My Quick Road to Recovery

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I’ve been extremely blessed with only having sustained two injuries in my entire life (the first being three decades ago while at a track meet!). The recent shoulder injury I had was the worst! I wish I could say the injury was from an intense workout, or during a grand adventure, but alas, it was not. I’m not really sure how it happened. It began the morning I left from Georgia (5/20/16) after visiting my son and continued to flare up off and on for a month. I immediately made an appointment with my Doctor but couldn’t get into to see her for three weeks. In the meantime, I did modified weight training (no yoga :-() I grew frustrated, impatient and depressed during this process. I realized how much my workouts are a big part of who I am. I tried various means of alternative medicine (massage, chiropractic treatments, foam roller,
Lacrosse balls, theracane, Epsom salt baths, various analgesics, pain patches, and finally an amazing acupuncture and cupping treatment).

I am happy to say that I canceled my doctor appointment three weeks into my recovery process as I was feeling considerably better. I knew that my doctor would probably merely suggest medication to mask any pain/symptoms anyway.

In retrospect, I am thankful I did go through this ordeal because I now can better sympathize with what many other people go through when they have an injury.

Thank you to the following businesses who were instrumental in returning me to full function in one month:

Zach Hylton Fitness
One Flow Yoga
Heather Dehn, D.C.
Young Hee Yoo, Ph.d
Sherri Battle, CMT
Inge Valenti, CMT
Winston Butler, CMT
Paul Simmons, CMT

For more info re the above businesses, see my Yelp reviews

Kauai 2016

After visiting Kauai earlier this month, I can see why many say this is their favorite Hawaiian island, or choose this as their wedding venue. The island has some absolutely breathtaking scenery, and a plethora of choices if you enjoy being outdoors.

I enjoyed a lot of hiking while on the island. Here are some photos of various hiking I did.

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One of my favorite adventures was a kayak/hike to Secret Falls.

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While doing one of several sunrise strolls along a bike trail in Kapa’a , I spotted a runner and a cute potbelly big running along side him.

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If you’re in Hawaii, I highly recommend a Hawaiian LomiLomi Massage. I had a salt/scrub tandem massage combo @ Angeline Muolaulani Wellness Center in Anahola. This was a magical experience. The Hawaiian chanting/singing at the beginning set the tone for the excellent treatments I received. I would highly recommend this venue.

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I had the pleasure of visiting many beaches – here are a few:

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Clarity ….

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Clarity…

You have to love it. You go through life thinking you’ve got a pretty good handle on your life, or, much of it anyway. You’ve got a positive attitude. You consider yourself relatively happy and healthy. Then, as the universe will make very clear to you in her little snarky benevolent way sometimes, “No, you’ve got work to do sister/mister.”

So you begin to tune into your instinct/intuition, that gnawing gut feeling that something is wrong in your life. You hate to have to admit that the something wrong is your most intimate relationship. How did this happen? When did this happen? Red flags keep popping up that you brush away. You’re comfortable. You’ve grown complacent. Your partner is a good person. but you know in your heart of hearts, you and he/she aren’t meant to be together for the long haul. You may be able to ignore this uneasy feeling for a brief time, but it will prove to be
relentless — urging you to take action. You will eventually realize you’ve got to do something. Someone has to man up in the relationship! You come to the realization that if you
don’t end what is a sinking ship, your partner never will. They may be passive aggressive, too immature, or are too fearful to make a move. If you wait too long to act, you may find yourself resenting, or beginning to interact with this person in unkind ways that are foreign to you. It’s never easy to end a union, especially if you’ve been together for awhile. It’s far worse to remain in a relationship that is going nowhere because you aren’t on the same page emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

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Do yourself and your soon to be ex-significant other a favor – be strong and courageous enough to end the charade. It won’t be easy, or pain free. But, it’s something that needs to be dealt with. You will both thank each other and can move on and find your true happiness.

Life is too short to look backwards or be unhappy.

Pre-Holiday Angst

The holidays can be a stressful time for many.  Society puts so much pressure on us to consume, purchase, and put on a happy face.  Does the thought of spending time with family make you nauseous? Perhaps, you, or someone close to you is ill, or has passed away this year?  When you reach a certain age, the holidays can often take on an somber tone, and sometimes become a time of year you dread.

As difficult as it may be, try and keep your head up. Here are my tips for getting through the holidays, or anytime you are going through a challenging time in your life.

