Many of us feel connected to mother nature at least partially for her physical and tactile nurturing. Swimming relatively cloth less in her ocean and feeling sand and the elements on our feet and bodies. We also seek to share nurturing touch with each other because lovingly touching other humans feels almost another level gratifying.
1. Hand Holding
The act of holding ones hand can be enough to start calming my nervous system and slow my mind. Try getting permission to hold hands with a friend to take a silent walk, focusing on the touch, the points of contact and sharing presence the way nature shares hers.
2. Contact improvisational dancing or partner dancing
Try putting on music and dancing with a friend using touch to explore the music together spontaneously. Ecstatic dance may be an outlet for you being that is a safe, sacred, nonverbal space for exploring authentic free form movement in community. They may even be held several times a weeks in your community!
Try giving someone you appreciate even just 10 minutes of massage (5 minutes each foot for example). Don't be discouraged if you don't know how to message, more important than fancy techniques are offering your presence and nurturing through touch. Keep checking in with them about their preferences, slow down and have fun!
4. Find a snuggle partner.
Being single can be challenging for many because of the deficit of nourishing touch they feel in their lives. Fortunately there is an emerging culture of loving touch enthusiasts that understand the important distinction between affirming touch and sexual expression. There may be a snuggle gathering in your area to meet like minded individuals. In addition, there may be people in your life who, with clear boundaries and communications could become a positive touch partner.
Jessica Else, environmental reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maybe it’s not a lack of willpower that’s causing you to reach for that unhealthy food day after day. Maybe it’s bacteria.
Food addiction, elevated stress and a culture of unworthiness go hand in hand with many failures on the road to wellness, according to Kapaa man Benjahmin Koenigsberg, who will be presenting on the topic at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the Sun Village Clubhouse in Lihue.
“We’re superorganisms, less human that microorganisms,” Koenigsberg said, citing the scientific conversation about the abundance of bacteria versus human cells in the body.
Recent research out of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel shows an average man of 70 kilograms is made up of about 40 trillion bacteria and 30 trillion human cells, giving humans an average ratio of 1.3 bacteria to every human cell.
Many of those bacteria live in the human gut, and it is Koenigsberg’s understanding, and that of some nutritionists and medical professionals worldwide, that the bacteria’s demand for certain foods cause cravings.
“People are ruled by their gut bacteria to crave things like alcohol and unhealthy foods,” Koenigsberg said. “We can’t fight cravings. Using willpower won’t work. You have to change the makeup of the bacteria in your gut.”
Fruits and vegetables encourage the growth of different bacteria than processed foods, animal products and alcohol, scientists explain, and these little organisms can affect mood, too.
That’s according to a 2014 study published in BioEssays by the University of Mexico, which showed some bacteria are aligned with the dietary needs of humans and some aren’t.
So, the trick is to encourage growth of bacteria that are harmonious with the human body, scientists, and Koenigsberg say.
“I believe we can populate good bacteria,” he said.
But Koenigsberg’s theory on wellness is about more than just macrobiotics, throughout his journey implementing veganism, fruitarianism, and raw trends into his diet for years, he’s found what he calls a key wellness: starches.
He eats a vegan diet, heavy in potatoes, yams, corn, legumes, rice and beans, which helps keep him full longer and provide essential fiber and other nutrients.
“By incorporating more starch, we fill up the tummy and it’s more satiating,” he said. “Plus, coming from a diet that’s restrictive, it’s liberating to find that those are health foods.”
Much of his research on starch comes from the book The Starch Solution by John McDougall, which explains the theory that the human diet is naturally built on starches. He recommends a diet that consists of 70 percent starch, 10 percent fruit and 20 percent vegetables, while avoiding fats and processed foods.
“I’ll steam a yam and wrap it in tin foil, or make a pot of oatmeal and it’s satiating,” he said. “It’s so freeing.”
Life used to be made up of thinking about food for him, Koenigsberg said, and constantly deciding what to eat, and that obsession was something he’s working on letting go.
“I’m just looking for an accessible fuel source so I can be in personal relationships,” he said. “Now it’s about how I want to show up and serve the world. Relationships are the cornerstone of health and well-being.”
Trends of unworthiness extend beyond nutrition, Koenigsberg explained, and his passion is also focused on the unachievable standards men face in society, and how to break free from unrealistic expectations.
“What is masculinity and how has culture pushed men to believe masculinity is all about hypermuscularity,” he said. “There’s an extra stigma on men not to discuss these issues.”
