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It is never fun to be involved in a car accident. What most people discover first-hand is that there is more to deal with than just getting your car repaired.
Often times, there is a physical injury associated with the impact from a car accident, and the severity can range from mild to very severe (i.e. death). Within that spectrum, the pain and discomfort one experiences can range from a few days to a few years, and in some cases, the impact of injuries sustained can last a lifetime.
There are various factors that contribute to the severity of an injury and the amount of time it could take for full recovery:
- How much force was involved in the impact?
Generally, the greater the speed of the cars involved, the greater the force of impact, and the more severe the injuries. Of course, there are other factors that can determine the final outcome of the impact, such as, if the car that was hit was also moving, and at what speed; the type of impact: rear, frontal or side. The usage of seat belts and road conditions can also contribute to the severity of impact. On the other hand, someone who was in a mild fender bender may find themselves with a myriad of soft tissue injuries.
- Were you taken by surprise at the time of impact?
Some studies indicate a correlation between the severity of an injury and how prepared a person was before actual impact. Most people will seize up their muscles if they are anticipating impact, which can protect the muscle fibers and soft tissue from over-stretching and tearing, thus limiting the level of trauma one sustains from impact.
- What other health issues or injuries have you had or were you dealing with at the time of the accident?
The fewer health issues one has to deal with throughout injury recovery, means more of the body’s resources can be directed towards injury healing.
- Did you seek treatment immediately, versus waiting until the pain was unbearable before seeking medical help?
The sooner one receives medical attention for injury assessment and treatment, the better one’s chances are for a swifter recovery. The longer one waits for treatment, the longer the body has for injury patterns to set in, and the longer it takes to undo these patterns.
The road to recovery can be a long one, and can be impacted by all of the factors mentioned above. Not everyone needs the same kind of help, nor does every respond the same way to the various modalities of treatment that are available (ie. Massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, physical therapy, psychotherapy, medication, etc.).
The important thing to remember is that your health should be your number one priority. Don’t let the issue of finances and time dictate whether or not you seek treatment.
Other articles in the Auto Accidents: Injuries and Treatment series:
Have you ever woken up in the morning, feeling on top of the world, only to realize later that you’re feeling slightly sick and heavy? Do you ever feel like the energy has literally been sucked out of you after a heavy conversation with a friend who’s going through troubling times, and suddenly you are feeling as bad as your friend? Or perhaps you were feeling just fine until you walked through an airport, shopping mall or some other place that is filled with lots of people, and you feel not-so-great afterwards?
These are some signs that you have unconsciously taken on other people’s energies, emotions, or problems. You may be naturally sensitive or empathic, but you don’t have to put up with other people’s “stuff.”
Energy hygiene is very much like physical hygiene. Many of us have been taught to take a daily shower or bath to cleanse ourselves. It is equally important to develop habits to clean ourselves energetically as well. When there is dirt on our physical bodies, we wash it away. We should do the same when we take on other peoples’ heavy emotions or energies.
First, ask yourself, “Are these feelings mine?” If you’re not sure, think about how you were feeling earlier in the day, consider any conversations or interactions you may have had with other people that might have contributed to your current state. See if you can pinpoint at which time you started to feel the way you do.
Here are some ways you can keep your own energies clear and pure; you can try them singly or use them in any combination as necessary:
1) Get physically clean. Take a shower, finishing with a cold rinse. During your shower, imagine you are standing underneath a shower of rainbow light that is washing away all energies that are heavy, negative, or simply, not serving you. Visualize that energy being washed permanently down the drain and eventually making its way back into the earth, where it will be neutralized.
2) Say a prayer to your Higher Power. Ask for your energy be purified, cleansed and brought back to the highest vibration possible.
3) Take a smudge stick, light it and wave it around your body, taking care to watch for any embers that may drop onto the floor. A prayer that I have been taught (by Reiki Master Kate Linker) and have used effectively over the years:
I am filled with and surrounded by the Pure White Light of God’s* healing love .
Only good can come to me, only good can go from me.
I give thanks, I give thanks, Thank You, Mother-Father-God.
(*insert your own name for higher power here)
As you say the prayer, imagine a waterfall of light filling you up from the inside out, and imagine a bubble of light surrounding you wherever you go.
