5 Ways to Celebrate Life with Cupcakes

Cupcakes. Who doesn’t love cupcakes? November 10th is National Vanilla Cupcake Day and we’re here to celebrate. We’ve covered some heavier topics in previous posts, so this month we are going to lighten the mood with cake.

Share with friends.

We know it’s hard to share any dessert, but cupcakes are the perfect addition to any coffee date. Catch up with a friend, drink some coffee, tea or cocoa, and savor the moments.

Get creative.

If you like to bake, step out of your comfort zone and attempt to create a cupcake with unique ingredients. Try a savory cupcake. Or attempt a new decorating style.

Enjoy downtime.

Trying to cut back on the sweets? Tune in to Cupcake Wars on Food Network and watch all the yummy goodness without the calories.

Bake together.

What better way to bond with a special person in your life. It may be your child, grandchild, niece or nephew, anything goes here. It goes beyond the treat and makes the quality time spent together that much sweeter.

Give a gift.

Cupcakes make a perfectly sweet gift. Couple that with a massage gift certificate and you’ll knock gift-giving out of the park.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, this holiday celebrates the cupcake as much as the people and relationships around it. Take a time out, bring some cupcakes to an elderly neighbor, or simply slow down and enjoy life. Cupcakes and all.

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How to Offer Support to Families Dealing with Cancer

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, we’re going to give you some 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 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. A gift subscription to Amazon Prime or Netflix may be helpful to someone who is bedridden. Some downtime and low key entertainment might be just what they need. And, of course, a massage gift certificate is a perfect way to care for the care givers.

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. If you send the cancer patient a gift, make sure you give them someone of equal to the sibling and include them.

Show up

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. It could be months or even years. It’s a financial and emotional weight. Keep them in mind and reach out well after the dust settles.

It’s hard to know what to say to a family that’s struggling with cancer. 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 comfort.

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11 Ways to Treat Yourself (That don’t involve money or food)

It’s not hard to think up great ways to treat yourself. We’d all love a spa day topped off with a meal prepared and served by someone else. Maybe a sitter for the night, so the little angels are asleep when we get home. Or just a morning where the cat doesn’t wake you up by sitting on your windpipe.

But for every article I see about self care, I roll my eyes at least 12 times and think “Who can afford that?”  And sure, I would love to have an afternoon to myself and a bucket of fried chicken, and a cookie dough chaser. But that’s not particularly healthy.

So I’m a fan of realistic self care. That is, activities that aren’t expensive, don’t involve food, and will make you feel good about how you spent that time. Here’s a list of my favorites

Meditate, the easy way

If you’re the kind of person who can’t sleep during the day, napping can be  more like torture. But guided meditation is a whole other story. It gives your mind something (easy) to do so the rest of you can relax a bit. There are plenty of free guided meditations online, my favorites are at the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center website.   

Walk and a picnic

Okay, this one involves food, or just a beverage. Pack a little bag with a snack and a drink and go for a walk. Doesn’t need to be far, doesn’t need to be fancy. Just get outside, find a rock or a glade or a bench, settle in and sip your beverage. Listen to the quiet, or people-watch. Even better, bring a little trash bag and pick up litter along your route. You’ve just added in a random act of kindness to your personal time. Go, you!

Read a book

When was the last time you read for pleasure. Even if you can’t get to your library, there are plenty of Free ebooks on Amazon, and your local library probably may have a free online borrowing program. Or reread some of your favorite books from childhood if you have them hanging around.

Learn something

If you choose the topic right, learning is great self-care. Pick a topic for FUN. Don’t feel like you need to learn something pertinent to your work or a current hobby.  Check out Coursera, MIT or Harvard to start. (But there are PLENTY of sources for free online classes, do your own searching, too!)        

Draw

Bust out a piece for paper and draw something. Even if you don’t have fancy pencils or crayons or markers, you can play with shading and pressure and make something cool. There are plenty of free coloring pages you can download and print out.

Write a letter (this one will cost you the price of a stamp)

Remember letters? On real paper? It’s becoming a lost art, which is kinda sad. It used to be so exciting to get a real letter in the mail. Not a bill, not an advertisement, but a real letter, with news, from someone you love. It was downright magical.

