Post Concussion Syndrome? How CranioSacral Therapy Can Help

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It’s football season again: are you excited? Who’s your favorite team? While football is one of America’s favorite pastimes to watch, (and play), the stress that it puts on the players’ bodies can lead to a lifetime of health problems.

 

Have you noticed how retired football players move their bodies? You can usually see that they are in some amount of pain, not moving as smoothly or easily as they should be for people their age, right? Even though they have all the resources available to them as athletes, their bodies take a toll from participating in such a rough contact sport.

One of the problems football players encounter that can cause serious, lasting damage is concussions from the number of head shots, bangs on the ground, or quick, violent movements without even hitting the head. When the head sustains this kind of trauma, internal bleeding occurs, and neurons, neuronal centers and glial tissues (which support various brain structures) are damaged.

What occurs from these damages are various issues: behaviorally, athletes with concussions experience irritability, aggression, anxiety, depression, and cognitive dysfunctions like concentration and memory problems. Physically, they may experience headaches, neck pain, dizziness, fatigue, sleep disorders, double vision and more. Other problems that may seem unrelated, like decreased endocrine functions, also may occur.

Sometimes these symptoms don’t show up for a year or more after the concussions, making people wonder why all of a sudden, they are experiencing these things. And with repeated head injuries, these symptoms only become worse.

*Anatomically, the craniosacral system is the deepest layer of the fascial system, a continuous network surrounding every structure of the body. There is even evidence that strands of fascia pierce the cellular membrane and connect to the nucleus of the cell. Tensile strength of the fascial network has been measured up to 7,000 pounds per square inch. These forces, combined with the continuity of the fascia, helps to explain the myriad of symptoms that an individual may experience after an injury should have healed. Post concussion syndrome is one example among many illustrating the effects of a tight fascial system on the other systems of the body. *The Upledger Institute *

So why does the light touch and gentle holds of CranioSacral Therapy work? When working with the craniosacral system at this deepest level of the body, we are be able to release restrictions at a level that physical manipulations can not. The anatomical attachments points of the craniosacral system at the head and various membranes, exiting into the neck and all the way down into the base of the spine, along the spinal column, show the continuity of the fascia and why CranioSacral Therapy has such far reaching effects.

CranioSacral Therapy helps with mobilization of the bones in the head, thus affecting the membranes and the glial network that is attached to the nervous system. Post concussion symptoms have proven to respond well to CranioSacral Therapy, reducing emotional, physical and behavioral symptoms, improving functions and decreasing pain.

Do you know of anyone struggling with Post Concussion Syndrome? Are you? Contact me for a CranioSacral appointment today to help relieve your pain and get you moving and functioning better!

Your Bracelet Says You’re Not Sleeping Well…Now What?

These are my tried and true methods, not only for sleep but to quiet my mind, which I believe is a huge part of most people's sleep struggles.

I consider myself lucky and very grateful: I don’t have many problems falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too much. I don’t have a Fitbit or a Garmin bracelet to track how I sleep, so who knows what those devices would say, but I know a lot of my clients do wear them and tell me they don’t sleep so well.
When I ask them what they do with that information, they don’t really have any answers for that, so today I have some suggestions on how to fall asleep easier and sleep deeper. These are my tried and true methods, not only for sleep but to quiet my mind, which I believe is a huge part of most people’s sleep struggles.

