August 22, 2012

DIY – 5 Minute Massage

Filed under: Facts and Tips,massage — Rizzieri School of Massage @ 7:48 am

Need a massage in less than five minutes? Ok, how about four? Always keeping our time constraints in mind,’s Shaun Benzies offers relaxation technique exercises perfect for that office self-face massage.

Relax! “Forget the oil. All you need is your own touch and to monitor your breathing. Every self-massage technique should start with a few deep breathes. Breathe in through your nose, hold and then exhale through your mouth,” Benzies states.

Warm Up: Rub your hands together and have the friction generate some heat. Place the palms of your hands on your face, fingers up. Feel the warmth from your hands as you take a few more deep breathes. Move your fingers up to the middle of your forehead so they interlock in the center. Slowly trace each hand down your jaw line to meet in the middle of your chin. Repeat two to three times,” Benzies adds.

Jaw Tension:“An amazing amount of tension builds up within the jaw during a work day, so to relieve this tension, start by slacking your jaw, letting the bottom jaw hang loose. Perform small circles using your index and middle fingers, starting at the joint and working towards your chin. Repeat a few times. Hold your lower jaw in both hands (palms under your chin, fingers at the joint) and pull slightly forward to reduce the pressure on the joint. Hold for 30 seconds,” Benzies suggests.

Sinus Pressure:“Air-conditioned offices often cause a person to feel ‘stuffed up’, so relieving sinus pressure should be part of any self-facial massage. Place both index fingers above the bridge of your nose and one thumb on each side of your nostrils. Perform short strokes with your thumbs along your cheek bones away from your nose to relieve any sinus pressure.”

Between the Eyes & Temples:“Massaging the area right between the eyes is thought to affect the body’s natural circadian rhythms (sleep cycle), so pinch this area for about 30 seconds with mild pressure, breathing deeply throughout. Do the same thing for your temples. Apply minimal pressure and simply hold these points. You will quickly feel why pressure applied here is often used to treat headaches.”

Courtesy of Shecky’s DIY Massages You Can Do At Your Desk. Image Credit:

August 21, 2012

Meditation Made Easy – Walking Meditation

Filed under: Facts and Tips — Rizzieri School of Massage @ 8:11 am

Walking Meditation
What is it?
This component of numerous meditation traditions slows the walking process with the intention of bringing into awareness its most basic parts—lifting the foot, swinging it, placing it down—in order to bring a greater consciousness to daily life. When we break down the motion of walking, we realize how each action is a collection of sub-actions, and how the mind and body work together to create movement. “This is not walking for transportation, it’s walking as a tool for developing mindfulness in the present moment,” says John LeMunyon, L.M.T., co-owner of Heartwood Yoga in Birmingham, Ala., and a meditator for 30-plus years. You can practice walking meditation by itself, or combine it with one of the seated styles on the preceding pages. Used as an interlude, the walking technique is a good way to embody the insights gained during seated practice and to heighten their relevance in your daily life. Walking meditation shows clearly the Buddhist precept that “all action is preceded by intention,” says LeMunyon. “There’s always an intention; and when we are present to the moment, there is always a choice. It’s at the level of intention that we make our choices of how skillfully we want to live our lives.”

What’s it good for?
When you find yourself feeling restless or agitated, a physical practice like walking is a great way to quiet your mind and find grounding in your body. It can also help ease your transition from sitting meditation to the motion of “real life,” and vice versa.

How long does it take?
To begin, try walking for about 15 steps in two directions, about five minutes total. Or try interspersing this with five minutes of seated meditation.

How do I do it?
1. Find a private indoor or outdoor place with level ground and at least 20 feet of space to move.
2. Stand in a relaxed position with your feet parallel, shoulders loose, arms draped at your sides or clasped lightly in front of or behind you. Focus your eyes softly on the ground about 6 to 8 feet ahead (looking right at your feet can be distracting).
3. Breathe in as you lift your right heel. Pause and breathe out, leaving your toes resting on the ground.
4. Breathe in again as you slowly swing your right foot forward. Place the heel of your right foot on the ground as you exhale and roll the rest of the foot down, transferring your weight so it’s balanced between both feet. Pause for a full breath.
5. Repeat the entire sequence with your left foot, again matching each movement with an inhalation or exhalation, alternating for 15 steps. The goal is to keep your mind fully focused on your bodily sensations; it may help to think or softly say, “Lift, pause, swing, place, transfer, pause,” as you perform these movements.
6. When you’ve completed your paces in one direction, come to a stop with your feet parallel and pause for a few breaths. Then turn slowly, using the same movement pattern and matching each movement with an inhalation or exhalation. Pause again, facing the path you just walked. End by retracing your steps back to where you started.


