves stress. (Bet you knew that already! Yep, that’s the ticket! Stress made me overindulge!)

Sugar is plainly addictive (read more here). Instead of relieving stress, it adds to the body’s stress load and plays a role in obesity, metabolic syndrome, fatty liver disease, diabetes, cancer, tooth decay, malnutrition, heart disease, etc.).

Yes, sometimes a little bit of sugar sneaks into my food (usually in small amounts in a condiment like ketchup or fish sauce), and very occasionally I satisfy a desire for a package of peanut M&Ms. Usually, however, if sugary sweetness is the main point, I forgo it, eating at most 1 teaspoon a day, far below the 32 teaspoons per day the average American consumes.

My tastebuds have changed so that I notice and enjoy the natural sweetness of foods like carrots, liver, caramelized onions, roasted veggies. When I ate sugar regularly, there was no such thing as “too sweet”. Now there definitely is. If you are moving away from sugar, wait for this to happen!

But what to do about cravings for something sweet, without sugar, and chocolate-y?

Make chocolate breakfast smoothies to start each day well!

If you’re concerned about lead and cadmium in chocolate, you can learn more here.

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Empty glass, Buddha Board

Continue reading

TMJ massage relieves jaw issues and renews the spirit

A client came to me a couple of weeks ago for 90 minutes of “Whatever Works”. During the session, she learned that I offer TMJ* care sessions and asked a lot of questions about it. She had not known previously that a trained, skilled bodyworker could relieve the symptoms of TMJ disorder – jaw pain and tightness, clenching, grinding, popping, clicking, locking, etc.

I explained to her a bit about the anatomy of the jaw, my TMJ Care package, and the outcomes of my TMJ clients. Since others are likely unaware that trained massage therapists can offer TMJ relief, I’ll share that info here. Continue reading

Board certification achieved!

I just learned that I have successfully jumped through all the hoops on my way to becoming board certified in therapeutic massage and bodywork.

Board certification is a voluntary credential that means:

  • I took an exam and became nationally certified in therapeutic massage and bodywork.
  • I have received over 750 hours of approved massage and bodywork training.
  • I have over 250 hours of work experience in massage and bodywork.
  • I passed a national background check.
  • I maintain CPR certification.
  • I agree to uphold standards of practice and a code of ethics.
  • I oppose human trafficking.

Continue reading

Massage clients wanted!

monkeymassage

Need to dump your stress, chill, release tension, move better, relieve pain, recover from an injury, treat a condition?

I can help.

I’ve been doing massage for four years now, and for the first time, a contract has fallen through. It’s nobody’s fault: my employer (a small unit in huge company) was internally audited. The audit caught some irregularities in my paperwork, and I can’t work there until it’s straightened out. Since it’s a huge bureaucracy known for its slowly turning administrative wheels, I have no idea how long that will take but I’m not holding my breath. Continue reading

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

I went to an informal gathering for Zero Balancing practitioners 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

Applying Cold and Heat Therapeutically

Healing an injury or treating a painful condition can be significantly impacted by the appropriate application of cold and/or heat. Both cold and heat relieve pain and help with tight muscles, but other considerations (especially inflammation and depth of injured tissue) apply.

COLD

Apply cold immediately following any muscle, joint, or bone injury to relieve swelling, reduce pain and inflammation, and decrease muscle soreness and tightness. You can use cold any time after that. Cold only penetrates about 1 cm below the surface, so it works best for initial swelling/inflammation and for superficial conditions.

Do NOT use cold on broken or irritated skin, on superficial nerves, or when circulation is impaired. Also avoid applying cold when these conditions are present: Raynaud’s disease, cold intolerance, cold allergy, any previous experience of frostbite, impaired mental ability or sensation.

How to apply: Wet a cloth in hot water, wring it to dampness, wrap it around the cold pack, and apply. Check the skin in 5 minutes. If it’s bright red or numb, add another layer of insulation. Leave cold pack in place until it warms to room temperature. Repeat if needed. Never apply a gel pack directly to skin. Continue reading

Orthopedic massage for injuries and conditions

In the Advanced Program at the Lauterstein-Conway Massage School, I’m currently in the segment learning Orthopedic Massage, as taught by Jan Hutchinson, PT, LMT, and assisted by Lizabeth Franklin, LMT extraordinaire.

I feel very fortunate to be able to get this training, because I’m learning how to work on specific soft tissue injuries and ailments beyond simply relieving muscle tension. It’s very different from a full-body Swedish/integrative massage in that the focus of a session is on the injured/ailing part rather than working on the full body. I’ll get a history of the injury, observe, palpate, do range-of-motion and resistance tests, and treat.

foot milagroSo far, I’ve learned techniques for working on plantar fasciitis, ankle sprains, Achilles tendonitis, shin splints, and anterior compartment syndrome.

I just learned some fabulous foot exercises to teach for homework that can help strengthen the intrinsic muscles of the feet, the ones that don’t get used much because we wear shoes and walk on hard, flat surfaces all day. Using these muscles can prevent and relieve many foot issues.

Some of you are first-hand familiar with these conditions/injuries, and I want you to know that while I am in this program, I’m offering half price sessions so I can put into practice what I’ve learned in class. I’m a pretty good student, so you’ll get your money’s worth. If you are in the Austin area, I’d sure like to see you on my table.  Continue reading