In a culture “with terrorism occurring by white men dealing with anger management issues,” Koenigsberg said he thinks the conversation about social isolation and unachievable standards needs to be happening.
“I talk about, there’s a lot of stresses on the nervous system — chemical, physical and emotional stresses, and the body is reacting. Most of our functioning is subconscious,” he said.
“Neuroplasticity is the property of the brain that enables it to change its own structure and functioning in response to activity and mental experience.”
― Norman Doidge, The Brain's Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity
Contrary to the old saying, which implies that adults or elderly are set in their ways and unable to learn new skills, Brain researchers have found that the brain and many parts of the nervous system are malleable, adaptable and receptive at any point in life, not just during childhood. This concept is known as Neuroplasticity, referring to a plasticity, or mold-ability of the quality of the tissues in the nervous system.
Change does not always come easy, but because of nueroplasticity, those of us, regardless of age are very encouraged to know that with work to grow, we can learn new skills and replace long lasting habits with brand new healthier ones.
The science of this aspect of human biology couldnʼt be more timely. In this time of rapid change, so many of us can benefit from reshaping our brains and perceptions. From workers needing to learn new skills, people needing to learn new languages, and those just wanting to improve their confidence and mental wellbeing.....the possibilities are endless for anyone!
One of my favorite studies highlighting neuroplasticity is when NASA mandated a group of astounds to wear special convex goggles 24/7 that literately flipped their world upside down. They wanted to test how spatial distortions would effect their brain. At first the astronauts were ill, but soon adjusted. But between the 26th and 30th day of the experiment, each one of the astronauts began to see the world normal again with the convex goggles still on! The pathways in their brains had flipped the images.
This study proves that in order for a new habit to become easier, we need to stick with it for at least 30 days continuously. After 90 days of continuous action it becomes more “second nature”.
1. Comprehensive Intake
I prompt my clients at the very beginning of the session, to start them on the process of thinking about how their body feels and what it may be wanting for treatment. I always reflect back to the client what I've heard them say, to be as clear as possible regarding their session preferences and related issues. I explain to clients how important is for me to trust them, knowing that they speak up about discomforts anytime during the session.
2. Asking for feedback
Even after I have explained the client's responsibility to speak up , I still check in with them many times throughout the session. This gives the client a chance to micro-adjust ,which make the difference between a good and great massage. It is also a way for me to gain feedback and change treatments plan immediately if necessary.
3. Get Massage!
Its sad how common it is for massage therapist, myself included, get massage relatively infrequently. Receiving massage as a massage therapist has the added benefits of (hopefully) learning something that informs your practice. Receiving massage from professionals is one of the best ways for me to learn about my body and new techniques to use with my clients.
4. Incorporate Stretches and Breath Awareness
Thai massage is one of my favorite forms of massage because of the deep tissue mixed with stretching. I always incorporate at least one stretch or traction move in every session. I believe it feels very good for the client, gives them different sensory input to relax the nervous system and is a distinguished experience. Try learning and incorporating at least one stretch safely into your practice. I also am constantly reminding myself to breath. How can I expect the client to breath deeply and soften their tissues, when I am holding or restricting my breath? I also ask my clients to breath and give them verbal and tactile directions to guide them in doing so.
5. Increase your self care
We are holistic health care professionals, which in my understanding implies that we are role models for healthy living. Personally every ounce of sweat that I put into my workouts, my food prep or going to bed early have paid off significantly in my practice. I've have increased stamina while working and have noticed more client bookings. Ultimately health is largely about self acceptance, self love and honoring our perfection as long as we don't give up reaching for our ideals or optimization.
6. Step up your game
If you are not feeling passionate about providing massage for people, please take responsibility at least by asking for support. I recommend continuing education either formally or informally, to boost your inspiration and fulfillment levels. It can be fun to incorporate new things you've learned to experiment with clients and see results. A few last ideas to spruce up your practice are: getting new play lists that you love, fresh flowers for the treatment room and a supply of healthy snack to give to your clients.
7. Join a professional organization!
Being affiliated with a professional massage organization can have many benefits. A renewed sense of
contribution may result from joining and contributing to a professional organization. Often the monthly publications are full of educational and inspiring articles. National massage conventions are great opportunities to meet a lot of massage therapists from diverse places and backgrounds, which can also be inspiring.
8. Stop Talking
We all need empathy of course, but this is your clients' time to receive. The client does not want to hear about your personal life. Many people will pretend to be interested, adding another challenge to getting totally relaxed. It seems natural to use our own experience as a reference to connect with someone else's, However I feel this is an internal process because when we interrupt share our own version of of similar experience, we steal attention from the speaker. Massage is not a time for small talk. Try encouraging the client to bring more awareness to the physical experience. Answering clients' questions and talking about the treatments at hand is entirely different of course.
