The Benefits of Pregnancy Massage


Massages are not only relaxing and pampering. Massage decreases symptoms of pregnancy and decreases the pain and length of labor.

 

2 Common myths and preconceptions of pregnancy and massage:
 

1. Massage during 1st trimester causes miscarriages

*Reality: Only extremely deep and vigorous lower abdominal massage could possibly cause a miscarriage. If a woman experiences a miscarriage after a massage, it is not the massage that is the cause. 

2. Massaging the feet and ankles will cause a pregnant woman to go into labor.

*Reality: There ARE acupressure and reflexology points on the feet and ankles that are contraindicated (should avoid stimulating). However it takes prolonged specific pressure directly on those points to activate them.  A general foot and ankle massage does not do this and is safe to perform. 

Benefits of Prenatal and Post-Partum Massage: 

Prenatal 

  • Helps mother cope with emotional and physiological changes in her body
  • Reduces morning sickness 
  • Relieves headaches 
  • Reduces insomnia and fatigue, promotes deeper and better sleep 
  • Reduces musculoskeletal pain and postural imbalances 
  • Reduces sciatic paining hips, low back, and legs 
  • Relieves cramps, spasm, and myofascial pain 
  • Improved flexibility, releases tight muscles 
  • Promotes blood and lymph circulation, reducing toxins in system
  • Reduces edema (swelling) in hands, feet, face, and ankles 
  • Reduces blood pressure due to improved circulation 
  • Reduces varicose vein development and pain 
  • Helps maintain efficient breathing patterns 
  • Promotes secretion of hormones that are beneficial to mother and fetus
  • Helps prepare mother for labor 
  • Release endorphins which helps with pain management 
  • Reduces stress, anxiety, depression, and emotional swings 
  • Increases mothering instincts 

Post-Partum 

  • Speeds up physiological recovery
  • Helps balance physical and emotional challenges of motherhood 
  • Reduces post-partum depression 
  • Lightens stretch marks 
  • Relieves stress
  • Reduces fluid retention 
  • Exfoliates skin 
  • Improves sleep 
  • Boosts milk production 
  • Improves circulation 
  • Improves tone and flexibility of muscles and stretched nerves 
  • Helps reposition the pelvis 
  • Relaxation!

Benefits for Baby

  • Positivity affects health 
  • Helps mother and baby bond
  • Releases happy hormones 
  • Improves outcome of labor
  • Less complications 
  • Lowes rate of premature labor
  • Helps facilitate natural childbirth (less interventions)
  • Can make labor shorter, easier, and less painful 

*If at any time during massage you experience any discomfort, please tell the therapist immediately


This is an excerpt from my  client Savanna’s pregnancy massage experience. [You can read more here]



PlanetJoy Massage Client Feedback 



Allison Sprouse, 45

I trust Joy because she does great work and truly cares about her clients’ health.

PlanetJoy is a total body relaxation experience. It’s quiet and soothing. Pressure is always perfect and if there are trouble areas, Joy focuses on them. 
Bonus: My migraines are gone!


A monthly massage gives me something to look forward to and it helps me stay on top of health concerns before they happen. 


Joy can tell when something is wrong with my body that I wasn’t aware of! True story. She discovered I needed adjusting when I never knew anything was wrong. I went to my chiro and she was spot-on!



Jacob Graham, 35

Highlights of a PlanetJoy massage: the attention she pays to my issues, the care she takes, the tenderness and responsiveness to my body. She reads it well.

I’ve had relatively extensive massage experience, but this is my favorite. Joy is not in any way overbearing. She is considerate, quiet, and I get the sense that it’s a deep practice for her.

What has pleasantly surprised me? Just how relaxed I feel when I leave.



Deb Kirtland, 52

Joy relieved some tension/knots/pain that my chiropractor could not – and the relief was quick and fairly permanent.  I say “fairly permanent” because it’s my life style that makes me have flare-ups. 

What concerns or worries have been taken care of?  Neck pain, shoulder and upper back tension is less overall.  Also, being able to sign up for packages and pay in installments creates less stress about affordablility.

What has pleasantly surprised me?  How relaxed I am on the table.  I thought I would be uncomfortable with having someone massage me, but I don’t because of PlanetJoy’s environment and JOY!



