Dry Skin Brushing

Have you ever considered “Dry Skin Brushing”?

Dry skin brushing is brushing your entire body with a natural bristle brush. Never scrub the skin, just a light brushing motion is needed. Start at the bottom of your right foot and brush in a circular motion,  and then brush your skin from the top of your foot toward your heart in the direction of your lymphatic flow. Brush in long strokes upward, toward your knee, outer area then inner area working your way up your thighs front and back. Repeat on left leg. On you right buttocks then the left use a large circular motion, ending with strokes upwards. Brush your arms from your hand to your shoulders, outer area then inner area, with long upward strokes. Use a figure eight motion over your  breasts several times avoiding the sensitive nipple area. On your ribs, brush from the top down to the waist.  Use a circular clockwise motion on the belly beginning at the naval. On your back brush from the neck to your waist downward horizontally or circular, if that is too difficult.

Shower in warm water with your favorite body wash. Alternate rinse water with warm/cool water about 3 – 4 times ending with warm water to stimulate your immune system. Pat dry skin. Apply coconut oil or other moisture retaining lotion/cream to nourish your skin.

This whole routine only adds about 5 minutes to your morning routine.

Dry skin brushes can be found at most health related stores and you will find many choices on-line. Choose the style that works best for you. Its best to have a natural bristle brush that has a handle to brush the hard to reach areas of your body. Clean your brush periodically with soap and rinse thoroughly and allow to dry.

Benefits of Dry Skin Brushing:

  • Assists in eliminating toxins from the skin (your body’s largest organ), helps to remove ingrown hairs
  • Removes dead skin cells, assists in skin cell renewal, tones and improves skin elasticity to create a smoother, clearer appearance
  • Assists the natural lymphatic flow in eliminating toxins from your body. A sluggish lymphatic flow is a major factor leading to inflammation and disease. So dry skin brushing is an excellent skin detoxification aid.
  • Increases circulation to your skin, which encourages the elimination of metabolic waste.
  • Reduces the effects of cellulite by assisting in removing toxins in fat cells and softening fat cells to create a smoother appearance of the skin.
  • Assists in relieving stress by the meditative act of being present, in a quiet place and stroking your skin. Calms your mind and creates a feeling of relaxation.
  • Dry skin brushing may go even deeper, helping to support your digestion and organ function.
  • A form of gentle all-over body massage.
  • Stimulates the hormone and oil producing glands.
  • Improves the function of the nervous system.
  • Invigorating, refreshing, creates a really clean feeling.
  • Quick, easy and inexpensive. A service provided by world class spas.

What a better way to start your day, feeling invigorated, clean and vibrantly healthy.

I have been dry skin brushing for several years and I love to share how this small act of self care has improved the appearance of my skin, I feel fabulous and energized in the mornings and I love how my skin feels.

Try it for 30 days and I bet you will see and feel a tremendous difference in your skin’s appearance and your morning energy level. It’s better than a cup of coffee?           That’s debatable.

Sending you love and light,

Kathy Brokos, LMT

P.S. For those of you who are within driving distance of my massage studio in Deale, Maryland, or the Inner Equinox on Solomon’s Island, I’m gifting a natural bristle brush to anyone who schedules and receives a 75 minute “The Works” massage during the month of December 2017. That offer has been extended through January 2018.

I hope it’s you!

Foggy

The water temperatures were in the 50’s and the 70 degree warm air was descending upon the marina as the day was awakening. I caught a glimpse of the fog as I walked the pier that morning noticing how it hovered just above the water line. It looked as if it was coming up from the water, like the surface of the water was evaporating and small droplets of water, millions of them were rising from the surface of the water, like miniature tornadoes. I never noticed this before, but then again my life before living on my sailboat was one crisis after another moving me in constant motion but little accomplishment. I felt that as long as I was moving, driving, scurrying about, I was getting stuff done.

Stillness, noticing, watching, observing and remaining peaceful, and mindful of my surroundings is the direct result of a minimalist lifestyle on the sailboat in a marina in Herring Bay which spills out into the Chesapeake Bay.

 

via Daily Prompt: Foggy

Close door to past, Open door to future

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

I decided…..it’s time…. to take the step…..and just DO it.

