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: Epsom Salts Bath

When a client calls in pain and my schedule is booked, I often recommend a hot bath with Epsom salt. As we begin to get out of the house in spring to rake, weed, plant and sow seed, our bodies become achy with the new ways of moving. Taking time to rest and relax at the end of the day, allows the body time to recover. Soaking in a hot Epsom Salt bath can help relieve acute pain.

The benefits of a hot Epsom Salt bath include increased relaxation, relief from pain and cramps in muscles, inflammation reduction, and joint pain reduction. Epsom Salt, also called Magnesium Sulfate, has been used for generations as a home remedy. As an over the counter medication you can find Magnesium in antacids and laxatives. Soaking a splinter in Epsom salt bath reduces inflammation and allows the splinter to be removed more easily. In recent times doctors have used Magnesium Sulfate in IV drip to stop contractions during preterm labor, to treat heart disease and some neurological conditions. Taking in too much magnesium internally is not recommended, yet a good soak wil help the body, mind and soul.

A muscle is a muscle. Soaking the body in magnesium sulfate will release the skeletal muscles and reduce inflammation throughout the joints, reducing pain and improving range of motion in the body. When chronic pain plagues your joints and muscles, give an Epsom Salt bath a try. And before your next massage, try to set aside time for a hot bath with Epsom Salts. Even 15 minutes in the bath can work wonders towards relaxing the body/mind/spirit.

Many Blessings!

Sarah-Elizabeth

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 In the News: Labor and Delivery

This article recently was published in the New York Times:

They discuss the relationship of labor and delivery time to the need for an epidural or c-section. Labor and deliver of a baby is a normal physical process of life creating life. There is need from time to time for medical interventions, though the majority of women have the internal strength and knowledge to birth a baby on their own. When a woman is feeling unready for the journey of labor, suggest a prenatal massage.

Relax. Pause. Breath. Become strong from within. These are some of the lessons of prenatal massage. Labor time can be shorter and less uncomfortable with a prenatal massage within one to two weeks of delivery.  During a session on my table, I remind the mother-to-be of her own body, breath and the connection between her and the child growing in the belly. Massage releases tightness in the shoulders, back and hips. The rib cage is massaged to bring additional space for breathing which will support full breaths during labor and delivery.

Moms who are at 40 week and show no signs of delivering their baby may consider prenatal massage to encourage labor to begin. Acupressure points at the ankles are activated to stimulate labor. Most pregnant moms I have worked with feel this activation of energy right away. This acupressure activation can be continued at home following the massage with the support of a parent, spouse, doula or mid-wife to the toleration of the mother-to-be.

Refer your pregnant friend, co-worker or family member to schedule a prenatal massage prior to the birth of their child. This is a gift for both the mother and the baby-to-be!

Call 603 365-0852 or Email  relax@sarah-elizabeth.org  to set up an appointment today!

Many Blessings,

Sarah-Elizabeth, MA, LMT

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

Body Talk: Put yourself first in 2013

As 2013 begins, it is time to reflect on the year past and make plans for the year ahead. What plans do you have to take care of yourself this year? Exercise, healthy eating and reducing stress are all at the top of most people’s list. Stress reduction often takes a back seat to the others, yet stress often impacts how we choose to eat and exercise. Taking time to retreat and relax is one key to reducing the stress on your body/mind/spirit. Change your body, change your mind.

Often we hear, “Make sure to put the oxygen mask on yourself first before attempting to help someone else put on theirs,” as we settle into an airplane flight. In 2013, it is time to put yourself first in your life. Take care of those aches and pains you are carrying, release the physical tension in your body and you will be ready to take care of the world!

Massage and CranioSacral Therapy sessions with Sarah-Elizabeth, MA, LMT are an experience which will open the doorway to a new you. As your body releases tension, pain decreases from long held patterns and your body will be ready to stick to that exercise routine you plan to implement this year. Less pain to hold you back from hiking, skiing, swimming, walking, running, biking, yoga practice  and more.

Take advantage of Sarah-Elizabeth’s special packages for 2013:

2013 SELF-CARE PACKAGE:  12 sessions, on a month for the year. Commit to body/mind well-being with a monthly session. All year long, take time to check in with your body, release tension that creeps into your life. Listen to your body and let go under the healing touch of Sarah-Elizabeth, MA, LMT.   12 one-hour sessions      $ 1111 or 12 one-and-a-half hour sessions $ 1555

TRANSFORMATION PACKAGE: 5 sessions, once a week for 5 weeks, followed by 5 one-hour sessions bi-weekly. This package is for you to release and heal from the long term injuries that continue to nag your body. Make the commitment to your own healing of injuries that hold you back from being the strong, vibrant self that you are meant to be!  5 one-hour sessions $ 444 or 5 one-and-a-half hour sessions $ 655

INJURY RECOVERY PACKAGE:  5 sessions spaced out at intervals determined at each session. First two sessions intended to be one week apart, next sessions two or three weeks apart. This invites the body to release tension, incorporate new changes and heal  gently over time. Best results are to follow-up with the Self-Care Package. 5 one-hour sessions $ 466 or 5 one-and-a-half hour sessions $ 677

TUNE-UP PACKAGE: 3 sessions spaced out over 4-6 weeks. Step into my office every 1-3 weeks to experience the reduction stress for a short period of time. Introduce your body/mind to the possibility of living with less tension, improved joint movement and reduced pain.  3 one-hour sessions $ 288 or 3 one-and-a-half hour sessions $ 399

PRENATAL MASSAGE PACKAGE: 6 sessions for the mother-to-be. Scheduled from the end of the first trimester through birth. Pregnancy is often difficult for both mother and child. Monthly prenatal massage sessions allow time for mother to relax and release stress that accompanies the body changes as the baby develops within her body. This is a great gift for both mother and child. Research shows reduction in postpartum depression for mothers receiving massage during pregnancy.  6 one-hour sessions $ 555.00

TRY-IT-OUT PACKAGE: 1 session. Experience the balance, health and well being that comes with a single session with Sarah-Elizabeth, MA, LMT. Good for those who wish to experience massage or CranioSacral Therapy for the first time.  1 hour session $99,  1.5 hour session $ 144

Call 603 365-0852 or email relax@sarah-elizabeth.org  to set up your first appointment and begin the journey of self care today! Purchase a package before January 31, 2013 and receive an additional $25 off these prices.