Bevin Yowell, proudly almost 40!

Did you have any objections or skepticism about signing up for massage package? At first, yes. I was concerned about $ & Time. 

What are some highlights of the experience? Pricing options are awesome and Joy’s massage skills are the best that I’ve experienced. 

What concerns or worries have been taken care of? $ and time actually worked out well! 

What has pleasantly surprised me? I find it easy to make the time. 

What is most satisfying about the experience? I feel amazing and I’m more in tune with my body and how my body holds stress. 

 

Asechiah, age 42

Joy was recommended to me by several people. The experience has been great, and I absolutely trust her skills and knowledge.

It’s a very soothing experience. Joy is very easy to communicate with, taking in account the unique set of health issues I’ve had.

Joy has helped me make serious strides in the past year, I’m very thankful. Pain has been much more manageable. See the light at the end of the tunnel.

What has pleasantly surprised me? Sense of energy has been returning, overall body balance is much improved 
What is most satisfying about the experience? It’s good to have someone you can see eye to eye with regarding your health and the necessary steps it takes to get there. Joy is very encouraging.



PlanetJoy: Feedback

Here’s a round up of testimonials I’ve received over the years: 

PlanetJoy Massages: 

2013

2014

2015

-Linda Tabor, healthy hippie badass 

-Suzanne Leahy, hospice care counselor

 

-Alison Jones Sprouse, teacher 

-Bevin Yowell, therapist

-Alyssa Grabinski, art therapy student 

-LeeAnn Monroe, elementary school principal


PlanetJoy Pregnancy Massage:

Savanna’s Experience


PlanetJoy Catalyst Collage Parties:
2014
2015

International Women’s Day, March 8th, 2017

I’m so honored to be a part of Stauntons LARGE group of women business owners

I thought I would share a bit about my experience as a woman business owner and why I choose to work on women: 

I am a massage therapist and I work from my home here in Staunton. 

My business is called PlanetJoy because people say they feel like they’re transported to another planet when they are on my table. 

PlanetJoy is set up specifically for women because women tend to stay busy giving and giving to others without allowing themselves time to fill their energy back up. They feel guilty allowing themselves the “indulgence” of self-care. 

My intention is to make women feel as safe as possible when they are on my table. 8 out of every 10 women have experienced some kind of abuse throughout their life: physical, emotional, sexual, mental….so, when women get on my table I want them to feel like they can actually relax. 

I’ll never forget the first time I had a woman come back to me when I was helping out in a spa downtown. She had called to specifically request me because when she had been on my table it was the FIRST time she had been able to relax during a massage due to past abuse. When she told me told me a little more about her past experiences, I made sure to make her feel even MORE secure during her next massage and she actually fell asleep. When you get a massage you are in a very vulnerable position so sleeping is the ultimate sign of feeling safe. I’m proud to say all of my clients have fallen asleep on my massage table at some point. 

I also want all women to feel beautiful and be able to understand and respect their bodies. Self-love, self-respect, and body-confidence are so important. I have had the honor of being an art model for Beverly Street Studio School for the past 9 years and I have learned from the fabulous women artists there that every body is unique and interesting and full of radiant beauty. 

We as women need to use our strengths to support other females in our lives. We can always do a little something to make other women feel loved and safe. And we should always encourage each other to take care of ourselves. We simply cannot love others as efficiently if we are not taking time to love ourselves. Strong women lift each other up. Together, we can rise higher. 

8 Reasons to schedule a regular massage 

The trick to getting bodywork on a regular basis is to treat it like it is a standing appointment with yourself: it really comes down to simply committing to scheduling a regular time with your body worker. 

Signing up for a package deal can really help you get into the habit of coming on a regular basis and it’s usually a little more affordable than paying for one session at a time.

