Thinking about getting your first massage ever? You might be wondering what it will be like, and you may even be a little worried. A little pre-massage anxiety is normal for your first time, but it's not necessary :) Here's how it will go:
When you arrive, you'll be given a brief health questionnaire to fill out in the reception area. It's nothing too invasive, and it's mostly to find out if there's anything I should be aware of, like current injuries. Once that's done, I'll show you to my office where we'll have a conversation about your goals and your body. This isn't a test that you have to prepare for in advance, and there are no wrong answers.
Before we begin, I'll take you through the basics. I'll tell you how to lay on the table (you'll usually start face down, under the sheet and blanket) and we'll have a discussion about how undressed to get. It’s entirely based on your level of comfort: you can leave your underwear on, or you can choose to remove everything. The latter can be useful if you need some hip work, but it's always up to you! Rest assured that, whatever you choose, you'll always be securely draped. I'll only uncover the areas that I'll be working on, and everything else will remain covered and out of sight.
Once you're on the table, what do you need to do? You basically have one job: If something hurts, or if you're uncomfortable, I'd like for you to let me know. Don't assume that anything is "supposed to hurt," or that "she knows best" or "I'm probably supposed to be this cold." No, please speak up! I may be knowledgeable about massage, but you're the expert on your own body. If something doesn't feel quite right, I want you to trust your instincts and flag me down. The first few massages are a process of learning about each other, and my intuition can only take me so far. Your in-body experience is uniquely yours; only you can help me tailor the massage to create a best experience.
Other than that, feel free to relax. You don't need to help me when I move one of your limbs—be a limp noodle and let me do the work. You don't need to keep your arms in any particular place, or do anything other than melt into the table. Don't feel like you need to make small talk either. You are here to fully relax and going inward is a big part of that process. I'd like you to really experience the massage. If that means talking or asking questions, please do. If that means being quiet and introspective, that's a wonderful way to help your body relax. We will have plenty of time to chat before and after the massage.
One last thing: I don't care about your leg hair. Don't worry about stubble, or cellulite, or the noises your abdomen makes during the massage (this is normal, by the way—part of the relaxation response). I've worked on thousands of people, and there is nothing wrong with being fully human on my table. If you think that your body is flawed in some way, rest assured that I thoroughly disagree with you.
After the massage, my main goal is to let you float on out. I may ask about any areas of pain that you had mentioned, and I may have a stretch to offer you. Other than that, we'll be handing you some water, making sure you are squared away for your next appointment (optional!), and seeing you on your way.
Thanks for reading, and feel free to share with any friends or family members who might be thinking about their first massage! I look forward to working with them.
While a world traveler, Megan is thrilled to be working with clients on her home turf of Cape Cod. Her work in organic farming and yoga ultimately lead her to pursue a career in bodywork, viewing these passions as the perfect triad intersecting body, mind and spirit – the whole health package.
Megan’s intention is always one of promoting well-being by way of total relaxation, believing it is in this state that the body’s innate ability to restore and heal itself are affirmed.
Her touch is both strong and deliberate, while laced with long effleurage strokes intended to bring your nervous system into balance and promote healing.
Book with Megan on Wednesdays + Thursdays
For those patients who have been experiencing more issues with sleep and/or constipation this season, please consider trying this Warm Spiced Almond Milk.
It is a great transition nightcap for those trying to stay away from the alternative habits of alcohol and ice cream! Plus nutmeg is a great sleep tonic, even for kids! Enjoy.
A favorite recipe in the Salazar household is:
warmed almond milk
3 parts nutmeg
2 parts ginger
1 part cardamon
Traditional Ayurvedic Spiced Milk
2 cups Whole Organic Milk (I recommend San Benoit or Strauss- local, pasture-fed, happy cows)
1 cup water
3 cardamom pods (crack pods open so the seeds are exposed)
1/4 teaspoon of turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg (Only add nutmeg at night time- it acts as a mild sedative)
dash of cinnamon
dash of fresh ground black pepper
4-5 strands of saffron
1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup (to taste)
1. Put all ingredients (except maple syrup) in a medium sized pot- on med low heat, bring to a boil (watch it carefully, when milk boils it tends to boil over... this has happened to me many times)
2. Simmer for 15 minutes. The water will allow the herbs to saturate into the milk, and it will boil off first.
Make it fresh every time (not ok to make a big batch and store it in fridge because the properties will change and it will become heavy and difficult to digest.)