Just 14 days ago the opportunity came my way as an open door to a possible life change. What I wanted for so long was now staring me in the face. Do I move forward or do I stay right where I am? I’m sure, dear reader, you’ve had to make the same decision some time in your life.

After much thought, writing down all the pros and cons, and praying for an answer, I woke up yesterday and decided that I would take the plunge and just DO it.

So today I feel overwhelmed with all the things I need to do to make my dream business come to life. The part that always overwhelms me the most is the creation of a website and everything that needs to be on those pages, SEO and content.

This wordpress blog site will work for now and later when mucho dollars are in my account, I can upgrade.

So now I bet you are wondering just what my dream business is?

As a Licensed Massage Therapist specializing in Myofascial Release (MFR), I enjoy helping as many people as I can become more fluid in their movements, open up stuck spaces, release old emotions that no longer serve them and zap their energy, and create an overall sense of relaxation and a feeling of wellness.

The perfect vehicle appeared in my life which started this whole process of thinking about an untapped market in my community where I can help people who are home-bound, work long hours and have small children at home  which would make it difficult to schedule an appointment and travel for a massage. So now I’m bringing massage to them. Hence the birth of: Mobile Therapeutic Massage. My vehicle is just the right size to carry all my equipment and I  can create a temporary oasis in the comfort of your home for you to receive a therapeutic massage.

How AWESOME is that?????

Can you imagine after a long day at work, or a rather difficult day at home with your small children, a space in your home is created for you with soft mood enhancing music to receive a 60 or 90 minute therapeutic massage? All you need to do is walk from one room into another and receive a massage created just for you addressing the areas in your body that need extra love and attention and then, leaving that room or walking to your resting place for a  deep restful night’s sleep, waking in the morning feeling refreshed and energized.

If you live in Southern Anne Arundel County in Maryland and desire to experience a massage created just for you in the comfort of your home, please call me at 406-291-0354 and schedule an appointment.

Hours: Tuesday – Thursday 10am to 6 pm. Friday, Saturday, Sunday @ Inner Equinox from noon to 5 pm. Evening hours call for availability.

Table Massage:

60 minutes $80-

90 minutes $110 –

Seated Massage:

$20/15 minutes. Home parties, office locations, 4 people/$80 minimum per day.

Prices are for locations within 20 miles from Deale, Maryland.

21 to 30 miles add $20; 31 to 40 miles add $30; and 41 to 50 miles add $40 for travel expenses.

If you have been desiring an hour or more for relaxation or to loosen up those tight shoulders and neck, call today for your massage tomorrow in the comfort of your home.

Looking forward to meeting you.

Many Blessings,

Kathy Brokos, LMT

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self Care?

When did we first start hearing about self care? My first time was about 5 years ago. My life drastically changed. I went from being in a committed relationship and my son in high school to being single, my son graduated from high school, moved out of town to be on his own and with friends. Wow! Lots of changes in a short period of time.

Self Care? What does that mean? I always thought it was selfish to care about myself. Where did I get that idea? So, here I am, single, alone and the first thing I did was go back to school, join a gym, that I visited quite often, and journaled. I was determined to do this self care thing.

I graduated from the local community college with an AAS in Massage Therapy, found an opening in a spa where I can practice therapeutic massage and have been helping other people with their self care program. As I delved into caring for myself and giving massages, I discovered that most people in my community are so busy taking care of others that self care doesn’t even fit into their day. No wonder so many people are stressed out, not happy with their physical appearance, and don’t have time for family because of so many demands on their time.

Maybe the first thing we can do for ourselves is to schedule daily time for self care. It is not “selfish” at all. Think about the last time you flew in a plane and one of the things they tell you to do in case of emergency, is to put the oxygen mask on yourself first, then help others. Possibly we should adopt this philosophy in our daily lives. How can we be available for our family members or co-workers if we are sick or lethargic because we don’t eat healthy foods or get enough sleep every night.

So I pose these questions to you: What areas of your life are you neglecting? Are you getting enough sleep each night? Drinking adequate water to stay hydrated? Eating healthy foods and having regular meals? Time for play? Time for family? Time for self? Are you exercising regularly? Have a spiritual practice?

