Summer is almost here and the insects are lying in wait…

These past 2 months have gone by faster than I would have thought possible, yet here we are!  Spring has sprung, the flowers have bloomed and Summer is closer than we think.  In the Finger Lakes Region we’ve already experienced such extreme temperatures this Spring, that I know I’m not as prepared for the heat as much as I wish I was.   No New Yorker likes to admit they prefer the cool, crisp air of Fall through the early Spring.  It makes us sound even colder than our sarcasm usually does.  Haha! 😉  (Or maybe that’s just me…)

And with such wonderful warm weather, comes all of those little wonderful, not so warm & loving, critters.  I’ve already started taking out the oils needed to avoid pesky insects for my family and thought you may like to make these simple solutions as well!

The easiest solution to make is a hydrosol spray; essential oils suspended in distilled water.  In this preparation you should have either a blue or brown glass bottle with an atomizer/spritz top.  I can find these in my local health food store, Mother Earth Natural Foods.  Or you can find bottles in bulk and make a supply for the whole family! Try looking here at Specialty Bottle.  4 Ounce bottles are the best in size, not too big and enough solution to last a while.

Now for your selection of oils.  Citronella is the first go-to essential oil for most folks.  This essential oil is the most commonly used oil in insect repellents.  Citronella has many properties, which includes being anti-bacterial, anti-depressant, anti-septic, anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory,  just to name a few!

Other oils used when repelling insects are the following: Tea Tree Oil, Geranium, Patchouli, Cedarwood, Lavender, Peppermint, Lemongrass, Sage and Eucalyptus.   You don’t have to use all of these oils, in fact only using 3 or 4 will be fine!  It’s truly up to you, your tolerance and skin sensitivities.

I personally like to use Citronella, Geranium, Cedarwood and Tea Tree Oils.  These are all anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory in nature.  They blend well together and aren’t photosensitive so you can be secure in wearing these oils out in the sun.  (Citrus oils derived from pure citrus plants/fruits are very photosensitive. They will aid in a lovely sunburn if the user is not careful!)  Also, as these oils are all healing oils, should you get bitten or scratched while hiking around, these oils will already be available to start your skin’s healing process.  Nothing like being prepared!

To make your so-long-insect spray you can follow these guidelines.  There are no perfect measurements (I have never been one to level off that tablespoon while baking 😉 ),  your nose is a wonderful tool in this process!!

  • First start with your base essential oil, Citronella, by dropping 20 drops into the bottle. * DO NOT add any distilled water until the essential oils are mixed!!
  • Geranium 5 drops
  • Tea Tree 10 drops
  • Cedarwood 5 drops (or more, to ground your oils and blend nicely)

Now cover the bottle with the lid, shake it a bit to mix oils throughly and reopen to smell.  It doesn’t have to smell like an amazing french perfume, however, if you don’t like it, then tweak it.  In my experience a little Geranium goes a loooong way, and Cedarwood will tone down other oils very quickly.  Feel free to add only one drop at a time, shake and smell again.  It makes no sense to repel humans just to avoid getting bit by bugs.  😉

Another version of the carrier medium is to use 1 table spoon of jojoba oil and 2 table spoons of vodka.  Add these to your essential oils once they are blended and shake, shake, shake your booty, or bottle. (haha)  I have yet to try this method, the theory is that it will last longer on the skin and will not need to be reapplied as often.  Do remember that when using only distilled water and essential oils, you will have to re-spray every hour or so.

Yet another solution is to add these essential oils to an fragrance-free lotion.  This will be easy to apply to young children and will last longer on the skin than just using distilled water.  However, you cannot apply it to clothes.  So pick your method and let me know how it works for you!!  Happy June!!  🙂

The Courtship of Massage Therapy and Health Care

Sooo…  There is a very touchy subject we all have as a nation before us.  Politricks is not a subject that I normally bring up in the office.  It usually reverses that feeling of relaxation, so it’s a general no-no until it effects the very field I work in.  I read an excellent article earlier this week and have been letting it tumble around in my little head about how I would like to share this with you.  My goal today is to explain to you my own concerns of Massage Therapy “being included” in a “traditional” health care setting.  I would LOVE to hear some feedback on this!  I’ll also include a link to this article later on below.