Why might you want to have regular massages?
1. Massages are good for your mental health and well-being

2. Massage can improve your relationships with others (when you’re happy everyone around you can feel a little happier, too)

3. Massages help you get rid of chronic pain and all-over tension

4. Massage can help you feel more well-adjusted in your every day life

5. Massages help you be mindful of what is happening in your body and your mind (they allow a space for you to process things in a world where we are consistently taking in information without pausing to absorb and process it)

6. It’s important to be kind to yourself and to take care of your body 

7. Massages help reduce stress

8. Massages are more affordable long-term than pain-pill prescriptions or doctor visits (preventative health care is more affordable)

List of Planet Joy’s Upcoming Projects

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I have five ideas spinning around in my head:

1) finding out the best hours to work with busy moms
2) hormonal testing
3) officially offering intention setting sessions as part of my business (both one on one and group settings)
4) removing the stigma from anxiety and depression and providing a space for women to connect: encouraging instead of isolating.
5) potentially running an asyra machine right here in Staunton.

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More details:
1) Working with busy moms. Massages and collages offered at times when moms are finally able to have free time. Those weird hours like 8-11 in the evening when the kids are finally asleep and they have time to rest. I want to find out when mommas are actually available! My business has always had the intention of being for busy women but my hours (11-6) are not reaching all the moms! It is time to make mammas happy :)

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2) Hormonal testing. Hormones have become super interesting to me. They are responsible for so much and can get out of balance so easily. I’d love to help women figure out what’s going on in their bodies and especially help women who are going into menopause or are currently experiencing menopause. There’s so little information out about menopause and yet every woman will eventually experience it….I know that personally when it comes time for me to go through it I want there to be someone who can come along beside me and help me figure out what’s happening.

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3) Officially offering intention setting sessions (both one on one and groups) I’ve been helping people set goals and intentions through collage for a couple of years now. It’s an extremely easy way to get what is in your head out and make it visual. Making your goals and dreams visual is an incredible way to actually achieve them. Also, collage is a great way for people to use their atrophied creative muscles. (Almost everyone can use scissors and a glue stick.) I also teach how to set achievable goals. Kind of like art therapy life coaching.

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4) Removing the stigma from anxiety and depression and creating a supportive and encouraging atmosphere for women who are experiencing dark times. A huge amount of women have these feelings (to some extent our hormonal cycle includes whole weeks where we feel a little anxious or a little down) it’s part of being human. We need to talk about it. I want to bring women in together who have been down in it and gotten back up. Self-care is sometimes what we know we SHOULD be doing but I want to have a list of resources for women from women– things that actually WORK to pull them out of the darkness. We naturally tend to isolate when experiencing negative emotions. Even more so if we feel like we are the only ones and that everyone else is too busy being awesome and happy. We don’t want to burden others with our feelings. What we really need to be able to do, though is to reach out and feel accepted–negative emotions and all.

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5) Possibly running an asyra machine right here in Staunton. A friend of mine and I have been discussing purchasing an asyra machine. We have both used one in the past: it’s a machine which reads your entire body and tells you what’s happening, comprehensively. It can tell you what you’re deficient in, what foods you’re allergic to, what supplements would be most beneficial for you, what you’re dealing with emotionally, which parts of your spine are out of alignment. It’s helpful for so many different things: mental, physical, emotional….it’s kind of magical. I’d really love to run it for people to truly help them figure out what is happening in their bodies. I do a ton of health research and this machine is excellent because there’s no guessing what might help. Every body is unique and this machine tells you what YOUR body needs. (This last time I went I found out that what I most needed was some cayenne and flaxseed oil) I love that it’s not pushing pharmaceuticals, too.
The machine shows you a snapshot of what’s happening in your body right now and your body changes around every 5 weeks or so, so at that point you could come back and get another snapshot.

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A lot of cool ideas. I can’t wait to see how they develop! If you’d like to help in any way, you can contact me here: joyboardman@gmail.com.

Allergy Season: Pump the Lymph Out of Your Face

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Just a friendly reminder that spring is here and soon, if not already, ALLERGIES will also be here :-/

If you suffer from the spring sneezes, a great thing to do RIGHT NOW would be to schedule a lymphatic drainage massage for your face.

(If you’re asking yourself, “What is lymph??” I wrote a post about it!)

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You know that horrible congested feeling you get where your face feels like it is just FULL and HEAVY with gunk? Well, most of that fluid is lymph!

Lymphatic drainage helps your lymph move out of your face (making it feel less puffy) and helps you decongest.

If you start now, your lymphatic system will actually not only unblock but also create new little pathways! How awesome is your body??

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Lymph is great. Stuck lymph: not so great.

What to expect:
Lymphatic drainage is different from regular massage.

