Sunday, February 28, 2010

Move Over Hot Dog, the Mustard is Movin' on Up!

I am in love with Mustard Oil. I am now offering massages with Mustard Oil that I purchased from a little Indian mart in my neighborhood, and I couldn't be more excited. Sounds a little nuts I know, but I am telling you this stuff is practically magic.

Mustard Oil has contrary reputations in different parts of the world. It is a very popular oil in the Indian Subcontinent (more precisely in the Eastern parts of India and in Bangladesh) as edible oil and is considered very healthy. It is also sold as massage oil for external application.

It has a lovely pungent aroma that is similar to but not as strong as horseradish. As you apply the oil to the body the scent dissipates and leaves no odor on the body, but before it does it has a sweet smell almost like dried hay. The density is quite heavy and glides smoothly over the skin with enough tackiness to allow for deeper work on trigger points and adhesions. It is also a fabulous stimulant to the circulatory system, as well as the following:

Stimulant: Mustard Oil is a very strong stimulant. It is particularly effective in stimulating circulation, digestion and excretion. This oil, if used externally for massage, stimulates circulation very well. The effects are even visible. It stimulates digestion by stimulating secretion of gastric juices and bile from spleen and liver. The excretory system is also stimulated by this oil since the peristaltic motion of the intestines is stimulated.

Irritant: Although being an irritant is not viewed upon as beneficial, yet it can be beneficial in some cases too. Irritation is nothing but a way of reaction of an organ to an external agent. It also shows that the organ is responding to external stimuli. This property is also used to pump up muscles.

Anti Bacterial: This essential oil has bactericidal or anti bacterial properties. Internally it fights bacterial infections in the colon, digestive system, excretory system, urinary tract etc. Externally applied, it can treat bacterial infections on skin.

Anti Fungal: This oil serves as an anti fungal agent, due to presence of Allyl Isothiocyanate. It does not allow fungal growth and also inhibits if there is any.

Insect Repellant: Insects and even some smaller animals avoid this oil and keep away from it. That is why Mustard Essential Oil acts as an insect repellant too. It can be used in fumigants and vaporizers to drive away insects. **For more info on vaporizers and other modus operandi, see The Nose Knows ~part 2~ **

Hair Vitalizer: The stimulating effects and the presence of certain fatty acids such as oleic acid and linoleic acid, when combined together, make Mustard Oil an efficient hair vitalizer. Its stimulating effects increase blood circulation in the scalp while the fatty acids nourish the hair roots. It has been seen that prolonged use of this oil on hair may give it a brown tint but strengthens it and prevents hair fall effectively.

Diaphoretic: It promotes sweating both when consumed and applied externally. It stimulates sweat glands to produce more sweat as well as enlarges the openings of the pores on skin. This property is helpful in lowering body temperature as well as removing toxins and excess salts and water from the body.

Anti Rheumatic & Anti Arthritic: It gives good relief in rheumatism and arthritis and for long has been in use as a rub in such cases.

Other Benefits: It is beneficial in treating cold & cough, headache, congestion resulting from cold, aches and body-pain and for muscular growth. It is also used to rub on gums for strengthening them. This also protects teeth from germs. This oil also contains good percentage of OmegAlpha3 and OmegAlpha6 fatty acids, anti oxidants and vitamin-E which have their own benefits.

So what do you say? Next time someone asks if you want ketchup or mustard on your hot dog, take the Mustard!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

What a Beautifil Vitamin D - A - Y !

This weather is why the people of the Lone Star state are so dang friendly. How can you be upset or sad on a day like today? Its almost Blue Bell Bonnet (this is an edit. Ice cream never leaves my mind. It is truly a sickness.) season....

The euphoria I feel is certainly stemming from the fabulous onslaught of Vitamin D sinking into my pores. The sunny flashes of kaleidoscopic color behind my eyelids, making me drowsy in the clean spring air...

The background buzz of "happy traffic" complete with the sounds of motorcycle exhaust, girly laughter, and the latest hip-hop song whirring by, the beat getting fainter...

The smell of grilling meat - y'all know this... 'The Nose Knows ~Part 1~'

I am so content right now. So happy for what I have and not concerned at all of how it compares to anyone else...

Did you know that If you want to lower your blood pressure, vitamin D may be just what the doctor ordered. If you're trying to reduce your risk of diabetes, or lower your chances of heart attacks, rheumatoid arthritis, or multiple sclerosis, then vitamin D should be at the front of the line in your daily supplement regimen.

And did you also know that there is recent evidence that links low levels of vitamin D to an increased risk of type 1 diabetes, muscle and bone pain, and, perhaps more serious, cancers of the breast, colon, prostate, ovaries, esophagus, and lymphatic system.

