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About FLSM

The Finger Lakes School of Massage offers 1,000-hour, New York state-approved holistic massage therapy training at two New York campuses. Students can choose our seven-month, full-time program or 23-month, part-time program to receive their New York massage therapy certification.

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Muscle of the Moment: Psoas

It’s likely a muscle you never heard of, but it’s perhaps the most fundamental: Its name is psoas, and it influences nearly every movement your body makes.

Some nickname it the “tenderloin.” Often, it is grouped with neighboring muscle iliacus and thus referred to as iliopsoas. Some have even heard it called the muscle of the soul. Truly its name is psoas major, which comes from the Greek psoa meaning loin and the Latin maior meaning greater. A smaller version of the muscle exists as psoas minor, occurring in only some of the population. But everyone is blessed with psoas major—necessarily, for it lies at the core of movement throughout the body. In the words of Ithaca FLSM Education Director Linda VanAlmelo, psoas propels us forward in space physically, emotionally, and spiritually, “initiating the forward movement of our lives.”

It is a powerful muscle. Psoas runs on both sides of the body from the lower portion of the spine to the top of the femur and lies deep to all of the organs and muscles of the abdomen. The primary actions of psoas are hip and trunk flexion (raising the leg toward the chest and bending the trunk forward) and lateral rotation of the hip (turning the hip outward). But it does much more.

Psoas plays a role in the survival response, using hip flexion to fight or flee or to assume the fetal position by bringing the lower limbs toward the head in order to protect the front of the body. Through its direct connection to the diaphragm, psoas influences breathing patterns. It also creates a “shelf” on which most of the internal organs of the abdomen sit thus influencing vital body functions and movement of fluids like lymph and blood (the connection of psoas to the diaphragm, which also massages the internal organs as it moves, is another way psoas plays a role in organ health). With its home deep in the body’s core—the “gut”—psoas even affects our intuition and other soulful emotions.

Because of its encompassing influence, an unhappy psoas can quickly throw off the body’s balance. This can lead to a wide range of symptoms including: low back pain, sciatic pain, disc problems, scoliosis, leg length discrepancies, hip degeneration, knee pain, menstrual pain, infertility, digestive problems. Many people deal with chronic pain for years only to find relief with the help of a therapist who releases a woefully tight psoas. Such a release can be profound: To again quote Ithaca FLSM’s Linda VanAlmelo, “Releasing and revitalizing Psoas allows us to regain a deeper core integrity, connect with our instinctual wisdom, and increase both our functional movement and self-expression.”

So how does one keep Psoas healthy? Massage! Stretching! Movement! The following links provide more fascinating tidbits about and ideas for tuning into psoas. Let us know if you try them out and what you find!

https://yogainternational.com/article/view/how-to-stretch-and-strengthen-the-psoas

http://www.runnersworld.com/injury-treatment/runners-guide-psoas

http://www.alignintegrationandmovement.com/1/post/2013/10/ten-exercises-for-a-healthy-psoas.html

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Benefits of Aromatherapy Massage

An Aromatherapy Massage is a massage session with the addition of highly concentrated plant oils, called Essential Oils. These oils are usually added directly to the massage oil or lotion during the treatment and have both aromatic and therapeutic benefits for the client. Essential oils are distilled from a plant’s flowers, leaves, stalks, bark, rind, or roots. Aromatherapy practices that are widely used today originated in Europe and have been practiced there since the early 1900s.

The way the process in our bodies works is that the nostrils are attached to a part of the brain called the limbic system; this controls emotions and influences both the nervous system and hormones in the body. When you inhale essential oils, these molecules send messages to the limbic system that can affect heart rate, stress levels, blood pressure, breathing, memory, digestion, and the immune system. Essential oils are also believed to absorb through the skin during the massage. Depending on the type of oil, the result on the body may be a calming or stimulating one. The oils are believed to interact with the body’s hormones and enzymes to cause changes in blood pressure, pulse, and other bodily functions.

Each essential oil has different healing properties. Some are used to calm, while others help to energize. Here are some commonly used essential oils and their properties:

Calming – chamomile, lavender, geranium

Cleansing – rosemary

Decongesting – eucalyptus, pine, tea tree

Energizing – rosemary

Euphoric – Ylang Ylang

Refreshing and cheering – citrus

Relaxing, centering, sensual – sandalwood

Uplifting – sage, rose

Visualizing and meditative – frankincense

Why do people get aromatherapy massage? As a massage therapist, adding aromatherapy massage to your roster is a great way to easily add value to your services. Often aromatherapy massages cost a small amount more than a standard Swedish session and doesn’t add much in terms of cost for the therapist. Aromatherapy massage is widely used for conditions involving stress or improving a client’s emotional state. Medical conditions that might be recommended for an aromatherapy session include; insomnia, headaches, digestive disorders, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), back pain or general anxiety.

