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Basic rules for stretching and massage

Basic rules for stretching and massage:

1.) I AM NOT A DOCTOR! Nor a physical therapist, occupational therapist, physical trainer, or anything other than what I DO claim to be, a massage therapist and reflexologist. I do NOT diagnose illnesses, prescribe anything (including medicine), or in any way intend for my recommendations to be taken as instructions for what I think YOU should do. Please understand that anything I write in any blog is intended as my sharing what I have learned throughout my massage career. These are my experiences and lessons that I choose to share with you.

2.)Don’t stretch to the point of pain, only stretch till you feel the comfortable warming. Make sure you can breathe normally throughout the entire stretch.  If you are wincing, holding your breath, cringing, or any other pain signs, you could be doing damage. BACK OFF!  Just like when you overdo at exercising and wake up the next day sore, you can hurt yourself if you force the stretch farther than your muscles can go.

3.)Make sure that when you are stretching you either are sitting or laying down, at the very least have a safe way to sit on hand, just in case the stretch causes you to feel a little dizzy, or light-headed. Make sure you are in a place where if you fall you won’t get too hurt. (In other words, don’t ever stretch on the edge of a cliff!) I usually stretch while sitting or laying down, as then I don’t have to worry about falling at all. If you do feel a bit woozy, just take a breath and pause before driving or doing your housework.

4.)Stretch for the amount of time you feel comfortable with. It doesn’t have to be 5 minutes per stretch, just till the warm feeling stays with your muscle for a while afterwards. The best thing is to stretch often. So if you can do 1 or 2 of theses stretches at your desk at work, watching T.V. at home, or even when at a stand still in a traffic jam, DO IT. Throughout the day our bodies tighten up, so throughout the day we need to stretch them.

5.)When massaging your achy muscles, don’t press into them so hard that you wince or otherwise feel as though you need to limit your breathing. Using special massage tools can be helpful, but not necessary. Feel free to use whatever you have around the house. Kids toys often have fun angles and bumps, dog toys too. Door knobs, counter edges, wall corners, and bits of furniture are wonderful tools, as well. Don’t forget kitchen utensils! They often have the proper hard edges and small radii.

6.)Don’t think about stretching as “one more thing to do today”. Think about the fresh blood getting to the achy places, thus helping your body adjust to all that life throws your way. Look forward to the warm happy feeling your body gets when the blood flows easily throughout. Knotted muscles are like stepping on a garden hose. Nothing good happens when we step on a garden hose.

Live well, my friends,

Mary Schweiger


Essential oil and Flower Essence Seminars

The classes on Flower essences and Essential oils were not only informative and allowed me to earn my CE credits, but they were the perfect seminars at the perfect time for me. I was feeling like the universe was working against me for a while, but these seminars helped me remember that the universe works with us, If we let it! And that it was actually I, trying to work against the universe.

These seminars even taught me more than just about essences and oils, my energy fed on and was renewed by the energy of my fellow students and new mentor. My enthusiasm for my craft, my art, and my work got a shot of joy that I didn’t know I was missing.

Bonnie Jackson Erdman was patient and energetic with all of us “students”. She obviously holds the opinion that she is not just a teacher, but a student as well. Bonnie doesn’t just hold the position of mentor to me, but also coworker, and friend. It almost seemed as though we had all met at a coffee shop and were just gabbing.

The 3 big lessons I learned about flower essences were first that they are information only, unlike essential oils that are the condensed molecular code of the plants. Flower essences are pure energetic vibration. The pure and innocent beauty of a flower is captured, bottled, and given to us in a form that our electrical systems can understand, translate, and emulate.

Second, the way essences work is at that the moment that they enter your system, they work to realigning your personal vibration to match the vibration of our world. Lucky for those of us who are out of whack, like me, they don’t slam your body back into realignment. They gently ease your body, mind, and soul back to where it belongs.

