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So How Much Water Do I Need to Drink?

At the beginning of 2016 it is my assumption that a lot of our clientele set a New Year Resolution to be healthier.  This may include working out more, eating better, taking time for oneself, etc.  Well one of the questions I run across the most at this time of year is how much water should I be drinking daily?  Drinking additional water is usually part of “healthier” lifestyles, and it is a common recommendation that we give our guests.  The problem is that guests usually go by the standard “drink 8 glasses a day” rule and in reality it might not be a necessity for them OR they might need more then that.  So I decided to break it down for everyone….hopefully this will help sort out the water conundrum.

The adult human body is approximately 55 – 75 percent water. Blood is mostly water, and your muscles, lungs, and brain all contain a lot of water. Your body needs water to regulate body temperature and to provide the means for nutrients to travel to all your organs. Water also transports oxygen to your cells, removes waste, and protects your joints and organs. Without water the average adult could only survive 3 days. So how is water lost? Water is lost through perspiration (through the skin), daily bodily functions and air travel. Also, drinking coffee, tea, soda and alcohol will have a dehydrating effect and will decrease the amount of water in your system. With all that said, how much water does your body need daily to keep itself at optimum performance?

Water is Important
Water is Important

The amount of water your body needs depends on age, sex and lean body mass. As a rule of thumb, a person should consume about 4 cups of water for every 1,000 calories they eat. To get an even more accurate amount for how much water one should drink, try this calculation: .75 x (weight in pounds) = ounces of water per day. Example: .75 x 150lbs = 112.50 oz. To get the number of cups per day, take your number of ounces (112.50) and divide it by 8. This should equal how many cups per day you should be drinking. Make sure to increase the amount of water you drink during the heat of summer and winter, and do not forget to drink more during work outs or when you have had coffee, tea, soda or alcohol. Try to drink an additional 15 ounces of water for every half hour you are out in the sun or working out or for every coffee, tea, soda or alcoholic drink you consume.
If water just is not that appealing to you try to add some lemon or lime to your water. This will not only make water more appealing but it will also help with digestion. Keep bottled water readily available and remember: Don’t wait for thirst to be an indicator. With these few guidelines, your daily water intake will increase and you will be able to live a healthier life.

~ Dana Neal: Spa Manager and Group Fitness Instructor

Hurts so Good. So Much More to Massage than Deep Tissue.

Before I became part of the Wellness industry and was surrounded by Massage Therapists, I had one very strong opinion about massage.  I felt that in order for a massage to be beneficial to me it had to hurt.  I assumed (and we know what assuming gets you) that if I had knots and pain and discomfort the only way it was going to be better was for a Massage Therapist to press hard on those knots and rub hard on those knots until they dissipated.  And though it would hurt, I would come away being better off then when I started.  Well, 13 years later I have realized how wrong my opinion was, and not only that, but I realized just how many people agreed with that mentality.

The biggest thing that I have realized over my 13 years is that there are a variety of therapeutic massage techniques, some of which do not include firm pressure.  Let’s use Manual Lymphatic Drainage as an example.  MLD is a gentle massage that encourages the natural drainage of the lymph (which carries waste products away from the tissues).  It helps remove swelling in areas that cause you discomfort.  At no point in a MLD massage are you screaming “mommy”.

facemassage
Relaxation Massage

So where did the thought process come from that in order to get rid of chronic tension patterns, you had to have a Deep Tissue Massage?  Well my best guess, and where I made my conclusion from was the infamous media.  At one point or another I think all of us have watched a person (usually a very “manly” man) on T.V. lie on a massage table with a small massage therapist over him making him yelp in pain because his arm is twisted behind him and she is jabbing her elbow into his shoulder blade while standing on his back.  That type of massage makes good T.V..  A massage where a very light pressure is being used doesn’t do much for the audience.  Only recently have we been able to visualize other types of massage due to reality television.

