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When we feel out of step, we can find centering through yoga. The Yoga for Resilience classes at Nimbus Massage focus more on achieving mental and emotional balance rather than physical fitness. What does that mean? To further explore, let’s discuss the concept of Window of Tolerance.

by Morgan Howell

Window of Tolerance

Our Window of Tolerance falls in a state of balance between too much and too little stimulation. When at the high end, or hyper-arousal, we might experience symptoms of anxiety. The low end, or hypo-arousal, on the other hand, might lead to symptoms of depression. Finding the comfortable middle, however, allows us to meet life’s challenges with a sense of resilience and clarity. It also allows us to better receive and process new information. 

Everyone’s Window of Tolerance is a little different depending on our life experiences. We can even experience a varying Window within ourselves. For me, I feel like I have a decent sized Window of Tolerance when I’m driving my car, but my window shrinks when I’m speaking in front of a large group of people. I have friends who have the exact opposite experience-they are totally collected in front of a room of people, but have a smaller range of tolerance behind the wheel.

We can make shifts toward centering through yoga

The focus of Yoga for Resilience is to make shifts toward balance, and, over time expand the Window of Tolerance. Yoga for Resilience could be a great auxiliary to a treatment plan for anxiety, depression, or trauma recovery or part of your self care plan to maintain an optimal state of wellness. It helps move us towards our center, by practicing connecting with ourselves.

We all flow up and down at different points throughout our lives. Yoga for Resilience can help us build a sense of sustainable nourishment when we are feeling low, think a nourishing cup of soup rather than a stimulating cup of coffee. It can also help us let go, release, and rest when we are feeling over-charged. Yoga for Resilience involves a combination of slow, mindful movements; breath-centered movements; meditation; and the ethical components of yoga. At Nimbus Massage, you can choose to practice in a group, or receive something specifically tailored for your needs through private sessions. 



What is Yoga for Resilience?

by Morgan Howell

My yoga teacher, Kristine Kaoverri Weber, likes to point out the difference between “innercise” and exercise. Exercise has various, Yoga teacher with hands to heartwonderful health benefits that most of us already know about. Similarly, “innercise” or slowing down, mindful movement, and practicing self awareness, can also benefit us in many ways.

Can you think of a time in your life when you were busy and preoccupied? Perhaps you got so wrapped up you stopped noticing things like when you needed to eat or rest. Likewise, perhaps you stopped making time to connect to the things in life that give you a deep sense of joy, meaning, and fulfillment. I know when I have those periods in my life, they are typically followed by feelings of burnout and then catching an illness. A sort of forced rest.

(Re) Connect with yourself

Yoga for Resilience’s focus on “innercise” helps you as a student develop the capacity to notice how you feel, and in-turn what you need to maintain good self-care. Whether you are feeling up or down or somewhere in the middle Yoga for Resilience can help you develop awareness and from there, make a shift back toward balance. At a deeper level, the development of inner awareness can also lead to a deeper sense of self; knowing who you are; and what you feel called to do with your life. 

Physically, this type of class is typically gentle and moderately paced. In contrast, vinyasa yoga classes are fun and a great work out and generally faster-paced. Yin, or restorative, yoga classes on the other hand are deeply healing and regenerative. Yoga for Resilience classes at Nimbus (inspired by Subtle Yoga https://subtleyoga.com/ ) offer something a little different. The pacing falls somewhere in between those examples. 

Yoga for Resilience classes focus more on nervous system regulation than fitness. Indeed, they allow you to get to know the spectrum of your nervous systems and learn how to become present with yourself. It is accessible for beginners and students with complex health needs. However, that does not mean that you can’t also improve your fitness. Since, I shifted my personal yoga practice to more of a Subtle-inspired practice, I notice I’ve gotten physically stronger. However, more importantly to me, I have a deeper sense of ease and balance in my daily life, a kinder relationship with myself, and a stronger sense of self. 



Kristina Page

Body positivity has come into the public awareness as something to aspire to. We all have bodies in various forms which serve us well and, therefore, deserve a little respect and admiration. Often self-acceptance of our physical forms focuses on how our bodies look. For example, connecting with our unique beauty regardless of how our appearance might match, or not match, societal standards.

As someone who works with the body, I would also like to bring attention to the idea of accepting how our bodies feel and work. Day after day, I help people “work on” themselves. Since many of my clients have ongoing health concerns, like chronic pain or anxiety and depression, I spend a lot of time focused on what is wrong in the body and how to change it. Of course, I also have my own aches and pains that I likewise try to improve.