If you feel totally lost and don’t know where to start, here’s a site to help you out.

Geocaching! (Pre-PokemonGo-Style)

Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. There are plenty of free apps to help you learn geocaching and get started. My favorite is Geocaching.com.  

YouTube Karaoke

For nearly every song out there, there’s a karaoke accompaniment on YouTube. For reals. Crank it up and let ‘er rip. You’re a stress-free superstar now.

Play cards

Get a kid and play Uno, or find an old deck of real cards and fall into a game of solitaire.

Foot bath

You can go nuts and find a whole bunch of fancy recipes on the internet, or just throw some salt into big bowl of warm water. Put a foot in there. Scrub it a bit with a washcloth. It feels good, the warmth is calming (or use cool water if it’s a zillion degrees where you’re at), and your feet will be all soft and good-smelling when you take ‘em out.

Got a teabag? Throw it in. Got an essential oil you like? A few drops’ll do. No big whoop.

When you’re ready, dry that foot off and slather with some lotion. Or coconut oil. Or olive oil. Whatever you have is just fine. (Put some socks on to really make it last, and so you don’t slip, ok?)

And when all else fails: Nap

Put your jammies on and take a nap. In your bed. Not all jammed up on the couch with the TV on. Close the shades in your bedroom and hunker down for a proper sleep.
There. You don’t have to spend money or fill your belly to feel great and treat yourself well!

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Body image risk and reward in massage

Body image. Almost everybody has something about their body that they don’t like. For many people it’s a minor issue, no big deal. But some people have a major issue with their body image. It affects how they live and their happiness.

When I tell some people that I’m a massage therapist it can cause a strong reaction. They tell me, whether verbally or through their reaction and body language, that massage is not for them. Their body image is such an issue that they don’t think anybody else can accept them.

The paradox here is that massage can really help with body image issues. In massage school we were all nervous about taking off our clothes and letting somebody else touch us. It didn’t take long for us to discover that bodies are just bodies and become much more comfortable with our own. We also experienced how good receiving a massage made us feel. Something unexpected happened – when our bodies felt better we felt better about our bodies.

I think there are three options to consider. Let’s look at the risk versus reward for them.

1. Don’t get a massage.

This is the easiest because it involves doing nothing. The risk is low since you are not letting another person see or touch you at all.

The reward is zero. You didn’t get a massage so your body doesn’t feel any better, and you still have the stress you had before.

2. You get a massage, but the massage therapist makes note of how you look, as if it matters.

If this has happened to you, I’m sorry. You got a crappy massage therapist. That’s a bummer, and I’m really sorry. You took a risk, and even if the rest of the massage was decent, got very little reward.
This is not going to happen if you come to me. Never. No way. I can’t say this strongly enough. It goes against the very nature of who I am, how I treat people, and what I believe.

3. You get a massage. A great massage. And the therapist does nothing to make you feel uncomfortable about your body. In fact, you feel pretty good about your body after the massage.

In this option your risk is low. I don’t care how your body looks. That’s none of my business. I just want to help it feel better. Your reward is high. Again your body will feel better from the massage and you can start feeling better about it.

I have no idea how your body got to be in the condition that it’s in. You may be dealing with something that you can’t control, such as a medical condition or an injury or accident. You may be in a lot of pain or are limited in what you can do physically. Since I don’t know what caused your body to be like it is now I can’t make any judgments about you.

I’ve worked on hundreds – maybe thousands – 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. You don’t even have to explain anything to me. Leave your clothes on. Stay sitting up or face down or lying on your side or however you want. It’s up to you.
It’s my job to help you feel better. That’s it. Together let’s find a way to help you relieve your pain and stress. Don’t let your body image keep you from feeling good.

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June is Migraine & Headache Awareness Month

Stop headaches before they start

June is Migraine and Headache Awareness Month and we are going to jump right in and look at some ways to stop the pain before it starts. Are you ready? Let’s go.