Carrie’s 7 Tips to Help You Sleep Better

  1. Cut caffeine in the early afternoon and watch what you eat. Heavy, hard to digest meals keep your body functions working rather than going into rest mode, so eat lighter and earlier if you can. Avoid caffeine after early afternoon, since the caffeine buzz stays with you longer than you would expect.
  2. Exercise daily, whether an after dinner walk or a full-on workout. Reports indicate that regular, vigorous exercisers sleep better than those who don’t exercise at all or those who lightly exercise. Even if you can’t get the sleep benefits from vigorous exercise, walking is better than nothing at all! I personally find walking very meditative and therapeutic; maybe you’ll experience that too, in lieu of a workout. Whatever you do, just make sure your exercise routine is completed about 2 hours before you go to sleep.
  3. Take a warm bath 90 minutes to two hours before bedtime. Popular belief says that your body’s temperature drops when you sleep to conserve energy for other functions, so taking a bath before bed raises your body temperature, which then subsequently lowers it, just in time for bedtime.
  4. Turn off screen time an hour before falling asleep. With all transparency, I don’t actually do this with the TV, but I make every effort to do it with the computer/tablet and phone. The screens are so bright and since light is one of the things that triggers the brain that we should be awake, we need not be looking at bright screens before trying to fall asleep.
  5. Write down your thoughts to clear your head. I like to use this when talking to people new to meditation. Sometimes our heads are so full of thoughts, worries and ideas that we have a hard time getting quiet. Before bed (or meditation), write each thought that goes through your mind down in a notebook. Let them roll out of your head on to the paper, where you are welcome to pick them up in the morning if you wish.
  6. Spray your pillow with Lavender, Cedarwood or Frankincense. These essential oils help promote a peaceful, relaxing environment and calm the jitters. You could also use an eye mask with essential oils. When I use my eye mask, I sleep so deeply! It’s a wonder I forget to use it every night. As a Young Living Independent Distributor, I can get you some amazing, highest quality, 100% essential oils, if you’d like.
  7. Practice progressive muscle relaxation techniques. I like to pay attention to my body and see where there is energy moving around. I will let those areas shake it out, twitch and kick, if needed, to expel the energy from that space. I will breathe into any area that feels full of tension and breathe out visualizing it relaxing. I will also visualize literally sweeping out my brain and letting the thoughts fall out of my ears. It may seem a little strange but it works to calm the body, mind, and get rid of pent up energy!

Massage is also known to help people sleep better, so come see me as often as you can, and in the mean time, practice these at-home, self-care sleep tips. Sleep well and let’s see if we can change those results on that bracelet!

When do you need a sports massage?

Contrary to the name, sports massage is not only for athletes.

Sports Massage is Not Only for Athletes

In the wake of the Olympics, I’ve been thinking about the athletes and their endurance, commitment, and perseverance. It’s quite amazing how they can do what they do! I’ve also been thinking of how they must need to take care of their bodies on a regular basis, such as how many massages they must need and what kind of treatments they use. How it would be so cool to work with them!

I’ve actually got quite a few amazing athletes as my own clients: ultra marathoners, bicycle racers who ride hundreds of miles per week, and of course all my strong Cross Fitters. Thinking of them got me thinking of all the various types of massage that I use for them at different times, and how people may think sports massage is only for athletes and that it has to be a very deep tissue, vigorous massage. That’s actually not true!

Athletes use “sports” massage four different ways and different methods are used for each one:

  • The short massage right before the event, to get the muscles warmed up, stimulated and ready to go. This type of massage is good if you want to feel invigorated after your massage, rather than ready for a nap. This would be good for a bride on her wedding day.
  • The massage about an hour after the event, to flush the muscles out and normalize the tissues. Maybe you played a random game of volleyball at the work picnic, or walked a 5k on a whim because your friends were doing it. This massage would work well for you to smooth you out and give some love to your shocked muscles.
  • The massage that’s used to aid in injury rehabilitation, if needed. Everyone gets hurt at some point, whether from a slip and fall or stepping off the curb wrong. This type of massage usually uses a little deeper pressure and works at getting the adhesions to lessen. I’ll always check in with you on pressure to make sure it’s not too deep for comfort.
  • The massage that’s used in between all of these, on a regular basis to keep the body working well in training, with less injury. Everyone needs this massage. This is the “I love my body and want to keep it in amazing shape” massage! It gets the blood and the lymph flowing.

So, whether you’re an Olympian, a weekend warrior, or a once in a while player, there’s a type of sports massage that can help your body.

I always love to help you to feel better and make a difference in your life, so please let me know what you need. Also, please tell your friends about me: if you refer 3 friends who book a massage, you get one free! You can book your next massage here.

Have a great week!

Carrie

 

Treat your body like an Olympian: Alternative Therapies and the Olympics

Olympians are using many alternative therapies to keep their bodies in top athletic shape.

The Olympics are back: are you watching? I’ve been able to catch a few events here and there. Don’t you get the chills when the gymnasts land a hard trick? I love it!

Another thing I love seeing are the marks from Cupping Therapy on some of the athletes’ bodies. As you know, I am a fan of many different kinds of alternative therapies, and I’ve tried this one as well.

Cupping originated in China thousands of years ago and is used to move the energy/Qi/Chi in the body. Its purpose is to bring blood flow to the specific areas where the cups are applied, improving circulation and loosening up muscles and joints. It makes sense if you think about it:

The more blood flow you have to an area of the body, the more effective that area can work.

