Massage in the Time of Corona

UPDATE 3/15 9:30 pm:

Given the increase of COVID-19 cases of in the state, with nearly half of them in Wake County, I have decided to temporarily close Metamorphic Massage For Women until at least the end of March.

While we are not a venue where large amounts of people gather at one time, or a large spa that sees many people coming through our door on a daily basis, I feel the need to participate in the community’s efforts to slow the spread of the virus.

Because there are asymptomatic people walking around who may be contagious, we just don’t know who is a carrier. As massage therapists, we spend 60 to 90 minutes in an enclosed room involved in personal contact, and given their requests for us all to be social distancing, I feel massage has the possiblity to put too many people at risk. Even though we have been diligently cleaning between clients, we cannot guarantee that we would not unknowingly spread the virus. I cannot take the chance that someone related to my business gets sick. I would not be able to live with myself.

Because our clientele consists mainly of pregnant women (who are more at risk for cold and flu) and women over 50 with underlying health issues, I am forced to make this tough decision. I care about the health and well-being of our clients, my team members, and the community at large.

At the end of March, I will reevaluate when we will begin seeing clients again. Hopefully, we will only have to close for a few weeks. An interruption in service is not good for any of us, as I know many of you rely on us to help you stay healthy. In the interim, I encourage you to do your best to practice self-care during this time.

If you are not already, please follow Metamorphic Massage for Women on Facebook! I will be posting daily self-care tips, activities to do with children, and more.

In the meantime…f you are someone who appreciates the work that we do, or are a regular client, consider purchasing one or two gift certificates that you can use for yourself in the future, or give to others to use when things calm down. There are also packages of six sessions, Which ultimately gives you 10% off each session. If you are someone who can financially afford to purchase some sessions in advance, I would greatly appreciate the support. You’d help keep the business afloat if we have to stay closed for longer than two weeks, and it would guarantee you a spot on our tables when we are seeing clients again!

Please take care of yourself. May you and your loved ones stay safe, and I hope to see you when this virus is managed!

 

March 12, 2020 3:00 p.m.

As the number of coronavirus cases grow in our area,  there is a growing concern as far as the spread of the virus, which is completely understandable. I for one am very happy that people are washing hands more often.  Hand-washing is something I have always been a bit obsessive about, and observe people in public regularly, which has kept me from touching much in public for many years now.

Extra precautions at Metamorphic Massage for Women

At Metamorphic Massage for Women, your health and well-being is our priority. We are  monitoring information from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and local officials regarding the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The safety of our clients and staff is our top priority, and we will update this page accordingly.

Please consider our clientele, which consists mainly of either women over 50 and pregnant women, and our therapists, one of whom cares for elderly parents. If you have been in contact with someone who has contracted the virus, have traveled in the last month,  or are showing ANY signs of fever, congestion (even if you think it is allergies), cough, fatigue, or any other signs of illness, please call as soon as possible to cancel.

If you arrive in our office and we see signs of illness, we hold the right to turn you away or end your session, and you WILL be  charged the full fee. We ask all clients to notify us in if they feel they are at risk for COVID-19, and to take preventative measures for the safety of themselves and others.  If you call ahead and cancel, the fee will be waived.

If you have come to see us in the past month and discover you have been exposed to COVID-19, please call us IMMEDIATELY!!!  We will need to close our doors to ensure the safety of our team an clientele.

That being said:

Our massage therapy practice has always had protocols in place to maintain high standards of hygiene, which have increased while COVID-19 is a factor in our community. Our normal sanitation includes:
*Frequent cleaning of surfaces including doorways, desktops, and bathrooms
*Always washing hands before and after working with clients.
*Clean, sanitized sheets for each client.
*Practices that maintain hygienic use of massage lotion.
*Hand wipes available for clients in treatment rooms.

We have made a few other changes to increase the safety of our clients.
*Previously, because work is not performed on clients through the blanket, they would get washed several times a week, a common practice in massage. Because this virus can live for several days on surfaces, we are now using a clean blanket for each client.
*All surfaces that are touched by therapists or clients, including outer doorknobs,  are getting cleaned between each client.
*We are offering water in paper cups instead of glasses (this is hurting the environmentalist in me, but right now, it is more important to keep everyone  healthy, and we cannot guarantee sterility of glasses without a dishwasher.)
*To make sanitation of our iPad easier, we ask that you please use the stylus we provide when you make a credit card payment, as it are much easier to clean than an iPad screen.

