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Self-Care for Neck Pain

It seems like recently more and more clients are coming into the office with neck and shoulder pain.

There are all sorts of reasons for neck and shoulder pain. Sometimes, the pain is sudden and acute and requires the intervention of a healthcare professional. You should see a doctor before beginning self-care if you have any of the following situations:

However, most people experience neck strain from improper posture (slouching). It could result from sleeping in an awkward position, a poor lifting technique, or working for long periods at a computer or desk, etc. Even prolonged reading can cause neck pain if the book is held to low or the reader sits in a slumped posture.

Furthermore, some people literally have a "pain in the neck" in their lives, and their emotional response presents itself in a physical way.

Suzanne recently attended the NC-AMTA conference where she learned a technique for rapidly releasing the neck and shoulders from veteran massage therapist Bob King of Chicago. If you have seen her in the last month, you've experienced the technique and know that it works.

A part of that King's training included self-care methods to help clients keep their necks and shoulders flexible and pain free.

Below are suggestions that you can use at home to reduce your neck pain.

proper and poor posture

There's really a lot you can do between massage appointments to keep your neck and shoulder pain at bay. It takes self-awareness and effort, but most things that help us improve ourselves take self-awareness and effort. Keeping your monthly massage appointments can further help you with relaxation and pain relief.

At Suzanne's office at Body Balance II, a 30 minute massage is $35. A 60 minute massage is $60. (Seniors and educators get a discount.) Please call Suzanne Eller at 828-315-9900 to schedule an appointment.


Exercises for Neck Pain

from Robin MacKenzie's Treat Your Own Neck

When your neck holds your body's stress (and that's true for many of us), you feel crummy all over. It seems you can't get comfortable, no matter where you are, and you may find yourself irritable and short-tempered.

The following are some exercises from Robin McKenzie's Treat Your Own Neck that may help you find relief and/or prevent neck pain in the future.

Sitting Chin Tuck: For strengthening and stretching the upper neck muscles and combating forward head posture.

Sitting Neck Extension: Extending means bending backwards. This exercise should always follow the sitting chin tuck.


Neck rotation:

Neck flexion:

Shoulder Shrugs:


Essential Oil of the Month: Ylang Ylang

You are probably most familiar with ylang-ylang (pronounced EE-lang EE-lang) essential oil as an ingredient in perfumes and colognes. Called the "fragrance of fragrances" in its native Philippines, oil of the yellow or pink ylang-ylang flowers is an ingredient in Chanel No. 5, Givenchy Amarige and Estee Lauder Amber, and it is widely used for other oriental and and floral themed fragrances.

Ylang-ylang has a strong, exotic scent— intensely sweet, heady, floral, and slightly spicy, with overtones that are similar to banana, jasmine and narcissus. (It is sometimes called the "poor-man's jasmine". ) Ylang-ylang blends well with most floral, fruit and wood smells (I like it with sandalwood), but overuse can give one a headache and even nausea so it is best used in small amounts or in a carrier oil.

ylang ylang and spa stonesOne of its properties is purported to be as an aphrodisiac. In Indonesia, newlyweds spread the flowers on their marriage beds. In fact, the essential oil does seem to act as a tonic to the reproductive system and is said to help with sexual difficulties.

It has other traditional uses in the Pacific islands where it is grown. In the Philippines, a massage pomade made from the flowers counters insect and snake bites provides resistance to diseases during the rainy season. The flowers are also used for leis, which are used to adorn religious images and to welcome guests. A traditional folk remedy for asthma, headaches, malaria, rheumatism and diarrhea, native peoples have long used it with other oils as a hair treatment.

Today the essential oil is used in aromatherapy to sharpen the senses and can be used to help hyper-activity in children. Additionally, it is used an antidepressant and as a sedative for insomniacs because of its calming and balancing properties.

Bathing with the oil or using it in a massage oil greatly enhances the relaxation response. Simply inhaling the aroma can slightly lower blood pressure. It can be helpful in cases of stress, shock, or anxiety. When used as a hair tonic, it balances oil production and stimulates hair growth. Add about 6 drops to every ounce of hair conditioner.

Ylang Ylang is a common ingredient in the motion sickness medicine, MotionEaze. It helps stimulate circulation, relieve muscle spasms, and counteracts shock.

