Archives for category: Appreciation

Every one of us has been a child. And as children, we all know there are two kinds of adults: There are those who get it, who know how to talk, play, imagine, and explore like a kid. And there are, well, the rest of them. The excruciatingly boring ones, the ones who terrify us into swearing, cross our hearts, that we’ll never turn into that kind of grown up. The kind that sent Peter Pan hightailing it for Neverland as fast as Tinkerbell could take him.

You may be an adult now, one who pays bills and takes vitamins and reads about the things politicians say, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have high-quality, meaningful interactions with the kids in your life, whether they’re your own or simply the kids next door. Here are three places to start:

Ask different questions

Dinner table or car ride conversation is often stunted. Kids are great at one word answers to typical daily questions like “How was your day? Did you learn anything cool in school today?”

And every kid gets the same two questions when they see adults who are not their parents. “How old are you now?” and “How’s school?”

So mix it up! Here are some great conversation starters to ask (and answer) when you’re hanging out with kids.

  • If you were invisible for a day, what would you do?
  • If you could, what type of animal would you be?
  • If you could make up a brand new school subject, what would it be?
  • If you could make up a new holiday, what would it be?
  • If you could put frosting on any food in the world what would it be?
  • If you could trade places with anyone for one day, who would it be?
  • If someone wrote an article about you in your school’s newspaper, what would you want them to say?

Exercise together

We can use the word ‘exercise’ loosely here. The key is to move around, get the endorphins flowing, and have fun.

Play the kids your favorite dance song, and let them choose one, too. Race up and down the driveway a few times. Bust out some old-school jumping jacks or a jump rope. Even 5 minutes is enough to get the blood pumping and some giggles happening.

Massage each other

Massage does not have to be a big complex endeavor. It can be quick and easy, and you can do it just about anywhere.  Watch this video together, and practice massaging other. and incorporating stories.

Create your own stories to make it even more fun. This type of anywhere, anytime massage is especially great for kids with anxiety. Try it at bedtime, or in the morning before school, or even in the waiting room at the dentist.

There you have it! Three ways to be the cool adult in your favorite kid’s life!

Get a Professional Massage together!

Really! Couples massages don’t have to be romantic. I work on Parent/Kid couples all the time. It is especially great for those special birthdays! You still get the choices (at least in my office) of:

1. Kid can remain dressed in bathing suit for comfort or disrobe to their comfort level.
2. Couples massage with two therapists present
Both of ya getting a massage at the same time side by side, in the same room
3. Couples massage with one therapist present
One of you getting a massage while the other enjoys a relaxing foot bath or just observes from the chair in the corner.

With this time of couples massage, the idea is to introduce massage to the kids at a young age, educating them on positive touch and bringing awareness to how wonderful their body can be in a safe and trusted environment. It can be as extravagant (cucumbers on the eyes and warm moist towels) or as simple as you want it to be. SIDENOTE: State of Alabama recognizes the Legal Medical Age of consent to be 14. Young, I know. But at that age, they can choose to have a parent present or not. Children younger than that, it is my policy to require that a parent be present at all times. This is for the benefit of the child as well as to allow a parent to intercede if necessary. Juvenile massage time does not mean free babysitter so the parent can go run an errand, Sorry, and sorry it has to be said.

In the United States Body Shaming is so prevalent we are almost oblivious to it. It starts in school elementary school and doesn’t seem to stop. This year, EveryBODY deserves a massage week is this week and I felt it necessary to relay the importance of EveryBODY getting a massage despite what they may look like! bodyshaming

I have a daughter who already complains of being FAT! And She’s not … she has a nice little figure for her age. Healthy in all ways!

So I plead with you, regardless if it is your child, your parent, your sibling, your spouse, your friend or even yourself. Just SAY NO to Body Shaming.

In the massage industry, we therapists see all kinds of bodies. Fat, Skinny, Tall, Short, Hairy, Bald, Scarred, Pristine, Tattooed and any number of other differences! As a massage therapist (at least for me), we see muscle and fascia, adhesions, and the way bodies move. Honestly more often than not, as I work my eyes are closed and my fingers are doing the seeing.