After having that mentality for so long it then becomes a question of what you personally are looking for when you come in to get a massage.  My best suggestion is to be open with the person on the phone of the areas you are concerned about and then being open again with your massage therapist.  Each therapist is trained in a variety of techniques to help you feel better.  It might not be a technique you are familiar with, but if you tell your therapist that you have chronic pain in your shoulder blades then during that service they are going to do everything they can to help your chronic pain in your shoulder blades.  What you might actually find is that a therapist in that situation might work your pecs more than your shoulders….WHAT?? WHY??.  Well when you sit at desks, type on computers, or are repetitively hunched forward your pecs become increasingly tight and in turn they pull your shoulder blades forward, which in turn makes your shoulder blade area hurt.  So your assumption might be that you need work on your shoulder blades, preferably some trigger point release, but what you will find is that swedish techniques on your pecs gives you longer lasting results.

After reading this my plea to everyone is that you go into a massage with an open mind, that you speak openly about your concerns, pain, tension, etc., and that following a massage you reassess how you feel and not how you felt during the service.  If you concentrate solely on what you feel “should” be happening throughout you might miss what actually happened.

~ Dana Neal – Spa Manager

 

Stay-at-home Mom and Full Time Entertainer

My Son - The Easy and Happy Baby
My Son – The Easy and Happy Baby

Recently I have been feeling stressed (for lack of a better word) after a full day with my son.  My son is 12 months old, and by most standards would be considered an “easy” baby.  He is cheerful, plays well, eats everything I put in front of him, cries only when he needs to express something pressing, and loves to be snuggled.  Because of this, I have been going over and over in my brain multiple times of WHY or HOW can I be drained when my son is so incredible?  I sometimes need to pass him off at the end of the day and when my husband asks, “what did you guys do today?”  I sometimes can’t even really think of anything that was so hard.

I decided that I was going to take my son to a Parent-and-Me class today held at our local library.  It consisted of a half hour of singing, reading and playing with bean bags and then a half hour of free play time for all the kids.  Kids ranged from ages of 12 months – 24 months and it was during the free play time that it finally all made sense to me of why I get tired after a seemingly non-eventful day with my son.  I was sitting with 4 other mothers and our kids were all playing together.  We all had not met before, and we were holding a basic get to know you discussion…”How old is ______?”, “Do you have other children?”, “Are you a stay-at-home mom?”, etc.  After about 15 minutes of discussion, the woman next to me leaned back and stated, “It is so nice to have someone else entertain my child for awhile.”.  And right then and there is when I figured it out!!!  Though being at home with your child requires you to feed, bath, clean, put to sleep, run around after him or her, it also requires for you to be your child’s full time Entertainer.  It is your desire to entertain your child because you love them and don’t want to see them upset.

Imagine for a second if you had to go to work every day and entertain a single person ALL DAY LONG who couldn’t easily communicate what they like or want or makes them happy.  You just had to keep guessing and doing everything you could to keep them in good spirits.  On top of that, you had to keep them healthy and alive.  Thinking of it like that makes a big difference.  This is probably one reason why people have other children because at some point one kid can entertain the other.

A simple comment made at this class eased my inner mental frustration, and I don’t feel as much guilt about wanting to pass my son off after a day together.  I also think that relates to something I hear quite often as a new mom, which is, “take time for yourself.”.  Each time I would hear this I would shake my head in agreement, potentially even set up a time to get out of the house on my own, and then when the time would come I would still feel incredibly guilty about leaving.  Knowing this new found information, I now realize that the guilt I was feeling was associated not with being a bad mom by leaving him for a few hours but that I felt like he was going to be happiest with me and it would not be possible to have him be as happy with someone else.  Clearly after seeing how over-joyed my son was yesterday with the other kids and moms, I now know how potentially wrong I had it.

Moral points of my story…
1.  When you become a parent, you are now officially a parent and an entertainer.
2.  There may be easy babies but being a parent is not an easy job.
3.  Guilt is a natural feeling, but I am going to choose to not feel as guilty because others can entertain.
4.  Every parent deserves time off.

