Creating Calm through Crafts

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Posted by Gwyn MacDonald

I’m making a skirt for a friend of mine. She’s turning 2, (so it’s a small skirt, heehee) and the party is this weekend. I’m a bit behind in my sewing and was starting to feel a bit of stress that I wouldn’t get it finished in time.

Then I realized that it wasn’t so much about getting it done on time, it was the yearning to get my hands back on the beautiful, snuggly fabric and my foot back on the sewing machine pedal! I LOVE to sew! There are many reasons why, but one of the best is that my brain is purely focused on the task at hand. No noise and clutter in there when the iron is steaming away and the needles are flying! It’s the same reason I love to garden. Clear, quiet mind.

Then I remembered an article I read a few years ago in a Martha Stewart mag. The author was Lisa Borgnes-Giramonti, an embroidery artist and writer. Even though it was short and sweet, it had an impact. She talked about the connection between crafting and other pleasurable, very focused activities and well-being. To paraphrase a psychologist she interviewed; when we create (craft or garden or cook, etc.) our mid-brains become engaged by the activity and the temporal lobe can’t focus on the usual anxieties that plague most of our brains relentlessly. And viola! Calmness settles in.

There is much research and many interesting articles out there with much more science behind them then my little blog post, but I thought I’d try to inspire you all to get back to that project you put down last year. Or take a class that you’ve been putting off. Write that poem, crochet that blankie! Or just fix the button on your favorite coat. It’s all important. We’re hibernating here in this deep, dark winter, we might as well be creating calm!

Cheers!

P.S. Check out Stitchlinks.com, a U.K. organization that works on helping folks with depression and other health issues enhance their well being through knitting. VERY cool!

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Fresh as a Daisy

Posted by: Debi Phillpotts

It’s the middle of winter here on the east coast and oh what a winter it has been so far. We’ve come to know new lingo such as “Arctic Vortex” and hearing forecasts of sub degree temperatures have become the norm. And the snow, well nothing short of plenty this year, for sure.

If you have ever had any bodywork from me, most likely I have mentioned the natural rhythms of the seasons and their corresponding energy characteristics. If not, no worries I’m here to remind you about the water element which corresponds with the season of winter. This is a yin season with some of the characteristics being passive, dark, and cold for example. Now, we all know the nights are longer during the winter season so it would make sense that we get more sleep and are less active. Right?

Sleep. How much do we need?  According to the National Sleep Foundation adults require 7-9 hours of sleep per night, teens require 8-9 hours and younger children anywhere from 11-15 hours depending on their age. The key question to ask oneself to determine how much sleep is needed is how productive, happy and healthy are you during the day? Are you at health risk, have weight issues or depend on caffeine for your energy?  When we are feeling cranky, forgetful, or unhealthy chances are the last thing we think about is if we have incurred and unresolved sleep debt. While everyone’s needs are individual, short sleep duration is linked with:

  • Increased risk of drowsy driving and motor vehicle accidents
  • A greater likelihood of obesity due to an increased appetite caused by sleep deprivation
  • Increased risk of diabetes and heart problems
  • Increased risk for psychiatric conditions including depression and substance abuse
  • Decreased ability to pay attention, react to signals or remember new information

The good news is that we can sleep off this debt with regular proper amounts of sleep. So why not take advantage of those long winter nights and get some proper rest?  Some tips for a good night sleep are:

  • Going to bed earlier at the same time each night (weekends included)
  • Refraining from tv/electronics and heavy meals at least two hours before going to bed (try reading or meditation)
  • Avoid napping
  • Get exercise during the day
  • Make your bedroom an oasis of tranquility ie: serene colors, natural light, comfortable bed and bedding and no TV in the bedroom.

Try a week with a regular, sufficient sleep regimen and you just may notice you are feeling “Fresh as a Daisy”!

For more information on sleep facts and its benefits go to:
Sleep Foundation
Healthy Sleep

Thank you and Good Night!

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

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Posted by Judy Moon

I am channeling my best Tina Turner right now. The scary thing is that my hair can actually look like hers after one of Gwyn’s scalp massages!

What’s love got to do with it = everything! I have had the honor and privilege to study with Dr. Darren Weissman who has taught me about the healing powers of love and embracing life with an attitude of gratitude. In his book, The Power of Infinite Love and Gratitude – Darren describes the foundation of the LifeLine Technique, a healing modality incorporating 14 modalities. The LifeLine technique is a system that removes “emotional roadblocks” from the subconscious so our body can do what is was designed to do – heal, regenerate and be whole.

My personal favorite part of the LifeLine and what inspired me to become certified was working with the energy of love and gratitude.

If you are familiar with Dr. Masuru Emotos work with water and the effects that different stimuli had on the water then it will be of no surprise to you that one of the most beautiful crystals that formed was when the water was exposed to the words “love and gratitude.”

Why is that so cool?  Our bodies are 70 to 90% water – so when WE are exposed to the words infinite love and gratitude – all of the water in our bodies, in every cell, in every organ – is transforming and shifting.

We are getting ready to celebrate St. Valentines Day which is all about love and I would like to inspire you to use this power of Infinite Love and Gratitude for yourself.

Would you ever choose to feel stress – hell no! – take a breath, shift your vibration, repeat Infinite Love and Gratitude to yourself over and over till you feel the shift. The stressful situation doesn’t necessarily go away – but how you react and respond to it can. It’s all about choice – what do you choose love or fear? I know what I choose.

For bonus points, put your hand in the American Sign Language position for “I love you”

And place it over your heart – that’s right, you are telling yourself that you love you. It’s called self-care, self-love – give it a whirl!

And if you really want extra credit – say it with a smile on your face.

With Infinite Love and Gratitude – Happy Valentine’s Day! Celebrate love!

 

Massage Therapist Insider Series: What Should I Wear During a Massage?

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Posted by Alicia McCarthy

Receiving bodywork requires a lot of trust in your massage therapist. Sometimes a bond is created instantly, and oftentimes said bond requires some time (hopefully by the end of the hour!).

One aspect of the vulnerability that bodywork encompasses is being comfortable with your body. In a deep tissue or traditional Swedish massage the preferred state is to be unclothed. I am often asked (with a certain degree of shyness), “How much should I take off?”. The answer varies depending on the person and depending on the type of treatment you set out to receive.

Going completely bare can have its advantages. It allows the therapist to access the glutes, which is an area that holds a huge amount of tension for some people. The therapist may be more inclined to use longer strokes that connect different parts of the body, akin to the traditional Lomi-Lomi massage that originated in Hawaii. It’s also nice to feel free under the sheets (that’s my personal preference when it comes to getting a massage).

Leaving your underwear on is completely acceptable as well. Feeling secure and safe is important to the process of relaxing. As I therapist, I always strive to adapt to the needs of each individual person, and those needs can be different on any given day. In many forms of Asian bodywork, it is essential that you remained clothed so that the limbs can be moved and manipulated without having to consider proper draping techniques.

When it comes to your healing process, you should never feel like you can’t ask a question about what is right for you during your massage. Who knows maybe you’ll try going bare and never look back!