By Hanna Kim - July 19, 2018
How to Keep Your Mind Healthy
Our busy schedules can make us sometimes feel like there’s barely even time to breathe. Being constantly “on,” and available for work or friends 24-7 can leave us feeling rushed and mentally fatigued. An amazing weekly massage sounds like the perfect way to destress but most of us don’t have the time or money to indulge in one nearly that often. Our minds do require attention and care just as our physical bodies do in order to stay healthy, and we can start with a few simple steps.
Create a Daily Mindfulness Ritual
Wake up and start your day off on the right foot by creating a morning ritual. It doesn’t have to be anything long or overly complicated. If you always feel pressed for time in the morning, try starting with something as simple as making your bed and notice how you feel instantly decluttered.
When you feel like you can forgo one last hit of the snooze button, try a short meditation. Focus on your breath. One technique you can try is square breathing. Square breathing is especially great for those of us that feel like there’s always a running monologue in our heads.
Start with big breath in and yawn it out. Take another breath in through your nose as you count to four, and hold it in for another four counts. Exhale through your nose for four more counts, then count to four with empty lungs before repeating with your next inhale. Try this for 5 minutes while you’re waiting for your morning tea or coffee to brew. This exercise can also be done anytime throughout the day you feel like you need a moment for yourself.
The Art of Mindfulness
Dan Harris, a bestselling author on mindfulness describes it as “the skill of knowing what’s happening in your head at any given moment without getting carried away by it.” As human beings, we are creatures who have the ability to think about our thinking and just the implantation of that notion starts you on your way to a healthier mindset.
Yesterday, I came across this FiveThirtyEight podcast about two data visualization specialists who created a data drawing project where they would each collect and record their personal data based on one particular topic each week. For Week 3, the two women counted up how many times they each said thank you to someone, and on Week 4, they recorded anytime they complained about anything.
Just listening to these two describe their own recorded habits made me think of just how many times throughout the week I’d also gotten riled up, sometimes about something silly and out of my control, like not being able to find parking downtown during a Rockies game, or how I seem to be the only one ever emptying the dishwasher. I began to think I could be grateful instead, for having fun things to go do in downtown Denver, and for not having to hand-wash dishes.
Mindfulness is a skill we develop and grow, just like anything else we learn. You might not feel a feel a dramatic change the first time you try a brief meditation, but over time and with regular practice, you’ll feel pleasantly surprised by the shift towards a more positive and healthy mind.
By Hanna Kim - July 11, 2018
Whether it’s for work or play, travel can take a toll on your health. It often involves hours in cramped seating, straying away from our normal food and exercise routines, and bedding our bodies aren’t used to. There are many things we can do to release stress and stay healthy while travelling this summer. Here are some ideas to keep in mind as you step in and out of Denver International Airport or hit the highway for a road trip adventure.
1) You Are What You Eat and Drink
Bring your own meal and snacks, at least for the first leg of your plane trip or road trip. On-the-go options can be limited and unhealthy. Fruits, nuts, nut butter and jelly sandwiches are easy to pack up and bring along.
When you are at your destination, remember to eat a healthy and hearty breakfast to get your metabolism going and fuel you for the rest of the day. You don’t need to count every calorie, but take into consideration that the more vegetables and whole grains you eat, the better.
"Fruits, nuts, nut butter and jelly sandwiches
are easy to pack up and bring along."
If you can help it, avoid fast food as much as possible and try picking up some easily prepared foods like oatmeal or eggs at a grocery store. While you’re there, restock on snacks that will help you resist unhealthier options.
Remember to drink plenty of water, as the summer sun and recirculated air in planes can further dehydrate you. If you’re on a long stretch of a drive, ice water with lemon can help keep you from feeling sluggish from dehydration.
2) Maintain an Exercise Routine
It is important to keep up with some exercise as you travel. One study published by the Journal of Applied Physiology found that two weeks of decreased daily activity levels significantly reduces your cardiovascular fitness, lean muscle mass, and decreases insulin sensitivity, which can lead to insulin resistance if prolonged dramatically.