Dana Neal
Spa Manager at Kneaded Relief

Smudging A Space

Loose Sage to be used for Smudging
Loose Sage to be used for Smudging

Smudging: A Native American traditional way of using smoke to purify a space.  It is a ritual of burning herbs, and using the smoke produced to alter energy for one’s self or another, or to cleanse the energy of a specific space. Smudging is commonly used today in Wellness facilities to clear out any downbeat energy and to purify the space so that guests are welcomed to a pure environment in which they will not be affected by any negative “stuff”.  Many herbs can be used for the smudging ritual cleansing. The most common ones include sage, and sweet grass, or cedar. Sage is used as a part of many Native American ceremonies because of its purification powers. In the Sun Dance Ceremony, the dancers wear wreathes of sage on their heads, and chew the leaves to alleviate their thirst. Sage is associated with purity, with things of the spirit, and of the heavens.

Sweet Grass is another herb used almost universally among North American tribal peoples. Its fresh, clean smell, which is something like new-mown hay, is said to drive away negative thoughts and ill spirits. It is used in the sweat lodge, in healing ceremonies, and in many kinds of purification and dedication ceremonies.

Cedar is especially effective in dispelling negative energy. The evergreen needles of the cedar, rather than the bark, are used for smudging.  When working with an herb that comes in loose form, such as evergreen needles of the cedar, it is necessary to vary your smudging technique somewhat from that used with herbs which can be bound into bundles.

Lighting the Herbs (bundled herbs): To create smudge smoke, light the bundle of herbs. When the herbs are ignited, blow the fire out and the bundle will continue to smoke. With your free hand, hold a fireproof bowl underneath the smoking herbs to catch any sparks.  To get the effect you are looking for, most of the time all it takes is a quick waft of the smudge stick throughout the area you feel needs cleansing; however if you feel the space needs additional work, then additional time, energy and a potential smudging ceremony is the way to go.  Information on how to do a smudging ceremony is available online.

When you are completed with your smudging, tap the smoking herbs firmly in the bowl in the kitchen sink, just in case they are not completely out.

If you are working with loose herbs: You will want to place the herbs in a fireproof bowl, which can be placed on safe surfaces. After they ignite you can gently blow out the fire and leave the herbs smoldering within the bowl. The bowl is likely to remain very hot, and you could burn yourself if you try to pick it up. So it is necessary to leave it on a heat-proof surface.

A word of caution about smudging: herbs can continue to smolder for a long time even after they are apparently completely extinguished, so it is very important never to leave them unattended because of the risk of starting a fire in your home.

If you are curious of where to purchase herbs for smudging, check out your local health and wellness store.  We at Kneaded Relief use Community Pharmacy here in Madison, WI.

3 Deep Breaths for Road Rage

Kneaded Relief is located in Fitchburg, WI just outside of Madison, WI (our state capital).  One of the major arteries into and out of the city is what we refer to as the “Beltline”.  The Beltline is fantastic in that it runs through the city and can get you to a large portion of the places you need to go in an orderly manner; however when there is construction, an accident, or any random traffic related issue the once fabulous Beltline can become your worst nightmare.  Furthermore, if you planned to be anywhere by a certain time and the Beltline is “slow moving” there is a very good chance you will be late or miss whatever you needed to get to.

It is our assumption that there are many of you who have a similar major highway, road, etc. that you travel upon daily.  Due to this, we wanted to bring up the 3 Deep Breaths Rule.  In our line of work we use the 3 Deep Breaths rule often to help our guests calm the mind and body before a service begins.  You take 3 Deep Breaths (in thru the nose and out thru the mouth – as if you are blowing out birthday candles).  By the 3rd breath the hope is that your body begins to relax and your mind begins to eliminate the many thoughts that are screaming through it.  How this ties into driving is this…when on your route, if you run across a situation that is going to cause you to be late or brings on any feelings of road rage, try the 3 Deep Breaths Rule.  Remind yourself that getting angry or upset will not make traffic go any faster, it will not make you feel any better, and it will not make you a better driver.  On our Beltline, there are multiple electronic signs that periodically flash how many traffic deaths we have had in 2015.  We personally do not want to see that number rise as we drive to and from work, so next time you come in contact with a traffic “headache” remember the 3 Deep Breaths Rule.

