Category Archives: Yoga

Yoga is an amazing tool to stay healthy, flexible, strong, and focused. Doing yoga is like getting a massage. Everybody should have a yoga/stretching practice.

Meditation for Anxiety

I teach a dance class with my friend Nicole on Fridays at 7:45a.m. at Be One Yoga Studio.  We were talking at class last week and we both have kids who experience Vasovagal Syncope.  If they go to get a shot or see blood they faint, pass out, vagal down–whatever you want to call it.  It’s embarrassing, inconvenient, and scary to them.

It is not uncommon.  A couple of years ago I was teaching a classroom full of College of Education students about tourniquets–because these days as a teacher it is a distinct possibility that they will be faced with having to stop a child from bleeding out as a result of a gunshot wound–and one of the young women in the class started to faint and had to be helped to the floor.  Just the thought of tourniquets, without even images of blood or graphic pictures, was enough to trigger vasovagal syncope for her.

My son, Sean, was given atropine when they put an IV in him prior to his surgery for wisdom teeth because his heart rate dropped so low.  He had to stay an extra hour after the surgery because his heart rate was staying in the 30s and 40s.

My son, Zach, literally turned green when he was getting stitches once.  He starts to faint and has to sit down when there are needles around.

What happens is that there is an adrenaline surge, for our kids it is a result of a fear (fear of needles, blood, etc.), followed by a vagus nerve response that dilates the veins, dropping the heart rate.

Nicole and I were talking about things the kids could do to try to prevent the reaction since they will have to see needles, give blood, get immunizations, and receive medical treatment for the rest of their lives.

These are the things that have worked for us:

  • Stay horizontal. One of the factors of hypotension is that the body has to work against gravity to get the blood back to the heart.  Keeping the body horizontal can reduce that pull.  Also, it can prevent head injuries during the fainting episode.
  • Benzodiazepines.  Okay, so most people probably don’t have a bunch of bennies lying around, but if you have a prescription for these for anxiety, this is a good time to take it–before you go.  Now, obviously, this can not be mistaken as medical advice.  Ask your doctor if you need medication to help deal with this problem.  Talk to your doctor if you have this problem at all.  Medication can reduce the stress factor of the adrenergic response.
  • Systematic desensitization therapy.  This can be led by a therapist, but you can also willingly expose yourself to the thing you are afraid of incrementally increasing exposure until the anxiety producing event is no longer problematic.

Things that I think might work for us:

  • Meditation.  I have used meditation for other similar physiological responses to anxiety producing situations with great results, especially when paired with the next suggestion.  Now, my kids have not yet tried this for their fear of needles, so I’m just pulling it in as a possibility.
  • Self-hypnosis.  Again, I have used this for smoking cessation and public speaking, and it seems reasonable to assume that you could program your brain not to respond to stimuli in the same way to prevent the physiological problem.
  • Applied Tension Technique.  This as a way to organically and systematically increase your blood pressure so that when it drops it doesn’t drop so low.
  • Relaxation and distraction techniques are techniques I use every day with patients who don’t have needle phobias.  I often ask patients to wiggle their toes, or talk to them about their lives to distract them from the horrible things I’m doing to them–whether I’m placing an IV, giving them a shot, or dressing their wounds.

Nicole had this list of resources that she likes:

Years ago my friends Gina and Zara introduced me to Silva Method meditation.  I love it because it gives people a method.  Often my clients want to meditate but they feel stupid or that they are not doing it ‘right.’  The Silva Method helps provide a structure that can get you comfortable with the process.

And it seems, in my awareness, that a lot of people are drawn to Transcendental Meditation.  I have not experienced the training for this yet, but it is intriguing.

One that I recommend to patients at the hospital often is HeadSpace because it is free and it starts with guided meditation and gradually increases the time and decreases the verbal.

Obviously we need to get our kids to try all the options because we haven’t had the opportunity to try much (see the above list of ‘things that have worked’).  Fortunately there are tons of resources on the interwebs, and hopefully they will be open to being proactive with the process.

If you want to take part in my ‘post dance class talks with Nicole’ you’ll just have to come dance with us at Be One Yoga on Friday mornings!

Email Wendy at to request a massage appointment.

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

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. 

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. 



6 Commitments or New Year’s Resolutions

Today was the first day back in nursing school after a 3 week break.  And during the break I took some time to try to define what was important to me to keep up with if it was at all possible during the craziness that is full time nursing school, full time business owner, and full time mama of four boys.

