Tuesday, December 28, 2010

News for the New Year and GIVEAWAY

©1976 Rankin/Bass (I think)
2010 has been a very exciting, up-and-down year for me, but 2011 is already looking bright and sparkling with new possibilities and growth. It will be my second full year on Main Street and that alone holds a lot of promise. I've never stayed in a spot much longer than a year, except for working out of my home, and this is a much better option. Thank you, loyal readers and clients, for helping me get to this point.

Changes for 2011, effective January 1:
I've done some soul-searching and analysis, and there are two major changes coming for the next several months, at least until the end of April when I plan to reassess once more.
  • No more Walk-in-Wednesdays.
  • Reduced prices
Walk-ins:  I think, had I started Walk-in Wednesdays in summer when I first had the idea, it would have been more successful.  While it provided me many, many hours to be productive in other ways (time to myself really helps me concentrate on computer projects like spreadsheets and my website) as a money-earning enterprise, it was a fantastic flop, with a grand total of two customers over three months.  So, I will look at my place in the world in a few months and see what I think.  Walk-ins will still be welcome while I'm present at the salon, but there won't be a set time, just a sidewalk sign to say that I'm in.

Winter prices:  As of Saturday, we will officially be in the post-Christmas money slump until April or May when tax refunds start coming in.  I know it's a hard time for everyone, myself included, so to ease everyone's burden for at least that long, I'll be implementing lower seasonal pricing (like camping, but a lot more comfortable and a lot fewer mosquitoes.)   Therefore, my Winter prices will be $50/hour for Therapeutic massage and $70/1.5 hours for Pregnancy/Postpartum.  After my certification goes through, prices for my infant massage course will follow accordingly at $50/series.

Package pricing will be as follows:
  • 2 sessions- Buy one, get one 1/2 off-- $75/105
  • 3 to 10, or 12 sessions-10% off retail
  • 15 sessions-$638/893 (15% off.)
These prices make the first third of the year the best time to make appointments and purchase certificates  and packages.

Do you want to make massage a regular part of your life but find the cost just a bit more than you feel like you can afford, this is the perfect time to enter my New Year Giveaway!  Up for grabs are two great prizes, valid through the end of 2011:
  • First Prize: Free five session package
  • Second Prize: Free three session package
  • Third Prize: One free session
How to Enter
Your initial entry must be to leave a comment with your name, e-mail address, and town/city of residence.  For additional entries...
  • Follow this blog.  Be sure to let me know you're a new follower.
  • Follow me on Twitter. Again, let me know you're new.
  • Like me on Facebook. Same deal, let me know you're new.
  • Post to Twitter or Facebook, sharing the link to this blog post.  Be sure to leave a comment here with a link or links to your sharing, and/or tag me in Tweets.   One entry per site, per day.
  • E-mail me with your name and address to request a set of five business cards to distribute to friends, family, and appropriate local businesses.  I will then mail them or arrange for pick-up/delivery.
Given that this giveaway is for a service which you must be present to receive, I'm afraid I must limit entries to approximately a 55 miles radius due to the logistics of local marketing and winners' ability to redeem their prize.  Contest is open to new and existing clients.  Drawing will be made at 8pm on Friday, January 7th, and the winner will be notified via e-mail.   There's just a week, so spread the word fast!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, and may 2011 be bright and prosperous for us all.

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

EDITED: Extended deadline, added third prize and ways to enter.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Out of Town: Merry Christmas!

It's that time of year, time to shut the room down in favor of spending time celebrating Christmas with my family. Hopefully when I return, I'll have a couple new business tools, but if not, I shall manage to survive... somehow. *swoon*  Actually, I got my new Blackberry Torch, so if that's it for business stuff, I'm content. :)

May your holiday be a Holy Day and may it find you sharing love, laughter, and light with the ones you love.

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Is it time to start thinking about Resolutions already? Bother.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

NOTICE: Extended Solstice Savings and Walk-In hours

Source: eHow
I've decided to extend the Solstice Savings sale.  You can take advantage of this great deal any time from Monday, December 20th through Wednesday, December 22nd.  Online purchases must be made before 7 AM on the 23nd so that I can mail the gift certificates that morning before I go out of town to celebrate Christmas with my family.

There will be a $5 discount on Walk-In Wednesday services on the 22nd, and I will be extending my hours that day--12-7 PM--so while you're out shopping downtown (because I know you love to keep it local as much as I do!) stop in for 10 or 20 or 30 minutes.  These short sessions will be running a mere $10 for 10 minutes.  So, bring me your tired feet, you poor aching muscles, your huddled shoulders longing to breathe free.  There may even be a little something special for a holiday treat (like addictively delicious mini meringues or fudge!)  This is an event you do not want to miss!

And now, an impassioned plea...
As I mentioned, I plan on doing this sale seasonally, so please help me make it a success this season.  I love my work, I love helping people feel better, and I really want to share that love with our community but I need to make a living at it, too.  If you live in or near Sebastopol, spread the word about this event on to your friends and family.  New Year, too, is a great time to make massage part of your life.  Healing touch is important.

I know bodywork is expensive in a down economy, and it seems like a luxury in an age of OTC pain relievers and machines from Brookstone, or a waste of money to pay more when Massage Envy in 20 minutes away.  I'm doing the best I can to make and promote massage as a viable health maintenance/recovery option that doesn't break the bank, but I'm also a highly trained, highly talented, and experienced professional and my work is 100% worth the price.  That's not arrogance, that is confidence and it's backed up by virtually every person who has ever gotten off my table.  25% off, $53 for an hour of therapeutic massage, is phenomenal; $158 for a three hour package is fantastic.

I can't pay for large advertising campaigns right now like a chain or a more established location.  Right now, I can't even pay for a small one.  Pardon the personal detail, but the second half of this year has been brutal on my business, financially.  I depend on the Word of Mouth of my clients and neighbors.  Tell people you know me.  Tell them I'm a great massage therapist, that I'm Certified by the State, that I've been practicing for almost seven years, that I blend many styles of massage for a custom tailored experience for the person on the table, and that my clients leave relaxed, happy, and relieved.  Send them my way this season.  Send yourself my way.

