Body Talk: I’m talking to YOU!

Has your body  been “speaking”  to you lately about the stress in your life? When you stop to rest is there an ache in your shoulder or neck? Is bending over to pick up your child or pet sending pain through your spine? Are you or a loved one having difficulty finding a comfortable way to sleep at night? If you answered “Yes” to one or more of these questions, you may be a candidate for the pain relief and stress reduction of massage therapy with Sarah-Elizabeth, MA, LMT.

The message of pain is your body saying: “stop and listen to me!” When the pain is overwhelming, you have a choice to listen and respond or to  live with the pain. Massage and CranioSacral Therapy with Sarah-Elizabeth, MA, LMT is an opportunity to find relief from the everyday stress of living in a body. Massage reduces pain, decreases stress and allows the body to gain range of motion.

People who have come to my massage chair or table have said, “My headache is gone!” or “I can walk without the pain of my bursitis holding me back.”

Give the gift of massage to your self, your friend or your family member who is in need of relief. Give the gift of relaxation and pain reduction with a gift certificate for a one hour session with Sarah-Elizabeth, MA, LMT.

Call today 603 365-0852 to make arrangements to give or receive a most wondrous gift!

In Peace,

Sarah-Elizabeth

Body Talk: Three Part Breath

Breath is the most important pulse in our body. Without breath, they say, there would be no life. A wide variety of meditation techniques use breath control as the way into quiet. The teacher reminds the class, “Return to the breath, when your mind wanders. Bring yourself back to the present moment.” When you watch your breath, what do you notice? Are you breathing deep or shallow? Which part of your body expands and contracts?  How well do you notice the feelings and sensations of breathing?

As you pause for a moment to notice your breath, right now, I invite you to notice the body welcoming and releasing breath. Begin to notice there is a flow into the belly, the ribs and the shoulders. For some, there will be only shoulder movement, others the ribs will expand and release. Still others a flow of breath into the belly, up through the shoulders and then release from the top down will be experienced. No way is “wrong,” we are noticing breath sensations.

As you watch the breath for a few more cycles, begin to notice it is possible to deepen each breath. First the belly begins to fill with each breath. The belly organs feel pressed on with this breath. Then notice the ribs expanding as the lungs fill a bit more. As the ribs fill with breath, you  then notice the shoulders filling up near the clavicle or collar bones. Hold and retain the breath for a few moments, noticing the expanded feeling in the body. Then slowly release the breath from the top down – move the collar bones in and down, expressing air from the top of the lungs. Then the ribs move inwards pushing even more breath out. Finally the breath is expelled from the belly, the largest opening in the lungs, as you life up on the diaphragm muscle beneath the ribcage.

This is process of breathing in this specific way is often referred to as “Three Part Breath.” 1) The belly takes in breath. 2) The rib cage takes in breath. 3) The clavicle area takes in breath.  Pausing throughout the day to take a series of three to eleven breaths in this way deepens our experience of being alive, connected with other beings and cultivates presence of mind.

During sessions on my massage table, I will often invite attention to the breath. One technique I use with every client brings in more oxygen to assist with release of muscles, joints and tendons.

In Peace,

Sarah-Elizabeth, MA, LMT

603 365-0852 to schedule an appointment this week!

Body Talk: CranioSacral Therapy – Stillness

Years ago as a new massage therapist, I found pressing on an aching body created more discomfort, rather than less. A day or two would pass for my clients to begin feeling better following a session in my office. Over time I began to look for a modality which created less pain, deeper release and allowed my clients to let go of restrictions in order to become pain free and mobile again. Craniosacral Therapy practice came into my awareness and I began to take classes through the Upledger Institute, mentioned in this article about Craniosacral Therapy (CST):

The Mindset for Craniosacral Therapy

Craniosacral Therapy is practiced with a light pressure to the physical restrictions of the body felt by the hands to the tissues and inviting release. There is a sense of invitation that my hands feel, when a joint, muscle or tendon is ready to release. A quiet, stillness settles into the body as this invitation to let go spreads through the surrounding tissue. The nervous system calms down, the mind settles into stillness and the body drops into deep relaxation. For some people, there is little sensation of this release, yet on rising from the table, they are aware of how much more relaxed and pain free they feel after a CST session. For others, there is a moment by moment realization of the subtle letting go that unfolds during a Craniosacral Therapy session.

The stillness achieved by both the practitioner and the client during a CST session is deep, quiet and healing. Sometimes the hands will rest on a client for 3-5 minutes as the body deepens into relaxation and healing. Time stands still for those moments as the body finds it’s way into balance and quiet presence. The tissues of the body become fluid, under my hands, gently flowing into alignment. Relaxation deepens with each softening of the joint, muscle,  and tendon. Distant points in the body release as well. For example, the neck may release as the ankle is treated. Though I can tell you of my experience as a practitioner, your presences on the massage chair or table will offer you a first hand experience and benefit of CranioSacral Therapy.

Please call to schedule a CST session: 365-0852 cell

In Peace,

Sarah-Elizabeth, MA, LMT

 

Body Talk: Personal Space

When you consider receiving a massage for the first time, what goes through your mind? Will I have to undress? Will it hurt? Can I trust someone to touch me?

Massage therapists are trained to honor your personal space during a session. The massage license requires us to appropriately draped your body during a massage session. On my massage table a sheet and a blanket are provided for warmth and privacy.

