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Living a Healthy Life through Massage, Somatics, Exercise, Stress Management, and More OR How NOT to Have to Live with Those Aches and Pains By Carol Wiley, Licensed Massage Practitioner The Massage Store

Copyright Š2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Necessary Details This is a free e-book. You can give it away. You CANNOT sell it or change it in any way. You CANNOT copy any part of this book without permission. All the links in this e-book worked at the time of publication. Of course, the Internet is a continually changing place. If you find a nonworking link or have a comment or suggestion, and want to let me know, go to the contact page on my Web site.

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Important: The information in this book is provided for educational purposes only. Only you know what is best for you and your situation. When appropriate, or if in doubt, consult a doctor or other professional healthcare practitioner.

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Copyright Š2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Table of Contents Introduction................................................................................ 5 Massage Therapy.........................................................................6 Benefits of Massage .................................................................. 6 When Not to Receive Massage .................................................... 8 Self-Care to Support Your Massage ........................................... 10 Pain and Massage ...................................................................... 12 Massage for Chronic Pain ......................................................... 12 Your Shoulders/Upper Back Hurts . . ......................................... 13 Neck Pain . . . May be a Pain in the Foot ..................................... 14 Massage for Soft-Tissue Injury.................................................. 15 Self-Massage ............................................................................ 16 Self-Massage for Your Head and Face .........................................16 Self-Massage for Your Neck, Arms, and Shoulders ....................... 17 Self-Massage for Your Low Back and Buttocks ............................. 18 Self-Massage for Your Feet....................................................... 19 Stress Management and Relaxation .............................................. 20 How Stress Affects Your Body................................................... 20 Stress Management with Massage ............................................. 21 Stress Busters ........................................................................ 21 Ten Ways To Relax...................................................................23 Progressive Relaxation Exercise ................................................ 25 Somatic Education and Movement Therapy.................................... 26 What is Somatic Education?......................................................27 The Feldenkrais Method速.........................................................28 Hanna Somatic Education速...................................................... 30 Body-Mind Centering速............................................................ 32 The Importance of Exercise ......................................................... 34 Cardio Workouts ..................................................................... 34 Strength Training .................................................................... 36 Stretching and Flexibility Training .............................................. 37 Specialized Exercise ................................................................ 39 Eight Exercise Tips .................................................................. 43 Improve Your Workout with Massage Therapy............................. 45 General Health Tips ....................................................................47 Six Health Tips ....................................................................... 47 Health and Fitness Strategies ................................................... 49 Conditions ................................................................................ 51 Headaches ............................................................................. 51 Carpal Tunnel Syndrome .......................................................... 53 Shoulder Pain......................................................................... 55 Copyright 息2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Back Pain............................................................................... 57 Elbow Pain—Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow .............................. 59 Massage for Plantar Fasciitis ..................................................... 61 Hydrotherapy at Home ............................................................... 63 Important Precautions ............................................................. 63 Tips for Cold Therapy.............................................................. 63 Tips for Heat Therapy.............................................................. 64 Alternating Hot and Cold.......................................................... 64 Other Approaches to Better Health............................................... 65 Meditation For Better Health..................................................... 65 Binaural Beats ........................................................................ 66 Aromatherapy ........................................................................ 66 The Release Technique ............................................................ 67 Abundance ............................................................................. 68 Final Thoughts .......................................................................... 69

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Introduction Are you living a healthy, energetic life, free of annoying aches and pains? If not, my goal is to show you how you can take charge of your self-care using natural methods. As a massage therapist, I often hear clients complain of some ache or pain, followed by the statement, "I guess I'm just getting old." I have to contain my impulse to shake them and say, "That's garbage. If you take care of yourself properly, most of those aches and pains will go away."

"If our muscles are not regularly used in challenging and skilled activities, they become weaker and less responsive. If our brain cells are not systematically involved in a wide variety of voluntary activities, they deteriorate...Those who believe that they should take it easy as they become older are deluded; they are persons who are surrendering their life functions bit by bit."

Of course, part of the problem is that we are not taught how to take Somatics: Reawakening the Mind's care of ourselves. That's where this Control of Movement, Flexibility, book comes in. I am going to and Health by Thomas Hanna. introduce you to a variety of options for self-care. Some options, such as massage, do require that you see a professional (although self-massage can also be quite useful). However, many stress management techniques, exercise options, and other techniques you can do on your own. Although juggling a career, family, and more is highly demanding and doesn’t often leave much time for self care, neglecting yourself damages both your physical and emotional health in the long run (and by extension the lives of people close to you). By neglecting your needs, you send your body and psyche the message that you are not as important as other things. Ignore your body too long and you may find yourself not only with aches and pains but also with serious health issues that could have been avoided with some preventative self-care. Take care of yourself! Carol Wiley, Licensed Massage Practitioner Massage Supplies and Products Massage Therapy and Wellness Information Young Living Essential Oils Copyright Š2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Massage Therapy Massage therapy can improve your health, whether or not you are in pain. Massage just has so many benefits. In fact, Tiffany Field, Ph.D., founder of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami’s School of Medicine, has said "[These benefits] put massage in the same category with proper diet and exercise as something that helps maintain overall health." 1 Of course, you can’t expect massage to make up for poor nutrition and no exercise. But even when we strive to do our best in those areas, sometimes we fall short. Massage can surely fill in those gaps. And even more importantly, from my perspective, massage helps keep us in touch with our bodies.

Benefits of Massage Three of the primary health benefits of massage are improved circulation, reduced muscle tension, and relief from the effects of stress. Massage increases lymph flow and blood circulation. Your body depends on the flow of lymph and blood to remove metabolic waste and by-products of tissue damage and inflammation and to deliver oxygen and nutrients to tissue cells. Secondly, massage reduces muscle tension. Tense muscles lead to stiffness, reduced movement potential, impaired circulation, and pain. Massage relaxes muscles through the mechanical effects of pressure on muscle tissue and the soothing effects of focused, skilled touch on the nervous system, which controls muscle tension. A third important benefit of massage is relief from the effects of stress. Negative stress is a major factor in many of the diseases that plague our lives. Various sources estimate that 70-90% of visits to general physicians are for stress-related illness. I'll talk more about stress later in this book. For the more technically minded, here are some of the ways that massage therapy affects your body: 1

"The Magic of Touch," Newsweek, April 6, 1998.

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Pumps blood and lymphatic fluids around the body. Increasing circulation is important because tight muscles squeeze blood out like a sponge, depriving the tissues of vital nutrients and energy to repair.

Increases tissue permeability. Deep massage causes the pores in tissue membranes to open, enabling fluids and nutrients to pass through. This helps remove waste products and encourage the muscles to take up oxygen and nutrients, which aid recovery.

Stretches muscle. Massage can stretch tissues that might not be stretched by the usual methods. The bundles of muscle fibers are stretched sideways as well as longitudinally. Massage can also stretch the fascia that surrounds the muscle, releasing any tension build up.

Breaks down scar tissue. Scar tissue is the result of previous injuries or trauma and can affect muscle, tendons, and ligaments. Scar tissue can lead to inflexible tissues that are prone to injury and pain.

Improves tissue elasticity. Intense physical exercise can make tissues hard and inelastic. Massage helps reverse this by stretching the tissues and circulating blood and nutrients.

Separates muscle fibers and connective tissue, which decreases pain caused by fibrous adhesions and increases flexibility and strength.

Reduces pain. Tension and waste products in muscles can often cause pain. Massage helps reduce this in many ways including releasing endorphins, the body's natural painkillers.

Prevents injuries. A massage therapist can often identify areas of pain and tension that you did not realize you had. These could be sites of potential overuse injury, which can then be dealt with before they affect training and performance.

Learn to give a basic massage to your partner or friends with online massage videos.

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


When Not to Receive Massage As wonderful as massage is, sometimes you should not receive a massage. First, let’s look at the effects of massage on your body. I’m talking here primarily about Swedish and Deep Tissue massage. Massage changes the internal environment of your body, influencing the diameter of blood vessels and direction of fluid flow. Massage also changes the chemical balance of the body, reducing some types of hormones and increasing others, shifting secretion of neurotransmitters, and changing the protein levels in interstitial tissues. So, the question becomes, can your body handle these changes? Many of the medical conditions for which massage is contraindicated (meaning you should not receive a massage) involve the circulatory system. Do not get a massage if you have an embolism, thrombus, or anything involving a blood clot. If you have a history of or risk factors for blood clots, be sure your massage therapist knows. Each therapist will decide whether to give you a massage; however, you should know that if you have an undiagnosed blood clot, massage can theoretically cause the clot to dislodge and land you in the hospital (or worse). Any condition involving damaged blood vessels requires extreme caution for massage. For example, some people consider aneurysms an absolute contraindication for massage while others say it depends on the location and type of aneurysm. Even so, get a massage only with a doctor’s written OK, and no deep massage. Other cautionary conditions include advanced atherosclerosis, uncontrolled high blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes, and advanced heart disease. Aside from circulatory conditions, another major area of contraindication for massage involves acute infection. Massage can potentially cause any infection to spread.

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


What about colds and flu? Massage can potentially make you sicker by helping the virus spread. Once you are past the acute stage, and just have a few lingering symptoms, massage is OK, though you may feel a little worse for a day or so afterward. And I hope it’s obvious that if you have anything contagious, you shouldn’t be getting a massage. Be considerate of your massage therapist! We are particularly concerned about contagious skin conditions. Also be aware that research about the effects of massage on some medical conditions is lacking, and sometimes massage therapists are just being safe by not doing massage. Afterall, we don’t want to hurt you. Ten years ago, cancer was considered an absolute contraindication for massage, but recent research has shown that carefully applied massage can sometimes be beneficial. Many cancer treatment programs now even include massage. The important thing is to make sure you give your massage therapist an accurate and complete health history so that he/she can make an informed decision about whether massage is appropriate for you. If you are interested in more information on massage contraindications and the effects of massage on the body, see Ruth Werner’s A Massage Therapist's Guide to Pathology.

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Self-Care to Support Your Massage Here are tips for getting more out of your massage sessions. In the Hours After Your Massage After your massage you may notice profound changes in your body and mind. Here are some things that can help you get the most from your massage. •

Drink extra water. Massage improves circulation, which helps flush irritating waste products from stressed muscles and other tissues. Drinking water aids the functioning of the whole body, including the circulation and the kidneys, which are both involved with removing waste products from your body. Drinking extra water also seems to help reduce soreness and fatigue after a massage.

Schedule time to take it easy after your massage. Rest if you feel the need. If you can, take a nap or go to bed early. If you haven’t been sleeping well, receiving massage may relax you enough that you will want to turn in and catch up.

If the focus of your massage is on a particular injury or body part, remember to stretch, ice, or apply heat to that area with the advice of your massage therapist. Or, you may want to do some gentle movement, such as walking, in the hours after your massage to mildly encourage your muscles to work in a balanced and efficient way.