August 14, 2012

Meditation Made Easy – Mantra Meditation

Filed under: Facts and Tips — Rizzieri School of Massage @ 8:07 am



Mantra Meditation
What is it?
Mantra meditation utilizes the power of sound and vibration to create stillness in the body, calm the nervous system and ultimately transform the mind. The words typically come from ancient spiritual languages, such as Sanskrit or Gurumukhi. The sacred meanings of the words enable you to establish a connection to profound truths that have been spoken for thousands of years, explains Krishna Kaur, a kundalini yoga teacher since 1970 and founding member of the International Association of Black Yoga Teachers (

What’s it good for?
Because each mantra differs in its meaning and vibrations produced, you can select mantras to create specific effects— such as increasing mental clarity, developing intuition, or reducing anger and stress. Kaur suggests starting with the simple mantra sat nam because it’s easy to say and remember, yet offers profound effects. Sat translates as “truth,” and nam as “identity.” This mantra helps you identify with a universal spiritual truth in which such transient emotional states as fear, anger and doubt fall away.

How long does it take?
Start with three to five minutes, increasing by a minute at a time until you can sit and chant for a full 11 minutes.

How do I do it?
1. Sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor with your spine straight to help your breath and the sound it creates flow smoothly. Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath for a moment to get centered.
2. Take a long, deep inhalation through your nose. As you exhale, utter an extended sat (pronounced “sut”) to almost the end of your breath, followed by a short burst of nam (“nom”). Together, the mantra will sound like “saaaaaaaaaaat nam.”
3. Inhale slowly and evenly, then repeat the mantra as you exhale. Continue this pattern.
4. At the end of your session, inhale and hold your breath for a few seconds, then exhale through your nose. Do this three times, then sit quietly for a moment and feel the energy flow through your body. Open your eyes, stand slowly and carry your sense of calm and clarity with you.



August 7, 2012

Meditation Made Easy – Listening Meditation

Filed under: Facts and Tips — Rizzieri School of Massage @ 8:05 am

Listening Meditation
What is it?
While many meditation techniques require solitude and silence, this one has you engage with sounds all around you; it invites you to work with the noise instead of fighting it. The intent is to experience sound as vibration, rather than information. “The listening practice is a way of interacting with the environment that allows you to take in the whole energy of the present moment,” says Sally Kempton, a spiritual guide who teaches yoga and meditation at her Carmel, Calif.- based Awakened Heart Meditation (

What’s it good for?
Especially adaptable and portable, listening meditation can be practiced in crowded, noisy situations—on a bus, at the office—that would hinder other styles. (Kempton once led a listening meditation workshop in the middle of a busy Whole Foods store!) People with particularly chattering minds may need to couple this practice with a mantra or breathing meditation. However, many people welcome the chance to focus outward rather than inward and find that listening meditation is one of the easier techniques to undertake. “You’ll come away from it feeling refreshed, expanded and at ease with your environment,” declares Kempton.

How long does it take?
Try for five minutes at first, then continue adding a minute or two until you can do it for 15 or 20 minutes at a time.

How do I do it?
1. Sit in a comfortable position and close (or half close) your eyes.
2. To get centered and quiet, first go to your breath, noticing but not trying to change it.
3. Now “open” your ears and bring your awareness to the sounds around you. The goal is to listen to the whole range of sounds, without favoring one and without identifying them. Hear the quiet sounds and the silences as well as the dominant sounds.
4. When you find yourself identifying sounds (“there’s a fire engine”; “that’s my neighbor’s TV”), gently redirect your attention from listening to a specific noise back to hearing the whole spectrum of sounds.
5. To end, slowly open your eyes, stand and carry this awareness with you for as long as you can.

August 6, 2012

Different Massage Types

Filed under: Facts and Tips — Rizzieri School of Massage @ 3:37 pm

We were recently asked, “what different types of massage are there? What are the most popular?”

Here are a few of the most popular:

  • Swedish massage. This is a gentle form of massage that uses long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibration and tapping to help relax and energize you.
  • Deep-tissue massage. This massage technique uses slower, more forceful strokes to target the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue, commonly to help with muscle damage from injuries.
  • Sports massage. This is similar to Swedish massage but is geared toward people involved in sport activities to help prevent or treat injuries.
  • Trigger point massage. This massage focuses on trigger points, or sensitive areas of tight muscle fibers that can form in your muscles after injuries or overuse.