My 2015 Planner (covered with post its).

Things I put in my planner were:

  1. I want to continue to run to school and to work, but I’m also training for the Hogeye Half Marathon with my son Sean (he’s 16) and Ellie, a young colleague from nursing school.  We’re training 5 days a week.  Yeah.  I don’t know how that’s gonna get done either–but there it is.
  2. I want to meditate daily-15minutes.
  3. I want to blog 3 days a week and not get onto myself if it’s not perfect.  I at least need to show up.
  4. I want to do yoga with Ben one day a week (Mondays because it’s a rest day from running).  When your nine year old kid wants to do something with you, you’d better make time for it, because God knows, soon enough he’s going to have a life that is too busy for yoga dates with mom (hopefully not, but it’s a distinct possibility).
  5. I want to continue developing my book.  Yeah, I said it.
  6. I want to invite friends over to play once a month.  Because I love them and they’re just going to have to forgive my messy home.  It is what it is.

I really don’t know if there are actually enough hours in the day for this crazy list.  But surely if I just do a little bit regularly I will be okay.  I’ll try to keep you posted on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.  But if you don’t hear from me for a while, you’ll know that I’m buried with school work.

And if I lose my mind in the process, you’ll be hearing bout it.

Schedule your appointment at I.M. Spa :  479-251-7422

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

Reduce Your Blood Pressure with Meditation

We got our neice a medical bag with a stethoscope, ice pack, and wound care gear.  Craig makes an excellent patient!
We got our neice a medical bag with a stethoscope, ice pack, and wound care gear. Craig makes an excellent patient!

If you have been following Craig’s (my husband of 25 years) story you know that he was able to get his Low Density Lipoprotein levels from 148 (high) to 117 (almost normal) after 4 months of raw and vegan eating.  But his Blood Pressure remained high.  Often it was 150/90 which is Stage 1 Hypertension.

Don’t be fooled by the “Stage 1” part of Hypertension.  There are only 2 stages.  150/90 is not good. 110/70 to 120/80 is normal.

We weren’t sure where to go with the meditation at first.  I guess the concept of meditation doesn’t feel weird to me.  Just sit and breathe and let your body slip into Alpha state.  But to do it with somebody who wants guidance or a method hadn’t occurred to me.  Also during this time many of my clients have been asking me pointed questions about meditation, how to do it, and where to go for resources.  There are tons of resources for learning how to meditate.  Here in Northwest Arkansas there are classes all over the place.  Classes are a great way to experience many different types of meditation to find one that works for you.

I looked into Transcendental Meditation and the Silva Method of meditation.  They are both expensive but well reviewed and researched methods.  I did not take the TM course, because as a starving nursing student it does not fit into the budget.  But a long time ago a friend of mine gifted me some Silva Method recordings and they are fabulous, especially if you need a step by step method to feel like you are doing it right.

Turns out Craig was okay without a method and it works pretty amazing whether you pay somebody $1000 to learn or not.  You can see his results after just 14 days of meditating once a day for 15 minutes.

Date Blood Pressure Time
12/4/2014 150/90 4pm
12/4/2014 135/88 11pm
12/5/2014 138/90 6:40pm
12/10/2014 124/80 pre-meditation
12/10/2014 108/77 post-meditation
12/10/2014 118/66 at Drs. Office later
12/17/2014 120/74 post-meditation
12/17/2014 118/60 post-meditation
12/18/2014 110/68 pre-meditation
12/18/2014 108/70 post-meditation

He went from 150/90 to 108/70 in 2 weeks.  Yes I know my method for recording is not daily.  But it was finals at Nursing School and I did the best I could.  The numbers speak for themselves.  You just can’t make that up.

One of the questions people always ask me is, “Is he exercising?”  Yes Craig rides his bicycle from Fayetteville to Bentonville and back (60 miles round trip) once or twice a week, and all over Fayetteville recreationally the rest of the week.

Another that I always hear is, “I can’t get my mind to stop so that I can meditate. I never feel like I’m doing it right.”  I always hear that there is no right way and no wrong way to meditate.  That being said there are times when I don’t “get there.”  Usually when that happens it’s because of interruptions.  I get a little irritated but I have to forgive myself.  I think this might be key to people who criticize themselves so much they can’t let go and sink in.  Forgiveness and practice are the key.  Show up to your practice every day.