That being said,  I’ll make my main point first.

True Therapeutic Massage (Medical/Clinical Massage) always approaches the client as a whole being.  Not as a symptom, not as a list of complaints that need to be subdued or have pills thrown at and certainly not as a small number of visits allowed in which you can only work in certain areas.  When using Medical Massage, the client is included in the whole process,  is shown what is causing injury/strain and given the tools to change themselves.  It is very much up to the client how much they want to recover and get back to functional living again.

When I have someone come into my office, we go over many aspects of the client’s activities, typical routine, range of motion, injuries and physical restrictions.  Why?  Because there you will typically find what causes many of the postural issues that cause common strains, aches & pains within the client.  As we work together more, it’s normal to find that session goals change, new information relating to past injuries may surface which gains a greater insight into present dis-function.  There is always a goal of rehabilitation and there is always a wide scope lens being used by the Therapist (me!) to get there.   Your pulled neck could very well be from the fact that you carry your hip higher on the left than the right.  There is NO way to treat one  area of the body without treating the rest of it!  So we start treating and releasing it, and the client is given stretches and strengthening tips to help resolve this issue.   For most folks, this is a normal experience with their Massage Therapist.

IF Massage Therapy were to be included in a “typical” health care system, how might this change? As is stands, the best experience I’ve gotten of this possibility thus far is when I’m working with No Fault Insurance claims.  Let me share with you some of my struggles.

This situation is always due to some type of automobile accident and the client receives a Prescription for massage.  Each Rx is usually for 4-8 sessions, depending on the severity of the accident and the length of time for each session.  As it stands, I have to advise the client to have the Rx written out for 1/2 hour sessions, as the insurance companies will not cover a full hour of massage.  They will only pay for 45 minutes within a 48 hour period.  This is part of our NY No fault Regulation (68) Law and  it hasn’t changed since 2002.   Personally, I prefer to see clients at least 2x weekly when recovering from accidents.  Thus a Rx for eight 1/2 hour massages is a great solution.   So far, not a big problem.

Insurance companies dictate to me what they will pay me, they do NOT ask what I charge.  In fact, they don’t care.  I was told at one point, that if  I had a problem with the way things were to take it up with my local legislature.  WOW, that blew me away!   The fact that I would have to talk to my local congressman about getting paid fairly by an insurance company (i.e. forcing them with some kind of law change!!) and not talk directly to someone within the company itself should speak volumes to more people than just me!  I’m not looking to make a quick buck here, in fact I get paid less through No Fault Insurance than what my normal fees are in my office!    Rates typically change because the cost of operation goes up.  Insurance companies know that reasoning very well as they use it all the time.  However, they do not travel down a two way street and don’t use that same logic when it comes to having to pay an LMT for their work.  The cost of operation has certainly changed since 2002 for the typical Massage Therapist.

Now we come to my biggest issue.  While I am working with a client with such a Rx, I am not allowed to work on any other place of the body except for those given a code for in the Rx itself.  If your neck was injured, and I know that you would have a much better release if I were to able to work within the pelvis first, I wouldn’t be able to.  It’s not part of the neck, Therefore it’s not included in the “approved” areas that need massage.  This kind of rule is understandable to an extent, however it hinders true healing in the long run.  Many MD’s don’t look at the muscular body the same way a Massage Therapist does,  Insurance companies definitely do not at all.  Why am I wanting to focus on the opposite side of the body that received impact?  Because it contracted and reacted more to the physical trauma of the accident.  The client may feel sensitivity/pain in the  neck, however it could be from the pelvis that was thrown to one side introducing compensation in the center of balance within the client.  It could be a combination of the physical trauma of the accident and what the client does for a living.  I have to be able to treat the whole body to get the best results, not just the areas the Insurance company will “cover”.   Try explaining that to an Insurance Rep, they don’t care.  No massaging any other areas during the session, they are not budging.