That area of the body receives more oxygen, not only to fuel the muscles, but to promote healing.

There’s no hard and fast evidence that cupping works, but it’s been around and used for a loooong time, and I’m a proponent of anything that doesn’t involve medication, surgery or additional trauma to the body. Cupping may leave bruise-like circles, but it actually doesn’t hurt.

Some of the other alternative therapies Olympians use are Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Relaxation Therapies, Mindfulness Techniques, and, of course, Massage Therapy.

I’ve read some Olympians get massages at least once per week.

There may be a lot of questions on whether all of these therapies have any kind of positive effects, but I know we definitely can rely on Massage Therapy to help. Massage Therapy is not just for relaxation, (though it’s good for that, too): it helps with injury rehab, relaxing those overworked, fatigued muscles, promoting faster healing, eases the stress and nervousness of competition, and helps these athletes sleep better.

You may not be an Olympian, but your body deserves to be treated as if it is. Take care of your body. It is precious. I will help you with that. Click here to book your next massage. You’re all winners to me!

Healing Naturally with Essential Oils: How Can Oils Help with Your Daily Routine?

I hope your summer is off to a great start! I seem to be struggling a little with allergies this year, which I don’t usually have problems with. As I am not a drug taker–prescription or otherwise–I’ve always used homeopathy to help with my problems. This year I’ve started using essential oils in my life and business, so now I’ve got a few extra tools in my belt to help me out. I wanted to share some essential oil recommendations that can help you naturally with different things you may be experiencing.

Aromatherapy has many healing properties. This post provides a few recommendations for you to sample.

As I’ve explained before, the essential oil is the volatile liquid of the plant, so when we inhale, or absorb these molecules into our bodies, the natural healing this volatile liquid produces starts working.

I’ve been using Young Living’s R.C. blend to help with my sniffles, itchy eyes and to give my clients a comforting aroma when they are face down on the massage table. I find the R.C. blend seems to works better then Eucalyptus.

Here are more essential oils that you may be able to add to your tool belt:

  • Frankincense – (My favorite oil) Helps with anxiety, depression, healthier looking skin, and an open mind for meditation.
  • Purification – Keep this oil around to deter pests and to eliminate stale odors (gym bags and dogs beds!)
  • Thieves – Use as a part of your daily wellness regiment.
  • Lavender – Great for cuts, scrapes and skin conditions, relaxation, and mental acuity. (great for classrooms) I use lavender on my pupper when he’s scared of the thunder.
  • Peppermint – Helps support healthy digestion and an energy boost.
  • Stress Away – For relaxation and slowing down (who DOESN’T need this?!)
  • Copaiba – I use this on my injured wrist when its feeling sore, and when my thumb hurts from overwork.
  • Panaway – My favorite in my massage cream! For stiff, achy muscles, and joints.

I trust Young Living’s oils as they all contain a “Seed to Seal” guarantee so that we know that everything in the YL oils are 100% essential oil, which is not true of all Essential Oil available for purchase. Technically, Essential Oils only need to contain 5% of the volatile liquid to be called an Essential Oil. So that means you don’t really know what else is added to make up the difference.

I’ve become a Young Living distributor so I can add the oils to my practice on a more cost effective basis, and so I can provide you with more ways to heal naturally.

I like being able to offer you alternatives for your health, whether it be essential oils, different ideas, or referrals to other healers.

I’m not in the Young Living program to do a hard sell.

If you are interested in trying out some oils, or just have questions, give me a call. 303-249-1712. Click here if you’d like to experience the oils in your next massage ($5 add on). If you want to browse, research or purchase you can click here to look online at the oils, or to explore YL’s website through my distributor number.

What’s that burning in your muscles mean?

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Do you know how much I love my job? I love helping you all feel better and making a difference in your lives. I also love the one-on-one time I get to spend with each one of you, talking, or just being present with you while you sink into relaxation.

Many of the things I write about in my emails and blog posts come from our conversations during the week. Lately, I’ve had a lot of people ask about the burning muscle sensations that they experience after working out.

It’s been a common misconception that the reason massage helps lessen these burning feelings is because it’s helping to flush out lactic acid that’s sitting in the muscles after exercise. This is actually false.

