Category Archives: Nursing

Hot Nurses, Sexism, and the Culture of Silence #metoo

“You have to pick your battles.”  That’s what my friend says to me as we relate the different ways in which we have dealt with sexism over the years.  The culture of silence.  Why do we have to pick our battles?  Because it is so stinking pervasive.  That’s why.  If it only happened every now and then, you could hit it head on, and get past it.  You wouldn’t have to weigh out the consequences and implications of possible conflict in the work place and out.

I wrote this post last year and never published it.  Since then the #metoo movement took off and more women have been speaking up about sexism and sexual harassment.

Sitting on the sidelines of my kid’s soccer game as he was playing another team that was co-ed.  Boys and girls.  There was a mom behind me screaming at her son to, “Get her.  Let her have it.”  Then she spoke to the rest of us.  “He (my son) told me he didn’t like playing teams with girls because he had to be careful. I said, no you don’t!  If she’s playing on a boy team she’s asking for it.  You let her have it.”

I was horrified.  And yet, as is so often the case when we are involved with sexism our shock and confusion render us silent.  Is this really happening?  She feels supported enough in this environment to be so rabidly sexist toward these young soccer girls and in what she is teaching her son about how women should be treated.  The whole, ‘she’s asking for it’ line.

What’s wrong with teaching your son to treat the female soccer players like humans, with good sportsmanship?

Another woman asked me how I felt about co-ed teams while in the same sentence saying that she didn’t like it.  She said that girls develop faster than boys and that gave them an unfair advantage (we were losing to the co-ed team).  I told her that I was glad to see that there were girls on the team and that they were doing well.

But I think that if they hadn’t been doing well, that mother would have said instead, “well, what did they expect, playing on a boys’ field.”  No matter how it was going these women had it out for girls on the ‘boys’ team.

These are grown women.  Mothers of 12 year old children.  And I said nothing.

As a small business owner for 10 years I hadn’t had to deal with workplace sexism.  I was the boss and I set the tone for my environment.  But when I got into nursing in an environment that serves a predominantly male population, it was everywhere.  Patients grabbing me inappropriately, talking about the nurses with reference to sexual fantasies, and from coworkers who would say, “aw let him have his fun.  He’s not hurting anybody.”

Once I had a nurse (in a superior position) approach me with my patient in the hall. My patient was demented and needed to be walked continually to feel that we were going somewhere.  He didn’t know where he was going but he knew he wanted to get out of there.  The other nurse said to the patient, “Why do you want to get out of here?  You have this hot nurse here helping you out?  Look at her.  You’ve got it made here.”  He continued the conversation with the patient, referencing me as the hot nurse repeatedly and in different ways.  I stepped away from the two of them.  My face was flushed.  I had witnessed this nurse trash talking women disrespectfully with almost every encounter.  This was the first time he had spoken about me in that way in my presence.  When he was leaving I came back to the patient’s chair and said to the nurse, “It is not okay for you to talk about me like that.”  The nurse apologized and he hasn’t done it to me since then.  He has not however, stopped disrespecting other women on the floor to their face and behind their back.  They probably felt as disempowered as I so often have, and haven’t found the words or courage to fight it.

More recently there was a nurse assistant who was talking about how rough his life was since he couldn’t get out to the strip clubs.  It’s his right to spend his time as he wants.  But in our work setting I felt uncomfortable listening to him detailing the things he was missing out on because he was working so much. This wasn’t a private conversation he was having with an intimate friend.  This was him boastfully and loudly talking to all of us in the nurses station about how rough his life was because he couldn’t get to the naked dancers and there was no porn available.  Again, I said nothing.  It wasn’t directed at me personally, but it was assuming a comfort level with a sexual topic that objectifies women and devalues their humanity.

I think it’s a combination of shock, fear, and shame that makes us remain silent when we should speak up when being dehumanized.  Even while writing this post I question if I should write certain aspects of it.  I question if I will even post it.  Why?  Because, what if somebody I know reads this, what if I lose my job for talking about the realities of workplace sexism, what if the soccer moms blacklist my son from events because I’m weird and not a part of the ‘good ole boy network’ that believes that women have it coming to them.  We feel shame when we are denigrated like that.  Whether our logical mind buys into the abuse or not, we feel ashamed to be that which is so easily ridiculed and put down.  Our culture is not supportive of rational discussions of sexism.  Our culture, whether it intends to or not, is supportive of silence.  Put your head down and it will be over in a minute.