4) Get a Reiki treatment, or any other type of energy work, which will help you release whatever it is you have taken on from others. Reiki can help restore balance and fortify you.
5) Spend time in nature. Sit underneath a tree to ground yourself, or watch the sun set. Being surrounded by nature is naturally healing, and can help bring you back into balance.
6) Get physical. Physical activity can help you recalibrate not only your physical energy, but also your emotional and mental energies. Exercise can help you release any pent up anxiety, emotional heaviness, or worry, creating room for higher, finer emotions and energies to flow into you.
Grab a Loyalty Punch Card during your next visit and you can start earning your way toward a 20% off discount, or a free 30-minute upgrade after ten visits*!
Be sure to present your Punch Card at each visit.
*Pre-paid package visits not valid for punches; not transferable and no cash value. Discount of 20% or Free 30 Minute Upgrade available only for 11th visit, 60 minute session minimum.
It is easy to forget to pay attention to the little details that can truly enrich our daily experiences. Our attention is often occupied by events that happened last week, month or year, or even by worries of what will happen in the future. We forget or may never realize that the greatest power we hold is in the moment.
One way to connect to the power of each moment is to ground oneself. Grounding is the state of being completely in your body, aware of physical sensations, and being present mentally and emotionally. Aside from the health benefits grounding provides, such as stress reduction, you’ll feel calmer and more in control of your environment. Your breathing will change once you are able to relax your body, mind and emotions. Grounding is useful when you notice you are feeling any of the following:
- in a rush
- stressed out
- running on adrenaline
There are numerous ways to ground – the important thing is to find a method that truly works for you. I’ve included two ways you can experiment with: Tree Hugging , and Visualization Meditation.
Hug a Tree
This exercise will require a nice looking tree that you wouldn’t mind putting your arms around, as well as some privacy, if you’re the type to feel self conscious hugging a tree in public (you can also sit at the base of the tree, or lean your back against the trunk). When you have found yourself a good tree, wrap your arms are around the trunk. Close your eyes and take at least three deep breaths, loosening your muscles at the same time.
If possible, remove your shoes so your feet are making full contact with the earth. Begin by acknowledging any negativity you may have stored in your system – thoughts of worry, anxiety, past hurts, grudges, other people’s energies, physical pain, etc., and then one by one, release them into the earth, watching them sink deep into the soil beneath you. Imagine that energy being soaked up and neutralized by the earth’s healing energies.
When you’re ready, imagine the healing energy of the earth begin rising up through the soles of your feet; you can imagine this energy as having a color, even a certain texture. Feel this energy rising up through your limbs, into your torso, arms, shoulders, neck and your head, and then out through the crown of your head.
Next, visualize pure healing white light from the universe streaming down into you through the crown of your head. Imagine this light flowing throughout your body, and sink into the ground through the soles of your feet. See the two energies mixing within your body, harmonizing and balancing your energies. Allow both energies to run for a few minutes.
Don’t forget to breathe deeply and slowly while you’re doing this. You might feel tingling, buzzing, warmth or energy coursing through your body, all of which is normal. If you find yourself getting dizzy, slow down the energy flow, and take it easy for a few minutes. When you are feeling balanced and calm, slowly bring yourself back to the present, and detach yourself from the tree gently. Thank the tree for its assistance, as well as Mother Earth for her healing and loving energies.
You may do this exercise standing, laying down or sitting on a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
Begin by breathing into your muscles, bones and organs until you are feeling calm and quiet. Bring your attention to the soles of your feet as you imagine roots growing out from them and extending slowly through the floor and into the earth. Watch them move deeper and deeper into the earth until they hit the magnetic core center.
Allow your body to feel the effects of gravity as it gets heavier and pulls you down, draining any tension, stress, negative emotions and energies out of your system. Let them sink into the earth through your roots and continue to breathe deeply. Instead of forcing your breath, allow your breath to breathe you.
Now that you are completely relaxed, slowly imagine a ball of healing earth energy gathering at the end of your roots, and see it moving through your roots towards your feet. Allow as much time as you need in order to visualize this ball of energy reaching the soles of your feet. Feel it traveling up through your limbs and into your abdomen and let it pause there for a moment.