And guess what!?! Best souce of Vitamin D?? Is SUNSHINE!! So, I am hitting the outdoors...don't look for me in the house till the moon is risen and dinner's on the table...Thanks, M

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I am Sick & Tired!

Ms. Manners is rolling in her grave! I am here to tell you why.
(I must warn you. I may be blunt at times)

So, to set the scene, let me tell you that I had a fabulous time (despite the two women of BOVINE persuasion, wait, I will get to them)at the Keb Mo concert last night at the Granada Theater in Dallas on Lower Greenville. The music was hot, Keb's voice was clear, and the sound was pure Blues. Not one butt in the audience was sitting still. He had us dancing in the aisles! He played for almost 2 hours...amazing! The only thing I could have complained about was the afore mentioned cows standing next to me in the theater.

I don't want to complain, but as I am always in search of a day without stress, I feel it is my duty to appeal to the masses that are constantly texting and / or talking on cell phones during public venues. However before I jump up on my soapbox, I want everyone to know that I am aware there may be times these calls consist of emergencies, nervous mothers, and the occasional collect call after a free photo session in Lew Sterret's House O' Blues from the best friend being held downtown... but I digress. I remember the first moment I realized the annoying buzz in my ear, distracting me from the lyrics to "Suitcase". I look over and there they are, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, yammering away on the cells and speaking so loudly they were causing people to stare. But that wasn't enough! Then it was all about texting and cackling wildly at whatever was read. {{{{SIGH}}}} I had to force myself to remain calm and aloof. I was not alone. Looking around, I caught the hot stares in their direction, hissing whispers, and spluttered coughs covering the occasional bad word lobbied in their direction.

I want to announce that I Am Sick and Tired, Tired and Sick of teenagers and adults alike that continue to disregard me and you and anyone else that can relate to this article: GET OFF THE DAMN PHONE! I am a student living in a one income household, I rescue dogs all the time and need all my extra cash for their care, I am not high maintenance and do not purchase personal items unless absolutely necessary. SO. When I manage to scrape enough money together to go see a concert or a movie I would really appreciate it if you wouldn't text or talk on the phone. Sitting behind someone texting in a dark theater is like having a flashlight directly in your face. And be warned, if I see it and I can reach your chair, I will kick the back of it to let you know I mean business.
Here is a valid question, why would someone like the female hounds last night purchase a ticket and then NEVER pay attention? What a waste of money. But, it is their money and I am not one to judge. But I must ask again, Can you, noisy talker texter guy, please put away your phone for just an hour of two so that I and others like me may enjoy the movie or concert or play or whatever it is we paid hard-earned $$ to enjoy?

"If you can't beat them, arrange to have them beaten."
~~George Carlin

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Turn That Frown Upside Down, Julie Ann Brown!

When you look up Julie Ann Brown McIntosh on FaceBook, this is how she describes herself:

I'm silly, outgoing, "annoyingly effervescent", sarcastic, enthusiastic, and as southern as a collard green. I'm a loyal friend, I'm a sucker for animals, and I've got a bunch of great recipes. I love to cook, I love to decorate, and I love to entertain! I love my sterling silver, bone china, and crystal wine goblets, but I can throw a nice BBQ on paper plates just as easily as a fancy feast! I refuse to clean bathrooms because I have a wonderful lady who comes to do that sort of stuff for me! I've got a lot of fun "sayins" like "if brains were dynamite, the explosion wouldn't ruffle his hair on a windy day..." I'm a proud Texan! I don't care what people think of me unless they're my friends or my family!

I still cook with butter, dammit! I don't use margarine, skim milk, or fat-free cheese. I believe in eating rich, eating well, and then working it off! I love real butter, extra virgin olive oil, Madagascan vanilla, and Williams-Sonoma kitchen gadgets. I think "Kid Cuisines" should be outlawed as child abuse and that frozen lasagna is heresy!

How can you not love her? She bubbles over the page like fine champagne and can really make you think with her quick wit and intelligent observations. So why, you ask, is Miss Julie frowning? The very idea is an antithesis to her very nature. So, Why? Because like many economically stressed Moms throughout the USA, Julie has been forced back into the daily grind to help the household stay afloat. She misses her kids. She has a dangerous commute - snow, ice and salt, YUK! And above all, she lives in Michigan. I am here to tell you, as a native Texan like Julie, living in Michigan is like putting a lizard in the freezer. The weather can get down right cold, and we are warm weathered folk. But Julie handles all of those things with her ever-present charm and grace. What is really making Julie frown is what I call 'office-itis'.

