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Smile Away Your Stress!

Smile for a healthy youJust smile. I’m not sure why smiling feels like a big effort sometimes, but it’s worth trying. Just by having your mouth muscles in a smile, your heart rate lowers and the level of stress hormones in your body goes down. It doesn’t even matter if the smile is genuine or not. You really can fake it ’til you make it. If you use your fingers to draw the outer edges of your lips upward, it still works.

I practice smiling at people. I need to, since it’s not always my first reaction. I suffer from RBF according to my daughter (resting bitch face). When I smile, most people smile back. It makes me feel good, it makes them feel good, and it feels like a small way to pay it forward. You could even build in a habit of smiling at people everyday on the street, in the store, at work, anywhere! Just beware that the opposite also works. Frowning can actually make you feel worse. So, smile more AND frown less. I will too.


Action. Reflection. Balance.

Most of us evaluate the past year and hope the next year is better. Here’s an alternative to just creating new year’s plain-dripping-oilresolutions. Instead of adding to your to do list, just focus on a theme for the year ahead by choosing three little words. The words I chose to help you this year are: Action, Reflection, and Balance.

By taking action, I can try out new things that may help you. One action I’ve already begun is using a new scheduling system where you can go online and see my availability and book your appointment immediately. If you’ve been a client in the past, you no longer need to enter credit card information to make an appointment. You’re recognized by your email address. Try it today by visiting www.Massagebook.com/biz/MassageByLesley Once you choose what treatment you’d like, you can see what times are open, and can back out easily if you aren’t ready to schedule yet.

With reflection, I can learn what did and didn’t work from my actions and make changes to improve. Reflection takes time (which is one reason this message is a little longer than usual), patience, and a willingness to be comfortable with uncertainty. Reflection not only builds these useful traits, it also allows for time that seems unproductive. In our instant society, the value of a pause is often overlooked. Even if I don’t learn things from my reflection, I’ve given my body and brain a different experience. That pause provides rest which is vitally important to good health.

Lastly, balance helps to move between action and reflection effortlessly. Honoring both equally provides perspective that leads to wisdom. Similarly, a healthy muscle is not one that stays in either a state of contraction or relaxation. Healthy muscles move fluidly from one state to another, regularly and with ease.

I look forward to sharing the benefits of both my actions and reflections with you this year and bring us all into balance!


Thanks for the Memories

Are you having trouble remembering things lately?  Stress can impair our memories, even if it’s the good stress thatgirls-with-coffee comes with holiday hustle and bustle.  Luckily, the things that boost your memory can also help reduce your stress.  Try fitting these three things into your holiday schedule:

1)  You’ll love this one!  Enjoy that cup of coffee, as long as it’s before 2 pm.  Caffeine helps you store memories in your brain.  Not a coffee drinker?  You can get that burst of caffeine from tea, green tea, chai, and even chocolate.  I told you that you’d like this one.

2)  Get social.  Studies show just 10 minutes of stimulating conversation boosts your memory. You get a lot for a little effort here, since exercise helps with other brain functions as well.

3)  Get some exercise to bring up your heartrate.  It creates more nerve cells in the part of your brain used for long-term memory.  A half hour a day of walking, jogging, or working out is all you need. Dancing qualifies too.

All through December, massage facelifts are just $29.  You can come in for that 20 minute treatment alone, or add it onto your next massage.

If you want to see my availability and book an appointment instantly, visit https://www.massagebook.com/Saratoga_Springs~Massage~MassageByLesley   You can also buy gift certificates there, too! Click on “Other Certificates” to see the holiday specials. The new features will be integrated into my regular website soon, but you can start using it now or just take a peek!


Reduce Your Holiday Stress – in Minutes!

Feeling overwhelmed with the agenda of this holiday season?  Try these tricks:christmas-is-overwhelming

  1. Don’t multi-task.  Take things one at a time.
  2. Put on some peaceful music.
  3. Take a 5-minute break and stretch or walk.
  4. Read a poem or short article and only focus on that until it’s done.  Then, go back to work.
  5. Step outside.  Nature is soothing.

If you want to see my availability and book an appointment, visit https://www.massagebook.com/Saratoga_Springs~Massage~MassageByLesley   You can also buy gift certificates there, too!


Plants That Clear the Air

spider-plantWith the colder weather, you’re inside more often and are subject to pollution from the objects in your home and office.  You can clear the air and add some natural beauty by simply adding houseplants.