People sometimes experience soreness for 24 hours or so after a massage. If you do feel sore or think that you might, stretch gently in a hot shower or take a warm bath with Epsom salts. And remember to tell your massage therapist about your experience so it can be taken into consideration in your next session.

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Between Your Massages To get the most out of your massage sessions, practice these self-care tips regularly. •

Stretch. If you are getting massage for pain and discomfort, stretching is essential for you. Frequency is more important than length of a stretching session. Set up a reminder sound, such as a chime on your computer, to remind you to stretch for 2 minutes every hour or 5 minutes every two hours. Follow this simple routine: Exhale as you stretch whatever feels tight or uncomfortable to a feel-good position, and inhale as you return to a starting position.

Exercise regularly. Even very moderate exercise can help relieve pent-up muscle tension and improve your circulation, two benefits you may have also noticed after massage. Walking, gardening, golfing, and tai chi are all ways to get your heart pumping and your muscles moving, and can also help shift your attention from your worries to relaxation and the enjoyment of life.

Take time to relax. Change your schedule to include more down time, even if it’s only 15 minutes for deep breathing or a walk after work or at lunch. Get away from chores on the weekend for a morning or afternoon to enjoy some time in nature or with friends.

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Pain and Massage This section contains articles about using massage to relieve pain and help heal injury.

Massage for Chronic Pain Pain creates a vicious cycle. Pain leads to muscle tension, reduced circulation, and restricted movement, which in turn lead to more pain. Massage therapy can play an important role in breaking this cycle. Muscle Tension Muscles contract around any painful site to protect the area. If pain is resolved quickly, muscles relax. If pain persists, muscles can become habitually tight. Sometimes, tight muscles press on nerves, causing tingling, numbness, or more pain. Massage helps by stretching tight muscles and by stimulating the nervous system to relax muscle tension. Reduced Circulation Tight muscles reduce circulation, letting waste products accumulate, which can leave you feeling fatigued and sore. Plus waste products can irritate nerves, causing pain to spread. Massage releases contracted muscles and increases circulation. Also, as massage relaxes the nervous system, blood vessels dilate to increase blood flow. Waste products are flushed away and replaced with oxygen and nutrients. Areas with poor circulation often develop trigger points—highly irritable spots that refer pain, tingling, or other sensations to other places in the body. Trigger points respond well to specific massage techniques. Muscle Shortening and Restricted Movement Eventually, the body lays down connective tissue in any contracted area with poor circulation. While helpful for healing injuries, this natural reaction can "glue" muscles and their connective tissue coverings into a shortened state. The stretching and kneading of massage softens and lengthens connective tissue.

Copyright Š2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Irritating waste products, painful trigger points, and shortened muscles make even simple actions difficult and tiring. As your capacity for movement and exercise decreases, you lose the most important means for maintaining good circulation throughout your body, risking pain in new areas. Massage helps restore normal movement by releasing trigger points, removing waste products, and stretching shortened muscles. Also, because you feel better after a massage, you may have renewed energy and motivation for physical activity. For massage to be really effective, you need to set up a regular schedule--certainly once a week at first, and then possibly less often as you respond to the massage. Remember, it takes time.

Your Shoulders/Upper Back Hurts . . . Muscles can be tight for two different reasons: (1) the muscle is over-contracted or "locked short" or (2) the muscle is over-stretched or "locked long." The locked long muscles are often the painful ones, but the locked short muscles, often silent, are the ones that need to be opened and stretched for the pain to go away permanently. I commonly see people with shoulder and upper back pain, and usually the problem is that the shoulder/upper back muscles are overstretched and locked long. Massaging these muscles will provide temporary relief but will not create a permanent change. Often, the problem is that the chest muscles—especially a small, hardto-reach muscle called the pectoralis minor—are over-contracted and locked short. These muscles need to be released to create a permanent change in shoulder/upper back tension and pain.

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Neck Pain . . . May be a Pain in the Foot I see many people with neck, shoulder, and back pain, and often these people tell me to just massage the painful area. But it is important to realize that the cause of the pain may not be in the same location as the pain. For example, you break your toe. It’s painful and there’s not much you can do except wait for it to heal. To ease the pain when you walk, you start shifting your weight to a different part of your foot. This weight shift throws your knee out of alignment, which throws your hip out of alignment, which throws your back out of alignment, which throws your neck out of alignment. Thus, you can have pain in any of these areas because of your compensations for a broken toe. After your toe heals, your body may retain these compensations, and when you see a massage therapist for neck pain (perhaps years later), she or he may need to start by working on your feet and correcting your alignment. It’s not only injuries that can throw your body out of alignment—poor posture habits, repetitive one-sided movements, and poorly fitting shoes are just a few things that can affect alignment and thus cause pain. Not all pain is obvious as to its source, and pain often has several causative factors. The body functions as a unit—parts do NOT work in isolation. Not all massage therapists work with alignment, so if that’s what you need, make sure to ask before making an appointment. Other bodywork practices that work with alignment include Rolfing, SOMA, Hellerwork, and other forms of structural integration.

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Massage for Soft-Tissue Injury Soft-tissue injuries (such as muscle pulls and strains, tendonitis, ligament sprains, and whiplash) heal faster with specifically targeted massage. Massage reduces spasm, pain, swelling, and formation of excess scar tissue. Massage also breaks up excess scar tissue and adhesions (stuck together tissue) that weaken muscles and contribute to further injury. "Skillful, knowledgeable massage can make the When you have a softdifference between a one-time muscle strain tissue injury, the tissue that takes a few weeks to resolve and a fibers are torn. Scar tissue painful, limiting, chronically recurring begins to form immediately condition… By applying skills to the proper at the injured site, but the formation of scar tissue, the reduction of edema, the limiting of adhesions, and the scar tissue does not improvement of circulation and mobility, necessarily run parallel to massage can turn an irritating muscle tear into the fibers of the injured a trivial event." A Massage Therapist's Guide to Pathology tissue. This process can by Ruth Werner lead to excess scar tissue that is weak and prone to further injury. Also, because scar tissue is not elastic, it can restrict movement of surrounding fibers, setting you up for further injury.

Massage creates tension and stretch that breaks up excess scar tissue and helps determine the direction of new tissue fibers. This process makes the injured site stronger and less prone to new injury. Massage also increases circulation to the injured area, bringing needed nutrients and removing waste products produced in the healing process. Massage for injury requires a regular schedule, no less than once a week. In some cases, you will see much faster results with a twice-aweek schedule. For how long? It depends on the nature and extent of the injury, how old it is, and your ability to heal. It also depends on your willingness, when appropriate, to ice the injury, to exercise or stretch, or to identify and eliminate the cause of ongoing injury. Massage for injury is not necessarily relaxing and can leave you feeling sore for a day or two. However, it’s not necessary to be in a lot of pain after the massage—that’s too much work—always let your massage therapist know how you felt after your last massage.

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Self-Massage When you just cannot get to a massage therapist, self-massage is a great way to relax and invigorate yourself. The following techniques will get you started. Important: If anything is painful, don’t do it. Be careful if you have recently been injured or seriously ill. If in doubt, consult a massage therapist or other healthcare professional.

Self-Massage for Your Head and Face To temporarily improve your mental clarity and concentration plus to reduce tension or anxiety, massage your head and face. •

Place one index finger directly over the other at the center of your hairline. Press and release, "walking" rhythmically down the center of your forehead. Then, move about one inch horizontally to the right of the centerline, and press and release from the hairline downward. Move your fingers one inch to the left of the centerline, and repeat.

Beginning with your thumbs or index fingers at the center of your forehead, "draw" a line from the midline to the temples. Smooth the skin across the eyebrows, the center horizontal line of the forehead, and across the hairline.

Make small circles on each temple with your index fingers.

With your hands, make a "claw." Make small circles into your scalp, slowly covering your entire scalp, lingering wherever it feels tight.

Using alternate index fingers, stroke down the bridge of the nose from the top to the tip.

With your thumbs or index fingers, gently stroke from the inner corner of each eye across the cheekbones to the ears. Repeat in horizontal strips as you work down your face.

Make circles into the well-developed muscles of your jaw. Linger on areas that are sore or tight.

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Self-Massage for Your Neck, Arms, and Shoulders To Massage Your Neck • Reach around and grasp the base of your neck, squeezing it with your hand. Move up your neck to your hairline, squeezing and releasing as you go. Repeat as many times as desired. •

Use one hand to help stretch your neck forward slowly as you exhale. Inhale and return to start. Then exhale as you again help yourself stretch your neck to the right and then the left. Important: Stretch ONLY to a comfortable stretch.

Place the palms of your hands on the sides of your head and the pads of your thumbs just above your ears. Apply slow, even pressure with your thumbs, tracing along your natural hairline until the thumbs meet in the back center part of your head. Move your thumbs up slightly, feeling for the ridge in the back of your head. Using slow, comfortable pressure, make little circles with your thumbs back to your original hand position, as you follow the ridge and hairline. Repeat.

To Release Your Neck and Shoulders Reach up and grab the base of the left side of your neck with your right hand. Squeeze and release, moving your hand down your left shoulder and arm. Repeat several times on both sides of your body. For a Deep Massage to Your Arms • •

Warm your arm by quickly squeezing the muscles, then briskly rub up and down the entire area. Put one forearm on a counter or a high table. Use a folded towel for padding if you like. Now, place your other elbow on top of the warmed arm, and press firmly in a line down to the wrist. Repeat three times down each line, turning your forearm until you have worked the entire area. Using your thumb, return to any spots that are extra tender, and press firmly and gently for a few seconds on each spot.

Repeat all or part of these steps several times a day. Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Self-Massage for Your Low Back and Buttocks If you have discomfort in your low back, buttocks, or hamstrings, use these self-massage techniques: •

Lie on your side on the floor with your knees bent. Reach your hand as far up your spine as you can and stroke with your thumb along the sides of the spine down to your tailbone.

Still lying on your side, press points on your buttocks from your low back to thigh. Press with your fist, knuckles, or thumbs. Hold each point for several seconds, then release.

Sit or lie on a tennis ball or a soft "practice" golf ball. If the tennis ball feels too hard, put a towel over it or use it on a soft surface like a bed. Roll your lower back and buttocks over the ball, lingering on areas that feel tight or painful. Use your body weight to press into the ball as much as is comfortable. Important: If you get a sharp, shooting pain in your buttocks, you may have rolled over the sciatic nerve. Avoid that hot spot, and see if you can coax those tight gluteus muscles to relax.

Want More? The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide For Pain Relief by Clair Davies. Trigger point therapy helps relieve softtissue pain and dysfunction, including pain from repetitive strain injuries, accident trauma, and sports injuries. This book shows you techniques that you can use to relieve pain and promote a rapid return of mobility and function. Acupressure's Potent Points: A Guide to Self-Care for Common Ailments by Michael Reed Gach. You can perform acupressure on yourself by following the well-illustrated instructions in this book. Chi Self-Massage: The Taoist Way of Rejuvenation by Mantak Chia.

