I came across an informative blog post with some very interesting pieces of information about our beloved feet.
I came across an informative blog post with some very interesting pieces of information about our beloved feet.
It’s easy these days, with health, career and human rights issues at the forefront of our awareness (and our digital devices), to lose sight of what is working in our lives. Many people find themselves imprisoned by thoughts of worry that when given constant attention reward us as reality.
Maybe it’s time to shift our attention to that which we are grateful for, and to let those thoughts and energies materialize as the ‘new normal’. If we want things to be different it is imperative that we prioritize what we want, not focus our thoughts on what we don’t want. And that starts with appreciating what we have.
The attached article does a good job explaining the neuroscience behind gratitude and gives concrete examples of how to express it. I particularly liked suggestion number five. What about you?
Towards the end of April, a friend of mine, Kevan Breitinger, felt strongly that the 40 days of quarantine we had just endured couldn’t all be for nothing and so invited some people to answer three questions about their experience sheltering-in-place. The result, a raw, real, and uplifting exposé came together as a wonderful little book, entitled 40 Days in the Hole: Self-Care in the Time of the Corona Pandemic. I was one of the honored invited to contribute.
So why this name?
When she realized she had been in isolation for that many days, Kevan was reminded of the significance of the number 40 in numerous spiritual practices.
* Both Jesus and the Buddha are said to have started their ministries with a time of testing in the wilderness that lasted 40 days.
* The Prophet Mohammed fasted for 40 days in a cave.
* Muslims today fast and pray for 40 days during the Ramzan period.
* Christians fast and reflect for 40 days between Lent and Easter.
* Hindu and Zoroastrian communities include 40-day periods of prayers.
The number 40 also carries within it the idea of completion, as in 40 weeks of pregnancy.
As Kevan admits, “My own story is a bit less illustrious, so my first thoughts went to jail slang and song lyrics about 40 days in the hole!”
Whatever, I think it’s a catchy title to summarize a variety of perspectives and experiences that manage to remind us that, although we may be apart, we are #alonetogether.
Purchase your copy from Amazon for only $9.99. You’ll likely recognize parts of yourself in this collaboration, and perhaps close the book feeling inspired and encouraged.
This is a very good article written by Michelle Milder, a reflexologist in California, on the subject for Massage Magazine. Well worth a read as you consider how to re-boot your business in the coming year.
I was listening to Darrell Rogers the other day, the Director of Advocacy at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition share some accomplishments in Washington regarding improving the health of our nation. Darrell works with federal regulators and Senate and Congressional representatives to help define policies supporting health and wellness and nutrition health coaches (which I’m training to work as).
And just as our baby’s first steps are so exciting and important, here is a gigantic baby step that the Institute of Integrative Nutrition has made on behalf of all of us:
The American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Association of Family Physicians have publicly supported health coaches and are recommending that nutrition health coaches be in all physicians’ offices! An independent study they ran revealed that patients had much better health outcomes when there was a nutrition health coach in the office working alongside the doctor.
Wowza! This is a big deal! Finally, it is being acknowledged that health is not dependent on drugs and surgeries, but on lifestyle choices that nourish a strong body, mind, and spirit.
Much has been written about the importance of touch in childhood development.[i],[ii],[iii] but, what about adults? Turns out our need for touch does not diminish as we age. We unconsciously reach out to shake the hand of someone we’ve just met, greet people we know and love with a smile and a hug, hold hands with people we love, and offer loving touch to someone in pain.
Well, at least we used to.
Now, the idea of getting close puts us on alert; dredges up primordial fear and even anxiety in some. What to do then during these times? Here are some simple suggestions you can incorporate into your lives and share with clients that you are maintaining contact with:
* Stimulate your own touch receptors by massaging a luscious warmed oil all over your body before taking a hot shower or bath. In Ayurvedic medicine, self-massage is called Abhyanga and is credited with stimulating circulation and helping to eliminate toxins. Traditional oils of choice are sesame and coconut but use what you have.
