New Site, Logo and Name!

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I’m excited to announce that my business is now Methow Massage Therapy. I’ve done a lot of work to make a new website and also got a slammin’ new logo. Please check my new website from now on, where my info on all my massage stuff and my blog now lives.

Have a wonderful holiday. I’m happy to be on the other side of solstice. Bring on the light!

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Photo used by permission by my lovely friend at Blue Mountain Thyme.

 

 

 

 

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Color!

I have a hard time completing projects. Coming up with projects? I’m a pro. After nearly every run, I come back with something that would be fun to do. Actually following through is another matter all together. Well after over a year of talking about it, I finally, with the help of my mother-in-law (a project finisher), painted my office. I knew I wanted something warmer than the previous minty green, and knew I didn’t want to emphasize the carpet, but wasn’t quite sure how that would manifest. We started on one wall and both of us weren’t sure how it would work. By the end of the first day, however, I knew it was going to be exactly what I envisioned: a warm grey with several undertones to give it depth. I grew up in a white and off-white house, so this was my first painting job. Let’s just say it’s a good thing I had such a pro give up her weekend to help this newbie.

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I took the opportunity to put up some new artwork, and bring in some more natural light. Now I get to look at Liberty Bell on one wall, Maple Pass on another, and Patterson mountain out the window.

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Come check it out. I hope to see you soon!

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The Wonders of Technology

Through modern technology, you can now purchase gift certificates and pay for your session online! When you schedule, there is an option to pay with a credit card, and you can buy a certificate and pick it up at my Winthrop office at your convenience.

Of course you can still call me to both schedule appointments and arrange gift certificates (and pay with cash, check or card at my office), but I’m happy to offer another option.

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Teaching in Port Townsend

I absolutely love my massage practice and life in the Methow. The only thing I felt  missing by living so rurally was potentially teaching massage. Even during massage school I wanted to teach, once I had more experience. My instructors were both inspiring teachers and people. Their seemingly endless knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and ability to get the best out of me was (and still is) something I strive for.

I was elated, then, when a friend asked if I’d be interested in teaching Sports Massage when she had to direct her energy elsewhere. I tried to play it a little cool, but I was instantly ecstatic. Sports massage is my favorite modality, not so much due to working with athletes, but because it draws on everything bodywork has to offer: deep tissue, Muscle Energy Technique, and Neuromuscular Technique, to name a few. I love thinking about primary and secondary muscles used in different sports, potential compensating patterns, and trying to treat what causes the particular aches/pains, injuries, or imbalances, in addition to treating the presenting symptoms.

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Pulling into the Port Townsend ferry terminal

The Sports Massage training I had focused exclusively on pre- and post-event treatment. The Port Townsend School of Massage (PTSM) devotes twenty hours to the subject, allowing the students to really study specific sports and injuries associated with those in addition to learning treatments for events.

PTSM focuses on small class sizes, which was a great relief as well as a huge benefit to the students. The small class setting made it extremely easy for students to ask questions, and for me to tailor the class to them. I instantly felt at ease when I entered the room. I tend to get quite nervous when all attention is directed toward me, so I surprised myself when I had to reign myself in from lecturing all day.

ImageAnyone I’ve spoken to about massage school has a similar feeling about their experience: the massage career draws amazingly open and positive people; I felt like I’d been there for years. The five students will complete their training next month, so it was easy to delve into the subject matter from many different angles: sports massage really is more a frame of mind than a specific method.

Like anything, there is no better way to fully learn something than to teach it. I am grateful for the opportunity to shape and solidify my own knowledge, while sharing it with others. I’m also so excited for the students. In just a month, they will enter an amazing profession, one that allows and requires a mixture of continual growth, learning, knowledge, creativity, and intuition.

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Running Technique Class

We live in a valley full of amazing athletes. As such, getting involved in endurance sports here can be quite daunting. Clients often tell me they “could never do that” after asking me about a run or race. The thing is, I didn’t always run long distances or look the part of a long distance runner. A wise Physical Therapist often says, “you get good at what you do.” I couldn’t agree more. I started running to exercise my dog in high school, and over the next fifteen years, became a runner. While running is simple, there is still an element of finesse and technique. Like learning to play a musical instrument or a language, learning a new sport takes instruction, time and practice to engrain new pathways in the brain and thereby, the muscles. There are a few cues that can be the difference between feeling energized by a jaunt on the trail and exhausted, worked over, and achey.

Learning to activate stabilizing muscles.

Learning to activate stabilizing muscles.

Starting Monday the 11th, I’m teaching a six-week class to learn how to run so that you feel good or even better when you are done than when you started. It’s possible, believe it or not. Because the class focuses on technique and core work, it’s perfect for people who have always wanted to start running; people who ran in previous lives but haven’t been able to recently; or people who run now but want to feel better when they do. This is not a class to see how fast or far you can run. If you’re interested in joining in, call Winthrop Fitness at 996-8234. We’ll go from 5:15-6:30 at the gym. Feel free to email me with any questions. I hope to see you there!

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New Yoga Class

ImageThere’s a new yoga class starting next month at Winthrop Fitness that is perfect for the changing of the season and sports. No matter what sport you love, yoga helps with strength, flexibility, balance, and focus. I’m excited to add this to my weekly schedule!