Instead of always having a “fix it” mindset, I sometimes try to step back and appreciate what I’ve got. This body positivity exercise helps me mentally and emotionally. Taking it one step further, I like to mentally map my body and thank it (me) for all its (my) work. Paying special attention to areas about which I might sometimes think negatively.

When we have chronic pain or other health concerns, it can feel like our bodies have betrayed us. I find this personally helpful for making amends. I’ll walk you through what this looks like for me.

My process

I tend to start at the feet. I have always had a frustrating relationship with my feet. Born a childhood toe-walker, I have teetered from my very first steps on the balls of my feet. I went through painful tests and lots of physical therapy starting around kindergarten to “fix the problem.” Now I can walk flat, but I still pop up on my toes when I’m tired. I get plantar fasciitis. The bones in my feet spread wide to support me, so finding shoes that actually fit me is nearly impossible. What’s more, my toenails are now damaged from wearing ill-fitting shoes. My legs and feet hurt often. 

Although I often dial in to how my feet and legs don’t work right, I do the mental exercise from time-to-time to think about the good. Take the sentence from the last paragraph, “the bones in my feet spread wide to support me.” I find it amazing that my body actually shifted itself naturally to accommodate my structure. Another couple of positives include: walking on my toes has strengthened my calf muscles and I find it easy to run on my toes (which is supposedly better running form). They work hard and I thank them. In order to show them care in return, I give them a short self-massage almost every day.

Another major area of concern for me is my abdomen. Not only do I have IBS, but I also had to have abdominal surgery. Between the two I have had abdominal pain nearly every day of my life for 20 years. I’ve been to at least ten doctors and tried different diets and medications to improve it. Thankfully, the nutritional counseling I’m getting from Sara (our nutritionist) combined with pelvic PT and abdominal massage are finally starting to ease my symptoms.

On the other hand, my gut works hard for me. Day in and day out it processes what I put into it to draw nutrients into my body. It takes the rest and expels the waste. My muscles and bones support me in almost every movement, helping me be dynamic and active. Miraculously, I tend to have a decent immune system, which has strong ties in the gut, despite my IBS. I am so thankful for this amazing system functioning inside me. I constantly send it care by simply putting a supportive hand on my belly and taking a few deep cleansing breaths.

Your Turn

Now, what is an area you have that needs some body positivity? Focus in on it and notice how it feels. What sensations do you have there? You can notice what you sense internally as well as anything external you feel. Do you feel any emotions connected to this? 

Once you’ve had a moment to dial in, shift your focus to try to find some positive thoughts about it. How does it serve you? Can you think of anything amazing about how it works? Perhaps you’ve noticed that it doesn’t feel as bad as thought it did when you weren’t paying attention.

Next, thank it! Maybe put your hand over the area. Or breathe into the area. Or imagine light filling it. Perhaps it’s an area you can reach to do a little self-massage or some yoga stretches. You’ve been thinking of this area as a problem area. Nevertheless, it is part of you and what makes you. Maybe, just for a short while, you can shift to a more positive relationship. 

And who knows, over time, maybe a little body positivity can help you accept it into your vision of your whole self.


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Although massage therapy is a luxury for some, it can be a vital component of caregiver self care. Even one massage can give a little tune-up to an overworked caregiver. And many benefit from setting a “me time” routine to help them reset on a regular basis. Over time there is a profoundly positive effect on the body, ranging from the outside to the internal working systems. Think about a car and the maintenance that it needs to stay functioning to maintain good condition and road worthiness. Similarly, many people use massage as preventative maintenance for their muscles and mentality.

Stress can have a powerfully negative impact on the body and the mind. According to WebMD, “Seventy-five percent to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaint”. Stress can effect basic functions like sleeping, eating, weight regulation, immune function, and more. For a caregiver tasked with the job of managing the health and well-being of others while trying to maintain their own healthy functions, the heaviness of it all can have a major impact on the body and the mind.

What is a Caregiver?

caregiver—sometimes called an informal caregiver—is an unpaid individual (for example, a spouse, partner, family member, friend, or neighbor) involved in assisting others with activities of daily living and/or medical tasks. Formal caregivers are paid care providers providing care in one’s home or in a care setting (day care, residential facility, long-term care facility). (Source: Family Caregiver Alliance) Both informal and formal caregiving require a lot of emotional and physical energy. Over time, this can lead to stress, physical pain, and burn out.

