Fads, Fixes, and Fakes: dealing with health hype around the new year

“New year, new you!”

Is there any time of year more obsessed with health habits than the new year? Even the “beach body” craze of late May doesn’t reach the same level of hype. Every time you turn the corner, somebody else is trying to get you to try a class, a supplement, a shake, a piece of equipment, a diet, a lifestyle … and it can be exhausting trying to figure out what’s bona fide and what’s bogus. It’s perfectly normal to look forward to a fresh start in January (or not!), but here’s a little guidance on whether to put money down on that hot new habit after the holidays.

Is it promising a quick fix?

If whatever you’re thinking of trying swears you’ll get the desired result in no time at all, you can be pretty sure you’re entering into scam territory. The human body is based on homeostasis. It can change, and it does, but most of those changes occur over time. There’s a reason why most things that cause fast changes in the body (like surgery and drugs) require a physician to administer them; they can be dangerous if not used carefully. If you’ve been out of shape for five years, don’t expect to get back in shape in five weeks. That’s just not how the body works.

Does it promise a panacea?

There are diets that can help you lose weight. There are exercise routines that can help you gain muscle and strength. There are massages that can help you relax and manage your stress levels. (Might want to get on that one soon.) But if someone is selling One Amazing Thing that will evaporate your fat, increase your happiness, straighten your posture, whiten your teeth, cure your cancer, and send your sex drive through the roof? You can be pretty sure it’s not worth your money. No, that essential oil will not prevent ebola, but it does smell nice and could help improve your mood if you like it. Don’t pay a Magical Thinking Tax for exaggerated claims.

Is it relying on conspiracy theories for marketing?

Conspiracies can be fun to read about, but if the main selling point is that “doctors hate it” or “Big Pharma doesn’t want you to know about this,” it’s probably not the best addition to your life. Why? Because you and your physician (and your dentist, your massage therapist, your counselor, your personal trainer, your nutritionist …) are part of your health and wellness team. If any one of them refuses to be a team player, they’re not doing what’s best for you. Casting aspersions on some of your VIPs? Not cool. If you haven’t heard much about a particular tool, it’s probably not because your health team is trying desperately to get you to stick to being sick. It’s much more likely that the thing just doesn’t work at all.

Does it fit your life, your budget, your goals, and your understanding of reality?

If yes, then this is something worth looking into, whether it’s a gym membership, a cookbook of heart-healthy meals, or a habit tracking app. Ultimately, we try things out and see how they work for us over the long haul. Not everything will be a perfect fit, but at least we can weed out some of the resolutionist marketing malarkey and move forward with our best efforts into the new year.

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What to expect during a massage

What to expect at your massage

When you arrive at the office for your massage, I’ll have a brief intake form  for you to complete. We’ll talk about why you’re coming in for a massage and what you your goals are for the session. Are you having pain or need to relax? Would you like more than one modality, like a massage and CranioSacral Therapy combination?


Once we have finished the intake, I’ll leave the room so you may undress, get on the massage table, and get comfortable under the draping sheet & blanket.

Most massage techniques are traditionally performed with the client unclothed; however, what you wear it is entirely up to you. Simply put: bottom undergarment can be left on or taken off. You will be properly draped throughout the massage.  For a session that is only CranioSacral Therapy you will remain clothed but take off your shoes.

Depending on the issues we’re planning to address, I may start the massage on your face, neck and shoulders, or maybe on your back.  While I have scented essential oils, I will never use them without your prior permission.

During the massage

It’s great if you can let your body relax and sink into the table. If I need to move your arms or legs, etc, I’ll do the work! This takes practice.

It’s really important for you to tell me if any massage techniques I use cause pain. Pain is not okay. There may be a certain level of discomfort and ‘good ache’ if we’re working on a problem area. It’s important that you tell me about that, too, so we can tailor the massage to be most effective without causing injury.

I’ll check in with you as we go, but please speak up if you become too warm or too cool, if you are not comfortable on the table, or need another pillow, or if you just hate the music!

After the massage

You should expect to feel mellow and relaxed after your massage. If we addressed pain issues, you may immediately feel a reduction in pain, or it may take a day or two before you feel that relief. If you are ever very sore following a massage, (it’s rare, but it can happen) please call me so we can discuss the best course of action, and so that I can make notes to adjust your next massage.

I hope you enjoy your massage! You can schedule online here anytime.




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CranioSacral Therapy and massage

“What type of massage and bodywork do I need?”  This is an excellent question that I get quite a bit.  First off, I listen to my clients and what their bodies are telling me.  I base the majority of sessions around a deep tissue Swedish massage style but mix it up through out the treatment based on what the client has discussed with me.  Quite often I mix in CranioSacral therapy (CST).  This is a light touch therapy and I find that it helps the client to relax and “melt” which in turn makes my job easier.  CST has become my go to addition for anyone coming in talking about being anxious, not being able to relax, needing grounding, experiencing both tension and migraine headaches, or recovering from a physical or emotional trauma.  Really, the CST and deep tissue massage combo is my jam.  It’s where I excel.   It is becoming my passion.  What I like about CST is that I can help a client resolve a physical or emotional trauma without having to talk about the traumatic event.  CST can facilitate healing on a deep level without activating the fight or flight response that can happen with some people receiving deep tissue massage.   I know my limits and don’t pretend to be a talk therapist.  If you need one I have some great referrals for you!

