Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Common Confusions About Massage Therapy

Did you get a massage gift certificate but haven't made your appointment yet? Maybe you've heard how great massage is but are not sure what's expected. As a massage therapist myself, I'm familiar with some of the issues and questions that come up. My friend and fellow crafter, Maggie Ragatz, Rolfer and massage therapist, has over 750 hours of training. I recently heard her share a few of these tips and asked her to share them so we can all rest assured.
Common Confusions about Massage Therapy and Snippets from The World According to Maggie, CMT, in Rebuttal
Myth 1: All Massage Therapists are trained in all forms of bodywork.
WAM: There are hundreds of bodywork schools out there and as many forms of bodywork. Because we’re all so different, it is helpful to communicate what you like and don’t like. Also, “bodyworker” is a blanket term commonly used to categorize most touch-based, movement-based and energy-based healers and Body Therapists. Here is a brief (and loose) example--keep in mind there are many other subcategories:
Structural Integration
Rolfing Structural Integration*
Guild Structural Integration
Massage Therapy
Skillful Touch Massage Therapy*
Deep TissueSwedishShiatsu
Energy Work
Reiki Energy Balancing
*These are the two that Maggie does! Yay!
Myth 2: Your CMT knows your body better than you do--after all, s/he’s the one with the training, right?
WAM: You are the expert on your body! If you feel hot, cold, bored, sad, or fidgety; pain, numbness, tingling, discomfort, or anything else, it is okay to say something. Your comfort is what is important! If you want more or less pressure at any point during your massage it is okay to communicate that. You won’t hurt our feelings!
Myth 3: Massage Therapists care about body odor, yellow toenails, lunch breath, cellulite, stubble or hairy legs, etc.
WAM: It’s normal to feel shy or uncomfortable when a stranger is looking at you. However, I got into this work because I think human beings are pretty interesting, and I’m aware that “pretty interesting” comes with its set of smells and rough spots. It’s no big deal. I promise.
Myth 4 A: You need to be quiet during your massage.WAM: If you want to talk for the whole sixty minutes, feel free. It’s common to want to get stuff off your chest as someone is helping to relieve physical stress.
Myth 4 B: You need to talk and/or entertain your massage therapist during your massage. WAM: If you want to be totally silent during your massage, it’s fine. There is no need to keep up a conversation with the person working on you. Your session is about you and helping you relax.
Myth 5: You have to get totally naked to have a massage.
WAM: Before a massage it is suggested that you disrobe to your comfort level. If you would like to be completely clothed, it’s fine (your massage therapist won’t use oils on your clothes!). If you would like to take off everything, it’s fine. If you want to leave on your underwear, it’s fine. The massage is about you feeling at ease, so do what makes you feel comfortable!
Myth 6: You need to help the CMT move your arms and legs during the session.
WAM: I move your arms and legs from beneath the sheet to be able to work on them, and you are not obligated to help. It’s useful for me to feel the flexibility of your limbs to know how much work I need to do in that area.
Myth 7: If it hurts it’s good for you.
WAM: During a massage, many people enjoy what they call “a good kind of pain.” This is okay. However, it is important to remember that just because you’re feeling intensity, this does not automatically mean it is doing good things to you! Pain is a way for your body to give you information, and sometimes that information is that your body is being damaged! If you feel nauseous or have to grit your teeth, if you think, “Well, it’s not as bad as labor or the time I broke my leg,” then it’s probably too much! Again (and again), communication is key!!
Myth 8: Everyone who gets a massage knows all of this stuff already.
WAM: If you have questions about massage (about male Massage Therapists, essential oil in your hair, hypoallergenic oils, etc.,), it’s great to ask.

maggie.ragatz@gmail.com office (805) 543-8688. I love questions about massage, Rolfing, and bodywork in general. I communicate with several bodyworkers in town and I refer clients to them regularly. If I can’t meet your needs or answer your questions, I will try to find someone who can!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Lollipop Flower Valentine

