Rachel Richards

licensed massage therapist

east village, nyc

News: December 2019

What is your gut telling you?

If you're like me, you don't completely trust your gut. When I have a big decision to make, I either do some research, ask others for their opinion, make a pros and cons list, or get stuck obsessing over the potential risks of each option. But if my intuition tries to have a say, I shut it down.

Recently, I was indeed faced with a very important decision. Afraid to make a big mistake, I turned to people who "knew better than me," and allowed them to begin leading me down the "right" path. The only problem was that the right path felt so wrong. I found myself very anxious, fatigued, and even nauseated.

I thought I might feel better if I could find validation that I was making the right choice, so I explored more resources in order to support my decision. But I didn't find what I was looking for. Instead, I found an overwhelming amount of evidence that I was headed in the wrong direction. I felt instant relief. The anxiety and nausea eased up almost immediately. I had been going against my gut feelings, and it was making me sick.

Our bodies and minds are remarkably intuitive. Until recently, I tried to ignore my gut feelings as inconsequential. But after experiencing the somatic repercussions of dismissing my feelings as irrelevant, and after finally coming to learn that my gut was in fact trying to show me the best way forward, I became curious about human intuition. Could it be that my gut sensations deserve a seat at the table?

According to research, they do indeed. In an article in the National Institute of Health, author Gurpreet Dhaliwal, MD cites many studies that demonstrate the importance of intuition in decision making. He writes, "Studies within and outside of medicine demonstrate that intuition - the earliest impressions we form when confronted with a problem - can be more accurate than analytical reasoning."

That's not to say we shouldn't consider other avenues of information when making a big decision. But we also don't want to completely rely on gut feelings when faced with a dilemma. You might even find some of the best solutions are counterintuitive. (I've found this to be particularly true in parenting.)

Even though we may not always take our gut's well-meaning advice, that doesn't mean we should ignore it. Listen to your intuition, acknowledge it, and give it the consideration it deserves. Our gut feelings are one of the many cues our bodies send us to keep us safe, healthy, and balanced. Just as we wouldn't ignore our hunger, thirst, fatigue, or pain, we shouldn't disregard our intuition.

So if you're faced with a significant decision, and you find yourself feeling anxious or ill, try listening to what your gut is telling you.

Soothing scalp self massage for pain and stress reduction

One of my favorite remedies for stress and tension is scalp massage. In addition to feeling great, scalp massage can be highly beneficial for headache pain, including tension headaches and migraines. Scalp massage can also help to relax the facial muscles and reduce jaw tension. Follow along with me as we practice some easy but effective ways to self-massage the scalp.


What's new with me ...

We had a very happy Thanksgiving with family in New Jersey. Sienna stayed there with her grandparents, and Jesse and I came home for a little (much needed) break.

When Sienna is not at school, she is playing school. She has redecorated our entire apartment to look like several classrooms, each accommodating a different age group. The walls and floors are covered with art and supplies. Creative, yes. But trying to walk more than three feet has become an obstacle. Thanks teacher Sienna!

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday and a happy, healthy new year!!!

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Swedish InstituteCertified Myoskeletal TherapistNational Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork

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