Rachel Richards

licensed massage therapist

east village, nyc

News: September 2019

How to stay youthful as you age

As we transition into autumn, I find myself thinking about aging. When I was in my twenties, I felt like I would always be in my twenties. Then 30 took me by surprise, and 40 slapped me in the face! Most of us over 40 would agree that our health is not what it was in our earlier years. We don't recover from injuries as quickly, illnesses seem to linger for weeks, we need more sleep, we gain weight more easily, we're not as athletic as we used to be, we get tired more quickly, and we have more aches and pains.

This doesn't mean we should throw up our hands and say, "Oh, well. I guess I can't do stuff anymore." On the contrary, it's time for us to step up and take control of our bodies and minds. Helping people do what they love for as long as they love doing it is the focus of my massage therapy practice. The goal is to remain active and pain-free regardless of age.

The trick to staying youthful is being proactive about our health. Don't wait until you get sick or injured to take care of yourself. Taking steps to create a healthier lifestyle can slow down the effects of aging on the body and mind. Here are some tips to help you lower your risk of injury and illness, and stay happy and healthy for many birthdays to come.

  1. Exercise. A recent study found that exercise is the number one contributor to longevity, adding years to your life and life to your years. You may not be able to do high-intensity exercise as you age, but there are many alternatives that keep you fit, lubricate the joints, help with spinal health, and feel good! Some great options are swimming, walking, dancing, biking, yoga, and tai chi.
  2. Get social. Connecting with friends and family, having a support network, and getting involved in your community supports your health as you age. Regular social interactions lower the risk of depression and disability.
  3. Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. This is even more important as you age and your metabolism slows down. Plus, healthy eating energizes you.
  4. Get enough quality sleep. Develop a bedtime ritual that is soothing and helps you to sleep soundly. Turn off all screens at least one hour before bedtime, and dim the lights. Perhaps take a warm bath, read a book, or play soft music. Try to go to sleep at the same time every night, and wake up at the same time every morning. (See more on sleep.)
  5. Keep your mind strong. There are many ways to challenge your brain each day. Do puzzles, walk a different route, play games, paint, write, scrapbook, cook a new recipe, study a new language, or learn to play an instrument. Keeping your brain active can prevent memory loss and cognitive decline.
  6. Manage stress. Aging comes with many transitions, and transitions are stressful. We can't always avoid stressful situations, but we can take steps to manage stress in healthy ways. Some great stress-relievers are massage therapy, yoga, meditation, walking, stretching, breathing practices, and spending time in nature.
  7. Get massage regularly! Massage therapy can decrease pain and anxiety, increase flexibility, improve sleep, and boost your mood. (See many more massage benefits here.) You don't need to be in pain to get massage. Weekly, biweekly, or even monthly massage sessions are vital to maintaining good health and preventing pain and injuries. Just as you don't wait until you're filthy to take a shower, don't wait until you're injured to get massage.

Just because we're getting older doesn't mean we have to stop living active and fulfilling lives. Put these tips into practice today, and stay young as you age.

Sources: Dartmouth-Hitchcock
Karwath, Rob, "Will You Choose to Be Young-Old or Old-Old," Massage Magazine, August 2019.

Massage the diaphragm to calm your body and mind

It always amazes me how so many of us have forgotten how to breathe naturally. All our daily stress, anxiety, and hours spent slouching in front of computers and hand-held devices result in tight muscles?especially the muscles of the chest, shoulders, and neck. It becomes difficult for us to take a deep breath, because the diaphragm has gotten lazy while our extraneous neck and shoulder muscles strain to aid in inhalation. This causes shallow breathing, which in turn exacerbates anxiety, and we're stuck in a cycle.

Join me in taking a few minutes to reconnect with the breath and engage the diaphragm, which is our primary breathing muscle. I will lead you through a myofascial release of the diaphragm, which will help to deepen the breath and relax the body and mind.


What's new with me ...

Sienna had a great day at the beach with her mom, aunts, and cousins. She discovered a small man-made tide pool and was inspired to become an entrepreneur. She decorated her "shop" with shells, and called out to passersby, "She sells sea shells by the sea shore! Only one sand dollar!"

Sienna starts first grade on Monday, which means Rachel Richards Massage hours return to normal. So come on in!

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American Massage Therapy Association

Swedish InstituteCertified Myoskeletal TherapistNational Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork

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