New Massage Therapist! Meet Brandon Caudill, LMT

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We are so happy to announce the arrival of our new team member, Brandon Caudill. Brandon is a licensed massage therapist and also practices energy work and leads guided meditations. He attended Lexington Healing Arts Academy for his training in massage therapy and has been immersed in Hopi and Lakota traditions for several years. 

Get to know Brandon: 

  • When is your birthday?

    • January 31st 

  • Where are you from? 
    • I've lived in Lexington most of my life, but originally I'm from some far off land, deep in the woods of Kentucky. 
  • What is your favorite massage modality to practice?
    • Mostly Swedish massage mixed with deep tissue. I like to assist in healing the body while making clients feel comfortable and relaxed at the same time.  
  • What CEU class are you looking forward to next? 
    • I'm excited to learn Thai massage and to learn more assisted stretches.  
  • What is your favorite movie? 
    • I love the amazing Miyazaki- Spirited Away holds a special place in my heart. I also really love the movie Hero. It is so beautiful. 
  • What is your favorite color? 
    • I could never pick. I really love all the colors and try to incorporate color in to my meditations (and life) as often as possible. 
  • What is your favorite food? 
    • As a chef of 10 years, I have a very diverse palette and enjoy trying new things. If someone likes it, I'll most likely try it. So, just like color, I haven't a favorite. But my go-to foods are Chinese hot pot, Vietnamese pho, and I love Korean banchan! I'll pick a whole grilled fish or squid over a steak any day. 
  • If you could have one superpower, what would it be? 
    • I would love to fly! My favorite dreams are flying dreams.  
  • What's the best part about your job? 
    • Being in a positive and healing environment and helping people. 
  • What's the worst part about your job? 
    • This is my dream job :P 
Brandon helped us out at Playthink this year. We're so happy to have him join us at White Willow! 

Brandon helped us out at Playthink this year. We're so happy to have him join us at White Willow! 

How to Survive the Holidays: A Guide for Introverts

So you've made it through Thanksgiving. For an introvert, no easy feat. It was loud. It was messy. It was sensory overload! Aunt Gertrude told the same story for the millionth time and you laughed like it was the first time you'd ever heard it. Your sister, who seems to be immune to the sound of banshees wailing, let her three darling children run amok while you pretended not to notice. You deserve a pat on the back. Well done, you! 

But wait. There's more. That's right, winter is coming, and it's bringing the whole family.

Whether you consider yourself an introvert, an empath, or just a sensitive person, the holidays can be tough, if not downright miserable. Fear not, quiet-loving friends, we've got just the remedy. 

1. Make the emergency grocery runs. If you realize you're suddenly out of butter, offer to go to the grocery to pick it up. The store may be hectic, but the trip to and fro in your quiet car could be enough of a reprise to get you back on your feet. 

2. Offer to do the dishes. Kick all of the aunties out of the kitchen and tell them you'd like to take over with the cleaning. They can take their coffee and chitchat to the other room and you can get some much-needed alone time. Plus, once you get in the groove, washing dishes can be meditative. As you rinse the dishes, imagine that you, too, are getting rinsed of excess energy and negativity. Let it trickle down the drain. 

3. Take a break. If your get-together spans several days, plan to take a few mini breaks throughout the holiday. Take a long bath. Go see a movie. Go to bed early and curl up with a good book. It's not selfish to take good care of yourself. 

4. Take the trash out, and while you're at it, go for a little stroll. No one will notice that you're gone for the amount of time it takes you to walk around the block. With each breath, imagine you're blowing out your frustrations and anxieties. With each step, imagine that you're drawing grounding energy up from the earth.

5. If you mean "no", say "no". You don't have to host dinner if you don't want to. You don't have to travel if you don't want to. "No." is a complete sentence all on its own. You don't owe any explanations. 

6. Plan a reward for yourself after the holidays are over- something decadent to look forward to. We recommend a massage! 

To any extroverts reading, we don't mean to leave you out. This is your time to shine! We appreciate the vibration that you bring. We thank you for being the social glue that keeps us all united. Pass the eggnog, social butterfly. 