I wonder!

My goal for 2017 is to add self care practices to my life. I don’t want to overwhelm myself with a ton of New Year’s resolutions that I won’t keep, but realistic monthly goals of adding one new habit of self care to my life. It takes 21 days for a new neuro-pathway to be created and adding the extra 7 days (28-30 in a month), I’m sure to establish the new self care habit before adding another one to my plate.

I challenge you to join me. Tell me what areas of your life you would like to improve, or start taking care of that have been neglected. Also, tell me what you would like to know about certain self care issues in your life. I would be glad to research those issues and share the results with you.

Are You Ready for a New YOU?

Blessings,

Kathy Brokos, LMT

Massage and Sleep

Do you suffer from insufficient sleep? Do you wake at various time of the night for various reasons and cannot fall back to sleep? Is lack of sleep affecting the quality of your life?

Restorative sleep is necessary for wellness. Lack of quality sleep is becoming a major health concern, since most people do not get enough sleep. A minimum of 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep is necessary and most people need 8 – 9 hours.

Quality sleep is needed for the body to restore, renew and repair. If deeper stages of sleep are interrupted, the body’s ability to restore itself is compromised. Sleep disturbances are a major factor in many chronic fatigue and pain syndromes.

Light/dark cycles regulate sleep patterns. For effective sleep we need adequate exposure to daylight, which stimulates serotonin. We also need exposure to darkness. Absence of light supports the release of melatonin, a pineal gland hormone that is involved with sleep pattern.

Regular therapeutic massage:

  • Relieves or reduces pain and discomfort that may interrupt sleep
  • Reduces cortisol levels increased due to stress
  • Increases the available level of dopamine which is a hormone involved in pleasure states
  • Seems to increase the available level of serotonin which modulates the sleep/wake cycle

If you are experiencing sleep deprivation, adding regular therapeutic massage to your wellness program will support improved sleep and produce a positive chain reaction into other areas of your life.

 

 

 

Blessings!

Have you ever felt so blessed that you wanted to cry because the amount of joy in your heart is overflowing?

Life hasn’t always felt this way. These blessings I’m receiving are the result of years of letting go of the past, forgiving those who have hurt me, and being generous to everyone that I possibly can.

I’m sitting here today feeling extremely blessed that I just want to shout to the world how AWESOME IT IS and how WONDERFUL life is. I have to admit this change of my mindset has shown me that the world is HOW I CHOOSE TO SEE IT.

I CHOOSE to see the good in people.

I CHOOSE to be happy.

I CHOOSE to send LOVE to all I see and meet every day and every moment!

Will this be easy? I guess it will be easy or difficult according to my mindset.

So…

I CHOOSE each day to be EASY and FULL OF ABUNDANCE.

What a CHALLENGE!!!

 

Fragile

How I feel today. Fragile, breaking down, letting go of the past, making room for something new.

Like a peach or a banana, able to be easily bruised.

What makes us fragile? Is it allowing oneself to be vulnerable, pliable, open to criticism, but yet maintaining the ability to remain intact? Revealing our dark side that is kept hidden in the closet of one’s mind?

So many questions. Like a porcelain tea cup that is beautiful to look upon but if dropped will break into a thousand pieces and the beauty is scattered, lost to the dustpan and broom. If handled properly becomes an heirloom for many generations.

We are all fragile and need to be handled carefully….. with LOVE. This way our true nature, that of a loving human being, can shine like the sun on a cloudless day. Love is what it is all about. Yes, I know all about the forces out there to steal our joy. Why give them power over us. I know it sounds unrealistic to think about being loving all the time, but I believe that if more of us would live every moment in such a way, the entire planet, every human being could live from this perspective, WOW, what a different world we would live in.

I am just one person, but I believe in the ripple effect. You know the story. Drop a pebble in the pond and what do you see? Many circular ripples. These ripples are fragile because if another pebble is dropped right next to the first, the ripples are interrupted. Just like raindrops on a pond. But if a very large rock is dropped the ripples are deeper making a greater impact on the pond.

