Real Relief for Cold Season

Lemon and Fresh Ginger

Lemon and Fresh Ginger

If anyone in my house gets a little stuffy-headed, or runny-nosed, or is getting a bit of a sore throat, I start chopping fresh ginger and slicing lemons.  I add them to several cups of water on the stove, bring to a boil, and simmer whenever we’re at home.  As much as my girls dislike this next part, I urge them to lean over the pot, preferably with a towel tented over the back of their head (which they really love) and breathe in the steam.  I actually love doing this, because I can feel it opening my nasal passages and loosening (hope you don’t mind the visual) what’s stuck up there.  And my clients rave about the effects too.  If you can set up a hot plate next to your desk at work, keep this brew next to you all day.  Just keep adding water as it evaporates, and more ginger and lemon as the aroma fades. It’s a strong elixir and will give any head cold a run for its money.  Try it.  You’ll be so glad you did.

Mandy Meyer-Hill

NYS Licensed Massage Therapist

Stairway Healing Arts Center

1 Washington Street
Cambridge, NY  12816
518-265-7889
StairwayHealingArts@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marleigh and Me: A Couple of Tools for Self Help

Barefoot on the Beach.  February (that's right) 2012, Maine

Barefoot on the Beach. February (that’s right) 2012, Maine

So I’ve been clearing the energy at home, and practicing energetic bodywork with Marleigh at least once a day for the better part of a week.  But an important part of healing is having some techniques that you can practice yourself, without the aid or necessity of someone else’s presence.  I taught her a couple simple new tools to help rein herself in when her mind starts darting about in class or anywhere else.

1.  The most simple thing to do is focus on your feet.  It may sound odd to read that, but after a few energetic bodywork sessions, it made sense to Marleigh.  Bring your attention to your feet, put the palms of your hands right on the soles of your feet if you can.  But that’s certainly not always appropriate or possible in school.  So:

2.  Breathe.  Breathe deeply.  Focus on pulling the breath deeply into your stomach.  Then push it all out as far as you can.  Do that for a few cycles.  Now pull the breath down in to your feet.  All the way down to your toes.  And then exhale as though you’re pushing the air out the soles of your feet into the ground.  Repeat.  Again.  Again.  This is a great technique for general calming, but it’s also good to rein in a chattering, scattered mind.

Over the weekend, I was driving Marleigh to a friend’s house. They were going to study for midterm exams which are later this month.  It had been a busy morning and in the car I realized we hadn’t done any energy work.  I was disappointed because I knew it would have been helpful prep for studying.  We talked about that and I said maybe she could practice one of the new self-help techniques.  “I know, Mom,” she said.  “Breathe through my feet.  I did it the other day in Social Studies and it really helped.”   Enough said.

 

Mandy Meyer-Hill

NYS Licensed Massage Therapist

Stairway Healing Arts Center

1 Washington Street
Cambridge, NY  12816
518-265-7889
StairwayHealingArts@gmail.com

 

Disconnecting So That We Can Connect

Some of our devices.

Some of our devices.

We have a rule in our home about cell phones and iPods at the dinner table, or at any meal time.  We leave them behind.  No texting, FaceBooking, Tweeting etc at the table.  Period.  I actually love that these devices help us connect so easily with our friends and clients, but there are certain precious times of day that we need to set them aside and focus on each other.  Our dinner table tends to be pretty raucous, especially considering there are only three of us.  We always sit at a set table and eat together, and my daughters keep me well entertained.  It’s a small ritual, and it’s important to me.  Sometimes we’ll grab the iPhone to Google the answer to a question, but then it’s set aside again.

We also turn off the wi-fi at 9pm. The phones get turned-off then too.  It’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of the internet or get caught-up in a lengthy texting conversation at night.  And this interferes with sleep and rest.  And that effects health.  So again, we disconnect.  This doesn’t always make me popular in our home, but we all recognize that it’s good for us.