Please don’t be afraid of being too big to get a massage. I’m not going to look at your fat. My table holds a LOT of weight, and I actually have extensions on my table to make it wider. I have yet to have a client book that was too large for my table. muscle fascia

Please don’t be afraid of being too skinny to get a massage. Despite being “skin and bones” skinny people really do have muscle too and it needs attention just like anyone else.

Please don’t be afraid of being too tall. It’s ok if your feet hang off the table for a bit, and I can make some adjustments to ensure your comfort.

Please don’t be afraid of being too short. If I can work on an infant, I can work on you!

Please don’t be afraid of being too frail and weak to get a massage. I have techniques that are less invasive and are of the lightest of touch so that you too can enjoy a nice hour of relaxation.

Don’t want to get undressed? That’s ok too! I can work around clothing and still work to relieve your stress.

Forget to shave? Let me just say that the woman who didn’t shave all winter has NOTHING on the hairiest of men I’ve worked on, and not shaving doesn’t bother me.

Too hairy? Bah! I can work with that. I have plenty of hairy men who leave feeling like they are floating on a cloud after having their knots reigned in.

Embarrassed by a bad tattoo? Chances are I won’t notice it and if I do, I won’t mention it unless you do.

Have a bad scar? Not a problem! Did you know I’m if not the only, then at the very least one of the first Scar Release Therapists in Alabama? I may not be able to make it go away, but if you want me to work on it, I can at least try to help it be more functional, less painful, less annoying and less obvious. If you don’t want me to work on it, I’m not going to judge you over it.

As a massage therapist it is my intent to ensure that every BODY on my table is treated like the King or Queen they are. That my hands show compassion, empathy and love the only way they can by doing the best they can with the massage.

When I say that my office is a judgement free zone, I mean it on every level! Every body tells a story of the life it has lived long past and recently. Every BODY is perfect for the soul that owns it. Love your Body It’s the only one you will have!

Forget Valentine’s Day, it’s April and I am celebrating National Couple Appreciation Month! Since February has become commercialized with giant red hearts filled with candy and car advertisements, I am going to take it down a notch and give you some simple tips to show your other half how much you appreciate him or her and how you can celebrate your relationship.

  • Tip #1: It doesn’t need to be flashy.

Too often showing our appreciation translates to buying something new. It doesn’t have to be that way. Instead of purchasing a big gift like jewelry or a new iPad, opt for ordering in and eating by candlelight. Take a walk. Plan a picnic. Plot a fun scavenger hunt.

  • Tip #2: Make it sentimental.

For the romantic types, having a sentimental spin on your celebration is not a bad thing. Is there a special place you met? Or maybe you have a significant moment you can honor in some way together. Spending meaningful, quality time will only make your bond stronger.

  • Tip #3: Create new memories.

Maybe looking to the past doesn’t cut it, so instead look to the future. Create new memories. Surprise your loved one with a single flower for every day of the month. Or write each other a letter expressing your appreciation for your lives together.

  • Tip #4: Keep it simple.

Let’s face it, we can get bogged down with work, raising a family, housework, and everything else that comes with managing a household. If you’re feeling frisky, offer to do the dishes, laundry or some other mundane task your partner can’t stand. Or go wild and hire someone else to do it for you for a day, a week, or the whole month!

  • Tip #5: Do it together.

Find something you can do together. Hire a babysitter or a pet sitter for the day and spend some one-on-one time with your honey. Venture out and try something new. Get a massage together.  or go skydiving. (Or go skydiving and then get a massage.)

I have several options for couples massages!

  1. Standard Couples Massage – Two Massages at the same time, in the same room by 2 different massage therapists. (But I need at least 72 hours notice to get this together with another therapist.)
  2. Couples Massage – Two Massages at the same time, in separate rooms by 2 different massage therapists. (Again, need at least 72 hours notice to get this together with another therapist.)
  3. Couples Massage – One Therapist – Same Room – Two tables set up. You can both relax on the table at the same time. I work for for 30 minutes on one, then thirty minutes on the other flip and repeat. OR If you’d rather. I complete a whole hour on one then work on the either. Either way. It is a 2 hour session with an hour of resting for each one while I work on the other.
  4. Regular Massage – just scheduled back to back. One person in the room with one therapist. Your SO can wait in the waiting room or run errands while you get a massage and you can just swap up at the end of the hour.

    couples massage

Valentine’s Day has an air of “here’s your gift” but Couple Appreciation Month doesn’t have to be that way. There’s no right or wrong way to celebrate. What’s important is honoring your relationship and spending quality time with your other half.

