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5 Simple Ways to Honor Your Breasts (and Your Body)

By Noel Beck

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I have always had mixed feelings about this month.  My mom found out she had breast cancer back in 1999 and then passed away from the on-again/off-again diagnosis in 2010.  She and some of her friends would do the walks when I was little, but as I got older, I started to wonder why we are not finding a cure or at least better health techniques when so much money is being donated during the month of October.  I know it helps people feel like they are supporting their friends and loved ones, but I have found that doing some good, old-fashioned, self care is what helps us take preventative measures for our own futures.

 

Cancer isn’t predictable and it isn’t pretty, but here are a few simple ways to take care of yourself and honor your breasts.

 

Lead by Example

Perform monthly self breast exams, get knowledgeable about your body, and schedule regular mammograms. I have been told since I was 17 that I would have to have my first mammogram at 30.  This is 10 years younger than most women, but with my family history it makes sense.  Make sure you schedule a clinical breast exam with your primary care physician, too.  I have mine done every year at my annual visit. Set a good example for the loved ones around you by incorporating healthy practices. This can include starting a garden, eating as organic as possible, exercising regularly, and packing healthy lunches for your kids.

 

Talk to Your Family and Friends

Teach your children about self care and good breast health. Tell them about the health risks that come with smoking and alcohol.  The smoking aspect is what my mom’s doctors believed was a major factor that contributed to her breast cancer. Talk with your kids, siblings, parents and grandparents about your family’s health history and don’t be afraid to tell your doctors. Consider talking to your sister, mom, or best friend about getting a mammogram.  A friend of mine had her first mammogram a couple of years ago and she said it was easy breezy where they just smooshed her breasts and then sent her on her way!

 

Give a Meaningful Gift

Go out of your way to show someone you care. If someone close to you is struggling with cancer, offer to get their groceries, bake them a casserole, take them to a doctor’s appointment, or just be there for them when they need it.  This was the most helpful thing that our community did for us.  Remembering the kind people who baked us home cooked meals, and helped us out with grocery shopping was a wonderful thing in a difficult time. A gift doesn’t have to involve money or the purchase of a material item. Just being there for someone makes a world of difference.

 

Get Involved

Consider raising money for a good cause, attending a local event, or starting your own fundraiser during the month of October.  I think local charities are the best, because you can see that money going directly back to the community.  Diana Price Fish (which closed in 2009) was one such organization that allowed my mom to get out of the house and take us to plays, musicals and concerts.  It made living with cancer not so serious 100% of the time.

 

Take Care of Yourself

Put in the effort to take care of yourself and this goes beyond eating right. Of course, it’s good to avoid processed foods, but also make sure you are exercising and curbing any habits that negatively affect your health. Replace them with good ones. Turn your 10 minute smoke break into a 10 minute walk break. Avoid staying up to late and try hitting the sack even 20 minutes earlier. Change your monthly Girl’s Night into a Girl’s Spa Day and get massages.  Stress is the number one cancer causing problem.  Stay active and relaxed (which is one of the most difficult things out there for some reason) and stay positive.

 

It’s all about little changes to make small steps toward health. Breast health goes beyond routine breast exams, it starts with the food you eat and getting outdoors to everything in between.

The Protocol We Use to Help You the Most

If you go to a spa, you’re going to get a great massage! You will feel relaxed; they might get you some products that help your skin stay hydrated, feel softer and more supple, and look luminescent; it will be a great time.

 

However, if you suffer from chronic pain, limited range of motion, tension headaches, compensatory pains from a previous injury, or want more out of your massage, you need to see someone who has the skills and protocols to help you recover and feel better. We use a rehabilitation protocol that helps you to reeducate your muscles, revitalize your tissues, and connects you to your body in a new way.

 

The first thing we need to do is normalize soft tissue dysfunction. Dysfunction literally means painful function, so just because you can still move relatively normally doesn’t mean you don’t have pain. To help normalize the soft tissues, we will use trigger point therapy and deep tissue massage techniques to make sure your soft tissues don’t have something more serious going on. During this time, we might want to use cryotherapy or heat treatments to help your tissues calm down.

 

Once we have determined your tissues are healthy, we will address your range of motion and see if we can improve aspects of it. We might suggest certain stretches to do that will help your specific issues. If you want to get more stretches for your issues, talk with a personal trainer or a yoga teacher to make sure your stretches are appropriate and help you. During your sessions, we might stretch you out or see where you are feeling a stretch.

 

After we have determined your range of motion and what we need to do to help you increase that (if necessary), we want to work at restoring proper movement patterns. This is done through neuromuscular therapy which looks for specific areas within your movements to address.