Get out in nature.  Exercise.  Do Yoga.  Get a massage/facial/manicure/pedicure, or some other type of spa treatment.  Volunteer – be of service to others.  Surround yourself with positive people.  Read positive books, blogs, quotes.  There is so much negativity in the news, I don’t even watch it.  Try to limit your media – perhaps even consider a media fast.

If you’ve lost someone this year, I am sorry to hear that.  Why not begin a tradition to honor this person in some way at the holidays each year?

For me this year, it will be a very difficult one, as my dear Uncle Rudy (Mom’s younger/middle sibling) will not be with us for the first time this holiday season, and it will be yet another year without my Father.  Rudy’s high functioning special needs brother, David, who he cared for the last 20+ years, will also be coping with his absence as well. My dear Mother has been having serious health issues all year also, but fortunately is doing much better now.

Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, will be spent in Augusta, GA with my son.  I look forward to his infamous Thanksgiving dinner which I’ve only heard rumors and seen pictures of.  We had an Open House yesterday afternoon before I leave for GA at my uncle David’s (his request since he’s been living on his own with minimal help from a caregiver since mid-April  and is very proud of that fact!!) which I am excited about as well.

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Whatever your plans are for the holidays, and whatever challenges you have dealt with during 2015, try and remain positive, hopeful, and above all else, remember to take care of you!

 

Honor your Oldsters

Life is short and precious. 

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious life privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” ~ Marcus Aurelius

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I have always been one to honor my elders, especially my parents.  I love to talk to the elderly because of their wisdom and they always seem to have the best stories to share.

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I have been blessed with the ability to spend quality time with my Mom because I am self employed.  We have traveled to several countries and had a wonderful time doing so with family friends, or new friends we make along the way on our travels.

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Before your parents die, I believe it’s important to hear about and document their stories for future generations, especially family history. Once your parents are gone, their stories die with them.

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An oral history is a wonderful tool to get your parents to begin talking.  Here’s an example of some questions you may ask:

  1. What is your full name? Why did your parents select this name for you? Did you have a nickname?
  2. When and where were you born?
  3. How did your family come to live there?
  4. Were there other family members in the area? Who?
  5. What was the house (apartment, farm, etc.) like? How many rooms? Bathrooms? Did it have electricity? Indoor plumbing? Telephones?
  6. Were there any special items in the house that you remember?
  7. What is your earliest childhood memory?
  8. Describe the personalities of your family members.
  9. What kind of games did you play growing up?
  10. What was your favorite toy and why?
  11. What was your favorite thing to do for fun (movies, beach, etc.)?
  12. Did you have family chores? What were they? Which was your least favorite?
  13. Did you receive an allowance? How much? Did you save your money or spend it?
  14. What was school like for you as a child? What were your best and worst subjects? Where did you attend grade school? High school? College?
  15. What school activities and sports did you participate in?
  16. Do you remember any fads from your youth? Popular hairstyles? Clothes?
  17. Who were your childhood heroes?
  18. What were your favorite songs and music?
  19. Did you have any pets? If so, what kind and what were their names?
  20. What was your religion growing up? What church, if any, did you attend?
  21. Were you ever mentioned in a newspaper?
  22. Who were your friends when you were growing up?
  23. What world events had the most impact on you while you were growing up? Did any of them personally affect your family?
  24. Describe a typical family dinner. Did you all eat together as a family? Who did the cooking? What were your favorite foods?
  25. How were holidays (birthdays, Christmas, etc.) celebrated in your family? Did your family have special traditions?
  26. How is the world today different from what it was like when you were a child?
  27. Who was the oldest relative you remember as a child? What do you remember about them?
  28. What do you know about your family surname?
  29. Is there a naming tradition in your family, such as always giving the firstborn son the name of his paternal grandfather?
  30. What stories have come down to you about your parents? Grandparents? More distant ancestors?
  31. Are there any stories about famous or infamous relatives in your family?
  32. Have any recipes been passed down to you from family members?
  33. Are there any physical characteristics that run in your family?
  34. Are there any special heirlooms, photos, bibles or other memorabilia that have been passed down in your family?
  35. What was the full name of your spouse? Siblings? Parents?
  36. When and how did you meet your spouse? What did you do on dates?
  37. What was it like when you proposed (or were proposed to)? Where and when did it happen? How did you feel?
  38. Where and when did you get married?
  39. What memory stands out the most from your wedding day?
  40. How would you describe your spouse? What do (did) you admire most about them?
  41. What do you believe is the key to a successful marriage?
  42. How did you find out your were going to be a parent for the first time?
  43. Why did you choose your children’s names?
  44. What was your proudest moment as a parent?
  45. What did your family enjoy doing together?
  46. What was your profession and how did you choose it?
  47. If you could have had any other profession what would it have been? Why wasn’t it your first choice?
  48. Of all the things you learned from your parents, which do you feel was the most valuable?
  49. What accomplishments were you the most proud of?
  50. What is the one thing you most want people to remember about you?

