Tips and Techniques:
This page is a continual work in progress. Why? Because I don't always think of things right off that people can do to help themselves. Yes, massage is awesome, but if you have a few tools to take care of your issues, even a little, it will make your life better, and that's what I'm all about.
Helpful tip #1:
When you sit at the computer most of the day or all day, deal with small children or are stressed and may or may not realize how much, your shoulders can roll forward and eventually end up around your ears. While stretching, which I recommend, is good for you, one good thing to do is buy a swim tube/swim noodle and cut it down to about a foot-give or take for your size-and lie on it straight up your spine. That lets your shoulders drop, gets your skeleton and muscles into natural alignment and will keep you from needing massage. Not that you shouldn't have massage. But it is a good temporary fix between your regularly scheduled massages. You can get a swim noodle at the Dollar Tree for a buck. Nice and cheap. And at 5 feet, there's enough for more than one if you make a mistake on size or someone else wants one too. Sharing is good. (smiles) The directions are simple. Lie on the floor (the bed or couch is too soft) with the tube straight up your spine. Your shoulders will droop toward the floor. It's an odd feeling at first, but soon you will like it so much you won't want to get up. You only need to be on it about 5 minutes. Try it in the evenings after a long day. If you have little kids or pets, you will have company, so plan accordingly.
Helpful tip #2:
Breathe. That's all. Several deep breaths an hour. Try doing it every time you go through a doorway, or stand up, or sit down. Something you can train yourself to do easily. It's good for your lungs, lowers your blood pressure, and helps you relax.
Helpful tip #3:
Just as regular cleaning of your refrigerator, or windows in your house keeps your house in good shape and smelling fresh and clean, massage is important in the upkeep of your body. Is your health and comfort less important than keeping your appliances in good repair? We tend to put things off that make us feel better because the kids need something for school, or our spouse works really hard and we want them to feel better first. No one else will know when you need something unless you're all they're paying attention to, so you might as well take care of yourself so you can devote attention to the things in your life that are important to you. If you have been dealing with a sore back for two weeks, are you really going to want to help your son with his baseball practice? Probably not. Any modality that you enjoy, any practitioner that you are comfortable with, mix it into your schedule and take care of yourself. I recommend getting a massage no less than 4 times a year. Any kind. Any modality that you like. I, myself, alternate regularly between Thai and Swedish because I like them both and, between the two of them, they help me get myself back to what is comfortable. If you need more because of the job you do, (nurse, lawyer, teacher, mother of young children) add more. As many as you need and as many different kinds as you are interested in. You might be surprised at what works for you.
Helpful tip #4:
If you have lower back discomfort, pain, or are just thinking about your back and wondering if you're tight, one good stretch to do is the hip stretch. This is totally easy to do for yourself. While lying on the bed, drape your inside/top leg over the edge of the bed and twist a bit so you're facing up. While your leg is draped over the side, notice if you are feeling a stretch. If you feel it on the side of your leg from your hip to your knee instead of at the small of your back, fine, that's still a good stretch but it also tells you that your back discomfort is up a bit higher than your sacrum (the big flat bone at the small of your back) Try it on both sides and see what you feel. If you're like me and not very coordinated (I fell off the bed) stand next to a swivel chair and bring your foot up toward the middle of your body onto it. Then lean into it, twisting, and pull it across your body until you feel a stretch. You can also lie on the floor or bed and have someone stretch your legs for you. Granted, having it done for you is the easier way to go, but, as you can see, you can relieve your tight back for yourself when you have to.
Helpful tip #5:
Another great stretch for relieving back pain is the Frog Stretch. Just like it sounds, you end up looking like a frog. While lying on the bed, face down, throw your knees, one at a time, up into your armpit. This is harder to do for some people, just do your best and where your knee ends up, that's fine. You'll know when it's time to switch sides because you will start to think about your hip-if you ignore yourself, it'll start to be uncomfortable. After you are done, you can switch sides. It's a great stretch and is often helpful when your lower back hurts. I find myself stretching like that often just as a matter of course when I go to bed and it seems that the different position often helps me sleep.
Helpful tip #6
Getting on to warmer weather will help you think of it, but in everyday life you need water. Lots. Please remember to drink several glasses a day, starting with when you get up. Water will help your brain, your muscle health, and your diet.
Helpful tip #7
Stretching: If you haven't had intense work done, stretching lightly before bed to remind your body that you're still thinking of it, is a good idea. If you had an involved massage where stretching and body changing work is present, stretching lightly the next morning instead is a better idea.
Helpful tip #8
If you are pregnant, guys, listen up, this pertains to you too, have your man stand behind you with his fingers laced together and, with his palms up, have him hold his hands like a shelf and support your tummy. Not pulling inward, just holding up. VERY wonderful. When you're at the point of "sore lower back" it's amazingly awesome and you will feel instant relief and voila! you're not even pregnant....until he starts to tire, which will be in just a few minutes. BUT doing that for you every other day, every day, or heck, every day a few times a day is fantastic. If you want to cheat, you can prop your tummy up on the back of a chair or couch or counter...it's not as easy or comfortable, but it's doable.
In this same vein, stand in front of your sweetie while he sits on a chair. Have him wrap his arms around your hips (under the baby) and squeeze as tight as he can. It's (choir of angels singing here) a-mAAA-ziiing!