Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Until last September 1, anyone in California could technically call themselves a Certified Massage Therapist without legal repercussions, unless local law was more specific.  However, there was nothing legal on a state level.  Now we have the California Massage Therapy Council which controls use of the terms Certified Massage Therapist and Certified Massage Practitioner.  It's not an obligatory thing, you don't have to apply in order to practice, but you do have to apply to legally attach those terms to your name.  (The simplest difference between the two is that a CMT has 500+ hours of approved schooling and a CMP has 250-499 hours.  Click here for more in depth information.)

I used to attach either CMT and LMT to my name at various points in my massage career, but of course now I can't because of this.  I'm not complaining; this is a great step in the right direction toward state licensure that would allow me to work anywhere in California with one license.  I want that to happen very badly.  The city-to-city license system is expensive, annoying, and limiting.  It has literally cost me clients in Santa Rosa because I cannot legally practice out call for money without a city license.  I had one back in 2005 and it was a pricey sucker to get.  So yes.  Go state licensure!  WOO!  Someday!  Until then, we have the voluntary CMT/CMP program from the CAMTC.

Guess whose application is en route to Sacramento right now.  Yep!  Me!  Woo hooooooo!  I'm excited!  Yes, it's also expensive ($150) and slightly annoying (another $71 for LiveScan fingerprinting (that's a bone to pick for another post) and $5 for a passport photo (Costco for the win!)) but well worth it for the "prestige"/stamp of approval that says "Yes, this is a competent, educated massage professional and you can put your trust in her."

Granted, most of the population probably has no clue what it technically, legally means, nor might they care, and when it comes down to it, everything I do really should be about the client.  At that point, it behooves me to educate people, to say "Hey, these letters really mean something, it's not just posturing to make myself seem cool" like it kind of used to.

So I'm excited.  There is, of course, the far, farfarfarfarfar outside chance I'll get denied, just because... it's an application and not just "Sign me up, yo."  However, I don't anticipate any problems, delays, or reasons why I'd be turned down.

Here's to hoping, praying, and waiting for a pretty piece of paper for my wall, and letters after my name!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The trouble with business plans

It was a major group project in my Professional Development class in massage school.  I took a class on it in college.  I still have the book from said class in the very room where I sit writing this.  I spend countless hours contemplating business and marketing matters (even for one that isn't mine) and making plans and having ideas.  All this, and I've never actually written a business plan for myself.

I know, it's dumb.

Why?  Well, primarily because I don't write the stuff down.  I do carry a small notebook in my purse for jotting things down, but I feel like everything in my head requires a full letter page.  I don't really have many notepads lying around when I think of this stuff, so the form I'm most comfortable "thinking" in doesn't happen.  I could type it all up, but I don't brainstorm very well while looking at a screen, even though it's much faster and and more efficient for recording thoughts.

Again, I know, it's dumb.

But as I do more research and learn more about what has worked for other people, I do feel like I'm getting a better grip on what's really worth having and what the possibilities are for the future.  This is something I haven't experienced before, which I think is another reason I've never written anything down.  All my ideas felt too half-baked, so I didn't think they were worth writing down.  This is changing, so I assure you, I will start writing things down.  A lot of it is goals and ideas for the future and for making my practice certifiably awesome.

So stay tuned!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

TDC Night: Pre & Post Natal Fitness pt 2

Previously, I covered my prenatal exercise and fitness note from the February class at My Baby News presented by The Doula Connection.  Now I'll move on to my notes on Nutrition and Postpartum.

