Wellness in the Workplace

I am available for wellness services for businesses for employee appreciation, ongoing health maintenance, or health fairs.

I  provide chair massage, lead groups in seated wellness exercises for circulation and stress reduction, or teach classes on topics such as mindfulness, meditation, stress-busting strategies, or the art and benefits of deep breathing.

Taking time to tend to well-being boosts the health, morale, and productivity of employees.

If you need a team of therapists to provide chair massage, I can organize that as well. I have many compassionate, talented colleagues who I have worked with before and who I trust to bring to your business or event.

I have worked with many populations, including hospital employees, school teachers, state employees, radio station staff, caregivers of loved ones with Alzheimer’s, college students, grandparents as parents, crime survivors,  triathletes, caregivers of the elderly, and more.  I enjoy these special events because I meet new people and work in a different environment for the day, and, as always, I love helping people and empowering them about their health.

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Pruning Your Life

Working with plants and landscapes, a person may do some pruning. When pruning, I notice, it is necessary for me to have some faith that the plants will grow back and fill in. They look so bare, and not so alive when I first cut them back, especially if I cut them back by much. It often reminds me then, of my life.

There are ways we prune in our lives, letting go of old habits, old items or relationships, old thought patterns, old ways of being. Our egos get so attached, so wrapped up in some of these things that it may be hard to let go. It might be scary. Who will I be without that habit? Who will I be without that belief? Who will I be without that relationship? It really is about faith or trust, just knowing that no matter how different it looks at first, new growth will occur there, and be it a plant, or your life, you will find even more beauty there than ever before.

Who knew getting walked on could feel so good?

Apparently, the Japanese did. Barefoot Shiatsu is a form of massage that works with the flow of energy through your body along lines called meridians (the same ones as in Chinese acupuncture). The energy flows through your body, supporting the various systems. If the energy gets blocked (think of it like a kink in a hose), the body manifests illness or pain.   Using hand, foot, or thumb pressure, or stretching, I unblock the flow for you, helping balance your body.

Barefoot Shiatsu is done on a padded mat on the floor. You wear loose comfortable clothing, like a t-shirt and sweat pants. The treatment is a combination of passive stretching and compression applied with hands, feet, or thumbs. It is relaxing and rejuvenating. Because it is designed to work with the flow of your energy meridians, it is usually more energizing afterward than a Swedish massage.

I use my feet to work on your back. Does it hurt? Not usually. I place a stool or chair nearby when I work on your back, and I am able to lean my weight on the chair to regulate how much weight I put on you. The first time I received a Barefoot Shiatsu treatment, the practitioner was a stout man, and when he walked on my back it didn’t even hurt. As in Swedish massage, a particularly sore or tight area may hurt a little when it is worked on.

Through years of experience, I have developed impressive palpation skills with my feet. In layman’s terms, that means that not only do I “see” with my hands when I work on people, but I can also “see” with my feet.   It’s pretty cool what the human body can do!

I recommend Shiatsu for anyone who can get down and up off the floor, and especially for those who need to feel energized after their massage. Typical Swedish style massage on the table can leave a person groggy, whereas Shiatsu, though relaxing, aligns one’s energy via the meridian work, so it’s easier to get up and go afterward. If you would like to try Barefoot Shiatsu, please let me know when you book your appointment, so I can plan ahead to set up the mat rather than the massage table.

Join me for the Art Show!

Your massage therapist, yoga teacher, and Renaissance woman, Bridget Noel Jones, is breaking into the art scene!

I am delighted to be included in this year’s Tallahassee Clay Arts Studio Tour, an art show hosted at several points around town, including many potters’ home studios.  The event takes place November 18, 2017, from 10:00am to 5:00pm.  I will be with Southpaw Pots & Friends at 1320 Eleanor Dr., at the South end of Indian Head Acres.  Gregg Matthews of Southpaw Pots is hosting the event in his lovely garage studio and his beautiful front yard under majestic oak trees.

Enjoy the works of ceramicists, Gregg Matthews, Mary Rault, and Kate Piretti, as well as my paintings and other artisitic renderings, and the Herbalism art and products of Phoenix Fermin.  This is a very fun group of artists.  We’ll have drinks to share, and Kickstand food truck will be selling food, for those who show up hungry.

Get an early start on holiday shopping, enjoy the fresh air on a fall day, and schmooze and have a drink with artists and art lovers, alike.

The Truth About Our Pet Peeves

Pet peeves are little things in life that we get more bent out of shape about than necessary. One of mine has been the scent of other people’s laundry detergent, because since I cleaned up my diet twenty years ago, I have a powerful sense of smell. Another is when people pluck their eyebrows in a way that doesn’t look even remotely natural and that doesn’t flatter their face. What are yours?

I am a yogi and someone who very much enjoys observing and exploring my own consciousness and feelings, and observing others’, always curious about what it is to be human. I thought I would share with you what I have noticed about pet peeves in my life.