Take some time to get used to this energy and observe its physical, emotional and mental effects on you. Explore the texture of this energy, and the colors that may accompany it. Immerse yourself in this feeling, and when you’re ready, visualize this ball of energy expanding slowly until you are completely enveloped by it, like a bubble.
Let this ball continue to grow until it reaches about three to four feet from your physical body. Soak in the healing energies and know that you are safe and in control of your environment. You may stay in this state for as long as you need.
When you’re ready, slowly wiggle your toes; rock your feet side to side, back and forth gently, until you can easily lift your feet up. Imagine those roots you just planted into the earth gently dislodging from your feet. Gently bring the rest of your body back to the present by wiggling and stretching them. Thank the Mother Earth for sharing her healing energies with you.
Every day we have numerous opportunities to be overwhelmed with stress, whether it’s the major traffic jam during our commute, or the annoying neighbor upstairs who prefers to stomp their way through the apartment all night long. For most of us, small stressors are easily handled and overlooked. However, when we are exposed to numerous small stressors that are not dealt with over a long period of time without relief, our physical, mental and emotional health begins to suffer.
What are some of the things that happen within our bodies when we’re stressed? To begin with, we can count on an increased heart rate, rapid breathing, increased blood pressure, feelings of anxiety, tight muscles, headaches, fatigue, insomnia, and so on.
Medical research has already determined that over 80% of illnesses are caused by or made worse by stress alone! Think about the enormity of that fact.
So what are some of the things that we can do to keep our stress levels in check? Here are some of my favorite strategies:
- Slow down! Take a few moments every day to breathe mindfully, appreciate the beauty of the moment and where you happen to be in the whole scheme of your life.
- Be thankful for all that you have. Gratitude opens your heart and allows energy to flow within your body. With it, comes more relaxed breathing patterns, and a tendency to focus on what’s good in your life, rather than what isn’t.
- Exercise – moving your body and sweating allows for better circulation, releases toxins, and can help provide a safe outlet for suppressed aggression.
- Cultivate a spiritual life – it doesn’t matter whether you are religious or not. Spirituality is the development of your spirit – the part of you that knows joy, love, and abundance on every level.
- Treat your body right! Healthy diet, good sleep, and down time can go a long way.
- Spend time with people who inspire you, and believe in the best of you. You’ll feel uplifted, optimistic and supported.
- Get regular body or energy work – that half sleepy/awake state most people fall into allows for deep healing to take place. Plus, it just feels so good!
- Spend quality time with your pet- a cat’s purr or a dog’s happy wagging tail can erase the worst of a bad day!
How to Choose a Massage Therapist
Choosing a massage therapist can be a very personal matter. Lying on a table in your skivvies to allow a stranger to work on you can be daunting. Whether you’re new in town and looking for someone to build a long lasting therapeutic relationship or you simply over did it on your most recent hike and need immediate relief, here are some tips to help you choose a therapist that’s right for you.
Find a Therapist
How much education does your massage therapist have? In many states, massage therapy is regulated, which usually means therapists are required to have a minimum number of of trainings hours, but for those states that don’t regulate massage (currently Alaska, Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Vermont, Wyoming) it is especially important to ask about your therapist’s educational background before you make your appointment. If you live in a state in which massage therapy is regulated, you will want to make sure your therapist has the necessary certifications or licenses to practice in your state.
An educated and well-trained massage therapist will know which modalities and treatments are safe for you, and when to refer you to the appropriate medical providers when your needs can not be met through massage.
Place of Work/Location
Does your massage therapist operate out of a professional office or home? Or would you prefer to receive your session at a spa? What you choose can set the tone and dictate the kind of experience you will have. A therapist who operates out of a home will offer a different experience from a therapist who operates out of an upscale spa.
Types of Modalities/Treatments Provided
Are you mostly interested in relaxation and stress relief? Then you’ll most likely enjoy a Swedish massage.
If you’re fairly active and have various aches and pains associated with your activity, then you might want to consider working with someone who has sports massage, deep tissue or neuromuscular therapy training.
