So if you’ve waited until the final hours before you really need a gift for someone, have I got a deal for you!

Click here to buy a gift certificate for that special someone. All you need is an email address and a credit card and in just a minute you will be printing a gift certificate and stuffing it in a stocking. Easy peasy, and you are done!

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

 

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage Therapy is Decatur’s Barefoot Massage Specialist!
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A Client’s Bill of Rights

I just wanted to take a moment to address the sexual misconduct involving one of the giant massage therapy chains that has been in the news recently.  I am horrified and disgusted that someone in my profession has violated the sanctity of our collective healing space.

People come to massage to find a safe place in which to let their mind and body relax and begin the healing process. Obviously, it’s not to be assaulted. While it is impossible for an employer to control individual employees’ actions, it is deplorable that virtually nothing has been done to address the now hundreds of complaints that have been filed against these employees. The company owes their clientele better and I will be surprised if there’s not repercussions for not removing predators from their employ in a timely manner. I am saddened that so many people are now having to deal with the trauma of being assaulted when they rightly believed they were safe.

All that being said, I just wanted to make sure that you, as a consumer of massage, know exactly what to expect when you schedule a massage. And I want to give you some straight talk about what to do if ANYONE or ANYTHING ever makes you feel uncomfortable while receiving massage with any bodyworker, anywhere.

As a massage therapist and bodyworker, my main goal is to help you feel better. I strive to create a safe, comfortable space for you. You will find this is a common thread among people who practice a healing art. We know receiving massage can be an incredibly vulnerable experience. Most of the time you will be unclothed to some degree, possibly lying face down, and someone you may not know yet will be touching you. I never want you to feel unsafe or uncomfortable so read on and know that you are always in charge when you are receiving a massage.

A Bodywork Client’s Bill of Rights

  1. If you’re uncomfortable for any reason, tell us. It’s not going to hurt my feelings if you don’t like my music, if you feel cold, if the sheet feels scratchy or if I’m actually hurting you.
  2. If you feel unsafe for any reason, tell us. It’s not going to hurt my feelings and I need to figure out what’s wrong so you can feel safe again.
  3. If you feel like you want to stop the session and leave for any reason, tell us. It’s not going to hurt my feelings and I don’t want to subject you to an experience you don’t want.
  4. If you feel like you need to cry, let it out. You might startle me, but I’m not going to run away.
  5. Your massage is your time. It may be the only hour you get this week, month, or year to be perfectly yourself and let your mind and body enter into a healing state so please tell me if there’s something I need to do to help you have the best massage experience possible.

What To Do If You’re Assaulted During a Massage

  1. If you’re able, stop the session and leave the establishment immediately.
  2. Once you are safe, go directly to the police department or the emergency department (depending on the severity of the assault).
  3. Expect to make a police report on the incident.
  4. After making a police report ask the police if it is okay for you to call the business and make a formal complaint against the therapist. This is assuming this happened in a multi-therapist office.
  5. Make a formal complaint against the therapist with the state Board of Massage Therapy.

I hope this never happens to you. I hope it never happens to anyone and I am horrified that it has happened at all.

How To Prevent Assault During a Massage

Unfortunately, in our world as it currently stands it is impossible to prevent someone from doing harm if they are intent on committing assault. Even if you’re willing to use deadly force to protect yourself there’s no guarantee you won’t still be hurt in the process. Such a sad and frightening prospect, but there are a few things you can do to try to protect yourself.

As a massage therapist in the State of Alabama, I am required to maintain a massage therapy license with the state. In order to do that I have to agree to and abide by a whole host of laws that deal with the ethical treatment of my clients. Many of those laws specifically outline boundaries and forbid me from assaulting a client. Not that I need a law to know that it’s just wrong to assault a client… So when considering going to a new massage therapist make sure they are licensed. And there are a few other things you can do, here’s how to tell if they’re legit and agree to ethical boundaries.

I hope you have found some helpful information here. And while I would have preferred to never have to address this situation, please know that Harvest Moon Massage Therapy will always be a safe space where you don’t have to worry about your personal safety.

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage Therapy is Decatur’s Exclusive Provider of Ashiatsu Barefoot Massage!

It’s no secret that sounds and music can have profound effects on mood. I think we’ve all experienced sentimentality while attending a wedding, the elation and hyperactivity after a rock concert, and irritation at an alarm that just will not stop. I’ve always been especially tuned in to noise and music which probably explains why I spent so much time in band and orchestra as a younger person. Thus I found it very interesting when I started seeing articles a few years ago about a new kind of music.

This “new” music was called binaural beats music. And essentially it is a type of music written such that each ear hears a different frequency or note. Sounds weird, right? Just weird enough that I had to try it!

So after a bit of research and reading I found some samples of binaural beats music. I have to admit I was skeptical. It flew in the face of all my musical education. And not wanting to spend a lot of money on something that I thought was perhaps just another gimmick, I settled down with the samples to listen and I was stunned at my body’s reaction.

