Archive for massage therapy

Matters Of The Heart …..

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PREVENTING  HEART  DISEASE  —  ALARMING TREND:   MORE  WOMEN  UNDER  45  DYING  OF  HEART  DISEASE

An alarming trend is emerging in the fight against heart disease.  More women under 45 are dying of heart disease due to clogged arteries, despite the fact that the overall death rate from heart disease has decreased.

A study by researchers at the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Britain’s University of Liverpool shows the worrisome trend for women of that age group.  Experts think that increasing rates of obesity in younger adults, among other factors, are to blame.

Many diseases that are common today are a reflection of our unhealthy lifestyle, along with a combination of bad diet and lack of exercise.  If that is true, then it is also true that you can decrease the risk of disease or even early death, by improving your eating habits and increasing your daily physical activity.

According to the American Heart Association and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the number one killer today is heart disease, which accounts for about 700,000 deaths each year, about 29% of all US deaths. 

The CDC recommends that maintaining a healthy weight by eating an overall healthy diet in combination with regular physical activity (at least 30 minutes on most days of the week) can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and prevent obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

The American College of Sports Medicine and The American Heart Association released new guidelines encouraging Americans of any age to strength-train at least twice a week on top of a regular cardio workout to build a healthier body.

It is recommended that adults perform eight to twelve repetitions of eight to ten exercises using appropriate weight for their individual fitness level.  By exercising all major muscle groups (arms, shoulders, chest, back, upper legs and lower legs) regularly, we also prevent losing muscle mass and gaining fat as we age.

Research by Tufts University found that bone density can be improved through strength training, potentially preventing osteoporosis.  So the benefits of adding weights to your workout routine are endless.

For simple suggestions on how to transform to a healthy lifestyle by creating healthy eating habits, increasing physical activity, de-stressing your life, and generally having a more positive mindset, please visit my website   www.FitwithAndrea.com

On a personal note:  The prevention of heart disease is very dear to me as my mother passed away at an early age after suffering a stroke related to her blood pressure being too high.

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CHANGE — As in ‘Lifestyle Change’

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“Hey, come here–Let me tell you a little secret:  You’ve probably heard the slogan  ’40 is the new 20, 60 is the new 40.’  How do some people manage to look and be so young no matter what age they are?  Well, are you ready for this?  It’s a mindset and a matter of attitude.  There are  ‘old’  thirty-year-olds and there are  ‘young’  fifty-year-olds.

“Listen, if you’re sitting at home right now just vegetating from day to day, feel bad frequently and your attitude stinks and you want to feel better but just don’t know how to get started,  GET OFF THE COUCH!  SHAKE THINGS UP!  CHANGE THE STATUS QUO!  Change to a healthy lifestyle, get in shape with a fit body, de-stress and simplify your life and you will find out, you’ll get an attitude adjustment in the process!  I’ve done it and so can you!  Get ready to declare:  45 is the new 25! — Or for that matter:  55 is the new 35! — Or:  65 is the new 45!

“Bottom line is this:  Everything happening outside you is a reflection of what’s happening inside you!  Believe it or not, there is a  FIT, SEXY and HAPPY  person already inside you just waiting to be awakened.  So what are you waiting for?  Wake her up!  Visit my website   www.FitwithAndrea.com   and find out how!”

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“Hi, I am Andrea and I am happy that your search has led you to my blog and website.  Let me share with you why I have chosen the butterfly as my logo.  Every time I see a beautiful butterfly fluttering by, I instantly smile.  Just watching that little creature brings joy to my heart.  It symbolizes lightheartedness, joy, love, happiness, a free and independent spirit, and most of all, it is a symbol of transformation.

“One of nature’s great mysteries is the metamorphosis from a crawling caterpillar, after going through chrysalis, to a colorful and beautiful butterfly.  Fighting its way out of the old form, the butterfly emerges free to explore the world from a completely new perspective and to flutter through life in joy.

“One day we may find ourselves desiring a better, more meaningful life.  At that point, we may not even know what this  ‘something better’  exactly looks like.  But if we have patience, it will come to us and we will find ourselves on a path of transformation very similar to that of the butterfly.