July 30, 2012

Facts About Massage

Filed under: Facts and Tips,massage — Rizzieri School of Massage @ 7:54 am

It’s a fact. Every year, more and more people rely on therapeutic massage and bodywork for relaxation, pain relief, health concerns, rehabilitation and general wellness.

  • Massage may be the oldest form of medical care – Egyptian tomb paintings show people being massaged.*
  • A Chinese book written in 2,700 BC – The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine – recommended the “massage of skin and flesh”.*
  • Today, 39 million American adults – more than one out of every six – get at least one massage each year.**
  • Massage therapy has been proven effective in:
    Relieving back pain
    Boosting immune system
    Reducing anxiety
    Lowering blood pressure
    Treating migraines
    Decreasing carpal tunnel symptoms
    Easing post-operative pain
    Alleviating side effects of cancer**
  • Because massage and bodywork directly or indirectly affects every system of the body, it promotes health, prevents illness and injury, and speeds recovery.

July 25, 2012

DIY – Pamper Yourself

Filed under: Facts and Tips,massage — Rizzieri School of Massage @ 7:54 am

Create an at-home spa
If you don’t want to splurge on a spa treatment, turn your bathroom into a sanctuary and indulge at home. Light a scented candle. Breathe in the aroma and feel the stress drift away. Use a body scrub and loofah to exfoliate from head to toe. Get happy feet by soaking them in a tub and using a pumice stone to smooth rough patches and boost circulation.

Take a bath
Treat yourself to one long, luxurious bath a week. If you view your tub as nothing more than a place to get clean, you’re missing out on a world of pampering possibilities. Take the phone off the hook, hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign (make one if you have to) on the door and give yourself a seriously relaxing soak. For a true spa experience, add some bubble bath, attach a bath pillow onto the back of the tub to support your head and neck and feel the tension melt away.

Use your head
Nothing releases pent-up tension like a good scalp massage. Turn yours into a hair and scalp treatment by adding conditioning hair oil: Warm a cup of the oil in the microwave for no more than 20 seconds (test it first with the very tip of your finger to make sure it’s not too hot), then massage onto a dry scalp for up to 10 minutes. After using a wide-tooth comb to distribute the oil from the scalp to the ends of your hair, wrap your head in a warm towel for at least 10 minutes (you can heat the towel in the microwave for up to a minute). Tip: When it’s time to rinse, apply shampoo and work into a lather; then rinse. (Wetting the hair first makes oil harder to wash out.) Shampoo again to remove any remaining greasiness.

Get Glowing
It’s hard to feel fresh faced when you look like something the cat dragged in. Dull skin emphasizes lines and wrinkles and makes you look tired. But when there’s no time or money for a professional peel or microdermabrasion, at-home masks or peels can help bring back that inner glow.

July 24, 2012

Meditation Made Easy – Basic Breath

Filed under: Facts and Tips — Rizzieri School of Massage @ 7:59 am

Basic Breath Meditation

What is it?
The cornerstone of all meditation techniques, this practice centers on something we always do but rarely notice: breathing. “You do not have to do anything with your breath but observe it,” says yoga and meditation teacher Rosen. Eventually, you can work on changing your breath, and sending it into new areas of your torso. But at first, just become aware of each inhalation and exhalation; let your mind track how the breath moves, mapping where it goes to develop an understanding of your own unique “breathing identity.”

What’s it good for?
Use this meditation to get centered anytime and anywhere. “You can retreat into your breath whenever you’re feeling dull, tired or stressed out,” says Rosen.

How long does it take?
Start with 10 minutes at first, then work your way up to 15 and finally 20 minutes.

How do I do it?
1. Sit in a comfortable position with your legs crossed. Or lie on your back with your body straight and a firm pillow or rolled-up towel under your knees. Your arms should rest about 45 degrees from your torso.
2. Breathe quietly in and out through your nose. Feel each breath as it moves through your torso. Feel where in your body the breath is moving and where it is not.
3. Begin to notice how your breath changes as you focus on it, and how your awareness changes in turn. (Rosen likens this process to a feedback loop between the breath and “the witness,” who’s observing it.)
4. When your mind begins to drift, gently bring it back to your breath.
5. Begin to bring your breath into areas of your body that feel dull or “un-breathed.” Imagine your torso as a container, and try actively sending breath into the places it’s not reaching, such as your pelvis or the small of your back. Don’t force the breath, just allow it to follow your consciousness.
6. At the end of your session, wiggle your fingers and toes, then stretch your legs and arms. If you’re lying down, roll over to one side and pause before pushing up to a seated position. Roll up slowly, leading with your torso and raising your head last.