After my first binaural beats music listen, I was drunk. Not the tipsy, let’s party kind of drunk; I was drowsy, time to go to bed drunk. And I went to bed and slept hard. Obviously more research was in order because one can’t just go around being drunk all day. Well, I guess one can, but it might really impact one’s ability to function productively in society.

So upon even more reading I discovered that binaural beats music has an interesting effect on the brain. Used mindfully, it can take one from a state of high functioning brain activity to a more relaxed state of brain activity. In lay terms, it can turn the monkey brain off and promote a more relaxed state of mind.

What would you do with a more relaxed state of mind?

Even more interesting, binaural beats music can be customized to take the brain into a state suitable for sleep (which is what I listened to that first time) or to an alert state great for getting all the things done or to enter that meditative state that is so healing and relaxing. If you’re still reading I know you’re now wondering how that works. Well, it’s got to do with sound frequency and how the brain responds to different frequencies and all of a sudden things get very sciency. If you’re really, really interested in the science behind it I recommend starting here to read about what’s happening in the brain when listening to this kind of music.

If you don’t really care about the science, that’s okay and you don’t have to know it to use binaural beats music. And even better the creators of binaural beats music (even some of the free stuff) label each “song” according to its purpose. So it’s really easy to find something that suits the kind of relaxing you need to do whether it be getting to sleep or getting into a creative groove.

So let’s get down to some details about how you listen to binaural beats music to get this relaxation effect. First you need to find some binaural beats music. Here is a website that let’s you download sample binaural beats music for free. You’ll need a set of earbuds or headphones and they need to be able to handle stereo sound. Get comfortable, take inventory and see how you feel, put on your headphones, and start the music. Plan to spend at least 15 minutes listening. When you’re finished take inventory again and see how you feel.

It might take a few tries to find something you like. Big surprise I’m sure, but I’m partial to nature sounds. It may also take a couple of tries to really start feeling the relaxation effect. It’s sort of like meditation or other relaxation methods in that you have to give your brain and body a chance to figure out what you’re trying to accomplish. Also, you must use earbuds or headphones. The technology simply doesn’t work without them. And some of this music you can’t hear at all without earbuds or headphones.

I hope this gives you one more self-care, stress-relieving technique in your arsenal. If you try it I’d love to hear about your experience. Happy Listening!

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage Therapy is Decatur’s Exclusive Provider of Ashiatsu Barefoot Massage!

Well, it’s that time of year again! Time for me to fly away to Pasadena, CA for the 2017 AMTA National Convention.

I will have access to my phone and email so feel free to text or call. I’ll be taking several classes this year so it may take me a while to get back to you though. Follow my trip on my Facebook page!

Hope you all have a great week and know that I’ll be back tired, but rejuvenated on Monday the 18th.

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage Therapy is Decatur’s Exclusive Provider of Ashiatsu Barefoot Massage!

Harvest Moon Massage Therapy & Reflexology will be hosting a class in Traditional Herbal Flu Fighters. Get a jump on flu season this year by learning traditional herbal remedies and methods that local Native Americans and Appalachian settlers used.

Learn to identify, process and use sweet gum, elderberry and herbal teas.

Class includes: Herb walk, make and take a sweet gum tincture, taste elderberry syrup and herbal teas.

$10 per person + class materials (list will be emailed upon registration)

Class size is limited so register today!

Class will be led by Alice Evans. Alice is a second year student with Phyllis Light of the Appalachian Center for Natural Health and is pursuing her Community Herbalist certificate.

REGISTER HERE!

This week has been jam packed with back pain in my office and so many have been asking what they can do for self-care at home between appointments so I decided to put a few more videos together that I find helpful.

I find myself recommending these two mobility exercises over and over again for upper back and neck pain. I actually use them myself when I get a stiff neck or that spot of pain further down between the shoulders that just makes my day miserable. The reason I think they work is that they both target increasing mobility in the upper back. A sticky or stuck upper back is many times a major player in neck (as well as shoulder) pain.

This first video I’ve been using for quite a while and find it very effective for loosening the upper back and getting the neck and back working together to reduce pain.

This next video also does a great job of getting the upper back moving so the neck can stop working so hard. It also shows you how to test to see how much progress you’re making with the stretches.

 

***Updated stuff I added***

So I was in the shower this morning thinking about why I only had two videos in this roundup and wondering if I’d forgotten something when I realized that I had indeed forgotten about this next video. Now, it’s a little different than most of the things I find, but when I tried the first part of the exercise worked so well I forgot to do the last two parts. If the video is any indication, I need to be doing this one every day!

And while I was looking around I found this Baby Rolling video that goes into explicit detail about how to improve your posture in just a few minutes.

After watching and trying these exercises, it’s a good idea to head on over and read a little more about head forward posture and how it contributes to upper back and neck pain. And then go learn how to strengthen the upper back with a simple move you can do anywhere. You won’t regret spending a few extra minutes with these articles.