Nutrition:  "Eating for two" is a myth up until about 7 or 8 months gestation.  This is when your baby's primary job is growing and laying down fat reserves.  Even once you hit this point, of course, you need to be sensible about what you consume.  Anna emphasized the importance of portion control, the kind that requires you to use measuring cups or counting out your handful of 11 crackers and then walking away.
  • First trimester: No additional calories are needed.
  • Second trimester: About 300 calories extra are needed per day.  This is almost nothing.  Some examples are: 1 large orange, a serving of peanut butter-filled pretzels, and a stick of string cheese (310 calories).  1 Thomas Plain bagel with 1 tablespoon of jam (310 calories).  1/2 a Thomas plain bagel with 2 tablespoons peanut butter (320 calories).  1 cup lowfat cottage cheese, 1/2 cup plain almonds, and 1/2 medium apple (286 calories).
  • Third trimester:  As mentioned above, this is the point at which you need 400-500 extra calories above your pre-pregnancy needs.  (Side note: this is a great time to add red raspberry leaf tea to your daily diet to help nourish and tone the uterus, if you haven't been drinking it throughout your pregnancy already.)
  • Nursing: 600-900 extra calories per day from what you needed before pregnancy.  From what everyone else was saying, you will likely feel famished, like you can't eat enough.  As always, try to make wise choices, looking for nutrition-dense foods (fruits, veggies, whole grains, healthy fats) rather than simply calorie-dense ones (refined grains and sugar, etc.)
  • Losing "baby weight" via nursing is also a myth; genetics play a more important role.  This is why some women can drop the weight without a problem and others can't seem to get rid of it.  If you're holding on to the fat, your body is trying to reserve that energy to nourish both you and your baby in case of hard times.  Don't reduce your caloric intake to try and diet it off.
Postpartum:  Be kind to your body and be kind to your uterus.  You've just gone through a major transition in your life and you need to allow yourself time to rest and recuperate, not to mention time to enjoy your new baby!
  •  Give yourself time to heal:  Vaginal birth: six weeks, be sure to clear yourself with your care provider before resuming an exercise regimine.  Caesarean section: Eight weeks.  Especially be sure that your scar has healed completely.  Remember, be kind.  Kegels and slow walking should be fine during this "waiting" period.
  • Once your 6-8 weeks is up, start with walking and be gentle on yourself.  No five mile trail hiking.  Walking on flat, paved surfaces is best, as much as you possibly can.
  • Be sure to have a support system.  Have someone to encourage you to get up and get out of the house, and be willing to take care of the baby while you get out if you need some time to yourself.
  • Allow yourself 4 to 6 weeks to start seeing results.
Along with this, she also went over several ways to incorporate baby into your exercise routine, particularly with regards to walking, jogging, and running with strollers.  She went over a couple of  at-home exercises
  • Squats:  Hold baby against your chest, close to your center, stand with feet shoulder width apart and squat, sticking your butt back as if reaching for a chair that's too far behind you.  Keep your knees over your heels; do not lean them forward over your toes or you'll endanger the joint.  Use a wrap, sling, or other carrier if your balance is questionable.
  • Lunges: As opposed to the stretching variety, these are set up simply by taking a comfortable step forward .  Your weight should primarily sink into the heel of the forward foot, with a little bit in the toes and ball of the rear foot for balance.  Hold baby to your chest and bend your legs smoothly, dipping your back knee toward the floor.  As above, don't move your front knee out over your toes; keep your weight sunk into that heel and your lower leg perpendicular.
There's more to add here, but my notes ended.  I have e-mailed Anna for more details and postpartum exercises and will add them, or make another post when I have the new information.  In the meantime, enjoy and be healthy!

    Tuesday, February 16, 2010

    TDC Night: Pre & Post Natal Fitness pt 1

    The Doula Connection hosted its monthly class at My Baby News last Thursday, and I finally have a few minutes to blog about it.

    The class was taught by Anna Dufloth, a Certified Personal Trainer who specializes in family fitness and happens to be Marianna's daughter.  She covered abwork, easing the pubic symphysis, nutrition during pregnancy and nursing, and resuming exercise post partum.  Here's what I took notes on, with some additional information from my own experience:

    Exercise in general:  While you don't necessarily want to start an intense, body-changing fitness routine after conception, if you've been maintaining one for 4-6 months prior, there's rarely a reason not to continue it throughout most of your pregnancy.  Beats per minute are a less critical measure than "perceiving level of exertion", so listen to your body if it says you're doing too much.  You're not out to sculpt and carve your muscles, you're just staying healthy.  Also, try to establish a regular routine in your sleep/wake/exercise cycles.  This helps to alleviate hormone fluctuations and thus can reduce morning sickness, mood swings, and other associated symptoms.

    Abwork:  It's a myth that you can't do anything to strengthen your abdominal muscles while pregnant; in fact, you need to in order to prepare for the pushing stage of labor.  While traditional exercises like crunches are discouraged or even impractical, there are plenty of things you can still do.
    • Plank: A supreme core-strengthening exercise that's simple and effective.  Basically, it's push-up position without the push-up: holding your body straight from head to heels with your hands planted shoulder width apart  under the shoulders.  If you can't do it up on your toes, use your knees.  Pull your bellybutton inward to activate the abdominals.  Try to hold for at least 20 seconds or as long as your body says is okay.
    • Side Plank:  Lay on your side with one elbow propping you up and contract your oblique abdominals to lift your hip and legs from the floor.  Again, can be done from the feet or the knees.  If you're based at your knees, be sure to tuck your feet way behind you so that your body is in a straight line from head to knee.  Exercise both sides.
    • Standing or seated "crunches":  with arms in goal post position (raised  square on either side of you), lift your knee as high as possible and extend your lower leg if you can, bring it back and lower.  Repeat on both side.  If balancing on one foot is an issue, you can use a support like a chair back or table.  If you're getting too big to lift straight up, lift a little out.  The same applies if this is done while sitting.  Excellent exercise for engaging and toning the pelvic floor muscle.
    • Pull in your bellybutton and hold as long as feels okay.  Baby may kick you for this, but it's okay.
    • Side bend: stand with feet a little further than shoulder width apart, hands behind your head, bend to the side, and contract opposite oblique to return to upright position.  Repeat on other side.
    • Modified push-ups: Sit on one hip with legs tucked back, rotate your body to the side, and do push-ups from the hip.  Repeat on other side.
     Pelvic girdle:  Keeping your pelvic girdle healthy is key during all stages of fertility, but especially during the months of pregnancy and into labor and delivery.  The pelvic girdle encompasses the two wing-like pelvic bones, the sacrum, and the hard and soft tissues that connect to them.
    The pubic symphysis is the ligamental connection at the front of your pelvis, and it can be dislocated during pregnancy, labor, or birth as pressure is put on it.  Since it's a ligament, it cannot be exercised or stretched, but there are some things you can do to decrease the pressure.
    • Belly lifts: This can be done by yourself or a partner standing behind you.  Simply cradle your belly in your arms, clasping your fingers underneath if possible, and gently lift the weight of the baby an inch or two.  This helps not only relieve the symphysis but the back and hips as well.  Hold as long as is comfortable.
    • Sitting cross-legged and/or butterfly: Our societal norm of sitting in stationary chairs and couches is not a good position for building and maintaining core or pelvic stability.  Cross-legged or butterfly positions give muscles and joints a stretch, helping them to adjust to the body's natural changes during pregnancy, as well as relieving pain.  Sitting in these positions while maintaining a flat back and leaned slightly forward help provide optimum fetal positioning, Occiput Anterior (back of the head to the front of Mom's body) which prevents most or all back pain in labor.  When sitting cross-legged, be sure to switch which leg is on top from time to time for balance.
    • Hip-glute stretch for the sciatic notch: laying on your back (if you're comfortable and early enough in your pregnancy that your body's okay with it) or sitting in a chair, cross one ankle over the opposite knee and let that leg be loose.  Pull or lift the base leg toward your chest until you get a good stretch.  You can also lift toward your opposite shoulder as much as the belly will allow.  If you cannot pull or lift while sitting, simply lean forward to get the stretch, keeping your back flat.  This stretch helps relieve and prevent sciatic pain.
    Up next: Part 2 - Nutrition and Postpartum