The massage therapist touches your skin and muscles for therapeutic purposes only. Muscles respond to this touch by relaxing, joints soften, and breath quiets and deepens. Sometimes there is slight pain in a trigger point, joint, tendon or muscle. These tight or tender places are released in gentle ways with a combination of vibration, pressure to the constricted area, and gentle stretching of muscles and joints. If  pain arises there is always another way to treat the area with minimal discomfort. Let your massage therapist know you are experiencing discomfort and s/he will back off and try another technique.

When someone comes to my table, I let them know to leave their underwear on, bra off for women. It is fine to have underwear off, if you are comfortable with this. During the massage session the part of the body being worked on will be exposed, while the sheet is tucked under and around the body for warmth and protection.  Massage oil or lotion will be rubbed on the exposed leg, arm, shoulder, feet hands or back. Sheets are useful to keep these oils and lotion off the table and blanket.

If at any time you are uncomfortable with what is happening during your massage session, please let your massage therapist know right away.  This goes for either physical pain or an uncomfortable level of exposed skin. Occasionally a client has asked for only a towel drape over the body. I will explain that it is my practice to cover the body with a sheet as I work, exposing only the part of the body which needs the attention of massage hands. If a client acts inappropriately during a session, the massage therapist may choose to leave the room indicating the session is over. The expectation is for payment for a full session.

The role of the massage therapist is to act with integrity as they apply hands on techniques to your body. Your personal space, that is the The space created between massage therapist and client is one of trust and comfort. Feel free to ask questions of your massage therapist about what they are doing, what they are doing to assist your body in it’s healing process. When you are comfortable and aware of what is unfolding, your body will be more able to relax deeply into the moment.

Peace,

Sarah-Elizabeth, MA, LMT

Call for an appointment today: 603 365-0852

 

Body Talk: Three Part Breath

When you lay down on the massage table, your body will likely begin to relax into the table. As you continue to lay flat, the breathe may come into your awareness. The inhalation and exhalation of the breath may become the only sensations you feel as your body gives way to gravity. This is a perfect moment to invite your awareness to your breath, and in particular the rhythm of the breath. The breath brings in oxygen which then circulates through the body along with nutrients for every cell. Attention to breath connects the body and mind, creating inner calm and inner oasis.

Breath is the key to our living. When our body breaths well, we are healthy. For thousands of years the yogis have practiced pranayama, or breath control. Prana means breath, or life force; ayama means control. One of my favorite pranayamas is three part breath. This is a focus on breathing into first the belly, then the rib cage and then the tops of the shoulders. This takes some getting used to in part because we are often breathing shallowly into our chest.

Three part breath begins on an inhale into the belly and lower back. With the belly full, the ribcage will expand forwards and sideways. As the breath continues, the shoulders and clavicles will expand. The exhale begins at the top of the lungs, with the shoulders and clavicles emptying. The ribcage softens and collapses inward until you feel the belly emptying and the diaphragm muscle relaxes. Invite another breath into the belly, into the ribcage, up into the shoulders as you continue to read. Pause with this full breath for a moment before you release the shoulders, ribcage and belly.

Practicing three part breath calms the nervous system. Slowing the breath down, paying attention to the sensations of the breath moving in and out of the body connects the mind and body. Mindful attention to the breath gently engages both the nervous system and the circulatory system. As the nervous system calms down the breath deepens and circulation becomes more effective.  This article from Kripalu: https://kripalu.org/resources/breath-body-and-mind-physiology-pranayama describes more about the physiological changes that occur during pranayama practices, such as the three part breath.

Peace,

Sarah-Elizabeth

If you would like to be introduced to the three part breath integrated into a massage and craniosacral therapy session, please contact me: relax@sarah-elizabeth.org or 603 365-0852.
I look forward to meeting you.

Massage Therapy and Fitness Training

A few weeks ago I learned about rhabdomyolysis, a disease that is on the rise as particularly CrossFit training and other intensive workouts become more common. Taking a break from your regularly scheduled workout routines for massage therapy assists your body in recovery time, body/mind awareness and rest and relaxation.

Fitness enthusiasts: how much are you listening to your body’s needs for relaxation? Do you know where your body is strongest or weakest? Taking time to step away from the gym, track, court or rink is a gift to your intensive workout schedule. During these times of rest your body recovers. Massage therapy enhances the recovery time and connects your body/mind to the effects of your workouts.

http://www.massagemag.com/News/massage-news.php?id=14177&catid=328&title=fitness-fans-listen-to-your-body-when-its-time-for-massage

Sports massage techniques gently stretched the body to explore the range of motion in muscle groups around the major joints of the body: ankles, knees, hips and shoulder. Major joints are connected through fascia, muscles, tendon and ligaments into the spine, neck and head, so the whole body is effected. With awareness of breath, you are guided to notice sensations in the body, noticing where the body is open, releasing or holding tension, tightness or discomfort.  As the body begins to relax range of motion improves, the muscles melt open and circulation increases bringing oxygen and nutrients into the tissues deepening relaxation.

Awareness of holding patterns is an opportunity to make shifts in your workout routine to address the issues of imbalance. A CrossFit athlete may have an imbalance in the shoulders that began with a slight injury. A Baseball player may have a strong rotation in one direction around the spine as they power through to hit the ball. Release of the shoulder muscles (cross-fit) spine (baseball) improves the range of motion in the body, invites awareness to the difference in rotation to the left around the spine and creates space for healing.

As massage therapy on a monthly basis becomes an integrated part of your exercise routine you will cultivate body awareness, create body/mind connection, deepen full-body relaxation and improve recovery between workouts.

Call Today!  603 365-0852 or Email: relax@sarah-elizabeth.org  to set up an appointment for sports massage.

Peace,

Sarah-Elizabeth, MA, LMT