As always, be gentle with yourself. Go slow, take care of yourself and if anything feels wrong, stop. If these exercises seem to help, but don’t quite take care of the issue give me a call and let’s see if we can get to the root of the problem.

***Micro mini fine print: I’m not a doctor and this article is not intended to replace medical advice. Please listen to your body and seek medical attention when necessary.***

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage Therapy is Decatur’s Only Master Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapist!

Dry brushing is an ancient skin care technique that has been used throughout the centuries by countless civilizations. History also tells us it has been used for many different purposes. Stimulation of the lymphatic system and skin exfoliation being the primary purposes. On the internet you will find claims that have not and cannot be verified promising everything from cellulite reduction to religious experiences. It’s out there and that’s why I decided to write about it. I wanted to try to clear up the fact from the fiction.

Exactly What is Dry Brushing?

Dry brushing is the process of brushing dry skin with a natural bristle brush. The brush strokes are short, quick, and stimulating. Most sources say to start at the feet and brush your way up the fronts, backs, and sides of the legs, up the front, back, and sides of the body, and up the fronts, backs, and sides of the arms toward the arm pits. The neck and chest can be brushed in downward strokes toward the arm pits.

When you first begin dry brushing it may feel scratchy, but you should quickly adjust to the sensation. If you don’t, lighten the stroke. It should feel good, almost like something you didn’t know your skin needed. As you work your way up and around the body you will notice a warm feeling where you have already brushed. Perhaps your skin is a little pinker or darker than it was, this is from the blood flowing into the epidermis. A word of warning to ladies of a certain age, dry brushing can instigate a hot flash.

Why Should I Care About Dry Brushing?

There are numerous reasons you might be interested in trying dry brushing. Stimulating the lymphatic system is a common reason many try this self-care technique. For clients who are suffering from chronic swelling that is not complicated by skin infection and when it is appropriate, I sometimes recommend dry brushing as an adjunct to manual lymphatic drainage. It is a simple, self-care technique that is effective for many and empowers those who sometimes feel helpless in the struggle against lymphedema.

Another common reason you might be interested in dry brushing is to exfoliate dry, flaky skin. The strokes during dry brushing literally brush dead skin cells away. This is known as manual exfoliation and provides the common benefits of skin exfoliation. Manually dry brushing skin gently smooths and stimulates the skin leaving a tingling, fresh feeling and decreasing the chance of clogged pores. It is not advised to dry brush the face, other sensitive areas, or broken or infected skin.

Increasing blood circulation to the skin is another great reason to investigate dry brushing. As a by-product of the manual stimulation and exfoliation of the skin is blood flow. Increased blood flow affects the color and texture of skin by circulating needed oxygen and nutrients, mobilizing cellular debris in the lymphatic system and reducing puffiness. Regular dry skin brushing is said to improve the look of skin. Of course this is subjective and each person will experience different results.

It may take a week or two to really begin seeing results from regular dry brushing. It takes time for the skin to adjust to the increased stimulation. If symptoms such as localized swelling, skin reactions, or rashes occur stop dry brushing. Dry brushing isn’t a panacea for everyone and you can’t know if it is or isn’t for you until you try.

When Is the Best Time to Dry Brush?

The Ayurvedic system recommends dry brushing before you shower each morning. This recommendation permeates the internet and other sources I’ve found and I can understand why. It gives you the opportunity to wash off any dry skin flakes that might still be hanging around after the brushing. And it gives your body time to process the stimulation from brushing. But in my personal experience, it’s ok to dry brush any time during the day or night. I brush when I think to do it. I try to brush every day, but sometimes I miss it if my schedule is crazy. Sometimes I brush twice a day if I’m itchy or unsettled in my skin.

Can You Dry Brush Too Often?

Dry brushing is a mechanical exfoliation of the skin. That means the bristles strip off dead skin cells. If you continue to brush, even lightly, after all the dead skin cells have been brushed away you’ll eventually wear through the outer dermis layer of skin into the epidermis and develop a blister or start bleeding. It would take quite a while to achieve that kind of damage though, but yes, you can dry brush too often. No more than twice a day is a good guideline.

Is Dry Brushing For Everyone?

As with almost everything, there are certain issues you may have that would make dry brushing ill-advised or inappropriate. Broken skin, open wounds, bacterial or fungal skin infections, contact dermatitis, and systemic infection are just a few of the reasons you may want to avoid dry brushing. Most of what I’ve listed here are temporary conditions that will heal and dry brushing can begin or resume. Some conditions such as extremely thin or sensitive skin or lymphedema due to organ failure would make dry brushing a contraindication.

If you would like to learn more about dry brushing, find out if dry brushing is appropriate for you, or get a coaching session on how to effectively dry brush, give me a call! I can even hook you up with a brush if you need one.

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