While lactic acid is produced during workouts because the muscles aren’t getting enough oxygen to turn food into energy, the lactic acid is quickly cleared from the system.

What’s really causing the burning is the tiny tears that occur in the muscles.

This is a normal thing and is how your muscles grow.

When you lift weights, run, do push-ups, etc., your muscles tear a little bit, and then during recovery the body fuses the muscle fibers together to form mybrofils, which increase in thickness and number, and viola! Muscle growth!

The real reason massage helps with the healing process is because it’s bringing fresh blood, and therefore oxygen, to the muscles that is needed to facilitate healing, by increasing the circulation in the damaged area.

Along with massage, here are some self help tips for you to use:

  • Drink a lot of water.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Move! Take a walk, stretch, do some range of motion exercises.
  • Avoid inflammatory foods like sugar, coffee and white bread.

 

As always, thank you for reading this, for being my clients and for making my day! If you’re ready to schedule your next appointment, you can do so here.

Getting Hot Out Here: Drink More Water

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It’s finally warming up! Yes! My favorite time of year, but this is also the time I struggle the most with dehydration.

It seems I can’t drink anything other than water in the summer or I start feeling dehydrated: I get headaches, I feel tired, and my muscles don’t heal as quickly from my workouts, or function as well.

A good rule of thumb for staying hydrated is to drink at least 1/2 of your body weight in ounces, per day.

So if a person is 160 pounds, you want to drink 80 ounces of water per day. If you work out that day, drink even more!

Water is important for circulating nutrients throughout our body; when we are dehydrated, things get stuck and settle rather than transport properly. Water is also a major ingredient in the synovial fluid, which helps lubricate the joints and keep them moving with ease.

Another important thing we need to make sure we are doing is replenishing our body’s supply of electrolytes. Since fluids are found both inside and outside of our cells at about 40% and 20% respectively, when we work out or play hard and sweat, get sick and vomit, or have diarrhea, high fevers, et. al., the fluid balance gets disrupted. Electrolytes are what helps get those fluids back into balance.

Some great ways to replace electrolytes are:

  • eat bananas for potassium
  • eat pumpkin seeds, almonds, and cashews for magnesium
  • drink a glass of milk for calcium
  • add a pinch of salt to water
  • drink vegetable juice or broth for chloride and sodium

You can buy a premade electrolyte replacement drink, but beware that most of these have a lot of added sugar, which we should really try to stay away from.

My favorite way to replace electrolytes is with coconut water. I have been adding it to my smoothie every day for about the past year, and it makes a huge difference in the way I feel on a daily basis.

Have a lot of fun this summer, but stay hydrated, and don’t forget your sunscreen!

After you play hard and enjoy the lovely Colorado weather, come see me to work out all those sore muscles!

 

Want to be happier? Plant a garden.

Summer is upon us. Yay! I love the sun, the heat, riding around Denver with the air conditioning on and the windows open in the car. Summer really is my favorite time of the year. I know not everyone feels that way though. I can think of some of you who are thinking I’m being blasphemous talking about loving the heat, but it’s my happy time.

Some people struggle, though, with being happy on a daily basis. But there’s a cool thing about the summer that can make you happier naturally–and, as you may know, I’m all about doing things naturally. How do you get happier naturally? You plant a garden. Get down and dirty! Dig those hands and toes into the soil and breathe in the bacteria.
Studies have found that Mycobacterium vaccae found in the soil have the same effects of raising cytokine levels, which results in the production of higher serotonin levels, which will make you happier and more relaxed! Doesn’t it make sense since to so many people, the garden is their happy place?

As the lack of serotonin is responsible for bi polar disorder, OCD, depression, and anxiety, raising these levels makes a big difference in how you feel on a daily basis.

Get your family members helping out around the garden! My niece and nephews helped me earlier this month with my first garden.

Get your family members helping out around the garden! My niece and nephews helped me earlier this month with my first garden.

When my nephews and niece were in town this month, we built a garden box and planted veggies. We took off our shoes and socks and walked around in the dirt and had fun. It was awesome to feel the cool, moist dirt between our toes. I felt like Lucy and Ethel smashing the grapes! It was awesome.

 

Another thing that’s great about walking around in the dirt is that it helps you get grounded. It connects you to the earth, nature, and the Creator and gets you off of the concrete jungle we are constantly walking around on. You can feel the aliveness of the ground. I love it!
So plant a garden, play in the dirt, watch the efforts of you work take fruit, and eat healthy, home grown food this summer. See if it doesn’t make life a little bit brighter. And when your back gets a little sore from your gardening and weeding efforts, come see me to work out the kinks.

