cheap + easy + relaxing =
Epsom salt baths

Posted by on Mar 5, 2015 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Healthier Choices, Holistic Pain Relief, Wellness | 0 comments

Epsom Salt BathsHolistic pain relief can take many forms. In my years as a massage therapist, I’ve explored a wide variety of alternatives. By explored I mean both tried these methods myself, and recommended them to clients. Lately I find myself recommending Epsom salt baths to friends and clients on a regular basis. There are so many options for pain relief, but taking a warm bath with naturally pain relieving stuff in it is one of the most satisfying options. No side effects, just relief!

What’s the best way to try this? You only need a few ingredients:

  • Epsom salts (2 cups)
  • Baking soda (1 cup)
  • Tub with warm or nearly hot water (to your own temperature preferences)

The following ingredients are optional, but can be wonderful if you’d like to try:

  • Essential oils
  • Bentonite clay
  • Powdered ginger

So what is it about Epsom salt that’s helpful for pain relief? They’re actually magnesium sulfate. As I’ve mentioned before, Americans are woefully deficient in magnesium. While getting enough magnesium from food sources is ideal, that’s not the only way. You can absorb magnesium through your skin, including while soaking in the bath.

Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant, plus it’s anti-inflammatory—both positives for holistic pain relief.

Simply fill up your tub with water (as hot as you can safely enjoy), adding the two ingredients and soak for 15-20 minutes. There’s no real benefit in a longer soak, plus the water starts to get chilly.

About the optional ingredients—you may find some benefits but it’s up to you whether you add them to the bath. Essential oils like lavender will add to your relaxation and possibly help you sleep. Bentonite clay can up the detoxification effects of the bath. Powdered ginger spice (yes, I got mine at the grocery store) is also anti-inflammatory and detoxifying.

While these are all readily available ingredients and likely to have no side effects, if you’re living with any chronic or acute conditions you should discuss regular use of Epsom salt baths with your health care provider.

Happy soaking and here’s to pain relief!

 

Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

Read More

what every entrepreneur ought to know about self-care

Posted by on Nov 6, 2013 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Entrepreneurial Ideas, Healthier Choices, Holistic Pain Relief, Wellness | 4 comments

I love the Dowager Countess from Downton Abbey, mostly because she says the craziest things! One thing she said in the first season has stuck with me ever since that show. She said, “Weekend … what’s a weekend?” As an entrepreneur, I could really relate to this idea although of course she didn’t mean it the way it struck me. Her life is one of leisure and there’s never a need for “down time.” But for us business people, the idea that we put business aside (and gasp … relax!) for two whole days is pretty foreign!

So what’s an entrepreneur to do … burnout isn’t pretty and we are all just a weekend or two away from that frustrating exhausted feeling. Am I right? THIS is exactly why self-care isn’t a luxury. Taking time for yourself is the best way to be sure that you can keep doing amazing things in the business you love!

So what is self-care exactly? The obvious answer would be, “It’s taking care of yourself.” As someone whose 10-year entrepreneurial career is all about taking care of others, I have often found my own self-care at the bottom of the “to-do” list. And then four years ago I was diagnosed with a chronic pain condition that forced me to figure out what kind of self-care I really needed. Since then I have found a long list of things I do on weekends and weekdays to be sure I actually take care of me.

Woman Exercising Self-careHere are my five favorite steps to self-care:

1. Good nutrition IS self-care. If you want to be at the top of your business game, you have to fuel your body to excel. This means finding easy, tasty choices that are high in essential nutrients but not highly processed. Things like vegetables, fruits, high-quality protein and whole grains. If you keep your choices in this range at least 80% of the time, you will have the fuel to make the best decisions, focus, and maximize your business hours.

2. Go outside. Leave the house, the office and the computer for at least 15 minutes each workday. Ken has his porch office, which is a great example of breaking out of the “home office” shell. There’s also Earthing, which is new research on the benefits of getting your bare feet on the earth every day. Just take your shoes off and sit with your feet on the grass for five minutes every day. Even though this is a challenge in the winter, do it whenever the weather permits!