Third, and quite possibly the best tidbit of info I learned about essences, is they are completely harmless. I can feel safe giving them to any animal, humans included. Just like the soothing words and touches of comfort we give our clients, essences are like that warm blanket fresh from the dryer. They cuddle you to a higher state of health and well-being.

The flowers that God has surrounded us with are our teachers to a, healthy and strong, oneness with the universe.

I personally have been using Young Living essential oils from the very beginning of my massage career, 8 years ago. But as most of you will attest, we can always learn more. I walked into the essential oil seminar with the thought that I will learn 1 or 2 new tidbits. I walked out with the added knowledge of massage techniques, to help the oils penetrate the skin. How to handle the bottles. Since Y.L. is so strongly therapeutic, I don’t need to worry as much about contamination. However I DO need to be concerned with the possible negative side effects. Some oils are too strong for some animals, pregnant and nursing moms, as well as kids. I learned that a little will definitely go A LONG way, and most times I don’t need a whole drop. What some added benefits of the specific oils are, like did you know cedarwood rubbed into your thumbs opens the emotional blockages to learning? And that citrus oils are great for virus control? Bonnie taught me to be careful of too much heat when using diffusers, and to avoid the X-rays in airports. In fact, I could go on for 4 pages in this newsletter!

There were so many new tidbits and ideas that I learned in the flower essences and essential oil seminars that when I left, I could hardly think straight. I felt as though I had taken an entire month worth of classes and that it would probably take me a week, just to sort out the new info in my head.

Bonnie was very knowledgeable about flower essences and essential oils. And she taught from the experiences and lessons she has learned throughout her journey thus far. Never once trying to claim to know all about essences and oils, but rather told us about her journey in a conversational manner. She didn’t simply give us the condensed version of what, how, when, where, and why. But lead us, as though through a great book that we couldn’t put down, to where she had gained her inspiration and education.

Bonnie helped us, with referencing other people as well as the materials she brought, to understand how to find out more for ourselves:
*Green Hope Farm, their website is, and they have a
guide titled “A Guide to Green Hope Farm Flower Essences”
*Dr. Masaru Emoto, and the research he did on water vibrations
*Donna Eden, her website is
*Young Living, and their movie, “Gold of the Ages”
*The website, to learn more about whether products, like sunscreen or
the foods we buy at a store are safe or not.
*She told us that a good reference guide to essential oils was not just a good
idea, but imperative.

Just as we can learn from another therapist, or even our clients, we can learn from the world around us. The plants and animals we see, hear, and touch, are just as much our teachers.

Forearm stretch

If you have a problem with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, tendonitis, Arthritis, or any other pain concern for your forearm, wrist, hand, or fingers, try these stretches.

First, warm up the muscles a little by bending your elbow, wrist, and fingers. Then remembering the basic rules for stretching start at your finger tips and work your way to your elbow.

Basic rules for stretching:

1.)Don’t stretch to the point of pain, only stretch till you feel the comfortable warming,

2.)Make sure you can breathe normally throughout the entire stretch,

3.)Make sure that when you are stretching you either are sitting, or have a safe way to sit on hand, just in case the stretch causes you to feel a little dizzy,

4.)Stretch for the amount of time you feel comfortable with. It doesn’t have to be 5 minutes per stretch, just till the warm feeling stays with your muscle for a while afterwards.

Press each finger (thumb too) in turn forward and back. When stretching forward, curl your finger tightly and with your first joint (the one closest to your hand) straight, press your thumb of the opposite hand into your nail. Then keeping your finger curled, bend your first joint and press the opposite thumb into your second joint. When bending them back, start at farthest joint from your hand, and use the opposite hand to press your thumb against the tip of the finger and your pointer finger against the back of the joints. ** especially important to NOT over stretch your fingers.


Then giving extra stretches to your thumbs, place the thumb of the opposite hand pad to pad with your stretching thumb, and the pointer and middle fingers against the side of your stretching pointer finger.this should stretch the webbing.

Palm to palm and overlapping your opposite fingers at 90 degrees over your stretching hand (so your opposite finger tips just touch your stretching middle finger) and your opposite thumb below the second joint of your stretching thumb (closer to the hand). press your thumb so you feel the stretch in your palm and edge of your thumb.