In thru the nose and out thru the mouth….ahhhhh….so much better.

Painting Your Nails is a Wellness Practice

Painting your nails can be healthy for your soul – we think.

Paint your nails for Wellness.
Paint your nails for Wellness.

There has been a plethora of information out there regarding how colors make you feel.  Here at the spa we purposefully painted our walls colors that would invoke the feelings of peace and calm and relaxation.  We wanted guests to walk in and feel at ease.  A lot of salons have their staff dress in all black so that the service provider fades into the background and the client gets the attention.  Marketing in particular has really taken this concept of “Color Psychology” and run with it.  Think of websites and how the colors used matches the feelings those places want to create.  Some businesses use color to get noticed or to get a certain reaction from the public.  What are the feelings you get from a bright red billboard vs. a neutral one?

Taking this color psychology idea and running with it, we believe that painting your nails can have an effect on how you feel.  Let’s take the color red.  Painting your nails a bright shade of red could evoke the feelings of passion and excitement within you, or maybe it could spark those feelings in a significant other.  Or how about the color blue?  Maybe for the summer you pick a blue shade the color of the Caribbean Sea.  This could conjure up a feeling of bliss and memories of a beautiful beach scene.  Maybe you go with Pink.  Pink makes you feel young at heart and alive.  It is the color of bubble gum and spring flowers.  You want to feel trendy – try aquamarine, you want to feel sophisticated, why not go with a steel gray.

Give your soul a Wellness pick-me-up with a $10.00 bottle of nail polish.

Farmers Market – Old Practice, New Fondness

Farmers Market Fitchburg, WI
Farmers Market Fitchburg, WI

Supporting your local Farmers Market is a great way to incorporate a Wellness practice into your life.  Farmers Markets have been around for years, but recently there has been an insurgence in their popularity.  Buying locally and eating organically are two ways that Farmers Markets can benefit you and the community you live in.  There is something magical about going back and doing things the “old” way.  Eating fresh, homegrown produce and grass fed beef is like a mouth awakening.  There is nothing that tastes as good.

Besides the wonderful food you can purchase at a Farmers Market, there is also a sense of camaraderie at each market.  You feel like you are working together to better the lives of your family and those around you.  A Farmers Market really embodies Wellness.  So we are empowering you this week to check out your local Farmers Market.  From that try to make one meal from the items that you find at the market.  Oh and don’t forget a beautiful bouquet of flowers for your table and maybe a fresh bar of soap to re-awaken the senses during your morning shower.

Let’s just say it is hip to hit up the Farmers Market.

The Weight of Monday

Starting Over on a Monday
Starting Over on a Monday

It is Monday again, and most people associate Monday with “starting over”.  Last week you started your new diet, by Wednesday you cheated on it a little, and by the weekend it was fully blown, so you committed to Monday being the day you would start over.  Monday feels like a fresh start, but in reality it is just another beginning to a failed attempt.  The cycle needs to be stopped, so at Kneaded Relief we say to start your new adventure be it a diet, or a healthy lifestyle change, or a new workout routine on a Wednesday or Thursday or really any day besides Monday.  Take the weight off by starting on a day that doesn’t carry so much weight.  Autumn Calabrese – Celebrity Fitness Instructor says, “if you are tired of starting over, stop quitting.”  Find a way to break the cycle and take the pressure off Monday.  You just might start to enjoy Mondays a little bit more.

Increasing Wellness with Blogging

Kneaded Relief Front DoorOur mission is to increase a client’s overall wellness.  This blog is designed to help with that journey.  In the spa and wellness industry we run across (pun intended) a variety of areas that could really use a blog post for additional explanation.  At Kneaded Relief we plan on using this blog to expand on what we provide our guests and hopefully give some additional insight into the world of wellness.

We look forward to sharing this wellness journey with you.