She sits at the computer all day, staring at the computer screen under flourescent lights that tires her eyes, rounds her shoulders, elongates her back muscles, and numbs her butt. Yep. Office-itis. She posted today that she didn't understand how a such a sedentary position at her desk could make her so tired??? She isn't running around, climbing stairs, or lifting heavy objects. So? Whats the deal? As I sit and type this I know many of you are in the same situation as Miss Julie. I am going to give you a few helpful tips to combat this exhaustion; this life-sucking enigma called Office-itis.

First, lets talk water, H2O, libation of life, the true thirst quencher, I could go on...
Scientific studies have been up-dated. 64oz of water a day is still okay, if you weigh 128lbs or less. These days reports show the optimal amount of water that should be consumed by the average person is their weight in pounds divided by 2 and that number converted to ounces. And that is if you lead the life of a Root-Warrior, where you lay a daily seige upon your sofa. So John/Jane Doe weighs in at 200lbs. Their daily intake of water should be around 100oz of water. Now, consider the workout in the morning? They could actually drink more of than the 100oz and that is perfectly fine. If they drink the water instead of snacking, exercise regularly, and take care of their body, the weight goes down as well as the amount of water. "But I don't like water!" Then sustitute the water for sugar-free decaffeinated tea. This is a hard habit to develop for some people, but it is a crucial one. Your body needs that water to move waste from the muscles, combat fatigue within cellular walls, and keep the most important disease fighting barrier, the skin, hydrated and functioning properly.
SO DRINK WATER! Got it? Good.

Have you ever noticed how some employees within your office go on frequent smoke breaks? And since you are not a smoker, you don't feel you have an excuse to leave your desk for a break unless it is lunch time. Well, here is your excuse: Take a 5 minute stretch break. Now, I am not talking about straddling your legs between the cubicles. I am saying take a minute to go outside (weather permitting) or an empty conference room and do a few squats, stretch your pec muscles, swing your arms, and bring some blood back into the legs. Try something for me right now >> Take the first 2 fingers of your right hand, place them on the sternum and press the muscles found there. Hurts doesn't it? Thats because you are tight! Massaging the sternum is something I do for anyone that works at a desk. Now keep pressing out toward the shoulder. Still painful? Think about the position you maintain as you sit typing at the computer ALLLL DAAAYYY LLLOOONNGGGGG..... now multiply this by 5. UGH! My pecs and back burn just thinking (and typing) about it. I can see it now: your hands are in front of you poised above the keyboard, your shoulders are therefore rolled forward, this elongates the muscles in the back, and at the same time it causes your pec muscles to stay contracted. BAD BAD BAD! So, get off your rear, tell the smokers you're taking a "stretch break" and let them be jealous for once.

Okay, one last thing and I will shut up, stay away from refined sugars, heavy starches and fried foods. All they do is lift you up Up UP! Then send you spiraling down into crash mode. Stick to raw nuts, fruits, and veggies for a snack. No more trips to the candy machines, soda dispensers and coffee shops. Don't fill up at lunch. It just makes you sleepy. I follow a simple rule: Eat like a King in the morning, a Prince at noon, and a Pauper at night. If you try it, you will never go back to the old habits. (Hopefully)

So Julie, this Blog is for you sweetheart. Try and keep your chin up. We are all rooting for you and support you in your new adventure. There are many people out there like you and could benefit from your leading example. Good luck... and send me that recipe for skillet corn? Thanks!

Love to you and yours,

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Nose Knows ~ ~ Part 2 ~ ~

In part 1 of 'The Nose Knows' we discussed how the power of Aromatherapy can help you to control the stress in your environment whether it be the need to concentrate, relax or attract. Now lets discuss what essential oils can do for you in a domestic capacity. First you must understand that the term 'essential oil' is a misnomer. Pure essential oils when dropped on blotting paper will impregnate it, then evaporate and disperse, leaving no oily patch. There are some exceptions to this rule, but the oils I am going to discuss typically follow the rules I just described. Instead of stores selling fragrances or beauty products, look for pure E/O's in shops concerned with natural health such as Whole Foods, Sprouts,etc. I will also list at the bottom of this Blog some reputable suppliers in E/O's that deal with mail orders. This is ideal for the beginner as you get to know what the real thing smells like and, as you become more sure of your nose's ability to discern the good from the bad, seek a more conventional retail outlet.
Other clues to buying pure E/O's is price and strength. It is often the case that synthetic aromas will smell more pungently of the raw material than the real thing. Do not then be influenced by strength, but rather by price, supplier reputation and, in time, your own experience and instinct. Also, realize that E/O's are varied in price due to growing conditions, production costs, and transportation. That being said it is not uncommon that you will find Jasmine at 92x the price of Grapefruit and Sandalwood 4x the price of Lime on a wholesalers list. The reason being it takes 8,000,000 hand-picked Jasmine blossoms (picking time is before sun is at its hottest on day of first bloom)to make 2.2 pounds of Jasmine oil. And Sandalwood isn't harvested until the tree is 30 years old and at least 30 feet high. No reputable supplier sells E/O's all at the same price. Your E/O should arrive in a brown or dark bottle and be kept out of light , heat and dampness. Tops should be closed tightly when not in use. The shelf life of an E/O is approximately 2 years, although some would argue that it may be longer, and when the aromatic principles are the main action (IE: air fresheners, kitchen surface wipes, perfumes, etc) then certainly this may be true. Unfortunately, E/O's are not yet dated when sold, so it is impossible to tell how old they are when you buy them – another reason to purchase through a reputable supplier. So let's look at some domestic uses, shall we?