The massage therapist will want to ask questions during the client intake which will provide information on which essential oil(s) to use. Based on your answers the therapist will mix the chosen essential oils into the massage oil or lotion. You will notice the subtle aroma of the essential oils as they fill the air around you during the massage. Afterwards, the massage therapist may suggest a blend that you can use at home in between massage treatments to continue the effects of the oils. Next time you go to get a massage ask your massage therapist about an essential oil treatment and get the added benefit of these amazing plant based products!

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FLSM Attendance Questions

Each day at FLSM, class begins with all the students and instructors sitting in a circle to talk about the work they have been receiving. They discuss the new work to be learned that day and perhaps troubleshoot any problem areas students have encountered; but first we need to take attendance. It seems like a simple enough task, but in true FLSM fashion we don’t take the simple route of having our students call out “present” or “here” when his or her name is called. We take this opportunity to ask a question to of the class and instead of the perfunctory “here” the student gives their answer in lieu of “present.” The attendance question is one of the hallmarks of the FLSM experience and for some students, one of the most memorable parts of their time here. Some questions relate to the work of the day, others to current events, but the ones that stick in students minds long after they graduate our program are the seemingly absurd questions that make you think, but mostly make you laugh.

The purpose of the attendance question is threefold:

1. To take attendance: Although we are an unusual or non-traditional institution of learning, we still are, after all, a school and therefore have to keep track of when our students do and don’t attend. While we do have to take attendance, it doesn’t have to be boring. In fact we prefer it to be an exciting and thought provoking part of each class.

2. To learn more about the people around us: At FLSM, students work very closely together in a literal sense, and while they naturally form friendships during their time here, we can glean even more about the fabric of their lives before finding their way to massage school from listening to their responses to the questions each day. These questions can at times seem silly, but they are powerful. By sharing daily in the classroom, these interactions play a big role in creating the community of the group by further understanding each member of the class one question at a time.

3. To bring lightness and humor to the classroom: sometimes massage work can be very serious, bringing up emotions held in the body for years, encouraging reflection, and releasing old trauma. These questions are a way to find understanding and connection through humor. Even if the question is not inherently funny, oftentimes the act of sharing answers will reveal the oddities of self-reflection and the hilarity of shared human experience. After all, one mission of FLSM is to provide excellence in education in an atmosphere of joy, curiosity, respect and discovery.

A sampling of attendance questions to ponder:

If you were a bird, what bird would you be?

What is your favorite song lyric?

What are you grateful for right now?

What are two of your weaknesses?

What is the answer to the first question that pops in your head?

If you could choose a superpower what would it be?

And the perennial favorite: If you could have any substance shoot out of your belly button what would it be?

Tell us your answers to some of these attendance questions in the comments below! 

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Volunteering with Massage and Touch Therapy

“You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.” -Winston Churchill

Volunteering with Massage and Touch Therapy

The word volunteer can be defined as a noun, an adjective, or a verb. This proves how much power a single term can have. Whether it’s the act or the title, it signifies something greater. Here at FLSM, community service and awareness are hallmarks of our massage therapy program. The students and faculty participate in a myriad of different events, benefits, and volunteer services that bring joy and healing touch to the community.

As part of the curriculum students are required to choose a community service project.  At our Mount Kisco campus we offer two options for community service placement: working with local seniors or a care facility for the developmentally disabled.  Both our campuses are extremely fortunate to be located close to centers like these and assisted living facilities. Helping people in our backyard who can truly benefit from massage therapy (but may not normally have the means to) has brought much empowerment and awareness to the benefits of therapeutic touch and movement. Everyone involved is appreciative for the opportunity to have this experience. The program has become a huge success and is an integral part of the students’ education.

“It’s my favorite moment at school. I look forward to it every week.”  David Maine-student at FLSM stated when mentioning the work done with the developmentally disabled.

Working with a senior citizen for five sessions allows the student therapist to create not only a treatment plan for the individual, but also a long lasting friendship. Seniors enjoy the benefits of massage while not having to worry about high cost or a visit to a medical environment. Each week treatment and assistance offer the student therapist room to grow and develop techniques based on their senior client’s requests for a customized massage session. It nurtures the student’s future, and the senior may even become a client as part of their own practice one day. Working with people with health conditions and ailments that affect their daily life creates confidence and gains knowledge for our future licensed massage therapists.

Helping out at the nearby developmentally disabled community center is another wonderful volunteer service our students provide. They provide healing and caring touch to many wheelchair bound participants and those with movement impairments. As a result, participants in the touch therapy program are more sociable and interact with peers and others to a greater degree, and act with more mobile independence. Our students help with the local MOVE Program (Mobility Opportunities via Experience.) It is an innovative national program that enables people with significant developmental disabilities to improve sitting, standing and walking skills. The program greatly enhances a person’s ability to move on his or her own, through the use of adaptive equipment and intensive one-on-one instruction. We are proud to be a part of this incredible service, which enhances people’s dignity, as it improves their quality of life in such a significant way.