Then making a fist (exact placement of thumb doesn’t matter as much) bend your fist forward. First looking at the hairier side of your wrist,





then turning the hairier side away from you.





Then repeat the same motion and pressure with your stretching hand flat, so that when looking at both sides of your stretching forearm, your fingers point up then down.






With your stretching hand flat, like you’re about to shake someone’s hand and looking at your palm, wrap your opposite hand around it, palm to palm, and fingertips just touching the first joint of your middle finger. Keep both thumbs relaxed and not working. Then, squeezing your stretching hand between you opposite fingers and palm, hold your stretching forearm about 8 to 10 inches away from your shoulder and press down with your opposite hand.


follow that with rotating your opposite hand so your still palm to palm, but this time your fingers cover your pinky finger. Keeping your stretching wrist about 8 – 10 inches away from your shoulder, pull your stretching hand toward your chin/chest.




Finally twist your forearm muscles themselves. To do this you will want to pinch your stretching forearm between all 4 fingers of the opposite hand. Kind of like a one handed snakebite. If you can twist your stretching forearm skin great. Most people this is a very sensitive area, especially if they type or use a computer mouse a lot. So, if all you can do is pinch, fine, but try to pull the skin and muscle away from the bone. You can do this by either pulling straight away, folding the muscle over your fingers, or twisting (clockwise and counter-clockwise) while pulling or folding. remember to pinch pull and stretch the skin of your entire forearm, from elbow to wrist.

Doing this routine every morning and night, or at least whenever you happen to think of doing it, may help with any pain or tingling on the hand, wrist, or elbow.

Digestive Issues

Many people have issues with their digestive systems. Whether it’s Acid Reflux Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or something else in between; our bodies can easily get thrown out of whack. Getting it back under control, depending on how long it has been out of whack, can take time and lots of self-control. The human body is an amazing machine to me. It can repair itself from lots of different disorders and injuries, as long as we give it the right tools. Just like when we repair something that breaks in our home, like a leaky faucet, our bodies can only do the job right, if we have the right tools and parts. We can “make do” with duct tape or bubble gum, but the faucet won’t stay not leaking for long. As so many of us hear, from many sources, the proper diet can do SO much. Enough natural proteins, plenty of both soluble and insoluble fiber, a few carbohydrates, and natural sources of vitamins and minerals will give your body all the right tools to fix itself the right way.

Fiber is a dietary requirement that I personally don’t feel is stressed enough. I view the 2 types in a very simple way. The insoluble fiber is the fiber that when placed in water won’t change its shape or become gooey (fruits and veggies). I think of them as the broom, sweeping their way through my intestine getting all the gunk out of all the corners. The soluble fibers, of course, are the ones that do change shape in water (grains). I think of this type of fiber as the dust pan, collecting all the gunk together in one spot for easy removal. Amazingly enough, our teeth also have an effect on the cleanliness of our intestine. When our mouths are brushed, flossed, and a disinfecting rinse is used, that helps our colon stay clean and flushed properly as well. It has been studied by the American Dental Association and other companies. When I think about it though, it makes sense. When we chew our food, whatever yuck and bacteria may be on or in our teeth gets scrapped off, and pushed through our systems. When we have lots of bacteria growing in our mouths, our digestive system has to work a little harder to fight all the extra bacteria. And thus maybe not get the good stuff out of our food. Or the bacteria latches on somewhere in our intestine, and the current worry is, providing an environment that colon cancer thrives in.

Another one of the ways that might help with many digestive issues is Aloe Vera.  Just like we put aloe on our skin to help heal burns, cuts, and other wounds, we can put it inside us and it will do the same things.  Aloe is one of those great healing plants that really doesn’t have very many times where it might hurt you.  Of course if you are allergic or shouldn’t eat or drink you should not drink aloe.  If you are in question whether aloe would help, please seek the advice of a doctor.