Avoid triggers

If certain foods or scents have triggered headaches in the past, it could be time to make a note of them and avoid them at all costs. Things like caffeine, cigarette smoke, and bright lights can be a big culprit in spurring on pain, but it doesn’t have to be that obvious. Perfumes, loud noises, flowers, and even lunch meat have the power to make you miserable.

Workout often

Exercising on a regular basis reduces tension and can help prevent headaches. Choose something you enjoy doing – walking, biking, kayaking, hiking, etc. – and follow the proper guidelines for the exercise you’re engaging in. That means stretching and warming up slowly. And don’t forget proper hydration.

Bonus: It is also said that obesity can be a factor in triggering migraines, so exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight or lose excess pounds.

Eat and sleep regularly

Lack of sleep and skipping meals can aggravate symptoms for the migraine sufferer. Make sure you are getting enough fluids and are eating meals at regular times. Lack of sleep (or even getting too much sleep) will also aggravate symptoms, so implement routine and stick to it.

Control stress

Stress. Stress. Stress. It happens. Sometimes it’s hard to avoid. The only thing we can change is our response to it. Learn techniques to reduce stress levels like breathing, yoga and meditation. You can also combat stress with a massage, a long walk, a hot shower, or whatever you need to do to take the edge off.

According to the Migraine Research Foundation, nearly 36 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches. Acknowledging the triggers and patterns surrounding your migraine episodes will help you figure out what’s causing them and minimize your chances of experiencing headache pain.

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The Benefits of Infant Massage

There are many benefits of Infant Massage

Infant Massage is an age-old tradition that has been passed down from mother to daughter since the beginning of time. Infant Massage offers many benefits to both your baby and you! Contact me to schedule your private class today!

Benefits of Infant Massage for Baby

  • Infant-Parent attachment or “bonding”
  • Relaxation
  • Helps baby feel loved
  • Promotes better sleep
  • Facilitates body awareness
  • Boosts immune system
  • Sensory stimulation
  • Improves skin condition
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Helps digestion
  • Balances respiration
  • Relief for teething pains
  • Help waste elimination
  • Helps build parents’ and baby’s self-esteem
  • Helps you learn about your baby (their needs and desires)
  • Relaxes parents
  • Pleasurable experience
  • Stimulates production of oxytocin (Oxytocin is a hormone which can be produced by both male and female persons during massage. It is useful as a pain reliever and has a calming effect on the person.)

Benefits of Infant Massage for Parents

  • Caregivers report feeling more comfortable and confident in their ability to care for baby.
  • Parents learn to understand and respond to baby’s cues.
  • Parents learn techniques to comfort, calm and soothe their babies.
  • Provides an additional avenue for close and nurturing contact.
  • Infant Massage is one of the most natural and pleasant methods of providing this important early nurturing and an amazing tool for helping parents become closer to their babies.

My classes are private, which means the entire session is dedicated to just you. My attention is not divided between 3 or 4 families. Because of this the class is only one session. I do offer a complimentary follow up class within 6 months of your session if you have concerns. Contact me today to schedule your class.

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Simple Steps to Prevent and Detect Melanoma/Skin Cancer

Summer is right around the corner and where there is more sun, there is often more skin exposure. May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month and we are going to look at some ways you can prevent and detect skin cancer.

 

PREVENT

Cover up with clothes and sunscreen.

As a rule of thumb, cover up as much as possible. Be sure to wear a broad-brimmed hat and UV blocking sunglasses. Use broad spectrum (UVA/B) sunblock with SPF 15 or higher every day. If you’ll be active outdoors, opt for a water-resistant, UVA or UVB sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. (Sunscreens should be used on babies over six months of age.)

Avoid harsh sun and tanning.

Avoid getting a sunburned at all costs. Skip the tanning and never use UV tanning beds. The sun is strongest between 10AM and 4PM, so try to avoid the sun during these hours and find some shade. Make sure to keep newborns out of the sun.

 

DETECT

Perform a head-to-toe self exam.

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends everyone practices a self examination every month.  Skin cancers found and removed early are, more often than not, curable. You may find having a doctor perform the initial examination will help assure you that any existing spots, moles or freckles are totally normal and treat any that aren’t. After that a routine self exam shouldn’t take you longer than 10 minutes.