During a lymph session I focus specifically on your head, neck, and face.

Your head will be slightly elevated to allow the fluid to drain.

It’s extremely relaxing because the motions are very repetitive and light. I’m helping manually pump the lymphatic fluid down and away from your face and head.

You might find yourself feeling the need to swallow more and that is great because it means stuff has started moving! (Totally gross if you think about it too hard but also VERY AWESOME.)

Sessions are 15 or 30 minutes, your choice. (If you’ve never had a session before, I recommend the 30 minute session because, chances are, you have a lot of accumulated fluid!)

And, after the session I will teach you some things you can do in between sessions to help pump the fluid on your own.

$15 for 15 minutes
$30 for 30 minutes

You can add a lymphatic session to the end of a regular massage or you can come in specifically for a lymphatic drainage session!

Schedule an appointment with me today by emailing me at joyboardman@gmail.com or sending me a Facebook message :)

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Massage for Chronic Pain

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Do you have chronic headaches or neck or low-back pain that just never seems to go away and stay away? It can feel defeating. I want to encourage you to feel empowered when it comes to your body.

Massage is a fabulous way to improve your long-term quality of life and wellness. If you commit to regular self-care, you will be able to reduce the severity & length of flare-ups.

You will also develop an increased awareness about your body. Instead of not knowing exactly where the pain is coming from or the cause, you will learn which muscles are stuck and how you can help them release. When you know where the pain is coming from, you’re much closer to helping it leave.

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Massage may not make your chronic pain go away forever but I’ve seen massive knots have melted and come back smaller and smaller each time.

I’ve also seen my clients learn how to take care of their bodies in between sessions so that they experience less pain in everyday life.

Take responsibility for your own health. You are more in control of your pain than it wants you to think. You have options. Bodywork is an excellent option.

Would you like to schedule an appointment this month? Contact me!
Find me on Facebook. Or email me at joyboardman@Gmail.com

Massage Question: Why should I drink more water after a massage?

“Why do massage therapists always tell me to drink water after a massage? And what are these “toxins” they mention?”

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Massage stimulates the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is like the garbage pail of the circulatory system. It filters all the waste products out of your body.

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(Which is why when you are sick, your lymph nodes swell because they are handling a lot of junk all at once)

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Your lymph system doesn’t have a pump like the circulatory system but the body naturally filters a certain amount through the lymphatic system throughout the course of the day when you walk around and move. BUT during a one hour massage, your body filters that ENTIRE amount that it normally would during a WHOLE DAY! Isn’t that cool??

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So, you want to flush that stuff out, otherwise it’s like holding in your pee….the stuff that should be out, stays in and can cause muscle soreness or headaches.

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This is also why:
*You may have to get up to pee during a massage or pee right after

*And why you should ALWAYS drink water every day to keep your lymphatic system happy and flushed.

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Envision 2016

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Don’t just think about what you want some day.
Envision your best 2016 so you can make it happen!!

Improve your life, accomplish more. Thrive and find joy.

Non-judgemental atmosphere. No need to be perfect. This is a safe space to explore and process what’s rattling around in your head.

Putting your dreams on paper is an EXTREMELY effective way to actually make them happen.

Some of your plans and goals may not work out. Other stuff may happen–maybe better things! (More than you could ask for or imagine.)

It’s important to stop and think about what you want. It’s not shallow.  Seriously. What do you want??

“World peace.” Well….that’s great. You should want that. But, what do you REALLY really want?

Go further. Ask for it. Go for it.

This is where we live. Do you want courage? Discipline? Forgiveness? Freedom?

Joy and a meaningful path starts when you are HONEST about what you want.

Keeping your wants small and shallow doesn’t do you or the world around you any favors.

We will use images to go into the heart of your desire.
Use your imagination. Tap into your subconscious. What could your life look like in 2016? What could you be? What do you need?

Ask for it.

Set your course.

Your intentions are dynamite. You decide what you want and you go after it. How powerful is that?!

When you set an intention you can then go about your life gathering all the info that you need to achieve that intention.

Challenge yourself. DYNAMITE. Blow up your past. Go into 2016 like a badass.

Leave the past behind.

Begin.

Tonight at Made; from 5-7
$15 (cash only)
All materials provided

Pregnancy Massage Testimonial (updated!)

