Soothing Therapeutic Massage - Jessika Mankin, LMT
Self Care

Stretch for muscle healthWhen and How to Stretch - Stretching is very important for muscle health. Exercise and everyday tension make muscles tight, which can lead to pain or injury. Stretching and massage are two important tools that improve flexibility to counterbalance muscle stiffness. Knowing when and how to stretch can make a big difference in the results you achieve.

Dynamic Stretching - This moving style of stretching is great for warming up your body before exercise or for helping you stay loose throughout your day. Click here for a 5 minute dynamic warm up

Static Stretching - This motionless style of stretching is best after exercise when your muscles are warmed up. Make sure to breathe deeply and hold each stretch between 30 seconds and 2 minutes. Play with the edge of your comfort zone while also listening to your body so that you don't over stretch and injure yourself.

If you only do one kind of stretching, I highly recommend static stretching after a workout when your muscles are warm. Always remember to breathe.

* It's very important for weightlifters, athletes and anyone doing strenuous physical activity to spend 10-20 minutes stretching after most workouts to prevent pain, injury and surgery.

.................................................................................................................................

Foam roller to massage musclesTry a Foam Roller - Would you like a way to massage your own muscles or an alternative to stretching?

Foam Rollers are an easy way to relax and lengthen your muscles. Similar to massage, you can use one without warming up, though the effects may be improved if used after exercise. Using one of these for 5-10 minutes a day is a great way to give back to your body. You can purchase a roller from your local Sports Authority.

Click here for a video demonstration.

.................................................................................................................................

Massage feet with a ballRoll a Ball Under Your Feet - Your feet are the foundation of your body. If they are tight or misaligned, your gait (pattern of movement), is thrown off, which can result in muscle tension, joint pain, and balance issues. Stretching and massaging your feet can prevent issues that would require a visit to the podiatrist, orthotics and even surgery.

One of the easiest ways to keep your feet loose is to roll a ball under your foot at the end of your day. It feels great, it relaxes foot muscles and it stimulates reflexology points, improving overall health. Click here for a video demonstration.

.................................................................................................................................

Pilates for Core Strength - Most of us have weak abdominal muscles. In order to maintain good posture throughout the day, we tend to pinch our shoulder blades back or tighten the erector muscles along our spines to hold ourselves upright. This creates the knots, tension and pain that many of us struggle with. When we strengthen our abdominal muscles and all of the muscles along our torso (our core), we can create a powerful structure that holds us upright without strain or effort.

Strengthen your core Pilates is an excellent tool for creating core strength. After two weeks of doing 15 minutes, three times a week, I felt like a brand new person. Maintaining posture was effortless. My yoga practice improved and my body shape was slimmer and more streamlined.

Click below for 15 minute mat workouts in each level:

Pilates Prep - If you are new to Pilates, I recommend viewing this prep / warm-up video which demonstrates how to engage all sections of your core.


I personally use The Authentic Pilates Complete Mat Workout, available on Amazon. This video is led by Romana Kryzanowska, who was a student of Joseph and Clara Pilates.

.................................................................................................................................


Yoga for self careYoga - Great for flexibility and strength. Try videos at home or sample different classes around town. Below are two of my favorite videos, free on youtube.


My favorite video is expensive to buy new, but you can purchase it used on Amazon for a reasonable price or pay $7.99 at this youtube link to view it as many times as you like. (I have not tried this option)


.................................................................................................................................

Belly dance for core strengthBelly Dancing - This ancient dance is an entertaining way to create core strength,
loosen your hips, and tone your arms. 

Here is a link to great beginner video on youtube. The first few times you try, you may feel awkward and stiff, but after 3 or 4 sessions, you'll get the hang of it!


.................................................................................................................................

Healthy Food / Recipes

Healthy recipes - Delicious ideas for nutritious meals.

Eat Local - Search for food grown close to you.

The World's Healthiest Foods - Nutritional info and benefits of each whole food.

Sam the Cooking Guy - Great food...easy and entertaining!

Forks Over Knives - A compelling movie on the health benefits of eating a plant based diet. It's available on Netflix and Hulu.

Healthy whole foodFat, Sick and Nearly Dead - An interesting on movie on improve health through juice cleansing. Available on Netflix and Hulu.

The Omnivore's Dilemma - This book will change the way you view your food.

.................................................................................................................................

Gluten Free Foods

Many people are finding that they are intolerant or sensitive to foods with gluten in them. This includes wheat, rye, barley, and any foods made with these grains. Gluten can cause digestive problems, allergic reactions, an increase in Autistic symptoms, or inflammation, such as arthritis.

When we avoid breads, sugars, and alcohol and increase our intake of greens and colorful vegetables, we feel better and issues like fibromyalgia, arthritis, fatigue, and joint pain improve dramatically.

Some of my family members and I have had to go without gluten altogether and thankfully we have found some great gluten-free options. Some GF foods are not the tastiest, so I wanted to post the ones we like best for anyone who is interested in trying them out.

gluten free foodsUdi's Whole Grain Bread and Plain Bagels are great when toasted. They are available at Whole Foods, Vitamin Cottage, and King Soopers.

For raisin bread, I love Rudi's and my mom prefers Canyon Bakehouse. Again they are much better when toasted. Available at Whole Foods and Vitamin Cottage.

My mom's new favorite tortillas are Rudi's Fiesta and Spinach flavors sold at Whole Foods.

Nut Thins are delightful GF crackers. I like the Sea Salt ones with brie and the Cheddar Cheese crackers are tasty by themselves. Available at all stores.

Kind Bars are a good option for a snack / treat. I love the Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate flavor. Available at most stores.
gluten free foods

For a great homemade pie crust, crush up Pamela's Pecan Shortbread Cookies, mix with melted butter and press into the pie pan. Available at Vitamin Cottage and Sprouts.

Gluten Freeda Burritos and Amy's Gluten Free Cheddar Burrito are pretty tasty. I add a little salsa and cheese or sour cream on top. Available at Whole Foods, Vitamin Cottage and some King Soopers.

For frozen food choices, Amy's has many options. Our favorites are the Cheese Enchiladas, the Rice Mac & Cheese, the Indian Palak Paneer, and the Cheese Tamale Verde. If you like lamb, Saffron Road makes a delicious Lamb Saag - it's great with Greek yogurt on top. Amy's is at most stores and SR is at Whole Foods.

Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta is a great pasta option. Just make sure to follow the instructions for the best results. Available at most stores.

Do you love crispy, buttery, chocolate chip cookies? Tate's Bakeshop's Chocolate Chip Cookies are amazing and available at Whole Foods.