Sharing the Benefits of Bodywork

REFER_A_FRIEND_PICT.jpg

I can’t live without my Massage!

When we experience something good, it’s natural to want to tell everyone about it. Massage is no exception. Here are some ways to share your enthusiasm for massage therapy.

Gifting Massage

Gift certificates are a great way to share massages with the people in your life. Looking for the perfect birthday present? Purchase an hour gift certificate for them. Thanking someone for pet sitting? Reward them with a half-hour reflexology treatment. If it’s your spouse or significant other that you’re hoping to get interested in this healing therapy, perhaps a couple’s massage, where two people receive massage in the same room, could be an anniversary gift.

Giving someone a gift certificate allows the recipient to experience massage without financially committing to something that they might not be sure about. After the initial visit, it is up to them to evaluate whether the experience makes them want to pay for another one.

Outline the Benefits
Most people are aware that massage is effective at relieving stress and promoting relaxation, but there are myriad benefits you can highlight depending on your audience. For those who suffer from low-back pain, a study by the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle has shown that massage is more effective than medication at reducing pain. Some massage therapists provide specialized sport massage, something that might appeal to your golfing buddy who needs to loosen up his swing and increase his range of motion.

In addition to helping people reduce pain or cope with physical injuries, the supportive touch of a massage therapist can be a powerful positive encounter during times of emotional distress. If someone in your life is dealing with grief or loss, you might recommend massage as a way for them to relax and be tended to without having to actively share their feelings, a welcome relief for many people.

Here are just some of the positives that massage and bodywork can provide. You can tailor your “pitch” to your audience by focusing on those specific to their situation:

–Alleviate low-back pain and improve range of motion.
–Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow–the body’s natural defense system.
–Exercise and stretch weak, tight, or atrophied muscles.
–Help athletes of any level prepare for, and recover from, strenuous workouts.
–Improve the condition of the body’s largest organ–the skin.
–Increase joint flexibility.
–Lessen depression and anxiety.
–Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks.
–Pump oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation.
–Reduce post-surgery adhesions and swelling.
–Reduce spasms and cramping.
–Relax and soften injured, tired, and overused muscles.
–Release endorphins–amino acids that work as the body’s natural painkiller.
–Relieve migraine pain.


Take Baby Steps

If the person you are trying to introduce is intrigued by massage but reluctant to dive in headfirst, there are several ways to encourage them to stick a toe in the water. Many massage therapists offer chair massage in smaller time increments than a typical one-hour appointment, myself included. This is an ideal way for a person to experience the benefits of touch without having to worry about undressing or being overwhelmed by a full session.

Consider inviting your “recruit” to meet me before your next session. I would be happy to give a potential client a brief tour and talk with them about the process of receiving a massage. For many people, being able to put a face to the person who is going to be touching them will calm some of their fears of the unknown.

For those who need more specific information about massage, you can direct them to Massagetherapy.com, a public education site provided by Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP). On the site they will find an introduction to massage and its benefits, information on what to expect from a session, and a glossary of terms and techniques to help them understand massage lingo. There is also an archive of articles from Massage Bodywork magazine to help the potential client answer any questions they might have before taking the plunge.

Be a Billboard

Friends and family are more likely to follow your lead if you show them that you enjoy, and benefit from, receiving massage. If you have a regular routine and are feeling good, when you recommend bodywork to others it will be more influential. Whether it’s increased range of motion, a sunnier disposition, or an improvement in posture, what you’ve gotten out of massage will be the best advertisement you can show them.

If, after all of your encouragement, they are still reluctant, you need to respect their feelings. Not everyone is ready for the hands-on experience of massage therapy, and some may even have some serious personal issues about touch. If you allow them to come to massage and bodywork on their own terms, they are more likely to be open to the safe, comforting, professional touch that the massage therapist provides.

friends

Feeling a little short on pals? Good news! February 11 is National Make a Friend Day and we’re going to look at 4 simple ways you can make a new friend – no matter your age or if you have a busy schedule.