Do you love Chocolate? Do you love Bacon? Do you love Chocolate Bacon?
Many people eat meat and animal products for nourishment and because they enjoy experiencing the flavors, texture and satisfaction it provides.
For thousands of years humans civilizations around the world evolved farming and processing animals relatively the same way.
However around the turn of the 20th century in the US, The first slaughterhouse opened in Chicago, where a deer could be slaughtered and packaged in 35 minutes versus the traditional 10 hours of labor from a Butcher and an assistant
Almost in direct correlation bewteen the increasing efficiency of modern animal agriculture in America, is the increasing demand and appetite for animal products in our food and consequently our increasing rates of terminal illnesses
Don’t worry I do not plan to take away your pepperoni pizza, the cream that highlights your coffee or the robustness of your favorite egg dish.
I am here to distinguish that not animal products are created equally and to specify three reasons why I recommend avoiding store bought meat and animal products!
Store bought animal products have toxic Containments
Due to increasing consumer demand for cheap meat and stock holder’s increasing demand for profits, animals are processed at an increasing quantity at minimal cost and standards of safety or quality.
The animals are given several antibiotics and pharmaceuticals to minimize the diseases that thrive on overcrowded feedlots where animals live, eat and poop in their final days
When cows are gutted on the assembly line, feces from the intensities often spill and spray out over the equipment and meat
Bacteria and viruses along with residues from the antibiotics used to treat them and feca matter are all found in alarming amounts in store bought meat.
Store bought meat contributes to Inhumane treatment of animals
Those of us were lucky enough to grow up with pets, learned young to show respect and care for animals.
It is hard to imagine an animal we love, with unique personalities and familial relationships being treated inhumanely and suffering.
Slaughter houses are built in remote areas without any windows, so people will not see and therefore protest how the animals are treated there
Female cows will only produce milk during and after pregnancy, so dairy cows are strapped and restrained to what are called in the industry ‘rape cages’ to be artificially ins-emanated so they’ll continue to be produce until they’re body physically can’t anymore
Baby calves are taken from their mothers, often within two hours of their birth to reduce the babies exposure to the toxicity of the maternity pen. The calve is also operated to raise for view and so they won’t drink any of the Mom’s milk farmed for human consumption.
For industrial egg production, an entirely separate breed of chicken is used than those raised for meat. The male chickens of this laying breed are obviously raised for laying eggs, and therefore killed as chicks bye being thrown away in garbage bags or ground up in chipping machines to be used in feed for other animals.
Less meat and dairy intake is healthier
There is an emerging body of scientific evidence linking increased amounts of animal fats, proteins and Cheleostroal to two large causes of death in the US today, cancer and heart diseases
Studies show that by reducing our consumption of animal products and replacing them whole Whole Foods from plants, we can significantly reduce our risks of these diseases
Another benefit of a diets with considerable whole plant foods is that they also have more fiber, water and micronutrients which further contributes to our health and wellness.
Eating less animal products is also healthier from the planets perspective. With the growth of industrial scale animal agriculture is also the growing demand for precious natural resources. More land is needed to grow grains to feed cattle, more water is needed to grow that grain. The additional over 4 billion farm animals also adds considerable amount of poop and strain onto the global sewer and waste water equations.
This information about containments, animal welfare and hthe health of the planet can be alarming and discouraging, especially if it is new for you or if you love store bought meat and animal products and eat them often.
I invite you to consider minimizing eating and buying store bought meat and animal products and opting for locally raised animal products or plant based alternatives instead. The higher cost and added challenges of obtaining these animal products serve as the perfect impious to reduce our consumption of these products. For anyone interested in learning more about more ethically and environmently produced animal products
Well known farmer, author and speaker, John Salatin wrote a book called Holy Cows and Hog Heaven, the food buyer’s guide to farm friendly food”
“The most important thing to remember about food labels is that you should avoid foods that have labels” - Dr. Joel Fuhrman
Micro-nutrients are what we know as vitamins and minerals. I am passionate about micro nutrients because by incorporating more of them into my diet, I am losing fat, feeling energized and experiencing dramatically less cravings for processed foods that once controlled my life. Focusing on micro-nutrients for weight loss instead of calorie counting is a relatively new concept for me and feels more sustainable.
