Bodyworks By Calhoun
Treat Your Body To The Works!

Inspiring the Heart

 

The heart being one of the most valuable muscles in the body could use a massage, right?  The  technique I have learned for massaging the heart involves using the lungs.  When the lungs expand and contract the heart receives gentle pressure and release.  Very sweet!  Inspire your heart.   The following exercise is found in the book Women's Intuition: Unlocking the Wisdom of the Body by Paula M. Reeves, Ph.D, pp 76-77.

"imagine that there is a tiny elastic cord between your navel and your spine.  Breathing out through your nostrils, your mouth relaxed, and your lips lightly closed, tighten your navel back against your spine.  Do this so easily that you sense rather than feel a slight pelvic tilt as you exhale.  Continue to breathe this way until the rhythm feels easy, your body relaxed.  Now soften your lips further and begin to breathe on one of your hands, observing your hand in detail as you brush each finger with your breath.  Breathe along the length of each finger, then between each one.  Do this contemplatively.  This is one of the hands with which you reach out into your environment, shaping it with your touch.

"As you continue to breathe on your hand, stretch your fingers as much as you care to flexing them and watching the range of motion of which they are capable.  Taste them and note the sensation, the taste.  Smell your flesh and savor the intimacy.  Now with soft eyes allow your hand to move only as the movements spontaneously arise, while you observe and get to know this dear old friend better.  When you have had enough, compare this hand with the other.  Is there any difference?  Is one hand larger or smaller, more sensitive, lovelier, less appealing, whatever than the other?  Touch several different textures with your eyes closed, first with the unconscious hand and then with the hand you have breathed consciousness into.  What can you notice?  Have you had any insights, any images or sensations associated with this experience?" . . ."do the same thing with your other hand to maintain balance and for the pleasure of it."

Think of your heart as a strong bell at the center of your being and the beat vibrates the bell into sounding and it sends ripples of consciousness out from your center into every direction creating a sphere of heart energy.  Now all of your being is informed and inspired.  What will you do when you act with heart filled hands?

Happy Valentine's Day

by Calhoun Stallings,LMT
Florida Lic. #MA63121
Specializes in whole body care:

 


MUSCLE TRAINING HAPPENS

 
Muscles are like children, they are shaped by the things we do whether we are trying for a lasting impression or not.  Do something often enough and voila, results!  Day after day spent gardening, computing, driving, bending and reaching forward WILL result in shoulders rolled forward and difficulty standing upright UNLESS muscle usage is well rounded:  Contracting/shortening as well as Stretching/lengthening.
 
Let me be clear here.  Muscles are already being trained!  If an unbalanced lifestyle is doing all the training, then the body might not be as physically fit as one would wish.  Muscle balance is essential for comfort and ease of movement.  Healthy muscles lengthen and contract smoothly and pleasurably.  Let me say that last part again:  pleasurably.  You feel good, better than James Brown.
 
Muscles work in groups performing assists and opposing actions.  Muscles on the front of the spine ie the psoas, contract to bend the body forward, think sit-ups.  Muscles on the back of the spine lengthen as the body bends forward.  All day bent forward, trains the front muscles to be short and the back muscles to be overstretched.  If this pattern is not balanced with stretches to lengthen the front and reset the back muscles, then loss of the ability to stand up straight is inevitable and usually accompanied by "oh, my aching back!"
 
Many a massage therapist has heard the request for backache relief.  "Really, you could just spend the whole hour on my back! Please!"  The masseuse that caves in to this plea, sends clients away feeling better momentarily.  "See you next week.  I don't know what I would do without you!"
 
In this case, the back muscles are screaming for equality.  The stress involved in keeping a heavy head attached to the body while it leans forward is not shared with the partner muscles on the front of the body.  The muscles on the front of the body are not complaining, well, maybe a murmur about how tight the waist band is.  If the work load is rebalanced, the back muscles can handle their share with ease and pleasure.  The front muscles will stretch out and quit bulging up against the waist band on all non-elastic clothes.   A new height can be achieved.

A masseuse trained in postural alignment will use techniques to reorganize the muscles.  Working on short muscles three times more than massaging the overstretched muscles is key to rebalancing.  The work once adjusted will allow for the body to function more easily at a much higher level, burning more calories and enhancing circulation, while looking and feeling confident, standing tall and moving with grace.

Good news:  It does not take as long to rebalance muscles as it took to get them out of shape.
Work:  It does require conscious attention over a period of time to recover optimal muscle health.
Hope:  Once muscle health is understood and attended, balancing becomes easy and pleasurable.

FYI:  The psoas muscle was used as one example among many as a reason for chronic back pain.  Until individual muscle patterns are understood, it is recommended to work with a professional for best results.

Consider other muscle groups.  Think about the habitual alignment of the head in relation to the rest of the body when reading, eating, sleeping on a big pillow.  If the head is most often held forward of the shoulders, the back of the neck becomes elongated and the front shortens.  The skin and covering tissues on the front of the neck sag and become 'turkey wattle' and extra chins.  Don't despair or run to the surgeon . . there are massage protocols for balancing the front of the neck.  Hooray for looking good and feeling good, and enhanced circulation to the brain!

Speaking of looking good, does anyone think "high heels?"  When I see people in high heels with shapely hard calves, I think "low back pain, shin splints, bunions;"  all muscle related imbalances the fashionista is creating one step at a time.

Athletes are concerned with performance.  Most all top athletes use massage therapist.  Well maintained muscles help keep them in the Zone and injury free.
Body builders are concerned with definition.  Short contracted muscles show up better for admiration.

A myth I would like to address:  Hard bodies are healthy and desirable.
I suggest replacing that viewpoint.  Seek excellent muscle tone that is supple, flexible and responsive to every move.

BALANCED MUSCLE CARE IS DESIGNED.

There is a vast array of muscle health courses to follow.  Look for balance.  A well designed yoga program has balance built in.  When selecting a personal trainer, look for balance.  Does the trainer have large curved shoulder muscles pushing his neck forward, are their arms rotated showing knuckles, (instead of the side of the thumb and index finger)?  If the answer is yes, I would say "thank you and good-bye" 

Looking down, remember to look up  and breath.  The lungs massage the heart when they fill with air.  Nice.

by Calhoun Stallings,LMT
Florida Lic. #MA63121
Specializes in whole body care:
NMT, Sports, Lymphatic and Myofascial release

 

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