Rachel Richards

licensed massage therapist

east village, nyc

News: October 2015

How to relax and breathe, and why you need to ...

In such a fast-paced, high-stress society, we tend to end up over-anxious, sleep deprived, and cranky. Not to mention the detrimental physiological effects of prolonged stress. It is essential to slow down and focus on breathing - even if only for a few minutes at a time. Getting in touch with your breath is profoundly calming, centering, and helps us to focus and regain a sense of control over our busy lives. Follow along with me and see for yourself!


Two Shoulders Are Better Than One!

So how's that shoulder bag working out for you? I'm guessing not so well. Let's look at what happens to your posture when carrying a bag on one shoulder - we'll use the right shoulder as an example. Your right shoulder rises up towards your ear and the whole shoulder girdle tilts away from the bag to balance the weight, even if the bag is light. Your head tilts back towards the raised right shoulder in an attempt to level your eyes with the horizon. The tilt of the shoulder girdle pushes the ribs out to the right side and creates a scoliotic curve of the spine. Your pelvis compensates by tilting in the opposite direction, which elevates your left hip and creates a leg length discrepancy that affects your gait. But what does all this really mean for you?

  • Pain in the neck, shoulders, back, hips, knees and/or feet.
  • Disc compression
  • Nerve impingements
  • Headaches
  • Muscle tightness
  • Fatigue
  • Shallow breathing
  • Compromised circulation
  • Joint wear and tear
  • Sprains and strains
  • Spinal degeneration
  • Muscle spasms
  • Tingling, numbness, and/or shooting pain down the arms and sometimes into the hands and fingers

So what do you do?

1) Use a backpack. Carrying the backpack on one shoulder doesn't count! Choose a backpack with wide, heavily cushioned straps that can best distribute the weight evenly. You could also try a bag on wheels.

2) Lighten the load. Do you really need to carry all that stuff with you all the time?

3) Pack your heaviest items closest to the back. Body mechanics are best when you carry heavier items closest to your body.

4) Get massage therapy regularly. If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, a massage therapist highly skilled in pain and posture (me, for example) can alleviate your pain and help you develop healthier habits to avoid any reoccurrence.

You might be thinking that backpacks are just so uncool. Perhaps you're right, but they're a lot cooler than being in pain, distorting your spine, and limping around because your left leg is shorter than your right. Move over Gucci - JanSport is coming through!

Source: NCBTMB.org

What's new with me ...

Sienna and I are taking advantage of the beautiful fall weather and spending lots of time taking walks and playing in playgrounds. She loves being outside, but she's not a fan of the wind. On gusty days, she holds on tight to her ponytail so it doesn't blow away.

The weather has also been perfect for Jesse's sketch Meetups. The group meets every couple of weeks in various parks all over New York City to draw the scenery, meet other artists, and enjoy exploring our beautiful city. The Meetup has over 5500 members and continues to grow! If you enjoy, drawing, socializing, and exploring the best areas in NYC, check it out and come join the fun.

Jesse and I are gearing up for our good friend's wedding in North Carolina on the 24th. It will be a formal occasion. Can you imagine me in an evening gown and Jesse in a tuxedo? Me neither. But I'm sure there will be photos ...

And speaking of photos, here's silly little Sienna.

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American Massage Therapy Association

Swedish InstituteCertified Myoskeletal TherapistNational Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork

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