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Self-Massage for Your Feet If your feet are tired and achy, give yourself regular foot massage. 1. Sit in a chair with one foot resting over the other knee, or sit on the floor cross-legged with one foot in front. 2. Grasp your foot and exercise the ankle joint by moving the foot from front to back and side to side. 3. Brace your foot with one hand. Press and slide the thumb of the other hand down the sections of the sole, from the base of the toes to the heel. 4. Work into tender points more deeply with your thumb or knuckles. Hold for several seconds in especially tight or achy spots. 5. Squeeze each toe. 6. Squeeze and release your whole foot several times from the heel to the toes. 7. Repeat on your other foot. As an alternative, massage your feet with a tennis, golf, or other small ball. Run each foot over a ball for a minute or two, pressing and holding on tender or tight areas. You may also want to exchange foot massage with a friend. Use a little massage oil, lotion, or any good vegetable or nut oil, such as almond or walnut. You can also add a few drops of essential oil such as lavender or rosemary for a refreshing change. What is Reflexology? Reflexology is based on the principle that the hands, feet, and ears have reflex points that correspond to every part, gland, and organ of the body. Applying pressure to these points relieves tension, improves circulation, and promotes the natural function of the related areas of the body. Reflexology is not the same as foot massage. There are many types of foot massage but foot reflexology is a specific technique designed to affect the entire body by applying pressure to the reflex points on the feet. For more information, see Foot Reflexology: A Visual Guide for Self-Treatment by Jorgen Jura.

Copyright Š2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Stress Management and Relaxation Some information about how stress affects your body and what you can do about it.

How Stress Affects Your Body Stress is not necessarily a bad thing—it can be a stimulus for positive change and growth. But excess stress can be detrimental. Even a small stress in your life (such as a mild but chronic illness, a daily commute, or ever-present background noise), if sustained or combined with other stresses, can take its toll. When stress occurs in your body, you naturally experience the "fight or flight response." Your body does not interpret stress as good or bad but simply attempts to cope by preparing you for action, either to fight or flee. This reaction is a biochemical response that sends your sympathetic nervous system into a kind of overdrive, causing many changes in your body, including: •

Your blood pressure goes up to arouse the necessary organs, and you inhale more oxygen, increase your heartbeat, and circulate blood more quickly.

Your platelets increase, so that your blood will coagulate more quickly if you are wounded. Your spleen increases the number of white blood cells to fight infection.

Glycogen turns to glucose, and glucose combines with insulin from the pancreas, along with fat, to produce energy.

Digestion stops, so that blood can be diverted to your muscles and brain.

This automatic reaction takes place constantly and quietly whenever your environment changes. The more changes that occur in your life, the more your body goes into fight or flight mode. Your body continually seeks equilibrium. Problems begin to arise when you find yourself in situations where this natural fight or flight Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


mechanism is unable to complete its cycle; that is, you can neither fight nor flee, a common situation in modern society. Incomplete fight or flight cycles can become dangerous and lead to distress that can cause illness. Conditions related to stress include increased serum cholesterol, high blood pressure, stroke, coronary heart disease, ulcers (stress increases acid production and lowers immunity to H. pylori), migraine and tension headaches, allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, backache, and TMJ syndrome. You need to pay attention to the recovery cycle necessary to bring your body back to full equilibrium. How? Some possible solutions are exercise, meditation, relaxation techniques, and massage. For more information about stress and disease, read Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, Third Edition by Robert M. Sapolsky.

Stress Management with Massage To prevent health problems, it’s important to reverse the effects of stress. Massage therapy is one of the best stress management methods available. Massage obviously relieves tense muscles. Massage also evokes the opposite of the fight or flight response: the relaxation response, which lowers heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure and increases the blood supply to all the body’s systems, helping them function at an optimal level.

Stress Busters You can get even more out of your massage if you participate in managing your stress between sessions. Here are some suggestions. • • • • •

Set aside time to talk to your family and friends about your concerns. Practice focused relaxation. Sit comfortably, noticing where you feel discomfort. Breathe slowly into these areas. Make a list of people and things you are grateful for. Set boundaries at work and home.

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • •

• •

Meditate. Take a class or try out a group. Bike, jog ... or just take a 10-minute walk. Dance! Take a dance class or just twirl around your living room. Stretch. Ask your massage therapist for some suggestions. Take a yoga or tai chi class. Practice deep, full body breathing if you can’t sleep. If possible, take action to change situations that are troubling you. Relieve yourself of responsibilities that don’t feel right any longer. If you feel that stress threatens to overwhelm you, seek a professional counselor. Take a hot bath. Add several drops of essential oils like lavender or ylang-ylang for relaxation. Take a painting, writing, or photography class. Take a nap, even if it’s only for ten minutes. Take your breaks at work. Get outside or do simple stretches for 10 minutes. Laugh. Watch comedies and read humorous books. Try autosuggestion. Frequently repeat a suggestion to yourself such as "Head tall" or "Neck relaxed." You don’t have to do anything, just say the words. Take a warm shower, stretching your neck and shoulders slowly in the heat. Take a weekend, or even a morning, away from obligations and worries. Express your creativity. Write down your memories or grow flowers. Try abdominal breathing. Inhale slowly through your nose. Exhale completely, squeezing the belly tight. Begin by practicing for 5 minutes at a time. Soak your feet. Add Epsom salts to a bath or basin of warm water and enjoy! Honor a time and space for your own relaxation. Regular massage is a great way to develop this nurturing habit.

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Ten Ways To Relax Do you prefer a day at the beach or in the mountains? If you can't get away, use one or more of the following ten ways to relax. Get an extra massage. When you relax with massage, you let go of muscle tension, worry, and mental confusion. If you slow down and relax, you can more easily tune into your feelings and encourage your body and mind to let go of stress and tension. Practice focused relaxation. Sit comfortably or lie down with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Support your neck with a pillow if you prefer. Scan your body, noticing where you feel tension or discomfort. Breathe slowly into these areas. Imagine relaxation flooding into the areas of discomfort. Begin by practicing ten minutes once a day. Meditate. You will probably have a better chance of sticking with a technique you learn in a class or other group, but in the meantime, try this technique: Silently repeat a word that has little emotional meaning for you, such as "one." Give it your full attention. When other thoughts or images come into your mind, ignore them and return your focus to the unspoken word. Don’t strain or try too hard. Simply let your mind keep coming back to your chosen word again and again as thoughts pass through your mind. Practice abdominal breathing. Inhale slowly through your nose. Exhale completely, squeezing the belly tight. Begin by practicing for 5 minutes at a time. Try it when you feel anxious or can’t sleep. If you are a shallow breather, it negatively affects your health because your body is not receiving optimal oxygen. For more breathing exercises, see The Art of Breathing: 6 Simple Lessons to Improve Performance, Health, and Well-Being by Nancy Zi. Soak in a hot bath. Add several drops of essential oils like lavender or ylang-ylang for relaxation. Or just soak your feet. Add Epsom salts to a bathtub or basin of warm water and enjoy!

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Try biofeedback. A professional biofeedback practitioner can help you develop self-regulation over the mental and physical processes that are associated with stress-related disorders. Take a nap, even if it’s only for ten minutes. Take a warm shower. As the water rushes around your neck, drop your neck forward and stretch it from side to side. Then circle your shoulders slowly under the hot water. Try autosuggestion. Frequently repeat a suggestion to yourself such as "Shoulders free" or "Neck relaxed." Repeat the suggestion, but don’t strain or do anything at all except say the phrase. This plants an idea that may gently support muscle relaxation. Take a yoga class. Many people find yoga increases relaxation and helps with stress management. Relaxation Books The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook by Martha Davis and others. This book presents many self-assessment tools and calming techniques to help you overcome anxiety and promote physical and emotional well-being. Total Relaxation: Healing Practices for Body, Mind & Spirit by John Harvey. This book presents a selection of relaxation techniques from five different categories: muscular, autonomic, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Includes a 60-minute CD containing guided relaxation practices.

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Progressive Relaxation Exercise This progressive relaxation technique is easy and quick to learn. Try it when you feel anxious, are stressed, or can’t sleep. Doing this relaxation technique every day will give you the most benefit. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Lie comfortably with your arms and legs outstretched. Clench one fist and hold it for 10 seconds. Relax the fist for 10 seconds, then clench again, and relax. Repeat with the other hand. Draw the toes of one foot toward the knee. Hold for 10 seconds. Relax and repeat. 6. Do the same with the other foot. 7. Repeat the same sequence for the following body parts, first on one side of the body, then the other. You can also experiment with other muscle groups: o Back of the lower legs. Point, tense your toes, and relax. o Buttocks. Squeeze together and relax. o Shoulder blades. Draw together and relax. o Abdomen. Pull in tightly and relax. o Neck. Push your neck down towards the floor and relax. o Face. Tighten and contract the muscles around your eyes and mouth, and relax. After a week of practicing the above exercise, start combining muscle groups. For example, tense and relax the following parts together: • Hands and arms on both sides. • Face and neck. • Shoulders and back. • Legs and feet. After another week, try to stop the tensing part of the exercise. Lie down and focus on different areas, relaxing areas that feel tight. Source: Fibromyalgia and Muscle Pain: Your Self-Treatment Guide by Leon Chaitow N.D., D.O.

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Somatic Education and Movement Therapy Why movement? The Tao Te Ching says it best: "That which is static and unchanging is dead. That which moves and changes is alive." Life is continual movement. Even as we sleep, the movements of our internal organs keep us alive. But how aware are we of our bodies and their movements? Like James Joyce’s Mr. Duffy, who "lived a short distance from his body," many of us live away from our bodies in this age of technology and stress. Yet technology and stress make living in our bodies even more essential to our health and well-being. Each stress, each trauma, each abuse takes it toll on our bodies. We abuse our bodies with drugs, alcohol, poor diet, too little sleep, and too little or too much exercise. We abuse our bodies by ignoring them, disliking them, or trying to force drastic change. We judge our bodies as seen from the outside, as if we were viewing a statue or wax dummy. But we can also view the body from the inside. The body as seen and experienced from within is the soma, from the Greek meaning "living body." Viewing the body from inside brings awareness to feelings, movements, and intentions, and is quite distinct from our society’s emphasis on the body as perceived from the outside. Working with the soma is the basis of somatic practices. These practices are not about the development of muscle or some specified body shape. They are about internal awareness, the flow of breath in the body, releasing muscle tension, developing our own natural movement, and being healthy.