Because all doors of a house open onto a hallway, this where the aromas from every single room mingle to form the aromatic fingerprint unique to your home. Since hallways are often windowless, the odors that linger tend to hang about like a smog. We light candles and place potpourri in our rooms, but hallways are often neglected. Hallways need something pleasant and fresh, rather than the spice / herbal scents of the kitchen or more heavily scented oils we might use elsewhere.
Some pure oils that provide this refreshment are as follows:

Spring/ Summer


Autumn/ Winter


A synergistic blend that are just as refreshing are:

Spring/ Summer

Lemon 10 drops
Geranium 4 drops
Pettigraine 3 drops
Sandalwood 2 drops

Autumn/ Winter

Orange 8 drops
Frankincense 3 drops
Benzoin 3 drops
Geranium 4 drops

Methods using pure oils or blends are:

Diffusers >> 1 – 6 drops ** non porous only **

Light Bulbs >> 1-2 drops
*** Do Not place oils on hot bulbs. Place on cool bulbs then switch lamp on***

Humidifiers >> 1-9 drops ** add to water **

Radiators >> 1-9 drops ** place on cotton / wool ball and lodge between pipes **

Room Sprays >> 4 or more drops per 1 cup of water
** Spray where necessary being cautious with certain woods **

Water Bowls >> 1-9 drops
** Put boiling water in a bowl, add drops of E/O and seal room for 5 minutes **

Wood Fires >> 1 drop per log
** allow oil to set for 30 minutes prior to fire **


The majority of E/O's are antiseptics and bactericides, which means they inhibit growth of bacteria, clearly a concern within the home. The following oils are chosen for price and power:

Palma Rosa

We talked about the 2 year shelf life, but as it turns out, the disinfectant qualities of Eucalyptus actually improve with age. If you have oils too old to incorporate in skin or body care, keep them next to the kitchen / bathroom sink and use 4 drops per cup of water, then spray on a cloth to wipe down surfaces.


To deter insects from coming in through the windows, cut strips of paper or ribbon and add one drop of whichever E/O you prefer listed here:


Flies and moths particularly dislike Lavender oil, while Peppermint keeps mosquitoes and ants away. Moths have an aversion to the citrus oils too. Either one of the following blends will do a good job at keeping insects on their side of the window frame:

Blend 1

Citronella 10 drops
Peppermint 3 drops

Blend 2

Lavender 5 drops
Citronella 5 drops

These blends and other E/O's can also be placed on cotton / wool balls and placed in nooks & crannies or sprayed around the room. Better than chemicals, you are on your way to being environmentally safe as well as saving $$

Well, I hope this has been an interesting article to read as it was to write. Aromatherapy can become quite the hobby as well as a necessity. In part 3 of The Nose Knows, we will go on to discuss some first aid basics. Please do not hesitate to comment if there is a particular condition or remedy of which you are interested. I will be happy to respond with up to date research and helpful tips.

Please read on for the list of suppliers to purchase your Essential Oils.
For a catalog and pricing lists, be sure to send a self addressed stamped envelope to:

Essentially Yours North America
PO Box 81866
Bakersfield, CA 93380


Aroma Vera Inc.
PO Box 3609
Culver City, CA 90231


Original Swiss Aromatics
PO Box 606
San Rafael, CA 94915

Saturday, February 20, 2010


" What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies."
~~ Aristotle

Isn't it amazing how we can be seperated from a friend for a long time and pick up where we left off. I was wondering what to write about tonight, sitting at the computer and drawing a blank when it happened. I received a call from someone I cared about very much yet hadn't heard from in more than 20 years and I knew; Today my inspiration is FRIENDSHIP.

"Don't be dismayed by good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends."
~~Richard Bach

I have never been one to run with the social media crowd. I am quite the technophobe. But since I have been a member on Facebook, I am blessed to reunite with many people who were guiding forces within my young adult years. I still get nervous sending friend requests. Will they remember me? Why did our relationship grow apart? Was it amicable? All noteworthy mutterings within my mind. And as I have killed off a good portion of brain cells by this day and age, very necessary. I have noticed that although some memories are faded, the emotions are strong and alive and can cause my heart to beat rapidly or my demeanor to cool. So tonight when I heard that voice and that laugh, it was like a flashback to good times and memories.