We are also have new table barriers between the sheets and table padding that get sanitized between every client. They might be a little crinklier than you’re used to, but I’m sure you’ll appreciate that extra step.

We ask that all clients wash their hands immediately when  they walk in the door.  We also have hand sanitizer available at the front desk and in treatment rooms.

If you are unsure of your health, we urge you to cancel. Our therapists will continue to work only if they are healthy. Please, do not take advantage of this for other reasons…last minute notice of a cancellation is hard for massage therapists. Please let us know as soon as you start feeling unwell. We also encourage you to send a healthy friend that can take your place.

How can you support us during this time?   If you healthy, and haven’t been exposed to the virus, and are an avid hand washer, we encourage you to keep you massage appointments!  It will not only help us stay open, it can also help you!   Did you know massage supports a healthy immune response?

My hope is that you and your loved ones stay healthy!

Linda Zukowski, NC-LMBT #5951
Owner, Metamorphic Massage for Women

Feminine Hygiene Product Drive Benefiting SOAR Outreach

Feminine Product Drive

 

Metamorphic Massage for Women and The North Raleigh Well Nest are supporting one of the more generous hearts in the Triangle area,  The Resourceful Heart, in a very special project.  As she faces a major surgery, she is choosing to support others during this time.

During the month of August, we are collecting feminine products that will be distributed to middle school and high school girls via SOAR Outreach, a local non-profit serving youth from low-income homes  and those who are experiencing homelessness.

Speaking from experience, there is nothing more embarrassing at that age than bleeding through your clothing during class.  Let’s help these girls out, and donate!

Anyone who brings packaged products to their session will receive $5 off their massage as a thank you.

You can also drop off any donations at the office.  If the door to our suite is locked, you can safely leave them on the floor directly outside, and someone will bring it in  when we get out of session.

VIC (Very Important Client) Spotlight

Sherrie has been a client of MMFW since 2013, when she had taken on a second job teaching ESL for Wake Tech, two nights on week.  On top of her full-time teaching position at Sanderson High, she realized that all that standing and helping others was going to take a toll on her body. Sherrie decided that with the added responsibility, it was crucial to her well-being to improve on her self-care, and her search for massage close to her brought her to Linda’s table.  She’s been a regular ever since, with a standing appointment every other week.

After completing her undergraduate work at UNC-Chapel Hill, Sherrie worked at a small rural school before movingVery Important Client Sherrie to Raleigh in 2006, when she accepted a teaching position at Sanderson High, and she’s been there ever since.

Her first three years of teaching had completely different challenges than the ones she faces today at Sanderson. Many of the children in the rural community had to work with their families to help provide.  At the time, the area was also facing demographic changes with an influx of Hispanic residents, and community members were navigating the area’s new identity, which posed it’s own challenges.  She felt she had more of a relationship with kids and parents in a small school.

In a city school, it is more challenging, with more students.  While relationships still exist, with the inclusion of more technology in everyday life, the students more distracted.  Combined with less school funding, it is a lot harder to teach.  There have been no new materials since 2004, making the new curriculum hard to use, with no new resources to support it.  To navigate this huge challenge, like many other educators, she utilizes an online resource “Teachers Pay Teachers”, which she considers “her lifeline”.  Spends well over $250 a year on lesson plans alone. Sherrie says the site is “a huge lifesaver when you don’t have time to develop materials because you’re in the classroom full-time.”   She also spends quite a lot on  basic classroom supplies like kleenex, cleaning wipes, hand sanitizer, and markers for whiteboard.  Fortunately, some parents donate supplies, which helps some.

When asked if she had any advice for folks considering becoming a teacher, Sherrie said “you have to accept the harsh truth…you really need to shadow an educator for a while, and pay attention to what is going on in the state you want to teach in.  Stay informed as to what’s happening in schools, and pick the best situation for you.  If your heart guides you in this direction, do your research.”

When she first moved to Raleigh, Sherrie found it challenging to meet people.  She decided to fill her free time wisely, and pursued her Master’s in Education at an international school for Spanish teachers from American and Canada. She spent a few summers at the university in Spain, and also worked online during year with other students to complete the coursework.  Even with the travel, she found it more affordable to get her degree in another country versus here in the U.S.

Her love for travel brought her to do this program…as Sherrie says, “It’s a perk of being a teacher with no children…with the time of in the summer, it’s a lot easier to travel if you budget your money.” She has traveled to Peru, Japan, and Mexico.  Her love of travel began as a child,  She grew up in the Jacksonville area, but travelled a lot as a child.