Micro-nutrients get inside the cells and are largely responsible for many of our body's functions, like immunity, growth and repair. There are lots and lots of vitamins and minerals in existence in foods and new ones are still being discovered. Some of the most common vitamins are Vitamin A, C and E and some common minerals are Iron and Sodium. vitamins and minerals have an influence on how our genes express themselves and how our cells behave.
In his book 'Eat to Live', Dr. Joel Fuhrman recommends focusing on eating more nutrient-dense food for health and weight loss. Nutrient density is a reference to the ratio of nutrients to calories a food has. In studies that compare the amount of over 20 different nutrients in the same portion of common foods, green vegetables like Kale, Chard and Broccoli rank the highest. It doesn't take a science degree to know that 500 calories of cabbage has more nutritional value than 500 calories of French fries. Nutrient diversity is also important, which is why we must eat a variety of nutrient-dense foods to ensure that our bodies are getting all the components they need to function optimally.
Looking back at my experiences, the hunger and cravings I felt controlled my life in many ways, was not coming from my stomach as I had thought, but from my cells. The mini organs within each cell that perform all the biological functions of my body, organelles as they’re called, depend upon a steady influx of different vitamins and minerals. Eating foods in their whole state, raw or close to raw, gives the body the micro nutrients in the proportions nature intended them to be eaten.
When we mill grain into a flour or remove the oil from olives, for example, we speed up the way they are absorbed and used by the body. A bowl of whole oats and bananas, due to its intact fiber and complexity, it digests at a rate suitable for our bodies to use steadily. In contrast, a banana muffin, for example, in addition to the added sugar, it has been refined and is less complex, unloading its digestible components in a relatively short time, 'spiking' our system. The body can't use all this fuel so quickly, and triggers fat production to 'save' it for later use. This process artificiality boosts our energy at first, but shortly after, leaves us feeling depleted.
When we synthesize plants to extract certain vitamins and minerals to use as supplements, we also miss the benefit of eating the whole nutrient rich food intact, getting all the aspects working in synergy with one another for maximum digestion and absorption.
The word appestat, is a combination of the words appetite and thermostat. It refers to a built-in biological feed back loop mechanism, like a thermostat, that regulates feelings of hunger and satiation. The dangers of refined foods, salt and other additives, is that they mess with our internal appestat and stimulate our brains and taste buds to want more, without actually giving our body sufficient components required for repair and regeneration. This is the viscous cycle of food addiction, eating more refined foods in attempts to fuel up, but only depleting our bodies reserves further.
Eating more nutrient dense foods, in their whole form, gives our appestat a chance to recalibrate and to stimulate cravings for a diversity of nutrient rich foods that keep us feeling full and deeply nourished. I put leafy greens into fruit smoothies to mask their bitterness. Lemon juice and ground pepper makes a delicious topping for steamed greens and vegetables. Fruit makes for a convenient breakfast, snack or pureed for a salad dressings. Adopting a more nutrient rich diet will support you in feeling nourished, fit and healthy!
Receiving a Deep Tissue massage can be a highly pleasurable experience as well as an effective method for reducing pain and improving quality of life for people of any age or circumstance.
Unfortunately, many people have had a bad experience with deep tissue massage, wincing because an unaware therapist was using too much pressure.
Safety and client consideration are top priority with deep tissue massage. Deep tissue massage should never induce pain, rather, a healing, “hurt so good” sensation or a “therapeutic discomfort”.
It is important for therapists to check-in with clients a few times throughout a session because preferences may change. I encourage everyone receiving massage to be outspoken about their preferences, its our time to be taken care of the way we want!
Deep tissue massage is different from a general spa massage.
Deep Tissue massage has the aim to identify root cause(s) of a client's specific imbalance and apply various techniques on deep layers of the body to alleviate pain. Deep Tissue addresses health beyond just a feeling of relaxation felt during a session.
Deep tissue massage can be applied on bones, muscles or most importantly fascia.
Fascia is a special type of tissue that connects and encases almost the entire body in sections. Each muscle cell, bundles of muscle cells, tendons, ligaments, organs and skin are all connected by fascia.
'Knots' or sensitive strands of tight muscles are hyper stagnant areas. Nerve signals to and from these area are faint where circulation is cramped, further restring cellular waste to get out and fresh blood to get in, bringing relief. “Knots” often form where multiple muscles intersect, like the shoulder blade for example that has 17 different muscles that attach to it.
When fascia gets dehydrated, due to stress, lack of fluid or movement, it gets thick and sticky. It binds to itself and neighboring areas of muscles causing restricted movement. Physical discomfort may be a request from the body to notice inflexibility or imbalance somewhere.