1.Try something new.

Pick up a new hobby or sport. Right out of the gate, you’ll have a common interest with the other people there. This automatically breaks down one of the first speedbumps: what to talk about. If stepping out and trying something new is too risky for you, think about what you enjoyed doing as a child. Start there and see where it leads.

  1. Make it consistent.

Friendships don’t appear out of thin air. They need to be cultivated over time. This is why most friendships occur around our school or workplace. If you’re looking for friends outside of those arenas, find something you enjoy doing and make a regular appearance.

  1. Be willing to be vulnerable.

When you discover a spark of connection with someone, dare to open up a little. Allowing ourselves to be seen can be vulnerable, but in these little uncomfortable moments is where we find our true friends. No one can dictate how long it takes to really get to know someone, so be courageous and open up when it feels right.

  1. Be the Peppermint Patty.

Did you know February 11th is also Peppermint Patty Day? When I think of peppermint covered in chocolate, I think of fun. Have you ever met someone who has a lighthearted energy about them? Or witnessed someone in their element? When you’re having fun, people will naturally gravitate toward it. Find and do what makes you happy and you’ll see friends have a way of showing up to join you.

  1. Bonus tip.

And of course, if you really want to seal the deal on a new friendship, give them a massage gift certificate for their birthday, Valentine’s Day, or just because.. You’ll have a friend for life.

Making friends can feel like a challenge, but notice there is a theme throughout this post. Participate in activities you enjoy doing. If you focus on being yourself and having fun, you’ll soon find others who want to be part of that happy energy too.

teen massageAdolescence is a unique stage of life. In between childhood and adulthood, teens go through massive changes on both a physiological and a psychological level. Naturally, this means that teens also have unique health and wellness issues. While nothing replaces regular physical exams with a physician and an active lifestyle, massage therapy can be a valuable component of a teen’s health and wellness. Here are three different issues often occurring during adolescence that massage has been shown to help:

     1. Poor body image and eating disorders.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 3% of American teens suffer from an eating disorder, and the majority of them go untreated. Depression, social pressures regarding appearance, and participation in sports where leanness is valued (such as gymnastics, wrestling, and diving), are all associated with the development of eating disorders. Needless to say, high school provides ample opportunity for all of these.

Studies done at the Touch Research Institute with women who struggle with either anorexia nervosa or bulimia showed that regular massage decreased anxiety levels, increased levels of the feel-good hormone dopamine, and reduced depression scores. Participants in the study also showed better scores on the Eating Disorder Inventory, indicating better body awareness. While counseling is obviously of paramount importance, massage therapy can be a powerful adjunct to other forms of treatment for eating disorders.

     2. Testing Stress and Anxiety

 

There is not a subject in school that doesn’t require testing of some kind and that isn’t even counting state and college prep testing. Some people test better than others. For those who test badly, tests can cause much stress and anxiety. By scheduling a massage prior to testing, the student can start the day off with less stress and anxiety allowing the blood to flow better to the brain and increasing the chance of remembering what was studied as well as better the chance of successfully acing that test. By scheduling a massage after a test, you can reward good behavior and give the student something to look forward to! Win win all around.

     3. PMS and menstrual pain.

What’s worse than menstrual problems? Menstrual problems when you’re a teenager. Between the irregular cycles, the inexperience with managing symptoms, and the embarrassment about getting help, adolescence can be a rough time to have a uterus. Effective treatments like hormonal birth control can have negative social connotations, and require a pelvic exam to obtain, a procedure that most teen girls have yet to experience and may wish to avoid.

Massage therapy has been shown to help with pain, anxiety, and feelings of depression related to PMS, as well as other symptoms like water retention. Girls can also benefit from learning self-massage techniques to use when experiencing menstrual cramps on a day-to-day basis.

As a Fertility Massage Therapist, part of my training is to help minimize menstrual pain and teach others how to manage it on their own. what better time to start that than when menstruation first starts instead of waiting until it is a huge problem later.

Athletic injuries.