My skills are a supply for your want.  Your patronage is a supply for mine.  Help my business live up to its name, and may great abundance be upon us, come 2011.

Happy Winter Solstice and Merry Christmas.

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Thursday, December 16, 2010

How to find Abundance Massage

Being that the salon is tucked back off the street, and I'm in the far back of the salon, I thought a nice instructional video on how to find my location was in order. Enjoy!

I may redo this later with a voice over, but for now, it's silent.

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Monday, December 13, 2010

Solstice Savings: 25% off appointments and gift certificates

Solstice is next Tuesday, which is cool enough, but this year the longest night of the year will be graced by a full moon throughout. How awesome is that!

In celebration of the official changing of the season, I will be starting a new tradition. From now on, I will give a 25% discount off full-price on all appointments made for a Solstice or Equinox, as well as all gift certificates and packages purchased that day. So, the really smart massage shopper will purchase the three-session package, and have a monthly massage for the whole season!

  • 1 session - Therapeutic: $53   Pregnancy: $68
  • 3 sessions - Therapeutic: $158   Pregnancy: $203
  • 5 sessions - Therapeutic: $263   Pregnancy: $338
  • 10 sessions - Therapeutic: $525   Pregnancy: $675
  • 15 sessions - Therapeutic: $789   Pregnancy: $1,013
Don't miss your chance to take advantage of this deal for Solstice, Christmas, or to get a jump on making massage a regular part of your life in 2011.  Remember, I do take Visa and Mastercard on-site, as well as PayPal online, so keep an eye on this page next Tuesday.

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

A Covenant for Honoring Children

Source: OSU Human Development & Family Sciences
I was flipping through my infant massage workbook last night in preparation for teaching this morning and all the way at the back, I found this wonderful excerpt from a document called "A Covenant for Honoring Children" by famed children's musician, Raffi.
We find these joys to be self evident: That all children are created whole, endowed with innate intelligence, with dignity and wonder, worthy of respect. The embodiment of life, liberty and happiness, children are original blessings, here to learn their own song. Every girl and boy is entitled to love, to dream and belong to a loving “village.” And to pursue a life of purpose.
We affirm our duty to nourish and nurture the young, to honour their caring ideals as the heart of being human. To recognize the early years as the foundation of life, and to cherish the contribution of young children to human evolution.
We commit ourselves to peaceful ways and vow to keep from harm or neglect these, our most vulnerable citizens. As guardians of their prosperity we honour the bountiful Earth whose diversity sustains us. Thus we pledge our love for generations to come.
-----Source: RaffiNews.com
This is only the preamble of the document; it is followed by nine Child Honouring Principles, which are: Respectful Love, Diversity, Caring Community, Conscious Parenting, Emotional Intelligence, Nonviolence, Safe Environments, Sustainability, and Ethical Commerce.  To read more about what each of these principles mean, please click here to go to the full document.  You can also download the entire document in PDF form.

That's all I have to say for now.  Read.  Go forth.  Love, and conquer!

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Friday, December 10, 2010

Square: The little card reader than can!

Almost a month ago, my friend and manicurist, Mandy (over at Mane Event in Gravenstein Station, she's fabulous at what she does, highly recommend her) had a couple new flyers up at her station, advertising gift certificates and the fact that she now takes credit cards. I asked her about it, and she asked if I'd ever heard about Square.
Shirt at zazzle.com
Square? What was she babbling about?

She pulled out this little white cube and plugged it into her Droid and told me how this tiny box allowed her to take credit and debit cards at a lower rate than most banks (only 2.75%+15¢ per swipe), that they sent her the reader for free, and all you needed was a smart phone with an audio jack.
Courtesy of Square Up
She had my attention.  I had wanted to accept cards for a while, but had never gotten on the salon machine.  This hadn't been a big problem, but I did feel like not taking cards held me back from reaching as many people as possible.  I went home and looked up their website and started exploring.

I found out I'd need either an iPhone or an Android phone (because of the audio jack thing; why more phones don't have them is beyond me.  Come on, Blackberry, get with the program!) or an iPod Touch, 2nd Gen or later.  Basically, you need a 3G or wi-fi connection in order to make it work, obviously.  I knew I could pick up wi-fi from one of my neighbors, so I got an iPod Touch, which I was planning to do anyway.  And while I knew this could revolutionize my business experience, I love that it can also be used by non-business people, too!  Having a garage sale?  Selling your couch?  Babysitting?  Anyone who needs to take money can use Square.

The company is new--less than two years old--and based in San Francisco (with a beautifully light, open space in downtown) and they are "focused on bringing immediacy, transparency, and approachability to the world of payments." Source  If you know me, you know how much I like to "go local", so the fact that I could drive down to the city to pick up my reader rather than having it mailed was a plus for me.  The convenience and integration into my own life and massage practice, not having to pay for bulky equipment, and the sheer compact size pretty much sealed the deal for me.

Using the reader takes a little getting used to because it's so small, and it requires a slow, steady, straight swipe, but with a little practice and finessing, I'm looking forward to having this adorable little cube for years to come.
Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not being compensated to write this blog.  I genuinely like this product and I'm writing this on my own.  Given my enthusiasm for it (and as a function of following Square on Twitter so I caught the call) starting in January I will be part of their Inner Square program to help promote the company and product, for which I will not be monetarily compensated (at least there's been no mention of it.)  I will be able to distribute Squares to interested parties, so if you're local and you want a Square, I'm your girl.  Just make sure you have an iOS or Android phone, download the app, verify and activate your account, and you'll be ready to go with your new reader!  Simple as that.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mama Lovin' Health: Rose essential oil

A couple of months ago, I started a blog post about two that I never finished due to life's distractions and information overload! I started out looking for the answer to a question about today's topic, and it blossomed into a massive amount of research.An old friend emailed me yesterday asking about essential oils for birth and it reminded me that I still hadn't published my conglomeration of information. This also marks a new blog feature: Mama Lovin' Health, information, tips, and tricks on health before, during, and after pregnancy.