One of the things that Craig and I have learned about our meditation practice is that it is not a good idea to wake up from a dead sleep and start meditating.  That might have been a no brainer, but at the time it seemed like it might be a more efficient use of our time.  NOT.

We also discovered that we prefer 15 minutes to 10.  Ten minutes is okay, but we just barely sink in and start floating before the timer is going off.

I aspire to meditate 3 times a day for 15 minutes each time.  Morning, noon, and night seems like a good recipe.  I’ll keep you posted about how it is going for Craig.  It’s scary coming into your 40s and staring those numbers in the face.

Do you have methods you use for keeping your blood pressure down?  What types of meditation do you practice?

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


Healing Community

When I was a kid we moved around a ton.  Texas, the Bahamas, San Diego, New Hampshire, Possum Trot, Low Gap, Monterey.  My parents were musicians and the community we had was the community of artists and musicians.  It’s a beautiful thing because there is a whole culture of people who speak the same language, hold the same values, and they dedicate their lives to their art.

It’s been amazing watching my kids grow up in the same house for the past 18 years.  It’s a whole other level of community that I’ve come to know, and man is it beautiful.  We have a supportive spiritual community in our church, a very active and supportive local business community, a musical community, an educational community at the university as well as at the public schools,  a farm community that is feeding us well, and a downtown local community of folks who, you might not know them all one on one, but there are faces that are just part of the fabric that makes this town so beautiful.  I’m sure I’m leaving out a bazillion folks but you get the idea.

We also have a healing community here in Fayetteville that is a remarkable resource.  We have great chiropractors, acupuncturists, naturopaths, physical therapists, vibration therapists, acoustic therapists, art therapists, nurses, doctors, psychologists, hypnotherapists, yoga instructors, physical trainers, midwives, doulas, herbalists, nutritionists (or rather ‘foodies’), and many other specialties.  Hah!  I almost left out one of my favorites, massage therapists.

I’m on a mission to interview as many talented, smart, innovative, out of the box thinking, health practitioners who are amazing at their job as I can.  (Which isn’t very many right now since I’m in nursing school full time).  I love to find out how people got interested in their work, what they love about it, how it changes lives, and how it contributes to our  healing community.

I have quite a list of people I want to talk to, but I’m interested in you.  Who do you love?  Who has helped you with your health?  Who has made you feel better?  Who are you grateful for, and can we talk to them so that we can tell others how awesome they are?

Leave a comment below with the website and contact information of the healing community people you love, so that we can share the love.  Inquiring minds want to know!

Learn more about I.M. Spa or book a massage, facial, or acupuncture appointment 479-251-7422.

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.

Claudia at Mt. Sequoyah

Tools for Getting Out of Pain

Claudia teaches at Mt. Sequoyah
Claudia teaches at Mt. Sequoyah

Sometimes massage gets people out of pain.  Sometimes chiropractic or acupuncture gets people out of pain.  And sometimes Claudia gets people out of pain.

A little help
A little help

When I think about Claudia doing her thing next door at BFit, I see her leading a class of world class athletes who are sweating and cursing while she’s doing the exercises alongside of them, breathing easily with a smile on her face.  She’s a badass.

But that’s just one aspect to the work she does.  She excels in one on one rehab work with people who want to get out of pain, or people who just want to get in better shape and develop more endurance.

Recently I had a client who I had been trying to help with some chronic hip issues over many months.  She had been going to chiropractic as well and still could get no relief.  And it goes without saying that we can straighten you out, balance your energy meridians, and soften your tissue till the cows come home, but if you are not moving well, or if you go right out and get back into your same old hurtful movement (as well as thought and emotional) patterns, you are not going to get better.

That’s where Claudia comes in.  She teaches people how to move well.

After our client went to see Claudia for a while, her pain was gone.  Why?  Because Claudia worked with her to train her body to move better.

Claudia has a background in dance and has been doing some volunteer yoga work with the women’s prison, inspired by the Prison Yoga Project.

Claudia in the women's prison
Claudia in the women’s prison

I’ll be doing another, more in depth piece about what Claudia has been up to.  She inspires me so.  But for now, if you want to learn more about how you can incorporate better movement into your life to help you get out of pain, watch the BFit Fayetteville Facebook Page for her next FREE Foundation Training event.  Or better yet, hit her up for some one on one training.  She’s the best.


