YUM!!!

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Yum!  That was delicious!  : – D

I have been enjoying a healthy version on pistachio pudding!

Here’s how I figured this out:

A couple months back my husband started using Visalus protein powder supplement that is delivered to your door.  The plan was much like the old Slim-Fast routine:  a shake in the morning, a shake at lunch and reasonable supper of your own choice.  At Christmas, we received a one serve blender set, so, we were off and running!

He also found a smoothie recipe around that time that was supposed to help with sleeping that used soymilk, a banana, frozen tart cherries and peach slices and a touch of vanilla.  ( We have found that if you use enough frozen stuff it will be thick and can supplement that ice cream craving that can be hard to crack.)

I have gotten used to grabbing lots of bananas going through the grocery store to make sure he had his smoothie supplies every morning.

Well, last week, I happened upon a batch of perfectly ripe avocados on sale, and thought voila’!  From my past knowledge of raw foods, I realized I could substitute the avocado for the banana for creaminess!

…Now I haven’t got him to try it yet… probably the green color, but then again, I am usually the more adventurous one in trying foodstuffs, but I’ve sure been enjoying it.  : – ) I am more of an experimental cook… Much to my family’s chagrin.  LOL

I experimented first with using the avocado instead of the banana in our recipe.  It was definitely a smoother texture.  Then I realized I was some cocoa powder and a little more vanilla away from chocolate pudding!!!  (Raw, The Uncook Book, by Juliano Brotman)

So I tried it.  Yep, pretty good!  It took at least a whole mounded teaspoon to cover up the avocado taste, but with PMS and stress – chocolate was good!  … I’m not normally a chocolate person, but I think I am over my need for my chocolate, caffeine rush, for now. 

– Then I realized I had some left over coconut flakes in the freezer from holiday baking, and some raw almonds we hadn’t gotten around to eating, ought to elevate the nutrition quotient!  Subtract the cocoa and add the above ingredients and Blender Pistachio Pudding!!!  YUM!!

I suggest you play with the different amounts of ingredients.  I’ve been using almond/coconut milk instead of soy.  Working on balancing the hormones…

Try it. I’ll bet you’ll like it… and get your “veggies” too! 

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You’re driving me up the wall!!!

Put your legs up the wall for stretching and relaxation

Hi! It’s been a really, really, long time!

Here’s what I’ve been up to:  elevating my feet… up the wall!

It helps me calm down to relax, taking a little time for me.

This is easy, quick, cheap (free) and great for the lymph system (without having to get one of those hefty inversion tables). It helps counter gravity’s effects, letting fluid that can go to your lower extremities through the day move back into circulation. It also allows the pelvic muscles to relax from holding up your spine all day!

All it takes is an empty stretch of wall or the headboard of a bed! I just position one of my hips against the area where I want to roll up, and roll onto my back, and the legs just follow along, up the wall.

Tips:

It’s good to use some padding, under the hips or wherever would make it more comfortable for you (i.e. the neck or low back). This is about relaxing!

If your hamstrings are tight and inflexible, allow some space between your butt and the wall, letting you legs rest at an angle, not straight up. On a bed I sometimes use a slanted pile of pillows to rest my legs on for support under my knees.

For a good adductor stretch you can slide your feet apart as far as you can go, or pull your knees into your chest to stretch your low back.

It’s good to change your orientation and perspective once in a while.

Try it you may like it!

Mandy

Tian Di Massage

So… I took a continuing education course in Tian Di Bamboo Massage last fall.  I had figured that I would sit through a weekend of Frou-frou spa massage techniques and collect my mandatory continuing education credits and be on my way.  But, I learned a lot and have really come to love working with my bamboo sticks and Chinese therapeutic cups!

The first thing anyone says when I mention bamboo massage is, “ Are you going to beat me with the sticks of bamboo?”  My response?  -Only with the tapotement reed bundles!  …And then ensues a long explanation of what Tian Di massage is… Tian Di means “Heaven and Earth”.  It is a massage combination of massage with bamboo sticks and Chinese medical cupping techniques, based on watching monkeys working on each other with sticks in the wild.

A 90-minute Tian Di Massage that goes through progressive sizes of bamboo sticks, with strokes running the length of the entire body, which are then followed with cupping the length of the body, the client rolls over and we repeat everything on the other side. The session works out the tight spots, leaving you calm and relaxed like a bowl of Jello.