So in the name of connecting with each other, of family,  and also of health we disconnect every day.  How does your family cope with the onslaught of electronic devices and the internet?  Please share.

Mandy Meyer-Hill

NYS Licensed Massage Therapist

Stairway Healing Arts Center

1 Washington Street
Cambridge, NY  12816
518-265-7889
StairwayHealingArts@gmail.com

Marleigh and Me: The Healing Process

Phase II:  Focusing, Getting Rest

Last Thursday Marleigh came to me and said she thought she was going a bit loopy because she’d spent the last 45 minutes re-reading the same 4 paragraphs.  She was really frustrated and said she just couldn’t focus.  She said she’d been having that trouble in class, too.  She was terribly distracted by anything and everything, including her own thoughts.  Scattered.  I realized I knew how to help her with that.   I talked to her about doing some energy work and a bit of massage therapy she lit up and said, “That sounds great!”  She’s always loved to receive this work but with our busy lives I realize what a long, long time it’s been since we’ve done any massage or energy work on a regular basis.

So we got comfy on the couch.  I massaged her cranium and neck for a bit, which helped her just relax.  Then I moved to her feet and did the same.  Massaging our feet helps us to “get out of our heads”.  When our minds are buzzing and whirling a little foot massage can help to quiet it a bit.  So I massaged her feet, then began the energy work on her soles.  I listened as her breathing deepened and her fluttering eyes quieted.

Then I moved back to her head and did the “Mind Clearing” sequence.  She’s always loved this, and I’d forgotten.  It was a really nice experience for us both.  When we finished, I held her head in my lap for a bit.  She went back to her reading and finished the chapter.  I hope she retained it…

I practiced the same technques when she went to bed that night.  Friday morning she told me that she didn’t remember me leaving the room and that she slept deeply all night through.  She said  it was the first night she’d fallen asleep immediately in over a month. As well as the first night she’d slept uninterrupted.  That’s a good start.

We agreed to do these techniques at least once a day for a few weeks.  She’s already sleeping better, and she said classes went well on Friday.

This will be an on-going process.  I’m also teaching her techniques she can practice on her own which I’ll tell you a bit about tomorrow.  Thank you for being present with us on this healing journey.

Mandy Meyer-Hill

NYS Licensed Massage Therapist
Stairway Healing Arts Center

1 Washington Street
Cambridge, NY  12816
518-265-7889
StairwayHealingArts@gmail.com

 

 

Marleigh and Me: A Healing Journey (Part I)

Marleigh at Popham Beach, Maine.  Labor Day 2012.  She chose this photo.

Marleigh at Popham Beach, Maine. Labor Day 2012. She chose this photo.

I’ve always considered myself the luckiest mom on the planet because I have the two most incredible daughters that I get to share my life with.  Seriously.  My girls are bright, vibrant, confident, healthy, interesting, fun, creative, and just awesome to be with every day.  Being a single parent can be challenging and lonely.  But we’re a tight trio with a healthy, rich connection that I also think is rooted in the fact that I’ve raised them alone.

But my older daughter, Marleigh, has been struggling lately.  Grades dropping, crying a lot, feeling down, having a lot of trouble focusing.  I have her permission and blessing to discuss this on my blog, by the way, because she and I have found a way through this.

Let me tell you a bit about Marleigh.  She’s always been a strong student and an athlete.  She’s known for her happy disposition, her goofiness, and for being a prize clown.   Her principal said, “Oh, Marleigh.  She always seems so happy.  So unusual for that age…”    She’ll be the first to intervene when she feels someone is being mistreated and she’s an excellent judge of character.  She’s kind and thoughtful, and her friends count on her for solid advice and insights.  I really admire her.