You might be surprised to hear what you learn.  This line of questioning also might open a whole new area of conversation you can get into in the future.

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Walking Meditation

 

To perform meditation, you do not necessarily need to be seated in the lotus position. You can be cycling, running, walking etc.
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Walking meditation instructions:

1.  Take a few long, slow and deep breaths. As you exhale, let go of all tension I’ll let your attention flow deep into your belly, legs and feet.
2. Start walking with small steps: as you inhale, step forward and feel that sensation of your foot as it moves to the air and each part of your food as it touches the ground.
3. Exhale as a weight of your body sinks to your foot.
4. Slow down, concentrate on your steps and be aware of each move. Consciously make an imprint on the ground as you step. Fully relax your foot as it presses into the ground.
5. Go slowly with a smile on your lips, with your heart open to an experience of peace.
6. You can feel truly at ease with yourself. If you could take one peaceful step, you can take two. If your steps are peaceful, the world will have peace.
Inspired by Thich Nhat Hahn

In a world of disconnection ….

 

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube,Twitter Instagram, and Google+, etc.  Yes, there is some value to these social media platforms for business, but do we need them so much for our personal lives? I fear we are living in a world where real connections are a thing of the past.  Whatever happened to talking to people face to face?  What’s wrong with getting to know your fellow man/woman?? Is it wrong to smile, strike up a conversation, or offer comfort to another human, whether he or she be someone we know, or a complete stranger?
This year I vow to get to know as many people as I can. I want to hear their stories. We are all connected; if you take the time to chat with someone, perhaps you’ll see what I mean.
Why not go out into the world spreading love and light??
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Corporate Massage v. Independent Massage

 

I have worked and have had massages in many different massage environments.  With few exceptions, and not just because I happen to be an independent massage therapist, I would choose an independent massage therapist over a corporate chain/spa environment.

Here are just a few reasons why I choose and promote seeking an independent massage therapist.

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Overworked Therapist – At a spa or corporate chain, the owners are  primarily concerned about making the most money each day and getting as many clients through the door as possible.   They don’t concern themselves with the fact that the massage therapist might need more than a 15 minute break between sessions. The massage therapist can end up being stressed, overtaxed, unhappy and unfocused.

Lack of Personal Attention  – Since these CMTs work for someone else, they aren’t really too concerned about personalizing each massage session.  They have to get through a set amount of massages each day, watch the clock, and stay within the 50 or 80 min allotted time for each session.  If you do find a CMT you like, it’s difficult to get into see the same person.  It’s nice to be able to go to the same massage therapist so that you can build a rapport and not have to go into detail each session about your health history/recurring issues you may have.

Lack of Experience – Five years of experience is a good foundation for most massage therapists.  Master massage therapists have 10 years of experience.

Good Fit – To find out which type of massage therapist(s) you prefer, I recommend trying massage in different environments.  Ask for recommendations and thoroughly check out their background online.  Once you determine which locations you would like to try – ask yourself:  Are you comfortable with the work they provide, and the space they provide their massage services in?

If you ever had an issue with Massage Envy, you might want to take a look at this article written earlier this month.

http://sacramento.cbs.local.com/2014/11/06/call-kurtis-investigates-massage-envy-stripped-me-of-my-massages/#.VG5ugYx3040.mailto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bali 2014

We spent the last 2 weeks of our vacation in Ubud, Bali.  We chose Ubud because it is the cultural center of Bali and is famous as an arts and crafts area.  To our delight, much of Ubud and nearby villages seem to consist of artist’s workshops and galleries.  Some artist compounds were quite large, 25 or more people, all family, related to one another.

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Massage, although not as abundant in Thailand, is offered throughout Bali.  It is also very inexpensive there.  The best massage I received was $5 USD for an hour by a woman named Ketut at a small spa in the heart of downtown Ubud.

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Q-ull, our 28-year Balinese driver had a great command of the English language.  He said he was given the nickname Q-ull which meant “lazy” because he used to sleep in when he was younger and didn’t like to get up early.  I enjoyed getting to know him and learning more about Balinese culture during our road trips. Οne precious story that he shared was that he gave his son an American middle name of a good friend of his from San Diego, Ca.   He said he really looked up to his friend and hoped his son would have a big heart like his friend did.  Isn’t that what we all wish our children had???