Massage Therapy is Vital Caregiver Self Care

Massage therapy is vital to caregivers because they need an outlet to release the weight of all that they carry on a day to day basis, emotionally, mentally and physically. Caregivers spend so much of their time caring for others that often times they postpone care for themselves. Just like a car will eventually breakdown after going years without a tune-up, the human body can also begin to breakdown if it goes for long stretches of time without addressing signs of wear and tear. Massage can be the perfect solution for caregivers, helping them to face the daily demands that they face.

How Nimbus Can Help

The team at Nimbus works hard to ensure that each client gets first-rate care. Prior to each session they will perform and intake process to discuss wellness goals, health history, and what massage style has worked (or not) in the past. They will then tailor the session accordingly. Whether the goal is to be more present and less stressed, relieve tension, or combat burn out, Nimbus Massage can help.

Nimbus specializes in helping people manage pain, especially chronic pain, through effective integrative therapies. To book an appointment with one of experienced practitioners: Click Here.  

 


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Massage therapy feels so luxurious, but we know some even better reasons to give the gift of massage. We all know someone, ourselves included, who could use a really good dose of self-care. The end of the year is the perfect time to start wellness activities like massage, yoga or meditation to gear up for all that is to come in 2020. Although the clock is winding down and the last-minute holiday gift rush is upon us, there is still time to purchase a meaningful and thoughtful gift!

To make it even sweeter, we are going to give you five reasons why you should give the gift of massage with  a Nimbus Massage gift card

Living with Chronic Pain is no fun

Do you know someone who lives with a chronic pain syndrome? Complains about neck and shoulder tension? Suffers from headaches, back pain or other ailments? If so, then a gift card from Nimbus Massage would be the perfect way to help them on the road to manage or even eliminate that pain. The massage staff at Nimbus specializes in applying therapeutic massage techniques to help people manage chronic conditions, especially pain. 

Many paths to wellness

Want to help them nurture themselves a little? Connecting to wellness can come in different forms for different people. At Nimbus Massage we pride ourselves on offering integrative services that help people in more than one way. A Nimbus gift card can be used not only toward massage, but toward any of our services like yoga, meditation classes, or nutritional counseling. Even for self-care items from our retail line. In fact, we offer a gift card for our Back on Track Package for those who want it all! This package incorporates: nutritional counseling, massage, a private yoga class, and a take home self-care gift.

Total Recharge

The holidays signify the end of a whole year. The good, the bad, the ehhh… all of it! Whether your someone special is trying to forget all 365 days; revel in all that they have accomplished; or get set for a big 2020. A Massage Therapy gift card can really help someone recharge whom you have watched evolve over the year. Simply hand them over to us and we’ll make sure that we tailor a session for them, to ensure the very best experience. (Or perhaps you need to recharge yourself….)

Couples Massage

If you know (or are part of) a great couple, purchase a gift card for them to use towards a couples massage. Nimbus is one of the few small independent massage studios in Richmond to offer a customized couples massage experience. Since Nimbus does not do choreographed massages, each person gets a session tailored to their own needs and preferences. Because being part of a duo doesn’t mean that each person has the same goals for their massage.

Employee Appreciation

Ok, it is the 25th hour (no pun intended). You are struggling to find something for your team, who have done really great work for you this year. We can come to your location and treat the whole team with chair massage, yoga, or our group meditation & music class. Or, purchase a package of gift cards to give individually. Then they can customize their own unique experience which we promise they will enjoy. 

That’s it!

Ok, so we gave you five VERY valid and awesome reasons to choose a Nimbus Massage Therapy gift card for someone special this holiday season. We look forward to tailoring a session to meet the goals of you or your giftee. To help them BE WELL in the new year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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To shamelessly quote Dylan: “the times they are a changing”. Life now moves at a break-neck pace as technological advances make accessing information faster than ever before. When everything moves this fast, stress typically enters the picture. Finding peace and balance in the midst of it all becomes a must for maintaining health and well-being. Massage can help! But many people want to know whether they should get a “therapeutic” massage or a “relaxation” massage. So, how does one know the difference between a relaxation massage and therapeutic massage? To put it simply: relaxation massage is actually one of many types of therapeutic massage

Managing stress is integral to a healthy lifestyle. A relaxation massage crafted with techniques to ground, center, and calm can deliver just the therapy needed to keep stress in check. To fully explain this point we will break down the details.