You can also learn more about Foundation Training here.  Or find some Foundation Training exercises to do on Youtube.

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.


Thai Massage for Health

Thai massage is a beautiful modality of massage therapy and I always tell people that receiving a Thai massage is like somebody doing yoga to you and massage all at the same time.  And yes, it’s that good.

Thai Hip Stretch
Thai Hip Stretch

I was lucky enough to study Thai massage in Thailand in 2009 and have not yet made it back as much as I would like to.  I’d love to take my whole family to Thailand.  It’s an amazing country and it has spoiled me for traveling other places.  Nothing compares.

Thai Spinal Twist
Thai Spinal Twist

Thai massage doesn’t leave you feeling like you need a nap the way a Swedish massage does.  You get up from a Thai massage relaxed, but ready to get on with your day.  The deep pressure stimulates the Sen Sib lines, the stretches are divine, and the overall effect is therapeutic, relaxing, and energizing.

Thai Backbend
Thai Backbend
Backbend with a Lift
Backbend with a Lift

If you have always wanted to try something different at the spa and didn’t know what to do, you might consider getting a Thai Massage. It’s pretty good mojo. I don’t know if you can tell from this picture, but her back is arched onto my knee and I’m lifting her arms to give a little traction to her spine.

Thai Stretch
Thai Stretch
Hip Stretch
Hip Stretch
Spinal Twist
Spinal Twist

I wish I could wake up every morning with a Thai Massage!  Next time I go to Thailand I’ll let you know.  We could take a group.  Did I mention that Thai massages in Thailand cost about $3 for an hour?  Yeah.  You’ll want to go.

Call I.M. Spa to schedule a Massage: 479-251-7422




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.

High Blood Pressure? Relax. It takes Practice.

Heart Disease is the #1 cause of death in the United States, and High Blood Pressure is very often a precursor to heart disease.  Yikes!  What does it mean to live with high blood pressure?

As many of you know, I’m in Nursing School and this summer I’m taking Pathophysiology–the physiology of disease.  The class is amazing and I love it.  I wish I could just download the whole book right into my head.  The same thing that makes me bad at winning Scrabble, a love of long beautiful words and not enough love of scoring points, makes me a horrible student.  No I didn’t make many points on that word, but look at it.  Isn’t it a beautiful, luscious word?

My Beloved Pathophysiology Book
My Beloved Pathophysiology Book

I want to know the whole patho book, frontwards and backwards.  I go on tangents, looking up research on conditions and compare it to other conditions I’ve heard of, watching Khan academy videos, and Ted talks.  There just aren’t enough hours to study the way I want to and still do well on the tests.  I find myself continually having to reel it in and focus on the high points that we might be tested on.

I know.  My life is pretty amazing if that’s all I have to complain about.  How awesome that I get to spend all my time geeking out about how incredibly beautiful and complex the human body is. The past couple of weeks we have been studying Cardio Pathologies.  Hypertension is particularly interesting to me since my mom has been learning what it means to live with intermittant high blood pressure.

One in three Americans has hypertension, and more than 2/3 of those older than age 60 are affected,” Understanding Pathophysiology.  Those are some crazy numbers! How to manage your high blood pressure?  Eat more vegetables, exercise regularly, MANAGE YOUR STRESS, don’t smoke, and don’t drink (actually the American heart association says limit alcohol.  But I’m in the camp of, “if it’s not good for us then why are we doing this?”)  I’m not going to focus on the eat more vegetables and stop smoking issues today.  I just want to talk about managing stress.

I don’t understand why the American Heart Association says “stress is not considered a risk factor” for high blood pressure.   Especially since we know that stress, fear, and anxiety cause our body to react with high levels of cortisol (a stress hormone), as well as causing the sympathetic nervous system to release epinephrine and norepinephrine–2 powerful vasoconstrictors that cause your heart rate to go up under stress.  Maybe they say that because it is so hard to quantify ‘stress.’  Everybody has a different tolerance for stress.

Think of a stressful situation that you have been in recently.  How did your body feel when you were in the situation?  Were your shoulders tight?  Was your breath short?  Did your whole body feel contracted?  Was your stomach upset?

