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Manual Lymphatic Drainage – Part Three – Self Care

As promised, here are some tips for YOU to help YOU. Keep your lymph flowing in between your Manual Lymphatic Drainage sessions with some easy self care tips:

  1.  Exercise: Move around! You don’t have to kill yourself with burpees or run a marathon. I’m a fan of jumping jacks, but walking works (pump those arms!), and the new trends of rebounding and even just bouncing on a fitness ball can help.
  2. Dry Brushing: A superficial technique, dry brushing can stimulate your lymphatic system, aid with cellulite reduction, and slough off dead skin cells. It’s not very comfortable – I have to psyche myself up to do it – or perhaps I need a slightly softer brush. Here’s a little video demo selected because it is short, to the point, and I found that Margie made me smile. Remember: always dry brush towards the heart!
  3. Stay Hydrated: This is hands down the most important self care tip. Every system in your body works better when you drink water. So you just need to break down and do it. Here’s a list of hydration apps to help remind you (did you know once you’re feeling thirsty you’re already dehydrated?). I’m guilty of not drinking enough water too, so if you have a clever way to remember to hydrate, please share!
  4. Wash those fruits and veggies: This falls under the realm of paying attention to the environmental toxins around you. We are exposed to many environmental toxins that are out of our control, but be sure to always wash your fruits and veggies. If you’re really diving deep into healthier, cleaner living, please visit my Lemongrass Spa Products page. Lemongrass Spa’s mission is to provide natural products that are clean and made fresh, right here at home in America. The family skin care products range from cosmetics (I adore their lipsticks – no chemical taste and amazing pigment!) to lotions, scrubs, soaps, hair care, and essential oils.

Ready to try our Manual Lymphatic Drainage? During the month of September you may try our full body Lymphatic Drainage Massage for the special rate of $40 for a 60 minute treatment. May not be combined with any other offers; additional charge applies for mobile massage.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage

Manual Lymphatic Drainage – Part Two – The Technique

What Does Manual Lymphatic Drainage Feel Like?

This is an excellent question and it always helps to know what to expect before you receive any type of treatment. Personally, if I don’t know, my mind is spinning trying to figure out what comes next and I never fully relax. This segment of my Manual Lymphatic Drainage Series reviews the location of the lymph nodes and what it’s like to experience the Manual Lymphatic Drainage Technique.

Your Lymph Nodes

We have lymph nodes throughout our body. All of the nodes eventually drain into two “mother nodes” located in the supraclavicular area (just above your collar bone). Working the way down the body, the next major nodes are in your armpits (axillary nodes), your cisterna chyli is located in your abdomen, and your groin (inguinal). Below is an abbreviated chart to give you a basic visual.

The Manual Lymphatic Drainage Technique

When performing full body manual lymphatic drainage the client starts face up and the therapist starts by clearing the nodes just above your collar bone. Everything else eventually drains to this area, so you need to clear the path and give everything a place to go! We work through the body clearing the areas closest to the nodes and working away so we are always directing the lymph to towards the cleared areas. We work through the face, scalp, and neck all the way through the front of your body before turning you over. Majority of the work is actually completed with the client face up (supine), so it can be a much more comfortable experience, especially for those who get congested easily in the face down (prone) position.

The technique itself is very gentle. This is not a deep tissue massage. The lymph system is located very close to the surface of the skin, so the sensation you feel during the massage is very light pressure with a slight tug of the skin, typically in the direction of the nearest mother node (the tape playing in our heads is, “how light can I go, how far can I stretch”). There are a few areas that are massaged where you may not be used to receiving massage.

1) The eye sockets. I found it was a stranger sensation to perform this technique than to receive it. You can do it to yourself (pretty please be gentle and don’t poke out your own eye). Close your eyes, place a finger tip (preferably a clean one) on the bone UNDER your eye. Slightly roll your finger in until you feel the flat part of the bone. Yes, this helps relieve eye puffiness.

