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When “Aunt Flow” Visits and There’s no Door to Knock On

How do you handle your period?

Me, I like to curl up in bed, sweats on, heating pad on high, nice hot cup of earl grey and the darkest of dark chocolate. The comforts of home during that time of my cycle are everything I need.

The average woman uses 16,800 feminine products in a lifetime.  If you’re reading this, chances are pretty good you can go to the store, purchase what you need, take a shower every day, and put on clean clothes regularly.

Unfortunately, many women aren’t so privileged when it comes to periods. Never mind basic comfort, women experiencing homelessness face much worse when “aunt flow” comes to visit. They face a losing battle every month when it comes to their periods:

  • Lack of sanitary products: A lot of shelters don’t keep these products stocked, yet they are the most requested, and least donated, items. Many women are left choosing between pads or tampons and a meal.
  • Lack of clean running water: Women experiencing homelessness have largely interrupted access to running water. A nice hot bath or shower is not an option.  Imagine having your period and not being able to bathe properly.
  • Health risks due to unhygienic practices: Without access to proper products, women who are homeless resort to using newspapers, rags, cut up pads as tampons. With limited access to facilities, it’s difficult to clean up, leading to infections.

Menstrual products are a necessity, not a luxury. That’s why Metamorphic Massage for Women and The North Raleigh Well Nest have set out to make the women in our community a little more comfortable. We will be taking donations of personal care items at our open house and all summer long. All donations will go to the Women’s Center of Wake County.

-Contributed by Karla E. Frank Coley

The Benefits of Regular Massage

There’s no denying the power of massage. Some see it as pampering, others as therapeutic.  Either way, massage is a powerful part of a good healthcare routine.

It is estimated that over 90% of disease is related to stress, affecting us both internally and externally. Ideally, we would have no anxiety and pressure at all in this fast-paced world. Unfortunately, that’s almost impossible for most of us.

Scheduling regular massage can do a world of good in managing stress, and it plays a part in how healthy and youthful you’ll remain with each passing year. Budgeting time and money for massage at frequent, consistent intervals is truly an investment in your health.

As we all know, massage relaxes helps ease stress and tension found in muscles, and supports them when they are injured, tired, or overused.  It can also help reduce muscle spasms and cramping.  Most of us have heard that massage helps flush out wastes from the body.

There’s other benefits, as well.  It stimulates and tones the skin, and increases energy and vitality.  Massage has been reported to decrease inflammation, swelling and pain in joints, & increase joint flexibility. It is said that massage releases endorphins, the natural pain regulators that increase feelings of euphoria. Receiving regular massage helps reduce chronic pain, including migraine pain. Because massage pumps oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, it improves circulation, and contributes to healthy Blood Pressure levels. It also enhances immunity by stimulating lymph flow.

Massage also  has been reported to affect your mind, and can help decreases anxiety and depression. It also can improve concentration, reduce fatigue, and improve sleep. Most of all, it just makes you feel good!

Remember:  just because massage feels like a pampering treat doesn’t mean it is any less therapeutic. Consider massage appointments a necessary piece of your health and wellness plan, and work with your practitioner to establish a treatment schedule that best meets your needs.

Wellness Series: Let’s Get Physical: Eating Well

In my last blog post, I introduced the seven aspects of wellness… a well-balanced person will care for their physical, emotional. spiritual, social, occupational, environmental, and intellectual needs.  This week, I’m going to begin to tackle physical wellness.

What constitutes physical well-being?  If we are able to create healthy habits that allow us to have a healthy diet, quality sleep, and regular exercise, and avoid unhealthy amounts of things like sugar and alcohol, chances are pretty good we achieve physical wellness,  and can function without feeling fatigued or experiencing a high level of physical stress in our activities.

But how do you get there?  It can be daunting, trying to change habits.  That is why I always suggest to folks to chance one thing at a time.  Let’s talk about healthy eating.

I’ve been a vegetarian most of my life.  I grew up in a meat-eating household, and at the tender age of 14, decided I was done eating red meat.  I had to learn how to cook, because as my mother said”I’m not a short-order cook.  If you don;t want to eat what I cook, you’re going to have to learn how to cook for yourself.”  I bought a couple of cookbooks, made some really bad meals at the beginning, but over time, I started making better meals that my dad even wanted to try.

By the time I was 21, all meat, including fish, was gone from my diet.  I now go in and out of veganism…which means no dairy or eggs, either. I do this because dairy is my gateway drug…if I start eating cheese, then along with it comes crackers, chips, a lot of eggs (think omelets for breakfast every morning), and all of a sudden I’m 20 pounds heavier.  And so, I do my best to eat dairy in moderation, and if it gets out of control, it’s not in my refrigerator.