"I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy. Let's face it, friends make life a lot more fun."
~~Charles R. Swindoll

Friends truly are the supporting beams in life. They are the frame around which our lives are structured. They provide moral foundations and insulated walls where we keep our precious moments safe and sound. It is hard for me not to feel giddy at the thought of rekindling a relationship that is comfortable, fun and easy. It never grows old, meeting the past with the knowledge of today.

So, here is a shout out to all the rekindled friendships I have found through Facebook. I thank you all for remaining the wonderful kids you were and the fantastic adults you have become.

"A good writer possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friends."
~~Friedrich Nietzsche

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Let Me Tell You Why I Love Lorraine (Johnson) Silveira....

Lorraine Silveira née Johnson has been my best friend since I was in 4th grade. She moved in to our neighborhood at the same time I was transferring out of private school and into the public school system. So as you can imagine, times were pretty stressful for a couple of 4th graders. Her family is Italian Long Islanders that loved to laugh out loud and eat yummy pasta with garlicky bread. She had more dogs in her house than I had ever had in my lifetime, R.I.P. Gretchen, Wolfgang and Rufus respectively. When you were at Raines house, there was always laughter and love, laundry and London Broil. Her father, Ken, would talk babytalk to her Mother, Diane, when he thought he could get away with something...I loved it when he did that. It always made me laugh! Raine and I both grew up with a passion for romance novels, long walks around the block and boys. We were little peeping Toms at Guy's house whenever Lumps, the dog, wasn't barking at us. But we knew that Guy knew we were there....

Lorraine was what you would would call a true friend. She never imposed her friendship, but never waned either. She was the one person I have entrusted all my girlhood secrets to, and some grown up ones too. She is a dog lover and a wonderful Mother. I am so proud to call her 'Friend'.

So, this Blog is for you Raine. I love you.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Nose Knows! ~~ Part 1 ~~

Stop. Take a deep breath. What did you smell? Were you paying attention to the scents surrounding you? No? Then try it again, only this time really concentrate on what your nose knows. And then, think about the way it makes you feel...

If you had to single out the most important sense you possess which one would it be? Or, if you had to eliminate one of your five senses which one would you choose? Well before you send the scent-sniffer to the chopping block let me tell you about the power of Aromatherapy. I often wonder which is faster, the sense of smell or sight? I mean we can smell the rain before it falls. We can smell whatever item we are baking is done before opening the oven door. And how many times have you known it was time to change that diaper without having to look? I think you get the point. So, how can you put this power to good use? AROMATHERAPY.

The sense of smell is what links us physically and emotionally to our memories. Some good and some bad, aromas have a way of flipping the pictures in our mind. We tend to associate the scent that was present during the moments we capture. What are your favorite smells? Mine are easy, (in no particular order)here are the top 3:
Cherry Pipe Tobacco - reminds me of my Grandfather, Poppy. He always carried an open bag of tobacco in his car to keep it smelling fresh. (Great tip. Really works. You ought to try it as tobacco is a natural deodorizer)When he passed, I placed a small bag in his coffin for the long trip home {{sniff}} I miss you Poppy!
Dove Soap - reminds me of my Grandmother, Mommy. The only soap she has ever used since I was born.
Grilling meat - who doesn't love THAT smell. The quintessential smell of summer. Bringing the memories of backyard BBQ's, fresh cut grass, iced cold lemonade and getting to stay up late playing 'Ghost in the Graveyard'...yep, good times.
All of those feelings brought on by simple inhalation.

So in the first part of this series, I would like to bring to your attention some common scents and how they can affect you personally. Lets start with some common bouquets.

The oils to try if you want to improve concentration (these are especially good for homework or if you work from home) are:


If your aim is to try and relax the mind rather than stimulate it, the old tried and tested favorite essential oil has to be lavender. The smell of lavender oil is synonymous with calm and really does work – it’s good for children’s bedtime in a vaporiser – or after a long day at work. You can also add lavender oil to a warm bath, it’s one of the few essential oils that can be used in this way. Other oils that promote relaxation are:

Clary Sage

And if you are wanting a mood of sensuality and seduction, some oils to try are:

Ylang Ylang

I hope this article is of interest because these essential oils are not just for perfuming the air. There are medicinal uses, domestic uses, garden pest remedies, and holistic veterinary care all associated with essential oils. We will explore some of these recipes and remedies in future Blogs to come. So, Stay Tuned and Happy Sniffing!