2)  Your armpits. It’s a quick technique, but if you aren’t expecting someone to put their hands in your armpits it can catch you off guard. The full palm goes in your armpit, so there are no little finger tips tickling around. It’s actually kind of a comforting sensation (I find this whole treatment to be very comforting in general).

3)  Under the breast. There are lots of nodes at the breast fold. The technique I use is for one hand to be on the side of the chest (kind of holding up the side of the breast tissue with my forearm and the other hand is under the breast, at the fold. Again, this felt much more invasive to perform than it did to receive. The hands barely move and the motion of the technique is towards your side and up into the armpit (to the auxillary nodes). Fun Fact: Wearing underwire bras and very tight sports bras can inhibit the full function of these nodes, which is why it’s important to clear them. It’s also important to let the girls breathe, either bra-less or with soft bras so your lymph can flow.

4) The Groin. Again, this sounded much more invasive to me than it felt when receiving the technique. The therapist’s hand is placed approximately between your hip bone and pubic bone and I always use secure draping. There’s lots of nodes in this area which is why it’s important to treat, and the therapist hangs out there for a while (about 30 seconds where other areas are about 10 seconds: one Mississippi, two Mississippi…).

Please note that techniques will vary by therapist and the issue you may be having treated. These notes are based on full body manual lymphatic drainage, but if your therapist is treating a specific area for any reason, that may be the only area treated. As with all my treatments, there may be techniques I do not perform if I’m not comfortable or if you’re not comfortable. It’s all about communication.

In addition to providing a stand alone lymphatic drainage massage, I will be adding this technique to select areas of the body during my Integrative and Ashiatsu massage sessions at no additional charge. Typically these will be areas that require extra attention or deeper work and the lymphatic drainage techniques will help minimize inflammation in those areas.

SPECIAL: During the month of September you may try our full body Lymphatic Drainage Massage for the special rate of $40 for a 60 minute treatment. May not be combined with any other offers; additional charge applies for mobile massage.

 

 

Manual Lymphatic Drainage – Part One – What is it?

The lymph system is really very fascinating and I’m so excited to share what I learned in my Manual Lymphatic Drainage course (I have a fancy certificate and everything!). There’s so much information that I’m going to split it up into a series; but if you have any questions you want answered, give me a shout! It’s likely that if you have the question, someone else does too. In my series I’m going to share what the lymph system is, what it does, what YOU can do for YOU, and how I can help.

What IS the Lymphatic System?

The lymphatic system is part of your immune system helping to defend against bacteria and other intruders. It aids with fluid balance and the absorption of fats and fat-soluble nutrients. It clears away bacteria, cell debris, excess water, proteins and wastes from connective tissue and returns it to the bloodstream for removal by the kidneys. Fun fact: when you feel like you have an infection and your “glads” are swollen (think neck, armits, groin) these “glands” are actually swollen lymph nodes (Resource: What Does the Lymphatic System Do?, MacGill, Marcus Feb 23, 2018, Medical News Today.)

The Mechanics of the Lymphatic System:

The lymphatic system consists of lymph, lymph nodes, and lymph vessels and it is located parallel to the venous system. The lymphatic system is similar to the circulatory system (blood); however, your circulatory system has a mechanism to pump your blood through your body (Anyone? Anyone? Yep, it’s your heart). Since the lymphatic system doesn’t have an automatic pump it requires YOU to do the work for it. The most common way to make this happen is to exercise.

Why Manual Lymphatic Drainage?

If you can just exercise to move your lymph system, why do you need manual lymphatic drainage? Surgery and other damage can cause a build up of fluid in the lymph system. While a certain level of inflammation is important to protect damaged tissue, some of the fluid can be moved away to help the healing process. In healthy bodies, it aids in the flow of lymph and can help keep the nodes clear. By encouraging circulation of fluids and degongesting tissue you can ultimately assist your organs to function at optimum levels (yes, your kidneys and liver are the star of this show!). Manual Lymphatic Drainage also has a positive effect on the parasympathetic nervous system (your “rest and digest” nervous system) and helps keep the autonomic nervous system in balance. As I mentioned in my Facebook Live Video (see the replay here on YouTube), a sluggish lymphatic system can make you feel sluggish too. Symptoms and signs of an overly stressed lymphatic system can include: chronic fatigue, joint pain, fibromyalgia symptoms and muscle aches and pains. For your reading pleasure, there’s a very thorough article by Dr. Axe on the lymphatic system: The Lymphatic System: How to Make it Strong and Effective.