Copyright Š2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


What is Somatic Education? "Somatic" refers to your ability to sense the processes going on "within" you. "Education" means increasing your ability to function. Somatic education is not a technique; it is a way of operating that relies on your awareness, desire, and ability to become more selfdetermining. This approach to mind/body integration improves your natural control of your body’s muscular system, reduces stress, and gives you more energy by improving your physiological functioning. In many cases, somatic education can eliminate pain associated with aging, injury, and repetitive use patterns. There are many approaches to somatic education. To name just a few: The Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais Method, Trager Method, BodyMind Centering, and Hanna Somatic Education. In a broad sense, massage therapy can also be considered somatic education when done in a way that helps you take control of your body. Because I believe somatic education is one of the best, yet least known, ways to keep your body in good operating condition, I'm going into detail about several methods.

Copyright Š2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


The Feldenkrais Method® The Feldenkrais Method is an educational system that helps you develops a functional awareness of yourself in the environment. Throughout your life, you adopt patterns of physical and psychological behavior to deal with all types of situations. These patterns can become deeply embedded in your nervous system and remain even when you no longer need them. These outmoded or dysfunctional patterns then cause pain or other problems. The Feldenkrais Method can improve posture, flexibility, coordination, and self-image and also alleviate muscular tension and pain. Feldenkrais is effective because it accesses the nervous system's innate processes to free you from habitual patterns. Then new patterns of thinking, moving, and feeling can emerge. The Feldenkrais Method can benefit anyone who wants to move, sit, and lie more comfortably. It is especially useful for people with restricted movement, chronic pain, and psychological and neurological problems. Performing artists and athletes also use the Feldenkrais Method to improve performance. The Feldenkrais Method consists of two parts: Awareness Through Movement® and Functional Integration®. Awareness Through Movement® Lessons In Awareness Through Movement (ATM) lessons, the Feldenkrais practitioner verbally guides you through a series of movements. ATM is taught in a group setting, and you may be sitting or lying on the floor, standing, or sitting in a chair. ATM accesses the sensory motor processes of your brain. You discover how you do the movements and notice the quality of changes in your body. You learn to relax and to abandon habitual patterns. ATM reeducates your body and makes you aware of new ways you can move. Hundreds of lessons address every joint and muscle group in the body and every human function.

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Functional IntegrationÂŽ In Functional Integration you work individually with a Feldenkrais practitioner, who communicates movements through slow, gentle touch. Comfortably clothed, you lie or sit on a low padded table, or you may be standing, walking, or sitting in a chair. The practitioner guides you through a series of precise movements that change habitual patterns and provide new learning directly to your neuromuscular system. Moshe Feldenkrais

"The ideal posture is obtained not by doing something to oneself, but by literally doing nothing, that is, by eliminating all acts of voluntary origin due to motivations other than standing that have become automatic and are now part and parcel of the personal acture of the situation of standing." Moshe Feldenkrais, The Potent Self

Moshe Feldenkrais, D.Sc., (1904-1984) was a scientist, physicist, and engineer. He was also a Judo instructor. Feldenkrais developed the Method to heal his own knee problems, and then taught hundreds of students around the world. His insights contributed to the development of the new field of somatic education and continue to influence disciplines such as physical medicine, gerontology, the arts, education, and psychology. He wrote a number of books, including Awareness Through Movement: Easy-to-Do Health Exercises to Improve Your Posture, Vision, Imagination, and Personal Awareness.

Copyright Š2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Hanna Somatic Education® Hanna Somatic Education®, also known as Hanna Somatics, is a somatic approach created by Thomas Hanna, Ph.D. Forgetting How to Move Just as the brain can forget information we do not use, it can also forget bodily movements we do not use. Thomas Hanna called this bodily memory loss "sensory-motor amnesia," and he considered it a malfunction of the nervous system. The central nervous system, which consists of the brain and spinal cord, receives information from sensory nerves and sends out information on motor nerves. In other words, sensory nerves tell your central nervous system what is happening, then the central nervous system uses the motor nerves to tell your body what to do. This sensory-motor feedback loop continually responds to daily stresses and traumas with specific muscular reflexes. When reflexes recur repeatedly, they create habitual muscle contractions that become so deeply ingrained and unconscious, we eventually no longer remember how to move fully. We become unable to voluntarily relax. The result of this sensory-motor amnesia is stiffness, soreness, and limited range of motion. Sensory-motor amnesia affects the entire body because the entire body compensates for a problem in any specific location. Sensorymotor amnesia is an adaptive response of the central nervous system, and this response can be unlearned using neurologically based exercises. Aging and Sensory-Motor Amnesia Hanna believed that many of the physical problems attributed to age are actually functional problems of disuse. Use it or lose it. Or in Hanna’s words, "If our muscles are not regularly used in challenging and skilled activities, they become weaker and less responsive. If our brain cells are not systematically involved in a wide variety of voluntary activities, they deteriorate...Those who believe that they should take it easy as they become older are deluded; they Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


are persons who are surrendering their life functions bit by bit." (Page 39 of Somatics: Reawakening the Mind's Control of Movement, Flexibility, and Health by Thomas Hanna.) Stress and Bodily Reflexes Stress is how your body responds to the demands placed on it. Hanna observed that our neuromuscular system has two basic responses to stress, which he called the Red Light reflex and Green Light reflex. The Red Light reflex, also known as the withdrawal or startle response, is the neuromuscular adaptation to sustained negative stress. This reflex is a primitive survival reflex that lies deep outside our conscious control. If we feel frightened or threatened, our body draws inward in a protective response: we contract our jaw, narrow our eyes, raise our shoulders and push our head forward, bend our elbows, tighten our abdominal muscles causing us to lean forward, tighten our crotch, bend our knees, and lift our toes. In contrast to the Red Light reflex, which contracts the muscles in the front of our body, the Green Light reflex contracts the muscles in the back. The Green Light reflex is the action response. These two reflexes are total somatic responses that contract muscles head to toe in either negative withdrawal or positive action. Many repetitions of either response can cause a gradual buildup of chronically opposing muscle contractions. The muscles of one response begin to interfere with the muscles of the other response, which leads to stiff and limited movement and negative self-image, plus chronic pain, fatigue, shallow breathing, and high blood pressure. How to Use Hanna Somatics How do you get the benefits of Hanna Somatics? You can see a Hanna Somatic Educator who will work hands-on with you one-on-one or you can do Somatic Exercises. Somatic Exercises are designed to change your muscular system by changing your central nervous system. You can find many somatic exercises in Hanna’s book, Somatics: Reawakening the Mind's Control of Movement, Flexibility, and Health. I credit the exercises in this book with being a major factor (along with massage and other bodywork) in helping me get rid of 20+ years of off-and-on chronic lower back pain. Copyright Š2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Body-Mind Centering® Body-Mind Centering explores and helps you learn how your body’s anatomical systems support you in all your activities. Using movement, voice, breath, perceptions, and touch, Body-Mind Centering helps you become aware of every part of your body. You develop an internal awareness that supports your external world. Body-Mind Centering was developed by Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, an occupational therapist and trained dancer who set out to explore the possibilities of the human body in the 1960s. A pivotal influence for Cohen was her study with the founders of neurodevelopmental therapy, a method of restoring developmental movement patterns in children with brain injuries. Cohen also studied other forms of therapy and movement, including yoga, Laban Movement Analysis, dance therapy, neuromuscular reeducation, and katsugen undo (a Japanese method of training the involuntary nervous system). In 1973, she founded The School for Body-Mind Centering, which she still operates in Amherst, Massachusetts. She is also the author of Sensing, Feeling, and Action: The Experiential Anatomy of Body-Mind Centering. Today, the principles of Body-Mind Centering are used in movement, dance, athletics, bodywork, physical and occupational therapy, psychotherapy, child development, education, voice, music, visual arts, meditation, yoga, and other body-mind disciplines. Cellular Awareness A first step in Body-Mind Centering is developing cellular awareness. The cell is the basic unit of life that contains the potential for developing more complex and differentiated forms and that encourages the emergence of higher levels of consciousness. You can make contact with your cells by focusing your attention on them. You can breathe into your cells, use imagery, or experience the touch of another person who is focused on your cells. Once you focus attention, energy follows and brings about awareness.

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Developmental Movement Body-Mind Centering works with the automatic patterns of movement responses known as Developmental Movement. These patterns are the sequence of movements that an infant goes through as it grows. Each movement is a brick in the foundation on which other movements are built. Missing bricks weaken that foundation, cause excess body tension, and create less effective or efficient movement. A child’s movement patterns can be interrupted by injury or illness or by being pushed into activities before the child is developmentally ready. As an adult, you cannot use skipped developmental patterns for everyday movement unless you go back and develop those patterns. Cohen also believes that the underdevelopment of certain patterns is a factor in almost any adult social, physical, or psychological pattern. Anatomical Systems Body-Mind Centering also focuses on the in-depth and experiential study of all the body’s anatomical systems and teaches you to make direct contact with the different systems. Usually we think of movement in terms of bones and muscles. But Body-Mind Centering looks at how all anatomical systems (skin, organs, nervous, endocrine, fluids, fat, muscles, ligaments, fascia, and skeleton) can support movement. Each system reflects an aspect of the self and expresses its own quality of movement, feeling, touch, sound, perception, and attention. Through movement, breathing, and touch you can bring these aspects of self into a more balanced and dynamic relationship with each other. Each system provides a type of support. For example, organs provide inner support to your movement, breath, and voice; underlie your feelings and expression; and give aliveness and feeling to movement. Active organs support the muscular and skeletal framework from within. Energy blockages and torquing patterns in the organs can cause joint weakness and alignment problems. For more information, see The Wisdom of the Body Moving: An Introduction to Body-Mind Centering by Linda Hartley.

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


The Importance of Exercise A good exercise program includes three components: cardio, strengthening, and stretching. If you are new to exercise or recovering from illness or injury, it's always a good idea to check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.

Cardio Workouts Cardiovascular exercise primarily focuses on developing and strengthening the cardiovascular system through aerobic training. This means strengthening your heart, lungs, and blood vessels so that they all work more efficiently. Research shows that adults who maintain a high level of fitness throughout early and middle life end up living fuller, more productive lives as seniors. The numerous benefits of cardiovascular exercise include lower blood pressure, lower bad cholesterol and higher good cholesterol, decreased risk of heart attack and stroke, decreased risk of osteoporosis, decreased risk of some cancers, and more. To find the best cardio activity for you, consider your personal preferences as well as your body. The important thing is to get your heart pumping and enjoy what you are doing. Here are some possibilities: Swimming and Water Aerobics If you swim for three 45-minute workouts every week, you will see major changes in your body in just two to three weeks. Because your body is buoyant in the water, your muscles must work hard to propel you through the water. Muscles work almost twice as hard in water as in land workouts. Water aerobics use the water’s resistance to build muscle and burn calories. Water aerobics frequently use accessories for workouts, but you can also go to the pool and perform the same toning exercises that you would do in the gym. Squats, lunges, leg lifts – when done under water, these movements become more challenging and require muscles to work harder.