Put a little oil into a glass container and then warm in a pot of water. Start with your feet, circle the ankle joints and then continue up the legs with long strokes. Do the same with the arms. Massage the oil into your abdomen in a clockwise direction as you look down at your own stomach. Finish with long strokes across your upper chest and gentle strokes on the face (avoid the eyes). Don’t use too much oil. Some will be absorbed into your skin; the rest will be washed off in the shower.
Try it for a change on the weekend and see what you think. Take your time and really feel your touch.
* Give yourself a hand or foot reflexology session. Do it mindfully, not as something to do with your hands while watching an adrenaline-pumping television drama. Refer back to the short video on March 25’s blog for a simple reflexology procedure you can do on yourself that will help support your immune system right now.
* If you live with furry friends, love ‘em up a lot! They will go mad and so will you.
* And remember to move your body to help release more endorphins, our body’s ‘feel-good’ hormones. Blast a favorite piece of music and dance! Take a walk around your neighborhood – I bet you usually just drive out of it every day and likely miss a lot of what’s there.
I continue to think of you often and send healthy ‘vibes’ your way. I’m starting to think of how I can give back when all this isolation has passed – that gets me excited! I’m looking forward to a rekindled business model later in the year.
The last few weeks have given me plenty of time to reflect on many aspects of my life, both personal and business, and how they intersect with and are dependent upon one another. Contemplation led me to make some big changes in my life; ones that I believe will better support and reflect the life I wish to lead and the person I wish to be going forward.
The biggest change is that I started school this week – and in my jammies! I am taking an accelerated program to earn a certificate as a Nutrition Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. This is a program I have admired for many years, and when I decided to take the plunge into formal nutrition study again, I knew for certain that this was the course.
Digestion and nutrition have been lifelong interests and studies of mine. Although I am very well informed on the subjects, I have been very careful in my reflexology/massage practice not to overstep the scope of my license by offering nutritional advice or suggestions to my clients. And that has been difficult for me when I know I could offer doable solutions. Ninety percent of my clientele present with health issues stemming from their digestive and lifestyle habits; soon I will be able to offer a service that will go a long way in helping people reach their wellness goals. Combined with reflexology – wow!
The second big change is that I moved out of my clinical space and closed the practice for the time being. I don’t think it’s safe yet to return to offering reflexology and am not, in fact, even interested in doing so when the guidelines require me to suit up in what resembles a Hazmat suit to do so! I am hopeful that come the fall I will be able to resume offering reflexology.
With no income since mid-March and not likely any until the fall sometimes, I asked myself what I was willing to give up to have the life I say I want. That, surprisingly, turned out to be rather easy. In addition to solidifying some additional daily practices, I painlessly trimmed some things off my budget:
* I canceled my cable service when I recognized how much of a distraction it is to my reaching my goals. I decided to live my life as opposed to watching actors portray other people living theirs. Haven’t missed it all.
One of the many things this added time gave me was the ability to contribute to a book that will be published by Amazon beginning this weekend. It’s called 40 Days in the Hole: Self-Care in the Time of Corona Pandemic and was written by Kevan Breitinger. Check it out! She is a wizard with words! And the book lists for only $10!
* I decided not to renew two magazine subscriptions, again a distraction from reading more in-depth writings and books.
* I canceled my lawn service after a friend’s son gave me a mower. A move away from being ‘She Who Writes Cheques’!
* Also started sprouting again and started my first veggie garden (Being a brown thumb, I did it the easiest way I could find, with a Grow-Box) – two ways in which I can be more sustainable and connected to the food I eat.
All in all, I have found this time while “exiled for the good of the realm” to be such a game-changer for me. Although I miss touching and being touched very much, I am comforted by the knowledge that this time of seclusion will pass. In the meantime, I am taking advantage of every moment to fashion a life and business that will really work for me at this point in my life. I’m so excited!
Doctors are identifying a possible new symptom of COVID-19. They are noticing that toes get swollen, discolored, hot and/or painful; the symptom being exhibited more in kids and young adults, even when they are not showing other symptoms. The symptoms resemble that of frostbitten toes.
As of yet, the cause is unknown; however, theories abound:
When reflexologists and massage therapists return to work, it would be prudent to visually check the appearance of your clients’ toes and determine if touch to them elicits pain. The fact that the condition creates pain on touch and that there is a possibility of a blood clot constitutes a contraindication to offering foot reflexology.