While high school athletes are injured at around the same rate as professional athletes, their growing bodies mean that they’re often injured in different ways. Since bones grow before muscles and tendons do, youth are more susceptible to muscle, tendon, and growth plate injuries. Sprains, strains, growth plate injuries, repetitive motion injuries, and heat-related illness  are among the most common injuries among young athletes. Boys are most likely to experience athletic injuries while running track, playing tennis, rugby and soccer, while soccer, tennis, basketball and gymnastics lead to the most injuries in girls.

Sports massage has a long history, and can be especially effective when dealing with repetitive motion injuries like tennis elbow and runner’s knee. Massage therapists are now found at every kind of sporting event, from the Olympics all the way down to your local 5 or 10K. Given that teen athletes can be more vulnerable to injury and overuse than their adult counterparts, it makes sense to offer them the same opportunities for healing and pain relief.

Do you know a teen who could use a massage?

Patriotism-10-2014

Imagine a normal day. You wake up, grumble about not having enough sleep, and reluctantly get out of bed. Today your day is routinely filled with work, errands, and other ordinary tasks. It’s nothing you would consider special.

Between grocery shopping and getting the oil changed in your car, you have a laundry list of things to accomplish and Junior has a soccer game tonight. And that’s all before you have a chance to get dinner on the table.

A typical day for us is filled with seemingly mundane tasks that really are quite amazing when you compare to what other families – across the country, across town, across the street – are going through.

I’m talking about military families.

I’m talking about the families that live through all those mundane tasks but have much higher hurdles to clear. Each situation is different but they all hold a common thread; a spouse in the military.

When a serviceman or woman is deployed their spouse has to keep things together while they are away. They pick up the reins for every imaginable task. Household chores, wiping noses, paying bills, playing with the kids, vehicle maintenance…. every last project falls squarely on their shoulders.

In 2012, military families across America, more than 900,000 children experienced the deployment of one or both parents multiple times.[1]

When the a military member is not deployed, their spouse is subject to the schedule given to them; countless hours of PT, missions, and all the military work involved. In some cases, the spouse is forced to leave their job – reducing their household income – due to relocating, having children, no childcare, and other reasons.

Military families (also known as “dependents”) endure quite a bit of moving, too. Transferring from base to base can raise lots of challenges. Each new place requires learning the area, finding and making new friends, and countless other adjustments. Their lives are filled with change and uncertainty. And if there are children involved (usually there are), it creates instability sometimes leaving them feeling insecure.

A 2012 demographics report states active duty members with children shows 42.4% of those children are between the ages of birth and 5 years old. [2]

Military family members are faced with bittersweet moments too. Junior takes his first step and they can’t revel in the moment like you and I could. The excitement and thrill of this new feat can easily be followed up with a longing for the service member missing from the moment. And we’re not even talking about holidays.

Dependents are the built-in support system for our military members. They offer the connection to home, offering their love and a letter right when the troops need it most.  But it doesn’t stop there, military family members are there when those in service returns from deployment. They are the ones who help pick up the pieces. Like a behind-the-scenes crew, trying to clean up the mess and sometimes at a loss as to what they can do.

Military families are the backbone of this country.

They are constantly adjusting to someone else’s schedule and agenda, they pick up and move at a moments notice. And often they sleep in a half empty bed with a cold, vacant spot waiting for they deployed. Military spouses pick up every last toy, fold every last sock, and wipe every tear. They do whatever needs to be done and often they do it alone.

When I think of military families I think of strength, resiliency, and courage. I think of patience and an undying support system.

I also think of the heartache and sacrifices they make. Not an easy thing to do. Friends are often hard to find and keep. And most often relatives live far away – so I have to ask, who supports them.

During Military Family Appreciation Month, I want you to look beyond feeling gratitude for the mundane task you need to get done. I want you to reach further than recognizing the ability to lay your head down at night feeling utterly safe.

I want you to look at the people who support our military on every level imaginable.

Make an effort to show your appreciation for military family members. It might come in the form of dropping off a casserole, helping them plan a budget, fix a painted shut window, getting them a massage, or offering to take their kids for a few hours. Look at the many ways you can help out and DO it.

So, in honor of Military Family Appreciation Month, we’d like to say thank you to all the military families who are on the front lines of supporting the men and women who protect us.