 

Once all of that has been addressed or started to get addressed, strengthening the muscles and muscle groups is extremely important to retain the benefits. We cannot give you strengthening exercises (except Torrance, who is a Certified Personal Trainer), but we have some friends over at the Kettlebell Method and another great personal trainer with Greg Bobby. If your specific issues require, you may want to see a Physical Therapist as well. While you are restrengthening, it is important to still receive massage, as we help keep you moving and can ensure your strength training won’t cause new issues and help you recover from the new workouts.

 

Because we focus on utilizing this pattern, we are able to really transport your recovery into a transformative experience.

How Can Meditation Help You?

Meditation is practiced all over the world and is becoming more popular than ever. But you might have asked yourself questions like: what is meditation? Where did it come from? What are the benefits that come with practicing meditation regularly? There are too many techniques; where would I start? What if I can’t quiet my mind? What is “zen”? What if I never find my “zen”? Is meditation for me?

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The exact date of when meditation originated is unknown but according to Psychology Today archaeologists have discovered wall art dating back 5,000 years ago. These drawings depict people sitting with crossed legs, hands resting on their knees, with eyes slightly closed. The earliest documented record of meditation dates back to 1500 BCE, from the Vedas teaching in ancient India. The Vedas are a collection of religious texts and hymns and that teaching, which transformed over the many centuries.

 

Fast forward to the 20th century when the practice of meditation was finally brought to the United States by Swami Vivekananda; however, it was Paramahansa Yoganada who made it popular. Yogananda formed the Self Realization Fellowship to bring the teachings of India’s ancient practices and traditions of meditation to people worldwide. There’s a really great and informative documentary on Netflix called The Life of Yogananda, if you wish to learn more on these ancient teachings being brought to the modern audience.

 

Time is a great teacher, although it will kill the student; that statement couldn’t be more true. It took a long time for meditation to come to the US and even after that, it wasn’t as mainstream as it is in today’s culture. Now it is socially accepted just about everywhere, and there are many meditation facilities all over the world.

 

There’s no wrong way to meditate, Live and Dare has a great list of different types of meditation. The traditional Japanese style of meditation is called Zazen or “seated meditation”. This is generally practiced seating on the floor or a cushion, hands resting on the knees with the legs crossed. Yoga is an exceptionally well-known form of meditation; classes can range anywhere from chakra balancing and vinyasa (to really get the blood going), or light stretching classes with more focus on pranayama or breathing. Mantra meditation is from the Hindu tradition, as well as Buddhism and Taoism. Also known as Japa, this form of meditation is a repetition of a mantra or a divine name. Mantras can be a single word or phrase that can help bring the awareness of a chattered mind to stillness. To keep your focus, you can practice this repetition by using beaded necklaces called Mala, traditionally with 108 beads, as it is a sacred number.

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There are countless benefits to adding meditation into you daily life and promoting a healthy body. It increases focus, memory retention and information processing, and gives you better sleep patterns with more restful sleep. Meditation improves breathing and heart rate, reduces blood pressure, prevents arthritis, lessens inflammatory disorders and asthma. Not to mention the emotional well-being! It lessens anxiety, stress, fear, loneliness, depression, enhances self esteem, self-acceptance and optimism. That’s just to name a few!

 

Generally, the main reason self care falls to the wayside is the lack of time, or that’s the common excuse. Another modern form of meditation is listening to a guided meditation through podcasts or a million other apps. So plug into a podcast and go get your zen on!

 

Written by Megan Jett

Meet Lauren Moore

IMG_0548Lauren is a recent grad from the Healing Arts Institute. She loves helping people feel better in their bodies. She has a special talent for working with people with chronic pain without it being an awful experience or too painful. But she can also bring the pain!

Lauren is excited to be part of the Under Pressure Therapeutics team, and we are excited to have her!

From now until September 30th, 2017, book any service with Lauren for 15% off! (Discount cannot be combined with with other discounted offers)

Call or text (970) 286-0033 or book online.

A Simple Way to Jumpstart Your Health and Fitness Journey

If you google “women’s health and fitness” we are willing to bet your search would turn up millions (and millions) of results. Some are legit health articles with real research to back up their claims, while others are trying to sell fitness garments, sports bras, and gear.

 

If you’re new to the health and fitness world it’s overwhelming. Where does a newbie start? Is it the gear? Is it the food? Or is it the exercise? September 24th is National Women’s Health and Fitness Day and we are going to walk you through some easy tips for getting started on your wellness journey.

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Move some.

