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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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

Recommended HEALTHY Reading!

 

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8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back: Remember When It Didn’t Hurt – by Esther Gokhale, L.Ac.:  A book about improving posture and treating pain.

The Alexander Technique: How to Use Your Body Without Stress – by Wilfred Barlow and Nikolaas Timbergren:  An updated edition of the classic F.M. Alexander’s technique for successful body mechanics

Awareness Through Movement– by Moshe Feldenkrais:  Illustrated, easy-to-use exercise to improve posture, vision, motivation and self awareness

Getting Back in Shape– by Bob Anderson:  30 Programs with 3 components of fitness each: stretching, weight training and moving exercises. A simple approach to life long fitness.

Getting Stronger:  Weight Training for Sports – by Bill Pearl:  This book is three books in one: weight training for sports, bodybuilding and general conditioning.  The most complete book on weight training every produced.   Over half a million copies in print.

Healing Moves:  How to Cure, Relieve and Prevent Common Ailments With Exercise – by Carol Krucoff and Mitchell and Krucoff, M.D. Healthy Learning:  This book is authored by a award winning health columnist and a renowned cardiologist no the importance of vigorous exercise for general good health.  There are exercise programs for general fitness, as well as exercise prescriptions for specific illnesses and health issues.

8 Weeks to Optimal Health – by Andrew Weil:  Dr. Weil believes in the body’s natural abilities to heal itself (yay! MY belief also).  This book contains a series of simple small steps to optimum health.

Stretching in the Office – by Bob Anderson:  Stretches and exercises for people who work in offices or at computers.

 

Self Help Massage Tools!

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In between massage sessions, here a few tools you can use:

Here is a partial list of body tools – (self help devices that allow you to do body work (massage, acupressure) without the need of assistance).

TheraCane – An acupressure tool that loosens tight, painful muscular areas.  You use leverage and slight downward pull to create the desired pressure wherever you want.  This device is especially designed for the back of the neck, mid-back (between shoulder blades), upper back, sides of neck and shoulders.  It can even be used all over the body as a stretching aid.

The Stick – A non motorized massage device used by serious athletes to loosen trigger points (knotted up muscles).  The flexible core with the revolving spindles easily molds to various body contours.  This tool is great for the legs, especially the calves, and can be used effectively on all major muscle groups.

The Massage Stone This device was designed with the professional massage therapist in mind.  It is supposed to aid the hands, not replace them.  The stone may be used over clothing so it can be used often.  J   When heated, the Massage Stone drives the heat deep into the muscle tissues, relaxing the muscles for deeper massage.   When chilled, the stone can help reduce inflammation from a sports injury.

The Trigger Wheel – A 2” nylon wheel on a 4” handle for deep massage.  The Trigger Wheel works on trigger points and be used directly on skin or through light clothing.  It works the way a tire rolls back and forth on pavement. It is very effective in reaching specific sore spots, such as small areas in the neck, hands, wrists, arms, legs and feet.  It’s small enough you can carry it with you and use it throughout the day to keep pain at bay.

The Foot Massage A 2”x9” roller with raised knobs for foot massage, and rubber rings to protect the floor.  A super tool for tired feet. The studded knobs give you pinpoint access to the bottom of the foot.  This is used to stimulate nerve endings, reduce discomfort, and improve circulation. If your job is sedentary, use this tool on the job.

Breath Builder This device was originally designed for musicians to develop breath control; however it is excellent for anyone who desires to develop restorative deep breathing.  You blow into a tube and the pressure of your breath keeps a ping pong ball afloat in the cylinder.  It forces you to use your diaphragm muscles and to breathe correctly, with the goal of increasing your lung capacity.

The Back Revolution– This device is an inversion device which keeps your pelvis stabilized and decompresses discs and works wonders for store, stiff necks. Health professionals recommend using it for 70 seconds, 2 to 3 times a day.  Can help you control persistent back and neck pain.

The Pain Eraser 1 An exceptional hand-held tool that is firm enough for deep massage yet soft enough for more tender parts of your body, including your face.  Access arms, legs, hands, feet, back etc., easily with this high quality massage tool.  1-1/2” wide roller is made of 100% natural rubber with 36” fingers.  Great for travel.

 

~ A Different Kind of Nooner! ~

 

Don’t think you can get a massage other than in the evenings after work, or on the weekends???

 GUESS AGAIN!!!!

Nooner

Here are few reasons why you shouldn’t hesitate to schedule a midday weekday massage:

 I WON’T ALLOW YOU TO DRIFT OFF TO SLEEP (UNLESS YOU WANT TO)

 I typically end the session face up. I do this so that you have time for your eyes to adjust, your sinuses to clear, and your mind to wake up.  The entire session can be face up or in the side lying position to avoid sleep induced drooling and Cradle face.

Other things we can do?  Music selections can be a tad more upbeat for the whole session, or even just the last 5 minutes.  Aromatherapy used can be more uplifting (grapefruit, bergamot, rosemary), than calming (lavender, frankincense).  Or, I can begin easing you back into reality with gentle conversation and passive stretching.

