We often talk about the benefits of deep tissue massage, but I haven’t stressed the most important benefit - increased blood circulation. Circulation is no small thing! Indeed, this one system drastically affects all other systems of your body. Below are some easy tips on supporting your circulatory health. But just to make sure you are on board let’s celebrate some of the amazing things this system does for you all day every day.
Your circulatory system supplies oxygen to your brain so you can think! Now that’s a big deal. It is also a full-on transportation system for supplying nutrients throughout the body and eliminating waste materials, working non-stop to keep your temperature regulated, support organ function and cell growth. Point being, it is keeping you alive. So, let’s raise our glasses to our heart and vessels for their hard work circulating our blood!
But sometimes we make this work harder than it needs to be. When your circulation starts to get sluggish you will experience this in a number of ways. Here are a few examples.
Chinese New Year is coming up on February 16th so let’s give a warm welcome to Earth Dog! In case you didn’t know, each year of the Chinese calendar is associated with an animal and an element. The animal changes every year following a 12-year cycle. The element, however, changes every three years. Why does this matter? Well, according to Chinese astrology, we are just coming out of a three-year cycle of the Fire element! The most recent year was Fire Rooster, and it lived up to its name don’t you think? Now we are entering the element of Earth! Yes indeed, time for some nurturing because that is what the Earth element is all about! Earth is the mother of all of the elements in Chinese five-element theory.
2017 was intense, right? Fire is a good thing, but too much can be depleting. After three years of fire, it’s time to regenerate. Are you with me? As a country, we have cultivated quite the pattern of depleting ourselves. In a land where “busy” means you are a productive member of society and rest and relaxation needs to be earned. There is an old saying...more
Cathy Walker MA, L.Ac, LMT
We get questions about cupping every single day. Typically the questions go something like this:
· “What is cupping therapy?”
· “How does it work?”
· “When would you choose to add cupping to an ashiatsu session?”
But just last week, my client Sophia asked, “What is your favorite issue to treat with cupping?” In my 17 years of practicing cupping therapy, no one had ever asked me about cupping in quite that way and so it made me pause. What I realized in that moment is that I have not the story about how cupping saved my life over 20 years ago! So first, I am going to share with you the single event that inspired me to pursue a Masters in Chinese medicine.
There is definitely a story within a story here that we will go into at a later date, but for today, let’s stick to the one about cupping. It was around 1995 and I was staying in a small cabin in the mountains of northern New Mexico with my daughter Sadie. It was middle of winter and we were snowed in. I had come down with a bad cold, which quickly escalated into a...more
So what is cupping therapy exactly?
It is an ancient Chinese medical technique that utilizes small glass cups. The cup is placed in areas of muscle constriction and a vacuum is created within the cup that causes a suction action pulling the muscle tissue inside the cup. Traditionally, fire is used to create the vacuum. Modern cupping devices have been crafted that achieve the same result using a pumping device. Our studio has transitioned into the modern method of cupping as the tool allows for more precision in the treatment.
How does cupping work?
You might be curious about the “cupping marks” that can be an after affect of the cupping? Interestingly enough, these marks are not bruises. It is actually old blood that has been sitting stagnant in the muscle. The cups will actually pull the old blood out of the muscle so that the body can recirculate it. The marks typically take about one week to fade depending on how efficiently your circulatory system is currently working.
Cupping is also used to release muscle tension. If you have an area that...more
Have you been getting headaches? Let’s just affirm the truth about headaches right now; they are the worst! Staying positive and productive when your head is pounding is no easy feat. Am I right? In this email, we are going to explore some natural options for relief and even prevention. But first, let’s talk about where most tension headaches come from: Stress!
If you missed our blog entitled “Stress: Let’s End It”, check it out. I highly recommend practicing that simple mind-shifting technique to drastically reduce the low- and high-level stress that contributes to tension headaches. The technique is a practice, so you have to do it repeatedly and consistently to reap the benefits. Just like you cannot go to the gym once and expect to get in physical shape, you cannot just do the mind-shifting exercise once to get in mental shape. You have to keep working it until it becomes a natural pattern of thinking.