Here’s what you need to know about bamboo massage and Chinese cupping:

Bamboo massage

I learned quickly how to maneuver the muscles around the bones, and that I could “feel” my way through the sticks… I also learned how much both bamboo and cupping could really help with fascia issues.

Fascia is the connective tissue that connects everything together in the body, like the skin to the next layer below.  This tissue weaves through the body cradling organs and wrapping muscles to bones.  Wherever there are sore muscles, or “problems”, usually the fascia had gotten all wadded up, and some sort of manual therapy in needed to smooth it out again.  Most people who get myofascial release are expecting some serious, “deep”, sometimes painful, therapeutic work to relieve pain or serious tension.

The bamboo sticks are great for getting a lot of pressure and relief without “digging in”.  In Bamboo massage there is usually no “pinching” like myofascial release techniques can have, though they could be used for “poking” like in trigger point and acupressure.

The broad rolling surface of the bamboo spreads out the pressure and kneads the layers of skin, much like rolling out bread dough. The attached tissue progressively relaxes, getting more and more relaxed with each successive pass.  For deeper and deeper effects, there are progressively smaller circumference sticks.

Bamboo rolling can be so relaxing.  It can even have a strong sedating effect on the body, even with heavy pressure. (An occupational therapist has told me she used rolling pins, rolled up and down the back to calm children with behavior problems.)  There must be something about firm, but gentle pressure that can calm the nerves.

Chinese Cupping

The other part of the Tian Di Massage is Chinese cupping.  Cupping is one of the tools of acupuncture and can be used in patterns for assorted health issues, much like acupuncture needles.

Cupping actually pulls the skin, fascia and tissues instead of the push pressure in regular massage, and has lots of applications. The skin (and everything attached to it) unwinds gently, depending on how much vacuum pressure is in the cups.  (The more pressure the more you feel it.)  Cupping can really benefit someone who is too tender for a lot of pressure, like with Fibromyalgia.

The cups I use are hard plastic suction cups and I use a pump to pull out the air and the result is a vacuum.  Some acupuncturist’s use glass jars and makes a vacuum with fire to deplete the oxygen in the cup, thereby causing a vacuum. …For all you chemistry buffs out there! I like the plastic cups because I can control the pressure, and there is no risk of burns.

Cups can be left in one place for a specific pain treatment or slid across the skin to have a more general effect.  I don’t pretend to know everything with Chinese medicine, but I do like the effects in what I have seen using cups!

Sliding the cups along the muscles acts much like the bamboo, kneading the body.  The sliding technique is great for treating fibromyalgia.  Ladies, it can also help to smooth out those dimples of cellulite!

For most people who are seeking relief from pain, they don’t care how it’s done; they just want the pain gone.  Cupping is really great for relieving serious and recurring pain from sports injuries or previous traumas.  It gets the circulation going in areas that have ischemia (low blood circulation).

(I have seen from working in an acupuncturist’s office that therapeutically, if the cups are left in one spot with lots of pressure, they can cause bruising. The bruises are superficial and can turn any number of colors: from dark bluish purple to maroon, to bright red, and even grey.  Sometimes condensation appears inside the cups.  It just depends on what in going on deep inside the body according to Chinese medicine.  The bruise markings are usually gone within a week at the most, and the relief is worth the temporary octopus attack markings.   Anyone conscious of the markings can always have the cup sliding instead.)

Because of the benefits, I now incorporate the cups into any massage if I see a need for them, and the client wants them.  Some cups can be used for sinus pressure and skin blemishes, but I leave most of this to estheticians.

Gua sha tools are sometimes used to smooth and scrape the impurities out of the superficial layers of the skin and loosen more fascia tissue as a finishing technique.

All in all, I just love the benefits of Tian Di massage!  Try it out!

The Consequences of Stress

Experts estimate that 80 percent to 90 percent of disease is stress-related. Massage and bodywork is there to combat that frightening number by helping us remember what it means to relax. The physical changes massage brings to your body can have a positive effect in many areas of your life. Besides increasing relaxation and decreasing anxiety, massage lowers your blood pressure, increases circulation, improves recovery from injury, helps you to sleep better and can increase your concentration. It reduces fatigue and gives you more energy to handle stressful situations.

Massage is a perfect elixir for good health, but it can also provide an integration of body and mind. By producing a meditative state or heightened awareness of living in the present moment, massage can provide emotional and spiritual balance, bringing with it true relaxation and peace.

 

The Physical Benefits of Massage

~~Increases circulation, allowing the body to pump more oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs.~~Stimulates the flow of lymph, the body’s natural defense system, against toxic invaders. For example, in breast cancer patients, massage has been shown to increase the cells that fight cancer.