Before I go forward, I feel obligated to remind the reader that I am not an Aromatherapist.  I am years of study shy of that title, and everything below--unless I decide to editorialize--is garnered from published books, (reasonably?) reliable websites, and lecture notes.  I've cited as specifically as I can.  Essential oils are very potent concentrates and should be only be used with knowledge, wisdom, and respect.  If you're in serious doubt, find and consult with an expert.  Now that you surely feel as safe and secure in my ability to convey accurate information as is humanly possible, let's get on with it!

Source: roseabsolute.net

Rose Essential Oil - Rosa damascena
One of the most expensive and ancient essential oils in the world, Rose is perhaps the best tonics for feminine issues, and a precious companion for fertility, pregnancy and birth.

  • Two types: rose otto (steam distilled) and rose absolute (solvent extracted, a little less expensive, thick with natural oils, better for perfumery) 
  • Very non-toxic, water-soluble
  • Appropriate for all skin types, including sun-damaged
  • Treats asthma, nausea, women's issues, esp. irregular menses due to congested circulation.
  • Some studies suggest it count boost sperm count in men
  • Strongly antiseptic, fights infection
  • "Opens" the heart, alleviates depression and lack of confidence, inspires love, comforts, supports during crisis1a
  • Uterine relaxant
  • Softens ligaments to allow pelvis to expand and regain shape after birth
  • Mild analgesic2
  • Combines with oils of nutmeg, bois de rose, frankincense, and lemon to provide a postnatal lift, applied topically or diffused2a
  • Combines with clary sage and bergamot to alleviate PMS2b
  • Add a few drops to a tepid or mildly warm bath for a pleasant relaxing experience3
  • All around excellent pre-, peri-, and postnatally, for massage or diffusion2c, 3
  • Side note: When I first started researching rose oil, I was seeking clarification on something I'd heard from two other Young Living reps: that rose oil is dangerous before 38 weeks because its "opening" energy can encourage the cervix to ripen early.  I couldn't find any reference to such a problem in any of the books I currently own, nor in any online literature, even from Young Living.  I will try to track down a reference on the matter, but given the otherwise overwhelming support for its safety in pregnancy, I'm inclined to say that it wouldn't be a problem.  However, as I mentioned above, use any essential oils with wisdom and respect.  Pay close attention to your body's reaction to the aroma and energy and if you feel it wouldn't be good for you, don't use it.
    This list will be added to in the future as I expand my knowledge and library.

    Due to the expense of rose oil, you may be tempted to settle for a cheaper brand.  Don't do it.  The loss in quality isn't worth the savings, and you can't know what's really in it and what it's cut with.  True rose oil will usually come in amounts like 1, 2, or 5ml and cost enough to make you wonder if it's made of gold.  The two companies I would personally trust (I'm certain there are many other fine distillers and distributers, these are the two I know very well) are Young Living (5ml) in Utah, and Simplers (1ml, though I can buy 2ml and 5ml with my wholesale account) here in Sebastopol.

    If the straight oil is (understandably) cost prohibitive, I have 6% diluted rose oil in jojoba oil available in small 1/8th ounce vials for $10.  This can be used to add to larger amounts of carrier oil for massage or perfume, or in a room diffuser.

    Rose is a marvelous companion for women of all ages, for health and for beauty.  It works and plays well with many other oils, and its benefits during pregnancy and labor as a beautiful and safe tool for wellness can be make it worth the expense.

    Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage


    1. Keville, Kathi and Green, Mindy.  Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art 2008. Berkeley: The Crossing Press.  206-207

    2. Worwood, Valerie Ann. The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy 1991. Novato, CA: New World Library. 219
           Note: In the Amazon reviews of this book, there are some claims with regards to safety in the animal care section, specifically to do with cats.  If you look this book up, maybe don't use that section. -J
       2a: 223
       2b: 231
       2c: 221

    3. Tisserand, Maggie.  Aromatherapy for Women: A Practical Guide to Essential Oils for Health and Beauty  1996.  Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press. 103

    Monday, December 6, 2010

    Cleaning house: Jewelry liquidaton

     To everything there is a season, and my season for trying to make jewelry sales an active part of my money-earning/spending has past. Right now, I really need to liquidate some of the pieces I have left and get them into some loving homes.

    Everything below is marked 60% off retail, which is about my cost for the materials, and free shipping or hand delivery if you're local.

    Please browse and seriously consider if you know anyone (including yourself!) who'd like a lovely piece of heritage-quality natural stone and precious metal jewelry. Thanks!

    Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

    Friday, December 3, 2010

    More important things

    Earlier this week, as mentioned in the previous post, I was diagnosed by my family doctor with a case of norovirus, which is a nasty gut bug that can have everything coming out of everywhere. (I'll leave it at that.) Even though I was already feeling worlds better, this significantly derailed my plans for the week due to a continued quarantine, and as you might imagine, I was kind of annoyed by the setback.

    I was looking through an old box of scrapbooking supplies when I found a homemade bookmark I'd received at church over a decade ago.  It was one of three handouts from the lesson in question, the third being long ago lost to time, but its sister having spent many years taped to my bathroom wall.  The one on my wall read, "Happiness is a grateful heart," and this rediscovered treasure quoted part of a scripture: "Always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive." (Alma 7:23)  I had been feeling decidedly ungrateful that day, due to my isolation and the fact I couldn't get the new cell phone I've been waiting almost a year to upgrade to and suddenly found I couldn't afford.  Nor could I afford to buy the folded business cards with the list of "10 great reasons why Moms need massage" to hand out at work.  Nor had I sold any gift certificates over the Black Friday weekend in spite of numerous tweets, Facebook posts, and ads on both Facebook and Google, which cost me over $50 that could have gone to rent.  Nor could I... nor could I... you get the picture.

    Finding that bookmark woke me up, though.  Spreading a highly contagious bug just so I can go to work?  Bad idea.  Quarantine?  Good idea.  Folded business cards?  I can (and did, last night) print those up at home on an as-needed basis.  New cell phone?  Mine is still chugging along, it does not need immediate replacement; I have time to earn the money.  (Both Christmas and my birthday are coming up, too, so who knows.)  Expensive (to me) advertising?  I got my business out there again, and people were clicking the ads and seeing my site, even if no money immediately came of it.  That many more people are aware that Abundance Massage exists, and what I do.  That has to be worthwhile on some level.