No matter what your holiday plans, we hope you have a good one. Remember that this is a season of light. Our wish for you is that every shimmering light on your path will fill your heart, even in the darkest of crevices, with joy. Happy holidays! 

 

The Psychology of Folding Your Pants

What do you do with your clothes when you take them off to get bodywork? The answer may say a lot about your personality. Or it might not. We're massage therapists, not psychologists. But that doesn't stop us from guessing.

The Tidy Cat
You are an organized mind. You are likely one of those people who can't sleep knowing there are dishes in the sink. Recognize that it may be easier for you to relax when everything is in it's place, and there's nothing wrong with that. You would probably make a fantastic (if not a bit pushy) roommate.

The Orderly Shadow
You're neat and orderly, but also shy about your place in the world. You don't want to make a mess or take up too much space. You would probably prefer if most people around you didn't realize you were here, so you can quietly fade into the shadows. There's nothing wrong with thriving in the background, but remember that you're entitled to as much space  as anyone else, and sometimes a bit of a mess can be therapeutic (you can clean it up later, don't worry).

The Raptured
I don't know exactly what to say about this one. It's rare, and the people who do it seem to have little in common with each other. Perhaps we need a real psychologist's opinion here. Until then, my guess is that if you do this, you like to pretend that your clothes are people.

The Body Shy
You leave on all your clothes for whatever reason. That's fine. Do what makes you comfortable. But remember, you'll probably get a better massage the more we can reach, so if your reason for keeping covered is that you think you're too fat/sweaty/wrinkley/pimpley/hairy/moley/bony/whatever, believe me, you're not. No one is too any of those things to enjoy a massage. Really. We've seen everything, and it's normal. You would be weird if you were flawless.

The Hot Mess
You're a free spirit, confident in your place in the world. You're probably a lot of fun at parties, but a lot less fun to live with. Remember, there's no shame in calling a housekeeper. 

*All statements have been made up by a bored massage therapist who knows very little about psychology and should not be listened to for any reason beyond being similarly bored. 

Where in the World is Arielle?

This year has been filled with more adventure than I ever anticipated. My travels have taught me so much about the world I live in and my place in it. Most importantly, traveling has left me awakened to a truer and stronger sense of self. 

I have had so many life changing experiences during my travels so I feel that it would detract from each experience if I tried to cover all of them in one post. Instead I would like to dive into one experience that resonated very deeply within me. 

While I was in Israel I had a strange sense of deja vu. Every day I lived my life as if I had been there all this time. Israel felt incredibly familiar and almost overwhelmingly felt like home. I have never quite experienced such a strong, innate connection to any one place. I have a Jewish heritage that I had never really embraced in this way. These roots are laid deep within my being. This profound feeling of belonging is something frequently experienced by individuals visiting Israel or their cultural homeland for their first time. 

My favorite image captured from the trip. Camels under an almost full moon in the Negev Desert with the Bedouin people. 

My favorite image captured from the trip. Camels under an almost full moon in the Negev Desert with the Bedouin people. 

This experience got me thinking about the way in which I was raised with Jewish traditions, and how the world I encountered often taught me to be fearful or ashamed of my roots. In an effort to protect myself, I lost a lot of of those practices and pride. It was such an incredible feeling to be in Israel and for my culture to be not only accepted, but celebrated. After a long hiatus from my Jewish identity this trip shook me to my core. I left feeling that I was a part of something bigger once again. I found myself in Israel. I started to see and cherish who I am again. I think travel does that for us. In a world so big and filled with so many different people celebrating different ways of life, you begin to find yourself. You discover what does or doesn't resonate with you. Who you are and who you aren't. What it is to be human and to relate to other humans even if you do not have the same native tongue. 

Israel is possibly the most complicated and divided place on Earth yet I could not help but leave with a momentous sense that we are all united by life experience and we all want the same things deep down. Acceptance, love and to be celebrated for who we are individually and who we are as a whole. 