Fragile. One person on a mission.

Strong. More than one person on a mission.

Many people on  a mission or quest, fragile and strong. There is strength in numbers even if there is a tipping point of allowing negativity in and destroying the entire mission.

So focus is important along with humility. Keep ego out of the mission and persevere.

Fragile is every moment of every day. That moment only happens once and then, POOF, its gone.

Fragile is seeing wildlife disappear due to human neglect of the environment.

Fragile is the ecosystem.

Fragile is an individual’s body. If not cared for and nourished, it will die prematurely, missing out on all the love to give and receive.

Fragile is a newborn, who, without their mother’s care, will die.

Fragile is a seedling that needs lots of water and sunshine.

Fragile is our world that can only tolerate our abuse for just so long, and POOF, it will be gone.

Body Image Risk and Reward in Massage

Almost everybody has something about their body that they don’t like. For many people it’s a minor issue, no big deal. But some people have a major issue with their body image. It affects how they live and their happiness.

When I tell some people that I’m a massage therapist it can cause a strong reaction. They tell me, whether verbally or through their reaction and body language, that massage is not for them. Their body image is such an issue that they don’t think anybody else can accept them.

The paradox here is that massage can really help with body image issues. In massage school we were all nervous about taking off our clothes and letting somebody else touch us. It didn’t take long for us to discover that bodies are just bodies and become much more comfortable with our own. We also experienced how good receiving a massage made us feel. Something unexpected happened – when our bodies felt better we felt better about our bodies.

I think there are three options to consider. Let’s look at the risk versus reward for them.

1. Don’t get a massage.

This is the easiest because it involves doing nothing. The risk is low since you are not letting another person see or touch you at all.

The reward is zero. You didn’t get a massage so your body doesn’t feel any better, and you still have the stress you had before.

2. You get a massage, but the massage therapist either makes note of how you look, as if it matters.

If this has happened to you, I’m sorry. You got a crappy massage therapist. That’s a bummer, and I’m really sorry. You took a risk, and even if the rest of the massage was decent, got very little reward.
This is not going to happen if you come to me. Never. No way. I can’t say this strongly enough. It goes against the very nature of who I am, how I treat people, and what I believe.

3. You get a massage. A great massage. And the therapist does nothing to make you feel uncomfortable about your body. In fact, you feel pretty good about your body after the massage.

In this option your risk is low. I don’t care how your body looks. That’s none of my business. I just want to help it feel better. Your reward is high. Again your body will feel better from the massage and you can start feeling better about it.

I have no idea how your body got to be in the condition that it’s in. You may be dealing with something that you can’t control, such as a medical condition or an injury or accident. You may be in a lot of pain or are limited in what you can do physically. Since I don’t know what caused your body to be like it is now I can’t make any judgments about you.

I’ve worked on hundreds of people. Each body is interesting and I’ve yet to come across one that I could not help.
If you have been avoiding massage because you feel uncomfortable about your body, let’s find an option that works for you. You don’t even have to explain anything to me. Leave your clothes on. Stay sitting up or face down or lying on your side or however you want. It’s up to you.
It’s my job to help you feel better. That’s it. Together let’s find a way to help you relieve your pain and stress. Don’t let your body image keep you from feeling good.

I like to perform Myofascial Release and Shiatsu Shin Tai on my clients. One really important aspect is that these modalities are performed with the clients wearing loose fitting clothing and is very effective in reducing pain, stress, and stuck areas.

See my post on Massage and Myofascial Release for more information about how it can benefit you.

Massage and Myofascial Release

Have you ever wondered why you lose range of motion as you age? Did you ever ask yourself what really happens inside your body when you have surgery and why the scar afterwards is so tight and affects other areas of your body?

Under our skin, our bodies have a continuous connected network of myofascial tissue from the top of our heads to the tips of our toes. It looks like fine strands of cotton candy. It is wrapped around every bone, muscle and organ.When an injury occurs, lets say in the shoulder and range of motion is lost due to postural armoring, the client will only move the shoulder in a shortened range of motion due to pain. Over a period of time, the body says, OK, they want to hold their shoulder in this position so lets help them and fascia armoring builds and range of motion is further decreased.The client can’t figure out why they can’t move their arm to reach for something like they did in the past.