A lot of my clients ask me about my diet on a regular basis.  I’ve had clients say they wished they could see into my kitchen, to find out what I cook.     Newsflash:  While I like salad, I eat so much more than that, which is what many folks used to think when they heard I was a vegetarian.    When I do salads, they generally have beans or nuts in them to add protein.   I will chop veggies to make enough salad to get me through several days, and bring it to work for lunch.  

 

When I prepare meals, I try to make enough to give me leftovers for a few other meals,  That way, when I get home from work and feel too tired to cook, I’m not eating tortilla chips and dip for dinner.   Instead, I have something yummy, like a tasty vegetable and bean soup, curried tofu and vegetables, or beans, rice, and greens.

    

 

 

 

 

If I have a super busy week, on Sunday, I will do massive food prep….chop lots of veggies, cook a few meals, package up stuff for lunches and snacks at work, so I can just grab something out of the fridge in the morning, pop it in my bag, and head out the door.  My lunches and snacks usually consist of fresh veggie salads, a rice salad like the one pictured below, apple slices and nut butter, veggie sticks and hummus, and other things that can easily be eaten between clients.  

 

What about breakfast? In the winters, I like a hot breakfast.  While some mornings I like to eat oatmeal with fruit and nuts,  I tend to make something on Sunday that I can heat up a few mornings a week.   As a huge fan of vegetables, these breakfasts tend to be veg-heavy.

 

 

 

 

 

Eating a lot of vegetables fills me up, so that I tend to not want to eat as much junk.

I’d like to encourage you to consider doing some meal prep on Sunday for the week’s lunches that incorporated lots of vegetables, healthy fats, and lean proteins.

 

#GivingTuesday

Giving Tuesday was created to encourage giving back to the community, whether it be by volunteering, or donating goods, services, and money. As a former non-profit professional, I am a huge proponent of giving to the community.

This year, from now until the end of December, when you come for your massage, if you bring in a donation for one of my favorite local agencies, you’ll receive $10.00 off your appointment! I’ll be splitting up the month into two agencies.  (You’ll get more info about the second targeted nonprofit after the donation drive for the first agency is complete.)

InterAct of Wake County is focused on ending the cycle of domestic and sexual violence. InterAct saves lives, helping survivors rebuild their lives, and secures safer futures for victims, survivors, and their families.

From now until December 13, Metamorphic Massage For Women will be collecting donations for the annual Holiday Bazaar that InterAct holds for those they serve.

From their website:
At the Bazaar, children are provided with an opportunity to design holiday arts and crafts, “shop”, and wrap a gift basket to give to their mother for the holidays. While the children are completing their activities, mothers are taken to another area of the building where they can “shop” for toys and gifts for their children. Each mother is sent home with wrapping paper, gift bags, bows, tape and labels to prepare gifts for their children. Each family is also given a disposable camera to capture their holiday memories. New, unwrapped gifts only. Please, no violent toys.

During the bazaar we sort children’s gifts into the following age groups:
Ages 0-3
Ages 3-6 Ages 7-9
Ages 10-12
Ages 13 and up

Gift Baskets for Moms:
Create or purchase a gift basket for mom – each basket should contain 4-5 items. Suggested items include: bath and body products, candles, picture frames, journals, scarves, etc.

Gift Cards:
Please provide gift cards in $10 or $20 increments. They also request that you provide a gift receipt with the card. Gift cards are provided to moms and children ages 13 and up. Suggested gift card locations: Wal-Mart, Target, etc.

They are also in need of Wrapping Paper,  Gift Bags and Gift Boxes,
Gift Tags/Labels, Scissors,  Tape, Bows/Ribbons, and Stockings.

Donate when you come in for your session, and feel twice as good because you’re also supporting victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence.

We’ve got your back on the table, pay it forward and help cover someone else’s back.
-Linda

The Holiday Season is Quickly Approaching…

The Holiday Season is quickly approaching, and the massage elves are busy getting ready with something extra special this year!  They’ve been scurrying around Raleigh, NC  in order to provide local,hand-made, local  items to give you a new option this year!

Metamorphic Massage For Women will be offering Self-Lovebuckets in additional to traditional gift certificates.  You’ll find a vast array of handmade items for relaxation and stress management. These locally-made items support small women-owned cottage businesses in the Raleigh area.

Self-Lovebuckets will be available for purchase separately, as well as in combination with the purchase of a massage gift certificate.  They’re a great way to give her a unique gift that will allow her to stretch the benefits of the massage session.

Our elves are placing the finishing touch on their contribution to the Self-Lovebuckets, and they’ll be available soon after Thanksgiving. Keep an eye on out facebook page, where we’ll announce their availability.

 

 

 

Electronics Recycling in Raleigh!

Metamorphic Massage for Women cares about the environment.  We want to share with you a wonderful service that started recently in Raleigh.

Anything With A Plug is located at 1515 Capital Blvd in Raleigh.  They recycle…well… anything with a plug! (With the exception of projection-style televisions).

