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 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

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.

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.

 

Make 2018 Your Year!

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions?
If you’re like most of us, you do, and then fail miserably. 
Many of us decide that starting January 1st, we’re going  to change our diet, increase exercise, get better sleep, or make a whole host of other lifestyle changes. We’re gung-ho for the first few weeks (or even days),  and then things start to fall apart.

The other night, I shared a delightful Indian meal with a friend. (I became a hermit in the last year, and one of my goals for the coming year is to spend more quality time with friends…what better way is there, than to do it while eating yummy food?) We were discussing some of the lifestyle changes we wanted to make.  She shared with me that she tends to fail when working to truly embrace a healthy lifestyle, trying to do too many things at once, and never really having the energy to make it all happen.  I reminded her that when you try to do too much, of course you’ll get overwhelmed.

I have found that the best way to make major changes in your life is to work on one thing at a time.  Wellness has a domino affect…..when you work on one aspect of wellness, all the others fall into place.  So choose one area, work on making some changes, develop those healthy routines, and watch the others fall into place!  It takes time, so be patient… Remember:  Rome wasn’t built in a day.  It takes time to create greatness, so be gentle with yourself!

There are seven main aspects of wellness:

  • Physical:  When we think of wellness, this is where most of our minds go….healthy habits that include regular exercise, a healthy diet, and quality sleep, while avoiding things that aren’t good for us like too much alcohol, sugar, or tobacco. These good habits give us the ability to maintain a level of health that allows us to go about our lives without too much physical stress or fatigue.
  • Emotional: When we acknowledge our feelings of joy, sadness, anger and more, and can regularly express them in a healthy manner, it is much easier to cope with life’s challenges. This allows us to move through the world with a lot more ease.
  • Social: Humans by nature are tribal…we have our “pack” that we travel through life with. Positive connection with family, friends and co-workers leads us to care about a larger community. The healthier our social connections, the better our connection to the world at large.
  • Environmental: Those living a true wellness lifestyle have a strong connection to the environment.  We do all we can to make a positive impact on the quality of the air, water and land, recognizing that there is only one earth, and we need to care for her. Our environment includes our home as well as the natural word.
  • Occupational: How we spend the majority of our time, whether it be in a career or as a full-time parent, is our occupation.  True wellness comes when our occupation is our calling…when we love what we do, and do what we love. A healthy occupational life comes when we have balance between work and leisure time.
  • Spiritual: Our never ending quest for the meaning and purpose in human existence leads some people to church, while others find it by spending regular time in nature or within the pages of books. This quest brings us  to find a balance of peace and harmony with the rest of the world.
  • Intellectual: Opening our minds to new ideas and experiences provides mental growth and stimulation. We tend to make better personal decisions, as well as have a better impact on those around us.  The constant pursuit of learning,  keeping involved in creative and stimulating mental activities, is imperative to a long, healthy life.

Good luck to you in your path to wellness! In the coming weeks, I’ll be writing more about each realm of wellness, and choices you can make to lead a truly healthy lifestyle.

This entry was posted on December 31, 2017, in Wellness.

#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.

 

 

 

Stress Management…The Perfect Gift

During the holidays, we are always looking for ways we can show our loved ones how much we care.  Sometimes it is really challenging to find the perfect gift for someone.

One of the best ways you can show them you care is by gifting something that will benefit their health and well-being. A gift certificate for a massage is the perfect way to show the women in your life that they matter to you.

A massage gift certificate can help with stress reduction, increase relaxation, improve sleep, and even assist in pain management.  What a great gift!