Her other passion is dancing.  After trying to meet people in Raleigh with little success via meetup, she started going to Carmen’s for salsa dancing, and finally started developing friendships through there. She tends to let of the most steam with dancing, be it salsa, samba, belly-dancing, African, and even some ballroom.

The rest of her free time is spent decompressing…Besides the occasional Netflix binge,  she enjoys reading…her favorites are historical fiction, self-help/female empowerment, and  autobiographies about social justice warriors.  Her most recent read was Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, based on true story of an AA nurse working in a hospital and her experience with a white supremacist family.

When asked about the best thing she’s ever done for herself, Sherrie shared that early on, she realized she needed to see what was outside her own environment.  Once she confronted her fear surrounding that, everything else fell in place. Because of this, it’s not an issue for her to go on adventures…she doesn’t get paralyzed by fear. As she says “Life happens, you have to confront whatever is in your path, face the fear and push through the doubts and fatigue.  It’s the only way to accomplish anything challenging.”

Because of her travels, she has experienced a few scary moments.  The most memorable being stuck in a traffic jam in a rough neighborhood in Peru, a group of young adults were running along looking for car doors to open.  Her taxi driver pulled out a gun for protection as she witnessed a vehicle in front of her get robbed.

Her most amazing travel experience occurred in Peru.  While in middle of the Andes mountains, hiking the Incan trail on the way to the Machu Picchu.  While it was a really tough hike…her quads hurt just thinking about it. Looking at the snow-capped mountains was awe inspiring…it helped her figure out her place in the world.  It took a lot of inner strength to make that hike.

Locally, her favorite place in North Carolina is the beach. Topsail and Emerald Isle are her favorites, nut she’s not too picky…she just wants to see the ocean and feel it relax her.  In the Triangle area, she is again a fan of bodies of water:  she likes walking around Shelley Lake and Lake Lynn.

The biggest thing Sherrie want to do is get to the continent of Africa, where she’d like to visit some of the countries her DNA comes from…Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali, Ghana, and Togo are on her list. She’d like to study dance there a little bit, and experience small village life.

Dyeing for a Cause

Notice anything different? Linda Zukowski, owner, with purple hair

I (Linda) turned 55 in January and wanted to do something a little different to mark the occasion.  I decided to add some color to my hair, but would do it with a twist. I chose to do a fundraiser for Love Wins Community Engagement Center, a local organization providing support to people experiencing homelessness.  With 28 inches of hair, I feared having an entire head of purple hair, and set a lofty goal of $5522.77.  With 28 inches of hair, that worked out to about $200 an inch.

I managed to raise $724 for Love Wins Community Engagement Center! And so, I colored about 3-1/2 inches of my hair purple.  We decided to go vertical instead of horizontal, as that way the color would be there longer, to remind folks of the plight of those experiencing homelessness….otherwise, it would be gone in my next  (albeit rare) haircut.

I’m not done.

It came to my attention last week that there is a woman with three children who is desperate for housing. The folks at Love Wins Community Engagement Center are trying to secure safe housing for her family. While they are trying to work with social services, the agencies are overflowing, and it is difficult to get an overworked social worker to even speak with on the phone right now. Until they can get housing, LWCEC is trying to pay for some time at a hotel, at the cost of $370.00 a week. (read the full story)

And so, I am at it again. If folks donate and help this woman out, I will dye two inches of hair for every week covered, or 2 inches per $370 raised. I will keep this up until the end of February. BONUS: If I raise $370 in the first week, which will cover an immediate week for the family, I will dye four inches for the first $370, but only if it is collected by 2/11. This time it will be blue.
You can donate by sending money directly to Love Wins Community Engagement Center via their website or by mail, but you must show me that you have done so for it to count towards the hair dyeing. You can donate via the link in the facebook fundraising event, and the money will go directly to Love Wins. You can also drop off checks written out directly to LWCEC at the office of Metamorphic Massage for Women, and I will bring it to them at the end of the month.

How blue will I be?  It’s up to you…

We Won for Best Massage!

At the end of 2018, WRAL held their Voter’s Choice Awards contest.  Metamorphic Massage for Women won in the category of Best Massage!

I’d like to thank all our loyal clients.