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Water aerobics is one of the most highly recommended options for people with arthritis and other joint and connective tissue disorders. Water supports the body and takes most of the stress off the joints. The water provides resistance for the body to work against without causing friction or pain. Power Walking Power walking requires you to put out a lot more effort than a stroll around the block. In power walking, you swing your arms back and forth as you walk briskly. Increasing the speed boosts your calorie burn even higher. Choose a walking route that includes inclines and changes to surprise and challenge your muscles. Power walking at the gym is as easy as hopping on the nearest programmable treadmill. Belly Dancing Belly dancing won’t burn quite as many calories as swimming or power walking, but for sheer fun and novelty this workout is great. You tone your hips, thighs, and waistline in a typical class and increase your aerobic capacity. Actually, any type of dancing is great, including putting on some music and dancing around your living room. Ashtanga Yoga The most physical form of yoga is Ashtanga yoga, which uses the traditional yoga poses and also incorporates powerful aerobic conditioning at the same time. You move quickly and powerfully in a fast-paced routine that is led by a certified instructor. Spinning When you spin, you use a machine similar to a bike but with only one wheel and with adjustable resistance so that you can control the level of exertion. Beginners start with the handle in a traditional biking position but as you proceed through levels and become more fit, you eventually move the handles to be almost level with the bike saddle. Spinning mimics mountain biking by changing resistance at different points throughout the workout, imitating hills and rises. Copyright Š2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Step Aerobics Step aerobics can burn serious calories thanks to the work it requires from muscles. You need an exercise step that can be raised or lowered depending on your fitness ability. After a brief warm-up, the instructor leads the class in aerobic exercise using the step to increase calorie burn. And More Bicycling, hiking, skating, skiing, running, and more are all great cardiovascular activities. Pick something you enjoy!

Strength Training Strength training is important for many reasons, including: •

Improved functional capacity (that is, you want to be able to carry that bag of groceries or pick up a small child, don't you?).

Increased bone density to help prevent osteoporosis. Increased rate of metabolism (muscle burns more calories).

Read about more strength-training benefits at The Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Weight lifting is most often associated with strength training, but other activities, including Pilates and yoga, also strengthen your body. If you are just starting a strengthening, or any exercise, program, get the help of a qualified personal trainer or other exercise professional. I do offer a few simple exercise routines on my Web site.

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Stretching and Flexibility Training If you want to maintain your movement and range of motion as you age, you must stretch regularly. Stretching vs. Warming Up Stretching is important. But you need to understand that stretching is not the same as warming up. The purpose of stretching is to lengthen muscle fibers and give you more flexibility. The purpose of warming up is to distribute heat throughout your muscles and prepare your body for more strenuous activities. Warmup exercises are very light strength-type exercises designed to slowly deepen your breathing, raise your heart rate, and increase blood flow in the tissues. Warm tissues are less likely to be injured! Stretching before you warm-up can actually increase your risk of injury. Stretching without warming up stresses tendons and ligaments in a way that over time makes them more vulnerable to injury. For more information about stretching, sign up for the free 6-part ecourse Stretching Tips for Safely Improving Your Flexibility and Minimizing Muscle Pain. How to Improve Your Flexibility in Ten Minutes a Day Here is a simple flexibility routine that stretches all major areas of your body and offers plenty of room for modification. Perform this tenminute sequence at least once a day. In two weeks, you’ll start to see a difference in your body’s flexibility. Hold all stretches for a minimum of ten seconds. Do not bounce or pulse, and do not stretch beyond your comfort level. If you feel pain, stop immediately and consult a professional. 1.

Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and your arms resting comfortably at your sides. Take a deep breath and raise your arms above your head as you inhale. Exhale as you bring your arms down. Repeat this movement four times.

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.



Bring your right arm up overhead and bend your elbow. Take your left hand and place it on the right elbow and gently press back and hold to stretch the triceps. Repeat the movement with the opposite arm.


Bring your right arm across your chest as though you were hugging yourself. Use your left hand to gently press the upper arm against the chest and hold. Repeat the movement with the other arm.


Raise both arms over your head, lace your fingers together with your palms facing up, and press toward the ceiling to stretch the biceps, spine, and abdominal muscles.


Bend forward at the waist, only as far as comfortable, and let your arms hang down and hold.


Kneel on your hands and knees, lower your head slightly, and pull in your abdominal muscles as you round your back up like a cat and hold. This stretches the spine and works the core muscles.


Lie face down on the floor with your palms flat on the floor near shoulder-height. Gently lift your upper body up only as far as is comfortable for you and hold. This stretches the abdominal muscles.


Sit on the floor with both legs extended in front of you and feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Lean forward as far as comfortable while keeping your back straight, place your hands on the floor between your legs, and hold. This stretches the spine and hamstring muscles.


Gently roll backwards until you are lying on your back. Bend both knees so your feet are flat on the floor. Place the ankle of the right leg just above the left knee. Lift the left leg and gently press back the right leg and hold, stretching the hamstring and gluteal muscles. Repeat on other side.

10. Extend your legs flat on the floor and extend both your arms over your head. Tense your body from head to toe for a count of five. Release; then repeat. When you are finished, roll onto your side and push yourself up from the floor. Copyright Š2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Specialized Exercise Pilates, Yoga, and Tai Chi are specialized forms of exercise that can benefit almost anyone. Pilates Pilates is a mind-body method of conditioning that develops strength in the abdominal region and strengthens the small muscles (often ignored in weight training) that support the larger muscles. Used for years by dancers, Pilates has recently become more popular because of its ability to create long, lean muscles and tone and sculpt the body. Developed by Joseph Pilates, this method combines elements of yoga, breath work, weight training, and gymnastics to bring the body into proper alignment. Joseph Pilates believed that many people have imbalanced bodies because they overdevelop the stronger muscle groups, which leads to poor posture and spinal misalignment. His goal was to create and maintain a structurally fit body. The Pilates Method combines stretching and strengthening routines designed to work the entire body efficiently, in natural and fluid movements. Pilates' works by building strength from the inside out and rebalancing your body. You can do Pilates work on machines or as mat exercises. The advantage to the mat work is that you can do it anyplace, anytime with no special equipment.

Copyright Š2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Yoga Yoga has a long history of helping people build strong bodies that can withstand the stress of daily living. Deep breathing is vital to yoga, and the exercises often use the breath to help the body relax. Exhaling completely allows you to inhale fully, expanding your lungs both in front and back. Complete breathing improves oxygen flow to your muscles and our brain, helping you to relax further and become more alert and clear-minded. The following stretches are modified yoga postures. If you enjoy these stretches and would like to know more, find a qualified yoga instructor. Release the small of your back 1. Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor. 2. Place a hand on each knee. 3. Exhale and draw the knees in toward your chest, pressing your low back into the floor. Hold for a moment or two, inhale, and let your knees rise until your arms are straight. 4. Exhale and pull the knees back into your chest. 5. Repeat several times. End with your feet back on the floor. Roll your spine 1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms and shoulders relaxed. 2. Exhale and begin to bend forward, starting by tucking your chin. Think of rolling down your spine, one vertebra at a time. Go slowly, taking 3 to 5 slow breaths to reach the point of a full, comfortable stretch. Touch your toes if you can, or simply stretch as far as you can without straining. 3. Hold the stretch for 2 or 3 relaxed breaths. 4. Inhale and start rolling up, one vertebra at a time, taking 3 to 5 breaths as you return to starting position. 5. Repeat several times. Note: If it’s more comfortable for you, bend your knees slightly throughout the stretch.

Copyright Š2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Relieve shoulder tension 1. Stand up straight, with feet shoulder-width apart and hands clasped behind your back. 2. Bend over from your waist and bring your arms as close as you can toward your head without straining. Keep your arms straight and your hands clasped. 3. Hold for 10 seconds and relax. 4. Repeat several times.

Copyright Š2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Tai Chi Tai Chi (or tai chi chuan) is a Chinese form of health-promoting exercise. "Chi" refers to the flow of energy through the body. The exercises are based on the ancient idea that health begins with the free flow of chi. Tai chi has been shown to improve balance, reduce high blood pressure, and ease the discomforts of back pain, arthritis, and excess stress. During the series of tai chi movements you are constantly shifting your body weight, allowing each movement to flow smoothly into the next. The goal is to focus all your awareness on the movements, which, in turn, lets your breath and mind become calm and clear. Learning the sequence of tai chi movements and achieving the coordination of them in your body is a gradual process. With 20 minutes of daily practice, however, you are very likely to notice improvement in your posture, endurance, ease of movement, and ability to cope with stress. Chi Kung (or qigong) is another Chinese form of movement that balances the flow of chi. It focuses on the use of the breath, slow movements, and meditation.

Copyright Š2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Eight Exercise Tips Here are some ways to help you stick to an exercise plan. Get a Partner Ask a reliable friend to be your workout partner. Just the knowledge that the person is depending on you to work out increases your odds of staying on track with your exercise. As an added incentive, pay for missed workouts. Every time you skip a workout with your workout partner, pay her $10. Of course, it goes both ways. Use Short Workouts You don’t need to exercise for thirty minutes or more to achieve the maximum results. Recent studies have shown that short increments of exercise throughout the day produce the same effect as one longer workout. Plan your day to accommodate several ten-minute exercise routines. Fit in three of those workouts and you have a total of thirty minutes for the day. Add Variety The fastest way to see changes in your body is to keep surprising it. Changing your exercise routine every few days (or weeks) prevents your body from becoming conditioned to the same exercise day after day. Different activities require different muscles, which means you work more muscles. Equip Yourself When you have exercise equipment at the office (or home) and ready to use, you are much more likely to take a few minutes to work out. If something such as a treadmill is not practical in your office, plenty of smaller workout tools can challenge and strengthen your muscles. Resistance bands come in a variety of tensions so you can choose the best level of resistance for your needs. These bands are practically weightless, take up almost no room, and can be used for upper body exercise, stretching, leg training, and more.

Copyright Š2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Also consider a small, inexpensive set of dumbbells, ranging in weight from three to ten pounds. Dumbbells are used primarily for upper body workouts, but many exercises that use dumbbells call on the lower body muscles at the same time. You may also want to consider buying a yoga mat, which can do triple duty for yoga, stretching routines, and Pilates exercises. Know Your Excuses and Head Them Off Write down all the excuses you use to avoid exercising. Then, go back and counter all of your excuses. If you wrote down lack of time as an excuse, oppose it with suggestions for short, frequent workouts rather than one long session. If you can anticipate your own excuses and know how to respond to them, you are less likely to get sidetracked. Make It Fun! If you become bored with your chosen workout, break out of the boredom by choosing activities that appeal to you. Instead of spending thirty minutes inside on the treadmill, go for a hike on a local nature path. Rather than doing your aerobics video for the 100th time, go outside with your kids and jump on the trampoline. The goal is to choose an activity that you enjoy and that requires physical activity: tennis, bicycling, dancing, walking the dog, etc. Schedule and Commit Apply a sense of obligation to your personal exercise program and you’ll increase your chances of having a consistent workout plan. Schedule exercise time into your planner and treat it like an important business meeting or client appointment. Reward Yourself Set checkpoints throughout your exercise program to assess your progress. Whether your goal is to lose weight, build muscle, or simply improve your health, take the time to check up on your improvement and then reward yourself for all the hard work!