“Maybe you are in the  ‘caterpillar stage’  right now, feeling like you are just living from day to day and are stuck in your old mold.  But you also have the desire to change circumstances or behavior, or you want to shake up your life altogether.  Then again, you may find yourself already in the  ‘chrysalis stage’  but are impatient with the slow pace of transformation or you are lost at what change of your current circumstances you are actually seeking.

“It does not matter where you are at this point in your life.  What is important is that you have already taken the first step in your desire for change which has led you to my blog and website.  As I went through this transformation some time ago myself, I want to inspire and motivate you on your journey, and I will be with you every step of the way, until you get to the final stage, becoming a beautiful butterfly.  🙂

“By starting to live a healthy lifestyle which includes good eating habits and increased physical activity, limiting stress and maintaining a positive outlook on life, you will be well on your way to reaching your goal!  As body, mind and soul are interconnected, you will find many simple suggestions on how to de-stress, have a more positive outlook on life and generally become a content and happy person when visiting my website   www.FitwithAndrea.com.” 

Life is truly beautiful!  Enjoy your journey! 

                butterfly11

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Massage Party With A Surprise

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I just love doing massage parties, and over the years, I’ve done quite a few, mostly women getting together to celebrate something, or sometimes for no reason at all.  Well, I was on my way to one of those parties.  A. had called and told me that a friend of hers had referred me to do massages at a little get-together she was having with five other women.

So, as I approached the house, I thought to myself that it looked all too familiar and all of a sudden, it came to me.  A few years ago a guy had called me, also a referral, asking me to give him and his girlfriend massages at this very house.  One thing I remembered specifically was his girlfriend being rather young and a bit silly, constantly babbling, but okay.  Well, the woman at the door, the hostess A., was somebody other than this young girlfriend I remembered.  So, I guess when I went to the house before to give massages, the wife must have been out of town.   🙂   Anyway, as soon as I pulled up, a few women were already eagerly waiting at the door, waving at me, one of them in slippers and robe.  ‘I guess you’re my first victim?’ I yelled, ‘Yes I am!  And I can hardly wait!’

Well, it was a lovely evening, the ladies had a great time, drinking, dancing, playing cards, and getting massages.  A. had told me that she wanted to go last and by the time it was her turn, she was quite tipsy.  As I was working on her tight neck and shoulder muscles, I joked with her ‘I think I can see a name engraved in those tight muscles, causing you to be so tense.’   🙂  ‘Oh, that can be only one person, and that would be my husband.  You want him?’  And we both had a good laugh and I felt how she started to relax.

After finishing A.’s massage, I packed my things and was getting ready to leave when all of a sudden the door opened and A.’s husband came in, obviously a bit early as the party was just about to wrap up.  He took just one look at me, and instantly recognizing me, mumbled ‘Hi, how are you?’ and I saw his face almost turning red.

Luckily, I don’t think anybody noticed the awkwardness of the moment.  It was one of those situations that make you go ‘Huh?’  And it was a little reminder, yet again, how small the world can be sometimes.   🙂

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Massage With A ‘Happy Ending’

While I was reading about somebody’s experience with ‘massage with a happy ending’ the other day, I instantly thought about one of my clients a few years back.  As you probably can imagine, as professional massage therapists, we run into these situations sometimes.  When I do, I usually deal with it with humor and refer them to the ‘Yellow Pages.’   🙂

Since I make house visits to pretty much regular clients, I hardly run into these requests anymore, but naturally, I used to from time to time in my early years, and I remember specifically one client, B., who came to town almost every week for about six months or so, while he was expanding his car business here.  The concierge called me initially after he had asked her for a massage therapist who would come to the hotel.  So this is how we initially met.  B. was a nice older guy, always a gentleman, and we ended up having really nice conversations from time to time.  He seemed to always want to know what I was thinking about certain issues and over time, we established quite a nice massage therapist/client relationship.  But we had to get past one issue first.