Try it Now

SPECIAL: During the month of September you may try our full body Lymphatic Drainage Massage for the special rate of $40 for a 60 minute treatment. May not be combined with any other offers; additional charge applies for mobile massage.

All the New Things!

I’ve been talking about the “new things” for quite some time (so long you’ve probably forgotten I’ve said new things were coming!)  So here we are – all the newness, presented in one handy blog post.

UPDATED MENU OF SERVICES

I’ve restructured my menu of services to give a truer representation of what I do. The new Integrative Therapy Massage is our former Relaxation Massage with all of our Massage Enhancements thrown in. If you want a relaxation massage, no problem. If you need some reflexology, stretching, hot stones, or cupping, those techniques are available to you now at no additional charge. Aromatherapy and hot towels are still provided at no additional charge.

The Ashiatsu Deep Tissue Massage is unchanged. If you’re not familiar with Ashi, check out our video demonstration here.  If you need one of the extra tools from my mental toolbox, no worries, I’ll break that out for you as well. No extra charge.

I’ve added the Ashi-Express for when you need a quick lunch time fix. Available Tuesday – Friday 11:30am – 1:30pm, this 30-minute massage focuses on the back and neck to iron out the kinks and let you get back to your day.

WHY THE CHANGE?  It’s actually really simple. I want to offer my clients the benefits of ALL of my services. I don’t want to withhold a technique that can help you because you may not have an extra $15 that day. I don’t want my clients having to do extra math – it’s supposed to be a time to RELAX YOUR BRAIN – math isn’t relaxing (and if it IS relaxing for you, just let me know and I’ll come up with some word problems for you to solve during your next massage session).

ALL INCLUSIVE PRICING

Our prices are now all inclusive. You receive your massage, enhancements, AND gratuity for one reasonable rate.

WHY THE CHANGE? Again, it’s all about making life easier. You know how much your session is going to be, easy peasy.  I see clients calculating percentages, trying to remember what they tipped last time, and all that thinking undoes all the mental relaxation we’ve just achieved (see note above regarding extra math…). I’ve had clients be SUPER generous and then they find they can’t maintain that level of generosity, so they don’t come in for a massage, which makes me sad. By keeping it simple it makes life easier for all of us. Still want to share the love? Please review me on your favorite site: Yelp!, Facebook, Google

PRICING

Prices have been slightly adjusted to better represent the change in services. Pricing is all inclusive:

Integrative Therapy Massage $80 / hr;

Ashiatsu Deep Tissue Massage $90 / hr;

Ashi-Express $45 / 30 minutes

You may add time to your session for $1 / minute, billed in 15 minute increments (75 minute Integrative Therapy Massage = $95;  90 minute = $110, etc).

MOBILE MASSAGE

Our mobile massage rates have been adjusted to a $125 minimum for a 60 minute session (based on client’s location). Additional time is still billed at $1 / min (15 minute increments). If two people are receiving massages at the same location, the second 60 minute massage will be billed at my studio rate of $80. NOTE: All of our enhancements are not available for mobile massage (such as hot towels, hot stones and cupping) so please chat with me before booking.

WHY SUCH A LARGE DIFFERENCE IN PRICE? I know it seems like a large difference, but here’s the honest, mathematical breakdown:

  1. Drive time = minimum 20-30 minutes each way.  I hate being late so I leave enough time for traffic, weather, bridges, and trains. If I do mobile massage for you, I’m sure you can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been *gasp* tardy. Just for giggles, we’ll include loading and unloading the car, signing into security, etc into this time.
  2. Set up time = 15 minutes to set up, 15 minutes to tear down.
  3. The MASSAGE!

When you do the math I think you’ll agree that this is a great value for the convenience of an in-home massage.