If Massage Therapy were to be included in a health care system that is already treating it like this, what would the ultimate impact be?  Would there ever be an understanding that the Medical Massage Therapist has very direct and specific techniques to help the elimination of pain and that no matter what they need the space to work and effect the whole body of the client?  Or would we continue to see a power struggle between Insurance companies, the regulation makers and the Therapist?  I’m worried that the benefits of massage, the client becoming aware of the whole self and treatment of the whole person would be lost.  We might loose the ability (or even worse, the right!!) to heal ourselves altogether.  That’s the scenario I want to avoid completely.  If that means that I don’t work within a system that doesn’t understand what it is that I do in the first place, then I know that my clients and I will be all the better for it.

What do you think? I want to know your concerns and how this might affect you and your families.  We’re all wanting the same goal, to have a system in which the client IS the center.  Where we the practitioners work TOGETHER to benefit the client and not coat pockets.  Can it be done?

The Corruptibility of Facts

By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB

The Day of Love ~ EVERYDAY! <3

All right, we’re gonna get a little mushy now…..  🙂

This time of year brings out the best in many people.  Roses and sweets are all typical reminders of this lovely day known as Valentine’s Day.  We are bombarded with ideas of how to show our love and affection, so that no one will ever be able to forget how we feel about them.

How is it that we only have so much focus on love just once a year?  What about the other 364 days of the year?  How often are we reminded that to show love outward, we must show love inward first?  Our own hearts and how we look at ourselves is a true reflection of the love we are able to give and show others.  If we demand so much of ourselves, how then do the people around us feel about what we are reflecting to them?  Do we demand love?  Do we love on the condition of demands being met first?   How do people see your love everyday?

When we cease to take the time to care for ourselves, and allow our hearts to become heavy with worry, we are no longer able to see clearly, both inside and out.  It can be heard in our voices and seen on our face.  Remembering to be patient with ourselves first,  gives us a better opportunity to be patient with others later on.  I am constantly being reminded of my need to slow down, remember that I am a simple human being, and that I can take time to show myself love and care just as much as I show and give it freely to my friends and family.

When I remember to be patient, calm in heart and mind, the effect is felt where ever I go!  My children even slow down, and we can take our time to communicate and hear one another clearly.  It’s amazing the changes you will see, when you slow down first, show yourself love and patience (as no one has it all together every minute of the day!) and then in turn interact with the people around you!  Speaking calmly with that Sales Rep on the phone just might go a bit smoother, when you remember to be calm and keep your voice light and sing song like.  You might think I’m crazy, but I’m tellin’ ya it works!!

Take time this Valentine’s Day to remind yourself of the many ways love is shown to all.  Through the small gestures and little sweetly said words that hang to the heart and keep it afloat later on when times get a little rough.  When we take time to care for ourselves, we are better able to take care of the others we love around us.

Take some time to show yourself some love this Valentine’s Day and EVERYDAY!!  Call the office for an appointment, or send me an email at shawnmarielmt(at)gmail.com !  Gift Certificates are always available both at my office and at Mother Earth Natural Foods, 440 Exchange St., Geneva NY.   I can now also send an online billing invoice via  Google Checkout and give you the option of your choice of payment!  Share the love!!

New Year Evolutions….

*Woosh!!*

Did you hear that? That was the sound of my month of December flying “buh bye” and here I am in the foundling days of January without a clue as to where the rest of my last year went off to.  I’m sure this is a typical sentiment for many of us, as the build up for the last days of the year are so big that the first waking mornings of the new year are met with a bit of confusion (or at least a bit of that feeling of “where did the time go?!”).

So it’s a new year,  which brings us to that lovely notion of Resolutions for our Year Anew.  I have recently been reminded that this may be one of the silliest things that we do to our selves, depending on how we approach our goals.  I’m going to include an email I received from a wonderful friend, so that you too may enjoy the blessing of evolution in your new year.

