Monthly Archives: December 2015

Meditation Challenge(s)

This article originally posted on on December 7, 2015.

via Wondergress, via RealLife

I have always found meditation difficult, a fairly common sentiment. My challenges come in various forms – not being able to develop regular habits, an unusually high (and untimely) amount of itches and fidgets, having a great meditation one day and a really bad one the next, low confidence that I’m doing it well (or right)! I find guided meditation much easier, but I’m determined to develop a strong practice of self-meditation.

Over the years I’ve tried various approaches to meditation, changing the method when I felt that something didn’t work. I thought, “If it doesn’t work, then it probably isn’t for me – the right path should be more clear, right?” Mmmmmmmmaybe not. On my Reiki teacher’s recommendation I picked up Lawrence LeShan’s ‘How to Meditate’, in which he suggests that sticking with a method is worth a try. Consider meditation to be like going to the gym to work out…picture this: it’s a new year and I’m motivated to work out, get fit, and lose weight. It’s been a while since I’ve moved any part of my body except to eat, but I somehow think dumbbells are where I should start. One should be able to lift 20 lbs right? Nope. Well that’s a shame…and a bit embarrassing.

So now, do I give up on the dumbbells? Do I move on to other equipment and maybe try again later? Or do I pick up my pride from the puddle on the floor and see if the 3 and 5 lbs weights are better suited for me? Well I know we’re all saying it…I’d better lower my expectations and try again. Decrease the load. Work at it until I get comfortable and can eventually take on more. We often expect too much of ourselves when we begin a workout or meditation practice. A teacher once told me I should be meditating at least one hour per day. After attempting to do so several times with several “fails”, I became turned off from meditation for a few years. Then a friend suggested I start with 2-5 minute sessions. WHAT?! I can do that? So I did, and though I continue to struggle, the relief from expectation has been amazing.

How to Meditate‘ by Lawrence LeShan

On September 1st I began a 30 day meditation challenge using the the count-your-breaths method similar to the one discussed in LeShan’s book:

Breathe in – 1, Breathe out – 1
Breathe in – 2, Breathe out – 2
etc., counting first to four, working up to 10

It started out really well, but as with most “challenges” I try, my endurance only lasted about two and a half weeks. My meditation frequency dwindled to every other day, to just a few days, until I was only meditating maybe once or twice a week.

Some may see that as failure, but I learned a lot during that challenge:

  • I do better when I meditate in the morning instead of at night.
  • I meditate better with routine and only three days out of the week allow me to have a morning routine.
  • Meditating only three days out of the week is OK right now.
  • I’m just finding my rhythm at the mental gym, so I will have workouts and not-so-good workouts…but at least I’ll be gentle and forgiving with myself.
  • Letting go of meditative expectations makes meditating easier.
  • The method doesn’t necessarily matter, what matters is the work.

Since the challenge I’ve become more comfortable with meditation. I find that my distractions are shorter and I am able to focus on my breath for longer blocks of time. I’m still not great at it, but I definitely see growth! I don’t know if I’ll ever master meditation fully, not that I don’t hope to become really great at it. I will stagnate and I may regress, but that’s OK. It’s all part of the journey.

What are your experiences with meditation? Do you have any suggestions or questions?

Meditation Challenge(s) was originally published on

GT_GibsonRanchCourtney Ginn is a certified Reiki and Massage Practitioner. She combines her Usui and Practical (Kundalini) Reiki training with various modalities to create personalized sessions for her human and animal clients alike. For more information, please visit her at GinnTree.

AMBP Article: Should I Cancel my Massage if I am Sick?


Should I Cancel?

Short answer: Yes.

Long Answer: Yes, please. But there’s more.

Massage is great. You know this. But it’s not always a great idea.

As cold and flu season approaches again, it’s important that you know when it may be necessary to cancel your appointment.


When you are sick, your body needs rest. It’s strange to think about it this way, but receiving massage is an active task, it is not entirely rest. Massage causes change in the body, and your body has to work to maintain stability. Getting a massage when you are sick takes attention away from infection-fighting. That’s no good.

You’re not going to be cozy on the massage table.  Sure, it sounds like a warm squishy massage table would be great. But the moment you put your already-stuffy head into that face cradle, you’ll realize the error of your ways. Gravity and pressure are not your friend here. Even if I do a great face massage to drain your sinuses, you’ll likely feel worse when you get off the table.

You could get me sick. Since most of the common winter viruses are contagious even before symptoms show up, I could pass the cooties along to more clients before I even know it’s happening.

Further, when I get sick, I have to cancel clients and take a few days off work. I work for myself, with no paid sick days to compensate for lost wages. Sure, as a responsible business owner I have a fund for these situations. But I would rather use that fund for a jetski or a fancy new oil holster. So I’m gonna try to stay germ-free this winter.

So it’s a deal. You’ll cancel so as not to infect me and my massage room, and I’ll do the same for you. We’ll keep each other safe.

When to cancel

If you have nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea in the past 24 hours, or are still feeling punky from a recent bout of such things.

If you’ve had a fever in the past 24 hours, or fever-related symptoms. This includes chills, aches, and fatigue. Even if you’re keeping the fever down with medicine, you’re still sick. The fever counts.

If you are itchy, runny, and/or sneezy, and you’re not 100% certain it’s seasonal allergies. And even then, allergies may leave you so miserable that the hour on my table would be wasted time and money for you.

If you are coughing constantly, or just a lot.

If someone in your household is ill and you are feeling at all funky, please cancel.

There is often some gray area here, especially if you are in the recovery phase of a virus or bacterial infection.  If you’re unsure about your situation, please call me before your appointment and we can make a decision together.

Continue reading AMBP Article: Should I Cancel my Massage if I am Sick?

Lymphatic Drainage Benefits

By Nancy Barrett

Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is one of the oldest, most often preformed treatment of the body and cleansing of tissue spaces. In the early 1930’s, Dr. Emil Vodder created a special series of light massage-like movements that included massaging lightly over cervical lymph nodes. In doing this, he found that it cured a range of issues. In his studies Dr. Vodder noted 60 different aliments and conditions for which this special massage can treat. These include migraine and chronic headaches, constipation, common acne and acne rosacea, tinnitus, eczema, whiplash, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid and osteo arthritis, sinus congestion and tendonitis just to name a few. It is also an excellent therapeutic method to rejuvenate beauty and reduce puffiness, fine lines and wrinkles.  By the 1950’s, Dr, Vodder, along with his wife, Estrid, began educating the European world on lymphology and began teaching others about the benefits of Manual Lymphatic Drainage or MLD.

Continue reading Lymphatic Drainage Benefits