You can purchase Aloe Vera by the quart or gallon.  Most natural health food stores carry it.  I even saw it near the pharmacy department of Walgreens.  When you add the cost of all the antacids (maalox, tums, prilosec, nexuim, and others) the $10 or $15 for a quart isn’t very much. My husband and I felt results within the first week of drinking it. After a month or so (when the quart we purchased was gone) neither of us had painful symptoms for nearly a year. (Results, of course will vary.)

When I drink it, I put one ounce in a small glass of fruit juice.  Aloe doesn’t taste very good and the juice helps mask the flavor.  You can put aloe in anything and it’ll not lose its efficacy.  As long as you drink every drop, you will get all the benefit.  Personally, I like to blend it with cran-grape juice.  The tartness of the juice is strong enough that I can’t taste the aloe as all.  My husband prefers apple juice.  I have not tried mixing it with soda or milk, and though I’m told it would still work, I don’t quite trust the taste of it.

Our stomachs are not very large organs, or at least they are not made to be. So I believe a big cause of many digestive issues is over eating. Our stomachs stretch to accommodate the food we eat, but like rubber balloons, they can only stretch so far. Any time you stress a part of your body often enough, your body will react and strengthen itself. In the case of your stomach, this means growing. If I remember correctly, a normal healthy stomach should be about the same size as your two fists side by side. Someone who regularly overeats can double or triple the normal size of a stomach. When the body makes the stomach bigger, it sometimes can’t get all of the stomachs parts to grow evenly. The part that maybe doesn’t grow or adjust at the same rate, is the one-way valves at each end. The valve that is supposed to prevent stomach acid from reaching the esophagus is called the cardiac valve. When the cardiac valve can’t close completely, acid gets through. Another thing that I suspect is a major culprit in weakening the cardiac valve is soda pop. Our bodies are made to burp and otherwise allow our stomachs to push what it doesn’t like back up through our mouths. But large or many burps might stretch out the valve to where it is unable to stay completely closed against the constant barrage of acid. I have not heard of any research to back these thoughts, but I guess they just make sense to me. There are many things that can help ease the pain and symptoms of acid reflux, but nothing, that I have learned of so far, can cure it. Cardiac valve surgery or allowing your stomach to shrink back down might help, but may not help enough.

As for the small and large intestines, I think that what helps one part helps them all. I make sure to drink enough hydrating fluids so that food can pass through smoothly. This is where high fiber foods do the most good. And last but not least, I try VERY hard to never hold my bowel movements back very long or push them out with force. When our bodies are healthy and functioning the way we are meant to function, everything should flow, regularly and smoothly.

If your digestive issues keep you up at night, try sleeping with your head raised a little above your belly. Or try sleeping on your left side, according to John Tesh’s radio show. This seems to make sense to me, because of the way our stomachs are shaped. Stomachs attach to the esophagus by widening like a balloon. They take up the majority of the space below the diaphragm on the left side of our body, and connecting to the small intestine almost at the center line of the body. So lying on the left side allows the acid and foods in your stomach rest and pool in the “pouch” where the natural stomach movements can push whatever is inside through in the correct direction.  Although, I have found that when I eat right before bed and sleep on my left side, it feels uncomfortable, like the food is trying to settle at the top of my stomach. So I sleep on my right side. But that may just all be in my head.

Please remember that my blogs ARE NOT meant to be diagnosing tools. If you have any digestive issue that lasts more than a few days, I think you should get the advice of a medical professional. I am not a doctor, and some of the thoughts I have mentioned in this blog have not been studied properly. Please seek the help of a doctor, and don’t consider me the expert.

That said; I hope that this helps some of you, and I wish you all good health.

P.S. Don’t forget to stretch!

Essential Oils

If you are inclined to have any Essential Oils in your home, you should be certain you know how to use them. Very few oils can be used directly on the skin without damaging the tissues. Oils that are derived from flowers are the safest guess, but even those can often be too strong. The safest way is to dilute the oils in either a base oil or milk.

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