Here are a couple of articles on the subject, if you wish to read more. Please keep in mind that these symptoms can occur for reasons unrelated to the coronavirus. No conclusive studies have been completed.
Many people are feeling the effects of uncertainty and prolonged stay-at-home orders. One thing you may be noticing is that your digestive system is not functioning as it usually does. Stomach aches, constipation, diarrhea, and unusual reactions to certain foods are common complaints when people are living under stressful times.
Researchers have discovered why this is so – and that’s good news. Armed with information, you can do something to restore a smooth operation within your body’s core.
Science has a better understanding now of the relationship between the stomach and the brain than it did 100 years ago. The gut is now acknowledged as the body’s ‘second brain’. It turns out there is an equal number of neurotransmitters lining the gut as are found in the brain! One hundred million to be exact! These transmitters provide a two-way avenue of communication between the brain and stomach, with the brain communicating as much to the gut as does the stomach to the brain.
What that means is that your stomach is responding directly to your thoughts and to the hormones released as a result of those thoughts.
Perhaps now, more than ever, it is paramount to get a handle on any negative repetitive thoughts that circulate in your head.
I decided the moment I sheltered-in-place not to let the stressful events around me threaten my comfort and my life. I took steps to keep tension at bay.
Here are some ways in which I manage my monkey mind:
* I start each day with a meditation. Before eating, checking emails or social media. First thing.
I recently completed the free 21-day meditation on Finding Hope in Uncertain Times that Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra offered, and was delighted to learn today that they have extended this spot-on series to May 15. I have sat in on many of their mediation series and think this is one of the best. I got so much out of it the first time that I started round two today. It’s a great way to set the tone for the day. They each share something very inspirational and hopeful for a few minutes and then you meditate. Total time is 20 minutes.
* Then I move. I have learned that if I don’t do this early in the day, it rarely happens. And movement is one of the best ways to relax a stressed-out nervous system and energize your spirit. The more you can get your heart rate up, the better; but even a slow stretching or yoga routine done to quiet music will help a lot. Or do both!
* Do nothing but eat. Eating while watching the news or scrolling through your newsfeed will heighten your sense of dread, release more cortisol into your system and shut down your digestive processes. Eat slowly, paying attention to how everything tastes and feels in your mouth. Avoid drinking liquids while you eat (dilutes your stomach’s hydrochloric acid). Oh, and never eat when you’re upset. As you heal your gut, you will find that your thoughts are lighter and more positive.
* Create some structure in your day. (I just revealed mine above: meditate, exercise, eat.) The brain likes structure. The experience of familiarity provides a sense of security and safety.
* Spend some time outdoors. Breathe in the air and feast your eyes on the greenery surrounding you.
* Limit the amount of time you allocate to watching newscasts and scrolling through social media. I am working towards just once a day. Things don’t change so much or so quickly that you have to be glued to these platforms all day. Never engage in these before eating either or before going to bed. Believe me, your digestive system will be very happy if you fill most of your day with happier, more positive stories of what is going on in the world. And there are plenty.
* Work on your digestive reflexes before you eat and/or before going to bed. On your feet, they are located in the arches; on your hands, the palms. Thumb-walk and spend a little time holding places that have more sensation than the rest; breathe slowly and rhythmically a few times.
* In addition to the above, think about what relaxes you and changes your mindset when you’re caught in a negative loop. Creating art? Getting lost in a novel? Laughing through a comedy movie? Tackling a tough Sudoku or crossword puzzle? How about starting a small garden? Here’s a foolproof way to grow your own food, if, like me, your thumb is barely a mint green!
Make your mental health your priority – please.
Feel free to share this if you have clients suffering from gut pain and disfunction right now.
Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSD) occurs when the nervous system and the immune system malfunction as they respond to tissue damage from trauma. The nerves misfire sending constant pain signals to the brain; pain that is measured as one of the most severe on the McGill University Pain Scale.
Although excruciating to live with, few studies have been conducted with RSD, and none testing reflexology’s effects – until now. Academy grad, Vicky Mood, decided to see if weekly foot reflexology sessions might make a difference for a woman living with this disease since 2011. Continue….