[1] DoSomething.org

[2] National Military Family Association

Gone are the days of dad working all day to come home to a pipe, slippers, and the evening paper while the kids sit waiting for dinner. This generation of fathers and step fathers are “all in” when it comes to child-raising. There’s more to a dad these days than little league coach. Men who play an active role in their children’s lives deserve a little recognition.

June 2014 - Touch-Plato Quote

Whether they are baby-wearing or carpooling, more dads are helping care for families “in the home,” some even full time. According to the US Census Bureau there were 93,000 stay-at-home-dads in the United States in 2000. Fast forward to 2012 and they reported 189,000 stay-at-home dads and it’s not only moms at “Mommy and Me” anymore!

Dads who work in the home chase kids, hold babies, sing lullabies, clean messes, play taxi driver, and juggle after school schedules. They get stressed out, touched out, and overwhelmed. These guys need “me time,” too. What does he do for down time? Video games, hunting, fishing, workout, massage?

Stay-at-home-dads aren’t the only awesome ones, though. Many working fathers don’t take a break when they arrive home but dive right in to home life. Cooking, cleaning, and playing with the kids is more than “pitching in,” it’s a part of life with a family. More and more dads share in the sometimes exciting, sometimes mundane activities called life.

Weekend dads are important, too. Sometimes circumstances arise in which a family lives apart. Trying to pack a week’s worth of time into a weekend can’t be easy. Going from a full house to an empty nest every other week can have an emotional effect, especially if they live miles away.

What can you do for the special man in your life who shares your home, your children, and your life? You could find tickets to his favorite team’s game! Maybe there is a concert coming up he’d like to go to. Send him on a fishing/boating/hunting trip. Slip a massage gift certificate into the stack of homemade cards from the kids. Heck, make him a card yourself! Cutting and painting construction paper sounds fun and he’ll know you’re “thank you” is coming from the heart!

May 2015 Mothers Day .png

Whether you are a mother, have a mother, or know a mother, Mothers Day is time to honor those who’ve played this important role. Stepmothers, birthmothers, and godmothers too. While there are as many ways of being a mother as there are moms in the world, one thing is certain: it’s a tough job, but a rewarding one. Here are just three ways massage might be of service to the mothers in your life.

Expecting Mothers

Prenatal massage is a growing field, as training programs for massage therapists increase and old myths about massage during pregnancy fade. Massage can ease the aches and pains associated with increased weight, loosened ligaments, and shifts in center of gravity. There are all kinds of cushions and props that can help pregnant women relax comfortably on a massage table, no matter what their dimensions. Contrary to the old tale, massaging the feet, ankles, back, or even stomach will not cause miscarriage when done appropriately.

Of course, massage therapy, while helpful, isn’t a cure-all. Massage can’t stop that nosy neighbor from touching your belly every time she stops by, or cravings for hot Cheetos and root beer at 2:00 AM. But it can alleviate some of the symptoms that naturally come with growing a new human being, leaving expectant mothers more free to focus on the hope and joy that make pregnancy such a fabulous stage of life.

Adoptive and Foster Mothers

Biological mothers typically get a nine-month period to prepare for parenthood. Foster and adoptive mothers might wait and wait for news … then find themselves parents of a tot or teen virtually overnight. Plenty of mothers juggle soccer practice with homework, but fewer have to add court dates and social worker visits to the mix. Not only can these realities place unusual stress on foster and adoptive moms, their uncommon nature means that it can also be harder to find much-needed understanding and support.

Massage can help manage this stress, for all members of the family. Symptoms of stress, such as headaches, high blood pressure, and anxiety, can all be alleviated by massage. And for children who come from backgrounds where touch was lacking (or inappropriate), pediatric massage can help them develop a healthy relationship with touch. When foster and adoptive mothers learn some of these techniques for themselves, it can also be a way for children and their new parents to bond.

Mothers of Young Children

Unlike pregnant mothers, who often feel like their motherhood draws too much attention to themselves, society tells mothers of young children that their role is all about their children first, second, and last. Getting up in the middle of the night to change a leaking diaper? Chasing a toddler into the street? Taking time off work to care for a kindergartener with an ear infection? No matter, it’s not about you, mom. It’s about your kids.