3. Sleep. It’s that simple … get enough sleep! But I understand it may not be easy to sleep. Doesn’t your mind race with all the tasks at hand? If you struggle with sleep, consider limiting caffeine later in the day (you knew I was going to say that, right?). Drink your hydrating water earlier in the day so you aren’t awakened during the night. Dim the lights in your house starting at sunset, which creates a winding down ritual for both mind and body. Turn off the electrical devices including your TV at least 30 minutes before bedtime. And keep a notebook by your bed to write down any great ideas or solutions that are running around in your head during the night.

4. Reach out for help with self-care. Find professionals whose mission is to help you be a better you. Scheduling that time can be the best thing you do for yourself every month. Maybe for you this means making a massage appointment, a golf lesson, or personal training session. I also use acupuncture to help me manage the mental and emotional stresses of entrepreneurial life. If needles aren’t your thing, there’s always counseling or talk therapy too.

5. Be spontaneous and have fun! Sounds crazy to schedule time for fun, doesn’t it? When we live and breathe our businesses (whether corporate or entrepreneurial), balance isn’t always a natural inclination. Having entirely open days every month with zero plans is a great thing. Find friends and family you’d enjoy spending the day with, and resolve to plan nothing until that day. Just do something you’re in the mood for right then.

Now darn it, get off the computer and go relax. It’s a matter of survival!

 

Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

Read More

7 tips for a better massage when you live with chronic pain

Posted by on May 30, 2013 in Ask the Coach, Healthier Choices, Wellness | 0 comments

When you live with chronic pain, lots of friends probably suggest getting massage or bodywork to feel better. And maybe you’ve even had more than a few massages over the last several years. But sometimes massage isn’t a pleasant experience—it might hurt during the massage, or you might be very sore for a few days after the massage.

These are all things I have experienced too, and since then I’ve come up with some ways to make massage work more effectively for myself and other people who live with chronic pain. And as a massage therapist myself, I definitely take these ideas into account when I see clients who live with chronic pain!

  1. Less is more. Less pressure is better when you get on the table with chronic pain. (This will be different than someone needing help with short-term, situational pain.) Find a massage therapist who is comfortable working gently, and who doesn’t need to fix all the aches and pains in the first sixty minutes. Know that you do not need a deep tissue massage to relax, and be comfortable asking for a relaxation or “Swedish” massage. It will help as much or more than deep pressure!
  2. It is especially helpful to find a therapist who specializes in massage for chronic pain, as they will be most understanding of your challenges. Use this search as a starting point (although you may want to narrow it down to your local area): http://www.amtamassage.org/findamassage/results.html?q=chronic+pain&l=&searchcat=famt

    Getting the massage you need for pain relief!

    Getting the massage you need for pain relief!

  3. When you’re looking for a new long-term therapist, ask them what percentage of their clients have chronic pain. It’s just so different to give a massage designed to alleviate chronic vs. acute pain. When you find a therapist whose patients with chronic pain comprise at least 50% of their practice, you’re on the right track.
  4. You might even ask around to see if you can find a massage therapist who also lives with chronic pain. This won’t be listed in a directory, but sometimes friends and family will have a lead on a therapist. When the person giving the massage has experienced their own chronic pain, they typically have a whole different understanding of your concerns.
  5. Be willing to try different types of massage than what you’ve always tried. For example, one of the types I practice is called myofascial release—be sure find someone who uses the “John Barnes approach,” which is generally a more gentle version of the work. Physical and occupational therapists also get trained in this bodywork, so sometimes you can get it covered by insurance if your doc will write a prescription.
  6. Don’t be afraid to ask for special accommodations during your massage. For example, I have a few clients who struggle to turn from their belly to their back. So they start on their back because it’s easier to turn from back to belly. Or if heat on the table makes you feel looser, be sure to request it. On the other hand, some of us get more uncomfortable with too much heat, so be sure to request a cool table. No detail is too small if it means you get the help you need.
  7. Choose a massage therapist whose office is relatively close to home. Sounds silly, but after you get relaxed you don’t want a long, long drive that might make you feel tense again.

The bottom line is that a great massage starts with great communication. This is even more important when you live with chronic pain. Be sure your therapist is open to requests, and remember that you are the most important person in that treatment room. Your therapist really does want you to be clear about what you need, so never be worried about asking.

Here’s to good health, great relaxation, and minimizing pain!

 

__________________

Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

Read More
Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On TwitterVisit Us On LinkedinVisit Us On PinterestVisit Us On Youtube