The Lord hath created medicines out of the earth; and he that is wise will not abhor them.
Ecclesiasticus 38:4

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Attention Fat Police: Go Choke on a Biscuit!

"Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it."
~~Salvador Dali

Coco Rocha, stunning girl - absolutely beautiful, is no longer able to secure work within her industry of employment. She is too fat. Her bosom, face, arms, legs and all that falls between are too ample. Too large. Mammoth. She is {{{gasp}}} a SIZE 4. Silly Cow!

I want to walk right into the casting agent's offices, rip the cigarettes from the talons they consider fingers, and slap them about the head and shoulders with a baguette slathered in rich creamy butter. (SIGH) But no, I will follow Miss Rocha's example and simply ignore their insults. I will reject their ideal figure and embrace my own. You see, Coco isn't backing down. She refuses to bend to their will. She stands against their suggestion of self-starvation and has risen against the "perfect image" created by the machinations of the textile industry. She knows that their idea of perfection is unobtainable, undesireable and unhealthy.

PERFECTION: Why do we all want to be perfect? The ads on TV and in magazines keep this sad desire alive. Everyday there is a new way to lose weight. New pills. New diets. New info-mercials with bold-faced lies promising perfection. Ever try working with a medical doctor? A nutritionist? A personal trainer or massage therapist? All educators helping you to achieve your goals through hard work, trial and error. It is YOU that does the work and YOU that gains the reward. Educate yourself about the body to achieve what will become your personal perfection. Coco says she won't starve herself to become "model material". She recognizes her own personal perfection.

Everyday I learn more about the human body, and I realize that it is a true miracle. It is an amazing bio-mechanical mass of muscle, bone, blood, electricity, chemical response and emotion all rolled into one unique package - You. When you treat your body well, it rewards you. When you treat your body badly, it will make you suffer. As a Massage Therapist I see different body types all day. All different shapes and sizes, colors and textures. They are all beautiful. When you see a man or woman, do you see the beauty? Or do you see the flaws? That says alot about you as a person, no? Humanity has texture - it can't be perfect.

So here is to you, Coco Rocha! May your inner strength, intelligence, and character lead others to find their own personal perfections whether they be a size 4, 14 or 24...

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle [you].

1 Peter 5:10

Monday, February 15, 2010

Hangovers...How to End Them Quickly

"Yeah, I know, some people are against drunk driving, and I call those people "the cops." But you know, sometimes, you've just got no choice; those kids gotta get to school!"
~~Dave Attell

Yes. I am hungover. The mixture of alcoholic beverages + my current age + the rarity of these excursions = HANGOVER. Symptoms: rolling stomach, blurred vision, pounding headache, and general listlessness. And the ever present question, what the h.e.double l was I thinking? Well, I am here to tell you that I am thankful for HYDROTHERAPY! Yes friends, the course in hydrotherapy saved me this early morning and I am going to tell you how its done. ITS being the removal of said hangover.

First, and I say first because sometimes you have no choice, vomit.
Fortunately, I am proud to say that I managed not imbibe the amount necessary to achieve this first step.
Ok, on to step 2.

Drink a carbonated diet beverage, as sugar is the culprit for a hearty hangover, more sugar is never a good idea. If you can stomach it, swallow a couple of Aleve or buffered aspirin.

GO BACK TO BED AND SLEEP. (this is very important) the ratio of more time spent sleeping versus the potency of hangover diminishes by the hour.

Now, you awaken once more. Sip a cold glass of ice water. (depending on the severity of the H/O you may need to revisit step 1)

OK, you are able to stand. Bravo! This is when the beauty of Hydrotherapy kicks in. Fill the bathtub with hot water. strip down and submerge yourself up to the waist. The hot water will draw the blood you feel pounding in your ears toward the lower extremities. Trust me, this really works. Soak for a good 20-30 minutes, at least until you feel the water is beginning to cool.

After you have dried yourself and changed into fresh clothes (the kind you only wear on Sundays)sit down with an ice pack at the back of your neck for at least 15 minutes. If your pain persists, grab a heating pad and place in the middle of your back. Keep switching from ice to heat until your headache goes blissfully away. You see, pain receptors and temperature receptors run parallel to each other and only one can be activated at a time. You keep the temp receptors busy, the pain receptors shut down.

Well, I am in what I call Post-Hangover mode. So, i am shutting down this electronic journal and grabbing a bowl of Blubell.

Doctors orders, I swear!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines Day! Or is it Singles Awareness Day?