When I went for the first appointment, he was quite the gentleman as I said, never did or said anything wrong.  While putting my table together, I noticed that he had two hundred dollar bills laying on the table, but I didn’t pay much attention to it as he had paid me already.  So, when I came back next time, it had slipped my mind until I noticed two hundred dollar bills laying there again.  Here also, B. never said or did anything to indicate that he wanted a massage with a ‘happy ending.’  But it was clear to me that that’s what the generous ‘tip’ was intended for.  Even though he told me every time how good he felt and how much he enjoyed the massage, maybe he wanted to enjoy it a little more …..   :-).

Now, while I was driving to my next appointment, I was thinking about how to best handle the situation.  As he was a very nice person, I wanted to keep him as a client as long as he came to town, so I didn’t want to embarrass him.  On the other hand, I wanted to make absolutely sure that he understood that I was a professional massage therapist and therefore sexual favors were not included (he should have known that by then, but then again, he was a man, so he tried …..  🙂 ).

Anyway, as I saw the money on the table again next time I saw him, I told him about one of my clients who had made advances on several occasions and was looking for more than a massage, and continued to do so, even after I had made clear to him that that was a non-starter.  ‘So I had to let him go as a client, because he just didn’t want to take ‘no’ for an answer and the situation had become too uncomfortable,’ I said to B., looking straight into his eyes.  And I know he got the message without me saying a word directly to him or embarrassing him.  How do I know?

Well, no two hundred dollar bills on the table when I saw him the next time.   🙂

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De-Stress At Work

If you’re like me, you feel a little stressed out lately.  While we can’t avoid stress completely, it is important that we find ways to deal with it more effectively as it can be a contributing factor in more than 80% of illnesses.  The following are simple suggestions on how to deal better with stress at work.

*  Create a neat and organized workplace

Keep your workplace always neat and organized.  Nothing is more stressful than if you can’t find something one minute before you have to go into a meeting.  Surround yourself with beautiful things that give you joy, make you feel good and inspire you, like pictures of your kids and pets, plants, a cartoon, smiley face or anything that makes you laugh and smile.

*  Have an active lunch

Instead of sitting in a crowded restaurant for lunch, why not take a healthy lunch you prepared the day before and opt for physical activity instead?  The easiest exercise would be to take a brisk walk.  You can do it anywhere and only need some comfortable shoes.  Depending on the time you have, you could also go to the gym and work out, etc.  Whatever suits you–and take your co-workers with you!

*  Get a chair massage

Make a suggestion to have a massage therapist come to your office from time to time to give fifteen minute chair massages.  Not only will it relax your tight neck and shoulder muscles and improve your overall well being, but statistics have also shown that it will increase productivity levels in employees (which provides a great selling point to your boss).

*  Delegate as much as possible

If you are the boss/manager/supervisor, you don’t have to do it all yourself!  Delegate as much as you can in good conscience.  Not only will the people you work with appreciate the trust you place in them and will feel that they also have a stake in the success of the business, but it will help de-stress your life and you can concentrate on what is important to you while others work on issues they are perfectly able to handle.

*  Stay away from toxic co-workers

In every workplace, there seems to be somebody, sometimes more than one person, who radiates negativity, tries to engage people in vicious gossip, tries to play one against the other, tries to drag people down.  Stay away from that person as much as you can.  If you think you are that person, please read my suggestions on how to become happy, by visiting my website  www.FitwithAndrea.com  and click on ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy!’  

*  Recharge your battery

Take a few minutes from time to time throughout the day to take a break.  Get up and walk around, stretch your body and do some deep-breathing exercises.  Your body and mind will thank you for it.

*  Limit emails

Find ways to limit email use.  Don’t let email take over your life!

*  Carpool

If possible, try to find other people to carpool with, use public transportation or ride your bike.

Most of all:  Enjoy life!  Life is truly beautiful!   🙂

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Show Off Your Sexy Arms!

     

A lot of us aren’t genetically predispositioned to have toned and sexy arms.  Combine that with the loss of skin elasticity as we age and it’s really a double whammy.  There’s good news, however.  With a little persistence, you will be able to get shapely, toned and sexy arms.  The first thing to emphasize here is regular cardio workout of at least 30 minutes on most days of the week (treadmill, exercise bike, brisk walk, jogging).  This will help you with losing fat all over your body.  In conjunction with the cardio workout, experts suggest strength training with appropriate weights for your fitness level on 2-3 days a week targeting each muscle group.  The following two exercises are effective in giving your arms the well-toned and sexy look you desire.  If you are persistent, you will notice positive changes after a relatively short time.