    I live in one of the wealthiest, freest countries on Earth.  My family is fairly upper middle class.  I have a comfortable, heated home, and clothes on my back.  My life is full of opportunity, and I am grateful.  A lot of people would do anything to have my "problems".  They get to me sometimes, but ultimately, I am blessed, and I have more important things to think about than exactly what I don't have.

    Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

    Tuesday, November 30, 2010

    Unexpected delay

    As I alluded to a couple of posts ago, I visited my grandparents last week.  Most of us who have been watching her overall condition over the past couple of years can tell that she is not long for this world and I take every available opportunity to see her.  It turned out that she had been sick recently, and passed it on to Grandpa, and lo and behold... both my father and I also contracted a nasty bout of norovirus, too.  (The nasty class of bugs people often get on cruises (and in nursing homes) also known as viral gastroenteritis.)  It really put a damper on the whole feasting portion of Thanksgiving.

    I am feeling much better and had plans to return to work yesterday until I received that diagnosis from my family doctor.  After further investigation, I don't anticipate actually returning to work until at least Thursday, with a highly likelihood of it being next week.  I'm a little annoyed by that, since I was anticipating the arrival of my Square this week and getting to use it, but I'm more concerned with public health than playing with a new gadget.  The iPod necessary to make it work arrived on Friday, and I've gotten my massage music loaded on it, so as soon as I am back to work, I will be accepting all major credit cards on-site.

    Hope everyone is happy and healthy.  Be well!

    Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    Black Friday through Cyber Monday: Packages, discounts, and more!

    It's that time of year again, the season of giving.  From gratitude to gifts, for four weeks we are fixated on finding and giving just the right thing, whatever else can be said for the holiday shopping season.

    I am not immune to the pull of Black Friday, its younger sister Cyber Monday, or the newest bundle of joy (sponsored by American Express), Small Business Saturday.  In that spirit, I am happy to announce...

    Discounts for Black Friday through Cyber Monday!

    Go to my newly revamped Pricing page and choose from a variety of affordable massage options, ALL at 10% off the regular price for this weekend only.  Buy a session for yourself or a gift certificate for a loved one.  Certificates can be picked up or mailed directly to the recipient (please specify in "Notes to Jena" at time of purchase.)  Also, the first five buyers will receive a colorfully beaded, original snowflake ornament--valued up to $20--as a gift

    On top of this sale, I'm also liquidating my Etsy store, everything at 60% off with free shipping or local hand delivery.  Go take a look for some fantastic deals on plus-size natural stone jewelry: WhiteWave Jewelry on Etsy.

    And on top of that, my final announcement is that I will be able to accept credit cards on-site by the end of this month!  I anticipate this happening by Monday or Tuesday at the latest, and there will be more information coming at that point.

    Happy Thanksgiving!  Be grateful, and recognize the great abundance you enjoy. :)

    Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

    Monday, November 22, 2010

    Out of Town: Thanksgiving week

    Due to a family emergency, I will not be at work on Monday and Tuesday as I had originally planned. Also, I will be spending Thanksgiving with my family out of town. Don't despair if you want to purchase gift certificates this weekend, though! I have special plans upcoming for you lovely folks, so stay tuned on Wednesday! You will NOT want to miss what I have in store.

    Happy Thanksgiving! Be grateful!

    Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010

    Ten Great Reasons Why Moms Need Massage

    I gave away one of my business cards yesterday at the salon to a lady 24 weeks pregnant with her second child. She seemed pleased to get it and interested, but she uttered the same basic story I've heard countless times.

    "I just have to convince my husband to pay for it."

    This often means I never hear from them again, unfortunately, whether because they forgot, were too busy, or it just wasn't in the budget.  As a result of hearing this line so often, I've been led to wonder just why the men have to be convinced it's a good idea to buy their wife a massage (or three, five, ten, or fifteen!)  She is carrying your growing child inside her body, protecting, growing, and nurturing it with everything she is and takes in, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, (give or take) 40 weeks a year.  And then she's going to mother it for the next umpteen years.  Is that not enough reason to buy her something wonderful, lovely, and just so gosh-darn good for her?
    "No massage for you!" - Godwin's Law
    Don't get me wrong, I fully understand the issues surrounding a poor economy, that there's not a lot of money going around, and pregnancy and new babies tend to be rather expensive already.  Ninety dollars (at my rate, and I'm inexpensive) can feel like a lot to drop on an hour and a half of lying on a table while somebody rubs you, ninety dollars and minutes that you can't get back once they're gone.  I do understand that very much because--thanks to the poor economy--not a lot of people are spending money on "luxuries" like massage.  You see my problem.  But I digress.

    Going back to my point, I hear that line a lot and I got to thinking (and tweeting) about good reasons women could give their husbands to convince them that massage really is an investment in the ultimate well-being of the family and not just an expensive and froufy nicety.  After an initial run of four vaguely facetious tweets, I came home and got down to thinking more about it, and eventually came up with a list of ten.
    1. Growing a new human being is hard work! You deserve it.
    2. Massage can help regulate hormonal fluctuations, reduce edema, relieve leg cramps, and improve both mood and sleep.
    3. By lowering stress, anxiety, and pain levels, massage can decrease the need for some expensive pharmaceuticals.
    4. Massage can help your body integrate the physical changes of pregnancy and prepare for labor and birth.
    5. By receiving regular massage, you can learn and condition yourself to consciously relax, an invaluable skill during labor.
    6. Massage also helps speed postpartum recovery, and can ward off or relieve Postpartum Depression (PPD).
    7. The benefits of massage are cumulative; the more often you receive it, the more effective it is and the better you feel.
    8. Massage allots an hour or more of personalized, healing human contact, something unavailable from most other care models.
    9. While it can seem pricey out of pocket, minute-for-minute, massage is one of the most cost-effective models of care with one of the lowest risks or incidence of adverse side effects.
    10. [Reading] this, you've found a specially trained Certified Massage Therapist who is gifted in bodywork and passionate about mother & infant health..
    These have already been formatted onto a folding business cards with the title on the front and my business information on the back, which I will dutifully whip out any time I hear a woman say she has to convince her husband it's worth the money.  This is not a comprehensive list of reasons why pregnant and new moms should get massage, nor exclusively scientific, but my hope is that it is a thought-provoking and persuasive one, nonetheless.  My purpose is to be illustrative of not just what massage does for a Mom, but what makes it worthwhile, why it's not as expensive as you think (my chiropractor charges 4-6 times what I do, as an hourly wage, just for a routine visit), and that I am particularly well suited to be someone's choice of therapist.