Open markets of Jerusalem. 

Open markets of Jerusalem. 

Israel was not a religious experience as I do not consider myself to subscribe to religion. What I did find is that there is something so profound about embracing your cultural identity. Honoring your individuality in a world that all too often knocks you down for being different. I am grateful for those experiences because it gave me strength of character but man did it feel good to be in a place that accepted me for me. I think most importantly, when I came home from Israel I carried that sense of pride with me and I am no longer afraid or embarrassed to tell someone that I was raised Jewish for fear of being judged. I found my roots and no one can dig those up. I will no longer remain small if someone judges me or another person for being different because they cannot see past the safety of their own fear and discrimination. Israel taught me to be me. To be human and to embrace all walks of life. From Americans raised differently than me, to Israelis who are incredibly sarcastic and witty, to Palestinians who just want to raise their families in love and safety as much as anyone else, to Bedouins who live life in a very minimal and rugged environment yet still welcome any and all guests to their home and treat them with kindness and respect. 

One can learn a lot from traveling, especially to foreign countries where so much is different, yet still so very much the same. 

With love,

Arielle

The Western Wall & The Dome of the Rock

The Western Wall & The Dome of the Rock

Bedouin tents in the Negev Desert that we stayed in for two nights.

Bedouin tents in the Negev Desert that we stayed in for two nights.

Obligatory camel picture!

Obligatory camel picture!

From the top of Masada!

From the top of Masada!

Orthodox men at the Western Wall. 

Orthodox men at the Western Wall. 

New: Acupuncture in house!

We're excited to announce the newest addition to our healing team. Bluegrass Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine is now located at White Willow! Holly Christiansen, board-certified and licensed acupuncturist, is available on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. 

What is acupuncture? 

Acupuncture, a form of centuries-old Chinese medicine, is good for every body. Not only does it keep the body and mind healthy, it's also relaxing. Yep, you heard that right. acupuncture is relaxing. Both Charley and Arielle have acupuncture regularly and we often recommend it for a lot of our massage clients. As you might expect, the big question is usually "But doesn't it hurt?" Nope! Well, maybe sometimes, but just a little. The needles are tiny. Almost hair-thin. Sometimes there's a quick sting when the needles hit a good spot, but only for a second. That's it! If you have a needle phobia, don't worry, you can still benefit from Chinese medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine is more than just needles; there's also Chinese herbs, cupping, and moxibustion, and other healing treatments. 

We massage therapists are no experts at Chinese medicine, so to learn more, you should hear it from the acupuncturist directly. The following information is taken directly from Bluegrass Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is used to treat a wide variety of health concerns at Bluegrass Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine. TCM has been used successfully for thousands of years and is known to help:

  • chronic & acute pain (low back, mid-back, hip, sciatic, neuropathic, shoulder, neck, knee, ankle, elbow, hand, finger, arthritis, degenerative joint disorder, herniated discs, sprains, strains, fractures, etc.)

  • migraines & headaches
  • stress, depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD, over-thinking, over-worrying
  • menstrual issues, PCOS, spotting, amenorrhea, fertility issues (known or otherwise), PMS, PMMD, menopause related issues, hot flashes, night sweats, etc.
  • skin issues, rashes, urticaria, acne, eczema, etc.
  • gastrointestinal issues, IBS, Crohn's, Celiac, heartburn, gas, bloating, inflammation, allergies, sensitivities, weight issues, eating disorders, etc.
  • chemotherapy/radiation side-effects, nausea, anemia
  • insomnia
  • flus, colds, viruses, immune system strengthening, jet-lag

TCM is a holistic medicine, so it treats the entire body and promotes healing from the inside out. 

Next time you're in the office, be sure to say hello to Holly! 

Crafty Night at White Willow

We had our first craft night last month and it was a blast! If you missed it, don't fret, we're doing it again this month. Until then, you'll have to make due with the photo documentation of the event. Armed with a glass of wine and an iPhone, Charley snapped a few blurry photos for your viewing pleasure: 

Philip worked on his next masterpiece. 