I’m reposting my friend Savanna’s pregnancy massage testimonial.

She was the first client I had the privilege of working on throughout her ENTIRE pregnancy.

Together, Savanna and I had a lot of fun practicing and perfecting the most amazing pregnancy massage experience.

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Name: Savanna

Age: 27

Did you have any objections or skepticism about pregnancy massage?

“I actually was a little bit skeptical.

While I am a big fan of massage, I was skeptical about whether or not I could still enjoy it if I couldn’t lay on my back or stomach.

I wasn’t sure exactly how it would work or if I would just have to lay on my side the whole time.

Mainly I think I just didn’t know exactly what to expect so I was skeptical about whether or not it would be as comfortable or relaxing as a regular massage.

What were some of your concerns or worries?

“I was mainly worried or concerned at the beginning about whether or not it was completely safe for the baby.

I had read some mixed reviews online about the safety especially for the first trimester.

I had also read that sometimes massage made morning sickness worse.

(*Special note: the reason massage can have a bad rep for first trimester is that the first trimester is a very sensitive time and many women do not end up carrying to term. When something happens and the pregnancy is terminated, the massage is not a direct cause, but all the pain from losing the baby can often lead women to search for a cause. Because of this it’s important to work lightly and check in a LOT with the woman to make sure she feels comfortable, healthy, and safe.

Also, in the case of losing a baby, massage is excellent for mental health and emotional healing.)

What were you hoping would happen?

“I was hoping that my skepticism and/or worries would be for no reason and that I would enjoy pregnancy massage as much if not more than regular massage.”

Why did you choose to come to me (instead of someone else)? What made you trust me?

“I had already had good experiences with your massages so that helped.

Also I know that you are always reading and researching so I knew that you would be well versed in what was safe and unsafe for both me and the baby.

Plus knowing that you went to the effort to take the pre-natal class was reassuring as well.

But even without the prenatal class I was confident that you would do your homework and look into what was and wasn’t safe for pregnancy so that was reassuring.”

What can other people expect? Juicy details, please! What were some highlights of the experience?

“Pregnancy massage is obviously somewhat different than a regular massage, but it is also the same in many ways.

With the physical changes that pregnancy brings come a lot of aches and pains, and you need a relaxing massage more than ever.

Despite what I originally had thought, the massages can be just as relaxing as a regular massage, they are just a little different.

The “cloud” was also very nice.” (*A special combination concoction of pillows to prop you up so you can have your head, neck, arms, and feet worked on. Feels like floating on a cloud….) 

“Because I was propped up on pillows I rarely felt nauseous or lightheaded.

When I did I always was able to be adjusted in a way that alleviated that feeling.

It was also helpful that you were very open minded and always willing to make little adjustments as we went to make sure that I was always comfortable.”

What concerns or worries were taken care of?

“I was reassured after talking to one of our midwives who actually said not only is it safe but that they recommend massage and/or chiropractic care.

I was also reassured that you took the prenatal massage class so I was very confident that you would know what was and was not recommended during pregnancy.

I also appreciated that you were open to trying different things and I always felt comfortable letting you know if we needed to adjust my position, if I needed another pillow, etc.”

What was different about this experience compared to regular massages?

“The most obvious is that you can’t lay on your stomach or your back.  Other than that the experience as surprisingly similar.

The added stretches and the tummy massage is an extra perk.

What pleasantly surprised you?

“I was surprised that despite having a different position for the massage it was really just as relaxing as a regular massage.

What was most satisfying about the experience?

“Massages were great in helping relieve the aches and pains of pregnancy, as well as relieving the tension from stress and anxiety that comes with pregnancy.

It was nice to take an hour a month (or sometimes a couple of hours a month) to relax.”

—————————————-
Savanna’s baby, Scarlett is completely wonderful. The first time I ever held her, I massaged her head and she went right to sleep. We’ve got a connection :)

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PlanetJoy’s Manifesto for 2016

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I love….quirky ladies who have a sense of humor and who are happiest being themselves, I love helping people find their way to their best lives, I love indulging in the cycles of the moon and finding ways to connect on a deeper level.
 