CHAIR MASSAGE

I love, love, love bringing massage into the office place. I will come to your office and provide chair massage services on a one-time or recurring basis. My rates are extremely competitive and here’s a hint: The national chair massage companies hire ME to represent them. I’m giving you the opportunity to receive the same services AND save your company money! I am networked with a number of licensed and insured therapists, so I can staff any size event to meet your company’s needs. So go ahead, slip your HR manager my business card… you won’t regret it!

FEEDBACK

Let me know what you think – Do these changes resonate with with you? I’m always interested to hear what my clients and potential clients need. So don’t hesitate to share! You may email me directly at Erin@SimplyMassageFL.com or call me at 954-380-8829.

Cheers!

Erin

Interesting Places I Go #4 – People’s Homes

Ted, ready for his massage.

Being invited into someone’s home is always a great honor. I’ve been to very grand, lavish homes, and I’ve been to more modest abodes. Guarded gates, apartments, two-story walk-ups, and estates. But the feeling is the same: Your home is your sanctuary and you’ve invited me into your space to help maintain your wellness. I try to keep my transportation costs as low as possible, while also accounting for the travel time when I’m not massaging. Some therapists only work in a brick and mortar facility – they can massage 6+ hours a day, increasing their income. Some therapists only do mobile massage, foregoing the overhead of rent and other facility operating expenses. Me? I keep both. Why? For you. Some clients can only relax outside of their home. Some really enjoy the convenience of me coming to them. So I try to create a balance in my business to keep everyone happy. Yep, I’m a people pleaser. Side note: I only charge one transportation fee, so if husband and wife want massages at home, or you have company visiting and want to indulge in a little relaxation treat, there only one transportation fee and my regular rates apply to all massage services.

In addition to my regular massage joys of helping you get rid of your aches and pains, when I visit homes I sometimes I even get extra entertainment:

The Children

I treated a mother who was having the hardest day with her baby. I walked through the front door and he BEAMED at me. Flashed is beautiful blue eyes and gave me the biggest grin and giggle! She looked at me in disbelief and she may have been a little peeved. He had been a terror all. day. long. She just shook her head and told me she may never let me leave.

In a separate home I started to set up my equipment in the toddler’s bedroom. At the age of three, he did NOT like me being in his space and launched into a mini-tantrum (not super relaxing for mom and dad). I knelt down to talk to him and I promised that I wouldn’t touch any of his stuff and that I’d clean up all my mess and it would be exactly as he left it. With his permission, I was able to set up for the massages. It took a few extra minutes, but it was well worth it.

The Dogs

Oh the dogs! I think my clients’ dogs are the BEST. There is one super duper standard poodle who loves getting a little massage after his mommy gets hers. He leans on me and looks at me with his beautiful brown eyes and I just adore him! I’ll always take some time to share some massage love with the pooches that like it.

The Cats

Cats. Cats are tricky little buggers. Including my three cats. Felines tend to be at either end of a broad spectrum: they are terrified and want NOTHING to do with me. OR they want to be in the middle of EVERYTHING. It’s the latter that’s tricky. When you’re receiving a massage and the cat jumps on the table it can scare the bejezus out of you. That kind of undoes my work, which is a total bummer. There is an adorable kitty, who after months and months of me visiting, finally warmed up to me and will now allow me to touch her. On a particularly chilly morning, she hopped onto the foot of the table and nestled into the feet of her owner. Yes, it was adorable. Even the most curious kitties will usually settle down and be content to observe me from a distance.

So thank you for inviting me into your world – it’s always a pleasure for me!

 

 

 

Acupuncture and Massage

I received acupuncture for the first time about two years ago. I was always curious, but skeptical. I also felt like it took some research on my part – I didn’t want just anyone messing with my chi (I’ll get back to that in a moment). Honestly, I also REALLY didn’t want someone sticking needles in me who didn’t know what the heck they were doing. Here’s a little Acupuncture 101.

What is Acupuncture?