I view headaches as a major sign to “stop and listen”. Seriously, your...more
No one wants to talk about stress, right? Most of us view stress as an inevitable part of having a full life. In fact, if you were to tell a friend that you have been under a lot of stress lately your friend might inquire about the circumstances and that would be the end of it. Your friend would most likely agree that stress is the appropriate response to those circumstances. No questions asked.
Today, however, we are going to question further and turn this idea of stress on its back to take a look at the underbelly. By the end of this exploration, you will not look at stress in the same debilitating way ever again. Sound good? Let’s go.
First we have to ask the question; what is stress, anyway? We throw the word around a lot in our culture, but have you ever stopped to ask yourself what it is? Most often you will hear people say things like, “Yeah, I’m just stressed”, and you might just nod to them knowingly. But today, let’s get curious and begin to ask some questions about what stress is and what we can do about it. Stress isn’t something that just...more
Have you ever experienced so much tension in your upper body that you almost found it difficult to take a deep breath? Well, last week one of our clients came in complaining of this very thing. She said it felt like something was wrapped around her rib cage squeezing so tight she couldn’t take a full breath in. She described it as a slightly claustrophobic feeling.
She had been working long shifts at work and the stress of the ever-pending deadline was taking it’s toll on her back. Sound familiar? She typically holds stress and tension in her upper back and shoulders, but this was out of control because it was actually wrapping around to the front!
Her description of something squeezing the ribcage is actually quite accurate. The upper back muscles work together with the muscles of the ribcage and chest to facilitate healthy breathing. When they are all tensed up simultaneously, it can actually constrict the chest from expanding with the lungs.
What you can do to give yourself some relief
Time to break out...more
We often get the question: “So how is ashiatsu different than regular deep tissue massage?” First, ashiatsu is a form of deep tissue. I would even be bold enough to say, in my experienced opinion; our Ashiatsu Therapeutic Massage could arguably be the best deep tissue massage in Austin! In this post, I will explore a few key distinguishing elements between ashiatsu deep tissue and regular deep tissue massage. These examples should give you a good mental picture, but ultimately the real test is in the experience itself. Wouldn’t you agree?
The first time I ever experienced an ashiatsu massage; the sustained deep pressure struck me. There are certainly deep tissue therapists who can pull this off with their hands and forearms, but it takes a tremendous amount of strength and leverage. I know this because when I worked as a deep tissue therapist, I would do whatever it took to achieve deep pressure. And it was HARD WORK! I was willing to wear myself out to deliver the best massage for my client. To my surprise, this ashiatsu therapist was working effortlessly to...more
You may be wondering what is the difference between our Ashiatsu Therapeutic Massage and our Ashiatsu Relaxation Massage? In this post, we are going to highlight the main distinctions between these two sessions so you can make a well-informed choice.
The basic difference between the two types is the depth of pressure. An Ashiatsu Relaxation massage is a light to medium pressure whereas an Ashiatsu Therapeutic massage is a deep tissue massage.
Let’s begin by talking about why you might choose an Ashiatsu Relaxation massage. If you were someone who enjoys light pressure, as in the type of pressure you might expect in a Swedish style massage, you would definitely choose this option. If you really just want to relax with long, soothing, light massage strokes with absolutely no detailed massage work, this is the massage for you.
Our Ashiatsu Therapeutic massage is for our clients who love deeper work. In fact, for some of these clients the deeper work is quite relaxing. You may not have any particular issues going on at the moment, but because you love deep...more
Have you ever had a crick in your neck? Maybe you turned your head to look at something and then all of a sudden your entire neck locked up? Or maybe you woke up one morning after sleeping funny only to find that you couldn’t turn your head without excruciating pain?
As sudden as a crick seems to come on, it is not out of nowhere. In the 17 years I have been treating cricks, I have yet to find one that has not been building up over time. How can I tell? The palpable layers of tension take time to build; that is how.
Once the tension has made it to the point of locking up your neck, it is going to take some unwinding to get free and it’s going to be a journey. Often, cricks come along as a response to stress. It’s like your body’s alarm system saying: Stop now! Cancel your day, there is something more important going on you need to look at. If you are like me, you probably have some resistance to canceling your day and will grit your teeth and try not to let the pain in your neck get in your way. I can tell you from experience, this is a bad idea. If you...more
Let’s talk about that annoying knot that has been sitting in your back for some time now, shall we? Or is it more than one by now?