So if you’ve got any old electronics laying around, and can’t find a place to donate them to, you can  drop it off…or they’ll even pick it up! Computers, kitchen appliances, printers & copiers, stereos, all types of cords and cables (!!), CRT monitors & televisions, game consoles, batteries, and cell phones…their parts  are all being saved from the landfill!

And if you’re concerned about  sensitive financial and personal data on old computers or phones, no worries…they erase all lingering data with a powerful electromagnet  before disassembling the device, so your personal information isn’t in jeopardy.

How awesome is that?!?!?

Check out their website at http://www.anythingwithaplugrecycling.com/

Laughter IS The Best Medicine

Did you know that laughter is good for you ?  Not only does it increase levels of happiness, it turns out that laughter can also be a form of exercise!  When we laugh, we tend to breathe much deeper, just like we do when participating in aerobic exercise.  If we laugh hard enough, we also engage our abdominal muscles, and can actually get a mini-workout in!

Laughter also provides several physiological benefits.  It helps to decrease stress, thereby lowering our blood pressure and increasing blood flow.  What a great way to reduce the risk of  a heart attack!   When we are less stressed, our muscles relax, and our immune system also gets a boost. It can also increase energy, and reduce pain through the release of endorphins.  Think about it…how much better do you feel when you are laughing on a regular basis?

Many years ago, I was a whitewater raft quide.  One day, in the midst of an incident, I found myself and half the paddlers from my boat sitting on top of a large rock in the middle of the river,  my boat wrapped around the rock, with rushing water preventing me from easily getting the raft off the rock.  None of my paddlers were comfortable in the water to begin with, so the entire time I worked to get the boat ready for the crew on shore to peel it off the rock, I cracked a bunch of jokes.  This helped alleviate the stress of the situation for the nervous paddlers.  Other people in our boating party were on the banks of the river thinking we were having a grand time…which  we were!  I recall after the trip my participants saying how my light attitude and ability to make them laugh helped calm their nerves.  Using humor helped to shift our perspective from feeling threatening by the situation to it just being part of the adventure.

Find more ways to increase the laughter in your life…learn some new jokes and share them with friends….go to a comedy club….learn to laugh at yourself.  Take life less seriouisly, and feel better!  Its certainly cheaper and a lot more fun than going to the doctor!

We Are 1 ~~ Women’s Conference

The We are 1 Women’s Conference is being held at the RDU Holiday Inn in Morrisville from April 8 -10, 2010. Workshops topics will include spirituality, health and wellness, inner healing, relationships, social justice, and more.
There is also a great performance Thursday night, celebrating the arts. There will be dance, spoke word, comedy, and music, including a local group of women drummers performing.
For more information, go to http://www.infinitydiamondclub.com/infinity_diamond_club_f_015.htm

Prental Yoga Class in Raleigh

Pregnancy is  a wonderful time, which can also be riddled with aches and pains.  Besides getting regular massage, it is a good idea to take part in a prenatal yoga class.

Prenatal yoga helps to strengthen uterine and pelvic muscles, improves circulation, and can aid digestion, while increasing the mother-to-be’s overall comfort.  The class consists of gentle postures, breathwork, and meditation.

Anisha Desai will be offering prenatal classed as Gateway Yoga on Oberlin Road in Raleigh, on Fridays from 11:15 to 12:30, beginning on April 23rd.  There is a FREE introductory class on April 18th from 4:00 to 5:15.  No experience is necessary.

 

West African Drumming for Health and Happiness

Have you ever thought about learning how to play a drum?  It is a wonderful way to reduce stress, while having fun and exercising your brain.  Studies have shown that drumming also boosts your immunce system! 

If you are in the Raleigh/Durham area, and would like to learn how to play the djembe, a traditional drum from West Africa, new classes are starting up soon with Ronnie Pulley, one of the areas’ best instructors.  A six-week beginner/intermediate class is being held at Music Explorium in Durham, only 15 minutes from Raleigh, starting March 16th, from 7:00 – 8:30 pm.  Classes are $85.00 for the entire six weeks, or $15/class.  You will learn basic hand-drumming strokes, discover ways to improve your sound,  learn traditional African rhythms, and build confidence to playin drum circles.  Ivory Coast Djembes are for loan or sale through the instructor.

If you’ve been playing the djembe for a while, another option is the Intermediate/Advanced class meeting on Monday nights in Cary. The next session starts on Monday, March 8th, and runs from 7:00 – 9:00 pm.  the fee for the class is $100 for the entire six weeks, or $20 per class.  This class is designed for serious drummers, and you learn both Djembe and Dundnun parts of traditional West African songs, as well as learn to play solo tecnhniques and other advanced techniques. 

If you would like more information on these classes, contact Ronnie Pulley at snorlp@yahoo.com.