Copyright Š2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Improve Your Workout with Massage Therapy Did you know that massage therapy can help your workout? Massage helps improve performance, decrease recovery time, improve circulation, increase flexibility, and reduce muscle strain. What Happens When You Exercise? Regular exercise increases vigor, promotes a general sense of wellbeing, helps relieve the effects of stress, increases muscle strength and endurance, makes your heart and breathing more efficient, improves flexibility, and more! These positive changes occur as the body gradually adapts to the greater demands put on it by regular exercise. But as you push your physical limits, you may experience stiffness and soreness. Delayed muscle soreness (24-48 hours after exercise) may be caused by minor muscle or connective tissue damage, local muscle spasms that reduce blood flow, or a build up of waste products from energy production. Heavily exercised muscles that are not stretched regularly can become chronically tight and lose flexibility. Lack of flexibility leads to muscle soreness, and predisposes you to injuries, especially muscle pulls and tears. Tight muscles also impede blood flow, which causes pain. How Massage Helps Massage therapy helps your body recover from the stresses of strenuous exercise. •

Massage relaxes muscles, improves joint mobility and range of motion, and promotes flexibility. More relaxed muscles move more easily, which gives you increased power, performance, and efficiency.

Massage relieves muscle aches and stiffness and decreases postworkout muscle soreness. Waste products such as lactic and carbonic acid build up in muscles after exercise. Massage increases circulation to muscles, which helps to eliminate toxic debris and shorten recovery time between workouts.

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Massage breaks up scar tissue and adhesions (stuck-together soft tissue) by stretching connective tissue and improving circulation. (Scar tissue and adhesions reduce movement potential and increase the possibility of injury.)

Massage prevents injuries that might be caused by stressing unbalanced muscle groups or by favoring or forcing a painful, restricted area. You are also less likely to injure strong, mobile tissue.

Massage keeps trouble spots from becoming a problem. You may have you own unique trouble spots, perhaps from past injuries or repetitive activities such as hours at a computer. Massage can give special attention to these areas, monitor them for developing problems, and help keep them in good condition.

The Bottom Line - Massage and Exercise Massage improves blood and lymph circulation and relaxes muscles. These in turn lead to removal of waste products and better cell nutrition, greater elasticity of tissues, and faster healing of injuries. It all adds up to relief from soreness and stiffness, better flexibility, and less potential for future injury. Massage decreases pain and increases flexibility. If you have no pain and the ability to stretch further, you have the ability to increase strength, power, and endurance by allowing your muscles to work proficiently and properly. Massage can be an important addition to your exercise program, helping you achieve your performance goals with minimum injury and pain. After training, a massage will help you recover faster, flushing out the built up toxins in the muscles. Ideally, getting a massage once a week is optimal, supporting your fitness or sports program, improving flexibility and range of motion, relieving tired and sore muscles, and speeding recovery from strenuous physical exertion. Call your massage therapist today for an appointment!

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


General Health Tips The tips in this section are basic ways to improve your health.

Six Health Tips Here are some simple health tips that can make a big difference. These basic changes won’t cost you a lot of time, effort, or money, but they will give you results in just a few weeks. Stop drinking soda. Cutting out soda can make a difference in your waistline in just a week! Sodas are full of nutritionally worthless sugar and calories. Drinking more than one a day adds some serious calories to your daily intake and pounds on your body. Cutting out your daily soda saves you more than 87,000 calories over a year’s time - that’s equal to over twenty-five pounds! And don’t replace the sugar-filled sodas with sugar-free ones—artificial sweeteners not only may contribute to numerous health problems, but research has also shown that people who use artificial sweeteners are often heavier than those who use sugar (possibly because the artificial sweetener increases your appetite). Add more fiber to your diet. Fiber isn’t just about keeping you regular. Fiber in your diet fills you up faster and helps keep your appetite under control. Fiber is found in a variety of vegetables and grains, so you have many options. The recommended daily intake of fiber is 25 grams—most Americans only eat half that amount. Make sure you get enough sleep. Lack of sleep doesn’t just make you drowsy during the day, it can also make you prone to cravings, irritability, and even weight gain. Studies have shown that not getting adequate sleep suppresses the production of leptin, a peptide that tells the body to burn calories. (Read a research paper.)

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Drink your water. When you are dehydrated, your body sends signals to your brain that are misinterpreted as hunger pangs. Drinking enough water throughout the day keeps you satisfied and can increase energy, reduce constipation, and improve mental reactions. A general guideline is to drink eight 8-oz. glasses of water throughout the day, but pay attention to your body’s needs. Some sources recommend drinking half your body weight in ounces (for example, if you weigh 200 pounds, you need to drink 100 ounces of water). Eat your calories. Soda, beer, and wine add up the empty calories fast and are full of sugars that make you crave more. Satisfy your hunger and the emotional need to eat by choosing nutrient-rich food with a minimum of preservatives. Take 10,000 steps every day. Recent studies show that while most people believe they take ten thousands steps a day or more, in reality that number is closer to 3,000 to 4,000. Challenge yourself by buying a pedometer and wearing it during an average day. Check the total number of steps at the end of the day. Anything less than 5,000 needs improvement! Ten thousand steps are about equal to five miles of walking. Make it your goal to take ten thousand steps every day.

Copyright Š2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Health and Fitness Strategies Adapted from an article by Personal Trainer and Exercise Kinesiologist David Grisaffi, author of Firm and Flatten Your Abs. 1.

At first, do not make your fitness plan overly aggressive. One of the biggest problems most people have when starting a fitness program is rapidly depleted motivation after only a few weeks due to an overly ambitious fitness plan. Two days per week of 20-minute low-intensity cardiovascular exercise (walking, jogging, biking, swimming) and two days per week of 30-minute light resistance training (using weights or resistance machines) is adequate in the beginning.


Always stretch. Stretching improves flexibility, blood flow, muscle recovery, low back pain, and a host of other things. Additionally, stretching can prevent injury, help you sleep better, and improve your performance in all sports. Always stretch, but do not stretch cold muscles. Always warm up before stretching.


Never do a traditional sit-up. Unless you are a super athlete with an incredibly well-developed midsection, sit-ups can lead to a strained lower back and possibly lumbar injuries. But it gets worse. Rather than affecting your abdominal area, sit-ups can shift exercise tension to your hip flexors - which defeats the purpose. (For more about David’s approach to abdominal exercise, see his book, Firm and Flatten Your Abs.)


Set realistically attainable goals.


Set exercise appointments with yourself. Use your calendar to set appointments for exercise - and then stick to them. You wouldn't miss a business meeting or client appointment, would you? So don't miss your exercise appointment with yourself. Nothing is more important than your health.


Exercise correctly. So much time is wasted doing, at best, unproductive exercise, or at worst, dangerous exercise. Get educated on how to exercise correctly.

Copyright Š2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.



Enjoy yourself. Pick activities you enjoy. Make exercise your personal time.


Fried foods are garbage. Potato chips, French fries, onion rings, breaded chicken strips, and all the rest of the deep-fried junk are filled with saturated fat and calories, and they contain almost zero nutritional value. If you're trying to lose weight and/or reduce fat, simply eliminate fried foods completely from your diet.


Never skip breakfast. If you want to maximize your fitness results or fat-loss efforts, you've got to eat breakfast.

10. Eat fat to lose fat. Your body needs healthy fats for many reasons: regulating hormonal production, improving immune function, lowering total cholesterol, lubricating joints, and providing the basics for healthy hair, nails and skin. The distinction you must know is the difference between healthy "good" fats, and dangerous "bad" fats. Good fats are monounsaturated fats like olive, peanut, and canola oil, avocados, nuts, and omega-3 fats such as salmon and mackerel and soy-based foods. Bad fats are saturated fats, partially hydrogenated fats (killers!), and trans fats. 11. Drink plenty of fresh, clean water. When you don't drink enough water, and substitute diuretics like coffee, tea, and caffeinated sodas, you dehydrate your body, your blood doesn't flow properly, and your digestive system doesn't operate smoothly (among other problems). 12. Eat regularly throughout the day. When you restrict your diet, your body thinks it's being starved and shifts into a protective mode by storing fat and using lean muscles for energy. Therefore, your body fat remains essentially the same and you lose vital fluids and muscle instead. The less muscle you have, the slower your metabolism becomes and the less fat you burn. Eat three nutritionally balanced meals each day and at least one or two healthy snacks. This keeps your metabolic furnace stoked, so you burn more at a faster rate. Read a longer interview with Personal Trainer and Exercise Kinesiologist David Grisaffi.

Copyright Š2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Conditions This section addresses some common conditions that can be helped by self care and massage.

Headaches Chronic headaches usually result from multiple factors. You can decrease your headaches by reducing these factors: tension in your neck and shoulders, excess life stress, hormonal imbalances, unexpressed emotions, or toxic reactions to medications or alcohol. Keep a headache "log" to help you determine any patterns that may be contributing to your headaches. Note: If you ever experience a sudden, severe headache unlike anything you’ve experienced before, seek medical attention immediately. Self-Care to Reduce Headache Frequency •

Muscle tension is often the culprit in chronic headaches. Massage is one of the most effective methods of relaxing muscles.

Frequent, gentle stretching of the neck and shoulders can also help relieve muscle tension.

Exercise, whether aerobic, yoga, tai chi, or some other activity may help reduce your stress and tension.

Drinking plenty of water and eating a balanced diet can help keep your system in balance.

If you work at a desk, make sure your computer is set up correctly to prevent eyestrain and strain on your neck muscles. Seek help from your ergonomics department at work.

Stress counseling may help you learn to relax and let go of things you can’t control.

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Self-Care for a Headache in Progress For a headache in progress, try the following. You may find the earlier you stop whatever you’re doing and use one of these techniques, the more likely you will find relief. •

Cold or hot packs. Put ice (or a bag of frozen peas) in a cloth and press it against the painful spot, or against the back of your neck. If you don’t get relief, switch to a heating pad, hot water bottle, microwavable hot pack, or hot, wet towel covered with plastic wrap and a dry towel or fleece to hold in the heat. Try each for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.

Brush your hair. Brush from the temple, moving gradually to the base of the skull. Do one side a time. Then work down the center of your head.

Massage your head. Use your fingers to make small circles on your forehead, temples, and scalp. Massage for up to 30 seconds in each spot. Use a comfortable amount of pressure.