I hope that my sons will see a female opponent the way they see a male opponent, as a human to be treated with respect and good sportsmanship.  I hope that they will stand up for women in the workplace and recognize that it is not good sportsmanship to allow an elderly man to grab a nurse’s  breasts because, “let him have his fun.  He’s not hurting anybody.”  The fact that these elderly men haven’t learned that it is assault to grab a woman’s breast should not be a deterrent to educating them now.

I hope for myself that I can recover more quickly from the shock of these situations in the future and hit them head on without fear of backward consequences that blame the victim.  Because of course, according to some people, I’m asking for it.  What I’m truly asking for is to be treated like a human, that all women be treated equally as humans.

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, former owner of I.M. Spa, registered nurse at a hospital, Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, runner, world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 24 plus years, a massage therapy educator, and a gardener.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.

 

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Good Solid Chiropractic Adjustments

During the Persian Gulf War I was an Airman in the Air Force working in a warehouse, driving trucks, forklifts, and lifting heavy boxes.  I hurt my low back then–was out of commission for about 3 months.  The medical doctors did x-rays and tests, they put me through physical therapy, ice therapy, and electrical stimulation.  They put me on light duty for months.  It wasn’t until I got out of the military and was in massage therapy school that I had the ah-ha moment of chiropractic.  I was in excruciating pain and my instructor said, your sacro-iliac joints are misaligned.  You need a chiropractic adjustment.

It was miraculous.  The next day I felt almost 100% better.

I have had to manage low back pain ever since .  It’s a process and some days are better than others, but the tools I have developed over time to help are what I have shaped my life and occupation around.

  • Eat good food.  (Maintaining a good weight is definitely a factor in low back pain)
  • Move it or lose it.  (Exercise is imperative)
  • Yoga-intentional stretching (I’ve been bad about this lately)
  • Massage.  (of course)
  • And Chiropractic

I have gone to many chiropractors over the years, and always,  when I go, I see clients I have referred there.  I love trying out new chiropractors, but like any profession, it’s good to get a good referral.

Until recently I have paid cash for my chiropractic visits.  That pay range has been between $35 and $55 a session.  I’m not interested in getting on  a program, and I’m not interested in the bells and whistles–heat, TENS units (especially since they re-use the stickers-yuck), ice, machine manipulation–I can do all that stuff on my own.

My son needed a couple chiropractic adjustments to help him recover from a soccer injury so I took him and used my insurance.  2 times to the chiropractor–$400.  The adjustment itself was affordable, but all the bells and whistles were through the roof expensive.

I just want the adjustment.

And I told them that.  I was getting adjustments there as well.  And even though I stated very clearly that I was not interested in electrical stimulation or heat, my chiropractor ushered me to the treatment room after my adjustment anyway.  The tech person took me into a room and showed me how to stretch my piriformis–I think I know that one by now.

It’s a money making machine.  If insurance will pay hundreds of dollars for adjunct therapies, then everybody is getting them.  This is so much what I dislike about our health care system.  The system will pay it–so we’ll do it.  It’s the difference between a $55 adjustment, and a $200 visit.

This is why health care is so expensive and inaccessible to the masses.  It doesn’t make sense.

Frustration in that situation led me to seek out a friend I’ve known for 12 years but have never visited for services.  Dr. Joanna Hudec.  She has always been active in our community, attending race events, supporting the massage therapist community, teaching bodywork professionals.

She does a great adjustment, she listens to what my concerns are, she doesn’t give me unnecessary bells and whistles, and she cares about her community.

Effective adjustments.  And, she takes insurance.  Bonus!

If you are looking for a good chiropractor, go see them at Spine Sports and Rehab.

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, former owner of I.M. Spa, registered nurse at a local hospital, Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 24 plus years, a massage therapy educator, and a gardener.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.

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Middle Aged Heart Attacks–What You Eat Matters!