" Love doesn't just sit there, like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new." ~Ursula K. Le Guin

Did you know in China there are specific customs that have definite meaning when it comes to Valentines Day? Valentine's Day is celebrated in Taiwan on February 14, but there is also a special Valentine's Day on July 7 of the lunar calendar, based on an ancient Chinese folktale *see below*. Both dates are equally as important. Many men purchase expensive bouquets of roses and other flowers for their sweethearts on these days. According to Taiwan tradition, the color and number of the roses holds much significance. For example, one red rose means "an only love," eleven roses means "a favorite," ninety-nine roses means "forever," and one hundred eight roses means "marry me."

Massage is a wonderful way to express your feelings of love and romance. Think about it. When was the last time your significant other sat you down, propped your feet upon a pillow and treated your tootsies to some TLC? It is inexpensive, heart-felt, and feels awesome. To me, that is more intimate than a card or flowers. To sit quietly, enjoying each other in that comfortable silence while easing the tension from your body through the feet... doesn't get any better in my opinion. Of course, as we are all adults here, massage is a wonderful introduction to love-making which is pretty popular (I hear) on this very day. In fact I am willing to bet many men mark this day on their calendars along with Birthdays and Anniversaries (wink wink, nudge nudge, know wha' I mean) sorry, had to throw in a bit of Monty Python humor...

On the other hand, my teacher and friend Kathy Gilkey likes to honor this day as "Singles Awareness Day". A day where one can reflect on the joys of being single. Spoil oneself exactly how one wants. How do you spoil yourself? GET A MASSAGE! You knew that was coming right? Take yourself out to dinner and a movie and enjoy that buttery popcorn all to yourself. Buy something you have always wanted instead of something you need. Go to your nearest Hallmark and read all the cards you want without spending a penny. Go on. You deserve it!

Whether you are snuggling with your sweetie or loving the single life, enjoy this day knowing that you are loved by friends, family and God.

"To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance." ~Oscar Wilde

** Chinese Folklore**

~~The Legend of Magpie Bridge~~

The seventh day of the seventh month in the Chinese Lunar Calendar (celebrated in the Western Calendar during the month of August) is known as Qi Qiao Jie or Chinese Valentine's Day. As is the custom elsewhere in the world, this is a day devoted to romance. There are many versions of the origins of Chinese Valentine's Day. This is but one of them involving the Goddess of Heaven and her seven daughters.
According to legend, during one of their visits to Earth, the seven daughters of the Goddess of Heaven caught the eye of a cowherder named Niu Lang. As the seven maidens were bathing in a river, they were observed by the youth who was determined to engage in a little fun and made off with their clothing. In order to retrieve their belongings, the sisters decided that the prettiest of them, Zhi Nu who was the seventh daughter, should ask the cowherder to return their clothes.

Since Niu Lang would thus see Zhi Nu unclothed, they pair had no choice but to marry. The couple lived very happily for several years. Then (dependent upon which version of the folktale is followed) Niu Lang either died, or the Goddess of Heaven simply became disgruntled with the absence of her seventh daughter ordered that Zhi Nu return to her home in Heaven. Whichever the case, the Goddess of Heaven took pity on the sweethearts and allowed them to be reunited once every year.

It is said that on this seventh night of the seventh moon, Magpies form a bridge with their wings in order that Zhi Nu might cross and meet with her beloved husband.

In China, this day is also known as "The Begging Festival" or "The Daughter’s Festival." It is an important day for girls. In the evening, they prepare melons and fruits prior to engaging in worship and praying that their wishes for a good marriage will come true.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Who do you think YOU are?

*** After some brotherly advice, I am redrafting this post ***

I have recently had my professional ethics questioned for a status I entered on my personal FB page. The status was:

"Feeling Knotty? Get a massage!"

First, I would like to reiterate that the status was entered on my PERSONAL PAGE. I did not use this line on a professional website designed for public attraction. Although had I done so, and I may still in the future, I am perfectly comfortable with this catch phrase.

Second, I would like to mention that this was originally printed on T-shirts sold in the school I attend which is an active member of the ABMP. If they consider it appropriate, then I am not going to argue.

Third, I am not going to let another person's judgement ruin my day. It is an unecessary stress factor that I will not permit in my life. I will just Blog it right out of my system. Which brings me to edit the first draft of this post. I let my anger rule my words, and I don't want anyone to think I will use this platform for vindictive rants.

Is this better, Ross? I hope so. Because while I agree with what you said, I still think it is an interesting topic. Who are we to judge others? It is none of my business what others say or do. How they act in public or private. I can only control my own actions, and as long as I am comfortable within my own boundaries, who are you (John/Jane Doe) to try and shame me into thinking, feeling or acting in a way that you deem proper? Unless you cross a personal line with me, I do not consider myself entitled to admonish your behavior. I wish other people felt the same way.

