Your Mind, your Body, it’s all the Same to Me.

I recently heard the  “On Being” podcast interview with Ellen Langer.  This remarkable social psychologist has distilled the workings of mind and body into a non-jargony essence.  For over 35 years she has researched and published.   I was especially interested in how she describes mind-body unity.

I like to encourage my clients to focus more on their possibilities than their problems.  As a wellness practitioner and an older person, I was fascinated to learn about one of her 1979 study, expanded on in her book Counter Clockwise ,  that showed how mindset and environment can profoundly affect how we perceive our age and what it means to us.

As oldsters, as Pittsburghers, as women, as men, etc., we habitually focus on the inconveniences of our status.   It is a fun challenge to turn those aphorisms upside down.  And it makes a difference in how we experience life.  This is one of my favorite On Being episodes – alongside the interview with Rachel Yehuda on epigentics – understanding how the experiences of our parents can affect us by “writing the software” of our mental and emotional program for dealing with life experiences.

The overarching theme to me is that the more we understand how our mind and spirit works, that knowledge can enable us to live more fully and forgivingly of ourselves and others.

Diagram of health

Annual Gift Certificate Sale!

Buy up to 5 gift certificates for $52 each. Order now through December 20.

Buy now and gift yourself or your friend with a great massage!  With some deals you never know what quality of experience you may get.

At Body Harmony you get a session in a quiet, private space, with your choice of music and a therapist who is happy and well rested!

Call or email – I can mail a certificate or email you a pdf certificate.

The Healing Power of Water

You’ve probably been told to drink water after a massage to “flush away the toxins.”  As I mentioned in my recent blog post about massage myths, a massage does not increase or release toxins in your system.

However, there are many great reasons to drink water, and water rich beverages.   A recent Consumer Reports article urging us to move away from sugary drinks lists EIGHT different benefits to your body.

Do you know what percentage of our body is composed of water?

a)30%     b) 45%       c) 60%    Read on to find out!


Here’s how much to consume per day, and eight for-real benefits.  From all sources including your food, try to get 11 – 16 cups per day. So if you are eating lots of fruits and veggies, those count quite a bit towards your total. Also factor in your size, the weather, and your activity level to see if you need to increase your intake.

Staying well hydrated helps you to:

1) Prevent or relieve a headache.

2) Fight a fever.

3) Improve your digestion.

4) Moderate your appetite.

5) Make your heart’s job easier.

6) Improve athletic performance.

7) Boost your cooling under hot conditions.

8) Improve your mood.

Yes, it’s true – our bodies are 60% water, so drink up!

Source: Catherine Roberts in Consumer Reports, October 2017

The Health Benefits of Massage Therapy: What Research Confirms

During my massage training, and over the years that I have practiced massage, I have heard many times through classes and articles that there are many health benefits and specific effects of massage therapy. In a valuable new e-book by oncology massage expert Tracy Walton, we can discover which of these claims is backed up by a solid collection of studies, and which are vague and unsubstantiated.

Among those claims that should be dropped are many that have been repeated so often that we all assume that they are true. But we certainly know the danger in accepting statements without checking the references.

If you would like to read the whole book, it is laid out in a easy to read e-book with many pictures and diagrams at the Massage Therapy Foundation Website: Five Myths and Truths about Massage Therapy

In the book Walton carefully distinguishes between clinical outcomes and mechanistic outcomes. We have tended to makes mechanistic claims such as that massage elevates endorphins, lowers cortisol, increases circulation, or “detoxifies”.  Mostly these are not supported by research.  The good news is that important clinical outcomes ARE supported, such as lowering pain and reducing anxiety.