I believe….that you can reach your goals once you’ve made them visual, I believe that taking care of yourself is not selfish, I believe cats make everything better, I believe it’s important to be yourself because everyone else is taken, I believe everyone is creative & that some people just need a safe space in which to explore their creativity.
 
I am committed to….helping the women in my life realize their potential, feel encouraged, and feel taken care of. I am also committed to sharing what I learn and making people smile.

Come play with me at a collage party held around the new moon every month. Or come jump on my table to experience complete relaxation.

Find me on my PlanetJoy Facebook page and see when I have events and also find out how you can be on my massage schedule.

Goodbye 2015

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2015.

This year tortured and/or radically changed almost everyone I know.  Some things were made (and born!) wonderful and joyfully complete and other things (including a few wonderful lives) were dramatically brought to an end.

As the year draws to a close, lives are still transitioning and transforming….which, yes, ultimately is a positive thing, but from the middle can look horrific.

So, here’s to 2016…. and 2017…. and 2018….

Keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Lets continue being vulnerable with each other and helping each other limp down these paths placed in front us.

And, when the choice is ours, let’s choose to make the world a brighter more positive place for the people around us.

Love.

*Bonus*
Here’s my word for 2016: EXPAND.

Although, I am thinking about switching it around and making it RISE.

So my phrase would be:

“Stop acting small. Expand& transform. Step forward. RISE.”

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What makes massage worth the time and money?

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I asked my clients: “What makes massage worth the time and money?”

Allison

“I feel amazing after a massage. I get a quick nap in and the rest of my evening is peaceful. My headaches have decreased and I have more energy as well.

Alyssa:

Relief from chronic pain is worth any amount. Spending time having it lessened is time not spent suffering from it.”

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Ros:

“It’s dedicated self-care time, which we don’t get enough of!”

Bevin

“Joy has been the best massage therapist that I’ve been to so far. She uses essential oils and takes uses so many techniques to work on my body. So, I feel like I have a tailored massage, just for me!! I also enjoy the discounts that Joy gives with signing up for a year, this makes it totally worth it and I have no guilty feelings on spending the money for my well being.

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Erika:

“I get headaches pretty regularly and massage has helped manage those. Plus, it’s a good reminder to drink enough water and pay attention to what my body is telling me. I’m working to establish healthy habits for my life.”

Vanessa

Self-care is one of those things that people often forget about or don’t think about, but it is important. It’s good to remember that self-care is important, which I think makes massage worth the time and money. It’s not hard to justify when you think about how necessary it is to take care of yourself. Everybody is stressed out all the time. That’s no way to live! So it’s easy to start taking small steps in changing that. (i.e. getting massages regularly, drinking tea instead of coffee, etc.)”

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Dan:

“How it makes me feel better both physically and mentally. It helps the physical stuff a lot, but also forces me to relax and pay attention to what my body is doing which is a great mental break too.”

My mom, Lynne:

“I love my massage therapist! I need to take care of myself. It’s my chance to practice breathing deeply.”

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Wonder Woman Wednesday: Meghan Williamson

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—————————————- Today’s Wonder Woman Wednesday I’m featuring on of the most incredible women I’ve ever had the chance to meet: Meghan Williamson. The things this woman has done at her young age are mind-blowing. It’s been an honor getting to have her in my life and I’m so excited she agreed to let me interview her.
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Name:   
Meghan Williamson

Business Name and Location:      
Pine Knot Projects    
Harrisonburg, VA

How did you get started doing what you’re doing? 
Growing up, I only wanted to be an environmental policy advocate. 
I went to college and then Washington DC pursuing that path, and ultimately became frustrated with the national policy making process, and the lack of real conversations and alternative paradigms.
I came back to Western Virginia trying to answer questions like how do we build sustainable economies? 
What would honest and effective environmental policy even look like? Ever since then, I’ve been playing in jobs that try to help me answer those questions.
Every year, my answers get a little more radical and a little less mainstream. I seem to have to reinvent fairly regularly.

What is your mission statement?
I work on projects that build alternative systems that address issues of sustainability, equality, and community. Early on, that was about building more local economies in which business are locally-owned and engaged in local foods, alternative energy or similar environmental focused activities.  These days, I’m more comfortable talking explicitly about which systems we also need to exit: 
How can we move investments away from Wall Street and into local communities? 
How can we become less reliant on the formal monetary system, and more inter-reliant on each other? 
What laws and power structures keep us from building fairer, place-based, regenerative communities?