I DON’T NEED TO TOUCH YOUR SCALP OR FACE (OR FEET OR HANDS)

 It’s quite simple, really, you let me know areas that are okay to work on and what areas you would rather have me leave out.  That’s how I work for any session, anyway.  I can still work on your scalp and face without using any oil or aromatherapy. If you just can’t do without a massage of the scalp or face, no worries, those areas can still be addressed.  Your face will positively glow after a facial massage so you really shouldn’t miss out.  Give your fellow office mates something to talk about when you return to the office with that wicked Cheshire cat grin post massage.

nooner2 I DON’T EVEN NEED TO USE LOTION OR OIL!!!

The common areas that people want massaged are the upper torso, neck and back.  I can massage those areas without any oil or lotion at all. Slow and full dry work is perfectly paired with the large canvas of the back.

If you don’t really like the idea of dry work, that’s okay.  Excess oil or lotion can be gently wiped away with a warm towel after your session.  I typically provide a hot towel after every session anyway.

IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE AN HOUR

I have just began implementing 45 minute sessions soon because I have so many professional offices within minutes of my office with people wanting to escape for massage during their lunch hour.  This is also a less expensive option for those who wish to receive a massage and/or only have a limited amount of time during the day.

 NOT GETTING A MIDDAY MASSAGE IS BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH!!!

What options do you have? Sitting at your desk to eat your lunch?   Over time, that has been known to contribute to weight gain and stress.  Have another coffee or smoking break to add some variety to your day?  If you have those types of breaks multiple times a day, it’s likely not really adding variety, and if you are spending the majority of the time complaining with your co-workers about the office, then it’s really not giving you a break, either.  And I won’t even comment on the smoking bit?  (I can’t say anything about coffee, because I like a cup on occasion as well.)  Not taking a break at all and working all day through?  This is not a great idea for creativity and spark in your work.  Going to the gym? Okay, you won’t get an argument me from me there.  But, I can comment that if you’re willing to clean up after a sweaty workout then on one day, you could get some fresh air outside on a walk to and from the office. Just sayin’…

So what do you say?  Stare at your computer all day and schedule a lunchtime meeting hoping they pick up the tab (they won’t) or get some fresh air and go out get a massage!!!  And no, I don’t mean chair massage!!!

 

 

 

 

Why It’s Better to Be Gumby (Flexible)

Okay, I hate to admit it, but I haven’t always been the best when it comes to stretching, but I have vowed to make it more of a habit from here on in.  As I approach the half century mark the latter part of this year, it has become abundantly clear to me that I need to be more flexible.  I have the cardio/weight lifting habit down, but am seriously lacking in the stretching department.

Since I can’t seem to make it into yoga as much as I would like to, I did some research on some worthwhile stretching books. I have two really good books already, but wanted something new.   I found an excellent one entitled:  Stretching: 30th Anniversary Edition by Bob Anderson I plan to scan copies of relative pages so that I may forward them on to family/friends/clients/colleagues!  If you are new to stretching, or want something for just about every sport or activity you could think of, this is the book for you.  Here are highlights from the book:

Stretching When to stretch?

Before you begin your day in the morning

At the workplace to release nervous tension

After sitting or standing for long periods of time

When you feel stiff

At odd times during the day, i.e, when watching TV, listening to music, reading, sitting and talking

Stretching_2 Why stretch?

 √Release muscle tension making the body feel more relaxed

√Help coordination by allowing for freer and easier movement

√Increase range of motion

√Help prevent injuries such as muscle strains/sprains.

√Make strenuous activities like running, skiing, swimming, and cycling easier because it prepares you for the activity; it’s a way of signaling the muscles that they are about to be used.

 √Helps maintain your current level of flexibility, so as you do not become stiffer and stiffer over time

 √Develop body awareness; as you stretch various parts of your body, you focus on them and get in touch with them; you get to know yourself.

 √Helps loosen the mind’s control of the body so that the body moves for “it’s own sake” rather than for competition or ego.

FEEL GOOD!!

There’s No Place Like Home….

Home is where you are feel at home and are treated well.  ~ Dalai Lama

Home doesn’t necessarily have to be the place you reside.  It could be a friend’s home, a destination you like to visit, an experience, a restaurant, a spa, or a vacation rental.

For me, the places I call home go far beyond a conventional structure with four walls.  Home for me is the meaningful experiences I get from being in nature and traveling locally and abroad.   I love the American River Bike Trail (ARBT).  I am fortunate enough to live across the street from the ARBT and get the pleasure of riding my bike on it in the early mornings at least 4-5 week, or as I like to say, at the crack o’ black.  When I am on my morning ride/meditation, I encounter all kinds of wildlife.

I get away to the coast many times throughout the year, and try to make it to the mountains as often as I can as well.  In Sacramento, we are lucky enough to have many beautiful places to visit within 1-3 hours travel time. I work hard so I have the ability to take at least one long vacation 2-5 weeks a year.  For more information about some of the places I have traveled to, please see the travel section of my blog.

