One of my clients today (who is also sensitive to energies) noted feeling symptoms similar to mine. She had taken to not eating certain foods because they were affecting her more and causing the symptoms to flare.
I told her pretty much everything except raw veggies and salads were seeming to do that to me, and the result was that I had gone two days of not eating anything except a salad at dinner (and liquids/tea/water). But I’m feeling much better running empty, and my brain is functioning better. I’m also slowly getting stress under control running on empty. It makes no real logical sense based on accepted medical standards. (That’s why Nathan still wants me to see a doc and get checked out, I’m not convinced it’ll do any good.)
Today I had my single serving of raw veggies at about 4pm, and dinner after work was a small salad with shrimp and sauteed zucchini. (The greens were fresh from our garden and amazing.) Otherwise I didn’t eat. Yet, I’m totally fine, and much improved in my sense of well being compared to 3 days ago.
After dinner a Sadhguru video notification spoke of shutting the mind off, and he was comparing uncontrollable thoughts to diarrhea. I joked with Nathan that based on his comments I must be needing to not eat anything, because even healthy whole vegetables are causing that for me. (You’re welcome for the TMI.)
Anyway, joking and TMI aside, I’m glad I’m starting to feel a bit better. Stress sucks.
I also wanted to share a couple more things that have helped me.
One meditation that I used two mornings running seemed to help with bodily sensations. I’ll describe it here:
First acknowledge the divine feminine is mother earth. She is fueled by the great fire within. We see her represented by Pele of Hawaiian mythology, Brigit of Celtic, and Hestia/Vesta of Greek/Roman. The energy of molten lava being at her core enables a great warmth which can be both destructive and life giving.
Then acknowledge that the heavens above are God’s abode. God force draws energy from the sun and air. Christianity acknowledges this well with most any ritual they do, but it is most evident when they draw down the “Holy Spirit” for baptisms and other blessings.
The two elements of divine force meet on Earth’s surface and in all creatures. So, to focus on that for yourself, can enable great healing energy to flow throughout your body and clear lots of negativity and blockages.
Simply sit and place your feet solidly on the ground, and rest your hands on your lap palms up.
Imagine the lava warming the earth beneath your feet and consciously slowly draw that sensation up your legs to your belly.
Then imagine God’s rays shining down upon your head and warming the top of your scalp. Slowly and consciously draw that sensation down your body until it too makes it to your belly.
Once you have both sensations meeting in the belly, consciously allow them to mingle and meet all of your organs. For me, I choose to focus on the warmth while I list off all of the organs and elements of my body that need love and healing.
It takes me a bit, but always helps me feel better, so that is why I shared it here.
The other meditation that has helped a lot recently has been very simple yet very involved. Simply put, I shoot down every negative thought, one at a time. For each one, it is followed by acknowledgement that my inner self feels good and I reach for one feel good thought that opposes the negative. It’s like the “wrong buzzer” from a gameshow, with a pause and then a “what does my inner being really think” moment. You could literally do this for hours and all day, I have before. Lately though, I just do enough of it to calm myself back to even keel and proceed with tasks at hand.
Finally, I took another hour walk at the pond today over lunch (I ended up with well over 10,000 steps again today.) It was overcast and windy, but I still found plenty of beautiful things and got some much needed nature relief. There is a guy that brings his dog to play in the pond and creek pretty much every time I’m there. The dog has so much fun that I couldn’t help but sneak a couple of pictures of pooch happiness.
BTW, I picked up trash while on my walk. It drives me a little bonkers to see trash when there is a bin available just to avoid litter. Plus people are gross. One of the items I very carefully disposed of using an empty box was a used sanitary napkin. Who does that?!?! Of all the litter, that one was the most irritating.
Finally, on the way home this evening there were two bald eagles perched at the top of the tree across from my favorite park: Minor park. I had to stop and take pictures. I’ll take it as a good sign and a reminder to visit that park again soon.
I hope you enjoy my nature pictures.
May you have good Stress relief. May you find meditation very helpful. May you have soothing nature moments. May you understand what is causing you to feel certain ways, and what to do about it. May you feel good mostly and have all the healing you need. May you feel relief and generally better each day. Above all, may you know that God loves and supports you in all that you do.
Many of my long term readers know I’m a massage therapist. Occasionally, I do write about things related to my job. This is one such instance. Today I found myself foam rollering, AGAIN, in my office, and decided it was time to give my 2 cents to help any readers interested. This post is information I regularly share with my clients verbally, and I’m offering to others in need.
First I had to convert my space. My last office had carpeted floors, so I just moved the table over and did my mat work, be it roller or yoga. My current office looks like this:
It’s a concrete floor with lineoleum tiles, and a small area rug for client’s feet. Not exactly kind to knees or elbows. So to adjust, I now do this:
Not only do I move the table over, I put a towel over the rug and a yoga mat over that. It’s much kinder to the joints.
My point here is that before you even begin to attempt foam rollering, you must think of the space you need and the level of comfort your joints want. Considering your own needs first ensures that you not only maximize benefits, but you’re more likely to make it a consistent helpful tool.
2nd is the tool: the foam rollers.
The set I bought for my office came from a store called ‘Five Below’ and both were exactly $5. The set I bought for home was sourced multiple places over time, but none was more than $7. At the office I have the two rolls pictured next. The set for home is 3 rollers: one is very similar to this black one but has mild texture, one is the same size roller with large nubbies that is fairly firm, and the third is another of the turquoise one.