Get your partner involved.

In addition to seeing your physician annually for a professional skin exam, have your partner keep an eye out for any changes in your skin. Sometimes they see parts of our bodies that we don’t see everyday (like the small of our back or behind your neck). Have a discussion about the importance of paying attention to changes in your skin and make sure you return the favor by keeping an eye on any changes on their skin.

Get regular massages.

First, you should know, it’s not up to your massage therapist to check you for signs of cancer, but it definitely can’t hurt having an extra set of eyes on you! When you are a receiving regular massages, your massage therapist will become familiar with your body and all the little markings that go with it. Sometimes, a massage therapist is a first line of defense since they will notice if a birthmark, freckle, or mole has changed size or shape.  

Prevention is only half the battle. And hopefully it’s the only battle you will ever face. If you should happen to find yourself in a different battle, the early detection of skin cancer is paramount. The sooner you catch it, the better your chances are of beating it.

Enjoy your summer, but remember to protect yourself from the sun and bring ANYTHING suspicious to your doctor immediately.

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3 Things Massage Can Help You With Right Now

We know massage will make us move better and feel happier, but not everyone can make time for regular appointments. Luckily massage is great preventive care and it can have some instantly-gratifying results. Check out these 3 things massage can help you with right now.

 

Headaches  

Tension headaches (often called stress headaches) are the most common type of headaches among adults.

 

Pain or pressure in your forehead or on the top or sides of your head? Could be a tension headache. It’s especially likely if you’ve been hunching over a desk or some knitting, spent a ton of time in a car, or if you’re still shivering and huddling to keep warm as spring slowly creeps in.

 

Massage can help get rid of that headache and regular massage may well keep it from coming back. (If you want to geek out about tension headaches and try a few self-massage techniques, check out this article.)

 

Low Back Pain

A major research study was published in 2011 showing that massage therapy was better than drugs and usual care for general lower back pain. Better than drugs. I just had to say that twice.

 

Just about everyone will experience low back pain at some point in their life. If it happens to you, don’t suffer. Schedule a massage and get back into action.

 

Irritability

Have you ever been so cranky you got on your own nerves? Yeah, me, too. It isn’t fun. When you feel yourself biting everyone’s head off when they ask you a question, it might be time for some self-care.

 

Massage is great for stress relief. You get to shut off all the things that buzz and chime and aggravate you to the point of eye twitches. Music, silence, warmth, massage. All the cranky disappears.

 

This is dual purpose. You’ll feel better and all the people around you will be happier that you’re back to your sunny self.

 

Got a headache, low back pain, or a case of the grumpies? Get a massage scheduled and we’ll handle that fast.

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Improve Sinus Issues and Allergies With Lymphatic Drainage Massage

It’s the time of year when allergies and hayfever can start becoming a nuisance.  Did you know that Lymphatic Drainage Massage (LDM) is a very effective way to help combat this? When one is suffering from allergies the body’s immune system kicks into over drive while reacting to pollen, dust and mold spores resulting in inflammation of the sinuses. LDM specifically applied to the sinuses can remove, filter and relieve congestion.

The first place viruses enter our bodies is through our mouth and nose; this is why we have so many lymph nodes in our face and neck. Keeping these lymph nodes drained can result in fewer sicknesses, less allergies and sinus problems. LDM allows the bodies system to heal itself and do what it’s intended to do.  A 30 minute LDM session this season is a great way to keep your allergies at bay and your immune system boosted!

Schedule your session here today.

Allergies Comic

 

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Now offering Infant Massage Classes

I am proud to announce that I am now offering Infant Massage classes at my office in Downtown Waynesboro!

Are you a new parent or grandparent? Infant massage is a wonderful way to bond with your new baby. My class will teach you techniques to help with colic, treat gas and constipation, help your baby relax and sleep, as well as exercises to encourage head control, rolling over and sitting up.

Classes for up to 2 adults are taught at my office. Classes up to 4 adults will be taught in your home due to space constraints of my office. Please contact me to learn more or to schedule your class.

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