Heart Attack.

My patients come in waves.  The most common patients I have are grumpy old dudes with congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.   I’m pretty fond of them.  This week all of my patients were younger, some younger than me, with coronary artery disease at huge risk for heart attack.  One had a diastolic blood pressure that never went below 120, one had to be taken for a stent (to bypass arteries that are ‘clogged’ and not able to allow blood to flow to the heart), and another had had a heart attack and stroke the week before.

I knew when I was getting in to nursing that I did not want to work with cancer.  A lot of things cause cancer, but it’s not as easy to determine, and it can be quite indiscriminate.  One of the biggest predetermining factors for cancer is age.  Eventually it’s going to get you.  That’s depressing and I don’t want to think about that all the time, cancer seems nigh unconquerable.

Hypertension, coronary artery disease, and atherosclerosis–these are things with direct cause and effect relationships with food, exercise, and lifestyle choices.  Yes, there is a genetic component, but we can control the variables.  These are diseases that I can focus on and get excited about.

When I was helping my middle aged patient on the stretcher to go to the hospital that would put in his stent, the family was talking about where they would go for dinner on the way to the hospital.  The ambulance workers were telling the family where all the good fried chicken restaurants were.

This is a family who is looking death in the face through the lens of an atherosclerotic coronary artery.  This man’s father had died young from a heart attack.  The ambulance workers recognized The ambulance workers recognized his family name because the siblings called 911 for chest pain frequently.

My input?  Fried chicken clogs arteries.  We are sending your dear sweet husband to surgery for clogged arteries and you are going to stop on the way and buy some more grease.  Now I realize that lifestyle change takes time and education, but it is frustrating when our behaviors are so obviously self defeating.

I gave them my ‘what for’ speech about packing an artery with their food while sending hubby under the knife to carve out a new pathway to oxygenate the heart, and then I recommended the health food store deli across the street as a great place to pick up something fast that wouldn’t take years off their lives.

As I was walking away I could hear the ambulance worker reinforcing the idea that fried chicken was a perfectly fine thing to eat when under stress and the family seemed to agree that this was no time for health food.

I’m at a loss.

A couple weeks ago I was trying to convince an older congestive heart failure and COPD (he can’t breathe well) patient of the same thing.  His family was bringing him fast food and he kept asking me to bring him sodas.  Of course every time he asks me for a soda it comes with a lecture on the evils of putting bad fuel in your engine.  He argued and argued with me that he just wasn’t a water drinking kind of guy and that fast food tastes good to him.

This is a man who weighs over 300 pounds and is in the hospital for shortness of breath.  The extra weight he’s carrying alone could make a person short of breath.

One day, while I was caring for him, I said, “You wouldn’t put bad fuel in your car would you?”  He stopped and looked at me for a minute.  He said, “You got me there.  I can’t argue with that.”

There’s a sign in the shoe store for runners that says, “Don’t choose your shoes because of the color!”  Runners choose their shoes for their function.  Yes, you can choose food because it tastes good, but the function of eating is to fuel the body.

“But I don’t like that kind of food” is not a good defense.

It is hard being a human on the planet.  Making good choices is hard, and it’s a process.  And our culture does not support healthy food choices, even our ambulance paramedics are advocating for fast food.  Food is addictive.  We want what we want and it’s hard to see the direct cause and effect that can carve time off of our lives.

I don’t know that my constant re-education of patients on lifestyle and food choices does any good, but I’m at a loss as to what else to do to try to affect change.

But I do have an idea for a book that surveys hospitals that are doing healthy food well and asks how they got that way.  Maybe we could use that kind of research to affect policy change in a more systemic way in our hospital systems.

In the meantime I’ll continue with the one on one approach on the front lines.  What you eat matters!

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, former owner of I.M. Spa, registered nurse at a local hospital, Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 24 plus years, a massage therapy educator, and a gardener.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.

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Massage Availability

After closing the spa on Block street in downtown Fayetteville I didn’t massage a body for about a year and a half.  I have arthritis in my fingers and mashing the hell out of people didn’t seem like a good idea at all.  But life is a process.