    Tuesday, February 9, 2010

    Product: Be Nice prenatal drink mix

    I ran across this product last week via one of @birthgoddess' Follow Friday posts.  I was intrigued and thought, "Gee, that could be a good thing to add to my retail inventory when the time comes," so I requested a sample for myself and my best friend/fella doula, Kim, who also happens to be pregnant.  (Yay!)

    I've tried both of their stevia-sweetened (gold star for that!) flavors, Berrylicious and Lemonade, and here are my first impressions.

    I had the berry this morning on my way to school.  It's nothing earth-shattering, it smells and tastes exactly like what it is: berry-flavored water.  Sweet and tasty, not cloying.  I liked it, and I'd drink it again.  It will probably be a pleasant boost to my iron and energy levels during the red monsoon.

    The lemonade is, to my taste, much sweeter than the berry.  It may have come off that way because it didn't get the same mixing the other did since one was shaken repeatedly in a Sigg bottle and the other stirred lazily in a glass.  The flavor sets off the meyer lemon bell in my head, because of the sweetness.  There's little to no lemon-y tang, which I would personally like.  Someone likened it to Crystal Light, and I agree.  Not bad, but I prefer the berry.

    I really like that it's sweetened with stevia and fructose rather than sucrose.  The algae-derived DHA is a very nice touch.  All in all, I think we have a winner, and I'm definitely going to be keeping it in mind when I get my retail act together.

    Friday, February 5, 2010

    Take it slow

    I was about to write a post about my future plans for retail at the salon and online, when I ran across an herbalist' Twitter feed and the world just slowed down.  I went from frantic, excited, motivated energy to something near stillness at the thought of herbs and trees and wild, healthy things growing.

    It has been raining off and on like mad the past few weeks, and the green grass is prolific.  Some of the trees are budding.  Mustard and clover will start blossoming soon.  Scratch that, mustard is already blooming.  Virginia stock can't be far behind.  The apple trees and valley oaks are resting.  It's one of my favorite times of year, but I've been so rushrushrushrush with this push to pay for my CEIM class and promoting my business and getting everything off the ground, I haven't taken enough time to care for myself.  I wish I had time to go out to Armstrong Grove today and take some pictures and walk around, but from 12:30 on, I'm due at the salon for appointments.  It's wonderful, I love my work (plus I'm getting a facial--very exciting), but that sudden grounding I got just from a memory of herbs and herb school was so... needed.  I've been very disconnected with the outside world lately.  The closest I've had to a spiritual natural experience lately was watching Avatar.  It doesn't count and it's not enough.

    So I've got the windows open for the moment, letting the air circulate into the house.  The house has been very stagnant the past few weeks from the rain.  This is needed, too.  I should probably turn down the heater, though and stop wasting energy while they're open.

    It's a beautiful day outside, though.  Go enjoy it and be grounded.

    P.S.: Birdwalk; noun, term used by my 8th grade History teacher, synonymous with "tangent".  I went on a birdwalk, there.  now back to the Articles of Confederation.

    Another New Look

    Well, I overhauled the website's design, so I thought I'd do the same here.  I like it much better now, with the added bonus of not confusing it for my oft-neglected jewelry blog.  I'd like to change the color of the after-post comment/sharing bar, but that will require more tinkering and I'll get to it later.


    Tuesday, February 2, 2010

    Deposit made, Space reserved

    I just called the school hosting my class and made a $100 deposit to reserve my space.  I'm in.  This is really happening.


    In case you were wondering.