The large roller that is less firm is always your best starting place. It is a dense foam, but will give some with your body weight. It will produce less ouch and is very beneficial if you are very tight, constricted, or it is your first time using a roller.
The one I have at home (same size but with large nubbies) is a slightly more dense foam. It is a great next step because it still gives a nice broad pressure, but the firmness enables a bit deeper pressure. It is great for really getting deep pressure in broad muscles.
The turquoise one is a truly deep tissue roller, and that is why I have one for home and office. It is smaller so it can effectively work into spaces that the other rollers are too big for. It is also firm enough that it will effectively sink through large layers of muscles to get deeper than the other rollers can. It definitely has it’s place and is very helpful, but will produce ouch moments. I have a well-validated high pain-tolerance level according to several other professionals, and the turquoise roller still causes me to swear on occasion. Be aware, you can injure yourself with this roller if you are too aggressive with the movements or if you place the roller in an unsafe position/location. Just be more cautious when you use a roller like this.
Now for the tips:
First, I need you to understand that foam rollers are a tool that is intended to mimic a deep tissue massage. It mimics the same pressure sensation as an elbow and forearm moving through your muscles. So, the same tips that apply to my job, apply to using these.
1) Broader is better.
Broad pressure helps diffuse the sensations, spreading them out through the muscles, and will disarm both the pain response and the tickle response. There is a window of tightness in muscles that causes them to feel tickelish, broad pressure will help reduce the sensation of tickeling.
2) Slower is better. & 3) Work as many directions as possible.
Foam rollering is a focused deep stretch of a muscle or a few muscles. For instance, instead of stretching your entire leg, you can focus on just your outer hamstring. However, because you are stretching one muscle or a small cluster, you will be activating and engaging the fascia.
Fascia is a thin envelope of connective tissue that helps everything in your body stay in it’s rightful place, but in doing it’s job sometimes it too can get bound up, and massage therapists reference this as adhesions. Adhesions can prevent the muscle from moving properly even if the muscle itself has become more pliable. Additionally, fascia often collects these adhesions directionally, so they need to be addressed in multiple directions. The easiest way to determine which directions are still holding adhesions is to apply circular rubbing motions to the area you are working on. If it is completely stretched free you should be able to rub smooth circles clockwise or counter clockwise. Any remaining adhesions will cause a catch sensation that prevents the smooth circular pattern.
Furthermore, the fascia tends to respond very slowly to external input. I can attest to this. In school, I was trained that any movement less than 10 seconds will not engage the fascia properly. We were instructed to stretch the muscles painfully slowly to ensure that the fascia would engage and drop tension. After having practiced massage for almost 13 years, I often will spend a minute or more on one stretch to ensure I am effectively loosening the fascia as well.
So, even though foam rollering can engage the fascia more readily, it takes focused multi-directional slow movements to truly relax the fascia itself. To fully relax any one area you may have to do several stretches in different directions, and each approximately a minute in duration.
4) More Frequently = Less Work to Do
In an ideal world everyone would get a massage weekly. We don’t live in an ideal world, so it becomes up to you to take care of yourself in-between whatever shedule you can manage for paid massages. However, the more frequently you care for yourself and your muscles, the less work you will have to do on each attempt. You may find that when you start foam rollering it takes you several days to fully work everything out. Start with your worst areas, and each time you roller move on to the next worst. As you build repetition, each round of head to toe, will gradually become less time consuming because you are addressing concerns more frequently. Eventually, you may find that you really can spend 60-90 minutes weekly and solve all your concerns. This will in turn help prevent long-term RSI and joint damage, which is good for everyone.
So, I have covered all the important points to note about foam rollering, now let’s discuss common concerns or things people have trouble with.
YouTube is an excellent resource for finding videos showing ways to foam roller a wide array of ways. Just remember my tips from above, some of the fitness gurus tend to roll far faster than I would recommend based on my knowledge of fascia. Faster rolling will still stretch muscles, but may not give you the full relief you seek.
Moving on, one of the biggest concerns clients of mine have is lower leg, otherwise known in common terms as the calf. Many people find that they have recurring difficulty with calf-cramps. Sometimes this is a key sign of magnesium deficiency, and sometimes it is simply because they are not being stretched fully or frequently enough. I have had many clients express frustrations over attempting to roll them, so I decided to take some pictures to show options for addressing those concerns. Each caption will provide a description of what I’m conveying.
The next area of common concer is quads and hamstrings or upper leg. I have many people that roll out and still deal with knee pain or sciatica. So here are tips from the knee to hips and beyond.
Finally, you know where you are tight. It’s all those aches and pains and stiff spots. If you touch a muscle and it feels like a brick or ball under your skin, then it’s tight. Foam rollering can literally address every tight spot from shoulders to feet. This is just a start, and it has amazing benefits if you utilize it regularly. May you find excitement and all the benefits in loosening your body up.
This was a fairly long post, but I hope it helps anyone interested in caring for themselves better. If you have any questions or concerns you are always welcome to email me.
May you have solid self-care and feel better physically. May you know you are doing everything possible to ensure a healthy body. May you know you are strong and flexible and all of your efforts help you live your best life. May you know that God always loves and supports you in all that you do.
May we all see what we can do for others. May we all find ways to be as helpful as possible. May we realize that our blessings might seem small to us, but massively meaningful to another. May we have kindness to recognize all of it and share what we can.