My sister in law called me one day and she couldn’t get off the floor.  Debilitating back pain. I went to her house where she was attempting to not move and worked at softening her muscle spasms.  I saw her a few times and finally when she was able to get into a car she came to my house for a massage.  It was when she was in my house with my table up, the spa music going, and the silent reverence of the space we create for massage that I thought, “I could do this.”  Not like I did before, but a little bit.  It’s such gratifying work.  The challenge is to find a balance and only do what I can do comfortably.

So, I have been posting on Facebook times when I know I have availability, usually on Fridays and Sundays.  I am restarting my email newsletter.  And feel free to email, text, fb message, or call if you would like to check on availability, especially if you are in pain.

If you haven’t liked the Integrated Massage Page yet you can do that here: https://www.facebook.com/integratedmassagespa/  Often that is the first place you will see massage appointment availability.

Wendy Finn RN, BSN, MMT is a med-surge nurse, a master massage therapist, a raw food and massage therapy educator, mother of four sons, runner, dance and yoga instructor, and overall life enthusiast.  Follow on www.Facebook.com/integratedmassagespa/ , Twitter (@cleanburnfood), and Instagram (@cleanburningfood)

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Self Employment Versus Job Job

My life has changed dramatically.

Last year this time I still had a business in downtown Fayetteville, I was in school full time, I worked part time as a student nurse, and my husband and I were working together to get through school–our 4 kids in the mix.  Now I have a Job Job.

This year is very different.  I released myself from 10 years of business ownership, I graduated nursing school, I only have one job now-that of a nurse, and we’re getting a divorce.  The kids are doing great.  They amaze me every day.  I had no idea a year and a half ago even that I would be living this life in this way.  Life on the planet is an adventure.

It’s remarkable to me, having come from a position of decision maker where people sought me out for solutions, to being part of a ‘cog in the wheel’ job job, that the thought processes are completely different.  Perspective is everything.

As a self employed or self motivated person, I am the sole motivation behind what I do.  Nobody is making me punch a clock or fill out miles of documentation to prove that I am doing the job for which I was hired.  I choose to be here.  I choose to work hard.  I love what I do.  I take pride in my efforts.   I am not a victim to any perpetrators within my working scope of practice.  I take responsibility for my work success.

Don’t Succumb to the Allure of Victim Language

As an employed person, I find myself surrounded by language of ‘us and them.’ Victim to the system.  “They are doing this, they are doing that, surely they don’t expect us to…, can you believe they did that?”

Rampage of Gratitude!

I want to stay grounded in my optimism, love of people, and gratitude.   I don’t want to be a victim.  I want to be somebody who is choosing every day to be happy to go to work, to do the best I can with the time that I am given for the people I am responsible for helping.  I am grateful for the people I work with.  They are kind, loving, and helpful.  I have had the best mentors and preceptors, and I am so glad for my experiences with them.  They have taught me so much.  I am grateful to work in a place that values its employees financially and beneficially.  I am grateful to work in a place that has the closest thing to patient centered care that I have seen in organized ‘traditional’ medicine.  And I hope to continue finding successful medical models that embody patient centered care in a way that can be emulated.

I may have a job job now, but I hope to continue to find ways to fuel my creativity as I redefine myself in this period of time.  So much has changed for me, my job, my connection to my community, my connection to a partner.  Uranus has had fun redefining my life this year.  It will be so fun to see how this next chapter unfolds.

I still value health, clean burning food, family, yoga, running, meditation, alternative therapies, and community.  It will be interesting to see how this new clean slate that I’m working with will manifest itself, and what direction all this new energy will take.  I hope that I am able to maintain my sense of responsibility for my position in life.  I’m pretty sure I’ve put myself here and there is nowhere else I’d rather be at this moment.  The sky is the limit.  At the same time, there is a certain amount of fear involved, similar to when, as an artist I am faced with a blank page committing to those first defining strokes

Hiking New Territory
Hiking New Territory, what I can do when I am not at the Job Job.  One of the cool features of Job Jobs is Time Off.  This is a previously undiscovered possibility in my last 10 years of self employment.