Philip worked on his next masterpiece. 

Knitting and drawing and chatting, oh my! 

Knitting and drawing and chatting, oh my! 

Apparently the moths like this yarn, so Charley gave it a nibble. 

Apparently the moths like this yarn, so Charley gave it a nibble. 

Adam had feelings about the Goodfellas pizza. 

Adam had feelings about the Goodfellas pizza. 

Kendal colored next to this person who came for the wine. Wait, that's Arielle! She's not really a wino, but she does know a funny photo opportunity when she sees one. 

Kendal colored next to this person who came for the wine. Wait, that's Arielle! She's not really a wino, but she does know a funny photo opportunity when she sees one. 

Breanna was frightened by Arielle's shenanigans.  

Breanna was frightened by Arielle's shenanigans.  

We all had a great time and we intend to make this a regular monthly event. Come craft with us! Our next crafty night will be Thursday, April 28th at 6pm. Click here to RSVP.

Journey of a Frantic Girl: Meditation

Several months ago I wrote a blog post titled On Being Present: Struggles of a Frantic Girl. Since then, as promised, I've continued to walk to work, which takes me about thirty minutes. However, during the coldest winter weather, I didn't walk as much as I'd hoped. But this isn't a story of failure or of struggle. No, my friends, mine is now a story of a journey. 

Since October I've been on a journey to get healthy in my mind and in my body. Walking to work allowed me time and space to clear my mind and get my body moving, but when the weather got in the way, I found that I was really missing my daily commute. I realized that it had become meditative for me. In lieu of the walks, I started meditating almost daily. When you've got a mind as busy as mine, meditation is no easy task. I'd always heard that meditating meant that you sit down, be quiet, and remove all of the thoughts from your mind. For me, an impossible task! My mind is bustling with constant thought and chatter, many conversations happening all at the same time. Even quieting one layer of thought in my mind proves quite the challenge. One day, I had an epiphany. I was listening to a podcast, I cant remember which one, and the host said something like "Meditation isn't about erasing all of your thoughts, it's about narrowing your focus onto one thing. One thought. A mantra. A candle flame. Your breath. Whatever works for you, put all of your attention on that thing until it's the only thing you see, hear, or feel." 

Whoa. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that my life was changed by that brief suggestion. Since then I've tried different ways of meditating and I've found success with most of them. My favorite way to meditate is so fun that I almost think it's cheating: Guided meditation~ Guided meditation, if you don't already know, is when you take a little daydreaming trip through your mind's eye. The meditation can be either guided by another person or recording, or self-guided. 

Luckily! We've teamed up with Brandon of Ethereal Daydream. This coming Monday, April 11, 2016 at 6pm, Brandon is offering a meditation in our office. Please come! Donations benefiting Seven Generations Community will be accepted. Seven Generations, if you haven't heard, is a community focused on sustainability and bettering our local community. You might remember way back in July when we teamed up with them for a downtown trash walk

To reserve your spot at the meditation, please RSVP via Facebook here. We'll see you Monday!

-Charley Caudill, LMT

Breanna Sees The Grandest of Canyons

Last month, my husband and I decided we wanted to see the Grand Canyon. This was a little bit fueled by the fact that two of the characters in my favorite tv show took a similar trip and it reminded me that it is in fact possible to get to the west side of the country by car. 

Andy and April from Parks and Rec!

Andy and April from Parks and Rec!

Last week, we packed up my Yaris and left. We saw a lot of cool stuff along the highway, a lot of western landscape (so flat!) and, of course, the Grand Canyon. The canyon was honestly dizzying to look at; my brain couldn't understand that sort of distance. 

I'm that colorful speck

I'm that colorful speck

There was a lot to see along the way, including the worlds largest rocking chair and a plaza that had fudge, candy, burlesque shows, and a dinosaur. The highway is an odd place for sure. In Texas I saw my first tumbleweed, which was extremely exciting, and in Sedona they keep their lights low enough at night that you can see the stars. 