Your support means a lot to me. I have worked hard over the past 13 years building a solid reputation as a leading provider of massage therapy for women, and I could not have done it without you!

Thanks to all who continue to support Metamorphic Massage for Women over the years. For trusting me with their bodies, and trusting my choice to hire another therapist to join me in offering services for women.

We will continue to grow towards what I envision…a place where all women can go for healing, rest, and support in all their wellness endeavors.

~Linda Zukowski, NC-LMBT #5951
Owner, Metamorphic Massage for Women

#WRALVCAs #BestMassageInTheTriangle

VIC (Very Important Client) Spotlight

Lisa first started coming to Metamorphic Massage for Women nine years ago, when she decided to get a massage as a birthday gift to herself.  She had no idea where she should go, but she knew she had no interest in going to chain spa.  After an internet search, she found Linda, and between the reviews, location, and the info on the website, she was convinced this was the place for her!

Southern Illinois born and bred, Lisa originally planned to attend college with a double major in history and Spanish, but marriage derailed her from that plan.  After relocating to Oklahoma and Texas, the closest she thing she could find to that degree programs was studying education with a focus on history and Spanish. Within a few years, Lisa found herself a single mom with three young daughters to raise. She began teaching in Texas, before moving to North Carolina in 2004. After teaching history, Spanish, psychology & sociology for 24 years, Lisa retired last year.

Since retiring, Lisa has increased her volunteer contributions at The Carolina Poodle Rescue, which she’s been a part of for 2.5 years.  Lisa and her second husband (she remarried 10 years ago) provide short- & long-term foster homes for rescued dogs and provide transport for animals between shelters and homes. Lisa is also an adoption counselor and loves being able to match dogs to their furever homes, and works with their Save our Seniors program, rescuing old, badly behaved, or ill dogs that need more specialized care.

Lisa is happy with all the free time she has now that she’s retired, as it gives her a lot more time with friends, an opportunity that can be nearly nonexistent when you are teacher.  She’s looking forward to reaching another goal, writing children’s books based in history.   She reads a lot of children’s literature for inspiration. Her favorite writers are Rick Riordan, J.R.R. Tolkein, and she to read just about anything but horror.  Her favorite readings are biographies, “the type of books most people use as doorstops” keep her riveted.  She also admits that she likes “beach books” because it can be fun to escape.

She enjoys crocheting and embroidering, which she does when relaxing at night or on road trips with her husband, and finds herself making a lot of gifts. Her daughters are now having children, and she recently learned about a fourth one on the way. She’s excited to buy some pink yarn for the baby’s quilt, as the rest of them have been blue! She hasn’t been able to spend as much time with grandkids because they live in Texas and Chicago, but now that she’s retired, she’s thrilled she is going to be able to see a lot more of them.   Her children and grandchildren are her biggest passion.

Lisa’s words of wisdom for women looking to live the healthiest, happiest life you can:  Don’t put selfcare last on the list…it should be at the top!  You HAVE to take time to yourself. Spend money on selfcare that seems like a luxury, because it’s not. Carve out the time and energy for yourself.  It is okay to say no…learn how and do it for your emotional and physical well-being.

Because she was a single mom, Lisa always put herself last and never spent money on herself, because it just didn’t occur to her to do so. Her advice for single moms with no support from the father: don’t feel guilty about taking a little something for yourself.  Even if it’s taking a cup of tea in the bedroom and shutting the door. Being there for your children every second of the day isn’t healthy for anyone as it gives everyone unrealistic expectations about what you should do.

Her goal now is to get as healthy as she can, because she’s at an age that if she doesn’t turn it around fast, it’s not going to turn around.  Her health is her ultimate priority now. Lisa says she wouldn’t have survived the last nine years without massage.  Her pain was unbearable and coming to Metamorphic Massage for Women was the best gift she ever gave herself!

How Breastfeeding Affects the Body of a New Mother

Breastfeed or bottle?

The choice is a personal one, and no one outside of the baby’s mother and her medical providers can or should have input into the decision. Of course, if the parents have a healthy relationship, the other parent can contribute to the decision.  I say this because not all pregnancies are the result of a healthy relationship, and I honor a woman’s choice to have total control over her body.

Why would a woman choose to breastfeed her child?   Most folks talk about the benefits breast milk has on the child.  But what about the mother?

On a physical level, the act of breastfeeding does amazing things for a woman’s body. Breastfeeding releases oxytocin, the “feel good” hormone produced in the hypothalamus that contributes to reproductive functions, which helps the uterus return to normal size and functioning after childbirth.