Aloe vera is a common, easy-care plant that helps to remove formaldehyde given off by flooring and other building materials.  You can even use the gel straight from the plant to help with burns and other skin issues.

The Boston fern survives even if you forget to water it regularly.  This might be a great plant for an office.

The English Ivy removes toxins from cigarette smoke and pesticides. It is especially helpful if you have allergies or asthma.

My favorite air purifier is the spider plant. It also keeps carbon monoxide levels low and doesn’t need a lot of light, although it does like regular watering.

Find a plant you enjoy and keep it around.  For more info, visit http://www.sustainablebabysteps.com/types-of-houseplants.html


Do You Text?

Text neck is a very real thing.  Over the years, I have seen the areas of muscle tightness move around to different front-neck-stretchparts of our bodies. It corresponds to the changes in the technology we use.  I have less mouse-related shoulder issues and more text-related neck issues as I spend more time on my smart phone and less time on my laptop.  This seems to be true of the majority of you that I work on.   Yes, I suffer from it too and am learning how to help you thru my own aches and pains.

What we do everyday matters! It can build up, but there is a simple cure.  All you need is a little vigilance and effort and do some regular stretching. Taking care of your neck now will also help prevent and alleviate issues in the future such as pinched nerves.   

Here’s an excellent website to give you many more stretches and some good background info  http://posturedirect.com/how-to-fix-text-neck-syndrome/


Happy Labor Day!

“A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend oalbert einsteinn the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.” Albert Einstein


Massage Cupping is for You

If you want to move better than you are now, massage cupping is for you.  Whether you need more flexibility, bettercupping marks - michael phelps range of motion, less pain, or you’re just not getting around as well as you once were, I can help.

Massage cupping isn’t new, it’s just not well known.  Cupping has been done for thousands of years in Egypt and Asia.  Luckily, since then, they’ve invented a machine that creates easily regulated, gentle pressure so I won’t need to leave circular marks like you’ve seen on Olympic athletes and celebrities.

Cupping can be as gentle and relaxing as you’d like.  It can also create incredible changes in your body from both old and new injuries.  I personally have had results from one session of cupping on injuries I had decades earlier.

Best of all, I can combine cupping work right into your regular massage session so you get the best of both worlds.


Massage Cupping Isn’t Just for Michael Phelps

Massage cupping works for olympic athletes like Michael Phelps and gymnast, Alex Naddour.  It restores circulation,michael phelps cupping improves your immune response, relieves tight muscles, soothes your nerves, and as an added bonus it’s also restorative for your skin.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to get those “bruises” to get the great effects of cupping therapy.  You don’t need to be an athlete either!  Cupping marks are created when pressure is used to draw your tissues up under a glass or plastic cup. Traditionally, this vaccum pressure is created by the heat from fire. I use a more modern method of air vaccum that is much more easily regulated so there is no need to create those telltale circle marks while still getting therapeutic results.

They’re not really bruises either.  Cupping helps improve the efficiency of your body’s systems, removing what is no longer needed, some of which are old red blood cells.  These come up beneath the layer of your skin and look similar to bruises because when you’re recovering from an injury, you also slough off old blood cells.

Cupping can help you heal from injuries that are years, even decades old, helping you move more freely and with less pain.  But more importantly, it still feels good. I usually blend massage cupping into a traditional massage so you get the best of both worlds.  Ask for it with your next massage.  We can try it out for a few minutes and see if you like it.


How to Become a Morning Person

No amount of coffee can change me into a morning person.  Not even a grande drenched in mocha. However, our woman waking upsociety runs on a daylight schedule so I’ve learned a few tricks over the years to help me face the day with a reasonably good attitude. 

The best advice I have is to stop hitting the snooze button on the alarm clock.  Just set it for the right time and face the fact that sleep time is over.  The good news is, you don’t have to get out of bed right away.  I do my stretches right there.  Lengthen your legs, arms, breathe in and out deeply, and massage any achy parts.  This way the morning not only feels more luxurious, but you’ve increased the oxygen in both your body and your brain.  For me this translates into less stupidity and a higher level of functioning once I get out of bed.

The other tips help my mood:  don’t watch the news, check email, or answer the phone before you’re dressed and have had breakfast.  Having either sacred quiet time or a light conversation nurtures your sensitive side before jumping into the busyness of your day and the demands of others.