Play with meeeeeeee!

Play with meeeeeeee!

I'm assuming with real mermaids?

I'm assuming with real mermaids?

A native American "hogan" we found outside a gas station in New Mexico.

A native American "hogan" we found outside a gas station in New Mexico.

Ted Drewes. Always stop here if you're going through St. Louis.

Ted Drewes. Always stop here if you're going through St. Louis.

It was at least the largest rocking chair that I've ever seen.

It was at least the largest rocking chair that I've ever seen.

If you want to make this fun journey yourself sometime, I have a few tips that helped us get through being in the car for pretty much 5 days straight. 

-We brought a bag of apples, a couple packs of cans of V8, a bag of carrots, a bunch of bananas, a container of peanutbutter and a 2.5 gallon container of water. I'm telling you, nothing tastes better than some V8 when you've been eating fast food all day. Sweet nutrients. 

-We brought a ton of music and podcasts. It takes about 26 hours each way to get to the canyon and back. Stock your mp3 player accordingly.

-We drove through as much of Oklahoma in the dark as we could so we wouldn't have to look at it. (Kidding! Sort of...)

By the end of our trip back, we had both sort of forgotten what it was like to not be in a car. If we went west again, which we fully plan to, we would definitely plan to spend about 2 weeks on our trip so we could chill out and spend time in different cities. But people voice regrets all the time about how they didn't see enough of the world before their job got hectic, they had kids, what have you, so we figured now was better than never.

My husband and me in flat windy Texas. 

My husband and me in flat windy Texas. 

Let Your Cares Float Away...

Have you ever felt like your daily stresses are actually weighing you down? What if I told you that there is a therapy out there that can and will dissolve your stress so deeply that you feel like a brand new person afterwards? Well, it exists, and it is called Sensory Deprivation Therapy. Sounds kind of scary, but it is an incredibly valuable and relaxing experience. 

Picture from floatationlocations.com Here is a picture of a float tank. They look like something from Star Trek!  

Picture from floatationlocations.com

Here is a picture of a float tank. They look like something from Star Trek!  

So, what is it exactly? Sensory Deprivation is designed to reset the mind and body in a zero-sensory environment. No sound, no light, no physical stimulation. Just pure, unadulterated consciousness. 

Float tanks are chambers that are filled with around 800 pounds of epsom salts and water the same temperature as your resting body rate. The epsom salts' purpose is to make your body completely buoyant. The temperature is a very important aspect, for the goal is to lose the sensation of having a physical body so that you can delve into your essence, or pure consciousness. It can be a jarring experience at first, but once you can relax it is a beautifully harmonizing place to be.

I recently traveled to Colorado and gratified my curiosity with a float session. I was hoping to have an experience where I could be fully supported by water and to provide space to dissolve into my being. After I settled into my float, I started to realize just how much tension I hold in my spine, especially my neck! With some mindful breathing and conscious corrections I started to trust the water and to let go and feel that deep, chronic tension melt away. I cannot express the deep sense of relief this brought to me. Now that my body was totally at peace, I could start to work on my mind. A lot of re-programming of the consciousness can occur in the tank. Whether that is to just silence the inner chatter or to go down to the root of some of your core issues. I was so deeply relaxed and I even drifted out of my body a few times. Each time I came back I had a deeper sense of oneness and calm. 

Upon exiting the tank after 90 minutes I felt like a brand new baby! My mind was crystal clear and receptive and my body felt like it had been resting for years. What an incredible feeling.

We don't realize how much sensory stimulation is thrown in our faces every day. To be in an an environment where there is nothing but your own mind can be scary, but it can also provide us with the healing that we cannot acquire anywhere else. I found floating to be just the reset that I needed. 

Floats are known to help : 

  • Stress relief
  • Muscular pain
  • Rheumatism
  • Chronic pain
  • Fatigue  
  • Fertility
  • High blood pressure
  • Migraine headache
  • Jet lag
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Back pain
  • Depression
  • Pre-menstrual tension
  • Post-natal depression

Lexington now has several float tanks at Source on High! Go try it out for yourself and see if you benefit the way I did. 