May we all re-learn to go easy on ourselves, and treat one another with the same care we all deserve.  Persevere with the knowledge that you DO make a difference, and every little bit counts…  And remember to treat yourself right and come in to the office for a healing massage!  🙂

THOSE NEW YEAR EVOLUTIONS AND MORE!

John La Valle

I WROTE MOST OF this a few years ago at this time and have decided to rewrite it, add a little here and there because of its popularity.

WHAT IS IT THAT has people “make” New Year Resolutions and then “break” them? We have a local pub here that has a “Break Your New Year’s Resolutions Early – Why Wait?” party on December 30 each year. It kind of adds something to the ritual.

THE WORD *RESOLUTION* itself is a nominalization, a verb formed into a noun. It comes from the word “resolve”, which means to solve, again!! And so many people get into a pattern of re-solving old problems and then not re-solving them because they then turn the process into an event, a static event. How about EVOLUTIONS?!! Evolving continuously, doing new things, get a new look, a new walk, a new talk, a new anything!!

INSTEAD OF MAKING “Resolutions”, how about setting up new directions in which you want to be going this coming year, both personally and professionally? Take some goals, activities, behaviors that you want to be doing, and see yourself doing those in your future, just starting in the next few moments. If you’re going to put those pictures into your future, be sure they’re of behaviors – YOURS – that’s you doing them, dissociate so you can see yourself doing them, then associate so you’ll know what you’ll be seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, tasting. Then dissociate, see yourself doing them!! It’s in your language, too.

REMEMBER, IT’S ONE THING to have goals that are outside of yourself, like that red *Testosterosa*, but without the behaviors, you may not know how to go about getting one, or even earning the money to get one. Remember to keep YOUR goals behavior-driven. That material thing is just the outcome of the outcome, it’s the reward for doing certain behaviors!!

Winter Skin Blues….

As the season changes yet again in the next few weeks, so will your skin.  Your skin is the first thing to come into contact with the weather around you (assuming you haven’t used the nose warmer your Grandmother made you last Christmas) and will undoubtedly show the effects of the season.  It’s pretty obvious in the summer when we all have to be aware of our time in the sun, but what about our time in the wind and cold?  What about the time in our homes and the dry air?   It’s no coincidence that our skin dries out and becomes cracked or chapped in the winter time.  So what do you do about it?

There are certain oils that have wonderful effects on your skin.   Grapeseed oil is a wonderful simple oil that greatly nourishes the skin and doesn’t leave it feeling very greasy.  It’s anti-oxident properties are hailed to help fight free radicals in the skin, helping you maintain a young and natural glow.  It is a wonderful carrier oil and is the first oil of choice in my office.  I can mix any blend of essential oils with it and change the focus of it’s desired effects.  Adding Tea Tree essential oil will create a more astringent effect helping fight any acne or other bacterial skin issues, while adding Geranium essential oil will facilitate a more healing effect and aid in faster skin repair.  The options are limitless!   Other oils can be added to your carrier oil, to make a blend incorporating many benefits.

Jojoba Oil is a wonderful oil to add to any skincare lotion or oil.  It mimics human sebum and so aids in skin repair in ways most other oils can’t.  It also naturally fights bacteria and fungus and so it can be added with the purpose of adding extra immune protection.

Sweet Almond Oil is high in protein, other vitamins and minerals.  It’s excellent for all skin types and conditions the skin, keeping it supple and soft.  It has a sweet subtle smell that mixes well with other essential oils.  It’s also one of my favorites for lip butter!

Apricot Kernel Oil is rich in fatty acids and helps keep the skin full of moisture and relieves the effects of Eczema and Psoriasis.  It’s texture is similar to Sweet Almond oil and so blends very nicely to compliment any skin care lotion or oil blend.