Trauma, inflammatory responses and or surgical procedures create Myofascial restrictions that can produce an area of tightness in the affected area of the body. This area of tightness causes snags or pulls that transmit into other areas. Compare it to a sweater that has a snag in one spot and when held up will show the snag along with the rest of the sweater  that is being affected and pulled. This creates compensatory patterns and the body is out of balance.

I have a female client that walked into my office with a frozen shoulder and through the process of using myofascial release on different areas of her shoulder, upper arm, upper back and scapula, I was able to find the area of restriction and help her body to release the stuck area.

Myofascial Release is a hands-on massage technique that is so subtle that the person being worked on only feels the warmth of the therapist’s hands and occasional pops or releases below the skin’s surface. But so much more is happening.

Applying gentle pressure to the affected area, allows the connective tissue and fascia  to elongate and in some instances, break free which feels like a small pop to the client and therapist. The affected area relaxes and sometimes the release can be felt in another part of the body. The end result is greater range of motion and a feeling of openness. The client feels relaxed, has a smile on their face because the pain is gone and can’t believe how fabulous they feel from such a light touch.

In addition to the physical injury, emotions are created and can be trapped in the injured tissue.When a release occurs, the client could feel a surge of emotion, have an image appear in their mind and crying can occur. This could happen at the time of treatment or a day or two later. This is another positive aspect of myofascial release, not just the physical release of fascia armoring, but also an emotional release thus freeing the client’s body from holding onto emotions and draining their energy.

This technique can be performed fully clothed on a massage table without the use of oils or creams on the skin. A session can last from 30 to 60 minutes depending upon the clients issues and how ready their body is to release the stuck areas.

So if you are experiencing decreased range of motion, tight scaring from surgery or have had a traumatic injury, a massage utilizing myofascial release may be just what you need.

Just like my client commented before she left my office “Wow! I can now move my arm without pain and have increased range of motion.

 

 

 

 

 

Benefits of Regular Massage

Maybe you are wondering, “What are the benefits of massage, let alone regular massage?” or your thoughts may be, “Why have a massage at all if I’m feeling pretty good?”

A research study analyzing eight clinical trials and is entitled: Massage for Low Back Pain – Will It Benefit My Patient? from the Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy  2003, Vol. 11 Issue 3, p134-135. 2p. expresses how regular massage affects the body. A few benefits listed are:

  • Massage is beneficial for patients with sub-acute and chronic non-specific low back pain in terms of improving systems and functions
  • Massage therapy is costly, but it may save money in health care provider visits, pain medication and cost of back care services.
  • Effects of massage are improved with exercise and education
  • Beneficial effects of massage in patients with chronic low back pain are long lasting (at least one year after end of sessions)

Also taken into consideration is therapeutic touch, connectedness of one human being with another in a relaxing environment. Therapeutic touch pertains to healing or curative powers. Through various massage techniques, the massage therapists manipulates muscle tissue to release tightness, promote relaxation, release toxins and stimulate the various body systems to promote healing. The skin is the body’s largest organ. Through touch the internal organs and nervous system are stimulated

It is amazing to me to see a client walk into The Copper Bowl in Deale, Maryland with neck pain and a face that reflects pain and discomfort and after a 60 minute massage, they walk out of the room with a smile on their face and increased mobility of their head and shoulders.

So why wait until you have low back or neck pain.You can benefit from a regular massage  that can be once a week, every 2 weeks, or once a month. The choice is yours.

One of my regular weekly clients has this to say about her experience with regular weekly massage: “….I had trouble sleeping and relaxing through the day. My anxiety was at its worst. Now with weekly massages my sleeping is better, I feel that I’m relaxed, have more energy and I feel an overall good feeling about my body. Your body is a marvelous instrument and like any instrument it needs to be tuned and pampered. I have been seeing Kathy for over a year now and my overall health has improved.” Debbie S.

So when will you add regular massage to your personal wellness plan and have your own testimony to share with the world. I look forward to meeting you and being a part of your life.

Blessings,

Kathy Brokos, LMT

 

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