In my massage practice, I like to foster a serene, comfortable environment that makes a client feel like they are home. I treat all of my clients like family.  I feel that this type of scenario is best because a person is more at ease. A massage session is a very personal experience.  Some are hesitant to receive in someone’s home because of what they might find in the environment.  If you go to a spa, or a more clinical setting, the environment might be more impersonal.  You may hear a lot of distracting background noise from other rooms/therapists/clients.  When I first started doing massage part-time, I wanted the experience of working on a lot of different body types.  Therefore, I worked at a racquet club and a spa, in addition to having my home office.  The massage room at the racquet club was not conducive to relaxation due to the noise level of being sandwiched between the men’s and women’s restrooms.   The spa was also not very peaceful because you could hear any noise or conversations going on in the next rooms.  When I decided to take my part-time massage practice full-time I knew I would have a home office setting and continue to do out-call.

I am blessed to work in a profession I love and to be able to do this in my home.  I meet a lot of wonderful, interesting people who I consider my extended family.

Where do you call home?

Is There an Optimal Time to Schedule A Massage?

 

I really don’t believe there is any wrong time to schedule a massage. A massage can feel beneficial any time of the day.  I think it’s best to schedule one at different times of they day depending on what you hope to get out of the experience.  One does not need to receive a massage only in the evening to savor the many benefits of a nice relaxing massage session.

Many people in the Western culture associate relaxation with sleep, decreased productivity, and even laziness (who has never felt guilty about taking break in the middle of the day?) But all of us, both the person receiving a massage and those around him/her, benefit from a relaxed state in the afternoon. Being relaxed doesn’t equate to being lethargic or lazy.

Sometimes, we tend to get so focused on deadlines and to-do lists that we lose track of broader, more important questions, such as how much quality time do we spend with family/friends, how much time do we spend doing the things we really enjoy, and how much do we really take care of our bodies. Receiving a massage can allow us take a step back from day to day preoccupations, and ponder these questions from a clearer, more serene perspective. And everyone can benefit from this kind of attitude.

Likewise, someone might be reticent to book a massage prior to an important meeting. While one would definitely leave some time in between (for example, receive the massage in the morning, then treat yourself to lunch), receiving a massage can help alleviate nervousness and tension and help the client be more present and focused. A few months ago I actually had an out of town client book a massage the evening before an important business meeting.  He emailed me the next day to tell me he thought the massage eased his nervousness and helped him to land his new client!

Additionally, many of my clients report feeling very inspired and creative after receiving a massage, allowing for new ideas and insights. Wouldn’t it be nice to book your massage early in the day to enjoy a state of inspiration and clarity for the remainder of the day?

As far as the physical benefits of massage, the body is able to receive them and integrate them at any time of day. You would definitely not want to exert yourself too much after a massage, but a nice walk, or a slow paced yoga class are nice complements to your experience.

I believe there is no “right or perfect time” to receive a massage. Anytime can be a good time, and if some adjustments need to be made to make the experience more satisfying (such as having a lighter schedule that day), all the better.

 

 

 

Massage is a Necessity

 

Every time I get my massage, I ask myself why, doesn’t EVERYONE get a massage?  I will never understand why people do not get massage on a regular basis.  I am really surprised when I meet people who have never even had a massage!!

I began receiving massage in my late 20’s.  After my first massage experience, I was hooked and knew I wanted to make massage a regular habit.   I was able to budget for regular massage by giving up my daily Starbuck’s and intermittent Jamba Juice habit.  Who knew I would choose to make massage therapy a full time career in my lifetime?

If you know something is good for you, and you know about all of the benefits, why not receive a massage on a regular basis?  These are the some of the excuses I hear on a regular basis:

 I don’t have the time.

Massage is a luxury.

I cannot afford it.

You cannot allow yourself 1-2 hours at least once a month to relax?  I feel very sorry for you. You REALLY cannot afford a massage when you know about all of benefits and how great you will feel afterwards??   If the cost really is an issue, consider going to a massage school and getting a massage.

Massage is far from a luxury.  It is a necessity to maintain good health.

I was really surprised recently when I recently received an email from a regular client who said that her sister could not redeem the package of massages she received from her because she was stressed out about trying to schedule them?  Really?  Wow.  It sounds like this woman could really use the massage, too bad she won’t allow herself time to schedule one.

Allow yourself some time to relax and decompress …. GO GET A MASSAGE!!!!

Think Outside the Box This Valentine’s — It’s Not Too Late

Don’t worry….

It’s not too late… there’s still time to get your loved one or yourself something special for Valentine’s Day.

Think OUTSIDE the box ….

 

Most people prefer an experience vs a tangible item.

Why not get a massage??  It makes you feel great!  And the beneficial effects of a massage will last much longer than the (not as great effects) of eating a pound of Godiva chocolates.  Do chocolates boost the immune system?

No significant other? Who cares?  Get a massage for yourself.

With someone?  What’s more romantic than a massage? Not only does it get your blood flowing, a relaxing massage melts away the outside stresses that can diminish a loving mood.

Instant online massage gift certificates/packages can be purchased via my website 24/7 @ https://vricci6.boomtime.com/lgift

Whatever you do this Valentine’s Day — make it a GREAT one!  Happy Valentine’s Day!