Jason Organics also makes a fragrance free lotion (and other products) that you can add any essential oils to, creating a blend that is truly all your own.  These can be found at most Health Food Stores, such as our local Mother Earth Natural Foods or in the organic section of your local grocery store (Go Wegmans!).   Essential oils can help in keeping the skin soft, moisturized and help in the healing of other conditions.  A great list of them and their related suggestions of use can be found here at Nature’s Gift website.  When blending lotions with other oils and essential oils, always have a separate container to accommodate your blend and start with small measurements.  Lotions will thin out when adding other oils and need to be shaken well to ensure a good consistency.   Keeping your old pump bottles comes in handy for these projects!   Adding just a few teaspoons of oil to a cup of lotion is a good start.  Essential oils are best blended first in a small glass bowl (to avoid any mistakes or adding too much of something i.e. stink bombs!),  then added to the lotion/oil.   Again, shake well to mix your blend completely.  Do your best to use lotions that are originally scent free, basic in nature and ingredients.  Avoid petroleum based products whenever you can!

Remember to apply lotion or oil in the evening before bed, as this can be the best time to allow the properties within your skin care to go to work for you.  If you have particularly cracked or chapped hands or feet, applying a generous amount of lotion or oil and then adding a layer of cotton socks or gloves can greatly help your skin heal faster and lock in the moisture (and also protect you and your bed from waking up a mess!).

I hope this has helped some of you, and I’m always making new balms, salves and lip butter so please feel free to ask for any recipes!  Stay warm and keep your skin soft!

Tofu isn’t Turkey (as my son told me this week)

With the upcoming Thanksgiving Day celebration comes the anticipation of heaping plates and the un-looping of belts.   We gather together to show thanks for our bountiful lives no matter what the measure… until the next day when we can’t fit into our favorite pants because we’re still digesting our bounty-FULL  dinners.  We’re all a victim to the old standard “eyes bigger than stomachs” routine, and gladly so.

With this in mind, I thought it may be fun and a nice change of pace to offer some healthy breakfast alternatives for the morning of drooling-wait (in all manner of Thankfulness, of course!) and maybe even that morning after… unless I’m not the only one who loves to eat a piece of left over (and well hidden) apple pie for breakfast the next day.  😀

I love this recipe, found at The O’Mama Report website, as it incorporates part of Thanksgiving dinner later….

Squash Pancakes with Fig Syrup

12 ounces butternut or hubbard squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
1/4 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
1/4 cup apple juice
2 large egg whites
1 to 2 teaspoons fig or maple syrup, plus more for serving
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

1. Juice the squash (page 00), reserving the pulp.  You should have 1/4 cup pulp and 1/2 cup juice. Put the squash pulp in a mixing bowl and sprinkle with the flour. Using your fingertips, gently squeeze the pulp and cake flour together until they are just blended. Add the apple juice and 1/4 cup of the squash juice, and stir gently until blended.
2. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the 1 to 2 teaspoons syrup and beat until stiff glossy peaks form. Stir one-third of the egg whites into the squash batter. Season with salt and pepper. Gently fold the lightened batter into the egg whites. Be careful not to blend the mixture completely. The more gently you treat the egg whites, the higher the pancakes will rise.  You should have about 2 1/3 cups of batter.
3. Heat a large non stick sauté pan, skillet, or griddle over medium heat. Rub the oil over the surface of the hot pan with a paper towel. Ladle about 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan and cook for about 4 minutes, or until just set. Using an oiled thin-bladed metal spatula, very gently turn the pancake over and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, or until done. The pancakes will be very soft and light.
4. As it sits, the batter will separate. Stir or fold it gently before cooking the rest of the pancakes. Serve the pancakes overlapped on heated plates and drizzled with syrup.

 

Want to keep it easy and fresh?  These are a few of the recipes found here at The Best of Raw Food website…

– Raw Food Breakfast –

Banana Pancakes

Serves 1

raw diet recipesIngredients

1 banana
2 tablespoons coconut meal or dried coconut
cinnamon

Directions

Mash the banana with a fork in a bowl until very smooth. Add the coconut meal and some cinnamon to taste. Mix well.

Flatten the banana/coconut dough and make small pancakes of them

Leaf out in direct sunlight for about 1 hour, flip over and leaf for another hour. You may also use the dehydrator or oven. But then it will take longer to dry them.

They don’t have to be dry, just on the outsides. They’re so good anyway that they’re usually gone before I want to serve them.

