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Embodiment: what is it like to be a body?

Bodies are your way of experiencing the world and in experiencing the world through a body, you change and grow and become the person you are. It is a profound experience to get to know their bodies because in doing so they get to know themselves. Knowing your limitations, playing with and challenging those limitations, is an exercise in growth as a person. 

What is a good massage?

What does the goodness of a massage refer to? Is it that a good massage is relaxing or maybe it needs to be productive? To me, the notion of a "good massage" is just a catch all term for whatever it is someone wants. So then I ask you, what do you want from a massage? That is an all together different question than whatever might result in the answer "a good massage."

Being Tense

Ignoring pain over a long period of time can, I think, create an odd disconnect with pain, tension, and discomfort in general. It isn’t that common that that disconnect is extreme, but when it is, it can be very difficult to work with. Once it does get to that point, it might only appear as an innocuous, innocent, or mostly irrelevant discomfort but in reality is expressive of a much more pervasive problem.

Relaxing is hard

A lot of my clients have achieved a measure of physical precision in the execution of movement yet lack the ability to let go of the tension they can so readily exert. Relaxing doesn't come easy to most of us. Relaxing can be an even greater challenge for those who practice tensing and never practice letting go of that tension. Here are my thoughts on relaxing and its effect on your treatment.

Reinventing Injuries

As I am sure many of us have who still experience pain, restriction, or apprehension from injuries they sustained years ago or, not infrequently, decades ago. Many clients come to me and mention their bad back and refer back to when it first started bothering them years ago. When asked how many years, “Two? Three? A decade?” most people describe their bad body part as having been there “since I can remember” or “always.”

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The value of time spent: an email exchange with a client

The following is an email exchange between me and a onetime client. I wanted to post it because I think this client's comments and criticism are probably quite common and worth thinking about. I would invite anyone visiting my site to read them and consider both them and my response to them. 

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Looking For Long Term Benefit In Massage

As I mature in my practice, I find I am developing more of a style and defining ethos to my work. Part of this ethos is sincerely engendering long term benefit into my work. Clients sometimes seek immediate relief irrespective of what may come afterward. However, as an aspiration for my work, I look toward providing care that persists.

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A Better Way to Practice (Relaxing)

Deliberate practice, rather than mindless repetition, requires focus and mindfulness. Deliberate practice is slow and meticulous. It is a process of "hypothesis testing" wherein one "relentlessly seek[s] solutions to clearly defined problems." This article discusses how you can apply deliberate practice to relaxation. Read more.

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How to Relax: Practice

Often, I find people try to trick themselves into relaxing. Put yourself in a dark room, listen to calming music, lay down, and close your eyes and you will find yourself relaxed. It's easiest to practice relaxation in a quiet and calm space. However, common pitfalls arise. Here are a few rules to help avoiding pitfalls.

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Sore wrists during push ups or planks

In the below video, originally posted on YouTube.com by Kevin Moore, is an easy to follow explanation of why some people may feel soreness, restriction, or discomfort when doing push ups or other exercises that place the wrist is dorsiflexion. For those who may find poses like downward dog or plank uncomfortable, check it out. 

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Exploring Pain and Injury

You might think that the more pain one experiences, the more benefit one receives. For those who wish to experience pain, so often it is not a question of merely experiencing pain, but also embracing pain. Experiencing pain and then embracing pain can be very difficult but worthwhile with long lasting effects in how one perceives a reoccurring or old injury. Read more

To Speak or Not to Speak: Intuitive Massage

Intuition is somewhat of a blanket term for three distinct skills: intuitive touch, reading body language, and communication. Intuitive touch is the recognition of feedback - not necessarily from the person but from the tissue. Here are my thoughts on intuitive massage. 

The Myth of Deep Pressure

Deep pressure and relaxation are often considered antithetical to each other. Massage is often discussed as if it is either deep or it is relaxing and never both. Deep pressure and relaxation are inaccurately assumed incompatible with each other. Depth of the work is not a goal or a technique but something that comes about when a client is able to relax enough to allow for the pressure to go deep. Read more

Wrist and Hand Sequence

I took a workshop from Kit a few years ago and still use his work both in my practice and as personal prehab/rehab. The following video is from his YouTube channel. In it, he goes over a 10 min wrist and hand sequence that I continue to use.  He describes the exercises he goes over as "ESSENTIAL for body workers and computer users" - speaking as a massage therapist, I couldn't agree more.

For more like this, check out Kit's YouTube channel.

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The Pain of Understanding

I often think of myself as playing detective. I ask questions, I gather information, I refine those questions, I decipher the information I am given, and I help the client be witness to their body and pain. "Understanding" is from both the client and the therapist's perspective. Understanding is facilitated by the therapist via asking questions explicitly but also by intuiting what the client feels via body language. Read more

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