It’s true, to a point. Who wouldn’t make sacrifices for their children? But one factor that can contribute to a healthy, happy childhood is a healthy, happy mother, and every person deserves to take steps towards their own well being, mothers too!

Massage therapy can help the body rest and recuperate from the effects of a busy schedule, interrupted sleep, and the physical strain of lifting and interacting with growing children. It also provides precious time for moms to focus on their own needs, apart from the responsibilities of mothering. And for those mothers who find themselves dealing with the very real condition of postpartum depression, massage may also play a role (although far from the only one) in an appropriate treatment plan.

Moms who are not moms

For women who don’t have children, by choice or circumstance, Mothers Day can be melancholy. There is great joy in being a Favorite Aunt, Baby Spoiler, and Super Supporter of all her friends with children, but we don’t have specific days to celebrate those roles. Women without children don’t always get all that snuggle time with little ones that raises oxytocin, dopamine, and endorphins. Massage is a great way to get the happy chemicals pumping.  If there’s a woman in your life who loves your children, or makes your job as a parent better or easier, Mothers Day is a great time to recognize her.

There’s no one way to be a mother

Despite what the sensationalist headlines about the Mommy Wars would have us believe, and there’s no one way to take care of your health and wellness. Whether the mother you’re thinking of needs a sports massage after her next marathon or a deeply relaxing hour so she can doze, it’s all worthwhile. So this Mothers Day, let’s do all our moms a favor and call a ceasefire, honoring them in whatever ways make sense for their own lives.

Get your favorite mom(s) a massage gift certificate here. It’s easy, fast, and a gift she’ll love!

And to the mothers out there reading this, on Mothers Day and every day … here’s to you.

In a world that sells dissatisfaction, it’s almost heretical to feel happy about your body. And on the rare occasion when body satisfaction is socially acceptable, it’s usually in the context of “Dang, I look amazing in my wedding dress/tailored business suit/perm/bathing suit/whatever I just spent a lot of money on in order to make me feel this way for a couple of hours.” For all the sunshiny Facebook messages telling you “You’re beautiful!” there’s not much to make us feel legitimately joyful to be in our own skins.

So where does happiness come from, anyway? Psychological studies show that happiness stems not from being the best, most successful, or sexiest, but from gratitude. So telling yourself over and over that you’ve got a great body is less likely to leave you feeling happy than feeling grateful for the body you’ve got. It’s not always easy. None of our bodies are perfect. We often feel at odds with our bodies, feeling as though they’re betraying us in some fundamental way.

Still, it’s the season of Thanksgiving, and if there were ever a time to give thanks for the bodies we inhabit, it’s now.

  • You can give thanks that your body has seen you through many long years of life.
  • You can give thanks that your body is young and healthy and strong.
  • You can give thanks that your body has taught you important lessons about pain and the mental and emotional strength you have in bearing it.
  • You can give thanks that your body has survived the ravages of cancer.
  • You can give thanks that while your body contains the seeds of the disease that may one day kill it, it will not die today.
  • You can give thanks that your body has given rise to new life.
  • You can give thanks if your body honors your parents with features it received from them.
  • You can give thanks if your body honors your parents with its presence, against all odds, having been born to others.
  • You can give thanks if your body has the senses to know beauty, the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings of the world around you.
  • You can give thanks if your body includes a mind that can think, imagine, and dream.
  • You can give thanks that your body has built, dug, cooked, sewn, planted, and shaped the world around it.
  • You can give thanks that your body has held and honored and taught the bodies of others around you.

give thanks
Massage therapists are lucky people. We get to see the wonder in the bodies around us every day. It’s an honor, and one we’re perpetually grateful for. On Thanksgiving Day, give thanks for food and family and friendship, those standards of the season. Express your gratitude however you normally do, through writing in your journal, phone calls to your loved ones, a reflective walk in the woods, or prayer. But don’t forget that inimitable body of yours, which has accomplished so many things throughout your life. If we all inhabited our bodies with an attitude of gratitude, who knows what might happen? Maybe that whole peace on earth business wouldn’t seem so far away.