    I'd love to see comments of any other reasons or arguments in favor of prenatal and postpartum massage.  This is far from exhaustive and if I find the distribution successful, I may expand the list at a future date.  Or, if you find my presentation flawed, please leave a comment to that effect as well.  Thanks!

    Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

    P.S.: The blanket donation drive is still going on, Sebastopol! You have until the end of this week to give, or no later than Tuesday, if you can't make it this week.

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    Getting the most from your massage

    I found a lovely article in today's Press Democrat. Mind you, once I tracked it down, I discovered it was a blog post written back in July. Ah well! It's still very much worth reading.

    10 Tips to get the Most Out of Your Massage
    By Kate Forgach, author of the Go Frugal blog at freeshipping.com
    A professional massage may seem like a waste of money -- until you've had one. Frugal fans know a good massage can provide more health benefits than a visit to the doctor, and often for less cash. As an added bonus, a massage can provide a real spiritual lift.

    But how do you get the most out of a massage when you're lying there worrying about spending all that money? Taking off your clothes and slipping under the sheets is the easy part. But how do you fully receive all the benefits obtainable full a massage.

    Since I sometimes have trouble getting the most out of a massage, I asked a therapist friend for some guidelines. Here's her advice.

    1. Drink Water Before and After
    Most therapists will remind you to flush toxins after a massage, but it's equally important to hydrate before climbing on the table. That's because the pressure from your masseuse's hands pushes lactic acid out of your muscle tissue and into your bloodstream, where it circulates throughout your body.

    Without water, your blood flow is sluggish and stagnated and may not process these toxins as readily as hydrated, less viscous fluids. If your worried about drinking too much tap water we recommend getting a Brita filter.

    2. Talk to Your Massage Therapist
    Tell the massage therapist your concerns, needs and expectations before you start. Let them know about problem areas, like a bad back, trick knee or the knotted shoulders caused by computer work, so they can avoid these areas or pay special attention, as appropriate.

    Be sure to express your environmental preferences, as well. Let the therapist know how you like the music, room temperature, etc. You don't want the ambiance jarring you out of your cozy zone. If you're an aromatherapy fan and have a specific preference, bring a sample with you.
    (I also have a small selection of therapeutic grade essential oils that I keep on hand, specifically chosen for common issues of pregnancy and postpartum, but I am more than happy to use a favorite of yours.)
    3. Don't Be Bashful
    In general, the less you wear, the fewer obstacles to a good massage. Your certified massage therapist is trained in sheet-draping techniques that will ensure your modesty is protected at all times. So remove everything, slide under those silky sheets, and don't waste energy worrying about what the therapist will think of your body.

    4. Stop Thinking

    This may be the hardest part of relaxing into a massage. I find yogic rhythmic breathing prepares my body and brain.

    While the therapist is getting set up I perform deep breathing exercises, inhaling from the stomach, upwards through the chest cavity and mentally swirling the breath through my brain. On the inhale I gather all my thoughts, tensions and negativity into a gray smoke and expel it out of my body. Then I reverse the process, filling my body with pure air. Five cycles usually do it, then I repeat this process whenever niggling thoughts stop me from enjoying the massage.

    5. Relax Your Body
    Don't engage your muscles to help the therapist maneuver a part of your body. This doesn't really help as it just tenses your muscles and makes the therapist's work harder.

    6. Breathe Through the Pain
    Don't hold your breath when the therapist begins working on a muscular knot or the muscle will continue to hold its tension. Instead, start narrowing your focus to a deep, rhythmic breathing pattern. Try to visualize tension leaving your body on the exhale and allow your body to relax a little more with each breath.

    7. Talk Less -- Listen to Your Body More
    Sometimes a verbal release is just as therapeutic as a muscle relax, but if you're chattering away during a massage you're not really concentrating on your body. Animated conversation makes your body tense up, so save the chit chat for lunch dates.

    Do talk, however, to give the masseuse instructions. Let them know when the pressure is too soft or hard; if you're feeling chilly; or if you'd like them to work more on a specific area. Then head back to dreamland.

    8. Recover Slowly
    Don't harsh your mellow by jumping off the table after the therapist has left the room. Take a minute to glory in your newly relaxed body.

    Slowly open your eyes and appreciate the room's ambiance. Roll slowly onto your dominant side, push gently up to a seated position with one arm, and sit on the edge of the massage table for a few moments.

    The therapist should have left a glass of water, so take time to slowly sip the entire glass before donning your clothes and gliding back into the real world.

    9. Drink More Water
    Flush those nasty toxins out of your system with plenty of water. Otherwise, you could end up with sore muscles and nausea -- making the massage a complete waste of time and money.

    While there's no magic number of ounces you should drink, the more water you consume the better you'll feel.

    10. Take It Easy
    Help your body and mind hold on to the benefits of the massage as long as possible. Return to the breathing exercises when you begin tensing up throughout the day or when your brain returns to its natural fretting routines.

    At the end of the day, treat yourself to a relaxing evening. Eat a light dinner. Soak in a warm bath with scented salts or aromatherapy oils, then curl up in bed for a deep, restorative sleep.
    (I couldn't figure out how to contact Ms. Forgach from her blog, so I couldn't ask permission to post this.  I'm sorry!  If you find this, Ms. Forgach, please contact me.)

    Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

    Monday, November 8, 2010

    Yes, I'm still alive

    Sorry for the silence the past couple of weeks, dear readers, things have been very hectic and disorganized, the kind of disorganization that comes with trying to get organized.

    Among my various conundrums of life, health, and business, my basement flooded.  Not bad, thankfully, but enough to give it a pervasive stink of must and mold, even after a good scrub down with vinegar and/or bleach.  Ew.  That aside, I've been sorting out how the rest of this year is going to go, as well as how next year is going to start.  I have my labor massage course this Thursday and Friday out in Citrus Heights, and I think after that point, I'm just going to relax on the continuing ed for a little bit.  I'd like to return to higher ed next semester, if possible, but that remains a point of uncertainty at this moment.  My school has made devilishly steep cuts to class offerings, so finding what I need, when I need it is a challenge.