If you’ve been in an accident or are recovering from an injury, then you might want to find someone who does any or a combination of the following modalities: deep tissue, myofascial release, orthopedic massage, neuromuscular therapy, or medical massage.
Of course, it is always nice to find someone who is versatile and can address your concerns as they come up. Some days you might feel like you need to de-stress and unwind and other days you might have pain you need to work through. Consider the kind of work you think you’ll be needing in the future so you won’t have to hop from one therapist to another as your needs change.
Does your therapist offer hours that coincide with yours? If you have a nine-to-five job and your therapist doesn’t work on weekends or evenings then you’ll have a hard time getting an appointment. Does your therapist offer online scheduling? If you’re on the computer a lot, then that can be an added convenience, allowing you to avoid phone tag.
After Your First Appointment
Once you’ve scheduled your appointment and completed your first visit, you still need to consider whether you’d like to continue working with your therapist.
Didyour therapist inquire about your health history and any current conditions you are currently being treated for? It’s important for a therapist to know if you’re dealing with health issues so s/he can tailor your session to ensure a safe and positive experience. For example, if you have high blood pressure and your therapist doesn’t know about it, a warm stone massage might elevate your blood pressure and lead to unwanted complications.
Did Your Therapist Meet Your Goals?
Did your therapist ask you what you wanted to get out of your session? Did s/he listen to you and was that reflected in the session you received? Please keep in mind that your therapist is not a mind reader. Room temperature, music, scents, and massage pressure are examples of elements that can be adjusted to each individual’s preference. You owe it to yourself and your therapist to communicate your needs throughout your visit.
Did your therapist offer suggestions for your continual self-care after your session? A good therapist will ask you for feedback and send you home with relevant stretches or suggestions that you can do on your own until your next visit.
Did You Like Your Therapist?
This may seem like a silly criteria but it’s important that you connect with and like your therapist. This is likely to be a gut reaction, rather than an analytical assessment, so listen to your body and pay attention to how you feel when you think about returning for another session.
If your first massage session with a new therapist didn’t work out perfectly, don’t panic. Just like any new relationship, it can take a few sessions before you establish a level of comfort with your new therapist. However, if you’re just not feeling it, keep looking until you find someone who feels right for you.
The benefits from massage are countless and you owe it to yourself and your body to work with someone whom you can trust and can build a lasting therapeutic relationship.
I recently had the opportunity to do something I’d never previously considered doing before: turn off my cell phone, computer and TV for over 24 hours. At first I thought, “But what about all the people who are trying to reach me? What? No email? No Facebook? And no HGTV?!”
With a little bit of convincing, I decided to take the plunge. I figured that at the very least I would save a tiny bit of money on my electric bill. What I didn’t expect was the vast sense of relief I experienced as soon as I turned everything off. It felt like I was on a retreat, even though I hadn’t traveled anywhere special, nor was I being led on a spiritual journey by a guru or master. I allowed myself to surrender to the experience, and the following 24 hours was an indulgent “All About Amy” day.
Upon waking the next morning, I spent nearly two hours journaling and meditating. Later, I went on a relaxing walk on a nearby nature trail while taking the time to thoroughly appreciate the sunshine and beauty surrounding me. I noticed so much more on my walk than I normally do and found my mind free of extraneous thoughts that were normally present, ie.: Who do I have to call/email back when I return?, or What’s on TV tonight?, etc. When I returned home I journaled some more and then found myself daydreaming for a good long while as I gazed lazily out my window. I then spent the evening catching up on my reading, something I hadn’t done in ages.
I have to admit that while I thoroughly enjoyed my time “unplugged” from the world, as it got closer to the final 24 hours, I found myself getting antsy about checking my email, and wondering who might be desperately trying to reach me. It turned out that the world had managed to go on just fine without me (shocking, right?). Hours after my 24-hour period had ended, I found myself brimming with energy to tackle projects I had been putting off for months and a renewed passion in my work that has continued to carry over since then. Moving forward, I think the next time the opportunity to “unplug” presents itself to me, I will welcome it with open arms.
How about you? Does “unplugging” from the world sound appealing? I invite you to try it for yourself and see where it takes you. Feel free to write me and let me know about your experiences!