Massage your Pooch!

Have your dog lie on a soft surface, although very small dogs can be done sitting or crouching on your lap. Start with several soft, slow strokes from head to tail. When your dog begins to relax, scratch gently behind the ears, moving to the cheeks, under the chin, over the nose, between the eyes and over the head. Rub each ear several times between your thumb and forefinger, working from base to tip.

Using three fingers, move slowly over the neck, shoulders, and chest in small, circular patterns, gently pinching folds of any loose skin in these areas. Lightly squeeze down the length of each foreleg, then place three fingers on each side of the leg and softly rub opposite directions several times. If your dog is comfortable with having his feet handled, use your thumb and forefinger and give each foot a couple of soft squeezes. This is a good time to look out for any burrs, ticks, or skin abnormalities. Use common sense in avoiding wounds, lumps, rashes or any sore spots your dog may have.

The second phase of the massage can include placing your thumb and index finger on each side of the spine and ‘walking’ them toward the base of the tail, and then the outside of each thigh. You may also squeeze the length of the tail and move down the rear legs in the same way as on the front legs, if your dog doesn’t protest. If at any point, your dog resists, respect his wish and move to the last area or technique he enjoyed. Finish up with several soft, slow strokes from head to tail.

Remember, deep dog massage should be done only by a trained and certified practitioner so it’s very important to always keep your massage light and gentle. When you finish, your dog will most likely be napping peacefully and you may be surprised to find your own tensions melted away also.

Daily Om: Words of Wisdom – Affirmations

Our minds accept as truth the critical statements we tell ourselves, but it can also accept our positive affirmations.

The words we speak and think hold great sway over the kind of life that we create for ourselves. Many people live their lives plagued by negative thoughts and never even realize this. They tell themselves and others that they are doomed to fail, not good enough, or not worthy of love, yet they are amazed when their reality starts reflecting these words. Just as the subconscious mind accepts as truth the critical statements we tell ourselves, however, it is also equipped to instantly accept the veracity of our affirmations.

Affirmations are statements chosen and spoken consciously. Once they enter our realm of consciousness, they also enter our subconscious mind where they have the power to change our lives. The affirmations you create should be specific, not too long, worded positively, formed in complete sentences, and spoken in the present tense as if what you are affirming is already true. It is a good idea to repeat your affirmations daily. You may want to tell yourself that you deserve to be happy or that you are in control of your destiny. Or, you may want to focus on a particular goal, such as attracting new friends. Rather than telling yourself you want to be well-liked, say, “I am well-liked.” Your subconscious mind will pick up on these positive messages, and you will begin to live your life as if what you are affirming already has happened. Soon, your reality will begin to reflect your affirmations. If you find that you are thwarting yourself with negative thinking, try repeating your affirmations several times a day. Write your affirmations down and say them aloud or in your mind. Allow your conviction to grow stronger each time you say your affirmations, and your negativity will be overridden by your motivation and positive thoughts.

Affirmations are a powerful tool for creating our desired reality. We consciously and subconsciously invite opportunity into our lives when we say affirmations. Trust in the power of your affirmations, and you will very quickly create what you have already stated to be true.


How Much Do I Tip My Massage Therapist?

Tips are never expected, but always appreciated.  If you feel that you have received exceptional service and would like to show your appreciation to the therapist, the average tip ranges between 15-25%.  From a therapist’s perspective, it is always nice to receive the compliment of a “thank you for good service” gratuity. If paying with a credit card or check, the tip can be added to the total.  If your therapist is scheduled to provide an outcall massage, and is expected to schlep a table and associated equipment, a gratuity is more inclined to be expected and greatly appreciated. Any tip given with a genuine smile and a ‘thank you’ is better than nothing at all.

Have mercy!

Have you had a hard day traveling, or at work? Do you feel a little grumpy? Were you sharp or impatient with someone?

Well, guess what! People in service industries don’t always have great days either. Show them a little mercy and assume the best about them. Maybe your massage therapist is off the mark because a family member is sick in the hospital.

Instead of skipping the tip, give your therapist a break.  We are all human.