I lied.  I said I wouldn’t talk about food.  But I found this article about salt intake from the Yale Heart Study and I couldn’t control myself.  Salt is a huge contributor to high blood pressure.  And this article talks about the high salt content of so many of the meals at popular big chain restaurants.  It’s interesting to note that daily recommended intake of 1500mg is easily achieved in one meal at a big chain restaurant like Red Lobster or Kentucky Fried Chicken.  And it’s easy to find meals in the 5,000mg range.  Hmm.  That’s more than the daily recommendation of 3 days combined. But that’s a whole other deal.

What I really want to say is that Relaxing takes practice.  Here in the U.S. we’re not used to relaxing.  It is not something our culture values.  In European cultures it is common to see people on holiday for a couple months at a time.  Vacations are encouraged.  Down time is valued.  Here in the states we feel guilty for taking time off.  We work ridiculously long hours and even when we are off of work at home we are moving 100 miles a minute with activities for our kids and lists upon lists of things to do at home, and most of them don’t include sitting on the porch watching the kids play while sipping lemonade.

My mom has had to learn how to slow down, to listen to her body when it is spiraling out of control.  She has had to learn how to pay attention to repetitive thought patterns that send her blood pressure through the roof.

Things you can do to relieve stress on a daily basis?

  • 5 minute yoga/stretch breaks at your desk (I get a lot of great 10 minute yoga classes at YogaGlo).
  • daily 10 minute meditation before getting your morning tea (YogaGlo can introduce you to meditation too).  And no, you probably shouldn’t do that coffee because it’s a stimulant-trade it for something else warm and yummy like tea.
  • daily 10 minute meditation before going to bed
  • running/walking daily (Run Keeper has a great app to map out your walks/runs, track your miles, and help you with your goals).
  • massage regularly (massage releases endorphins=pain relief, stress relief, yay! love them).
  • Breathing deeply, consciously in your daily activities.  So easy to breathe deeply in traffic, at stop lights, while working at the desk, any time you find yourself holding your breath.
  • Set a timer for a 20 minute siesta when you are experiencing that low energy part of the day.

At the spa we see people on the massage table all the time who are so unaccustomed to relaxing that it takes several sessions before they learn how to be a noodle on the table.

It’s okay.  It takes time.  It’s important.  It gets easier.  You don’t have to feel guilty about taking time for relaxation.

Your body needs you to take time.  Your heart needs you to listen.  It needs you to relax.  It needs you to play.

The people around you who care about you need you to relax.  They need you to play.

Taking time to relax every day could very well save your life. Schedule a massage appointment at I.M. Spa:  479-251-7422

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.

Spa Girls Travel to Dallas!

To celebrate our sweet little business making it through the challenges of me being gone most of the time during my first semester at nursing school, we Spa Girls at I.M. Spa piled into the minivan and travelled to Dallas for a couple of days of Spa travel, foot massages, and raw food–my favorite things!

We Made It!
We Made It!

There was much discussion in the weeks before we left for Dallas about the fact that the spa we were going to required that you get naked and shower before getting into the hot tubs or advancing on to the saunas.  I had no idea that people felt such an aversion to locker room nudity, but then I am a veteran of Esalen and Breitenbush where co-ed nudity is common at hot spring bathing areas.  I think I’ll have to give an entire post to spa nudity in the future.  Needless to say, the spa girls survived the nudity and hopefully are minimally scarred for life.

In Front of Cosmic Cafe, Dallas
In Front of Cosmic Cafe, Dallas

Our first stop was in Frisco, just North of Dallas, where some of my family from Texas met with us for foot massages at this place called Shuang Feng Foot Massage.  I’ll fill in more pictures and details in future posts, but this is a quick rundown of where we went.  After foot massages we had lunch at Cosmic Cafe vegetarian restaurant.  By then it was 2 o’clock and we headed over to King Spa where we relaxed, steamed, sauna’d, and dozed (one of us studied–a lot) until midnight.  Yes you can easily spend 9 hours lounging in the spa.  We stayed at Hilton’s Doubletree in Farmer’s Branch and Lisa and I woke up in the morning, and rather than finding a yoga studio, decided to do a YogaGlo class before we headed to Be Raw–the only raw food restaurant in Dallas.  But man it was amazing!

After lunch at Be Raw we headed home to Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The girls watched Casanova with Heath Ledger and Pitch Perfect and we made it home by 7.  I was still full from lunch by the time I made it home.  A lovely weeked of spa travel–yum!