I also do Gua Sha for areas of the back and neck that feel like there is little circulation but a lot of tension.  Just getting over an illness or in the midst of allergies?  I would suggest some Lymph Drainage Therapy.  I also will do trigger point massage on needed areas, abdominal massage, Pfrimmer Deep Muscle Therapy, or some assisted and unassisted stretching.  I’m big on communication so if I’m ever doing something that I don’t like, please tell me.  It’s your massage and you should never endure something that you aren’t comfortable with!

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It’s heavy right now

Let’s be honest, there’s a lot going on right now and for some of us, it may be hard to take care of ourselves.  Some of us in the Bloomington community can’t pull away from following the current events and being distressed.  Here is my action plan for attempting to achieve some balance and work in a positive fashion.

*Ration social media and news, there’s nothing wrong with baby animal pictures.  I will only check the news in the morning and after my daughter goes to sleep.

*Journal.  I just went down to my favorite bookstore, The Book Corner, and bought a journal. Every time during the day I have a few minutes that I would have used to look at Facebook, I’m going to jot down some goals, thoughts, a grocery list, a to-do list, whatever, to put pen to paper.  Writing down my goals means I will be more likely to achieve them so win win!

*Clear my head.  I use the meditation app I have on my phone to clear my head and do some deep breathing exercises.  This is the one I like:


*I’m picking up an old hobby I used to have, playing the ukulele.  It has fallen by the wayside since having a child and it will be more productive for me to play that 15 minutes a day than worrying about the world.

*I will keep making the meaningful contributions and continue actions that I think are helpful for my community.

*Exercise, eat good food and get a massage!  You knew that last one would be on there.

*Go out with friends.  Hey, it’s hard when you have a 2 year old to get out!

Best of luck to all of you and stay strong!


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Should you book a 60 or 90 minute massage?

So you’ve made the decision to get a massage from me but maybe you’re unsure about the length of time you should choose.  I’ll go ahead and say it, everyone can use a 90  minute massage.  I understand financial and time constraints but if you are on the fence, just go with the 90 minute.  A full body relaxation massage can be done in an hour.  A full body massage with one focus area can also achieve results in an hour.  However, if you’re wanting a full body massage and need some neck work and that left hamstring is locked up, an hour is not really enough time.  Bumping up to 90 minutes allows time for multiple areas to receive focus.

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Spring into action!


So Spring is here and you’ve been hitting it hard. Running, hiking, working out, biking, whatever you fancy, right? The next day, or maybe 2 days later, the soreness hits like a brick wall. Those sore muscles are the telltale signs that you’ve been moving more than normal. Called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, (DOMS), you might be walking or moving a little gingerly depending on how hard you pushed yourself. When muscles are required to work harder than they’re used to, it is believed to cause microscopic damage to the muscle fibers, resulting in muscle soreness or stiffness. Some things that you can do to assist in muscle recovery are the following:

-A recovery drink. Do you need an excuse to drink chocolate milk? Well here is the best excuse for an adult to drink it! While there are many sports recovery drinks on the market, you can just grab some chocolate milk from the grocery store and chug. Downing a drink that contains both carbohydrates and protein within 30 minutes of working out will help replace glycogen stores that have been depleted in the muscle and repair muscles. About 16oz is enough to do the trick. Of course, there are loads of options for drinks if chocolate milk doesn’t suit your needs, just do an internet search for “post exercise recovery drink”.

-Warming up BEFORE exercising and stretching AFTER! Yes, this matters! Dynamic stretching before a workout allows your muscles to warm up, without straining them. Here is a link for pre-running dynamic stretches, http://www.runnersworld.com/ask-coach-jenny/a-runners-guide-to-warming-up . 5-10 minutes of post-workout stretching before you get in your car or sit in a chair allows your muscles to cool down. Focus on stretching the areas that were worked out the most.

-Massage. You knew I would say that. Research has shown that massage can suppress the inflammation caused by exercise and enhance cell recovery. Check out this NY Times post on the subject. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/06/how-massage-heals-sore-muscles/?_r=0

In conclusion, get out there and move but don’t forget to take care of yourself.

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Free Chair massage at College Mall Kroger

I am happy to announce that I will be at the College Mall Kroger on Wednesdays from 3:30-6:30pm doing free chair massage for customers.  This Kroger location has a Wellness Wednesdays program that offers events throughout the days such as movement classes from the YMCA, yoga from Know Yoga Know Peace, and now chair massage from me!  February 10th will be the first day I will be there.  Get your shopping done and stop by for a chair massage.  Also, if you book a table massage for my office on the spot, save 10% on your massage.  Valid one time only.

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Boosting your spirits and immunity in the winter

Ahh, I’m laying in a hammock. The waves crash softly to the shore in the distance as the sun peeks through the palm trees above me. The taste of fresh mangoes faintly left in my mouth from the picking them off the tree on my walk down the beach. It is so warm I could faaaallll aaaahhsleeeeeep. Yawn.
Beep! Beep! Beep!