3. If you think you are lactose intolerant, try starting off with only 1/2 cup and see how it makes you feel. Even though spiced milk is easier to digest than cold milk, it is still a bit heavy in nature. If your digestion is very weak you may not be able to digest it until your digestion improves.
Spring and summer flew. The time was quick, exciting and its bright Yang energy whirled us forward; we came up and went out out out! The fun is done and now it is time for the slower energies of fall and winter to reign the coming months. The days are shortening, the light waning and the temperatures dropping. The Yin energies are growing and with them, we must follow their more passive pace toward a time of rest and rejuvenation. To better understand how to live seasonally, we again look toward the great outdoors for answers.
Fall on the Cape is a wonderful time of year- it is long, somewhat uneventful and beautiful. The leaves begin to change and drop. The plants end their cycle of growth and begin to die back into the earth. The animals begin their process of storage. The winds begin to howl and the weather becomes unsteady. Nature is readying itself for winter.
Like nature, we too must begin our descent inward. But before the full hibernation, it is wise to shed some "old" so that we can grow anew come the springtime. Shed your leaves and cleanse! Summer was a time of abundance and for most Americans, this includes an excess of "treats" (wine? beer? ice cream? fried food? etc.). We splurge and overload our systems. We have fun! Fall is the time to lighten up a bit and give our "habits" a break- even a week to a month can make a huge difference. The liver is truly the seat of metabolism and if we can lighten its load now, then come spring, it will feel much less burdened to burst forth up and out, lightly!
Of course winter is approaching quickly and our bodies do require a degree of fat [storage] for protection against the cold New England weather. Although, we still have the momentum of summer, it is not the best time to begin a weight loss regimen. For some, a little extra weight comes naturally. For others, weight loss may naturally cease. Be wise and "go with the flow". Patience will bring greater strength for true weight loss in the coming year.
Winter is coming and with it comes a time of preservation. Prepare to recharge your batteries from the go go go nature of fall and summer by spending time with yourself and closest family and friends. Enjoy the holidays. Cherish the glow of the fireplace and the warmth of hot drinks and hearty meals. Honor the extra "chub". Sit quietly with the silence and meditate deeply upon your coming year. Formulate your goals and remember your dreams. Listen. Rest and rejuvenate. Spring and summer will come again.
For more helpful tips on Living in Sync with Winter - please see our previous blog posts:
Dr. Deb Salazar is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine (NM) and Licensed Acupuncturist who specializes in women's health, fertility, and difficult/stubborn/chronic/recalcitrant disease. Deb uses Oriental Medicine as her vehicle to access health, balance and harmony. Besides the traditional tools of acupuncture, gua sha, cupping, moxa, herbs and bodywork, she also enjoys working with Ayurvedic Medicine, Western Herbalism, Homeopathy and Essential Oils.
Deb is available for appointments on Tuesdays, Wednesdays + Saturdays.
Reflexology can really get on your nerves. The nerves in your feet, that is!
Over 7,000 nerve endings in each foot are worked during a reflexology session which translates into a session rich in communication with your nervous system.
Consider these facts:
- The feet have more nerves per square inch than any other part of the body.
- Reflexology stimulates neural pathways. We’ve all heard the saying “use it, or lose it” and this applies to neural pathways, as well. The more electrical impulses that travel along a pathway, the stronger that pathway becomes.
- Because we wear shoes most of the time, the nerve endings on the bottom of our feet go under-stimulated. Working the feet helps stimulate the nerves so that the pathways remain open to provide key information to the brain about the position of joints, muscle tension and speed of movement. This, in turn, helps us maintain good balance and proper body alignment.
- Research shows that the vagus nerve (the body’s major parasympathetic nerve) is directly affected during a reflexology session thereby slowing heart rate, facilitating digestion, and promoting relaxation.
- Reflexology’s stimulation of the nerve endings in the feet creates activity in the “default mode network” part of the brain helping us adapt to a changing environment and process emotionally relevant information.
- Dr. Manzanares, a medical doctor who practices reflexology in Spain, found that the “congested” areas in the reflexes on the feet are an excess of tangled nerve fibers. Working these entanglements with special reflexology techniques helps break the biochemical link for inflammation and pain.
Book with Michelle on Mondays, Tuesdays + Fridays. Evening appointments available by request.