So the knot is actually a trigger point, a contraction in the muscle that has accumulated tissue build-up around it to keep the muscle contracted. It’s important to release those knots so you can begin to get good blood flowing through the area again.
At the end of this email, I am going to share with you our latest deep tissue technique that we have developed as a part of our very own Ashiatsu Therapeutic Massage technique. But first, I want to share some things you can do at home.
I know these knots can keep you up at night or make it difficult to find a comfortable sitting position at work, which can be terribly distracting causing you to be unproductive or unfocused.
Here is what you can do! First of all, find your knot. Is it near the shoulder blade and next to the spine?
Do you have a lacrosse ball? Lay on the floor with the lacrosse ball situated directly on...more
"Let the beauty you love be what you do" -Rumi
Have you ever heard the saying “Done is better than good?” Well, I have to say that I NEVER heard that growing up in small town Texas. In fact, if I had mouthed anything of the sort to my folks, I would have most definitely been grounded for the rest of the year.
I was more likely to hear something like, “If you’re gonna do it, then do it right the first time.”
For Mother’s Day this year we are encouraging self-love. Mothering Yourself Day, if you will. This may sound really cheesy, but we believe what the world needs is more people who love themselves. Believe it or not, when you love yourself you are changing the world. Think about this, how do you treat others in your mind when you are being hard on yourself? And how do you treat people differently when you are being kind to yourself? There is a shift, right? You affect the world around you every day whether you realize it or not. Trust me, the world knows when your smile is authentic and when it’s not so don’t think you are fooling anybody.more
So let’s just acknowledge that we are in a bit of an upheaval in our country right now and the journey may even get worse before it gets better. There, it is said! What now? First things first, feel your feelings! This is important! Once you have had ample time to experience and express your emotions, you can begin to let go of the feelings of helplessness or insecurity and move into empowerment. This requires a radical shift away from resistance (arguing with reality) and into acceptance for what is. If you think about it, we are much more effective when we are willing to accept the reality of what is happening, so that we can begin to take steps in a positive direction. Acceptance does not mean condoning or ignoring what is happening, it is simply being willing to look at life’s trials from a different perspective. “Okay, so that happened. Now, what can we do about it?”more
Yes, the holidays are already in full swing and if you tend to get through this season with love in your heart and and zero stress, then you need not read further. This message is specifically for anyone with mixed feelings about the holidays or just plain dreads them. We all have our lists this time of year, but this list is just for you.more
Everyone wants to feel heard. Too often we are so focused on what we have to share, that we forget to listen to others. The irony is that if no one is listening, then no one is being heard. The only way to change this pattern is to be the one to listen first. You will find that if you take the time to listen to others and really hear them out, they will take the time to listen to you. Once people feel heard, they are typically more receptive about what you have to say. One really great way to show someone that you have been listening is to find a way to rephrase what they are saying and repeat it back to them. This is called active listening and it is a sure fire way to attract friends and get promotions. Try it out and tell us how it worked! We want to hear your success stories!more
In part one of “the desk job”, we discussed the common issue of upper back pain: how to treat it, and how to prevent it. Now let’s talk about your arms, wrists and hands. Repetitive use of a keyboard or a mouse can lead to issues in the hands, including: discomfort, pain, weakness, stiffness, numbness or tingling. One of the main reasons is the constant contraction of the muscles in the forearm as you work at your computer. The same process of fascia build-up that happens in your back also occurs in the forearms. Your body’s natural response to muscles in constant contraction is to wrap them in connective tissue (fascia) to hold them in place. Unfortunately, as the muscles of the forearm are wrapped up in this way, blood flow to the hands is significantly reduced and many of the issues listed above ensue. There are many ways you can counter the effects of long hours at a keyboard thus preventing dysfunction.more
I have always been enamored with watching elderly women and men on their walks through our neighborhood. I just knew there was some wisdom in the smiles on their faces, as they would walk slowly admiring the trees and greeting everyone who passed with a genuine hello. I always felt like they knew something that I did not know yet. One beautiful fall day, I set out to discover what I was missing out on. I starting taking walks and mimicking the behavior of my elders.more
This high vibrational treatment empowers you to shine from the inside out. We use sounds, scents, vibrations (e.g., tuning forks), and energy work to induce a meditative state, activating your right brain consciousness and putting you in touch with your own limitless potential. If you have had difficulty achieving this higher state of awareness through your own meditation practice, this treatment is a way you can experience what all the fuss is about. But, you may ask, what is the point of all this energy and chakra balancing? Here it is: You see, the truth about you, is that you have within you the potential for a miraculous life no matter your circumstances. The only thing in your way in any given moment, are the self-limiting thoughts in your head that are going non-stop from the second you open your eyes in the morning until you fall asleep at night. Quiet the thoughts in your head and you are only left with the beautiful raw you which is infinite potential. Our approach to raising your vibration, accessing your creative, emotional consciousness, helping you...more
“One of the greatest rewards of being a receptionist at Austin Ashiatsu is that I get to see the miraculous transformation that has occurred as a result of what we do. You come out of that treatment room looking amazing! Sometimes, I even have to do a double take.” – Mary Streepy.
Showing up to be you every single day can be tough. And yet, the world demands that you keep coming back for another round again and again. Why? Because no one else can be you as well as you can. It can be too much at times. However, we know that underneath all of the stress and tension weighing you down is the bright and shining YOU the world needs. We believe when you succeed at being who you are capable of being, the world wins. We are committed to doing our part to clear away the stress and tension so you are free to be the best version of yourself in everything you do. Whenever we see the relief and lightness in you after a session, we feel successful in our mission. Thank you for all that you do everyday. And thank you for letting us help you get it done!more
When Sarah isn’t using her feet to do Ashiatsu Massage she is dancing with the local Hungarian performance folkdance group, Csardas. She is one of the newest members of the group and even though she has danced her entire life, she is having fun being challenged by currently learning four new dances from different regions in Hungary. One of them requires not only her feet but her head as the women balance large wine bottles on their heads for the entire six-minute dance!more
Can you imagine what your body would look like if it were designed so that you could efficiently sit at a desk for 8 hours/day? Not pretty, right? Believe it not, the tension that you feel in your back from sitting in one position all day is your body’s attempt to make it easier for you to do your job. For instance, the typical desk posture involves a forward hunch of the shoulders. In this position, the pectoral muscles in the chest are clenched and because of their inverse relationship with the muscles that support the spine, the trapezius and the erectors muscles are being forced into a constant elongated state. When the body sees that that you are working so hard to hold this precarious position, it bolts into action to help you by producing extra fascia (the web-like tissue that holds the muscles in place) and it begins winding it around the muscles to eventually form a cast that holds the muscles in a clenched position. Unfortunately, this kind of help is what ends up creating those tension knots in your shoulders and between your shoulder blades. These areas...more
We are very blessed to have a team of beautiful people doing an amazing job to make Austin Ashiatsu the best place to be. We honor and support each of our team members in shining their unique light out in the world. In the weeks to come, we will be sharing little tidbits about who we are so that you can get some insight into the special magic that shines inside our studio space.
We are so very lucky to have Mary Streepy as an essential part of our team. At the front desk at Austin Ashiatsu, we depend on Mary to make sure that you, our client, have the best possible experience while you are visiting us. Outside of the office, Mary has a very creative life as a thriving artist and musician. We will be sharing more about what Mary is up to as the months go by, but in the meantime. Here is a fun little video Mary put together because she loves Topo Chico so much!more
In how you treat yourself, you are teaching others how to treat you. This is a very powerful notion, if you sit and think about it. Let’s take a look at “the giver” for instance, the person who does everything for everyone else. Do you know this person? Could this be you? The one who gives and gives to everyone else and asks nothing in return? The one who never seems to put themselves first?more
We’re sure many of you have seen the recent news coverage of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps’ and his marks from cupping therapy. Don’t be alarmed; the marks fade after a week. How amazing to see this ancient technique in our modern world! Austin Ashiatsu has offered cupping since 2010 and today all of our therapists are trained in this healing technique – find out if cupping therapy is right for you at your next visit!more