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The women of Bali were amazing – learning from a very young age to carry various items in a basket on their head.  Two things that blew me away were watching two women carry our 45 pound suitcases atop their heads up 92 stairs to our villa, and watching women putting cement in a container that was placed on their heads and carried to a construction site.

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One favorite evening in Bali was when he went to a bridging tables dinner at the upscale iconic Bridges Restaurant in Campuhan.  This dinner was a prix fix meal that we shared with four complete strangers.  We had some great conversation.  I love meeting new people.  The restaurant manager also asked us two questions.  One was tell two truths and one lie, then have others guess the lie.  The other question was what one person, alive or dead, would you like to have a conversation with.  Care to answer the latter question?

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We saw two beautiful Balinese performances.  I really enjoyed the Ramayana Ballet, which is nothing like the ballet we are used to.   It is a traditional dance telling the story of Rama and Sita (Balinese version of Romeo and Juliet).  The costumes the performers wore were beautiful and colorful.

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On a side note, on the plane ride home from Bangkok, I watched a wonderful movie: Mandela:Long Walk to Freedom which is based on South African President Nelson Mandela’s autobiography of the same name.  The movie chronicles his early life, coming of age, education and 27 years in prison before becoming President and working to rebuild the country’s once segregated society.

 

Toxins?

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Most people that get massage or some other kind of bodywork hear that they need to drink lots of water afterward to help flush out the released “toxins.”  Well as a curious consumer, you want to know what those toxins are, and what the reasoning behind the extra water intake is.  If you ask most massage therapists, you will likely get one of the following two answers:

  • “You know… toxins.”  – Read this answer as the person doesn’t have the foggiest idea.
  • “Lactic acid.” – While most people know this answer as a rote response, most physiologists would only agree if the person has recently been physically active, which honestly does not account for the majority of the American population.

In reality, most of the “toxins” that are released are just normal waste from regular cell activity.  Each cell produces waste during its normal activity and metabolism, and excretes this outside its cell membrane.  From there it is located in what is called the “interstitial space” which is the space located between the cells.  Through the activity of your muscles, the cells and the interstitial spaces are squeezed (or pumped) and the fluid is moved out of the area.  The fluid then is typically directed to the lymph system, where it gets collected, concentrated, and dealt with.  (If you don’t know, the lymph system is the second line of defense of our bodies for dealing with pathogens, viruses, bacteria, etc. since it houses a lot of white blood cells.  The first line of defense is the skin, which prevents a lot of pathogens from entering the body.)

When you receive massage or bodywork, cell waste (which is already in your system) gets released at a more rapid rate than normal.  Your body has to deal with the larger amount of material within the same amount of time, and that is what can cause you to feel tired, sick, or sore afterward.

Fascia, the connective tissue of the body, is one of the components that is responsible for this phenomena.  Fascia’s main role in the body is as a divider and connector of body parts, organs, cells, etc.  On first thought, divide and connect seem opposites, and indeed they are.  But fascia does both at the same time.  For understanding this concept, you can represent fascia as a piece of double-sided tape, and our two muscles can be represented by two balloons.  When you put the double-sided tape onto one balloon, you now have a small extra layer of protection (to the balloon) where the tape is located. This barrier separates the balloon from anything on the other side of the tape.  Now add the second balloon to the free side of the tape (so that your model is balloon/tape/balloon).  The tape is doing the job of protection/separation for each individual balloon from the other, and at the same time it is connecting the two balloons to each other.  Fascia fills this role for individual cells, groups of cells, organs, muscles, etc. within our bodies.

Fascia, when acting as a protective barrier is not impermeable like a solid wall.  A more descriptive analogy would be a net made of rope.  When stretched beyond its normal dimensions, the holes of a rope net narrow in one direction and lengthen in the other.  Thus the effective opening of the holes are made smaller, allowing smaller and smaller items to pass through.  When the net is released back to its normal shape, the holes effectively open up to normal size, and allow larger items through. When you receive massage, and the fascia is being restored to its normal shape, it is akin to many small faucets being opened up simultaneously causing an on-rush of fluid and waste that our systems have to deal with immediately.  Being properly hydrated allows the processing of the waste to happen most efficiently.  And since most people are slightly dehydrated, it is a good idea to drink extra water after your massage to maintain a proper hydration level.