Happy New Year!

Sarah-Elizabeth

 

Body Loving: The Whole Physical Being

How does one love the body? Let me count the ways.
Through feeding and thinking,
Moving and resting,
Seeing and believing,
The whole being comes alive!

I love my body at the dining table,
Serving up a beautiful helping of green, red and blues,
Followed by a glass of cool, clear water
Or a cup of tea, filling my belly with warmth
A bit of sweet to round out the meal.

I love my mind in quiet meditation
Moments of longing to do nothing pass away
Far from comparison
Moments of being in the depths of the depths
Watch and be is all there is “to do.”

I love the freedom of movement
As I run across the meadow
Well worn path slips beneath my feet
Setting my heart pumping, lungs opening to breath
Life courses through my veins.

I love my sight through gentle eyes
The colors of all seasons arrive and
Pass along to the next moment
Being in the flow of changes
Casting love throughout (the boundaries of this or than.)

I love to believe the connection, the between
As foot releases, leg releases, hip releases, shoulder releases neck
Undulations of energy pulse through the body
Open to the possibility of each perfect moment
Unfolding in love, peace and oneness.

How does one love the body?
Listen, the body loves itself into being.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Inspiration struck today with this poem. Enjoy!
Sarah-Elizabeth

 

 

 

Body Talk: Heart Hugs

The body is just amazing, beautiful and intricate! Each part is woven into the fabric of the next part, interconnected to serve the whole of our being in some special way. Lately I’ve been working with the breath, noticing how the breath is connected to my body, through the lungs movement and the heart’s beat. Each breath is moved by the contraction of the diaphragm and intercostal muscles. While the lungs expand outward, they are also pressing in wards towards the heart, giving the heart a gentle hug!

In invite you to stop for a moment, to notice your breath. Notice the movement of the ribs outwards, the chest rising and falling. Pause a moment between breaths to notice the hug at the heart center. You can actually feel the gentle hug each breath brings the heart. Breathe into your lungs, giving your heart a hug and notice your heart beat. As you exhale, notice the release of pressure on the heart.

I have come to believe that this is part of why our breath is so important to life. It is well known that breath is one of the signs of life – at birth a baby’s first breath brings physiological changes to the body as oxygen is breathed directly into the lungs, offering the blood it’s first charge of atmospheric oxygen. These breath bring the first knowing of life as separate from the mother. From then on, the body gives the heart a hug with each breath of air. The hug of the heart with each breath brings the opportunity for us to be reminded of the preciousness of life.

So, I invite you to BREATH DEEP and give a BIG HUG to your HEART! Nothing can stop you from being aware of this each day, each moment. There is an opportunity to discover the preciousness that is YOU! So, go ahead give yourself a hug!

Breath deeply, Deep Peace, Much Love,

Sarah-Elizabeth

Body Talk: Pregnancy

Pregnancy is an amazing journey. To feel life growing within your body is beyond description. Each day, each week, each month there are changes that take place within the growing belly. New life unfolds one moment at a time. And then there are all those symptoms that come along with pregnancy: achy back, swollen body, turned out hips. What is a woman to do? Seek relief with prenatal massage!

During pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes a tremendous amount of hormonal changes to accommodate the growing baby.  Changes include loosening ligaments throughout the body, gaining weight as the baby grows and emotional shifts. First time mothers may have anxiety about the journey ahead. Second time mothers are chasing around after the first baby/toddler/child and do not always take time for themselves through their pregnancy. Prenatal massage allows a mother to take care of herself for an hour, setting down all the burdens she carries.

Prenatal massage is a gift for both mother and child. The hour away allows mother and growing baby to step away from their busy lives to connect, relax and rejuvenate for the journey ahead. Muscle tension releases throughout her body under the hand of a skilled massage therapist. She returns home with knowledge of comfortable positions for relaxation and sleep during her pregnancy. Better sleep, less discomfort and connection with her self and the baby are all part of the outcomes of a single session of prenatal massage.

Benefits of Prenatal Massage include:

First Trimester
Relieve headaches
Help alleviate morning sickness
Reduce fatigue

Second Trimester
Alleviate backaches
Relieve leg and hip pains
Increases relaxation for better sleep

Third Trimester
Reduce swelling/edema
Relieve pain
Enhance sleep
Prepare pelvic muscles for birth process

Tooting my own horn: My gentle presence is a gift for both mother and baby. I create a soothing environment for the mother-to-be and her growing baby. Guided breath work allows the pregnant mother to connect with her own body and relax with confidence into the changes going on within. My prenatal clients have reported back that they sleep more comfortably following their session, back pain was reduced and labor was a manageable experience.

If you, your friend or loved one is pregnant, give the gift of prenatal massage! Call 365-0852 or email me relax@sarah-elizabeth.org to schedule an appointment. Gift certificates are available as a baby shower gift!

In Peace and Gratitude,

Sarah-Elizabeth