Rachel Richards

licensed massage therapist

east village, nyc

News: February 2011

Let me lend you a hand ...

Massages aren't only great to receive - they're also wonderful to give! Many people tell me that they would love to be able to massage their partners, but when they try, their hands soon tire and ache. So, I'd like to share some tips on how to give massages that leave both you and your loved one feeling great!

How to give a great massage

Most people only engage their arms and hands to give a massage. They grip in the shoulders and recruit the muscles of their arms and hands to exert pressure. This creates tension, fatigue and eventually, pain. Concentrate instead on using the bigger, stronger muscles of your core - your abdomen and pelvis - to initiate the movement. Keeping your hands, arms and shoulders relaxed, simply lean into your partner's tissue using your body weight. Your knees should be bent and your pelvis in a neutral position.

To create movement, try shifting the weight in your legs and allowing your whole body to rock naturally with the strokes. You want your partner close enough so that your arms remain a comfortable distance in front of your body, rather than having to reach forward. Make sure your shoulders are relaxed at all times - not rounded forward or raised to your ears. Try to keep your wrists and fingers - especially your thumbs - in a straight line with your forearm.

Remember that you have many massage "tools". To keep your hands from tiring, use your fingers, fists, palms, forearms and elbows. This will prevent you from getting worn out and will give you and your partner more variety in the massage session. Always check in with your partner to make sure that the pressure is comfortable - not too deep and not too light.

Last but certainly not least, remember to breathe! Deep, regular breathing will help you stay centered and relaxed. The better you feel while giving a massage, the better it will be received. Most importantly, the massage should feel good to both the giver and the receiver!

Source - Source: Lauriann Greene, Save Your Hands

But honey, it's cold outside!

Brrr ... it's freezing out there! Here are some tips for staying warm and cozy during the harsh winter months:

  • Proteins and carbohydrates produce heat in the body. For your carbs, try cooked whole grains. Complex carbohydrates burn easily in the body for fuel.
  • Vegetable soups are great on cold or wet days. They provide warmth, nutrition, and are easy to digest.
  • Put some herbs in your meals, like cayenne pepper or ginger root, to heat your body. Herbal teas are calming and warm you right up.
  • Exercise and stretch every day. This generates heat, promotes blood flow and keeps the energy circulating.
  • But don't overdo it. Make sure you also get plenty of rest and relaxation. Cold weather and short days might make you sad and anxious. Proper sleep will offer tension relief and recharge you.
  • Breathe deeply. This exercises the diaphragm, brings oxygen and nutrients to every part of your body, and encourages circulation of blood and energy.
  • Bundle up! When you go outside, be sure your head, neck, hands and feet are covered.
  • In honor of Valentine's Day, (or just because) give someone you love a big hug. That will warm you both up in no time!

Source - Source: Elson M. Haas, Staying Healthy With the Seasons

What's new with me ...

A special Valentine's Day story

Wednesday will be exactly 6 years from the day I first met my husband. Before that, Jesse and I had been answering each other's questions on a dating site. He asked me, "In honor of Valentine's Day, what special gift, that you've never received before, would you want most from a significant other?" I wrote back, "I've often fantasized about having that special guy create something just for me, whether it be a poem or a song or a picture, etc. Something simple but creative to let me know I'm special. I'd be a real sucker for that. :)" Jesse remembered my answer three years later, when he handed me a sketchbook filled with his own beautiful drawings of all the places we'd been, things we'd done and experiences we shared. On the very last page, he wrote "Will you marry me?"

Don't forget to friend me on Facebook and become a fan of Rachel Richards Massage! The purpose of this page is to get a conversation going. So please share your comments or questions and let's talk!

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American Massage Therapy Association

Swedish InstituteCertified Myoskeletal TherapistNational Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork

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