Happy floating~~~

Arielle Ferrell, LMT

 

 

Beat the Winter Blues!

So far, December in the bluegrass has been mostly warm and sunny. Soon, however, the clouds and cold will move in. Seasonal depression is not uncommon at this time of year. Many people experience mild winter blues, while others feel like they can hardly get out of bed.  

This year, we invite you to get one step ahead of the winter blues. Here are some tips and tricks:

1. Get out in nature! Even if you don't want to, and even if it feels too cold, we encourage you to get outside. Just be sure to bundle up and drink plenty of water. Yesterday I went to Veteran's Park in Lexington before work. If you haven't been, I highly recommend it. They have grassy trails around a wooded creek and you can even take your dog. It'll do you both a world of good. 

2. Try  essetial oils. You might keep a couple of bottles at work and at home so that you can smell them a few times a day. You can use a cotton ball to drop the oils onto, or you can diffuse them. Essential oils of orange and grapefruit are uplifting and may help to remove the fog of winter from your mood. 

3. Count your blessings. Whenever you're feeling down, make an effort to turn your thoughts around. Keep a gratitude journal or simply speak your gratitudes in your mind. Be thankful for your health, for sunshine, for a warm house, and for your food. Be thankful for your friends and family. You might feel better after you remind yourself of all the great things in your life. 

4. Organize a family or friends dinner party. Winter starts off with a bang! We're very busy in November and December with holiday celebrations and New Years, and then the rest of the winter is pretty slow. Break up the monotony of day-to-day life by throwing a little party, maybe in February when things get quiet. 

5. Take time to appreciate the season rather than wishing it away. Winter is an important time. Time to slow down. Time to hibernate. This slow season gives us time for reflection of the past year and planning for the new year. Time for crafting, cooking cozy dinners, and curling up with a good book. When you step outside, try to see the beauty of winter. The trees aren't dead, they're only sleeping. 

6. Get a massage! Really! Massage helps your body to release lots of feel-good hormones and endorphins to keep you healthy and combat the winter blues. The massage table is warm, the music is ethereal, and your muscles are ready to relax under the hands of your friendly massage therapist. 

Here are some photos from my walk through Veteran's Park yesterday:

Note: If you're feeling depressed, you might consider seeing your healthcare practitioner. I'm particularly fond of Chinese medicine and can recommend a good acupuncturist if you'd like a referral. 

Be well! 

-Charley Caudill, Licensed Massage Therapist

 

Massage Therapy for Cancer Patients

To say that cancer is hard on the patients and their families would be an incredible understatement. A terrifying disease whose treatment can be even more brutal than the disease itself, just hearing the diagnosis can leave devastating impacts on a person's mental health and wellness. Physically, cancer and chemotherapy wreaks havoc on the body, but the emotional toll from the start and even years after treatment is significant. Thankfully, many sufferers of cancer find relief with massage therapy. A study done by The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) states that many cancer survivors are already using massage therapy to cope with lingering physical issues, anxiety related to fear of recurrence, and other symptoms. 

Studies have shown massage therapy to be effective for reducing the pain associated with cancer and its treatment. Results from 12 different international studies were compared and concluded that "Massage therapy significantly reduced cancer pain compared with no massage treatment or conventional care." There are also countless studies confirming that the quality of life of cancer patients is improved by bodywork, as well as a few other practices such as meditation and yoga.

While massage therapy is safe throughout many stages of cancer treatment, anyone with a medical condition should consult their healthcare practitioner before receiving bodywork. Not only is massage helpful for cancer patients, it's also beneficial for caretakers. A caretaker's stress is significant, and too many times we see family members who nurture and provide for their loved ones, but never make time for themselves. Self-care isn't selfish, and can be relieving for the friends and family members who are affected by the illness. Pain comes in many forms; We want to help alleviate as much of it as possible.