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Sports Massage Class

One of the few things I miss by living in the boonies is that there are limited options for continuing massage education; as such, I head to the city several times a year to get my fix. Each time I return, I’m energized by being with colleagues and refining my craft. I’ve always thought that if I had to move away from this perfect place (gasp!), sharing my passion by teaching would be one of the few benefits. I have absolutely no reason to move now, though, as twice a year, I’ll make the jaunt over the mountains to teach sports massage at the Port Townsend School of Massage!

What makes sports massage different than “regular” massage? Clients often ask me and I’ve been contemplating my answer while refining my curriculum for the class. I keep returning to two concepts: functional anatomy and sports massage as a way of thinking.

While many of my clients are athletes, nearly as many are not. But to me, sports massage still applies. Whether you are coming back from an injury from sport, work, or life in general, it’s my job to return you to the activities you love. Someone spending 40 hours a week ranching needs a well-tuned body just as much as someone training for an athletic feat. If an injury arises, getting the person back to full capacity is very important. My approach involves learning the specific movements the client does, how the client performs such movements, then treating all the different muscles that play a part in the action.  Depending on the sport or job, when gravity or positional factors get thrown into the mix, the way in which muscles function often changes. For example, the textbook action of the gluteus medius muscle (deep to glute max, on the side of the hip) is abduction (moving away from midline) of the femur (Travell and Simons, 153). In daily life, however, our foot (and thereby thigh) is much more commonly fixed than our hip. So, when we stand and walk against gravity, this muscle plays a more frequent role in stabilizing the hip than abducting the thigh.  This puzzle keeps me excited to share what I’ve learned and delve further into the topics I find endlessly fascinating: the relationship between anatomy and movement, physiology, and kinesiology.

One of the many things I love about my work is that, true to the profession, it’s a practice. My massage philosophy continually evolves as I learn more from books, classes, and my clients. Combining Swedish, deep tissue, myofascial techniques, trigger point therapy, neuromuscular techniques, and client education are all integral in effectively treating clients for whatever “sport” they take part in.

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Methow Endurance

ImageToday I encouraged a client to try the Rattler, a 4-mile race that I’m putting on in April. When she asked how she could register and get more information, I said it was all on my website, to which she responded: “your massage website? I haven’t seen it there.” Oh. Right.

So I thought I’d update this blog (finally) with what I’ve been up to. Aside from enjoying an increasingly full massage practice, Sam and I started an official business last year for coaching and putting on events. Methow Endurance offers fun races and weekend workshops that highlight the lovely place we call home; we also have several coaching options to help you participate in the endurance world we love so much. Whether sport is something that has always been in your life, or you’ve decided to try something completely new, we offer something for everyone.

We both feel very strongly that learning proper technique is paramount to both avoid injury and have more fun. As such, we coach private and group sessions to improve or learn efficient ski and running technique. If you’re new to training for an event; are not sure how to make the most of your time; or want to improve your strength or speed; we provide coaching to help you reach your goals. More than anything, we want people to feel empowered to set goals and see what they (you!) are capable of. It’s usually more than you think.

Our events are for all abilities and ages: we focus on sharing a fun day outside, enjoying the fresh air, and perhaps meeting a new friend along the way. We even added a stroller division to the Mazama 5/10k, so there is truly something for everyone. If you’re not quite sure you want to do a race, I urge you to come cheer everyone on. The race atmosphere is infectious. Volunteering is also a great way to check things out (and you get free entry to a future race when you volunteer) and still get to be part of the festivities. Email me if you’re interested. Check out our website and tell us what you think. We’re open to ideas, too, so if there’s something you’d like to see us do, please let us know!

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Ski Technique

2012-12-18 13.50.23Now that we have plentiful snow, I’m starting to see more clients who have pain while skiing. I certainly notice soreness in my muscles that haven’t been working in quite some time, but pain is a different beast. If you feel pain in your back, hips, knees, or feet either during or after taking to the trails, your technique may be the culprit; you can likely make a few changes to your technique that will limit stress on your body and increase your enjoyment of this fun sport.

SamSkiI see many people make slight changes to running technique and see big differences in how it affects their bodies. Nordic skiing relies on proper technique tenfold: it is one of the most (if not the most) technical sports around. It requires both high aerobic and muscular strength. Because of this, anything you can do to lessen the demand will give you more energy to put toward getting you down the trail. Without proper form, your muscles, ligaments, and joints take unnecessary strain that can lead to injury.

This winter, do your body a favor and take advantage of sharing a home with amazing skiers, by learning to properly ski so you can fully enjoy the season. I happen to know one technically beautiful skier who can help. Sam Naney offers both private and semi-private lessens for all abilities. With a comprehensive understanding of physiology and kinesiology, he can see how you can improve, and draw on myriad years as an athlete and coach to find the cues that will “click” with you. Details are here. Your body will thank you.

Happy (almost) Solstice!

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Gift Certificates

As the holiday season rapidly approaches, you may have a few troublesome people out there who have everything they want and need, making gift-giving quite difficult…until now. Massages make great gifts. Whether your friend or loved one is active and could use a reprieve; is dealing with a new or nagging ache or pain; or would simply enjoy an hour to themselves in a cozy, warm room; a certificate is a perfect gift that will last long after the massage.

Call or email me to set it up. Rates for gift certificates are the same as an appointment: 60-minute is $65, 75-minute is $80, and 90-minute is $90. Package rates apply as well. Buy four and get a discount. The package can be divided among lucky recipients. With locations in Mazama and Winthrop, I can easily get the certificate to you, and the recipient can schedule with me directly to best negotiate schedules. I wish you health and happiness during this beautiful winter season!

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