1.  KARATE  PUNCHES

Hold 1-2 pounds dumbbells in each hand, raise arms to shoulder level and start punching up to 50 times.  After a few weeks, do two sets of up to 50 punches and increase it to three sets after yet another few weeks.

2.  SHOULDER  PRESSES

Hold your hands next to your ears, holding 5-10 pounds dumbbells, elbows to the side.  Raise weights up and then straight back down.  Start out with two sets of 12 repetitions and add a third set after a few weeks.

So, are you ready for your little strapless dress?   🙂

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The Connection: Mind, Body and Soul

Sometimes, when giving somebody with very tense neck and shoulder muscles a massage, I joke around, telling them that I can see names of people engraved in those tense muscles, and that usually serves as an icebreaker or provides for a light moment.  Of course, there is some truth to it.  Because body and mind are interconnected, stress of any kind (involving people and/or circumstances), especially over an extended period of time, can influence our overall health tremendously in a negative way.  Just think about various statistics showing upward of 80% of health problems being stress related.  Imagine by how much that number can be reduced once we know how to decrease stress in our lives and discover ways to deal with stress that will work for us!

You will find various suggestions and tools on that subject when navigating through my website   www.FitwithAndrea.com.   Try out the approaches appealing to you and use the method(s) of stress relief that works for you.  The key to achieving and then maintaining good health is a comprehensive approach.  It includes healthy lifestyle choices, a healthy diet, self-responsibility for your wellness, regular physical activity, and a positive mental attitude and mindset.

Research has shown that negative emotions of fear, frustration, blame, hate and anger cause disorder in the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and can have a negative effect on your immune system.  On the other hand, your immune system can receive a boost and the efficiency of your heart can be increased by positive emotions of joy, appreciation, care, compassion and love.  On matters of the heart, studies have shown that in general, being in a loving relationship of any kind, especially in happy marriages, can help your heart and your overall health.  However, beware that the opposite can be true for negative and toxic relationships.

I believe the following shows the connection between mind, body and soul perfectly.  One of my first massage clients was a sixty-something, very nice gentleman to whom I gave massages on a regular basis.  I sometimes joked with him about his neck and shoulder muscles being like a “brick wall.”  After the massage, his muscles were relaxed and he felt good and was in excellent spirits.  However, when I saw him the next time, his muscles again were like a “brick wall.”  I knew from talking to him that he was retired and his personal life seemed to be okay.  So I had no idea why his muscles stayed pretty much tense most of the time, to the point where he almost couldn’t move his neck from one side to another.  Naturally, I knew that there had to be a reason for that.

And then, one day he opened up to me, telling me how he was still angry at his parents (who were deceased) for him not having had a happy childhood and always feeling like they preferred his brother over him.  When I listened to him, I could hear his anger in his voice and realized that he was still blaming his dead parents for how he felt and probably for most everything that went wrong in his life.  I thought that he most likely had never been able to enjoy life to the fullest, because he ended up blaming his parents for everything that went wrong, and therefore hardly took responsibility and didn’t feel the need to change things himself, because it was his parents’ fault.

Now, this man carried that blame with him his entire life.  And it showed in his tense neck and shoulder muscles.  After hearing his story, I paused for a moment, and then suggested to him that in order to get to a better and more balanced place, he needed to let go of these negative feelings and forgive everybody involved:  his parents, his brother and finally himself.  I told him that if I was in a situation like that, I would seek counseling.  After that we parted and I didn’t see him for some time.  But one day, out of the blue, he called to make an appointment and when working on his neck and shoulders, I noticed how much more relaxed his muscles were.  I was about to make a comment about it when he told me, “You know, I took your suggestion and talked to a counselor and I’m feeling so much better now.”

He didn’t have to tell me at all; his body had told me already.

I lost him as a regular client, because from that time on he got massages more infrequently–as he called it:  for maintenance and preventive health care only, but not out of necessity, as before.

Somehow, I felt happy losing him as a “regular” client.   🙂

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