Increase your body awareness: How is your body feeling today?

 

carrie-bodyawarenessI wanted to touch base with you today about one of the most overlooked–but most beneficial things–about receiving regular massages: increased body awareness. This is one of my favorite benefits of massage, but it’s something that most people don’t even consider in their daily lives.

How many times have you been on my massage table and as I’m working on a certain area, you realize just how sore that area is? It happens all the time, not only to you, but to all of my clients and sometimes even to myself when I get a massage.

Most of us don’t take enough time during the day to pay attention to our body or to our breathing.

Even if we do realize we’ve got a headache or a backache, we don’t stop to think about what the cause may be: we just reach for the pain relievers and move on with our day.

If we spent more time in our bodies, focusing on the amazing vessels we walk around in, we might realize a lot of things that go unnoticed.

Do it now: Close your eyes, take some slow, deep breaths. Do a body scan. Start at the top at your head and work your way down. Is there tension or pain anywhere? If so, breathe into that spot and visualize those muscles releasing, asking the pain where it comes from. Does the pain/tension feel like twitching, shaking, or crying? Let it! Keep breathing there, bringing fresh oxygen and blood (which it needs to heal) to those tense places. Keep working your way down your body, repeating this practice throughout all of the troubled places.

How do you feel after doing this exercise?

 

Better right? This is how getting a massage works, too: you’re lying peacefully and relaxed on the massage table, and even if you’re talking during your massage, your thoughts and attention are still on the feeling taking place in your body. This is an incredibly loving thing to for yourself, to give yourself time, space and attention.

Our bodies work so hard for us. They get up every morning and go, go, go for us. Sometimes they have pains that might put us down for a while. What’s the reason behind that? Have we been overworking it? Have we been storing some kind of trauma there that we need to release? Did we sustain injuries from a car accident, fall, or emotional trauma that might be affecting us now?

We need to pay more attention to our bodies.

 

We need to be IN our bodies, love them, protect them, nurture them. Regular massages are a great way to do that, and I know that sometimes, for some of you, that’s the only time you relax because you’re so busy!

I do my best to make your massage therapy appointment all about you. It’s a peaceful environment, and I work hard to be as grounded and as present as possible. I take care of myself regularly with massages, chiropractic, energy work, meditation, etc., so I can take the best care of you. The essential oils add-on has turned out to be an amazingly effective way to add another level of healing to your massage.

This simple, 5-minute guided meditation is for you to help me help you, in between your massages, which you can book from here.

Your body is precious. Treat it with care.

 

How can aromatherapy help you?

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As you may know from my last post, I am offering aromatherapy as an add-on to any massage for only five dollars. But do you know what aromatherapy can do to help you? What exactly IS aromatherapy? And why have I added it to my practice?

I’m always searching for ways to help you feel better and to make a difference in your life. I personally do so many different things in my own life to maintain health, such as Cross Fit, natural supplements, color and crystal therapy, personal growth, et. al. So when I started using essential oils in my life, and they had such an amazing effect on my mood and well being, I knew I had to offer them to you.

Essential oils are the “life blood” of the plant.

Aromatherapy uses the essential oils derived from the plant, the volatile liquid, which is used to protect the plant itself from bacteria, fungi and viruses. If the essential oils can protect the plant, why can’t it help you as well? And since our sense of smell is directly connected to our emotions, the aroma of these essential oils can help to create an emotionally relaxing state of being. Or an emotionally uplifting state! Or productive, energized, reflective–whatever you’re in the mood for.

When we inhale something, we are actually taking molecules into our body, therefore making aromatherapy a form of natural medicine. In your massage, we can use the oils a number of different ways and for different reasons. A consultation beforehand on what’s going on for you that day will help me choose which oils will benefit you most. Then, I can diffuse them into the room, apply them to the massage cream, make a specific blend for a problem area, as well as have you inhale them. So many choices and so much help to be had, AND it smells amazing!

I know you are going to love adding aromatherapy to your next massage!

It can be used with any type of massage: Swedish, Deep Tissue, Craniosacral…anything! Book here to schedule your next massage today and let me know when you arrive that you want to add Aromatherapy.*

*Available at my Joie de Vivre location only.