Try this acupressure technique: With your thumb and first finger, squeeze a point near the base of your other thumb in the webbing between your thumb and first finger. Hold until the discomfort subsides. Repeat up to five times.

Also try neck massage. Reach around and cup the base of your neck with your palm. Using a comfortable amount of pressure, knead the muscle slowly from bottom to top.

Consider increasing the frequency of your massage sessions, even if you must reduce the length of each session. The benefits of massage are cumulative and may act to prevent the development of tension that can lead to headaches.

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome What is a carpal tunnel? It is a opening in the wrist surrounded by the eight carpal bones and the transverse carpal ligament. Nine muscle tendons and the median nerve (which supplies sensation to the thumb and first three fingers of the hand) pass through the carpal tunnel. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the entrapment or compression of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel. The reason that the median nerve becomes entrapped is that the tendons swell, decreasing the space for the nerve. Massage for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Massage therapy eases the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and increases grip strength, according to a study by staff at the Touch Research Institutes at the University of Miami School of Medicine in Miami, Florida. Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include pain, tingling, burning, and numbness of the hand. Sixteen people diagnosed with this syndrome participated in the study. All of them held jobs involving heavy word processing or computer work. Subjects were randomly assigned to either the standard-treatment control group or the massage-therapy group. Those in the massage group received one massage per week on the affected arm for four weeks. They were also instructed in self-massage, which they were to perform each night before bed. The massage routine consisted of stroking of moderate pressure from the fingertips to the elbow. Subjects in the massage group kept a massage and pain log. In the log, participants recorded the times at which they began and ended self-massage, as well as their levels of pain on a scale from zero to 10. Subjects in the control group received no treatment.

Copyright Š2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Physicians evaluated participants' carpal tunnel symptoms, such as tingling, numbness, pain, and strength, at the beginning and end of the four-week study. A nerve conduction test was also performed at the start and finish of the study. This involved stimulation of the median sensory nerves through electrodes placed on each subject's index finger and wrist. Peak sensory latencies were recorded to test for nerve compression at the carpal tunnel. Median peak latency was the primary outcome measure. Results of the study showed that the subjects in the massage group had significantly less pain and reduced carpal tunnel symptoms, as well as shorter median peak latencies and increased grip strength. "Functional activity also improved as noted in reduced pain and increased grip strength in the massage therapy group, both immediately after the first and last massage therapy sessions and by the end of the study," state the study's authors. "Finally, the massage therapy group reported lower anxiety and depressed mood levels both immediately after the first and last sessions and by the end of the study." * Source: Touch Research Institutes at the University of Miami School of Medicine in Miami, Florida. Originally published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 2004, Vol. 8, pp. 9-14. Authors: Tiffany Field, Ph.D.; Miguel Diego; Christy Cullen; Kristin Hartshorn; Alan Gruskin; Maria Hernandez-Reif, Ph.D.; and William Sunshine. Self-massage for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is included in The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide For Pain Relief by Clair Davies. Prevention Prevention of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome includes stretching regularly, strengthening the forearm, neck, shoulder, and back muscles, learning about proper postural alignment, getting regular massage sessions, and proper self care including diet, sleep, and stress reduction.

Copyright Š2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Shoulder Pain Your shoulders are incredibly flexible joints that let your arms move through a large range of motion. They are used in almost every activity and take a lot of punishment on a daily basis. As a result, they are prone to a wide range of injuries. It’s important to take good care of your shoulders because even small problems can quickly become debilitating if not taken care of immediately. The shoulder is made up of three bones: • • •

The humerus is the big bone in your upper arm. The clavicle (collar bone) attaches to your rib cage at one end and helps keep your shoulder out to the side of your body. The scapula (shoulder blade) is the third bone. Part of the scapula, the acromion, juts out and forms a roof over the top of the joint. Another part of the scapula forms a socket into which the round head of the humerus fits.

The upper arm is held in its socket by loose ligaments and four small rotator cuff muscles that cover the joint like a sleeve. Other back, chest, and upper arm muscles help support and move the shoulder. A fluid-filled sac in the shoulder called a bursa acts as a cushion that helps prevent the tendons from rubbing against the bones. When the bursa becomes inflamed, you develop what is known as bursitis, which can be extremely painful. Shoulder Problems A variety of shoulder problems can cause pain and limit your range of motion. Many of these are simply caused by wear and tear. For example, a common injury is tendinitis of one of the rotator cuff muscles called the supraspinatus. Through poor posture or overuse, the tendon becomes inflamed and painful. Trigger points (small knots in the muscles) are very common around the shoulder and can refer pain and tenderness into the muscles or joints. The referred pain can mimic other shoulder problems such as tendinitis and frozen shoulder.

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Sprains and dislocations typically result from falls. It’s natural to reach your arm out to catch yourself when falling, but the impact can strain or tear the shoulder ligaments. If the impact is severe enough, the humerus may be knocked right out of the socket and the shoulder becomes dislocated. With a severe trauma, the bones may fracture or break. The collarbone is most likely to break although the humerus can sometimes break as well. When this happens the arm needs to be immobilized. Fractures can take up to three months to heal. Whenever you have a shoulder problem, you tend to limit your movement to minimize the pain. This can lead to frozen shoulder. Your shoulder becomes stiff and you quickly lose mobility. It can soon become extremely painful to lift your arm. If you develop a frozen shoulder, it will take a long time and lots of therapy to regain your normal movement. Sometimes the only option is surgery. The best treatment in this case is prevention. As soon as you develop any pain or discomfort in your shoulder, see your healthcare provider immediately for assessment and treatment. Don’t risk getting this serious and debilitating shoulder condition. Massage Therapy Can Help Massage therapy can help when shoulder problems occur. More importantly, massage can help prevent these kinds of problems from happening in the first place. Massage therapists can evaluate your shoulder through range of motion tests and other assessment procedures. The first priority is to help you feel more comfortable by getting rid of your pain, using specialized massage techniques. To help the process along and to help prevent further problems, your massage therapist may also suggest exercises to help strengthen your shoulder and maintain your mobility. Many massage therapists are trained to treat trigger points. As mentioned previously, these knots mimic other common shoulder conditions and are often an overlooked source of pain.

Copyright Š2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


The Shoulder Care Checklist To prevent shoulder problems from occurring, always practice healthy shoulder habits: • • • • • • •

Maintain good posture. Avoid excessive and repetitive use of your shoulders. If you sit at work, take frequent breaks. Don’t put undue stress on the shoulders with heavy knapsacks or bags. Warm up your arms before exercising. Consult your massage therapist or doctor if you injure or develop pain in your shoulder, even if it seems minor. Do any maintenance exercises recommended.

If you are experiencing shoulder pain, check out this exercise program for shoulder pain and rotator cuff injuries.

Back Pain By using basic back care tips, you can decrease your chance of experiencing back pain and help relieve any pain you are having. The muscles, ligaments, and discs of your back do a big job, supporting your spine and moving the weight of your body. Good posture, exercise, and correct body mechanics help keep your back flexible and strong. Massage therapy can help with posture by stretching shortened muscles and fascia (the connective tissue that surrounds your muscles and other tissues), freeing movement around the joints, and relieving muscle contractions that can pull you out of alignment. Help protect your back by moving with a little thought and using these back care tips: •

Spread your feet shoulder-width apart for stability when moving or working. Stand evenly on your two feet.

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Practice feeling your center of gravity in your abdomen. Many people try to move from their upper bodies, which is less efficient than moving from your pelvis, hips, and abdomen. Practice strengthening exercises for your abdomen. (No sit-ups please! Read this interview with a personal trainer about abdominal exercises.)

Also, consider Pilates, which focuses on creating a strong inner core that helps support your back and the rest of your body. Many people also find yoga helpful.

To pick up a load, stand close to it. Squat and use your legs to lift it, keeping your back upright and the object close to your body. Avoid twisting as you lift.

Kneel down on one knee to retrieve something from the floor.

When reaching for an object overhead, keep your shoulders and hips facing it—don’t twist.

Choose an office chair that supports your back or use lumbar supports as needed.

If you have a desk job, make sure you get up and move around as much as possible. Also, make regular exercise a priority (walking is great) in your back care program.

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Elbow Pain—Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow Two of the most common elbow injuries are lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) and medial epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow). Tennis elbow is an injury of the muscles that extend the forearm. Tennis elbow causes pain on the outside of the elbow. Motions that extend the arm (such as a tennis backhand) cause tennis elbow. Golfer’s elbow is an injury of the muscles that flex the forearm. Golfer’s elbow causes pain on the inside of the elbow. Motions that flex the arm (such as golfer’s swing) cause golfer’s elbow. Three bones come together at the elbow joint: humerus (the bone in the upper arm) and the ulna and radius (bones in the lower arm). Many muscles and tendons attach to these bones to give you movement in the elbow joint and forearm. You experience tennis or golfer’s elbow when small tears occur in the muscles and tendons that control the movement of the elbow joint and forearm. These micro-tears cause restriction of movement, inflammation, and pain. Micro-tears eventually lead to the formation of scar tissue and calcium deposits, which can cut off the blood flow and pinch the nerves responsible for controlling the muscles in the forearm. Causes The most common cause of tennis or golfer’s elbow is overuse. Any action that places a repetitive and prolonged strain on the forearm muscles, together with inadequate rest, will tend to strain and overwork those muscles. Other causes include: • Direct injury, such as a bump or fall onto the elbow. • Poor technique (get instruction from an expert!). • Ill-fitted equipment, such as tennis racquets, golf clubs, and work tools. • Low levels of general fitness and conditioning. Symptoms Pain is the most common and obvious symptom of tennis or golfer’s Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


elbow. Pain most often occurs on the outside (tennis elbow) or inside (golfer’s elbow) of the upper forearm, but may also be felt anywhere from the elbow joint to the wrist. Weakness, stiffness, and a general restriction of movement are also quite common. You may even experience tingling and numbness. Prevention Here are three important ways to prevent tennis and golfer’s elbow (and other injuries): First, warm up to help prepare the muscles and tendons for any activity to come. When you do not warm up properly, the muscles and tendons are tight and stiff with limited blood flow, which results in a lack of oxygen and nutrients. This is a sure recipe for a muscle or tendon injury. Second, flexible muscles and tendons are important in the prevention of most strain or sprain injuries. When muscles and tendons are flexible and supple, they can move and perform without being overstretched. If your muscles and tendons are tight and stiff, it is easy for them to be pushed beyond their natural range of movement, causing strains, sprains, and pulled muscles. To keep your muscles and tendons flexible, stretch regularly. Third, strengthen and condition the muscles of the forearm and wrist to help prevent tennis or golfer’s elbow. Treatment Tennis and golfer’s elbow are soft tissue injuries, and are treated like any other soft tissue injury. Immediately following an injury, or at the onset of pain, use R.I.C.E.: • Rest • Ice • Compression • Elevation Use R.I.C.E for at least the first 48 to 72 hours to give yourself the best possible chance of a complete and full recovery. You also want to see an appropriate professional for accurate diagnosis.

