Monday, February 25, 2008

At Long Last...

...the Winter 2008 "Healing Nest" Newsletter is complete!

In this issue, you'll find...

* A fascinating interview with Dr. Greg Yasuda, naturopathic physician extraordinaire!
* An invitation to tap into your body's memory by exploring your scars!
* Contributions of writing and art, as well as new creativity prompts!
* Announcement for my next Art Show: April 10, 2008!

To view the newsletter, click here:

I hope you all have been enjoying these sunny February days lately. Spring feels just around the corner, doesn't it?


Monday, February 18, 2008


"We know that things unfold according to their own nature. We can remember to let our lives unfold in the same way. We don't have to let our anxieties and our desire for certain results dominate the quality of the moment, even when things are painful. When we have to push, we push. When we have to pull, we pull. But we know when not to push, too, and when not to pull. Through it all, we attempt to bring balance to the present moment, understanding that in patience lies wisdom, knowing that what will come next will be determined in large measure by how we are now."

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are

I have been practicing the art of patience lately, and until two days ago, I was doing quite well at it. You see, my dad has been in the hospital, and I have been spending part of my day every day at the hospital with him and my family. Right after his surgery, my dad was doing quite well, impressing doctors and nurses left and right with his strength and progress. I was impressed with him, too. Just four days after having the most complicated surgery one can have these days, he was walking the length of the hospital floor several times, eating solid foods, and having a sense of humor to boot!

But then things weren't so good all of the sudden and my dad was miserable. Because of my dad's amazing progress, I had forgotten how severe his surgery had been and that inevitably there would be bumps in the road. And I also realized that the invincible qualities I tend to associate with my dad were being tested: my dad turned human again. His strength and force of will were not enough this time; he needed us (his family), the doctors, the nurses, the techs, and several times unfortunately, the hospital cleaning staff (bless their hearts!).

And I needed the Goddess of Patience to appear to me, to lay her soft hands on my head and heart, and to remind me that this journey with my dad would require strength, groundedness, and most of all patience. Instead, my partner held me while I cried. (I must say that he is a good stand-in for the Goddess of Patience.)

I love what Jon Kabat-Zinn writes here: "We don't have to let our anxieties and our desire for certain results dominate the quality of the moment, even when things are painful." This is a hard lesson, for don't I want my dad's pain to go away? Don't I want him to start cracking jokes again and walking like a pro down the hallway in his flimsy hospital gown? I do. But, I know this will come in time. In the meantime, when I sit with my father, I try to take him in and be in the present moment as his body figures out how to heal. The human body is amazing in its ability to heal itself, but sometimes this requires more time than we imagine. Patience is my teacher these days, and I imagine it is for my father as well.

Try this:

Take a "patience walk." When you find yourself feeling impatient with something in your life, give yourself even a few minutes to walk with mindfulness and patience. Notice your steps, your breath, your wandering mind. Feel how "things unfold according to their own nature" as you allow each step to carry you into the future slowly but surely. Feel how such small steps can move you steadily toward your destination.

Art piece above is the lid to a "health" abundance box by Courtney Putnam.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Why Massage?

I've been meditating on the nature of my business lately--the massage business that is. As I end each month, not only do I calculate my income (very important to make sure I can pay the rent!), but I consider who is making appointments to see me and why. Are more people wanting sessions for stress relief and relaxation? Energy work? Mind-body therapies? Is chronic pain and injury management a significant aspect of my business? Are people attracted to spa treatments? Just as I was examining my practice in this way, I stumbled upon an article in the latest issue of Massage Magazine.

In it I found some statistics regarding who gets massage and why. A 2007 survey conducted by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), revealed that approximately 24% of all Americans received a massage in the last year. The percentage jumped to 34% for those who received massage in the last five years. This same survey indicated that "85% of people believe that massage is beneficial to health and wellness, and 87% agree that massage can effectively reduce pain."

Some other interesting findings related to age and gender:
  • 43% of women and 25% of men have had a massage in the last year
  • People 45-64 years old had an average of seven massages in the last year
  • People 18-44 years old had an average of five massages in the last year
  • 38% of people ages 45-64 said their massages were for medical reasons
  • 25% of people ages 18-44 said their massages were for medical reasons
As massage is gaining more credibility in the traditional medical community for pain management and stress reduction, more people are trying massage as a form of complementary care. And more importantly, they're finding it helpful. According to the AMTA survey, of the 20% of people who discussed massage with their doctors, 58% of doctors encouraged the use the massage in their patients' health regimen. This is good news!

So I ask you, dear readers, how do you relate to massage therapy? What does massage do for you? Do you seek massage for relaxation, stress reduction, emotional release, pain management, injury treatment, pampering, or all of the above? I thought I would conduct a little informal survey of my own.

To participate in my online poll, click HERE!

Thank you for your participation!