Rachel Richards

licensed massage therapist

east village, nyc

News: December 2017

A "handy" solution to your relentless inner critic ...

High self-criticism has been associated with a myriad of mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, and bipolar disorder. Prior research has shown that highly self-critical individuals tend to react negatively to the introduction of therapeutic interventions, showing increased fear and resistance to treatment.

A new study has shown massage therapy to be effective in treating highly self-critical individuals. A single hand massage resulted in significantly reduced stress levels, increased relaxation, decreased negative affect and avoidance, and a feeling of safeness.

The study involved a group of 29 women - 15 high self-critical and 14 low self-critical. Each received a hand massage as well as control interventions - holding a bean bag in their dominant hand, and compassion focused imagery (CFI).

Compared to the bean bag interventions, all participants showed a decrease in the stress hormone cortisol following the hand massage. The CFI intervention resulted in an increase in alpha amylase, a biomarker for stress, among the high self-critics as compared to the hand massage intervention. The study's authors stated, "Following the hand massage intervention, participants reported increased feelings of safeness and relaxation compared with baseline."

These results are very promising for treating highly self-critical individuals. Massage therapy can be used as a stand-alone treatment, or as a gateway to other forms of therapeutic interventions that have previously been negatively received by highly self-critical people.

I find that so many people, myself included, are much too hard on themselves. Today's world is fast-paced and overly demanding. We push ourselves to the brink, only to be disappointed that we didn't do more. This lifestyle is having dire consequences on our health and well-being. This study offers evidence that something as simple as a massage can make a huge difference in how we perceive ourselves. So do yourself a huge favor and get massage regularly. You may be amazed by how much better you feel!

How to relieve neck pain and headaches

If you have neck pain, stiffness, or headaches, here is a quick and easy way to get relief. Tight suboccipital muscles are often to blame for head and neck pain and tension. Learn how to locate your suboccipital muscles and release them with this feel-good self massage technique.


What's new with me ...

Jesse and I had a wonderful time in Australia! He had to work during a lot of the trip, so I ventured out to explore Sydney on my own. Some favorites were Manly Beach, Taronga Zoo, and Bondhi Beach. Jesse and I enjoyed the beautiful botanic gardens and the nightlife at Darling Harbor.

We were anxious about leaving Sienna for a whole week. Turned out, she was totally fine without us! We began to wonder if she missed us at all. She had a fun-filled week with her amazing Grandmum!

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American Massage Therapy Association

Swedish InstituteCertified Myoskeletal TherapistNational Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork

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