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

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 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

White Willow Progress

So it's been twelve days since our official business opening. We've got a few things in the works: 

  • Our logo has been slow-coming, and there have been some bumps along the way, but it's almost here! 
  • Our sign, hand painted by Charlie Campbell, is on the way and we have a feeling it'll be gorgeous. 
  • We commissioned an oil painting from Justin Birdsong. We've seen a sneak peak photo, and we love it! You'll see it hanging in our waiting room as soon as the paint dries. 
  • We now (finally!) have gift certificates available for purchase on our website. Massage makes the best gift, of course. 
  • We're working on putting together a grand opening party. Come see the space and have a snack. Stay tuned! 
Our waiting room, sans new painting.  

Our waiting room, sans new painting.