Tip

If you make them the night before, you can take them to go for breakfast in the morning.

Hemp & Berry Smoothie

Serves 2

raw diet recipesIngredients

1 banana
2 tablespoons hulled hemp seed
1 bag of frozen berries
1 cup pure water

Directions

Put all ingredients in a high speed blender. Add enough water so that all ingredients are covered. Blend well.

You may want to add a little more water if it’s too thick. You may blend longer if you find it too cold.

Tip

The hemp seeds provide good fats and super protein. Hemp seeds are the only seeds that have no enzyme inhibitor and therefore don’t have to be soaked in water before eating.

If the berries are sour, you may add a few drops of (liquid) stevia to sweeten.

Apple Avocado Mouse

Serves 2

raw diet recipesIngredients

1 avocado
2 apples
1/4 cup purified water

Directions

Peal the apples and take out the core. Take the avocado meat out of the avocado. Put the two ingredients in a bowl. Mix well with a hand mixer.

Tip

This is another very simple raw food recipe.

~~^~~

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!  For we all have truly wonderful blessings to be thankful for!

 

Massage your feet to help ward of those seasonal colds…

One thing most folks can’t say no to is a good foot massage.  Considering that there is a rough average of 15,000 nerve endings in each foot, it’s no wonder we turn into butter and melt.  This can be used to your advantage, in all seasons and for any particular reason, other than just wanting to relax and “take a load off”.   The use of Essential Oils and Reflexology is a great example of this.

In Reflexology the feet and hands are used as maps to the rest of the body, each place and space responding to another part or organ.  When pairing your area of massage with certain essential oils, you can have a profound effect as your whole body responds.    I have also found this to be the best way to get any “grumpies” under control when tending to the sick.  (Can you tell I’ve recently been caring for sick children? 🙂 )

Here is a great reflexology map for the feet.   We had a seasonal cold sweep through our home which included runny noses, coughing and sore throats.   My favorite essential oil for these symptoms is Eucalyptus.  *Always properly dilute essential oils with a carrier oil, such as Grapeseed, Almond or Jojoba.  Unscented lotion will do very well here also.  You can mix them in your hand or better yet (for proportions sake) mix the oils in a small glass bowl or jar that can be sealed and used again later.  For a tablespoon of carrier oil you can add 2-4 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil.  Starting out with fewer drops makes it easier to add as you need to without over doing it right off the bat.  A little goes a long way!

Finding the middle of the upper sole, right amongst the meta-tarsals (those long bones extending from your toes towards your ankles) is where you’ll locate the Reflexology Point for lungs.   Focusing on these points while massaging the feet will help direct the Eucalyptus to where it can help the most.

By nature, Eucalyptus is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antispasmodic, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial.   It is a perfect oil for the symptoms of seasonal cold and flu.  You can also massage this oil into the back of the neck or on the chest for added relief from congestion and sinus pressure.  *Smaller children (6 and younger) should never have essential oils applied directly to the skin.  They should be ALWAYS diluted in a carrier oil and rubbed only into the feet.   If there is any concern of a skin reaction, apply only a small amount first and keep watch for any redness or other reactions.

If any of you question how quickly essential oils may work; penetrating the skin and affecting the body, I suggest cutting a garlic clove in half and rubbing it on the bottom of your foot.  (Garlic is also a great raw remedy for the symptoms of cold and flu!)  Within the next 15 minutes you will find that your breath will smell like garlic (and not from licking your fingers)!  Just as your body responds to massage, your body responds to everything it comes into contact with.  Your skin is a living organ!  Using essential oils in your daily life is a great way to help boost your own strengths and get over that cold or flu faster.

Here is a great link for more Eucalyptus essential oil information!  You can also check out my links to find the best essential oils for your needs!   Happy massaging!

Hello!

This is the beginning of my ability to reach you and my clients on a more accessible and convenient level.  I’m excited about being able to share with you wonderful information related not only to Massage Therapy but subjects pertaining to your general health as well.  Please bear with me as I learn the ropes here.   I’m looking forward to this new venture!!

~Shawn Marie