What is a Therapeutic Massage?

According to Learn.org, “Therapeutic massage is the manual manipulation of the body’s soft tissue, and it’s generally used for the reduction of stress and pain. It has been used in many world cultures for more than 4,000 years. Because many diseases are exacerbated by stress, therapeutic massage can help a person become healthier and more resistant to disease.” Therapeutic massage can help with many conditions such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Chronic pain syndromes
  • Muscular pain
  • Stress!

Stress, anxiety, depression, and pain all play a role in intensifying many ailments and diseases. Therapeutic massage helps break the cycle.

What is Relaxation Massage?

As discussed, stress can have a negative impact on health. Even without any underlying health conditions, stress makes people feel bad. Maybe it was a bad week at work? Or there’s a big presentation coming up, or a family emergency that has taken its toll. Relaxation massage uses techniques designed to help people release emotional and physical tension. Think slow, flowing, and affirming.

At Nimbus, a relaxation massage would generally be a large part of a massage for general wellness or a massage for stress, anxiety, and depression. However, relaxing techniques can enhance any massage. It can help restore wellness or prevent . It can help people stay on top of what their body needs for their best health. Additionally, it can help people cope with long-term medical diagnoses, whether the condition is theirs or their loved-one’s. 

The Nimbus team is ready to help you along your wellness journey. When you come in, we will take a deep dive through your needs and create a plan which will address the type of massage you need whether therapeutic or relaxation to help you find balance, peace and joy. To book a massage today, click HERE, we look forward to helping you feel better.


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As a long-time allergy sufferer, and mom of two who little ones who share my allergic misfortune, I am always looking for natural allergy remedies. Whenever possible, I try to manage our symptoms without pharmaceuticals. Pollen season is particularly bad at our house, but I have found a few things that help keep our runny noses and dry coughs soothed.


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by James

One commonly hears of a dichotomy in massage therapy between therapy and relaxation.  For example, when selecting the purpose of a massage, a client often specifies either “therapeutic massage” or “relaxation massage.”  Therapy is for fixing problems, and relaxation is for feeling good, for at least a short while.  Might relaxation, however, actually also be therapeutic?  Several medical professionals say that it is in the following ways:

 

Relaxation can boost the immune system

 

Dr. Sheldon Cohen of Carnegie Mellon University showed that chronic stress increased a person’s risk of catching a cold.  It appears that stress hampers the body’s ability to fight inflammation by making immune cells less sensitive to the hormone that “turns off” inflammation.

 

Relaxation can slow the aging process

 

A recent study revealed that anxiety disorders increase your risk of several aging-related conditions, possibly because of accelerated aging at the cellular level.  However, this cellular aging turned out to be reversible when the anxiety disorder went into remission.

 

Relaxation can improve memory, concentration, and problem solving skills

 

One study found that, at least in mice, chronic stress impaired the memory and learning centers of the brain, as well as its ability to perform abstract thought and cognitive analysis.  Relaxation may help with this by increasing blood flow to the brain.

 

Relaxation can decrease anxiety and depression

 

According to William B. Salt II., MD, “The regular elicitation of the relaxation response can result in a reduction in anxiety/depression and improvement in your ability to cope with stress.”

 

Relaxation can protect the heart

 

“There are studies to show that stress is comparable to other risk factors that we traditionally think of as major, like hypertension, poor diet and lack of exercise,” says Kathi Heffner, Ph.D. of the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.

 

The physiological state that can bring about these benefits is called the “relaxation response” by Dr. Herbert Benson of Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. Dr. Benson has said that “Just sitting quietly or, say, watching television, is not enough to produce the physiological changes. You need to use a relaxation technique that will break the train of everyday thought, and decrease the activity of the sympathetic nervous system.”  I maintain that the trance-like state achieved during a relaxation massage often induces is this very relaxation response.

 

A final note on cortisol 

Several health professionals believe that the relaxation response provides its health benefits by decreasing the level of cortisol in the body.  Cortisol is the body’s main stress hormone, used to fuel the fight-or-flight instinct. Excessive cortisol can contribute to such problems as weight gain, muscle weakness and diabetes.  A 2005 study found that massage therapy decreases cortisol by an average of 31%. A separate 2011 study, however, found that massage decreases cortisol, but by a statistically insignificant amount. Whether a relaxation massage helps by lowering cortisol or by some other means, its health benefits are well-documented.  As the 2011 study went on to say, “[massage therapy has] well-established…beneficial effects on anxiety, depression, and pain”.