~~Increased circulation of blood and lymph systems improves the condition of the body’s largest organ – the skin.

~~Relaxes and softens injured and overused muscles

~~Reduces spasms and cramping

~~Increases joint flexibility

~~Reduces recovery time, helps prepare for strenuous workouts and eliminates subsequent pains of the athlete at any level.

~~Releases endorphins — the body’s natural painkiller — and is being used in chronic illness, injury and recovery from surgery to control and relieve pain

~~Reduces post-surgery adhesions and edema and can be used to reduce and realign scar tissue after healing has occurred.

~~Improves range-of-motion and decreases discomfort for patients with low back pain.

~~Relieves pain for migraine sufferers and decreases the need for medication

~~Assists with shorter labor for expectant mothers, as well as less need for medication, less depression and anxiety, and shorter hospital stays.

Source: http://www.massagetherapy.com/articles/index.php?article_id=468

 

Massage helps with these conditions: 

~~Headaches/ Migraines

~~Back Pain

~~Neck & shoulder issues

~~Carpal Tunnel issues

~~Edema- fluid retention and swelling

~~Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

~~Sciatica

~~Plantar fasciitis

~~Scoliosis

~~Arthritis

~~Premenstrual Syndrome

~~Asthma

~~Insomnia, Anxiety, and Depression

~~High Blood Pressure

~~Pregnancy Discomforts and Recovery

~~Athletic Event Warm Up, Cool Down and Recovery

~~Muscle Injury Rehabilitation

~~Scarring

~~Detoxification…

~~And there are many more reasons to get a massage!

 

Call and schedule a massage today and see how good you can feel!

 

 

The “Quasimodo” Posture

This posture looks much like the lead character from the Hunchback of Notre Dame, with one shoulder up and one leg shortened, leading to a hobble of a walk.

Many women by mid-life experience scoliosis, sciatica, plantar fasciitis; it also leads to knee, hip and feet issues.  I’ve see men leaning back and sitting on one buttock.  This could pinch off nerves going down the legs over time.  There can also be issues with the shoulders.  Women can stick out their “sassy” hip, and put their hand on it.

As caretakers, it becomes easy to loose yourself in all the “Mommy, do this for me…” A young mother’s Baby on hip syndrome, where the hip juts out for a baby to ride, usually on the left hip (so you can work with the right hand) over time can lead to this.

I have heard Chiropractors admonish that if you sleep on your side, you need shift to sleeping flat on your back to prevent the torque on your spine.  I have figured out, upon questioning, that many of these “twisted” people are sitting in a contorted posture like sitting on your foot/feet with knees to the side, that eventually the posture compensates.

Life can get complicated as you go on through time.  I think mentally, this could be an aversion to dealing with things as they truly are, instead of standing in your own truth, and squarely standing on your own two feet, stacking the joints above evenly.

In dealing with the Quasimodo posture, I’ve seen that working the whole body has helped straighten out the whole posture.  So even if you only have a hurt leg or shoulder, getting a massage for the whole body structure will help straighten things out.

The Dog With Its Tail Between Its Legs or The Turtle

Our family has recently adopted a set of puppies.  Have you seen a puppy that has gotten in trouble?  Their ears go down and back.  Their shoulders roll forward, and their chest collapses.   At the extreme, the abdominal muscles pull in just like the proverbial “dog putting its tail between its legs”… and their bladder can let go.

I could also see this as a turtle, face down with hard shell to protect their back.  I have seen professional appearing people walking around in almost a fetal position by what I find in their tight muscles. It can be a war zone in the corporate world!  The wars are waged with manipulation and shows of force.

This posture gets extreme when they couldn’t slow down and just kept going until they were falling apart, or when someone has had a severely unsettling experience and now have  “post traumatic stress disorder”.   Many shoulder issues and low back problems can be related to this emotional state.  I have heard that the two weeks after severe stress time is prime time for back injuries and slipped discs.

When people are very tired and run down, there is no energy to stand up straight.  A hump in the neck or mid-back bears testimony to this.  I have seen this “old man’s dowager hump” already forming on many people under severe stress, even for someone in their teens.

Is what you are killing yourself for worth it?  What has taken your energy?

This is the effect of stress playing out in our complex modern world.

If this is happening for you, find those things that are supportive and healthy in your life, and take it easy for a couple of weeks or how ever long it takes to find normalcy.

It’s time to take care of you!  : – )