Coupons and gift certificates

If you received a coupon or gift certificate, how much should you tip? Tipping is always based upon the normal price of the service. If you get a coupon for 25% off, then tip on the original price. The amount of work done by the therapist is not less because you paid less. If you have a coupon for a free massage, then tip based upon the regular price of the session.

If you have a gift certificate for a massage, inquire if the gratuity is included. If it is not, ask for the estimated value of the gift certificate, and then tip in cash based upon that amount.

But the service is already so expensive!!

With proper tipping etiquette, the percentages of your tips do not change because of the cost of the service. Let’s take a hair salon, for example. Of course, you can always tip on the lower end of 10-20%. But if you are going to go to a more expensive salon, then it is assumed that you can afford $120 plus tip. If it is really a big crunch for you, then I would recommend going less often or finding a salon that is more within your budget.

Tipping the Owner

Do you tip the owner of a company when he or she provides your service. The answer is yes.

Christmas Holiday Tipping Etiquette

Christmas is a great time of year to remember those people who serve you regularly. Since it only occurs once a year, holiday tipping can be a source of holiday stress, but it need not be so. I recommend a gift or a tasteful Christmas card with a tip inside. Delivery should occur in the month of December prior to Christmas day. Tip those who serve you all year long and with whom you have a personal relationship.

  • Massage therapist – $15 or more. Read more about tipping massage therapists at


Massage and Hydration

Drinking water after a massage is often recommended by massage therapists and other health care professionals, for a variety of reasons.  The body benefits from proper hydration and consuming water will help the kidneys and other organs process the various substances which travel through the human body on a regular basis. Drinking water prior to a massage is also highly recommended, as it will make it easier for the massage therapist to perform deeper work by hydrating the muscles so that they are easier to manipulate.

There primary reasons for drinking water after a massage are:

1.  Substances released by the muscles as the massage therapist manipulates them.

2.  To ensure that the muscles of the body are properly hydrated.

Drinking water after a massage helps the body flush out any accumulated materials in the muscles which were released during the massage, especially in the case of deep tissue massage. Massage stimulates circulation in the body while expressing water, salt, and other minerals from the muscles, and circulation is designed to carry away waste materials generated by cells. By providing the body with plenty of water, clients can help remove these waste materials; otherwise, they might build up, causing muscle aches and soreness after a massage.

In lymphatic massage, drinking water after a massage is essential as the stimulation of the lymphatic system can generate a large release of wastes in the body. If one thinks of the lymph system as the sewer pipes of the body, collecting unwanted waste material and carrying it away for disposal, lymphatic massage is like Draino, so water helps flush the drain, in a sense.

Most importantly, people should drink water after a massage because massage can be dehydrating. The manipulation of the muscles depletes them of water, and also moves the fluid in the interstitial spaces between the muscles around. By drinking water, people can rehydrate their muscles, reducing the potential for pain and soreness in the days following a massage. For the same reason, people tend to automatically drink water during and after exercise, because when the muscles are worked, they lose water and electrolytes.

Many people also like to drink a glass of water after a massage because it helps ground them and bring them back to reality post massage. After a massage, people can feel a bit disoriented; having a glass of water can help bring the body and mind back to the present, and it gives the client time to slowly return to the real world.

Some Small Businesses I Recommend

I have lived in Sacramento for the past fifteen years.  I LOVE to support fellow small businesses, having had my own business for 12 years.  Here is a partial listing of businesses I highly recommend.   If you do decide to utilize any of these businesses, please mention my name.

http://www.alainntu.comHeather Ramsey, Aesthetician (Facials and waxing) Luckowicz, Aesthetician (Facials and threading) Ramos, Aesthetician (Microdermabrasion treatments) Lansdon (Permanent Makeup) and Gibbs (Eyelash Extensions) Frost (Hairstylist/Makeup Artist)

http://www.padmecenter.comSophie Levy, Owner (Yoga) Odom, Owner (SEO services)

www.ramblingrita.comMandy Tardiff  (Artist, specializing in hand painted murals, face painting, children’s book illustration) Goldkuhl, Esq.  (Estate/Probate Planning Attorney) Cedusky (Enrolled Agent)

http://www/carmichaelfamilydentistry.comRichard C. Yee, D.D.S (General and Cosmetic Dentistry)

http://www.lasikworld.comGuy Seydel, O.D. (Optometrist) Rosetti, President  (Full service Graphic Design)

http://firstsolutionsinc.netScott Colvin, Owner (Security systems, fire alarms, access control, closed circuit television, computer networking wiring, fiber optics, telephone systems)


Ten Tips to Make the Most of Your Massage

So somebody’s given you a gift certificate for a massage. You’ve never experienced one before, and are unsure yet if this is one of those gifts you’re supposed to appreciate because “it’s the thought that counts,” as they say.  You know getting this massage will involve making an appointment and being somewhere at a specific time, which seems like a chore, kind of like a doctor or dentist appointment.  You have a general idea that it will involve lying on a table for anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half, and you’re afraid you’ll get bored being still for that long.  Here are ten tips to get the most out of your massage experience.

Tip #1: Get to your appointment on time. New clients often have to fill out paperwork, or some therapists will have you fill out a form online before you arrive.  It’s also good idea to visit the restroom before your appointment.

Once you’ve met your therapist, you’ll have a discussion about what your goals are for the session, and be lead to the treatment room. Maybe you just want to relax, or maybe you have a particular area to address, like low back pain. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or state what you want.

Tip # 2: Tell your massage therapist about your physical issues. Information like “I’m ticklish on my lower back” and “I can’t turn my head to the right” or “My left calf is sensitive to the touch” help the massage therapist plan a strategy for your massage. Be sure to mention recent injuries or surgeries.

Tip# 3: Go commando, or not. Before your therapist leaves the room, your therapist should give you instructions on what to do, which will likely include the statement “Undress  to your level of comfort.” This means you only take off the items of clothing you feel comfortable parting with. Many people take off everything except their underwear, or go completely commando (take off all of their clothes).

California draping policy dictates that certain areas must remain covered by a sheet at all times. The therapist will uncover one body part at a time to work on during the massage so you will never completely be exposed at any time.

Tip #4: Get under the sheet and blanket. Unless you’re wearing all your clothes, you’re required by law to be covered with a sheet or “draped” during your massage. If it’s uncomfortably warm in the room, the therapist can adjust the temperature or remove the blanket over the sheet, and turn off any table warmer.

Tip #5: Don’t worry about primping for your massage therapist. Sometimes female clients apologize for unshaven legs prior to the appointment, but this is unnecessary. Massage therapists, as a general rule, do not judge male/female clients based on their stubble, tans (or lack thereof), their cellulite or abundance of back hair.

Tip #6: It’s okay to catch up on your zzzzz’s. Many clients find they relax and go into a lucid dreaming state, or take a brief power nap, and this is a perfectly acceptable way to enjoy a massage. Not to worry, the massage therapist will not be offended, and you’re still getting the full benefits of the massage if you’re not awake and alert.

Tip #7: You don’t have to assist the massage therapist. Your massage therapist may adjust your limbs or head during the massage in order to stretch or gain better access to muscle groups. It’s okay to settle in to the session and allow the massage therapist do all of the work.  Your only job when receiving a massage is to relax and enjoy.

Tip #8: Communicate with your massage therapist (if you prefer). If your massage therapist finds and works on a tight or knotty spot, sometimes the discomfort involved can actually feel good because your body senses that the pain is helping to resolve a problem.  Many clients refer to this as “A good hurt.” But once said discomfort becomes too intense, speak up. Too much pressure or manipulation can cause a muscle to go into defensive contraction, and this works against solving the problem. Barring issues like this, clients may or may not choose to ask questions or start conversation during the massage, depending on their preferences.  It’s okay to talk during part or all of the session.  Some people like to talk during a session as it helps them to feel more comfortable or relax while others prefer complete silence.

Tip #9: Be realistic. If you have a longstanding physical issue, it may take a longer session or even a series of sessions before you see marked improvement. Issues like low back pain and stiff necks tend to develop over time, and often it takes time to work them out.  I cannot tell you how many times I have had people come in who think I can “fix them” in one session when they have had a recurring pain issue for years!

Tip #10: Drive safely. It’s common to feel mellowed out and spacey after a massage. Take your time getting to your feet off of the table and getting dressed. Most importantly, be extra careful driving home. Sometimes clients plan some relaxing time in a nearby coffee shop or restaurant after the massage and before they get back in the car.

A number of my clients got their first massage without knowing what was in store, and found it to be a learning experience. Many people say things like, “I had no idea I had soreness there” or “I had forgotten what it’s like to be this relaxed,” and they use what they learn during the massage to prolong the benefits of the massage.  Sometimes this means stretching during some part of the day or simply changing how they use desk space at work. Many people decide to make massage a regular part of their lives after their first session.  When I received my first massage over 20 years ago, I knew I was hooked!

How Often Should I Get A Massage?

A common question I get asked after seeing a new client is, “How often should I get a massage?”

Here are my general guidelines for massage treatment frequency:

*Please note, this is a generic guide and would be adapted for each individual scenario.*

Relaxation – Most say once a month for 60 minutes is sufficient, but I think if you really want some benefit, but only want to come once a month, 90 or 120 minutes is better.   I encourage you to try sampling a 90 or 120 minute session some time and you perhaps you will see what I am talking about.

Acute injury – more frequent treatments of shorter duration should help – for example, 2 times a week for 30 – 45 minutes. This should help relieve pain and congestion in the area, then after a few weeks, switch to deeper, muscular work for longer periods of time. At this point your injury may have moved into a sub acute or chronic stage of healing, depending on the severity of the injury, 1-2 times a week for an hour, over a period of 3-4 weeks should get you on the road to recovery.

Treatment for chronic conditions (i.e. headaches or back pain) – one hour twice a week for 4 treatments, then try once a week for 3 or 4 weeks, and try to decrease to 1x in 14 days for 2 treatments. You will then go into maintenance mode. Once again, very individual, and the longer the condition has been an issue for the client, the more treatments will usually be needed to make consistent gains.

Some more general guidelines:

Follow remedial exercise and homecare advice – passive treatments such as massage therapy can only take you so far, it is YOUR responsibility to be proactive in your own health care. This means follow any exercise, stress management, nutrition and lifestyle advice you receive from qualified individuals/resources. Record what you do and how you feel, try to make a correlation between various factors. If you have a team of health care providers who are willing to work together, use them!

Don’t go too long between treatments!   This is a common mistake a lot of people make.  Any progress made during your initial treatments are building upon the progress made in a prior treatment. This means that if I’ve treated a client for chronic back pain for a month and we’re seeing some results, if he/she stretches out the length of time between appointments to 8 weeks instead of my recommended 2 – 4 weeks, it may be like starting all over again. How frustrating and what a waste of money for the client!

Remember, though, that if you start to feel consistently better (and consistent is the key word here), you have the right to say “I’d like to stretch out the time between treatments a few more days, can we try that?” Your therapist can only give you advice and guidance, you have to figure things out what works for your situation.

If the treatment is not helping – find another therapist! Sometimes people feel awkward about ditching their therapist, especially if you have a good relationship with him or her. BUT, bottom line, it’s your time and hard earned money, and you should see results.  If you come to a point where you would like to see another massage therapist, please let me know, I would be happy to recommend you to another therapist. I know a lot of very good, highly skilled therapists.  I don’t take offense and would prefer you let me know and inquire. Sometimes massage therapy is not the be-all-end-all of treatments, I personally find a combination of therapies to be the most effective.

Knowing your rights as a client will prevent you from getting expensive, unnecessary or ineffective treatments, and will enable you to receive treatment that suits your needs.  Good luck and healing wishes to you…

15 Min Back Exercises to Strengthen Your Back


Develop a habit to strengthen your back to alleviate your back pain by committing to performing back exercises at least 3-5 times per week.

How do I stick to developing a habit?

 Seven Steps to Developing a New Habit

 Back exercises in 15 minutes


Have fun and good luck!!!