-Breanna Kinman, Licensed Massage Therapist

On Being Present: Struggles of a Frantic Girl

It's hard to believe that it has been nearly four months since the official opening of White Willow! It's been great. Now, at the end of October, I've hit a good routine. I feel settled into my treatment room and happy in our office. It's all perfect, really. A couple of weeks ago, when I realized that I'd worked through all the business projects on my list, I thought, "What's next?"

The truth is, all of my life I'm thinking, "What's next?" Even more than I love a good project, I love dreaming of the next project. Plotting, planning, stressing, calculating, juggling, it's all part of my familiar routine. I needed to learn something new. A new massage modality for my tool belt, perhaps, or maybe something different altogether. 

When I couldn't land on any one thing to study, I decided to meet with an advisor. I talked to him about what I've been doing the past few years and asked for his assistance in setting new goals. He said "It looks like you're in a good place right now. Why do you want to learn something new?" I replied, "Well, if I'm not learning then I'm stagnant, right?" He chuckled a bit and said, "No, I'm not sure that's how it works. I think you have plenty to learn right in your massage room. You're learning every day." I protested, "I think maybe I'm bored." Sternly, he said "You're not bored, you're frantic. You've gotten accustomed to being so busy all of the time, but did you ever wonder what it would feel like to slow down? You've worked hard to get to where you are. Maybe you could be comfortable with a slower pace. How long has it been since you enjoyed your day without thinking 'What's next?' I think you need to learn to be in the moment and appreciate your life as it is now. Learn to be present."

For two whole days after meeting with the advisor, I thought I'd wasted my money. He didn't help me find my next direction, and he definitely didn't tell me what I wanted to hear. But then, as I was recounting the meeting with a friend, I suddenly understood what he was telling me. It's funny how you can hear and repeat the same advice over and over, but never really understand it. As cliche as it sounds, I realized that if I keep my current pace, I could let my whole life pass me by. How can I possibly enjoy my life if I'm firmly rooted in the future? 

The next day, I decided that I would make an effort to slow down my thoughts and learn to be present by walking to and from work. My walk is 30 minutes, each way. The first day that I walked, the only thing I could see was the finish line. It wasn't until I reached my destination that I realized I hadn't done what I intended at all. The next day, I tried to view it differently. Instead of walking to get somewhere, I tried to be conscious of my thoughts and to think only about what I saw and felt. Still, that proved to be quite a struggle, so I thought that a photo project might help. Baby steps. 

Here are some things I've seen on my walks:

Dewdrops on a spider web, right outside White Willow. 

Dewdrops on a spider web, right outside White Willow. 

A lovely fall arrangement 

A lovely fall arrangement 

Milkweed? 

Milkweed? 

A neat little gate

A neat little gate

Some perfect flowers. Seriously, Mother Nature is so talented. 

Some perfect flowers. Seriously, Mother Nature is so talented. 

Lots of gorgeous autumn flowers

Lots of gorgeous autumn flowers

Wilson's Grocery.

Wilson's Grocery.

Flowers, flowers everywhere.

Flowers, flowers everywhere.

A garden behind a church

A garden behind a church

A twisty tree

A twisty tree

A dog, who frightened me when he barked. 

A dog, who frightened me when he barked. 

Lots of leaves

Lots of leaves

A magical canopy of trees

A magical canopy of trees

And a cat, mid meow. This one is my own back yard. ^_^

And a cat, mid meow. This one is my own back yard. ^_^

After seeing all these beautiful things, I realized that I never would have noticed them if I hadn't slowed down. I couldn't possibly appreciate an autumn blossom or tree canopy from my car. I think it's pretty obvious that I haven't mastered the art of being present, but I do feel different. Without any particular goal in mind, I think I'll keep walking to work, just to see what happens. 

-Charley Caudill, LMT

Self care: Preventing A Breakdown

Image source: Society for Psychotherapy

Image source: Society for Psychotherapy

Do you ever have those days where you feel like all you do is run, run, run and still feel like you're behind? Maybe you skip lunch one day or only get a few hours of sleep another day. Or maybe you don't realize that you were so caught up until the end of the day when you finally lie down and take a deep breath? These are all, unfortunately, very common habits of modern day, fast living Americans. I fully believe that our fast- paced society is leading us astray from personal wellness and respect, which in turn affects everyone's human experience in this life. 