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Who do you usually work with? 
Almost anyone who wants to work with me.

What parts of your job do you find most challenging? 
Too much computer time.  And recently, I’ve also felt too geographically scattered, doing work in Staunton, Harrisonburg, and Waynesboro.  Sometimes, when you’re trying to be place-based, you have to actually narrow down and BE place-based. I haven’t always been good at that.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? 
The days when I remember we have more options, more beautiful ways of being in the world, than our dominant culture and media tells us we do.

What accomplishments are you the most proud of? 
Quitting.  I’ve had a number of jobs that were well regarded, in which my accomplishments were recognized and appreciated.
It’s sometimes seductive to want to stay in those comfortable places.  My decisions to leave haven’t always made sense to my family, or even myself…and they aren’t always easy. But I do find that when I’m willing to start-over, to pursue new edges even when there’s no clear new path forward, that’s when I grow the most.

What’s your favorite testimonial you’ve ever received?
A client once walked into my office and said

“Someone told me, if you have a crazy idea, come here.”

 
I’ve always felt deeply honored when people trust me enough to share their dreams or their hopes. I try to honor that, to respect their bravery. I think we all want to build a more beautiful world. & so few people tell us that we can.  

What’s the most effective way you’ve found to promote your business?
I try to live well in place, and to support other people’s desire to do the same. Projects, and the resources to pursue them, have grown out of that.

What motivates you? 
We’re actively ruining the world.
A global species extension in underway. There’s more plastic in the ocean than plankton right now.
Our climate is destabilizing, we have no real memory of what intact ecosystems even look like, industrial expansion strips the land and resources away from indigenous cultures that were thriving long before us, and our food makes us sick.
We traded all that for what? Big houses, long car commutes, and a lifetime of staring at screens under florescent lights?  
I’m over it.  Let’s do better – for both ourselves and for all of those (both human and nonhuman) who are dying for our livelihoods.

What cheers you up or encourages you when you’re down? 
Finding time to be silent and alone, preferably in less civilized places. There’s so much noise and energy in the world that’s actively destructive. Just finding space apart from it helps me hear my own thoughts.

How do you best take care of yourself?
When I’m at my best, I have time to put my hands in the dirt, to cook my own food, to set my own pace. I find that my least-scheduled days are also my fullest.

What is your favorite way to be healthy? 
Cut the sugar, ditch the car, eat food that lives here, and love somebody.

What is your greatest strength? 

I’m stubborn.

Who inspires you?
So many people. I think we’re all walking around with tiny grains of truth in our pockets, and I love how often someone totally unexpected shares one with me.

What have they taught you? 
Again, so many things. If I had to pick one for today, I would say that my partner, Kurt, is teaching me to be kind. Or maybe we’re teaching each other.  

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What’s the best advice or wisdom you’ve ever received? 
Plenty of people told me growing up that life is short, but I never knew what they meant until I watched someone I loved have his life, cut short.  I don’t think it does much good to say it, but maybe we can try to remember it: Life is short. These are the only days we get. How would we behave differently if we remembered that?

What’s your best productivity tip? 
Do the things that make you happy. Do the thing the 10-year-old version of yourself thought you should do with your life. Live the life that you imagine. Remember that every single moment we are producing something. We don’t have to “be” productive any more than we have to “be” human. We just have to choose how to spend our moments, and for whom.

Favorite book?: 
I have no idea how to answer this question. Books are like friends – I need them all, for totally different reasons. I read The Culture of Make Believe this year.  It’s hard, tragic, long, shattering, and I think everyone should read it.

What is your biggest goal for 2015? 

Say more true things
 

{Please send a photo or two of yourself at your happiest! And tell me a little bit about the photo(s)}  

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— The photo with the braids is on a bicycle tour with Kurt in Idaho, after we’d spent about 2 months peddling together, camping out every night, and visiting strangers and friends working on sustainability projects around the Pacific Northwest.

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— The other photo is me being content with simple things and good friends. 
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Thank you SO MUCH, Meghan, for letting me get to know you better. You are someone I definitely look up to and what I love most is how deep your passion goes and how much joy you bring to others along the way.

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