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


After the first 48 to 72 hours, massage is one of the most effective treatments for removing scar tissue and speeding up the healing process of the muscles and tendons. To understand how massage helps heal soft-tissue injury, see the article Massage for Soft-Tissue Injury earlier in this e-book. Once most of the pain has been reduced, move onto the rehabilitation phase of your treatment. You now want to regain the strength, power, endurance, and flexibility of the injured muscle and tendons.

Massage for Plantar Fasciitis Plantar fasciitis is a repetitive use injury, similar to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The plantar fascia is a ligament-like band on the sole of the foot, running from the heel to the ball of the foot. This band can become stressed from overuse. Plantar fasciitis may occur when part of the plantar fascia is repeatedly placed under tension, such as in running, sitting at a desk with your heels off the floor for long periods of time, or standing all day. Plantar fasciitis starts as a dull, intermittent pain in the heel and can progress to being a sharp, persistent pain. It may also occur at midsole or near the toes. Classic symptoms include pain that is worse first thing in the morning, pain after sitting or standing for prolonged periods, and pain at the beginning of a sporting activity. Because the foot is difficult to rest, the problem gradually becomes worse. The fascia gets tighter and tighter, and forgets how to be in a normal relaxed state. Adhesions and scar tissue build up. Because tension is the problem, in many cases all that is needed to get out of pain and on the way to recovery is to relax the muscles that control the foot. If you have been diagnosed by your doctor as having plantar fasciitis, feel free to give a copy of these instructions to your massage therapist.

Copyright Š2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Important Note to Massage Therapist: Make sure to use a stretch and pressure that is well within the pain tolerance level of each client. This problem did not occur overnight and time is required to lengthen the muscle and restore the muscle memory. Too much stretch can cause excruciating pain, which defeats the whole purpose of the massage because the pain causes the muscle and fascia to tighten up even more. 1. With the client lying face down, lift the foot and lower leg, with the knee bent, so that the knee is resting on the massage table and the sole of the foot is facing the ceiling. 2. With one hand, grab all five toes and stretch the toes toward the massage table, holding each stretch no more than two seconds. As you stretch, use the thumb of the other hand to apply moderate pressure on the sole of the foot. Repeat the stretch as you apply pressure from the heel toward the toes to help lengthen the fascia and tendons. 3. Now have the client actively dorsiflex the foot to stretch the Flexor Digitorum Longus, holding each stretch no more than two seconds. At the same time, apply a moderate amount of pressure to the belly of this muscle, starting at the distal portion of the belly and moving toward the origin. This work will help break up the adhesions and scar tissue that build up from the muscle being tight for a long time. 4. Let the client's leg rest and finish with a minute or two of soothing, relaxing massage to the foot and lower leg. Repeat this procedure at least once (twice can produce much faster results, if it's not too much for the client's foot) a week.

Copyright Š2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Hydrotherapy at Home Hydrotherapy is the use of water to relax or heal. Heating or cooling the body results in improved circulation, which increases the flow of nutrients and carries away wastes from tissues and organs.

Important Precautions Do not use ice or any very cold applications if you have Raynaud’s disease, peripheral vascular disease, peripheral neuropathy, hypersensitivity to cold, or reduced skin sensations. Diabetics should always use caution when applying ice to their skin. If you are pregnant, or have a heart condition, diabetes, or high blood pressure, consult with your physician before using hydrotherapy, especially heat. Use caution if you have sensitive skin. Also be careful with heat applications to avoid burning. Remain very aware of the degree of heat of an application and how it feels against your skin. If you use an electric heating pad, don’t fall asleep!

Tips for Cold Therapy Use cold to reduce pain and swelling and to tone the body. Brief applications of cold water to the face, hands, and head can increase mental activity and alertness. It can also help tone the skin of the face. Use very cold applications, such as ice bags or bags of frozen peas, briefly on localized inflammation, swelling, or sprains. Use for 20-30 minutes on the injury followed by 15-20 minutes off. This therapy works best when used frequently within the first 24 hours of an injury. Always use a cloth between your skin and ice. Important: If a joint or limb seems deformed or you can’t bear weight or otherwise use it normally after 24 hours, contact your physician. Source: Take Care of Yourself: The Complete Illustrated Guide to Medical Self-Care by Donald Vickery, MD, and James Fries, MD.

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Tips for Heat Therapy Moist heat applications are considered very effective for the discomforts of arthritis, as well as general soreness and stiffness. You probably know that standing under a hot shower can reduce your back, neck, or arthritis pain, and that soaking in a tub can help ease menstrual and muscle cramps. In the shower, try rotating your neck and shoulders and stretching out your calf muscles. Add Epsom salts and drops of essential oil such as lavender, ylangylang, or rose to bath water to enhance relaxation and soothe joint or muscle stiffness. Saunas or steam baths help relieve anxiety and tension, and have been used for centuries to promote health by sweating. Follow a bath or sauna with a quick cool shower to seal in the heat by closing the pores. It also pushes the blood back to the internal organs, and leaves you feeling strong, relaxed and balanced, rather than lethargic. Use a hot footbath to relieve upper body congestion, for example a sore throat or headache, because the blood is drawn down from the head and internal organs toward the capillaries of the feet. For upper body tension or congestion, soak a towel in hot water mixed with a few drops of essential oils for relaxation (try lavender) or relieving congestion (try eucalyptus). Have your friend or loved one place the wrung-out towel over your upper back, then cover it with a dry towel or fleece (which tends to hold in the heat better). Or use a commercial heat pack according to directions.

Alternating Hot and Cold You can also alternate heat with cold, further increasing circulation to enhance healing and relieve pain. Alternating application of heat and cold is sometimes called a vascular flush because the heat expands the blood vessels and the cold constricts them, causing a flushing action. Try alternating a hot shower with a cold one, a cold plunge after a sauna, or a series of hot and cold towels applied to an area, such as an area of chronic stress and pain like the upper back and shoulders. The general recipe for ratio of time for hot and cold applications is three to one, for example, three minutes of heat to one minute of cold. End with the cold application as it feels refreshing and pain relieving.

Copyright Š2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Other Approaches to Better Health This section just briefly mentions other ways to take care of yourself.

Meditation For Better Health Meditation can improve your health and increase energy levels. Meditation is a way to transform and heal. When you meditate, you allow the swirl of ideas and thoughts to slow down to the point where you find a calm and positive connection with yourself. The best style of meditation is the one that feels right for you. There are many different systems of meditation including, but not limited to Concentration, Mindfulness, Zen, Visualization, and Devotion. You may decide to experiment with a few different styles and see how they feel. Find one or two styles that you like and then use them. Above all, pay attention to your self and make sure your meditation feels right for you. A daily ten-minute practice can make all the difference. It's not much time to dedicate when you consider all the time spent caring for your physical appearance. If you want to learn more about how to quiet your mind, super-charge your energy level, and manifest what you truly desire in your life, take a look at Secrets of Meditation and Abundant Energy.

Copyright Š2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Binaural Beats The human brain, when involved in a given activity, produces brainwaves of a certain frequency. For example, when you relax your brain produces a different frequency than when you are physically active. Brainwave activity can synchronize itself to certain external audio or visual frequencies. If you send two sounds, or tones, to each ear through stereo headphones, with each tone played at a slightly different frequency, the brain tries to make sense of the difference that each ear hears. To compensate for this subtle difference in frequency, the brain creates a third tone to balance what it is hearing. This third tone is only perceived in the brain, and is called a "binaural beat.� Binaural beat recordings are specially generated sounds, designed to alter your brainwaves - bringing about different states of mind, such as happiness, creativity, or relaxation. They're safe and can be used as often as you like. Learn more about binaural beats.

Aromatherapy Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils (extracts or essences) from flowers, herbs, and trees to promote health and well-being. You can use aromatherapy to help ease stress, aches, and pains. If you are interested in aromatherapy, be sure you use only pure, high-quality essential oils and that you understand their proper use (these oils can sometimes cause side effects). I have put together a free aromatherapy e-book, which you can get at

Copyright Š2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


The Release Technique If you want to achieve whatever you want in life (including health and wellness), the Release Technique can help you. Developed by Lester Levenson, the Release Technique is a way to let go of unwanted feelings and remove resistance that blocks you from having what you want. In 1952, after being sent home by his doctors to die, Lester realized two truths that literally saved his life. The first was that his own feelings were the cause of all his problems, and not the world or the people in it, as he had previously thought. He also realized his own feelings were what he had struggled so hard and long against. And this struggle was what had destroyed his health and caused him to suffer. The second truth he discovered was that he had the inborn ability to let go of his feelings. He discovered how to completely let go of them and their negative influences. Instead of suppressing, coping, and venting as he had previously done, he discovered how to totally release his feelings, which put an end to his struggle. And, he found the more he released his feelings, the happier and healthier he became. In fact, within three months he was completely well, and he stayed well for over 40 more years! Two versions of the Release Technique are taught in two different audio courses: The Abundance Course by Larry Crane and The Sedona Method by Hale Dwoskin. I have used both courses that teach the Release Technique, and found them both helpful. The developers of both Release Technique courses studied directly with Lester Levenson. So which is the better course? Ultimately, both courses will help you release unwanted feelings, if you follow through. The Abundance Course has more of a kinesthetic basis while the Sedona Method course has a more analytical approach. Check out both to see which one speaks more to your style and needs.

Copyright Š2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Abundance What is your relationship to abundance? Do you want abundant health, abundant love, abundant money? What’s stopping you? A while back I read The Power of Intention: Learning to Co-Create Your World Your Way by Wayne Dyer. The main message is that if you want to change your life, you must first change the way you think. Affirmations for Health I am perfectly healthy in body, mind, and spirit. I am well, I am whole, and I am strong and healthy. I am healthy, and full of energy and vitality. I am healthy, happy, and radiant. I radiate good health. I have all the energy I need to accomplish my goals and to fulfill my desires. Affirmations for Prosperity These affirmations are from The Power of Intention: I have enough money and I allow more of what I already have enough of to flow to me. I feel successful. I intend to feel the abundance that is here, now. I am success. I am abundance. (One of my favorites—shout it to the universe.) I intend to feel successful and attract prosperity. I attract success and abundance into my life because that is who I am.

Copyright ©2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Final Thoughts I hope this e-book has opened your mind to many of the possibilities. Take your life and health into your own hands, and create what you want. And share it with others. Do what you can and have a great life! Carol Wiley, Licensed Massage Practitioner Massage Supplies and Products Massage Therapy and Wellness Information Aromatherapy and Essential Oils Young Living Essential Oils

Copyright Š2007-2010, Carol Wiley, Bold Visions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Live a Healthier Life using Massages, Somatics, Exercising and Stress Management  

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