With extreme stress inevitably comes "burnout." Burnout is the last phase of months or even years of using your reserve fuel and never taking the time to refill. With burnout comes exhaustion, both mentally and physically, and often leaves you sick and with no choice but to rest.

Not only does stress leave an impact on our wellbeing, but changes in the seasons can have a noticeable impact on our bodies and moods. According to Ayurvedic medicine, we are now in the time of Navaratri. Ayurveda follows closely with the cycles and rhythms of nature and especially the moon. Navaratri occurs twice a year in the "gap" seasons. Winter into Spring and Summer into Fall. They are both times of the year where it is very easy to get wrapped up in an accelerated pace and to let our self care fall by the wayside. During this Navaratri with the cooler temperatures blowing in, it is of the utmost importance that we take the time to fully appreciate and nourish our bodies with quality rest and whole, healing foods. 

It is entirely too common for stressed individuals to ignore our bodies signals until it is too late and we fall ill. Here is my compiled list of self care habits:

1. Get some sleep!

It is the basis for a healthy lifestyle- It will literally improve your body and brain function.

2. Nourish.

No more quick stops at McDonalds/ Taco Bell, etc. If we expect our bodies to keep up with our busy lifestyle, we need to give it adequate energy.

3Get your massage/acupuncture/therapy.

So many times I, personally, have rescheduled my self care so that I may help others. Make time for yourself and stick to it! No one else is going to do it for you!

4Breathe.

Remember, in times of stress, it's very likely that you are holding your breath which is depriving your body and creating more of a problem. Take those deep breaths and feel your mind and body slowly come back to a level playing field. 

5Do the things that bring your soul joy.

Just as important as work is to your life, so is play. When you give your spirit the time to restore, it will keep you healthy and enlivened. To be stuck in the same routine of comfort is to disengage. We must keep learning and discovering and experiencing to fully nourish our mind and spirit. Take some time to go for a walk or to plant your bare feet in the grass. Watch the leaves fall and admire the ebbs and flows our lives take us through.

Every season can teach us something about ourselves and the cycles of life. I believe that the fall is a time for us to fully appreciate our vitality and our mortality. We are only given one body in this life and we must treat it with the respect and love that it deserves. 

-Arielle Ferrell, LMT

 

Image source: Where Easy Living Begins

Massage Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that is currently incurable, but treatable. The symptoms range from mild to severe, coming and going, while never going away for good. Like any chronic disease or syndrome, it can be hard to cope with the constant pain, fatigue, and variety of other symptoms. Fortunately, also like many other chronic issues, massage therapy can help.

If you or someone you care about has MS, you know that even a few hours of relief can be worth more than gold. Massage has been proven to reduce pain levels and may even lengthen the remission period between flare ups in some people. According to a study reported in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal, participants who received 10 weeks of massage therapy reported pain levels up to 50 percent lower than the control group. The proven stress reducing benefits of massage may also help reduce the frequency of flare ups in people whose symptoms often worsen in time of stress. 

This article from MultipleSclerosis.net was written by an MS sufferer and her experience with massage. It's worth a read, but the bottom line: she's a fan.

When looking for a massage therapist, be sure to find someone licensed in their state, knowledgeable about your condition, and willing to work with your individual case. In cases of chronic illness, it's always a good idea to inform you therapist of any sensitive areas of you body that may need to be avoided or treated gently. During your massage, you comfort is top priority and an important part of your treatment. 

If you have any questions about whether or not massage is right for you, please talk with your health care practitioner and give us a call to discuss your particular plan. 

-Breanna Kinman, Licensed Massage Therapist

"Symptoms of multiple sclerosis" by Mikael Häggström - All used images are in public domain.. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

"Symptoms of multiple sclerosis" by Mikael Häggström - All used images are in public domain.. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons