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BrokenFingerI was recently approached by a client with this question about massage and broken bones. My initial reaction was, “No way!” But then with a little more thought and research I reasoned that while it would be nice (and much cheaper, less painful, easier, and great for business!) to rub away a break, massage therapy can indirectly help the healing process when bones have been broken.

How Massage Helps Broken Bones

Let’s talk about the healing process for a minute. It starts as we breathe oxygen into our lungs. Our lungs allow the oxygen to dissolve into our bloodstream. Blood then delivers the oxygen to our cells. After the cells have used up the oxygen, they spit out all the by-products of the healing process into the interstitial fluid between cells. The lymphatic system then sweeps them up and transports them through the lymphatic vessels, lymph nodes and eventually out through your eliminatory system. This is a gross oversimplification of the miracle of life, but you get the gist.

Applying the healing process to broken bones it would look something like this. Cells and all the things they make up, muscles, tendons, bones, etc., heal when they are bathed in oxygen. So in order to heal, blood (and oxygen) must reach cells in the area that has the fracture. That oxygen must get used up in order for healing to occur and the lymphatic system has to do its job taking out the trash to keep the area from swelling and squeezing out the possibility for fresh, oxygenated blood to enter. Thus, it only makes sense that the goal of massage therapy in respect to help heal broken bones is to promote and restore optimal blood and lymphatic flow to the area of injury.

What if you have a broken bone and you’re in a hard cast?

You might think massage therapy can’t help, but lymphatic drainage can help reduce swelling and decongest the region around the fracture even when you’re in a cast. Sounds crazy, but it’s true. Certified manual lymphatic drainage therapists are trained to ramp up the lymphatic system. And a busy lymphatic system reaches parts of the body that the therapist can’t touch thus reducing swelling, removing cellular debris and promoting healing. So even if you are in a cast, a massage therapist certified in manual lymphatic drainage can definitely help you along your healing journey.

After you’re out of the cast massage therapy can help in a more direct manner. Muscle atrophy, stiffness and sub-functioning joints can all benefit from an appropriately tailored massage. Delivering a good dose of blood and oxygen via massage and lymphatic drainage to the injured area will be one of the best things about breaking a bone (after the cast coming off, that is).

What you can do to help heal broken bones

  • Eat healthy, nutritious foods – This gives your body the nutrients and building blocks to make the needed repairs
  • Move as much as you can within the guidelines of your medical advice – Get your blood moving so your cells can do their jobs and get you fixed up, also movement helps combat stiffness and gets you going faster and easier after the more restricted healing period
  • Breathe deeply in a clean air environment – Give your blood plenty of good oxygen to deliver to those hard working cells
  • Meditate! – Since you’ve been forced to slow down physically, why not take some time to give your brain a break too?

What to watch out for

  • All massage therapists are not lymphatic drainage therapists. Find someone who is certified in manual lymphatic drainage. This is important.
  • Massage therapists claiming you don’t need to see a doctor for a suspected broken bone. Run/hobble away!
  • Any other ridiculous claims. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

And so now you know how massage can and can’t help when you’ve broken a bone.

Be well, my friends!

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage Therapy is a Certified Holistic Manual Lymph Drainage Therapist!

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What to Wear to a Massage

TableI find this question is coming up a lot lately with new clients so I thought I would address it. Ha! Get it, adDRESS it? Okay, corny, I know, but that’s just how I can be sometimes. So you’re here because you want to know what to wear to a massage. I view this as a multi-part question so I’m going to break it down into at least two parts here. First, quite literally what to wear to a massage and the second what to wear during the massage.

So what does one wear to a massage?

Well, that depends on where you’re coming from. Whether it’s work, working out, the pool or puttering around the house, you definitely want to wear clothes. Unless of course you’re already in the spa and they’ve got you robed or wrapped in a sheet. I’m not a spa so if you walk in my door wrapped in a sheet I’m going to look at you funny. Typically my clients come in wearing work clothes or casual street clothes. Sometimes they come in their workout clothes and sometimes even in their pajamas. Some of my later in the day clients bring their pajamas with them so they can be ready for couch surfing when they get home. So to sum it up, wear whatever you want to your massage, just wear something. The more comfortable, the better cause I always find comfy clothes easier to put on after the disappointment of a massage that has just ended.

 So what does one wear during a massage?

I get this question a lot and a while back I wrote an article on it. Lately though I’ve noticed that article, while humorous and hopefully answered the on/off debate, did not adequately cover the subject. (Sometimes I just can’t help myself.) Anyway, what I’ve discovered is that sometimes this question is less about what you might or might not be wearing, but how much of you is left exposed during the massage.

I recently had a gentleman call asking a lot of questions. At first I thought maybe he was fishing for those illegal kinds of services I don’t provide, but then I realized he was genuinely concerned about whether he would be lying unclothed and uncovered on the massage table while I worked on him. A few days later I had another similar phone call so I am here to say that you will never be unclothed and fully exposed on my massage table or any reputable massage therapist’s table for that matter.

Different methods are taught at different schools, but I learned to use what we call a drape in the massage business. I use a flat sheet for a drape, some massage therapists use towels or blankets, but I was taught with a sheet (at a minimum). My table is typically dressed with a fitted sheet, a flat sheet and a blanket depending on the weather.

As a new client, I will brief you on how to lay when you get on the table and part of that instruction is to cover yourself with the sheet. I have learned over the years that there are many different interpretations of “cover yourself with the sheet,” but all of those are okay.

During the massage you will be covered with the sheet and I will use my mad draping skills to uncover only those areas that I am working. If I need your leg, I’ll uncover it while protecting your dignity and modesty. If I need your back, I’ll cover your leg and uncover your back. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, until the massage is complete. Thus keeping most of the body covered at any given time. Of course, if you’re hot and need to stick your arms or feet out, that is ok too.

If this all sounds too complicated or scary or if you don’t want to remove any of your clothes during the massage, that’s okay too. Any good massage therapist can work directly through your clothing doing compression massage techniques. Many are even trained in stretching techniques or Thai massage which is typically performed on fully clothed individuals. So there’s yet another slant on this question.

So what do you think? Did I hit all the angles of this subject or have I left anything out? Let me know in the comments and I’ll answer any other questions you might have.

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage is Decatur, Alabama’s Only Ashi-Thai Therapist!

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Ever wonder what you’re missing on Facebook? I sure do.

Recently I started preparing materials to teach a class to a bunch of massage therapists on how to use a Facebook Page to market their businesses. In doing so I discovered that Facebook now chokes the reach of your Facebook Page posts down to about 25% of the Likers.

This news was disappointing, but makes perfect sense when you remember that Facebook stock started being traded publicly in the market. They (Facebook) have graciously added a “Promote” button for us businessey types to pay them to open the gate and let most of our Likers see our posts.

So if you’re curious as to what you’re missing, here are a couple of techniques you can use to stay up-to-date with your favorite Facebook Pages.

Pages Feed

1. Use the Pages Feed. The first time I looked at the Pages Feed I was astonished at the difference in what my Newsfeed was reporting and what was showing on the Pages Feed. The link  for Pages Feed is on your Newsfeed Homepage on the left-hand menu under the “Pages” heading.

Get Notifications




2. Use Notifications. Turn on Get Notifications by hovering over the ‘Like’ button then selecting the menu option. Now, depending on how you have your Notifications set up in Facebook you might just get the polite little globe icon reporting that you have 6 or 10 new status updates to look at or you may have so many email messages from Justin Beiber’s Facebook Page that your internet provider disables your account. Be sure to get in there and look at those Notifications settings to make sure you’re being notified the way you want to be notified.

Hope this helps!

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage is Decatur, Alabama’s Exclusive Provider of Ashi-Thai Massage

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Recently I started attending an Alzheimer’s/Dementia Caregiver Support group. Many of you already know that I help to care for an elder who has severe dementia. We spent several years struggling along by ourselves trying our best to provide the support she needs as her dementia continues to escalate.

Then last year a friend turned me on to these meetings at the Morgan County Mental Health Association. They are for caregivers and family members of people who suffer with Alzheimer’s and other dementias and I can’t say enough about how helpful this program and the people who run it have been. Whether you need advice on services available in the community to help you and your loved one cope with the frightening changes they’re experiencing or you just need a break and to sit and talk with someone who understands they seem to know and be available for you.

I didn’t get to attend the last meeting which is a shame because they hosted a local specialist on Elder Law. That would have been helpful. Maybe next month I can get a synopsis of what we should be doing and looking at.

Anyway, if you’re local to Morgan County, Alabama and struggling with Alzheimer’s and/or dementias in your family, this meeting is free and open to the community.

When: 3rd Tuesday of the month, 7 – 8:30 pm

Where: 207 Commerce Circle SW, Decatur, AL

More info: Morgan County Mental Health Association

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage is Decatur, Alabama’s Exclusive Provider of Ashi-Thai Massage

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Wide Open Spaces

Friday, as I was desperately trying to pack a suitcase and figure out if I had everything I needed for the weekend Rossiter training in Atlanta, a large truck rumbled up the driveway. It was Habitat for Humanity. They had come to pick up the vestiges of my 20’s.

For a while we’d been discussing getting rid of some of the old furniture that I had been hoarding in the rec room upstairs. And after tentative agreement last week a pick up was scheduled. Their arrival was somewhat of a surprise and I don’t think I was supposed to be there when they came because I received the stink eye and was told to go get everything ready to move. A few minutes later and the big truck was loaded with my old couch and the dining room table that had become so loaded with scrapbook accessories I had forgotten what it actually looked like.

The guys were nice and said thank you for the donation. I said a quiet goodbye as the truck lumbered down the driveway and wished it all a nice home somewhere it’s used and appreciated. Now all that remains of that period of my life are mementos scattered around in random boxes, pictures and memories.

And though sentimental about the stuff that represented that period of my life, I can see the open places the stuff used to occupy. And there’s a lot of happiness in that. More room, more space, more possibilities.

I have finally learned that more things do not mean more happiness. In fact there is liberty in open space and not having so many things. Being happy with less is very freeing. Being okay with not having the latest, greatest whatever generates less stress. And having the space to consciously make decisions on what I really want, that’s the reward, I think.

Also, the extra money in my pocket doesn’t hurt either. The goal of paying that mortgage off early is actually seeing some action now that I’ve quit “needing” so much.

So for a while I’m going to enjoy less clutter in my home and the corresponding openness in my mind. Who knows what will come to fill it, but whatever it may be this time I’ll be consciously choosing to fill that space, physical or otherwise. I can’t wait to see what happens.

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage is Decatur, Alabama’s Newest Provider of Rossiter Pain Relief Techniques

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Shortly after Mardi Gras and the big parade I was talking with a friend of mine who came to last year’s parade and hung around for the after-party. Last year there was no formal Krewe Party so we made it up as we went along and ended up in the bar side of a local Italian restaurant.

In the conversation he mentioned that he had a lot of fun, “Raiding a bar with a band of pirates,” and that night had fulfilled something that he didn’t even know was on his bucket list.

I started laughing because I had never actually considered one, that we were a “band of pirates” and two, that we “raided” places. But that’s exactly what happened that night. A gnarly-looking band of foul-mouthed pirates took over a bar and spent the evening drinking and carousing. Just what you would expect them to do.

Which is so far from what I do in my real life that it is shocking that I was even a part of it. But they say that clothes really do make the man and apparently putting on the coat and hat and sword really do make the pirate.

Since the conversation I have thought back to him saying that it fulfilled something he didn’t even know was on his bucket list. And after processing the superficial meaning of the conversation and continuing to come back to it, it has occurred to me that this is what life is about.

Being open to the things that you don’t even know are on your bucket list. Living life wide open and experiencing it as it happens and loving it. Good, bad, and ugly, just take it, live it, and love it.

I’ve been talking about fun stuff, but as I’m aging I’m also learning an appreciation for the tougher things, the painful things and learning to be thankful for all the times I’ve come through, good and bad. Because it gives me experience to draw from and confidence that next time perhaps it won’t be so hard or painful. And thankful for the practice of living life now so next time it gets bad I won’t despair.

I guess what I’m ultimately trying to say is that along with enjoying the journey, just be open to what life brings you. Or as those gnarly pirates might say, “Storm and plunder, baby!”

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage is Decatur, Alabama’s Exclusive Provider of Ashi-Thai Massage

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usda-guide-to-nutrition-labels-ga-1I was at Target earlier today trying to buy myself a salad for lunch when a conversation broke out in front of me. Seems the gentleman checking everyone out hadn’t had his lunch yet and it being lunchtime he was scanning and bagging lots of peoples’ lunches. It was making him hungry. That’s when the lady in front of me, who was slurping on some slushy Starbucks chocolatey-looking thing, busted out with, “This shake is my lunch.”

I looked at her and tried not to judge her at that point. Who drinks a coffee drink for lunch and how do you survive the rest of the day if you do? Which then led me to wonder how many calories are in something like that? Hmm… less than I expected, but the sugar, yikes!

Which then led me to wonder how many people care? And do you know how to read a nutrition label? Do you read nutrition labels?

Maybe I’m just special that way, but I read the label on everything. Even those bottles of drops you’re supposed to put in your water to make it flavorful. I don’t use that stuff cause I don’t know what all those chemicals are in the ingredient list.

So because I’m feeling all tutorish right now and also like I need to atone for judging the Starbucks lady, here’s the quick and dirty on how to read the nutrition labels on foods.

Serving size – This is always good to check because many foods and beverages are packaged for more than one serving. Disappointing, I know.

Servings Per Container – That tells you how many servings are in the box, bag or bottle.

Now here’s the tricky part, every other number on this label is calculated for the serving size (not the whole container). That means if there are two servings in the package and you eat the whole thing you get double the number of calories, fats, cholesterol, carbohydrates and proteins. Four servings, and you need to multiply it by four. Get it?

I’m not going to go into each one of those categories because frankly everybody is different and their nutritional needs are different. It’s impossible to say eat this, don’t eat that because I don’t know what you require.

Add to that even the people who are supposed to be experts on nutrition disagree on what we should and should not be eating. In the 80’s eggs were the mortal enemy to cholesterol. Now they’re ok. High fructose corn syrup, if the manufacturer is to be believed it’s A-OK in moderation, but there are studies saying it increases your chance to develop diabetes. Artificial sweeteners used to be the bees knees, but now some are considered neurotoxins.

My rule of thumb, if I can’t pronounce it, I’m probably not going to eat it. If the ingredients are unrecognizable, I’m probably not going to eat it. Now before you think I’m just all la-ti-da about the food, I should probably disclose that I spent a lot of years not caring what went in to my body. Fortunately my massage career (and my cholesterol level) changed all that. I have to manage my food and my health more closely now so that I can feel good, be available to help my clients feel better and, ultimately, stay in business.

So what about you? What’s your food policy?

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage is Decatur, Alabama’s Exclusive Provider of Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy Massage

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