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December 2008

December 14, 2008

Mindful Holidays, Part II

The time between Thanksgiving and New Years can be a whirlwind of activity, when shopping trips take three times as long as usual and every joyful cookie exchange means an extra hour or two in the kitchen. Mindfully choosing your activities can keep you grounded in the moment, but to truly enjoy the holiday (or any) season, you also need to create space for…nothing. When was the last time you turned off the television, turned off the list making in your brain, and simply sat on your couch?

I invite you to think about Mindful inactivity. Taking time to be quiet, to reflect and recharge, will deepen your enjoyment of the season and your contribution to those around you. It will also help you enter the New Year with a fresh perspective and clear vision of things to come. What does it really look like, this mythical quiet time during the holiday season?

To find out, please visit www.MindfulWayofLife.com

December 06, 2008

Mindful Holidays, Part 1

Did you ever try to remember details about past holidays and find that they all blur together? When I noticed this, I realized it was partly because my family celebrated exactly the same way every year. More importantly, I recognized my tendency to become less mindful as I got caught up in the busyness and activities of the season. I seemed to go into ‘auto-pilot’ mode where I let myself be swept away by the tide of traditions and family expectations.

That’s when I decided to be more mindful and create something uniquely memorable about each holiday.

To do this, I needed to SLOW DOWN so that I could consciously consider and wisely select each holiday activity. And I needed to remember to be more fully present for each activity that was so carefully chosen. This process of Mindful Holidays, the conscious choice of activities and participation in my own unique way, was quite liberating. With mindfulness, I am less concerned about appearances, judgments or expectations. Not only have the holidays become more memorable, but they’ve also become a lot more fun.

Mindful Holidays are an avenue to greater meaning, creativity, and joy. As you enter you’re your holiday activities, I invite you to pause and find ways to participate with greater mindfulness.

You may want to start by giving yourself permission to live true to your values this holiday season....

Read the complete article at www.MindfulWayofLife.com

December 05, 2008

Causes and Cures for Headaches

Everyone who gets headaches, even occasionally, knows that a headache can slow you down like nothing else. There are probably as many types of headaches as there are sufferers, and as many cures. As a massage therapist, there are two types of headaches that stand out because I know I can help relieve them.

Headaches that begin in the jaw and radiate up over the ears, through the temporalis muscle, may be caused by tightness in the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle. The what? The SCM runs from the sternum and collar bone to the bony protuberance just behind the earlobe. These muscles often stand out visibly and feel ropy to the touch. Try gently taking hold of your right SCM between the fleshy part of your right thumb and the side of your curled index finger. Hold and squeeze. Painful? Really, really painful? Then we are onto something. Try holding and gently pulling the SCM for 30 seconds or more. Then move up and down along the entire line of the muscle. Many people notice that their jaws feel looser and tension in their temples dissipates.

Why do the SCMs get so tight? My SCMs get tight when I breathe with my throat and neck muscles instead of my abdominal muscles. I often breathe that way when my nose is stuffy and I am breathing through my mouth. Take a moment right now to become conscious of where your breath originates. If you are a “shallow” breather, chances are you are using your throat and neck more than your chest or abdomen. This simple difference may be giving you headaches.

Headaches that begin at the outside of the base of the skull and move inward and upward may be caused by tightness in the trapezius or scalene muscles. These muscles run up the back and sides of the neck and attach to the base of the skull. Massage can help, but the best solution I’ve seen is a very gently traction pillow called Cervial Ease by VTI Products. Let me say right off the bat that I do not sell these pillows nor do I profit by their sale – I just really believe in them. I’ve loaned mine to several clients who suffer from tension headaches and many have purchased their own. Here’s how it works: Lie on the pillow for 15 minutes once or twice a day. The pillow gently creates space between your cervical (neck) vertebrae and encourages the trapezius and scalene muscles to relax. If you suffer from this type of headache regularly, the investment in the pillow will be well worth it. Just don’t loan it out too often – tell your friends and family to get their own!

What other suggestions do our local healers have for treating headaches?