When I am feeling strong, confidant, healthy, inspired, and in balance, my pet peeves don’t bother me.   They don’t peeve me. They aren’t even my pets.

Why is this? When we feel great, we tend to stay on the good feeling trajectory, thinking more positive thoughts, looking at the world like it supports us, seeing synchronicities more easily, and tuning into inspiration naturally.

But what about when we are nursing some internal turmoil, doubt, fear, anxiety, or a victim mindset?   That is when we notice somebody chewing granola loudly with their mouth open, or that they spelled our name wrong again, or that people are tailgating in traffic, or that those are the stupidest eyebrows we have ever seen.

Now, when I see a pet peeve is peeving me, I get the clear message to check in with myself and get the needed time to reset my vibration to one of ease and love, ASAP.

Can your pet peeve be a person? Yes, it can. I love all the people. I do. That’s how I know that people can be our pet peeves, because once in a while, a person will become that thing that just upsets me, no matter what. Luckily, since loving people is easy for me, I can tell something is out of sync if I am letting a person be a source of irritation, and feeling very much the victim of whatever story I repeatedly tell internally about them.   When I feel great, I love this person, or perhaps they fade into the background, no longer a main character in my life.

I am grateful for these chances to be aware, and to take responsibility and shift my perspective.

Sometimes people will latch onto the pet peeves because they feel like they aren’t in control of things in their lives. We get scared sometimes. We reach for control because we think it will soothe us. We want things to be different than how they are, because we think it will make us happy. For best results, though, we need to go inward, reach for our heart, soul, and Source and the knowledge that life’s okay and we are safe, so we can flow with life again. This internal self-care is what we can control, what we are in charge of. Here is where we find empowerment.

That person who is late to your class may always be late. Do you want it to upset you, or do you want to be the source of your own happiness? You get to choose.

My 94-year-old Grandma says, “Things always have a way of working out.” She’s been paying attention for almost 100 years, so I really try to remind myself of this wisdom when I have forgotten.

Take life lightly, and let those peeves go, or at least find the wisdom in them, and tend to your sweet heart and soul.

How Did I Get Into Massage?

022.JPGBack in the 1990’s, I was finished with college, had a BA from UCF in Anthropology, and worked at a restaurant. One of my coworkers told me how proud he was of his girlfriend, who was graduating from massage therapy school. I asked if it was like physical therapy, and he explained that it was kind of similar, with more emphasis on relaxation. This was the first time I had heard of this career choice and I found it a bit intriguing.

One day, a massage therapist ate at our restaurant and gave his waiter some business cards to pass out, with a coupon on the back for a free half hour massage, or a whole hour for the price of half. I was working four doubles that week, so I woke up on my day off, interestingly with the words, “The Laying On Of Hands” in my head. This quickly reminded me of the coupon, and I called to make an appointment. The therapist chided me a little for calling and expecting an appointment the same day, but he was able to get me into his schedule.

I went to his office, which was decorated with a combination of new age music, crystals, incense and walls of very clinical looking anatomy posters. I was 23 years old and had never had a massage. My goodness, the massage felt wonderful, and one thing that stood out to me was that the massage woke me up to an awareness of my body I had somehow lost. When he massaged my feet, it was like, “Oh yeah! I have feet!”

I loved massage therapy and saw this practitioner a few more times. I would look around his treatment room at the anatomical posters and the crystals, and think, hey, I could do this! This job is like a meditation in motion and a dance! Oh, but my Dad only paid for my first four years of college and that’s it. If only there was financial aid….

And one day, I picked up an alternative magazine in Orlando, where I lived, and there was an ad for a massage school and the words “Financial aid available.”

The rest is history, folks! I signed up for massage school right away, including my school’s advanced program, a detailed program about four months long that went much deeper in learning than the six month basic program. The advanced program included not just how to relax someone, but also very specific training in treating common pathologies in each area of the body, giving me plenty of competence and confidence. I took ten months of massage school, and graduated at the top of my class. Now, here I am at your service, nearly twenty years later. How may I help you?

Do I Work on Pregnant Women?

Yes, I do. I have worked on pregnant women since the late nineteen-nineties when I was in massage therapy school back in Central Florida. The day we learned side-lying, the most common position in which a pregnant woman receives massage after about four months gestation, I partnered with my class-mate who actually was pregnant.  It was easy and not intimidating. Because I started off with a pregnant recipient from the beginning, I work with competence and confidence on these sweet ladies, these lovely vessels who are gestating their tender young babes.

Nowadays, in Tallahassee, I soothe tired mamas with my loving touch. They say the baby senses what the mother is sensing. Imagine the bliss the baby feels when mama is so at peace!  When I was pregnant with my daughter, I got massage as close to once a week as I could.  I walked every day, too.  My pregnancy was beautiful and comfortable.  I want this for you, too.

I understand the changes in circulation during pregnancy, I know where to massage and where not to, and generally when I massage people, I really aim to create the most peaceful and loving vibration I can for whoever is on my table.