    The blanket drive is still going, and I'm still taking donations.  Don't forget that you will incentive vouchers for $10 off massage for each blanket donated.  Spread the word and please give.  I will accept up- or recycled baby and security blankets in good, clean, unstained condition, as well, so don't let your already-loved blankies go to waste.

    That's all for now, I believe.  Enjoy this beautiful autumn weather!

    Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

    Wednesday, October 20, 2010

    National Adoption Month Blanket Drive

    Image from warpedandwonderful.com
    In celebration and to raise awareness of National Adoption Month and to provide a service for the children and families involved in Foster and Adoption programs, Abundance Massage is holding a Blanket Drive from Monday, October 18 through Friday, November 19, 2010.  All blankets will then be donated the week of Thanksgiving.

    There are two different types of new, clean blankets Abundance Massage will be accepting: newborn receiving blankets for infants, and security blankets for children up to five years old.  Two agencies have been selected for these donations: newborn blankets will go to LDS Family Services in Concord, and security blankets will go to TLC Child & Family Services here in Sebastopol.

    As gratitude for participating in the Drive, donors will receive a voucher for a $10 discount for every blanket donated (up to $40) toward the cost of a one hour massage.  Bring in more than four blankets to start the next voucher.  If you donate during Walk-in Wednesdays, receive an extra five minutes per blanket (up to two) free of charge.

    Fostering and adoption are wonderful services steeped in possibilities, changes, hopes and fears.  Your donation will help children and families across Northern California make the transition a little more easy, a little more comfortable, and a little more warm.  Thank you.

    Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    "Breastfeeding Oppression": My comments

    My thanks to my friends Jenni and Gen for passing along "Breastfeeding Oppression" on Facebook. It's a well-written look at the real intent and the real priorities behind those who insist that women not nurse in public where they can see it.  I haven't talked much about breastfeeding in a while, so newer readers may not know how much this issue gets my goat.  Very quickly, though, I'd like to comment on the very first part of the article,

    Before the advent of baby formula and bottle-feeding, public breastfeeding was commonplace. No one expected anyone to cover up or go to a private room. Women were free to breastfeed where and how they needed to. This included public buildings, churches, all outdoor areas, and people’s homes. Essentially anywhere and everywhere. And why shouldn’t they have? It is the natural work of a mother, occurring intermittently throughout the day.
    It occurs to me that formula is one of the few technologies (and boy, is it ever a technology) that has made this jump so pervasively and completely in our culture.  The concerted efforts of formula advertisement over the past several decades has taken a mammalian biological and social norm for nourishing offspring that occasionally needed supplementation in a relatively few extreme, medical cases and turned it into a moral atrocity of public lewdness for much of society here in the States.

    Books haven't been covered up since the invention of eReaders.  Pen and paper haven't been relegated to the nearest bathroom for taking notes since the rise of computers, PDAs, and smart phones.  Mental math skills may have plummeted (my own included) since the widespread use of calculators, but that's mostly a function of laziness and convenience rather than segregation.  Not to mention that walking in public is not considered improper since the invention of trains, bicycles, cars, or airplanes, (in spite of it using a body part many find attractive! :O le gasp).  In fact,we are less healthy for doing it less.  We are less healthy, less graceful, less strong and more susceptible to disease and infirmity because we are a culture of sitters and drivers rather than standers and walkers.  But we have automobiles!  Great, expensive automobiles that we must constantly feed (with pollutants) to keep them running!  And yet, there isn't a pervasive, antagonistic moral "authority" in having a car so you don't have to use your legs for their proper function in public for the comfort and convenience of other people.

    I do believe that we've been had.

    Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

    Monday, October 18, 2010

    Green drinks continued

    I've been good, I've made a green smoothie almost every day since the first, and I've done a lot of experimentation with the ingredients. Here's what I've found thus far.
    • I have a flush in my cheeks again so I'm not just a walking ball of pale.  This happened within a day or two.
    • It's a good way to get my seaweed without overly tasting seaweed.
    • However, it is not successful at masking the flavor of my herb supplements if I open the capsules and dump in the contents.  Fail.
    • I do feel much more energetic and I stay full almost as long as eating eggs. (I'm considering adding hardboiled eggs to the mix.  Frankensmoothie!)
    • About a quarter cup of kefir seriously upgrades the smoothness and texture of a smoothie
    • Soaking quinoa for 12+ hours in the kefir will not change the taste of the quinoa and leaves a little grain-grit in the smoothie.  As I've just tried this today, I may repeat it tomorrow and try blending the kef-noa first before adding the fruit.  Chia is the next seed/grian on my list to try.
    • Chlorophyll comes out a similar shade it went in (just FYI)
    So all in all, I'm enjoying it except for the medicine fail.  It's a tasty way to get what I need, and it doesn't take very long to make.  It's fairly economical, even on an organic budget.  I can get about 3-5 smoothies out of a few bags of IQF fruit, and a gallon of OJ and a container of kefir last for more batches than that.  I'm considering getting a reusable bottle with a straw for drinking on the go.  Those are my thoughts for the moment!

    Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

    Friday, October 15, 2010

    Light a candle: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

    Click to go to october15th.com
    Today, October 15th, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  In memory of babies who died in infancy or died before their parents could hold them, we light a candle every year.
    Today is also the first full day of The Amethyst Network's opening. If you don't recall,The Amethyst Network is a new non-profit to connect specially trained professional and peer doulas (and, in time, counselors) with families going through or who have recently gone through pregnancy loss.  (Peer doulas are mothers who have experienced miscarriage themselves and have gone through the training to become doulas.)

    Our goal is to have at least one doula in every state in six months, and at least one in every metro area in a year.  It's a worthy cause whose time has come, and we look forward to supporting families and educating the care providers and the public about this tender subject that has touched so many lives.

    If you or someone you know has lost a baby, within or without the womb, please consider joining the Wave of Light in whatever time zone you live.

    Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    Temporary Home of Abundance Massage

    (Technically speaking, this is always *a* home of Abundance Massage.)

    Due to massive glitches on the part of my web designer's computer, this is temporarily the destination of abundancemassage.com, my business domain.  I should have everything ironed out by this weekend (fingers crossed!) but if you're here looking for information on my massage services, please refer to the links along the bar above this post.

     Thank you, and check back next week (hopefully!) for the revamp of Abundance Massage's web presence!  Huzzah!

    Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

    Sunday, October 10, 2010

    Green Drink Riff

    Why is it a riff? I don't know. I'm certainly not making fun, just... taking off the idea. Anyway!

    So, my lovely friend Rachel is doing what she has dubbed "365 Project Green Drink" where she'll concoct and post the recipe to a green drink every day for the next year.  That got the brain cogs turning.  Then last night as I was deciding what to take to read during, I ran across a very thin pamphlet I bought years ago and never read, called "Midwifery & Herbs".  I poked through it curiously and ran across a section titled "Anemia and Chlorophyll".  This piqued my interest since I've been prescribed chlorophyll before for the treatment of anemia.  From the anecdotes shared in the section, I realized how quickly it works in building blood and decided to give it another go, knowing I had a bottle in the fridge.

    The only problem with chlorophyll (for me) is the intensity of its "green" flavor.  So, vague inspired by Rachel, I decided to raid the fridge for frozen fruit and orange juice.  So here's my "recipe"

    2 "bunch"es of frozen strawberries
    1 "bunch" of frozen peaches
    6-8 chunks of fresh watermelon
    1 1/2 small bottles of OJ
    2-3 pours of chlorophyll until the mixture turned a nice dark-medium green

    I know, so precise.  That's how I roll.  Either way, the fruitiness was sufficient to mask the chlorophyll flavor, and I'm now considering an experiment with dried seaweed in a similar application for the iodine content.  Yum!  Thanks, Rachel!

    Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

    Back into the swing

    A Utah stream

    Wow! My trip to Utah was fantastic. I had a great time staying with my friend and helping her plug through a nasty head cold without medications; it really stretched my healing knowledge. It felt good. I also seem to have escaped unscathed, thank the Lord. I'm not sure what I did for myself, but I plan to figure it out and keep it up this flu season!

    Baby belly
    What a lot of dirty hippies we are!

    My trip was full of all manner of birth geekery, from long talks about my dear hostess' hopes, fears, and plans for her own pregnancy (including a consult with a midwifery practice that left us both feeling very optimistic) to a meet-up with a bunch of my crunchy Forum folk to a day trip down to see/meet one of my birth-lovin' Tweeps, Kayce (aka @heartsandhandss), which included a viewing of "Babies".  I got to do almost everything I went to do, and a few things I didn't plan on, so all-in-all, it was a very enjoyable journey.  (Side note: Taking the train rocks.  Except for sleeping, but even then, it's ten times better than an airplane.)

    The changes descend from above
    So now it's October.  It is very officially Autumn, my FAVORITE time of year, a time of harvest, abundance, family, friends, good health, comfort, and beauty.  We are about a quarter of the way through the month already (what the heck?!?) so it's time to get crackin'.  Today is Walk-In Wednesday, I've got banners, I've got ads, I've got time, and a prayer in my heart for success.  Life is good.

    A riot of color
    I also had a major epiphany on the last leg of my journey home Saturday night, about how very, very different my life would be without the health challenges I've battled and cursed for about half of my life.  I can confidently say that without my personal fertility-centric struggles, it is almost 100% certain that I would not be a massage therapist, doula, or budding (haha yes, I am hilarious) herbalist.  I could have accepted the help of allopathic medicine as a teenager and been "healed" of my "infirmity" years ago... or at least be on pills forever to manage it.  By largely rejecting those methods, I've been led on a much more interesting and colorful journey down a winding path of increasing complexity and scope and grandeur, one with no set destination, but merely a direction toward perpetual learning.  I've had so much growth as a result of my "weakness" that it truly has become my strength.  (I will likely post more about this later.)

    What's not to love about that?
    I love it.  It's great and it's further testimony to me of just how well God knows me and accommodates for my mortal weakness in order to continually bless me as long as I strive to be faithful and obedient.  It's just beautiful.

    I'm glad to be back.  Now off to work!

    Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

    Wednesday, September 22, 2010

    Out of Town: Travel

    As of this afternoon, I am out of town and out of the salon until Monday, October 4th. There will NOT be a Walk-in Wednesday next week, September 29. I'm going to Utah to visit and meet various friends. I'm very excited about this trip, I've been planning it for months. I get to take my first two train rides ever, there and back (which could be awesome or miserable, depending on the width of the seats.) I'll be hosted by one of my earliest crunchy friends, and get to met a whole bunch of crunchy friends from online. Take care, faithful readers and clients, and try not to miss me too badly! I'll be back on the fourth.

    Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010

    The Wise Woman Ways Loves Rough

    © New Moon Visions & Mara Berendt Friedman
    This image graces the northeast corner of my workroom.

    An excerpt from Susan S. Weed's Healing Wise:

    Just as receptive power seems a contradiction in terms to some, so too does rough love.  Compassion, forgiveness, and unconditional love evoke a sense of squishy soft acceptance to many.  In the Wise Woman tradition, love is rough, real, truthful, and unattached to outcome.  In the Wise Woman tradition, love says "no" as often as it says "yes."

    The Wise Woman tradition sees compassion as passionate.  Passion shared is compassion.  Passion is rough; passion is wild.  Screams and shouts and tears and touches are part of living with passion, being com/passionate in the Wise Woman way.

    Forgiveness is focused on self, in the Wise Woman way, and believe me, that can rough.  Forgive yourself for being hurt, for suffering, and love yourself enough to tell yourself the truth about it.  Is it time to say "no"?

    In the Wise Woman tradition, forgiving ourselves opens our vision to our limits, to our cramped spaces, to our self-inflicted prisons.  Keen-sighted from the truth, we see how to free ourselves by setting boundaries that truly protect our fragile aspects yet are moveable, permeable to nourishment, so we receive the intimacy we desire.  Saying "no" leads to unconditional love.