 

 

“There’s a million things to be, you know that there are,” keeps running through my head these days.  Thank you Cat Stevens.   May the continual background conversations of victimhood fall unheeded around my feet at the job job, and let the first strokes of color fall on the blank page of my life.

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, an entrepreneur, a Registered Nurse, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a writer, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist and educator of 22 plus years, and a gardener.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health. 

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Kick some Cancer Booty!

Gulley Park Trail
Gulley Park Trail

Last night I went for a run at Gulley Park.  I used to run there regularly, so it’s like visiting an old friend when, like yesterday, I got to run it after so long being away.

Running is like church.  When I’m running I feel like I could fly, and sometimes I do run with my arms raised like a bird.  Yes, I’m that crazy lady on the trail, but I don’t care because it feels so damn good.  There is so much joy and gratitude in being able to run outside in January here in Arkansas.  Our weather is so erratic in the winter that it will be 60 and sunny one day and 20 degrees the next.  So we grab the good days when we can and fly with them.  It feels amazing and I’m so grateful to be able to run, grateful that my body has allowed me at this point in my life to be able to feel that joy.  The exhileration is priceless.  Immeasurable.  Beautiful.

I was listening to the John Butler Trio radio station on Spotify.  Let me just take a detour and say that Craig has been telling me about the John Butler Trio for years.  We will be listening to them and every time I ask him, “Who is that?  I really like them.”  And he patiently answers, “The John Butler Trio.  You ask me that every time.”  I finally got the message and played them voluntarily on my own for the first time yesterday.  As I listened to the John Butler Trio and ran up the hill next to the pine trees with all the young lovers giggling in their double hammocks together, breathing the cool air deep into my lungs for that sweet burning sensation that I love, and that feeling of my body burning with effort, I thought about my friend Eileen who just started her first rounds of chemo on Friday.  She runs too.  But she can’t right now because she needs to take a break and let her body kick some serious cancer booty.

I know she is in good hands.  She has a great team of nurses helping her, a great doctor, and an amazing and supportive husband and beautiful family, not to mention a supportive community.

In my joyful, exhilerating, and grateful run I am intentionally lifting Eileen up to a space where she can tap into that joy and exhileration and heal her body.  This is church.  And yes, if you see me lifting my arms like a bird when I’m running you might think I’m crazy, but I don’t care because in my own way I’m lifting Eileen up so that she can soar.   And no, Episcopaleans aren’t known for lifting up their hands during a service, but I think they’d appreciate the sentiment of surrender, acceptance, and grace.  We are gratefully and joyously receiving the blessing that is this life, this breath, this moment.

She’ll be done with chemo in July and hopefully back running again soon.  In the meantime I hope to be able to keep lifting her up in my practice till she can get back on the trail and do it herself.

With gratitude

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, entrepreneur, student nurse tech at a local hospital, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 22 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health. 

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The New Normal

We have startling news for everybody about I.M. Spa.

In July I was playing catch with my son Ben in the city pool with a waterlogged ball and it jammed my finger.  The thing never healed and in November I went to get it X-rayed because it seemed ridiculous that it wouldn’t have healed in that amount of time.  VA health care is amazing.  They X-rayed my finger in all possible directions and called me in November with the verdict.  Arthritis.

At first I was like hm.  That sucks.  And I went back to work thinking nothing more of it.

In the next couple of weeks I noticed that all my fingers ached.  They felt like the had gum or taffy around the joints, my hands ached when I did massages, and I was having pain with everyday use.  Playing volleyball with my boys jarred my fingers, Whenever Craig would squeeze my hands, a loving gesture, it surprised us both when I yelped in pain.  Opening jars in the kitchen was a challenge.

It took me a while to comprehend what having arthritis in my fingers meant to me in the grand scheme of things.  I have discovered that it means I can no longer practice massage therapy. Yes, my doctor had to tell me this before I got the hint, especially since doing massage for 22 years caused the problem to begin with.

This is the new normal.

So, I.M. Spa had just started renovating the new space for expansion.  We were adding a yoga studio and an extra treatment room, as well as building in plans to expand and include a smoothie bar when my life wasn’t so complicated with nursing school.  We had just bought $350 worth of body wax and thousands in Eminence products.