That was a dream, the beach is gone and instead winter is in full swing here in Bloomington, Indiana.  It can certainly be a challenge to beat the winter blues and stay healthy.  While the weather might not be conducive for long bicycle rides on the B-Line, finding a way to get regular moderate exercise can boost your immune system.  Bloomington is rife with gyms and classes but if that isn’t your style, bundling up on nicer days and going on a brisk walk or home exercises can also come in handy.  There is also, I can’t believe I’m going to say this, the mall.  Yes, the mall.  If you don’t have a gym membership is the longest indoor stretch you can walk in town.

My good friend, Jessica Mott, updates daily fitness challenges that last 4-10 minutes on her website, http://thrivebloomington.com/blog/.  She focuses on functional fitness for our every day lives.

Some information on how exercise boosts your immunity:

“Regular Exercise
Research findings about regular exercise are interesting. For example, researchers have found that:

  • those who exercise regularly have slight differences in their immune system compared to those who don’t exercise regularly
  • these differences may have many protective benefits for our body and within the immune system itself
  • a major difference is a decrease in prolonged inflammation for those who exercise regularly, for example, in people with heart disease (researchers argue that this decrease in inflammation can help to play a role in the prevention of heart disease and diabetes)

Researchers have also found that for those who exercise regularly, the immune system has a blunted stress response. This indicates the immune system has adapted to regular exercise and can tolerate this kind of stress much better. Just like our muscles adapt to exercise over time, so does our immune system.

Time to Get Moving
In general, it’s fair to say that research has shown that regular, moderate physical activity can be beneficial to your immune system.

If you are just beginning to exercise more often, here are some tips:

  • Take your time. Your immune system and the rest of your body will need time to adapt to regular exercise.
  • Start at a duration and intensity level you can easily manage. For some that may be 30 minutes, for others, it may be 10 minutes.
  • Keep in mind that positive changes in your immune system are just one small additional benefit you will get from regular exercise. There are many other health benefits as well, such as improved cardiovascular fitness and endurance, and improved flexibility, muscle strength and balance.” -From healthyalberta.com

Also, a little self promotion, Lymph Drainage Therapy can boost your immune system by increasing the production of lymphocytes.  Receiving a short treatment, or adding it into a massage, can help with sinus drainage and getting over a lingering illness.

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Discovering a hidden skill

I began my massage career in 2005 simply on a hunch that it would be something I would enjoy and I wouldn’t have to sit in an office all day.  I graduated from Indiana University in 2000 and the world was my oyster.  I travelled on my bicycle for months on end and held odd jobs to save up money for more adventures.  Eventually, I came to the conclusion that since I am not independently wealthy, this wasn’t a lifestyle I could continue.  Job training was necessary.  I enrolled in the Alexandria School of Scientific Therapeutics in 2005 and I was off running towards my massage training!  I have truly enjoyed learning more about bodywork and helping others be pain free.  One skill I have unconsciously crafted is the ability to create a safe place for people.  With CranioSacral Therapy training, one can gently relieve anxiety and tension throughout the body, which may be caused by physical or emotional traumas.  What clients have told me is that through my CST work and massage, they have been helped on an emotional level without requiring me to get them to talk about the troubles they are experiencing.  Once I found out clients were being helped in this way, I was so happy!  We can’t deny the mind body connection and how stress affects our daily lives, but I’m not a talk therapist and I don’t want to get in over my head, or get outside of my scope of practice.  You are always welcome to share with me, I provide an open and non-judgmental environment, but if you aren’t comfortable sharing details with me, never fear!  You can still have receive a therapeutic treatment.

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Online Massage Gift Certificates

I am always trying to improve my business for not only my clients’ well being but also convenience. I have just added a feature to make purchasing a massage gift certificate directly from my website possible. If you are on the home page, simply click on the icon on the right for purchasing an online gift certificate. You will be directed to an offsite vendor, The Gift Card Cafe, to complete the transaction. You may choose between sending them an electronic gift card or have me mail the one via snail mail. I appreciate the support from my clients and hope this makes gift giving easier for them!




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Refer a new client to Trillium Bodywork and receive 15% off of your next massage therapy session.

Now offering CranioSacral Therapy packages:

3-1 hour sessions $220, save $20

5-1 hour sessions $350, save $50

These packages apply to only CST sessions and not any other type of bodywork I offer.  You may allow a friend or family member to use your CST package as well.  While there will not be a price increase in the near future, any sessions redeemed after a price increase will be required to pay the difference.



Book Online

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I take appointments Monday 1-5, Wednesday 9-5, Thursday 9-4, Friday 9-6, and every other Saturday 9-2 at my office conveniently located in downtown Bloomington, Indiana. New clients booking online are required to enter a credit card number to hold the appointment. Your card will not be charged at this time and you may pay with any method I accept at the time of your appointment.

Book By Phone or Buy a Gift Card Online

Call 812-219-4304 to book your Deep tissue massage, Prenatal massage, CranioSacral, or Pfrimmer appointment.

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