Like most people, you have probably found yourself going through some extra huffing and puffing when you restart an exercise routine after forgoing one for a while. It can be hard to stick to a regular workout when you’re away from your favorite gym or running trail, but it’s not impossible.
If you can spare a little extra packing space, you can bring small pieces of workout equipment like resistance bands or a jump rope. There are many short equipment-less workout routines you can find online and do in your hotel room or a park. Consider tossing in a tennis or lacrosse ball to work out some of the kinks in your muscles from your workout too.
"It can be hard to stick to a regular workout when
you’re away from your favorite gym or running trail,
but it’s not impossible."
You can use the pleasant weather as an opportunity to walk or bike from place to place. If you have some extra time before your flight, try walking around the airport terminal instead of slumping into a chair as you wait. If you’re driving, be sure to take plenty of rest breaks to stretch out your tight hips and shoulders.
3) Give Your Body Some TLC with a CBD Massage
After a trip where you’re hard at work or perhaps one where you’re hardly working, you may feel achy and stiff. Ease back into your regular life, or get yourself back to shipshape for your next travels with a restorative massage with one of our five-star reviewed massage therapists. You are sure to notice a difference when you give your body the time and space it needs to breathe and relax.
The new RTD train station on 38th and Blake is just a short walk from our RiNo studio and open seven days a week for massage and private yoga. Call today at (720) 360-0035 to book an appointment. You can also drop in on a donation based yoga class at RiNo Yoga Social in the same location!
By Hanna Kim - July 9, 2018
Massage is one of the few career fields in where male practitioners face more challenge finding paid work than their female counterparts. It is a field dominated by women; according to the American Massage Therapy Association, 85% of massage therapists in the United States are women.
Clients often prefer to have a female massage therapist work on them for a variety of reasons. Some may assume a woman might have a more nurturing touch than a man, others worry about body shaming, some men are uncomfortable with the idea of another man touching them, and some women worry a male therapist may be more threatening in a vulnerable environment.
It is a field dominated by women; according to the American Massage Therapy Association, 85% of massage therapists in the United States are women.
When I was in massage school, we only had one male student out of the ten people in the class. During one of our first practice sessions, I was paired with the male student. I assumed he was not doing as good of a job of providing a healing touch, when the very same could have been said of me or any of the other women in the class as newbies with limited experience.
Later in the program came some perks: us students received massages from the different teachers who had worked hard for years crafting their specializations. Two of these massages were from male bodyworkers, and this helped me realize I had let my own biases affect my views on male massage therapists.
More often than not, reasonings against having a male massage therapist are rooted in the gender binary inundated in our culture. Thankfully in recent years, we are realizing as a society that people don’t necessarily have to fit one of two molds of male and female.
The shifting definitions of and within gender identity is helping people be seen and see themselves simply as individuals with unique interests and abilities. Not every woman is meant to be a nurturer, and some men do excel in providing a healing and therapeutic massage.
More often than not, reasonings against having a male massage therapist are rooted in the gender binary inundated in our culture.
Male massage therapists who make it in the industry are often often supremely talented, as they also have to work against biases to get the same volume of clientele as a female bodyworker. Successful therapists, like the ones at our studio, often have niche backgrounds such as medical massage and sports massage, two modalities that are very effective for pain relief.
“I first came last October with a back injury I was convinced was about to be a huge medical issue. Being in between jobs and just relocating from Florida I thought it best to get a massage before finally going to the doctors. Essentially 9 months later I owe so much credit to Jason who has worked on and relieved so many chronic issues throughout this period of time I was unaware were related to tight muscles.
I literally recommend anyone who is sore, injured, in general pain, or just wants a relaxing massage to Jason. I've gone to numerous masseuses over the past 5 years and he is by far the best, by a long shot.”