I think we all know it deals with needles, but the basic definition from the Mayo Clinic describes acupuncture through traditional Chinese medicine as a technique for balancing the flow of energy (Chi or Qi). Chi is believed to flow through pathways in your body (meridians). Western practitioners may view the acupuncture points as places to stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue to increase blood flow and boost your body’s natural pain killers. Yes, I did discuss acupuncture with my primary care physician and he is completely supportive of it as an effective addition to my healthcare maintenance.

Chi

It wasn’t until I really got into massage and saw its benefits that I really started to look at other forms of “alternative” medicine. When treating an issue I prefer to combine Western and Eastern approaches. Western medicine has produced amazing research, cures, and benefits (my husband received a liver transplant and is cancer free due to Western medicine). However I think it’s beneficial to look at what came before it and remind ourselves of the energy we possess and the healing powers of our body and mind.

Back to my chi. Take from this what you will: When I touch a lot of people, sometimes it makes me really tired. Not in a physical pain kind of tired (although I get that too), but more in a “wow, they dumped all their energy into me,” kind of tired. The hands and feet can transfer a lot of energy both ways and especially when I work long, multi-day events in corporate environments, I feel weighed down by other people’s junk. That’s when I first looked into acupuncture. I felt like I was filled (FILLED) with other people’s junk and I wanted it to go away.

Acupuncturists

Acupuncturists are like massage therapists: it’s such a personal experience that you really need to be patient to find the right one for you. The first acupuncturist I saw was lovely. She specializes in treating infertility, which was not my coal, but I trusted her so I gave her a shot. I felt AMAZING after that first session. I went back about a month later, again feeling full of junk, and after that session I felt AWFUL. I felt like the energy blockage just moved somewhere else. It was not good. I’m not accusing the practitioner of doing anything wrong, but it just didn’t happen for me. Since she actually has a niche business, I decided it was best for me to find another practitioner. Then I found Julie. I’m so genuinely fond of Julie. We clicked and communicate effortlessly. Her treatments are thoughtful, thorough and she has great follow up (haha, as I’m writing this she just texted me to schedule my next session!). In combination with the rest of my healthcare regimen (yes, it includes regular massages) I’ve been feeling really great. Check out Julie’s website at Optium Health Acupuncture. She’s conveniently located in Hollywood, on Ocean Drive between the Diplomat Hotel and Hallendale Beach Boulevard.

When searching for an acupuncturist, please keep the following in mind:

  1. Are they licensed? You can look up any practitioner on the Florida Board of Acupuncture to see their license status. Side note: you should make sure your massage therapists are licensed too!
  2. Are they trained to practice Oriental Medicine? In Florida an Acupuncturist must complete a four year program in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (as of 2001 – prior to that the requirements were less). There are no requirements for medical doctors or osteopaths to practice acupuncture; chiropractors may practice with 100 hours training. Here is a list of requirements by state: www.Acupuncture.com.
  3. Ask for referrals from people you trust. They aren’t always iron clad, but I’ve found that people will talk about (or blog about, heehee) people they like.

The Needles

Ohhh, the needles. I don’t have a fear of needles per se. What I really don’t care for is blood. To be more specific, blood coming out of ME. So when I get my blood drawn, I learned to simply look away. Easy peasy. But some people have a very strong aversion to needles. I wish I could help you. Julie works with people who are afraid of needles by starting out with the tuning forks and magnets. You just have to trust me on this – they are really cool. Anyway, there are ways, so talk to the acupuncturist and try not to dismiss it just because of the needles. I won’t lie, there are a few places that give a little pinch when they are inserted, but the discomfort doesn’t last. Most I don’t feel at all. Being in a relaxing environment helps – nice music, aromatherapy, warm table, bolsters under your head an knees, heat lamp on your belly… Thank you Julie!

Insurance

Check with your insurance. Some cover acupuncture and some, but not many (sadly) still cover massage therapy.

Acupuncture and Massage

Each therapy accesses the body at a different level. Using both together enhances the effectiveness of each, resulting in a more complete health treatment. They are truly complementary modalities, providing a large range of benefits for body and mind.