It is that time of year again… time to think about gifts. One thing I am trying to encourage in my family is to give fewer things and focus more on experiences. How many of you have random things stuffed into closets and on shelves that were gifts that you will probably never use? Not only is this a bit annoying for the person who has to try to find a place to put the stuff, but I always wind up feeling really bad that the gift giver has spent money, sometimes a lot, on something that is not useful to me. An experience is something that you do, like tickets to an event, a membership at a museum or zoo, treating them to a meal, or gifting them with a service. For those who worry about finding gifts for people, this is a great option because once you find an experience they like, you can give them that experience every year. You can make a recurring gift of renewing a membership or getting them a gift card for a service. While there are some who have been doing this sort of thing for a long time, it is becoming more popular, and more people are beginning to share in this practice. That brings me to the topic of this post; how to navigate gifting a massage. After being in the massage industry for 8 years, I have picked up on some of the things that just don’t work well. Good intentions that didn’t play out as well as you thought they might. So here are my 5 tips for giving the gift of massage.
So you're pregnant and have been researching ways to facilitate a healthy pregnancy and potentially lead to an easier birth experience? If you are reading this post, you have likely come across a lot of the information about how beneficial prenatal massage is, but if you haven't here is the link to my post about it. Unfortunately, what many of those posts don't tell you is that not all massage therapists doing prenatal massage are actually qualified to offer it. Many establishments that offer prenatal massage are so worried about letting your money walk out the door, that they will assign you to a therapist who is not qualified rather than having you wait for someone who is. It happened to me all the time when I was working in day spas fresh out of massage school and had very little instruction in working with pregnant people. So, before you schedule that prenatal massage there are some questions that you may want to ask your massage therapist to find out if they are actually qualified to perform your massage. Here are my 5 signs that your massage therapist should not be performing prenatal massage:
Whenever I prepare to go on-call for my doula clients, I like to go through my birth bag to make sure that everything is there and see if there is anything that needs to be replenished. As I gear up for a couple of upcoming births, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to shoot a video of what I bring in my birth bag!
Today we are going to talk about douching. The word "douche" is the French verb for "to clean". In the United States and many other parts of the world, douching is the act of flushing out the vagina with water, vinegar, "feminine washes", or other liquids. Douching is still relatively common with 1 in 4 women between the ages of 15 and 44 regularly practicing it in the US. Women of color are more likely to douche than their Caucasian counterparts, and teenagers of all races commonly do it1. With so many people engaging in the practice of douching, it is important to take a look at the impact that douching can have on your health and wellness, and the reasons why people started doing it in the first place.
There are a lot of names out there that people use to describe their reproductive organs. I have heard women talk about their "lady bits", "hooha", "cookie", "vajayjay", "vajean", "bajingo", "beaver", "fanny", "bathing suit area", "private parts", "box", "snatch", "junk" and more. The closest we usually come to hearing correct terminology is the use of the word "vagina", but interestingly enough, it is most commonly misused. I have posted a few blogs about menstruation that explain a little bit about the our reproductive organs, but as I was working on another post today, I realized that with so much uncertainty about what is going on in our reproductive systems, some terms may be a bit confusing. So today, we are going to look at the female reproductive system, learn the names for each organ and structure, and what they do. We will start from the outside and work our way in.
At last, I am back with a new aromatherapy post! This month, our focus will be on geranium. Many of you are probably familiar with this sweet smelling flower, and several of you may have it growing in your own gardens or flower beds. There are actually about 422 species of this flowering plant which are found all over the world, but they primarily grow in tropical climates and in the mediterranean. They come in a variety of colors and have a strong aroma similar to rose which makes them popular for people growing aromatic flower gardens. The use of geranium oil goes as far back as ancient Egypt where the oil from these flowers was used to make the skin brighter and more radiant, and it is still used as an ingredient in many skin care products today. In addition to treating skin conditions, geranium is also used to boost mood, alleviate anxiety, ease menstrual cramps, and much more. It is safe to use aromatically, topically, or to take internally (make sure that you are using food or therapeutic grade oils before ingesting). Geranium oil is generally believed to be safe to use with pregnancy, but it is best to exercise caution if you are pregnant. Let's look at some more benefits of geranium oil.