“I've received two massages here, one from Michael and one from Stephen. Both incredible experiences. Really tuned into what I needed in terms of target areas and appropriate pressure. Would highly recommend massages with either of these guys. Thanks for a comfortable, relaxing and rejuvenating experience! I'll be back soon :)”
LoDo Massage Studio’s managers have rigorous standards so they can hire the right people to provide the therapeutic bodywork we know will exceed client expectations. It is important to inform clients our studios’ male bodyworkers are as highly trained and capable as any of our female therapists. Don’t hesitate to give them a shot, especially if your focus is fixing the pain and tension in your body.
Male massage therapists who make it in the industry are often often supremely talented, as they also have to work against biases to get the same volume of clientele as a female bodyworker.
Through learning and exposure, experienced massage clients often say they care less and less about who is massaging them, and more about what the massage therapist can do for them.
If you are newer to massage, it is still important to do what you are comfortable with, after all, one of the intended outcomes is relaxation. Over time, you may find yourself looking for particular skills instead of placing barriers based on gender identification.
You can book a massage with one of our talented massage specialists at both of our Denver studios 7 days a week, from 9AM to 9PM!
By Hanna Kim- June 28, 2018
Independence Day falls on a Wednesday this year, meaning many Americans get a much deserved break to celebrate the birth of the nation. Many of us enjoy celebrating and may not notice what we’re over-eating and over-drinking with friends and family, and may leave our bodies much to recover from over the following days. Having to go back to work the day after an indulgent holiday is not necessarily the most pleasant.
Here are some tips on how to get back to work feeling refreshed:
Scarf Down the Nourishing Benefits of Watermelon
Instead of reaching for another hotdog or hamburger, grab a fresh slice of watermelon! Watermelon is a delicious summer crop that, in fact, grows well locally in the Arkansas Valley region of Colorado. Filling up on fresh fruit like watermelon helps hydrate your body, unlike the salty processed foods you might otherwise eat at a barbeque.
Try drizzling some one-inch thick pieces of watermelon with olive oil and salt and letting them grill for two minutes on each side. If you want to get a little fancier, top the watermelon “steaks” with balsamic and feta for a savory-sweet treat.
Filling up on fresh fruit like watermelon helps hydrate your body, unlike the salty processed foods you might otherwise eat at a barbeque.
Continue to hydrate over the next day by drinking plenty of water and getting the electrolytes and potassium you need to combat any dehydration from the dry heat, sun, and alcohol.
Use Your Day Off to Catch Up on Exercise
Exercise is highly beneficial to helping detox your body. Summer in Colorado is the best time to get outdoors for heart-pumping activities like hiking, trail running, mountain biking to get your cardiovascular system up and running.
Cardio exercises increases the rate of fresh oxygen and nutrients circulating
Cardio exercises increases the rate of fresh oxygen and nutrients circulating through your body, and helps keep your digestive system work properly.
One type of exercise you may want to try out on your day off is yoga with a twist.
There are a variety of twisting poses in yoga which may help detoxify your organs. Twists help with circulation and digestion by compressing and flushing bodily fluids. Moreover, these poses help stretch and strengthen the spine and also helps keeo vertebral discos and ligaments flexible.
Relax and Detox with Lymphatic Drainage Massage
Whether you decide to spend the day partying it up or getting your heart rate going, massage can help you feel your best afterwards. Both locals and visitors love how rejuvenated they feel after a session with one of our seasoned massage therapists. Massage treatments can be specialized to suit your needs, whether you are looking for a relaxing Swedish Massage or an invigorating deep tissue massage.
By Hanna Kim - June 25, 2018
In the last five years, Denver has seen many changes, including the introduction of the RiNo neighborhood. What was once a sea of empty warehouses has rebooted as one of the trendiest parts of Denver, now bustling with breweries, boutiques, and wellness centers.
We’re so happy to share our neighborhood with other local businesses that strive to bring the very best for their customers! As a locally owned and operated business, we want to support our neighbors like The Fitness Branch, which is nestled in Backyard on Blake, a charming new community center and workspace a block away from our own studio.