So the depression, the inability to focus, and the dropping grades were a severe turn from her normal way of life, and I was getting scared.  So was she.  So we visited our counsellor and her doctor to see if we were missing any serious health concerns.  In both cases she was awarded a clean bill of health.  She seemed to be right on target for a maturing 14 year old female.  But I wanted to support her, help her focus, re-adjust, settle back into her happy and confident self, and hopefully even get her grades back up to reflect the bright gal she is.  Then I realized that I could probably help her. I started digging through my little medicine bag of massage and energy therapy techniques and came up with a bunch of good ideas.  And then I developed a plan.

Over the next few days and weeks I’d like to share the healing techniques we’re using and her progress.  She’s already feeling the results.

Mandy Meyer-Hill, BA, LMT

Stairway Healing Arts Center
1 Washington Street
Cambridge, NY  12816
518-265-7889
StairwayHealingArts@gmail.com

Meditation and Massage Therapy

There will be NO Meditation Circle this morning at Stairway Healing Arts Center.  There’s a problematic shoulder and back that I need to get my hands on first thing today.  My apologies to those of you who were planning to attend.  Hope to see you tomorrow when the meditation circles will resume as scheduled.  Meanwhile, subscapularis, teres, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, trapezius, rhomboids, erector spinae, latissimus, deltoids…. here I come.

Morning’s Blue Light

 

This morning when I walked outside with my dogs the air was filled with a luminescent blue light. The sun wasn’t  up  yet, and the crescent moon was hovering over the mountains in the SouthWest sky.  There was a ringing quality to the cold air.  It took my breath away, and at the same time filled me a sense of vitality.  It felt magical and divine.  I stood out there in the midst of it and thought of the day ahead, the people I’ll see and the work we’ll do together. I’m excited to head down to Stairway Healing Arts Center.  The day will begin there with a Meditation Circle at 9, followed by massage therapy and energetic bodywork sessions.  The beautiful morning will imbue all the work that I do today.  It feels great.

Mandy Meyer-Hill, BA, LMT

Stairway Healing Arts Center
1 Washington Street
Cambridge, NY  12816
518-265-7889
StairwayHealingArts@gmail.com

Fresh Air and Friendship

 

Our path snow shoeing through the woods today.

Our path snow shoeing through the woods today.

My friend Maria invited me to go snow shoeing this afternoon and I jumped at the chance. I’d been feeling a bit tired and run-down.  Getting outside is always an excellent antidote to fatigue for me. Maria and I  spent a couple of hours trekking through the woods behind her farm and talking.  It felt great.  Exercise, fresh air, friendship.   I felt refreshed and rejuvenated afterward.

 

 

 

 

Connections Near and Far

The other day I worked with a client from Maine.  She was visiting our area for the weekend, wanted a massage, and found my name via the blog of my friend Jon Katz.  Today I received a call from someone right here in Cambridge looking for a massage.  She asked at our food Coop if anyone knew of a local massage therapist.  One of the Coop members working at the register knew me and told her where to find me.  I love working with people from near and far, and I love the connections we all make on our paths to better health.

A Look at Stairway Healing Arts Center

My massage studio at Stairway Healing Arts Center.

My massage studio at Stairway Healing Arts Center.

Over the next day or two I’m going to give you a little tour of Stairway Healing Arts Center.  Here’s the massage studio.  The massage table is heated and well-padded because your comfort is essential.  It has a padded, crescent-shaped face rest so that while you lie on your stomach your neck is well-aligned and supported and you can breathe freely. Quiet music is playing, unless you prefer silence.  There’s a glass of cold water for you on the shelf.  Welcome.

This is the studio's sitting area where we talk before your session and determine what you need from today's therapeutic massage.

This is the studio’s sitting area.

 

Before your therapeutic massage or energetic body work session, we’ll sit and talk for a bit.  This is your opportunity to tell me what’s going on in your life and in your body.  It helps me form a treatment plan for you today.  It’s also a time and space to help you transition from your bustling, hectic day into a peaceful time for self-care.  Please come in, sit down, breathe.  I’m glad you’re here.