July 18, 2012

DIY – Give Yourself a 5 Minute Massage

Filed under: Facts and Tips,massage — Rizzieri School of Massage @ 7:51 am

Ease tight leg muscles

Sit on the floor with legs extended. With hands in fists, press knuckles into tops of thighs and slowly push them toward knees. Keep pressing down as you return to start position and repeat. Continue, changing your direction and pressure to focus on sore spots, for one minute.

Soothe sore forearms

Make a fist with left hand, elbow bent and palm facing up. Wrap right hand around left forearm, thumb on top. Rotate left forearm so that palm faces the floor, then turn it back up. Continue for 30 seconds, moving right hand around to focus on tender areas. Repeat on opposite arm.

Work out back kinks

Sit on a chair with knees bent, feet fl at on the floor, and bend forward at the hips. Bend arms behind you, palms facing away from you, and make fists. Knead circles into your lower back on either side of your spine. Continue, working your way up, for a minute or more.

Relieve foot pain

Sit on a chair with feet on the floor and place a golf ball (or a tennis ball, if that’s all you have ) under ball of left foot. Slowly move foot forward and back for 30 seconds, then in circles for 30 seconds, pressing harder on the ball when you feel a tight spot. Repeat on right foot.


Source: SHAPE Magazine

July 12, 2012

My Aching Back! Part 1

Filed under: Facts and Tips — Rizzieri School of Massage @ 7:36 am


This morning, you probably didn’t think twice about slinging a work tote over your shoulder or picking your sneakers up off the floor. But there may come a time when one of those simple motions will trigger a backache bad enough to cause you to call in sick, see a doctor, or at the very least, take a few painkillers [1]. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, four out of five women will develop a back injury at some point in their lives. But with a few simple changes, you can prevent yourself from becoming a statistic. The trick, says Douglas Chang, M.D., chief of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of California, San Diego Medical Center, is separating the misconceptions from the facts. We asked Chang and other experts to set the record straight on how to best prevent and heal aches and pains.

MYTH #1 Lifting heavy objects will strain your back
FACT Most injuries are caused not by what you pick up, but how you do it. The proper form: Squat [2], keeping your back straight. Grab the object, bring it close to your body, then stand; your thigh and butt muscles should do the lifting.

Just grabbing a pen off the floor? It’s still important to be careful, because simply twisting the wrong way can harm your back. “One of the worst moves is bending over to the side while staying seated with your feet planted on the floor,” says Rahul Shah, M.D., an orthopedic spine surgeon in Winter Park, Florida. “Twisting your back [3] in two directions at once may strain the disks that cushion your spinal vertebrae.” This repetitive trauma builds up over the years and can weaken your spine. “If your back is already vulnerable,” says Shah, “the wrong movement could easily trigger an injury.”

MYTH #2 Sitting up straight keeps your spine in line
FACT While your mom was right to stop you from hunching, holding yourself too erectly isn’t as good for your back as you think [4]. “It puts a lot of stress on your disks, especially when you do it for long periods of time,” says Santhosh Thomas, a doctor of osteopathic medicine and medical director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Spine Health in Westlake, Ohio. In fact, researchers at Woodend Hospital in Scotland found that people who sat at a 90-degree angle strained their spines [5] more than those who reclined at 135 degrees.

What’s a woman to do? Adjust your posture a few times a day, recommends Shah. “Lean back in your chair with your feet on the ground and make sure there’s a slight curve in your lower back.” That way, he explains, you’ll distribute your body weight more evenly, as your shoulders [6] and upper back muscles [7] will take some of the pressure off your spine. If you often find yourself slouching at your desk at the end of the workday, consider using a cushion to support your lower back and keep your spine in alignment.

What may be even more important than sitting correctly is taking frequent breaks from your desk throughout the day. To boost circulation in your back [3] muscles and lessen fatigue, stand up every half hour and take a five-minute stroll or stretch every hour. Do some of your work while standing up to give your spine a little reprieve. Take a phone call on your feet, or place a report on top of a waist-high filing cabinet so you can stand and read it.

Source: SHAPE Magazine

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