Towards the end of December it was clear that there was no other decision to make.  We had to close I.M. Spa.

What does this mean to you if you are a client?  We are in the process of negotiating a new home for our clients.  You don’t need to worry about using your gift certificates.  There will be a place for you to go, but because this happened so fast we are still navigating that territory.  When we get it sorted out (within the next couple of weeks) we will give you detailed instructions.  You should be able to simply call the same number and book an appointment in the new location.

If you currently have an appointment you will be rescheduled.  It’s going to be okay.  We anticipate having a ton of phone calls in reaction to this information.  I would encourage you to wait a couple weeks to call  (Mid-January) while we find a home for you.  If you feel like you can’t wait, then please leave a detailed message when you do call.

I feel very fortunate for being able to touch people the way we have been able to with I.M. Spa.  I have worked on this business for 10 years and it has been amazing.  Our clients are fabulous, a wonderful network of extended family that I will miss immensely.

Building this business has taught me so much.  I have learned that I have tremendous stamina and drive (enough to crush the cartilege in between my finger joints :).  I have learned to do accounting, marketing, managing, human resources, retail (not the favorite), and conflict resolution.  I have learned how tremendously difficult it is to be a small business owner and I love our community of small business owners in downtown Fayetteville.  They exist because you consciously choose to support them.  I have learned that I love helping people, and no matter where I end up, I know that that is what I want to do.

If you know anybody who needs an awesome, organized, reliable, loyal, good tempered problem solver let us know, because sweet Natalie needs a job now.  She definitely gets stuff done!  Don’t have them contact me unless they plan to pay her well and take good care of her because she deserves it.

Thank you for supporting I.M. Spa for the past 10 years.  And keep an eye out for our next newsletter!!

Love, love, love,  and Happy New Year!!                                                                                                                                                         Wendy

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, student nurse tech at a local hospital, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 22 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health. 

 

 

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Gratitude and Abundance!

It has been almost 2 years since my husband Craig and I both decided to go to nursing school full time.  At the time I didn’t think there was any way possible for me to continue with I.M. Spa and be in school full time, and I am grateful every day for the opportunity to keep walking into our space and connecting with our community through health and massage.  I’m grateful to our staff because they truly are the ones who have made it happen.

 

We’re also grateful to you. Without you choosing to get massage, facials, acupuncture, and waxing at I.M. Spa we would not be here. Thank you for choosing I.M. Spa for your bodywork needs.  I’m so honored every time I walk into a treatment room that I get to share that space with this community.

 

I am busier than I have ever been at this point in my life. I work with I.M. Spa, I go to nursing school full time, I have a part time job at the VA as a student nurse tech to get experience, and I have 3 of my 4 kids at home doing everything they do.  Thank goodness we have such an amazing community helping us out. Friends helping pick up our kids from school when we’re in class, friends helping kids get where they need to go, community everywhere supporting us all along the way.  You know who you are :). Fayetteville is an amazing place and I can’t imagine making it through without this beautiful combination of people in our community.  We’re so grateful.

 

I’m really looking forward to getting done with nursing school in May of 2016!  What a relief that will be!  We’ll have to have a party!

 

There are some exciting changes in the works for I.M. Spa.  We are moving to Evelyn Hills (next to Ozark Natural Foods, Uncle Sam’s, Cardamom & Curry, Treasures from Africa, and Handmade) and expanding to include a yoga studio. Downtown has been good to us. We are looking forward to more great neighbors, great parking, a place for you to drop off your kids while you get a facial or do a yoga class (Arkadia), and continuing doing what we do best.

We’ll keep you posted as the transition happens. We’ll be on Block Street till the beginning of January. And then we’ll have a big party in the new space!!  In August we will have been on Block Street for 6 years! Hard to believe.  It has been a sweet time.
Thank you for continuing to support I.M. Spa!  We look forward to serving you. It’s a favorite.
Love, love, love,
Wendy Finn
Schedule a massage, facial, acupuncture, or wax appointment at I.M. Spa:  479-251-7422
Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, student nurse tech at the VA hospital, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.  Schedule an appointment for a massage  479-251-7422
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Fayetteville Skyline Love

Ben Climbs Cross in the Skyline
Ben Climbs Cross in the Skyline

When you have a small business and you are a full time nursing student and you have four sons, it’s important that you grab every moment you can to do special things like go up to Mt. Sequoyah at sunset with your 10 year old.  These are the best things in life, eh?  Not to mention, he got up early with me this morning to do yoga together. My life is amazing.