When a mother breastfeeds a child, it forces her to sit and rest.  There is no handing the baby off to a loved one. This allows the mother to rest her body.  The fourth trimester, which is the first three months post birth, are crucial to the proper healing of new mother’s body.

Producing milk is hard work.  Did you know you can burn 500-1000 calories a day while breastfeeding?  It helps your body return to a weight that is closer to what it was pre-pregnancy. Of course, no one should expect you to have the same exact body they had prior to becoming pregnant.  Our bodies just went through a major process, and they’re changed for life. I encourage you to embrace the changes, they are the marks of a mother and a warrior!

Breastfeeding can also reduce the risk of breast cancer. While women who breastfeed for longer than two years are the least likely to contract the disease, any length of nursing will help.  The longer you breastfeed, the lower your chances of contracting the disease.  It also lowers your chances of contracting uterine and ovarian cancer.

Most women who breastfeed have their favorite ways to hold their babies while nursing.  Did you know that how you hold your baby not only affects the health of your breasts, it also can affect your shoulders, necks, and arms?

Babies weigh a lot.  The average baby born in the U.S. weights approximately 7-1/2 pounds.  To sit and hold that weight every three hours can do a number on your upper body. (To make it real for those without an infant around, a gallon of milk weighs 8-1/2 pounds.  Imagine holding a gallon of milk in one position for 30-45 minutes every three hours.) The weight pulls on the muscles of your shoulder, chest, neck, and arms.  This goes for those who bottle feed, as well!

Switching the position of your body, and the position of the baby, can help reduce strain from overuse.  Different nursing positions can also help prevent clogged milk ducts in nursing moms!

Whatever you choose, breastfeeding or bottle, know that you are doing the best you can for your child.  Keep up the good work.

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 tea 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 teamed up to make the women in our community a little more comfortable. Throughout the summer of 2018, we collected donations of personal care items for The Women’s Center of Wake County.

-Team Member Contribution

Introducing…The VIC (Very Important Client) Award!

There are a lot of incredible women who have come through the doors of Metamorphic Massage for Women.  From all walks of life, women of all ages have graced me with their presence on my massage table.

Very Important Client at Metamorphic Massage For Women

Karen was born in Raleigh and has lived here her whole life.  Her favorite thing to do in North Carolina is going to the beach…her favorites are Topsail and Kill Devil Hills. She has fond memories of annual family trips that have happened since she was an infant and always enjoyed hanging out with her seven cousins.  Both her grandmother and an aunt had beach houses, which made the annual trips easier.  Her favorite part of the beach is watching the sunset while feeling the breeze and listening to the birds and the surf.

When asked why she continues to come to Metamorphic Massage for Women, Karen responded “Linda is very flexible…Sometimes I sleep, sometimes she I talk a lot.  She’s also very considerate.  One time, someone wanted to bring their baby to their session which was happening at the same time as my massage, so she called me, to see if I was okay with that.  She also does a very thorough evaluation when I first arrive, always checking to see if something has changed, address issues each session.   I also love Linda’s sense of humor, and her knowledge about all things healthy.  I’ve learned a lot of organic food and natural remedies, which has been really fun to learn.  I never would have touched anything organic in a grocery store until I met Linda.  As soon as you eat one organic banana, you never go back.  Now I eat as organic as possible.  It tastes better, plus it’s better for you. I’ve also noticed my food lasts a lot longer…it has saved me money because of that.”

Karen retired December 16th,  and is very passionate about enjoying her time.  She’s spent the last several months catching up on reading, bible study, reconnecting with friends, church activities, doing home maintenance projects.  She is loving retirement, doesn’t miss work one bit, and knows it will be hard if she ever has to return to work for some reason.

When asked about what has been most beneficial about getting massage regularly, Karen quickly answered “The relief of achiness and stress has been great. Self- care in general has been much easier since retirement…regular massage, food, sleep…it’s all much easier now that I’m retired. My biological clock is kind of messed up due to the crazy work schedule for years.  I’m trying to find my balance again. I go to gym & work out with trainer twice a week.  I want to start walking again to make up for all the lost movement since leaving nursing, which had me walking all day long.

As always, Karen made me laugh…when asked “If you had one piece of advice to give to someone who is looking to incorporate better self-care habits in her life Karen answered: “Start with a massage with Linda because she can teach you everything you need to know. “

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.