Thursday, September 30, 2010

YU+ME = Clean, my food challenge.

The idea behind this blog is to share information that I find valuable for health and wellness.  I use tools like massage therapy, exercise,  sleep and varied and balanced diet to help me stay, well...balanced.  However, none of use are perfect and "falling off the wagon" is inevitable.  Old habits die hard and they love to creep back up when we lose our focus!  One of my biggest vices is SUGAR!  Boy do I love sweets!  It was not too long ago that I decided I needed to get a better handle on this delectable vice.  I started to notice that despite getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, exercising daily and eating lots of plant based foods, I was lethargic.  The culprit?  Sugar.

When I finally admitted to myself that I ate to much sugar I was able to start making changes.  I stepped back and had an honest conversation with myself about how much sugar I put in my coffee, how many times I dip into the chocolate covered peanut butter pretzels, in the bulk food section at the grocery store, what my ice cream portions really looked like (enough for 2, easy : ~ ), etc... I was forced to realize that my sugar consumption was entirely too high for what my body was able to process.  As a result, I was crashing all day long...I felt tired, looked tired and had a dull headache frequently.  My sleep was suffering too.  I had trouble staying asleep and had to drag myself out of bed in the morning...

I decided to make some changes! I stopped visiting the bulk food isle, switched to agave syrup, and cracked down on processed foods (even cereal, which I love)!  In under a week I felt my energy level rise, my sleep improved and my headache disappeared.  Joy!

Recently, I have let some bad habits creep back in.  Yes, I have had a few too many chocolate covered peanut butter pretzels, indulged in lots of bread (which had loads of sugar) as well as packing my coffee full of straight up sugar... and what d'ya know...all of the old symptoms are back.

So, I have decided to get back on track and give myself a food challenge!  I really want to clear my system and I think the best way to do this is to limit my sugar consumption and eat clean.  One of my favorite websites is:  YumUniverse (YU) is great resource for a plant-based, vegan, raw, gluten free and dairy free diet. Perfect. That is just what I am looking for to eat clean for my food challenge.  I thought i would call it YU+ ME = Clean!  The really cool thing is that this will be fun and delicious. I have already enjoyed many recipes from YU and am psyched to experience more with this challenge!

I'll be blogging daily about the YU+ME = Clean so be sure to check in! 

Beth McVay, CMT
Member AMTA

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Who, The What and the Why (Knot)

I feel so very fortunate to have attended the  Boulder College of Massage Therapy (BCMT) in Boulder, Co, for my massage education!  There are many, many schools out there that offer certificates that qualify an individual to become a Certified Massage Therapist (CMT).  There are also many, many schools out there that are doing a great misjustice to the field of Massage Therapy.  Anyone can get a certificate but not everyone can receive a top notch education delivered through scientific based curriculum.  BCMT is frequently referred to as: "The Harvard of Massage Therapy Schools," and I believe it lives up to that reputation: )

I graduated with 1000+ hours which were earned through the study of various modalities, kenesiology, anatomy & physiology,  clinical hours, internships, volunteer programs, as well as a host of other avenues of education.  Being a massage therapist is not rubbing someone's shoulders with a nice smelling lotion.... Being a knowledgeable CMT is knowing what muscles make up (for example)  the rotator cuff (shoulder) and their actions, where their attachments are, how to access those muscles!  A good therapist will be able to do this with the various muscles groups in the body.

I like being able to educate my clients on the work we are doing in a relatable manner.  I think it si important to answer my clients questions about the work we are doing and why.  If I get stumped, I won't make something up: )  I will look to my many resources to find an answer and get back to you.  Continuing education has also been very imprtant to me.

In the fall of '08 I spend 2 months in Chiang Mai, Thailand studying Thai-Yoga Massage. What a great experience!  Eastern practices like acupuncture, shiatsu, thai-yoga, and table massage all work toward a similar goal, just going about it in different ways.  For about the last 3,000 years, modalities like these have worked toward keeping our body's energy (chi, ki prana, vital life force, etc...) moving in a balanced manner.  It is my personal belief that these practices have stood the test of time for a very good reason...THEY WORK!

Please feel free to leave a comment or ask a question and I will happily get back to you in a timely fashion!

Thanks for reading: )

Beth McVay, CMT
Member AMTA

Monday, September 27, 2010

Why Knot? Massage Therapy.

Hello!  I am Beth McVay, Nationally Certified Massage Therapist and member of the American Massage Therapy Association.  After receiving my undergraduate degree from Shepherd University, I embarked on my future career as a massage therapist through the study of non-verbal communication.  I came to Boulder to attend the Boulder College of Massage Therapy, graduating in 2005.  Since then, I have spent the last 5 years dedicating my practice to helping my clients achieve their wellness goals.  We achieve these goals in a variety of ways.

Techniques like: Myo-fascial Release, Resisted Stretching and Trigger Point Therapy are just a few of the tools "in my tool box," that I use to improve upon faulty postures, decreased range of motion, chronic pain amd many other less than optimal situations. One of the best "tools" I use is some simple education through communication.  Education creates awareness and awareness creates change.  I like using analogies to explain what might be happening within the muscle tissue and what we are doing to remedy the situation at hand.  Analogies allow us to visualize the work being done.  For example, a client might ask, "What is fascia?"  I explain that fascia is connective tissue that runs throughout the body, encasing muscles, also giving us form and shape.  So, believe it or not, if (god forbid) we didn't have skin, we would still maintain our form because of fascia.  Now, the analogy I like to use to explain Myo-Fascial Release (MFR) is to think of the balled up cotton that can be used to decorate at Halloween time.  When the cotton is in the bag, it is dense and opaque.  Once that cotton is taken out of the bag and spread out in the window (to create ever-so-scary spider webs: ) it becomes thin and transleucent.  Fascia has this same capacity.  When we are able to open up fascia, we are able to do some incredible, deep and restorative body work.  Whether your session is more "treatment" oriented or "relaxation" oriented, I believe that body work, through the power of touch and education, can help you live a healthier life.

I feel very lucky to live among such an educated and athletic population.  Many “Boulderites,” already use massage as a proactive wellness tool to enhance their physical, emotional, and spiritual health.  Our body language and posture speak volumes as to what is going on in our lives!  It also provides insight into physical and emotional challenges of the past.  Emotional stress and physical pain can LITERALLY be seen in the way we hold ourselves.  Massage Therapy can help provide the muscular nourishment you need to feel your best!

My job as your therapist, is to support your physical and emotional wellness.  I will listen to your needs and together we will work toward achieving your goals.  Thank you!

Beth McVay, CMT
Member AMTA