If you are a woman young or old who has been of the age of menstruation, you have undoubtedly heard the term PMS. It is a term that gets thrown around a lot, often in ways which show little understanding of what it is. Many of us have been accused of having PMS if we are irritable, if we feel and speak passionately about something, cry for any reason, or sometimes even if we merely disagree with someone. Some women have even been told that PMS isn't really a thing, it is just a figment of their imaginations. This is very untrue. PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) is an actual phenomenon linked to our menstrual cycles. A term that is not thrown around a lot is Dysmenorrhea. It is so uncommon to hear about, that both the term and abbreviation for Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) are easily accepted by auto correct, but I am told that Dysmenorrhea is not even a word. Like Premenstrual Syndrome, Dysmenorrhea is a collection of symptoms linked to our menstrual cycles. So today in our quest for more knowledge about the menstrual cycle, we are going to talk about those two terms, what they mean, and how to treat them.
Having a period is a very normal, natural thing for women to experience. It is shocking to me that so many people are still afraid to talk about it, and that so few people even know what a period is. In my last post, I gave an introduction to menstruation that went over all of the phases of your menstrual cycle, and what is happening during each one. In this installment, we will talk about your options when it comes to feminine hygiene products. Most of us are aware of our disposable options (pads and tampons), and we will go over those very briefly, but for many the world of reusable feminine hygiene products is still a bit of a mystery. For those of you who are looking for safer options to replace the disposables, looking for something greener, or looking to save some money in the long run, read on to learn about some of your options.
When people tell me that they have or get headaches, the first question I ask is what kind. Many people might wonder why I care what type of headache it is. After all, a headache is a headache right? Not exactly. In fact one can argue that a headache isn't a condition at all, but merely a symptom of an underlying cause. Headaches can be caused by a variety of different things, and each cause can present with different pain patterns and symptoms. The reason why it is so important for me as a practitioner and even for you as the person with the headache to know what kind it is, is because it doesn't do nearly as much good to treat the symptom (the headache) without treating the cause. Because of the variety of causes, each headache may require different types of treatment. Today, I will share with you some common symptoms and patterns for a variety of types of headaches so that you are better able to determine what kind you have, and therefore better able to treat it effectively.
Rose is one of the more commonly known and most recognizable scents, yet it often doesn't come to mind for many people when they think of aromatherapy. Roses are a pretty universally known flower know to most as flowers of love, friendship, or sympathy. Each color has a different meaning, and there is a whole language behind them. But how can the scent of roses be beneficial?
There are actually several wonderful benefits to using rose in aromatherapy including reducing depression, stimulating digestion, promoting relaxation, boosting sex drive, and it is fantastic for your skin and hair. It is important to note that rose essential oil should not be used during pregnancy, but is safe for use during labor as a means to improve mood and create an uplifting environment in the delivery room.
Rose essential oil is often very expensive, and not always pure. Because of the high cost of production, and the amount of rose petals required to produce even a small amount, it is most common to find rose oil that is already mixed with a carrier oil. When selecting essential oils, always remember to avoid anything that says "fragrance" anywhere on the bottle, as this means it contains artificial fragrances. Some terminology you may come across with rose is rose otto, or rose absolute. Rose otto (or attar) is generally very expensive, and uses a steam distillation method. Rose absolute is derived from a solvent distillation method. Many aromatherapists feel that rose absolute is inferior, but it has been shown to have many of the same benefits, and is often a little easier for people on a budget. Luckily, although it is often already diluted in a carrier oil, it still produces a strong aroma meaning that a little bit goes a long way. You shouldn't need more than a drop or two for any given use.
Meet the Author
Amanda Tarver, (LMT, CEIM, PES, RMT) is a massage therapist and birth worker in the Chicago area. She is dedicated to furthering women's health through bodywork and education, and helping women to have healthier lives and positive birth experiences.