In a burst of enthusiasm for the upcoming paper crafting extravaganza known as Valentines Day, I volunteered to make Valentines for the staff at Liam's elementary school (yes, the entire staff) on behalf of PTA. Loving paper, crafts and Valentines Day, it seemed like a good idea at the time. But handmaking that many without getting burned out? Lollipop Flower Valentines to the rescue. Here is an easy and quick craft that is perfectly cheery & not too smooshy sweet. They were fun to make down to the very last one.
I clipped an image of a similiar Valentine from an old Martha Stewart Kids magazine, a stash I received thanks to Freecycle. Martha probably did it differently, but this is how I made mine:
Gather Supplies:
patterned or colored paper
glue stick
small lollipops
Xacto knife
cutting mat
1. Fold strips of paper lengthwise (about 1.5" wide when folded)
2. Draw four heart halves or just eyeball it like I do. Cut out.
You'll need four hearts per Valentine.
3. Dab heart corner with glue and layer four hearts to form flat flower.
4. Wait till dry. Cut tiny X in center with Xacto knife and push lollipop through center.
You can write your Valentines name on one petal. Or write things you love about them on each petal and attach a lable to the 'stem'.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Weiner Dog Valentines

The season of Valentine Makin' is officially upon us! Here is the first of many little Valentine projects I hope to make and share in the next two weeks. I chose weiner* dogs for reasons I can't quite explain. You could use any shape, ofcourse. These craft up quick, once you decide on shapes and quotes. First off...
Gather Your Supplies:
see Resources at bottom of post
cardstock in colors and white for quote bubble
blank cards or postcards
googly eyes
sharp scissors
Yes! paste or glue stick
weiner dog shape from cookie cutter, childrens coloring book or freehand
Shrinky Dink charms would be sweet hanging from his collar. Shown is the Clear Sugar stamp set from Paper Candy. They shrink to perfect paper doggie collar charms!
1. Choose shapes, colors, and quote. Sometimes I have it all in my head and just make it. Other days I cover the entire kitchen table with paper bits, vintage childrens books, cookie cutters, fabric and everything else to come up with a plan of attack. Take time to plan it out before gluing!
2. Use a cookie cutter to trace the shape of your chosen little beast. Cut out. Cut out a strip of paper for the collar in a different color. Glue on googly eye. Assemble this all together with glue but don't glue to card just yet.
3. Hand draw a comic style speech bubble on white paper or draw lightly with pencil first, then cut out. Write something witty or sweet. Find quotes online or, even better, from a favorite book or take a saying your Valentine is fond of.
4. Hand print your quote in speech bubble.
5. Play with your pieces until you are happy with the layout. Finally- glue!
6. Inside, write "Three Things I Love About You:" Obviously followed by three things you really do love about your Valentine.
Now that you have a design you like, crank out dozens more with ease, changing the quote to suit the Valentine. Or...stay tuned for more Valentine ideas in the coming days.
Yes! Paste at the Paper Source
Paper Candy rubber stamps
*while we all remember the "i before e except after c" song, Weiner (Germanic root) and Wiener are both still correct.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Mi Corazon: My Heart Art Show for Heidi Harmon

‘Mi Coraz√≥n’
(My Heart)

When: Feb 3rd 5:00pm-8:00pm (PST) 2007
Taste awarding winning wines and hors d’oeuvres

Where: Per Bacco Cellars
1850 Calle Joaquin San Luis Obispo, CA 93405

Showing: February 3rd – March 26th

Artist: Heidi Harmon
Mixed Media Painting & Sculptures

Heidi Harmon, local artist, of San Luis Obispo, creates a show inspired by love for the month of February. Heidi’s three dimensional pieces mirror her desire to capture the essence of love in all of its forms.
Her oil paintings utilize the color that most inspires her appreciation of the passionate life, red. With several successful shows behind her, San Luis Obispo County looks forward to seeing more shows with this rising new artist. Her work will inspire those who embrace all that love encompasses: pain, joy, sorrow, passion and truth.
Grab your Valentine and come enjoy the show! I'll be there with bells on! -Miss Amy O