First and foremost, it’s important to move. Stretch, walk, run, or hike – it doesn’t matter, just get out of the normal groove of work and couch surfing. Start with five minutes a day and stay consistent. Do this for about a week. When five minutes feels so easy it’s ridiculous to not do more, bump up your time or go a small distance further. The aim here is stirring up the boring routine and get that body moving.

 

Get the right gear.

Most people start with the gear. They go out and buy fancy trackers, hats, clothes, gloves, etc. Sure, it’s fun to buy stuff, but some people are dropping a small fortune on new digs and falling off the wagon a few days in. Why is that? Gear shouldn’t be the motivator. Sport/smart watches are merely tools to help you in your new chapter. The motivation needs to come from within. Get moving, see what you enjoy and then get the gear to match your new activity.

 

Eat well.

Once movement becomes a routine, you’ll find a natural progression into healthy eating. Fitness habits support good health habits and visa versa. It’s important to start small. Remove junk foods from your home (workplace, purse, vehicle, etc) that aren’t your favorites to avoid mindless eating. Swap out an unhealthy choice for a healthy one every time you grocery shop. Reduce your portions if you feel you’re eating too much and increase the amount of (small) meals if you feel you’re not eating enough throughout the day. Plan and prep your meals around your schedule one day a week and try to curb those impulse take-out orders. Need a little extra help? Try talking to Zen Functional Wellness.

 

Sleep well.

Sleep is essential to a healthy lifestyle. When you sleep your body goes into repair and restore mode. It aids digestion, stress levels, moods, and often times our patience with basic daily tasks. Oh and your memory! (Almost forgot that.) If you’re having trouble getting to sleep, find a time that you can start winding down every night. For example, have a cup of tea at 8PM each night to jumpstart your “getting ready for bed” process. Over time your body will recognize that tea as a trigger and start winding down as soon as you smell that cup of chamomile.

 

Have fun.

This is huge. No one wants to do things that make them unhappy. Don’t force yourself to run if you hate running. Walk or cycle instead. Or try yoga. Or massage. Find activities that you love and it’ll be that much easier to keep up with. You can also try the Kettlebell Method or martial arts or something that you’ve been interested in–anything to get you moving and having fun while doing it.

 

You know what’s best for you.

Do what feels right. Take care of yourself. Seek guidance from a medical professional if you need it. Speak to a nutritionist, a personal trainer or your own doctor. Educate yourself on what it takes to achieve the goals and results you are after. If you don’t know who to talk to, ask us, and we can refer you to someone who can help. No one can do this for you. It’s your journey, so take that step – one little bit at a time.

3 Reasons to Get Massage When You’re “Too Sensitive”

Written by Marissa Orchard

 

A while ago, I encountered a woman during a chair massage event. I asked her if she had any accidents, injuries, or conditions I should know about and if there was anything she wanted me to work on specifically. She told me that she had been head-butted years ago and her neck is always extra sensitive and because of that, and she wanted me to completely avoid her neck.

 

As a Massage Therapist who specializes in helping people recover from accidents and injuries, this is like nails on a chalkboard for me!

 

I know that I can help her, especially because it’s been years since the incident. Her body has had time enough to heal that I can definitely address her needs and help her get back to more how she felt before the accident. But it was a quick 15 minute chair massage, so I didn’t say anything because 15 minutes isn’t enough time to address the issue anyway.

 

We have ran into this a number of times: people not wanting us to work on certain areas because they’ve been previously injured and they usually have been told that there’s nothing anyone can do for them. They’ve been fed a lie that they have to rely on pain killers and avoidance to cope with their chronic pain.

Here are some reasons why you want us to work on your more sensitive or previously injured areas:

 

  1. We always work within your pain tolerance. If you are sensitive, that’s okay! You can tell us to go lighter in that area. We have different techniques that have helped sensitive areas become less sensitive, which aids in the overall health of the muscle.
  2. We have options. You don’t have to only rely on deep tissue massage in order to recover; that’s why we use many types of massage in our practice. We also use other treatment options like heat treatments or cryotherapy. We have more gentle, superficial treatments to address the first layers of problems. As we gently work through each layer, we can start addressing the root of the problem.
  3. Injury doesn’t mean the end. We are trained to help you increase your range of motion and decrease pain. Most injuries can be rehabilitated from, at least to a point where it’s not painful for someone to touch you. You do not have to live in pain the rest of your life. You do not have to settle for getting daily headaches. And it’s not because your body has a lack of ibuprofen or other medications.

 

Depending up on the injury, when it happened, or the type of surgery, we may not be able to help you. Some surgeries prevent joints from moving again, others install so much hardware that we have to take so many precautions that it might  But if we can, what’s stopping you from trying us?