With that being said, I must remind anyone who reads this that I may be blunt in my blogs. And if I am out of line, call me on it. Ross did, and he was right. **Thanks little brother 8v)**

" Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam [is] in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

Matthew 7:1-5

Friday, February 12, 2010

Snowy Bright Beautiful Day!

Oh, it snowed last night
It snowed last night.
The sky bears had a pillow fight,
Tore up all the clouds in sight, tossed down all the feathers white.
Oh, it snowed last night,
It snowed last night.

What is it about snow that turns an adult into a carefree child again? If only we could capture that feeling while stuck in traffic on East Bound 635 at 5:30 on a Wednesday evening... What if we woke up one July morning and declared a "Personal Snow Day"??

The day is cloudy and the wind is bold. Dress up warmly, you mustn't get cold!
Put on your coat and zip it up tight, put on your left boot, put on your right.
Put on your scarf and put on your hat, put on your mittens and clap-clap-clap!
Go outside and play and play. Come in again, and then we'll say-
Take off your coat that was zipped up tight,
take off your left boot, take off your right.
Take off your scarf, take off your hat,
take off your mittens, and then take a nap

What if we were to pay more attention to ourselves instead of the electronically stimulating and imposing gadjets that constantly pull our attention from what is most important, inner peace. Regain the simplicity of the beautiful life given to us by God? Saying time out to those that pursue us relentlessly in an attempt to extinguish our passionate fires.

Snow is falling all around,
Falling, falling, to the ground.
I catch snowflakes on my tongue.
Building snowmen is such fun.
Snow is falling all around
Falling, falling, to the ground.
(Sung To: "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star")

All the excerpts you read here are actual Preschool songs sung by children but powerful enough to connect us all. Maybe you find them silly, maybe you go on and sing them with your little ones, or maybe you just disregard and run to answer your cell, send a frustrating text. Whatever you do, try and remember that You are in control of your own life and the stress within. Regain your power and make the most of this record snowfall, use it to remember the simple joy in living. If you can't pay your bills, need to find work, car won't start...remember that God isn't going to let you fall. He sent you this snowy bright beautiful day as a remeinder there is peace within your grasp, you just need to reach out...

I made myself a snowball
Just as perfect as it could be.
I thought I'd keep it as a pet
And let it sleep with me
I gave it some pajamas
And a pillow for its head.
Then, last night it ran away,
But first . . . .it wet the bed!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Modern Day Benefits of Massage Therapy

The history of Massage as a practice of healing is ancient and wise, as the ones who came before us have written. But how do we view this healing art today in the new millennium? I believe the focus should be placed on two words, healing and art. Healing gives us a sense of medical necessity. We suffer from pain, tension and stress and seek to make ourselves feel better. Massage therapy can be beneficial for chronic symptoms as well as the acute that come over us quickly, sharply. A woman feels a sharp pain in her low back as she picks her child up from the floor, a runner receives a crippling cramp in his lower leg while sprinting towards the finish line, or the man that grabs at his shoulder as the lawn mower propels forward before he lets go. All of these people are going to have the same instant reaction. They will place their hand on the affected area and begin to massage the area they feel the most pain. The healing begins. And for those that believe in the power of massage, a regular visit to their local therapist can only continue to ease the discomfort of daily life.
In ancient times the benefits of massage were simple, a person in pain would receive massage and then experience relief. Plain and simple. Today we are knowledgeable of the systems within the body and the functions of those systems. We can pinpoint the direct benefits of massage, such as reduced heart rate, lowered blood pressure, increased blood circulation and lymph flow, relaxed muscles, improved range of motion, increased endorphins (reducing pain), and stimulation of weak, inactive muscles compensating for the lack of exercise and inactivity resulting from illness or injury. All modern medical necessities, these are all physical benefits we can expect from regular therapy with massage.
But what about the spiritual or mental benefits of Massage Therapy? Many ancient customs tied in with religion gave Massage Therapy its nuance as an art form. Success of treatments given tended to associate with a religious belief structure, thus early medical treatment and religious ritual were inseparable. For example, in ancient Roman times, Gladiators were massaged with oil to ensure that their muscles were supple and warm before battle began as well as calming their spirit and giving them mental strength. Today in this modern society, we are all gladiators in one way or another. Whether we are battling a competitor in an arena, our bosses at work, or our children (parents of teenagers will agree), the one thing that is certain is the touch of another human in a respectful, caring and therapeutic manner goes a long way in restoring our balance on a mental and spiritual level. That touch could come from a well-deserved handshake of a boss congratulating a job well done, the Pastor of a church placing a caring hand on a shoulder, or the hour we spare for ourselves spent on a massage therapist's table. Any one of these examples provide us with inner peace, tranquility and spiritual balance. A balance necessary in life to face the challenge of modern day battles.