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