Let me nurture you, pregnant mama. You’ll be in good hands.

Why do I treat the abdomen?

I have been massaging for about fifteen years, the first half of that time in Orlando, the second half in Tallahassee.  I have had my hands on hundreds, maybe thousands of bodies.  My training in Orlando included an advanced program at Florida College of Natural Health, where one of my teachers always emphasized balance in posture.

I work on people’s abdomens.  Many therapists do not.  Most of my clients say, “Nobody has ever worked on my abdomen before.”  I tell them I couldn’t, in good conscience, leave it out.

My best guess as to why therapists don’t treat bellies is that they were not trained adequately.  A lot of schools must not spend much time teaching abdominal massage, so therapists probably feel less confidant in their abilities on that part of the body, and maybe some LMT’s think clients don’t want their bellies treated.  So many therapists skip it.  And really, since our tummies house our vital organs and are such a vulnerable part of the body, who wants an inadequately trained therapist poking around there?

The abdomen is also a place where people may guard themselves because it is a seat of emotion in the body and they guard their emotional selves.  If a therapist who didn’t know what he was doing attempted to treat an abdomen and he was feeling unsure, the client would, on a body level, pick up on the sketchy vibe and most likely, muscles would tighten up instinctively for protection.

That’s why it’s best to leave it up to me.  I approach the belly with confidence and competence.  I have you resting on your back, with your knees bent up and your feet on the table, creating slack in your surface abdominal muscles.  I always tell you what I am doing and why.  First, I gently place both hands on your abdomen and move them in a wavelike circular motion, warming up the area, and letting your body know with slow and gentle movement that I am not a threat.  This clockwise, circular wave motion follows the flow of the large intestine, increasing blood circulation, aiding digestion and elimination. Then I gradually work deeper.  All the work is gradual and methodical.

My clients are glad I do it.  I help them with digestion, postural distortions, and lower back pain. 

Regarding digestion, when blood circulation increases in the internal organs, it brings oxygen and nutrients to the digestive organs.  This makes each organ better able to absorb what the body needs to take in, and/or get rid of what it needs to eliminate.  Not only do you better gain vitality from the food, but you also have more energy left over from efficient digestion to do other things you love.  Pretty cool, huh?

In various schools of Asian medicine, massaging the abdomen is considered a very important part of good health, for that very reason.

But wait, there’s more.  Regarding postural distortions and back pain, I treat the surface and deep abdominal muscles as well.  One leading culprit in lower back pain is the psoas (pronounced like SO AS), a muscle situated deep in the belly, attached to the front of the spine.  I know just where to find it and I can treat it for you.  Just today a woman I’d treated a couple weeks ago told me she had been skeptical when I had told her that something deep in her belly would help her lower back pain, but she let me work on her abdomen anyway, and she was pleased to find that it relieved her pain.

Have you ever heard the superstition that it’s good luck to rub the belly of a Buddha statue?  I am certain it is even better luck for you to rub your own belly or have it rubbed by a professional!

Why I Like to Receive 90-Minute Massages

I like to get 90-minute massages.  For years, I almost always got 6o-minute massages, then my LMT friend, Dawn, and I were setting up a trade and she suggested we do ninety minutes.  This was about two years ago.  Wow, I don’t know how I made it 12 or 13 years as a massage therapist, often giving long massages, but never really thinking to get more than an hour myself.  Now, I won’t settle for anything less. 

I like 90-minute massages because the therapist takes time on each section of the body to really work in depth.  The therapist can work on more than just one or two of my areas that seem tight or sore, and still work thoroughly on the other areas that may need it too, but may not have been sending out as much of a pain signal. 

Everything is connected.  Fascia is one big network.  Treating one muscle group affects the whole body, and so does not treating a muscle group. Skipping the legs for instance, can affect the whole body.  Maybe kneading the Achilles tendons above the heel will release tension enough on the connective tissue to finally loosen up the tension at the base of my skull. 

During the long treatment, my therapist takes time to soothe my nervous system, working slowly enough to allow the nerves to be calm and signal the muscles it is safe to relax and let the therapist work more deeply. 

Getting a nice long massage on a regular basis helps me remember what I do for my clients.  It also promotes body awareness.  The therapist’s touch brings my attention to various muscle groups, and helps me check in with my body regularly.  I can notice that my hips are not so tight anymore, or gosh, this is the third massage in a row where I noticed my abdomen was really tight; what can I do differently? 

I deserve this!  I deserve to be soothed and healed.  I deserve to lay down for ninety minutes in the middle of a busy day or week.  I deserve the oil soaking in and nourishing my skin.  I deserve to release the tension I have been carrying. 

I deserve good circulation to my muscles and tissues, healthy digestion, stress reduction, all the benefits of massage really occurring because I took the time to receive. 

And as I pointed out before, in my recent blog, I deserve things that nurture and feed me, that fill my cup and energize me so I have more to give to others.