Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Image Map

Posted by Judy Moon

You wake up, and you notice that itchy, scratchy, sore tickle in your throat. You feel a little fuzzy, congested, you begin sneezing, you start to feel chilled, your body is sore and achy as if you just worked out. That’s right – you’re sick! The cold /flu season is upon us again.

Do I come in for a massage or not? It might make me feel better, right?

Here’s the truth.

The cold and flu are thought to be spread primarily through the droplets that occur in the air when you cough or you sneeze. They can remain in the air or land on surfaces that others may touch. When you enter a massage treatment room, you will be in a small space that usually doesn’t have great ventilation – there aren’t typically lots of windows to let fresh air in. We want a dark, cozy room, right? Not only are you exposing your therapist to the risk of infection, but other people who will be seeking treatment.

Although it may seem comforting to receive a massage while you are experiencing those symptoms, your body is already working hard; your immune system is doing double duty. Massage can be too taxing on the body that is already in fight mode. You may also actually feel worse after the massage.

However, when you are FREE OF SYMPTOMS, massage therapy can help you push that reset button and get back in the groove. It is important to wait till your flu/cold symptoms have passed before you come in.

We sometimes ache when we have a cold or flu. Why is that?

According to – One of the main reasons that your body aches when you are sick, like with a cold is that your body’s immune system is producing plenty of anti-bodies. These anti-bodies also produce histamines, which typically dilates (widens) blood vessel near an infection, this allows for more of the body’s defenses to get at the infection.  There are histamine receptors in blood vessels that cause them to dilate. As these chemicals are released into your blood stream they can end up in your muscles or other body parts. Various body systems can have receptors to histamine that can then trigger a pain receptor.

So when you start to feel like you old self again, schedule a massage. You’ve probably been laying around a lot. You might be stiff. Your immune system could use a boost. Some pressure point work in the sinus area would feel divine. You’ve been coughing -those back muscles could use some TLC.

Better yet, schedule massage as a preventative. Massage is great for helping the body stay strong enough to resist the infection even if you are exposed:

  • It increases circulation of blood and lymph- which is immune boosting
  • Decreases stress levels , which makes us less susceptible in the first place
  • Encourages better sleep, which is one of the keys to good health

Be well and don’t forget your vitamin C!

Enjoy the Cave

Image Map

Posted by Gwyn MacDonald

It’s hibernation time folks, one of my favorite times of the year as I think I have said in the past. I do love being outside and active in the warmer months, carrying on in the garden, soaking up the sun. But I also love the hush of winter. Running around in the cold and then hunkering down indoors, warm and sleepy under a blanket and a cat, a good book by my side.

In the past few years though I find that instead of allowing myself to snuggle up and enjoy this time of being indoors, being internal, I fret that I should be doing something!

Getting things done!

Yikes. Give it a rest dear girl!

This year I’m giving myself permission to settle in to winter. To read the books on my shelves that have been calling me, to rest, to write (no, the next post will not be about arithmetic, I promise).

To be. We tell ourselves we don’t have enough time, but sometimes I think we just have to take the time. Make it our own.

Happy hibernating!

The (Not So) Fading Beauties

Image Map

Posted by Gwyn MacDonald

My nephew and I were driving on a recent autumn day, admiring the still fabulous but beginning to wane colors of the leaves. He said that soon everything would look drab and depressing with winter and wouldn’t’t it be cool if the trees kept their colors until the new leaves arrived in spring. I agreed that it would be cool but it might make spring less exciting as we would have nothing to look forward to after all of that dark and cold. Those first few electric green leaves spark our spirits and get us up and moving!

As we continued to talk I thought about our yearly trips to upstate New York for the winter holidays and the long ride when I have plenty of time to gaze out the window. Fields of burnt orange and sandy colored grasses, icy purple and brownish red raspberry canes and brambles, mountains covered in as many shades of green, gray and blue as you can imagine. I always feel inspired by these wild colors and it often spurs a drawing or sewing project once I get back home.

I was glad to be reminded that even though the skies may be heavy and the deciduous trees seem so skeletal in winter, there is still so much color to be seen all season long (even before the witch hazels, hellebores and snow drops show up!). And if we can’t make it out to the woods, maybe it’s the red brick building that glows in the late day sun or the pattern on the moss green and gray bark of the sycamore trees that brightens our spirits.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of looking a little longer and allowing that spark of color to find you.

Enjoy the colors of winter!


Happy Winter! Paperwhites

Image MapPosted by Gwyn MacDonald

Winter is here and I for one am happy about it. I love the cold and especially snow but I should come clean and admit that more than anything I enjoy hibernating (as much as we humans can manage), large mugs of hot chocolate (with a splash of Frangelica!) and using a hot water bottle to warm my chilly toes!

All that said, I am also a gardener, so while I appreciate the break from my plot of land I still yearn to have a few plants to keep an eye on and wait and watch as they suddenly come in to bloom

Enter the fabulous Paperwhite Narcissus (Narcissus papyreceus)! Nothing new under the sun here folks, but they are so wonderful on a grey winter day or surrounded by candles in the evening. Crazy easy to grow (loads of info and how to’s on the web) and found in many flower shops and garden centers at this time of year, Paperwhites do a great job of reminding us that spring is around the corner…even if it’s a really long corner.

Plant many pots of them with a few weeks in between each planting and you could get through till late February and probably March. Unfortunately for us in Philadelphia, Paperwhites don’t rebloom if planted outdoors (unless you happen to live in zones 8-11), so once they are finished toss them in your compost pile.. or a kind friends’ or neighbors’ pile.

Judy keeps them in our office from late fall into late winter and they are much appreciated and loved.  I always have a few pots in the bedroom to greet me in the morning…something sweet and bright to start my day. Happy Winter!