Another Cross in the Sky Tonight
Another Cross in the Sky Tonight

Spring is my favorite. Vibrant colors. Clouds. Fresh turned dirt. Clouds. Sunshine. So much green. Fayetteville is amazing in the Spring, and I’m so glad I get to share it with my sons. Makes me breathe deeper just looking at these pictures.

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Massage Therapy for Mental Health

I just finished up a clinical rotation in Mental Health this semester.  It’s enough to make you suffer from depression!  Or at the very least need a massage for your Mental Health.

Our instructors and books say repeatedly that our jail systems are the biggest warehouse for the mentally ill.  There may not be any inpatient beds for somebody suffering with psychosis, but somehow they fit right into our jails.  Our mentally ill are being incarcerated for behaviors that are a result of mental illness, schizophrenia, bipolar, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, Alzheimer’s, or addiction.  Many of them are homeless.  They need treatment, medications, and support.

And probably the most depressing part of Mental Health Clinicals is the adolescent unit.  These kids have endured trauma and abuse beyond what I can fathom, and when they leave the treatment facility will return to the people and situations that caused their pain to begin with.  It’s downright depressing.

Massage Therapy for Mental Health
My mental health textbook references massage therapy 4 times. I’m so impressed with how far we have come.

And it’s not just that there is a little bit of mental illness.  Mental health is similar to physical health.  Sometimes you get sick.  Most of the time you’re pretty healthy.  And sometimes you have a lifelong illness (physical or mental) that needs lifelong treatment.  Most people can identify times in their lives when they were out of balance, overly anxious, stressed, depressed, or just not functioning as well mentally as they know they are capable.  And all of us know people in our family, friends, or community who are suffering with more extreme forms of those imbalances.  Mental illness touches us all.

I’m grateful for the dedicated Mental Health care professionals that I have met this semester.  God Bless Them!  We need them so badly.  We need funding and policy changes to allow mental health the same importance and voice that physical problems like cancer get.  We need more health care providers to get excited about helping people with mental health problems, to serve health care in that capacity.

I actually feel guilty because I prefer to work with people with their guts falling out than with mental health problems, because at least if your guts are falling out I can stuff ’em back inside and slap a bandage on it.  In mental health, the guts are falling out, and people are bleeding out, but you can’t stuff it back in.  You can’t see it.  It’s not so easy.  I guess I feel disempowered by mental illness.  There is no immediate fix, no bandage, just a winding road of possibilities and not enough resources for long term support.

But at the same time, I deal with mental illness/health all the time in a positive way, on the massage table.  And it has been a very empowering relationship.  People come to us in pain, grieving loss, with anxiety and depression, and needing help with dealing with the stress of everyday life on the planet. We are honored every day that our community chooses to come to us for stress relief.

According to University of Maryland, massage makes us feel better by the “release of endorphins (natural painkillers and mood elevators),” and reducing the levels of stress hormones (cortisol).  Endorphins are one of the main neurotransmitters involved in depression and bipolar.

Foot Massage is AMAZING!
Massage Therapy for Mental Health

So, looking at the mental health problems our country is faced with right now may be devastatingly depressing, but thank goodness there is massage therapy for those times when we are in pain, grieving loss, having anxiety and depression, and needing help with dealing with the stress of everyday life on the planet.  I guess massage is the bandage that I feel empowered by when dealing with the guts of every day mental health/illness.  I’m grateful to have it in my life.

If this post was so stressful that you now need a massage, call 479-251-7422 to schedule an appointment.  Or you could just come get a massage because you know you need it.  Or because we haven’t seen you in forever.  Please pop in to I.M. Spa to see us when you are downtown for the Farmer’s Market!  If for no other reason than that it is good for OUR mental health to see you!

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.  Schedule an appointment for a massage  479-251-7422

 

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