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Oct. 2009

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In This Issue

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Recipes: Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

essential oil

Depression and PMS Buster (also balances skin):
2 drops ylang ylang
3 drops pink grapefruit
2 drops lemon
2 drops lavender

Insomnia Reliever:
3 drops ylang ylang
1 drop vetiver
3 drops bergamot
1 drop lavender

Bug Repellant (also lifts the blues):
2 drops ylang ylang
3 drops sweet orange
1 drop citronella
2 drops grapefruit EO

Skin Rejuvenating Perfume:
4 drops ylang ylang
1 drop patchouli
1 drop jasmine absolute
2 drops rose otto

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ylang ylang essential oilAncient Wisdom Essential Oils
Ylang Ylang 15 ml: $37.00

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Fun Facts about Stress, Massage and Other Trivia

clown with ballons

Did you Know?

Getting a massage can actually dehydrate your body because the stimulation of your systems pushes toxins into your kidneys so they can be eliminated. That's why your massage therapist is always telling you to drink lots of water!

Nearly 19% of the population lacks a plantaris, which is a muscle behind the knee. In those who do have a plantaris, the size of this small muscle can vary greatly.

An hour long Swedish massage will increase your blood flow without increasing your heart. Thus, it revitalizes the resting body the same way that walking for 30 minutes does. Wow! a resting workout!

A fatigued muscle only recuperates 20% after five minutes of rest, but it recovers 100% after five minutes of massage therapy.

Comedian Bob Hope had a massage every day. Hope lived to be 100 years young!

A good belly laugh shuts off the flow of stress hormones (cortisol) triggered by our biological "fight or flight" response when we feel stress, anger or hostility. Massage also shuts off cortisol.

Raindrop Therapy Detoxifies the Body Using Essential Oils

reaindrop therapy session

Raindrop Therapy blends ten highly therapeutic essential oils into your massage session. These oils are highly antimicrobial, and the effect is quite soothing. Each oil is dropped and layered in a raindrop fashion on the spine, legs, and feet and then lightly massaged in.

These restorative oils are absorbed by the body and are within your blood-stream within 20 minutes. The oils stay in the body from five to seven days and are discharged like other nutrients.

Working on both the physical and emotional levels, Raindrop Therapy promotes structural and electrical alignment for the body. Many clients report increased energy, alleviation of back pain, and a general sense of clarity after a treatment. Another benefit of Raindrop Therapy is its ability to boost the immune system due to the antiviral, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties of the oils.

A Raindrop Therapy massage with Suzanne is $70 ($65 for Seniors)

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Copyright 2009
Suzanne H. Eller


fall phot by Deb Barham

The autumn equinox is behind us, and it is officially fall. Those of us in the Southeast have felt a chill in the air from all the rain, but the days have been pleasant in terms of temperature though we've missed the sunshine the last few weeks.

Autumn is the time when our impulse to nest resurges, and we all enjoy a little break from summer's hectic activities and rest before the holiday season is upon us. It's the perfect time to practice some self-care. In this issue, we've included articles about neck pain and how you can help yourself between massages. The book recommendations column is back, and we've included some fun facts about massage in honor of American Massage Therapy Awareness Week, Oct. 24-31. We hope you enjoy this month's offerings.

Here at Tapestry Life Resources, we've been busy learning and honing our skills with new techniques, and Suzanne is using the head and neck techniques that she learned at the AMTA Conference in Clemmons last month.

If you have time this month, we'd love to see you. Massage is a wonderful way to take care of yourself and celebrate the changing of the season.

Fall image by Deb Barham. Used with permission.

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What We're Reading: Suzanne's Picks

Shorter days mean more reading time; here are some suggestions from Suzanne.

This is the book from which I adapted the exercises in the article below. Besides exercises, Treat Your Own Neck has good information about the causes of neck pain, and a wealth of self-help remedies.

Also by Robin McKenzie, Treat Your Own Back is a self-help manual for those who suffer from chronic back pain. It includes anatomy, pain referral areas, and exercises.

I've been reading Entering the Casttle over the last several months and using it as part of my meditation practice. It is based on St. Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle. It's been slow because it has exercises for each mansion in Teresa's castle. Myss's prose is beautiful, and the exercises are thought-provoking.

You probably either love or hate Dan Brown. If you belong to the former group, you've probably already heard of this third novel to feature his Harvard symbologist hero, Robert Langdon, who is this time enmeshed in the world of the Freemasons in Washington, DC. Some critics have said Brown's plot is formulaic, and perhaps it is, but the formula is that of the hero's journey. I personally liked The Lost Symbol because of its DC setting and because the action takes place inside buildings I've visited. Additionally, I liked his references to Lynne McTaggart's The Intention Experiment, which is also a favorite non-fiction book of mine. As a former English teacher, I don't get too caught up in controversy. Dan Brown is a novelist, and by definition I understand that to mean his books are just fiction. If you'd like to read an excerpt, you can go to his website www.danbrown.com.

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