Deep tissue massage re hydrates fascia by stimulating waste nutrients out of the cells for excretion and brings fresh blood into an area to heal. The manipulation of the body with massage, melts sticky fascia, bringing relief to an entire area and stimulates a chain reaction of healing.
Focusing on a few target areas per visit, allows time to more effectively address an issue by working on the adjoining and opposing muscles that contribute to an imbalance.
With a slow and gradual application of pressure, clients feel safer to relax, let go of their tension and bring a new depth of body awareness. A therapist should never 'muscle' their way into a muscle. With patience and slow deep tissue massage, muscles soften at their own pace and 'invite' the increased pressure.
Fascia is linked to the nervous system. Touch in one area can ease movement in another. Fascia encases all our muscles, skin and contains deeply proprioceptors, deeply embedded sensors that relay critical information about our bodies movement, positioning and our perception in space.
A deep tissue massage in not solely a passive experience. When a client is more actively participating in letting go of their tension, their shifts are more impact full. Similar to a Physical Therapist or a personal trainer, a deep tissue practitioner will help client's identify habitual posture or behaviors that contribute to their complaints. By sharing information and support, clients are encouraged to practice making regular lifestyle choices for their wellness and preventative care. A few specific Deep Tissue modalities to experience or research further are: Trigger Point Therapy, Myofascial Release and Structural Integration.
Please leave a comment about this article or your experience with Deep Tissue Massage
My awareness about racism and white privilege has been a gradual process of learning the severity and unquantifiable injustice and pain racism perpetuates in the world. Awareness of systemic oppression such as racism and sexism for example, has had a snowball effect on me, leading me to the see that racism and sexism is all around, perpetuated by societal and cultural institutions currently and for a long time. Group think, manufactured popular norms and fear of scarcity, drive racist ideologies that go largely unchecked. Racial awareness is something people of color in the United States and other places learn intimately from early on in life. It is because of my white privilege, that I can learn about racial injustice at my discretion or as an intellectual pursuit vs. a matter of safety and success. I believe major obstacles to justice is many white people's denial of their own racism and privilege and their attempts made to minimize impacts of racism. One definition of 'privilege' is thinking that something is not a problem because it's not a problem for YOU. This definition combined with the Martin Luther King Jr. quote "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere", inspires me to practice extending compassion to others for their life experiences, even if they're drastically different than mine. I believe if more white people understood the distinction between having a racist thought, making assumptions based on race vs. being a racist person, they would be less defensive protecting their personal morals and more open to a different perspective. When we replace white guilt, with awarenesses and actions to restore justice and equality, we will make significant societal progress towards equality. As a white person who wants to end racial injustice, I openly identify as a racist. I acknowledgement that my culture ( the TV i grew up watching, media I still see, things I learned in school and heard from other authority figures, etc...) is racist and influences me beyond my cognitive comprehension. I am racist because I am undeniably a product of a racist culture and environment, not because I actively hate, disdain or want to oppress people of color. It is a pledge for me to do my best to educate myself about racism, its sources, forms, implications and how I benefit at the expense of others due to my privilege. I like to talk to my white friends about race and systemic injustices. I also practice lovingly confronting people when I hear them say something racist or sexist for example.
Some systemic racism and sexism i see in our country is the disproportionate wealth and influence disparity. A specific example is the large lack of women and people of color in leadership in politics and business. The currency we use and value in America has pictures to glorify men of historical importance, George Washington for example, by some estimates owned more than 300 slave; an obvious contradiction for a country that supposedly represents and promotes freedom. Many schools and roads are also named after men from America's past that actively participated in Slavery. Slavery has not been officially acknowledged by our government, nor has any efforts been made to pay reparations, despite the evidence linking many specific companies still in operation that have grown and profited hugely from human slavery.
Here is a trailer for a Documentary about modern day slavery in American prisons that is legal and effects men of color at an alarmingly disproportionate rate.
So anytime I get pulled over by the police for a traffic violation for example, and they leave me with either or a warning or a ticket, I know I have my white privilege to thank. I try to acknowledge all of the extra graces in life I receive due to being a white man, and pass them on to others in hopes to tip the scales of inequality a tiny bit towards balance. If you don't know about the many innocent people of color that have been shot dead by police for nothing, without any accountability or reprimand, it's time you wake up!
I would love any and all comments and feedback and opinions. I invite critique and criticism so I may become more aware and sensitive. More ruminations on racism to come.
1. Selekta Faya Gong - Pull it Up Reggae Show