    Unconditional love that nourishes the inner being does not tolerate abuse, ugliness, lies.  Unconditional self-love brings self-respect and demands it of others.  Unconditional self-love knows that it is unloving of anyone, self or other, to allow abuse to continue, no matter their age or circumstances.  Loving ourselves unconditionally strengthens our power to say "no" when our heart knows that beauty and the truth are not present.

    The wise woman understands that, for most of us, saying "no" is hard to do.  We're afraid that if we say "no," we won't get enough love.  Or worse yet, we won't be allowed to give our love away, and we need to give our love away so we can expect to get love from others.  The wise woman understands that we expect love to come from outside, not inside.  She knows that this expectation, this assumption, this hope--that love comes from outside--prevents us from speaking our truth when our heart demands that we say "no."

    Loving ourselves, generating love from inside, not trying to get it from outside, that is the Wise Woman way, a way that allows "no" to reveal its loving nature.

    Become aware of how often you do the expected thing, the good thing, the right thing, says the Wise Woman helper, and acknowledge the part of yourself that is a liar, that is afraid to say "no."

    Truth and unconditional love support each other.  To love yourself unconditionally, you must tell yourself the truth.  You cannot hear your own truth if you are lying to others.  Begin to tell the truth in the smallest thing.  This brings you wholeness.  Tell the truth often and you will be filled with beauty.  You will have health.  You with walk the beauty way of health/wholeness/holiness.  Your truth will bless all you encounter.  You will be blessed.  Do not be afraid to reveal your own uniqueness, for that is part of your blessing.

    I realize this seems to be a bit of a non-sequiter coming out of left field, and in its way, it is and does.  I've been reading Healing Wise for a couple weeks now, picking it up hear and there, now and then and reading a few pages.  This is not how I usually read a book, but I find Healing Wise dense and in need of pondering, much like scripture.  In a way, it is scripture for a new(-ish, to me, in a formal sense) outlook on health and healing.  I find I agree with a lot of it, some of it I don't quite understand, and some of what I do understand, I am not sure if I agree.  Such is the nature of being introduced to new ideas, however, and I am very much enjoying the journey.

    Anyway, I found the section quoted above especially powerful and pertinent to my life.  I would have quoted from the section preceding it about unconditional love, but that is thick stuff to get through, and not exactly short.  Maybe I'll type it up later, but right now, no.

    Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

    Friday, September 17, 2010

    Doula-ly Humbled

    As my loyal readers will remember from a few posts ago, I am not a practicing doula, no matter what the blog's title said.  (And yes, I've been prevailed upon to keep it.  For now. *Dun dun duuuuuuunnnn*)  I trained through DONA in July 2008 and while I've been active in my doula group and a mostly faithful attendee to our various meetings and events-more than most-I never did certify or actively pursue it much further as part of my career.

    In that time, I've had a few friends get pregnant and/or have babies (some are still pregnant.)  I've never really put it out much that I'd like to be anyone's doula, mostly out of my own insecurity because I wasn't super close with most of the women I've known who got pregnant.  A few, though, I am close with or have been in the past, three in particular come to mind.  One I was her doula for her the first baby, but will not be for the second.  One, I was kinda of... dodging because I didn't want to get asked again to be the godmother of a baby I'd have no way of taking on if something happened.  And the third...

    I was on the phone with the other night.  She's probably reading the post right now.  (Hello, my lovely.)  Anyway, we were talking about an upcoming appointment with a midwife that I'll get to attend with her, and she mentioned her dismay at reading that I'm not actually a doula because she had been considering asking me, on top of wanting my advice during said appointment, as a doula.

    Yeah.  That kinda hit it home.  I know I admitted it myself, but that just made it very, very real to have it come from someone else.  I feel like I have and am missing these opportunities to be with my friends as they go through this transformational experience, and they (I speak of women in my circle in general, not these exact friends only) were my inspiration for being a doula, the ones I primarily want to serve.  I don't resent any of their perceptions or decisions, because... well, I kind of knew it would happen.  I set myself up for it, really, and lo and behold I'm reaping what I sowed.  It's no one's fault but my own.

    But that really got me thinking again.  I do love the work of doulary.  I believe it's important, and I'll never have an "easier" time than now fitting it into my (unmarried, childless) schedule.  DONA may not be the right fit for me, even if I love their program.  I think I mentioned once quite some time ago, my desire to learn through Birth Arts International.  Their program encompasses herbalism and the Wise Woman tradition on top of the doula training, which checks off a couple little tick marks in my head.  The requirements are also more extensive than DONA, which is at once daunting and exhilarating.  I know I couldn't likely finish any certification by the time my friend is due, but I feel like I need to get back on the path and move forward, you know?  (Same goes for my infant massage certification, too.)

    Ah, my scatterbrain life.  Nevertheless, it was a kick in the butt to know, "Hey, you're disappointing more people than yourself," and one I probably needed. So, I'll have to humble myself here, and start to reading, and getting going in all the directions I should. 

    Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    Even worse than formula: Screencaps from "Ads that just don't work anymore"

    My voice teacher forwarded me this email with just over a dozen vintage advertisements that "just don't work anymore" because of cultural shifts over the past 60-70 years, particularly in the realms of "don't treat women like crap."  (Spanking your wife for not "store testing" the coffee to see if it's fresh?  Seriously??)  Among these fourteen laughing stocks were these two gems I just had to screen cap and consolidate for your viewing pleasure/amusement/horror/ridicule.  Click to enlarge.


    The first time I ever heard that even today there are people who bottle feed toddlers and even infants with cola, I was horrified on the teeth-rotting factor alone!  I think I was in my early teens at the time.  Now I'm just... oh man.  The rationalization advertising companies have to put up to "justify" feeding your kids crap is mind-boggling in its outlandishness, aggressiveness... and consistency.  We still see ads like this for food replacement products and poisons that "Won't kill you immediately!™" all the time, including formula.  I call this one worse than a formula ad because at least formula-while it is extremely inferior to breastmilk-does have nutritive value; Sodas can't even pretend to be a form of natural foodstuff.

    Well I guess they can pretend, but until they advertise it as a replacement for water...

    Oh.  Never mind.

    Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage