Electricity – The Invisible Energy In Your Body

Your Body Is Electric

Electricity - The Invisible Energy In Your Body

Let’s liken the energy system in your body to the electrical system in your house. Your body is electric, with an energy system in place to transport chi/or life energy to your vital organs and throughout your body. 

This is similar to the way wires transport electricity to the various rooms, fixtures and devices in your home. 

For example: When the room you walk into is dark, you turn on the switch and WhALA! You have light!  How did that happen?  It’s part of the electrical circuit in your home. Just because you can’t see it, does not mean it is not there, and the effect it brings. 

But what if you turn on the switch and the light doesn’t come on?  You check the switch, and turn it on and off, to no avail. 

Your Body Is Electric

Something is not making a connection. You check the bulb and it’s fine, and you go to the circuit breaker box and find one of the breakers has switched off.  Simple enough. You switch it back on and check the light switch again.  You now have lights again.

What caused that? Perhaps the circuit was overloaded. Your body is similar. Stress can cause an electrical circuit to “switch off” just like a circuit breaker in your electrical box in your home. If you know how to reset it, or balance your body, you can turn the switch back on and get the energy flowing properly again.

Investigating Electrical Issues In Your Body

But what if you don’t know how to reset, or your solution isn’t working? For example:

  • You check the circuit breaker to find it is off, try switching it on again, but the lights do not come back on at all. As compared to your body, this is like trying the self-care you’ve always done, but this time it doesn’t work. You get no improvement.


  • You continually have to turn the breaker on. For your body, this is like when your self-care solution isn’t fixing the problem over time – the same problem or symptom keeps coming back. It may be the beginning of a chronic problem.


  • You find the issue is not just the light switch, but other switches and outlets in the same area.  Now, you have a much broader issue with your electrical  circuit in that part of the house. This is like having more symptoms and new problems coming up in your body.


  • You may find that there are electrical issues in the other rooms of your house. This is a much deeper electrical issue affecting many areas. This is like having a systemic issue that is affecting various parts of your body, multiple systems and functions, and your life.

“After doing all you can to fix the issue and perhaps realizing there is a bigger, or deeper issue than you can “fix,” what do you do?  You need to call on an expert electrician or somebody with more training/certification. Right?”

I Think I Popped A Circuit - But Why?

How do our “electrical switches get blown”?  Stress!! 

We all have stress in our lives and most little stresses we experience on a daily basis can be overcome. But over time, when we are confronted with these same stresses day in and day out, without addressing them, they will add up. This can cause our circuitry systems to get blown or shut down. This leads to compensatory patterns and symptoms, chronic conditions and eventually disease. What seems like small or day-to-day issues, begin to add up over time.

The same result may occur from a significantly stressful event. When you experience something  that causes physical, emotional, electrical, and/or nutritional stress too challenging for the body to overcome without support, you may need to have circuits reset. Stressful events are incidents that trigger a strong reaction from your body. This could be pushing your body to it’s limits in physical performance, an injury or surgery, getting dehydrated during travel, getting into a fight with a loved one, working too many hours/days at a computer without moving around, eating something that doesn’t agree with you, or any number of things.  

When your survival stress response is triggered by an event shocking to your system, it may affect more than just a circuit or two. The entire circuit breaker may be blown. After all, you had to draw a ton of energy from throughout your body to activate your fight, flight, or freeze response and all of the physiological responses required to “save your life.” As your body tries to recover, sometimes it has a difficult time getting back to normal, especially if you’ve been operating with a worn out electrical system due to lack of self-care or chronic stress. You might liken this to a dead battery in your car that needs to be “jumped” to get going again, or an electrical system that needs the circuit breaker and many wires and components replaced. 

Generating And Maintaining Healthy Energy

Once you understand that your body is electric, you begin to pay attention to energy shifts and changes and the symptoms that occur as a result. You notice when your energy is high or low, stagnant or excessive, or simply haywire.

Knowing who to go to, or what to do to boost the battery, reset the switches, and restore clear and vibrant pathways is vital information to overcome stress and get your body to run properly. 

“Just like you want the lights to come on when you want them to, and all of your plug-ins to give life to your devices, you want the energy system of your body to be just as reliable, vibrant and powerful. “

The easiest and most direct way to improve energy in your body is to work with your body’s meridians, the electrical system of the body.

Modalities of Traditional Chinese Medicine, such as acupuncture, work with the meridians to improve health and treat disease. Meridians are pathways of chi/energy that innervate and activate the organs of the body, and when the meridian flows are healthy, the organs and physiological systems of the body function harmoniously. Muscles and movement, hormones, blood and bodily fluids, emotions, sleep, higher brain functions, and energy levels are all directly impacted by improving the meridian flows.  Maintaining a balanced meridian system, is the key to good health and happiness. 

A Touch For Health balance is an ideal way to tune-up your energy system. The reason it feels so good (and often results in mysterious or “magical” outcomes), is because it erases compensatory patterns, directly affects all of the other systems in the body,  and promotes whole-body healing. Just like the power in your home, if it’s working right, everything else works right, too.

Hiring Your Electrician - Who You Gonna Call?

There will be times when you need support for your electrical system. When the solutions you’ve relied upon are no longer working, or you realize there is a bigger or deeper issue, who do you call? 

One way to get support is to reach out to your favorite Energy Coach or Touch For Health Instructor who will assist you in getting your energy moving properly again. The process clears stress, fuels the organs, and allows your body to do what it does best….. heal itself. Touch For Health is used to reset the electrical system so the body can heal itself in the background, allowing you to focus on what is really important LIFE!  

Becoming Your Own Electrician

Tuning-up the electrical systems in your body is simple and easy to learn. Anyone can become their own master electrician when they take Touch For Health class.

(You’ll also find that in addition to becoming your body’s electrician, you become your own first-responder, massage therapist, counselor, life coach, healer, nutritionist, neurologist, plumber, magician, doctor and empowerment strategist, too!) 

“Touch For Health is a wellness system designed to keep families out of the doctor’s office. You learn how to overcome and recover from the stress, problems, and triggers that inevitably occur in life. “

Using Touch For Health results in you feeling good, energized, and happy more often. 

The next time things are “off,” in your body or your life, or it feels like you have “popped a circuit” consider that your electrical system may need support. Sometimes it’s as easy as flipping a switch. You just need to know where it is. We can show you.


Blog Co-Written By:

Joyce Bunner, LE

Touch For Health Instructor & Energy Coach
(541) 517-2514

Sara McRae, LMT

Touch For Health Instructor & Energy Coach
(541) 953-4537

New Year, New Goals; Tools To Fight Off Anxiety-Induced Tension

Lily Brunner Massage Therapist

It’s that time of year again where we often set goals and intentions for the year- and that’s great! However, change often doesn’t happen overnight, and there can be a lot of stress around achieving those goals.

When we are stressed, it causes a variety of other issues; headache, sore back, poor sleep, to name a few.

I am here to offer 6 tips and tricks to fight off stress so you can continue to conquer your goals. These are simple, yet very effective!

  1. RELAXATION RITUAL. Find a place in or near your home where you can go to relax. Set aside at least 10 minutes of your day for this ritual, more if you have time. Preferably, have this time set aside around the same time every day. This could be anything from lighting a candle and setting an intention, to enjoying your favorite cup of tea. It has been proven that just the thought of relaxing effects the body and mind, which is why creating a DAILY ritual is key!

  2. MEDITATION. If you can sit quietly and meditate, then great! You might be able to combine the above tip with this one. Meditation is different for everyone- for me personally, I have found that I need to be hiking to meditate. I count deep breaths in and out, matching them with my steps. Or perhaps you prefer to meditate while taking a shower/bath. The important thing to remember is that it needs to be right for you- otherwise you will have a very hard time getting into habit! An easy self-reminder to practice meditation is to stick a sticky note with a short message (about meditation) and stick it somewhere you pass by often.

  3. CREATE RELAXING PLAYLISTS and radio stations on Spotify/Pandora/YouTube, whichever music source you use. Find some down time and search through your music, discover new tunes, and fill those playlists until they are overflowing! Preferably, find music that is generally less than 60bpm- that is to say, songs that do not make your heart beat quicker! This way when you are feeling out of sorts you have pre-selected music to throw on, to help calm and reset. I like to find new artists and save them for when I am feeling anxious. Focusing my mind on new information/music can help ground me. I dive into new songs, focusing intently on the words and music.

  4. RE-ASSESS YOUR BOUNDARIES. It is never a bad time to sit down with yourself and ask some important questions. What are your boundaries in relationships- family, work, personal? Are there any areas where you feel like your boundaries have been crossed? Re-affirming and strengthening your personal boundaries will protect you from lots of unnecessary stress, both physically and mentally. I prefer to draw tarot cards and reflect in journaling- of course however there are many ways to assess your own personal boundaries. Once you have reflected, check in on those boundaries every so often. When negative emotions start to rise in your life, try to reflect on where/if any boundaries were crossed. Keeping in check with personal boundaries, and over time you will see improvement in communication with both you and others!

  5. CREATE TO-DO LISTS. This is SO simple and yet so effective! The important part to remember about this tip, is that you need to add EASY check-offs to your list! That’s right! For every 3 harder/more important items on your list, throw in one fun/easy tasks. This helps so much when anxiety kicks in about not getting enough done. Another helpful thing is to think of a few easy things you have already done, add them to the list, and immediately check them off! It feels really good to get the list started and helps motivate you to continue.

  6. Lastly, my personal favorite, MONTHLY MASSAGE. Budget monthly for a massage and you won’t regret it! Massage helps reduce pain and stiffness, by resetting neurotransmitters and reducing the stress hormone cortisol through therapeutic touch. In addition, massage decreases heart rate, increases blood circulation, and improves sleep! A monthly session helps keep your body performing at its optimal- and helps you keep attuned to your body and its needs!

    My favorite part about being a Licensed Massage Therapist is that I get to offer an outside view into someone’s health and help clients reach their goals!

I hope these tips and tricks offered some inspiration! To read more content on health and wellness, visit the Zenbrio House Blog!

-Lily Brunner, LMT #24477

Blog post by Lily Brunner, Licensed Massage Therapist
Photo by Lily Brunner
More About Lily

Astrologer Predicts Massage Therapist Turns Woo Woo

Marco Xu Galaxy Massage Therapist

Please take a moment to read my personal story of how local astrologer, Johanna Mitchell impacted my life as an evolving massage therapist. ,Johanna has been diagnosed with ALS, causing her to lose her mobility and eventually she will lose her voice.

There will be an all-day benefit for Johanna at Tsunami Books on September 15 from 10am to 9pm. There will be a silent auction, flea market, readings and more. Please donate or attend! Here is a link to the Facebook Page with more detail about the benefit:

Benefit for Johanna Mitchell

Listen to Johanna’s 2018 Astrological Reading

“If you like hard work, you’re going to love this year” says Johanna Mitchell, local astrologer at her annual astrology reading at Tsunami Books.

Seriously! Of all the years to miss her reading, I miss it this year!

Well, of course I missed it, because at the turn of the year my year was already hard. I was too busy working too hard to have any fun. In fact, this entire year has been the hardest year for me since 2009.

I was originally thinking that I must have sorely wronged someone and they put a spell on me to have lots of challenges and a difficult time this year. My other theory was that I have been really blessed and happy for the past several years that I was just “due” for a reminder of how hard life can be. In that cycle I would become re-grounded in the whole “life is hard” experience and my therapeutic work with people would deepen again, as I am refreshed in my understanding of stress and pain.

Both of those theories are undoubtedly wrong and just stories I tell myself in my head. It’s more likely that this year is just “hard” and Johanna Mitchell, as usual, knows what she is talking about.

It breaks my heart to learn that Johanna  is losing her ability to speak. If you have ever had the pleasure to meet her you know that she has the most cheerful voice and the way she talks is like joy rising. She is such a fun person to listen to!

Here is a link to an article on KLCC about how Johanna is doing, and the article includes a voice recording of her 2018 annual astrology reading. Scroll down to where it says, “LISTEN TO JOHANNA MITCHELL’S 2018 ASTROLOGICAL PREVIEW.” Listen and enjoy!

KLCC Astrologer Feels Blessed Despite Terminal Diagnosis

Now, let’s go back in time. Here is my story about how I met Johanna.

Astrologer Predicts Massage Therapist Turns Woo Woo

In 2014 I had my first astrology reading with Johanna Mitchell. I was skeptical and excited to hear what she would have to say about me and my life, according to the stars. After all I had heard about how wonderful she was by eavesdropping on a couple of coworkers, but I knew essentially nothing about astrology.

They were right.  Johanna was wonderful and full of insight. It was like talking to a wise friend who has your best interest at heart, with a dash of funny and a sprinkle of magic. She told me all sorts of things about my personality that were true like, “the Gemini in you loves change, like completely rearrange your furniture, but you only actually do that every several years, not all the time, because the Taurus in you is really strong and likes to keep things the same.” People, the conflict is REAL. It was like she knew me.

It was a lovely session and she said all sorts of interesting things to me including predictions about the following year. I tuned into certain things, like the bit about my partner having a big challenge in the fall (which he did) and that it would be smart of me to avoid any sort of contractual agreements.

I don’t know about you, but I thoroughly enjoyed having someone talk to me, about me, for over an hour. Fascinated by how well she articulated details of my personality just by looking at my chart, I learned that astrology had a lot more detail than just the month you were born. I didn’t know how it worked, but it was seemingly on-point.

Here’s where it gets interesting. Johanna said something during that session that seemed minor at the time. In fact, I didn’t even remember she had said it. Only after it happened and I listened back to the CD recording of our session a year later did all of my skepticism fly out the window.

She told me that the late winter would be an excellent time for me to travel, especially for education. She said, “Look for a class at a convenient time in a place you would like to go. You’ll be glad you did. It will change the course of your career.”

It is true that changing courses and being adaptable is a classic Gemini trait, but I was enjoying my career as a massage therapist and had no reason to want to change. So, in the course of my astrology reading when she said that, I must have dismissed it. I was more enthralled with the other juicer things she was telling me.

So what happened? I did exactly what she said without even knowing she said it. It just happened.

I was looking for some continuing education for my massage therapist’s practice. Specifically I was seeking something that had to do with Chinese Medicine. I thought integrating some acupressure into my massage sessions might be a great idea. I found a week-long class in Malibu, CA that was at a beautiful Franciscan Monk retreat center. There was a mediation labyrinth, and the place looked serene. It would be held on the perfect week, when my partner was also out of town. It had to do with a book I had thumbed through a couple of times, Touch For Health. Done! I didn’t hesitate, I just signed up for it.

How It Changed My Career

Taking that class and it not only changed my career, it changed my life. In the first few hours, my stress was gone. By the third day all of my long-standing chronic pain was gone. I learned how to work with meridians to eliminate pain, how to use touch points to improve range of motion and get function back into body parts that were not working right.  This stuff is liquid gold for a massage therapist.

It showed me that energy is not some mystical thing that only people with a “gift” can work with. That healing is practical and simple, and we can completely change our response to stress by getting an energy balance.

I had signed up to take the class with Matthew Thie, son of the founder of the system, and had no idea that that was who I was learning from. I was just taking a random class I found online at a place I wanted to go. Only later did I understand how fortunate I was that I had landed on his website.

Touch For Health was magic, and it brought magic to my work. As a very manual massage therapist, I had never worked with energy before. I didn’t even know what a meridian was when I took that class. I had no idea you could release a tight muscle by tracing your hand across the body and not even touching the person! It was woo woo but it worked! I was in complete awe.

As a massage therapist I was used to working and working, and working the body some more to get results. It was music to my ears to learn that there were simpler gentler techniques, which were much more effective and long-lasting.

Touch For Health answered all of my inner prayers about what I wanted to be able to do for my own self-care, as well as bring depth and meaning to my work with clients. I was so inspired that I began using it in my massage practice right away. In a short time I was doing more kinesiology than I was focusing on being a massage therapist. Later that year I became a Touch For Health instructor passionate about teaching others!

I had fallen in love.

When I listened back to the CD of my reading with Johanna the following year, I was blown away. Briefly mentioned, among all of the other things that seemed so much more interesting, was a very clear prediction about what actually happened. That was when I knew there was something to astrology.  Johanna herself was a goddess!

She called it. That one random class did change my life. It changed it ways that I can’t even begin to explain to you. I’ve had rapid growth from the inside out and the outside in. I became a totally different type of massage therapist. It is the foundation from which Zenbrio House was born.

Get Your Own Astrology Info

There is so much more to astrology than the daily horoscope in the paper. What I once thought was just for entertainment, like so many things, runs much deeper than what initially meets the eye. Master astrologers like Johanna Mitchell spend a lifetime studying and perfecting the science and art of interpreting the stars and planets as they relate to our charts. Giving us information in a way that we can understand and integrate and experience how it impacts our lives.

Johanna has touched countless lives and I can only imagine the positive ripple effect she has had on our community. I am blessed to have enjoyed her company on several occasions and grateful for the many subtle and significant ways she has impacted my life. Join me in celebration of her work by attending her benefit on September 15 at Tsunami Bookstore in Eugene.

If you are curious about astrology, Johanna makes a personal recommendation to someone she trusts for astrology readings on her website: http://johannamitchell.com and if you haven’t read your own natal chart, check this out and see if a more in-depth description of you, according to astrology, resonates: Free Natal Chart on Cafe Astrology

Blog post by Sara McRae, Licensed Massage Therapist
Photo by Marco Xu

Decorating for Courage: Why You’ll Want a Massage in Our Metal Room

Our vision for a larger wellness center includes beautifully decorated rooms representing the five elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood.

As a center specializing in Touch For Health Kinesiology, a huge influence on what we do is the Chinese Five Element Theory. Just like with acupuncture, we use the acupressure points and meridian channels to move the energy from an element of excess to an element that needs more energy in order to create balance in the system and jump start the bodies self-healing process.

I chose to decorate one of the initial rooms in our new center as the Metal element room, namely because metal was the most challenging element for me to envision as a nurturing, peaceful treatment room. Metal can be cold, hard, clean and simple.

Metal represents the energy of purity, preciseness, freshness, discipline and clarity. In classic Feng Shui metal is white, gray and all metallic colors, comes in the form of minerals, crystals, stones and gems, and is represented with round forms and polished surfaces. Decorating with the metal element emphasizes the attitudes of determination, courage and inner strength.

I’ll admit, decorating this room was a challenge. The beauty of the room eventually came together as we found a few key pieces such as the art-deco credenza with a stone top, Mandy’s metal monkey bowl (say that ten times fast!), and some key Chinese Bronze hardware to bring our re-purposed St. Vinnie’s armoire to life.

We chose to paint the walls of our metal treatment room a metallic “Bronze” and a pearl color called “Astute,” both very fitting color names for metal. To emphasize the essence of the metal element, the room has simple decor, plenty of white, and clean simple lines. You’ll find the room to be spacious with a “grand” feeling with large furniture and plenty of gold and bronze accents. To warm the room we’ve added velvet chocolate curtains and some plush blankets. Additional decor includes a stone coffee table, white leather chairs, and a few strategically placed gems and rocks. It is an interesting mix of stone and art deco, subtly lit by the paper lanterns, and a funky gold spiral lamp.

“The metal room feels very clean, calm and grounding with just a touch of aged glam.”

Our intention to decorate the rooms at Zenbrio House as the 5-elements, is not only to emphasize the root of our treatments in Traditional Chinese Medicine, but to provide balance to our clients by immersing them in the energy of a specifically decorated space.

When do you need more metal in your life?

Increasing the metal element in your life may be very balancing for you if you feel overwhelmed, depleted in energy, or worrisome, and when you desire clarity of purpose or direction in life.

Metal element can help with the following:
• Increase productivity and efficiency
• Emphasize precision
• Enhance ability to simplify and organize
• Decrease scattered, un-grounded behavior
• Help you connect with helpful people and timely opportunities
• Increase ability to articulate and communicate with clarity
• Increase discipline, determination, courage and drive towards goals
• Bring feelings of lightness, calm, and clarity

Clearly, Metal Rocks!

How do I know if my metal element is out of balance?

In Traditional Chinese Medicine the metal element correlates to the Lung and Large Intestine organs and a handful of muscles such as Anterior Serratus, Diaphragm, Deltoid, Hamstrings and Fascia Lata (the IT band). If the metal element is out of balance an individual may experience dysfunction or pain in the corresponding muscles and symptoms of the organs themselves.

For example an individual may experience pain, weakness, diminished range of motion, tightness, and inability to “fire” properly in the corresponding muscles. If the imbalance lasts long enough the individual may experience complications with the lung or large intestine such as nose problems, colds or other repiratory problems, asthma, breathing problems, intestine-related problems, constipation, or lack of energy and inspiration in life.

When the metal element is out of balance the person may feel guilt, grief, difficulty letting go of the past, difficulty letting go of people or things, and they may be jealous, or worrisome. They may be forceful, rigid or controlling.

A person who is in balance in the metal element will exhibit courage, determination, leadership, minimalism, and will be able to make decisions easily. They are organized, clean and decisive.

Check out this excerpt about the metal element from the Touch For Health Kinesiology textbook. This is the book we use to balance our clients at Zenbrio House.

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When we test a muscle correlating to a particular element, it gives us an indication of the energy flow in that element and the specific meridian within the element. For example, testing the Deltoid gives us an indication of Lung Meridian within the metal element.

If it’s depleted the muscle will not function properly. To bring the meridian back to balance we may use acupressure, touch reflexes such as rubbing certain points, or work with the muscle itself to create harmony in the system.

When we balance a meridian the proper muscle function returns, muscles relax, and the body falls back into postural alignment. Since these muscles and meridians correlate to organ function, we know it is gives the person a boost and initiates self-healing on the inside as well. Our physiological functions, our horomones, and emotions, come back into balance and this harmony in the system feels extremely good. It’s often described as a lightness, a feeling of peace, and a release of physical and emotional stress.

The more frequently you experience balance, the more your body becomes efficient, vibrant and healthy.

Check out those metaphors! Isn’t it absolutely fascinating how the muscle function or dysfunction correlates to what may be going on in our lives? That is what makes working with the 5-Elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine holistic.

“Holistic is integrating all of the aspects of the person in the context of their life, not just treating their symptoms or treating a broken part.”

Chinese Medicine has been around for thousands of years because it is extremely effective in helping people recover from illness and heal physically, emotionally and spiritually. The 5-Element theory is the most fascinating and eerily accurate healing system I have had the pleasure of learning about. If you are curious about how we balance the 5-Elements, join us for a Community Balance Circle or treat yourself to a Kinesiology Balance session. A balance will align your posture, enhance your energy and improve your mental outlook.

Through Traditional Chinese Medicine and Touch For Health balancing, a person can experience a lot more ease and a lot less disease.

I hope you will visit our center and that you find the metal room to be luxurious and balancing. We are excited to share this beautiful space with you and hope that it will inspire you to get organized, get clear, and bring forth the calm and courageous energies within you to achieve what your heart desires.

Book a massage or kinesiology session with one of our amazing holistic therapists!


Blog post by Sara McRae, LMT
Photo by Sara McRae, LMT

How to Get the Best Massage of Your Life

Best Massage of Your Life

How to Get the Best Massage

Do you want the best massage of your life? Let me give you an insider’s secret. When you have a massage or therapeutic appointment, there is one thing that you can do that will guarantee you have the best experience.

It’s to be open.

Let me explain.

Helping people feel better, get out of pain, and become more self-aware is both a science and an art. There are certain things that your therapist has learned throughout his or her training that are meant to help with specific issues. Let’s call those recipes, and some practitioners really like to follow recipes, and can get good results that way. That’s the science part.

How do you get even better results? How do you have a blow your mind, awesome massage experience? How do you access the real healing potential?

It’s simple, ask for the artist within your therapist to show up.

Ask for the part of your therapist that goes rogue, that doesn’t follow recipes, is willing to connect with you on a deeper level, and to work with you from a place of creativity and intuition. That’s when the real healing work begins.

If you walk into to your massage therapist’s studio and say, “I have this back pain so I want you to work only on my back for an hour and I want really deep work.” You have essentially committed bodywork suicide.

First, you have just put your therapist in a box. You have smothered their creativity.  You have closed so many doors on your healing it’s not even funny.

Presence, creativity, nurturing, and healing are all feminine energies. You can’t access those qualities by forcing a protocol.

It’s like going to a really amazing top chef and saying, “I want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread but I want you to use only Skippy and strawberry Smuckers and I want it to taste like a gourmet meal. I want it to fill me up and melt in my mouth like the best meal I’ve ever had.”

Even if the chef tries to make you the best peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and gets the best white bread and the freshest Skippy and loads it all on there, he’s still completely limited. You are totally missing out on what that chef has to offer.

As a consumer, you have more choices than you think. You can demand exactly what you want and have the top chef make you a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. That is, if the top chef is willing to do that. Just because the chef is a chef doesn’t mean he makes PB&J, and just because your massage therapist is a massage therapist it doesn’t mean he does deep work on backs.

If you want them to provide something they are good at, at the very least you could ask for the menu and order off of that. You could even ask for the chef’s recommendations!

But there is an even MORE exciting option. Why not ask the chef to make you whatever she wants? After all, you are seeing a top chef. This person knows how to cook a meal. You are paying good money for it, so why not get the best of the best instead of the same old peanut butter & jelly? I’m telling you, if choose the latter she’s going to create something for you that is “blow your mind” delicious.

You have that same choice when you see your massage therapist or healing arts practitioner. How you interact in the first couple of minutes is going to set the tone for what you will get. I’m not saying don’t speak up about what you love or what is important to you. I mean if you are feeling like steak today, by all means mention that steak sounds great. But there is a way you can ask for what you want and still get the best treatment.

Try this next time you see your massage therapist:

“I have this back pain, and its important to me that gets addressed, but I want you to do whatever it is that you think would help me feel better. I am wide open to whatever techniques you use.”

Guess what?  Instead of closing doors, you just opened them. You just started a conversation and a good therapist is going to ask more questions and begin creating a strategy on how best to help you. You have communicated a huge amount of respect for their area of expertise.

By honoring the inner-artist in your therapist, and asking for him/her to show up, you have stepped into the realm of healing.  Your therapist is not “stuck” in any way. They are excited to do their best work and pull from all of their experience. They get to be creative. They get to use their intuition.

You are now their favorite client because they are free to help you in the very best way they know how.

You are about to have one of the best sessions of your life.

Now, let’s clarify one more thing. You won’t get a top chef meal if you go to Taco Bell. They have a strict protocol on how they make their tacos. Don’t be fooled by the chain restaurants either, they will be pulling your meal out of the freezer, so chances are you won’t get something fresh, healthy, creative and made with love.

Make sure you go to a therapist who has the freedom to run his or her practice as he chooses. Then tap into the very best of that freedom by asking for the best of what they have to offer. You may never complain about that back pain again.

Blog post by Sara McRae, LMT
Photo by Rosie Kerr

Book a massage or kinesiology session with one of our amazing holistic therapists!


How “Touch Anxiety” Nudged Me Into Massage Therapy

Most people get into massage therapy or the healing arts because they have a deep desire to “help people,” to nurture, or to be of service.

I got into massage therapy because I desperately wanted to feel better.  I was in pain, stressed out, and unhappy. My decision to look into massage training was logical, practical and completely about me.

Ultimately I got into massage therapy because of contrast. My twenties showed me how I did NOT want to feel in my body, and what I did NOT want in a career.

I was sitting too many hours at a desk and very stressed out at my job. At 23, I knew that I was too young to be feeling so uncomfortable, awkward and overwhelmed. Massage school appealed to me as a smart way to learn about the body and how to feel better.

In addition, I was embarrassed and disappointed in my overwhelming anxiety around touching people. Yep! Touching people was terrifying to me.

I was extremely uncomfortable touching anyone who was not in my very inner circle. If you were a coworker, acquaintance, friend, etc. it was very difficult for me to reach out a hand or offer a hug.  I admired people who were free with their affection, who were able to effortlessly touch someone with confidence and in a nurturing safe way, such as touching someone’s shoulder as you talk to them.

Massage Therapy training seemed to be a logical solution to the areas in my life that I was “stuck.”

In 2003 I quit my job and started looking into massage schools. I was drawn to Oregon School of Massage in Portland/Salem. I lived in Eugene but commuting to the right school seemed worthwhile. I ended up being wooed back to my employer before I even started the massage program, but I made arrangements to work part-time while I went to school.

Oregon School of massage was wonderful, but I almost walked out of orientation because of my touch anxiety. I remember the administrator talking about the program and how much touching was involved. He had us stand up and touch the arm of the person next to us, and give some brief massage-type touch. It reminded me of that dreaded moment in church when I would be forced to shake hands and greet the people around me. Absolutely terrifying! I would go through the motions, feel like I wanted to crawl out of my skin, dissociate from my body and emotionally shut down.

I knew I was going to have to face a lot more touching than that, but I was determined that massage school was the right choice for me for many reasons. I deeply wanted my life to change.

Massage school was fascinating. I learned so much about the body, how to care for myself better, and I very quickly got over my touch anxiety. I would look forward to a job that was healthier for me, with more movement, more peace and calm, and above all not at a desk.

Then, more life happened.

When I finished massage school I did not start my new career. I got a high-stress desk job in a competitive corporate environment. It was round two of life showing me what I didn’t want.

In 2009 I quit that job. I was overweight, had swelling feet, stomach problems, sleep problems, hormone problems, and anxiety. It was all due to stress and a sedentary lifestyle.

I started walking and I started to study massage therapy again. After two months walking on a treadmill I began running outside and feeling healthier. It was time to sit for my license exam and start a massage therapy practice.

I took a part-time job and was transparent with my employer about my desire to grow a massage practice. I found a wonderful room to rent downtown Eugene and it happens to be the same room I still practice in today. I was eventually able to transition to massage therapy full time.

What fascinates me, looking back, is that I didn’t get into massage because I was driven to help people. Pain was my great motivator. Overcoming anxiety and becoming comfortable in my own skin was my goal. I believe that my experiences helped me be a more compassionate therapist. I understand pain. I understand not taking care of yourself. I understand obligation, stress and being stuck.

I could write for days about all of the reasons I am so grateful that I chose massage therapy as a career. I have evolved so much with it. My life is richer for it in meaning, connection, and purpose.

I get to laugh a lot. I get to wake up every day excited to go to work. I get to be a witness to people growing, changing and feeling better. I get to help people and be of service.

Best of all, I am able to give hugs freely and they come from a place of joy. If you see me for a session, it’s highly likely you will get a hug. Unless that would cause you anxiety, in which case I totally get it, and would respectfully not engage in awkward hugging. I am also pretty good at smiles, high-fives, and winks these days.

Blog Post by Sara McRae, LMT
Photo by Photo by Drew Hays