Functional Movement Feels Good for Your Body
If you’re like me, it’s easier to take a fitness class instead of going into a gym and being overwhelmed by all the equipment and uncertainty about their intended use. I’ve mostly stuck to yoga and the occasional barre class if I'm feeling feisty, so I was nervous about going to my first weight training class.
Us massage therapists will often tell you to stretch more after a massage session, but it’s equally as important to add strength work to your self-care regimen. Most of us have common movement patterns that we go through each day, leaving some muscles stronger than others, so it is important to correct these imbalances to feel our very best.
Kettlebells have gained recent popularity with research coming out about the benefits of the added challenge of this type of weight versus dumbbells. Kettlebells shift the center of gravity further away from your body, so it requires more effort to lift and stabilize the weights. Because of the added instability, it is important to get proper training before training with kettlebells.
Meet Our Neighbor, Leandra of The Fitness Branch
I met Leandra last week for the Skills Lab, which is an introduction to the safe use of kettlebells. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was very pleased with how helpful and motivating she is as a teacher. I had trouble timing the “swing,” which is the basis of many kettlebell exercises. Leandra was very patient; she explained and demoed the basics as much as I needed get comfortable and safely understand proper body mechanics.
Leandra was first introduced to kettlebells by her sister seven years ago, and has been smitten with this style of workout ever since. She ties her past experience as a physical therapy aide to optimize functional movement for her students.
She ties her past experience as a physical therapy aide to optimize functional movement for her students.
There is a focus on the posterior chain of muscles, including our glutes, hamstrings, and erector spinae (long spinal muscles), which are often weaker than the anterior chain (quads, core, pecs) on the average person. These workouts also strengthen your lateralis, aka “lats” which wrap around, and therefore stabilize our torso, as well as our transverse abdominals, which are the deepest “abs” in our bodies that stabilizing our lower back and hips.
She says her gym is for everyday people whose aim is to be healthy, not just models and bodybuilders. It’s an amazing opportunity to have someone so experienced guide you through your workout, especially if you have injuries and limitations. It can make a workout far less daunting when you know someone is looking out for your well-being with the right modifications to suit you.
For my first actual class, I participated in Sam’s Tuesday 10AM “GRIND,” which has a focus on heavier lifting. The group classes are capped at 15 people, making individual attention still possible. The very reason I like to go to classes instead of working out on my own is so that I have someone to give me some guidance.
Everyone did the same set of exercises, but using different sized weights. Part of the appeal of kettlebells for Leandra, Sam, and their students is that you can start where you start and keep “leveling up” to a new personal best.
Each class starts with a well-rounded warm up to mobilize your joints (neck, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles), and class ends with about five minutes of stretching and foam rolling. These exercises target your stabilizer muscles hard. I most feel the workout in my hamstrings and left side lats after yesterday’s class.
Each class starts with a well-rounded warm up to mobilize your joints (neck, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles), and class ends with about five minutes of stretching and foam rolling.
Sam recommended starting with 3 classes a week. She said that most people see changes in just two months of regular kettlebell training. I’d have to say, even with just the skills lab (which was a workout itself) and my first full class, I notice a difference in my own strength. I feel like I’m not working as hard when I’m at work doing deep tissue sessions.
You can try your hand at kettlebells at The Fitness Branch for just $15. This includes the skills lab and a whole week to try out the different classes they offer.
Adding more self care, like visiting LoDo Massage Studio for a session can help ease the muscular tension as you strengthen. Leandra and Sam are both happy regular clients of our studio and I’m definitely looking forward to getting on the table myself at the end of this week!
Hanna Kim has been practicing massage therapy at LoDo Massage Studio since 2016. She ventured into the world of complementary healthcare through massage, after studying Advertising and Intercultural Communications in college. She enjoys combining her passions for writing and wellness, and loves sharing what she learns with others.