 


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Groin Injury Relief- by E. Kinzie

It was right around the holiday season and I was out for a leisurely stroll with my husband. Then it happened! A twinge in my left groin area. You know the kind or groin injury that a person can function ok enough but it has a pesky, mosquito like tenacity. Then you think, “it will work itself out”, or “I just need to warm up and stretch”, or “is this another sign of getting older and wiser?”

Rationalization is an inexpensive therapy for humans to deal with unfortunate things in the short term. However, it is not the best philosophy for the long term. Well, I soldiered on avoiding medical co-pays until I couldn’t take it anymore.  Also, ibuprofen was not meant to be a tic-tac substitute. I thought of two things – 1. Finally going to a doctor and 2. A therapeutic massage!

Therapeutic massage for injury relief

I called Nimbus Massage and scheduled a 90 minute appointment. I had never thought that I, as a female, would be needing a massage for groin injury relief. After many Google searches on the topic, one would think the groin only exists with the male population. This is only a slight exaggeration as the internet does not have much for female groin injury relief in a serious medical sense.

Now I would like to reiterate that this “twinge”, which was causing pain to the point of not wanting to walk, was located near a personal area. Also, my personal space bubble is large. Large enough that I will park my car to include an extra parking space between me and another vehicle. With massage, professionalism is a must.

The morning of my appointment, I hobbled in and discussed my “twinge” issue with my therapist. He took time to listen to my concerns, gently figured out the correct pressure, and isolated the problem area. After the massage I could walk again like I could before the holiday “twinge”. #betterthanibuprofen

The “twinge” is gone… The “twinge” is gone away…(apologies to B.B. King)

Fortunately for me, the actual “twinge” was a relatively minor injury and the pain issue was a result of the surrounding muscle tissue tightening up and compensating. My x-rays did not show any abnormalities. The best immediate relief was available through therapeutic massage and thankfully, this is in the Nimbus Massage wheelhouse!


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You know you’re a geek when you unwind at the end of the day while listening to a lecture on the role of microglia in central sensitization and depression… Here’s a little outline of the lecture.

How does chronic pain work?

Some chronic pain, especially chronic pain syndromes, seems to stem from central sensitization. Central sensitization happens when the nervous system gets wound up and has trouble calming down, this can happen short-term or turn into a syndrome. Some ways that the system can go awry include:

  • Being overly sensitive and making pain signals stronger.
  • Reading normal signals, like temperature or pressure, as pain.
  • Firing up a bunch of nerve pathways that wouldn’t normally fire.
  • Not turning off the pain signal when no longer needed.

Sometimes people feel pain even when no obvious reason exists. In some cases an obvious reason exists, but people feel a higher level of pain than one would normally expect from it. And in some instances, pain persists after healing. Of course, all of these can occur together.

What is the link between mental health and chronic pain?

Chronic pain also happens to strongly coincide with depression, anxiety, and/or PTSD. People who have chronic pain and/or one of these mental health disorders are more likely to have the other. Statistics also show that people who have both struggle more with managing and improving their conditions. Science has yet to describe exactly how the interplay works.

What are microglia?

Microglia are one of several types of brain cells. These cells take care of the immune response in the brain. They scan for potential problems and then jump into action when they perceive a threat. They can actually change themselves depending on what action is needed– scanning, repairing, removing waste, and regenerating. Just like other parts of the immune system, repetitive trauma or perceived threats can sensitize these cells so that they over work. Unfortunately, when these cells are active for too long (neuroinflammation), they can weaken the brain.

Research indicates that microglia over work in chronic pain syndromes, depression, anxiety, and PTSD (and some other neurodegenerative conditions). 

So what can one do to calm this process?

As much as anyone with chronic pain or depression hates to hear it, exercise seems to help. Proper diet and the right balance of nutrients can also have a positive effect. Mind/body approaches- like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing have led to reduced neuroinflammation. Acupuncture has a few studies behind it. Of course, certain pharmaceuticals seem to help as well. Hopefully, massage will join this list, but no one has studied it yet. Overall the current thinking seems to point to an integrative approach to care.

 

Research articles

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6190863/#B2 Chronic Pain & Depression

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3609886/ Chronic Pain & PTSD

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30389752 Chronic Pain & Mental Health Conditions

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28943841 Microglia & Depression


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