Opportunities arise weekly for FLSM and its student therapists to help out the community. One of the most fun ways to accomplish this is through community and outreach events i.e. awareness walks/runs, marathons, charity galas and functions, etc. Visiting local wellness centers and festivals are a great way to offer the public the benefit of massage while teaching real life experience to the student body. Truly anywhere can be an opportunity to promote healing through touch.

Volunteering brings such immense joy and pride to the participants here at FLSM. A chance to help others can make all the difference in our students’ lives and education. The benefits of the volunteer programs we offer are endless. Not only does it help build experience and a resume but a kind heart as well.

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Staff Interview - Judy Malloy, Director of Student Services in Ithaca

1. Tell us about your experience as a massage therapist. What motivated you to pursue this career path? What settings have you worked in and what type of work have you enjoyed doing most?

I came from a theater background as an actress and singer in New York City. I was always the person backstage giving backrubs, and then the AIDS epidemic hit, and I lost seven amazing friends. I found during their deaths that touch helped, so I ended my theater career and returned to school to become a massage therapist.

The connection for me between theater and massage therapy was that there was a story–story in the tissue, story in the words and the language, and that that was the commonality in my approach to the work and how I experienced it. When that became clear I realized that’s what I was listening for—this silent recorded memory—and  when I started listening as a therapist, people started healing on different levels. I’ve been in private practice for 18 years. I ended up working alongside two psychologists and one psychiatrist, and they began referring clients to me. I worked with a lot of women with a history of abuse and some really traumatic stuff, so my world as a massage therapist unfolded in working where the mind, the psyche and the spirit overlapped.

2. You also have professional training and experience as a counselor. How has this complemented your career as a Licensed Massage Therapist and as Director of Student and Career Services at FLSM?

A client in England, who was a psychologist, recognized some of what was happening on the table during our sessions was not dissimilar to talk therapy, so she encouraged me to pursue counseling training in England. I’m a huge advocate for talk therapy and massage therapy, but there has been resistance in the professional world to combining them. I think there is informed and deeply moving experiences when this is done with compassion and knowledge. Both fields resist that crossover, but somehow that’s where my life emerged.

I think that one of the most important things that happens with a lot of repetitive bodywork—as is true in the FLSM program—is that it inherently creates a shift.  A transformation, moving to some uncomfortable places, a recognizing pain in some places where it hasn’t been experienced before or recognizing that your body isn’t numb. Having my own experience of coming awake, this process of self-discovery uproots what people thought was safe and protected. In drawing from my own experience, I try to hold and support that transformation for FLSM students. I’ve seen it happen over and over with bodywork, having practiced myself for two decades and experienced this transformative process over the years: Compassion and integrity brings to the surface whatever the healing needed is. As a healer, you can learn something and create a change in one’s life that also impacts the earth. For me in my role as Director of Student and Career Services, being a networker, cheerleader and an advocate for that kind of dream is exciting for me.

3. What do you enjoy most in your position as Director of Student and Career Services?

I most enjoy the moments when a student’s struggles lift or when they realize that they aren’t in pain anymore, whatever that pain was. It means so much when I give a student a moment of encouragement, and they stick with it and then they graduate and get their license and their lives change because of it. So the cheerleading part is definitely a huge part of my joy in this role. My other favorite thing is that the whole student body is supported from one office, and I feel so privileged to be with both full and part-time students. I love that I know all of the students here, and that I can help them get the most out of this program.

4. What are some common challenges faced by students on their journey to becoming massage therapists? How have students overcome such challenges in the past?

Discomfort with being touched. Sometimes students aren’t ready for what it feels like to experience so much touch, so experiencing the feeling of vulnerability is common. Financially it can get tight and stretched and scary. And it can be a stressful thing to reinvent oneself, which can present as a real challenge for some students. There is no student that is the same person on the day of their graduation as they were on the day of opening circle, and how the external world receives those changes can be daunting for almost anyone.

I encourage a lot of journaling so that there’s a way to look back, and I think there’s a real power in pen and paper since it involves both kinesthetic and verbal action. I encourage a lot of self-care and kindness to self. The habits and patterns that sabotage us around challenges—something that I find manifests in test anxiety—are defenses that the body has put in place that can ultimately harm us. Identifying these patterns, becoming aware that they exist and that they can shift is a big part of overcoming such challenges. I invite students to e-mail me all the time and any time at all! DON’T HOLD IT IN!

5. What do you see as being one unique aspect of the student experience at FLSM?

The call to authentic communication, reflective listening, and non-judgmental observation invites each student into an opportunity for inward growth and outward compassion. It’s pure. Healing.

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Top 5 REASONS to visit our Finger Lakes School of Massage Gift Shop!

One of the best kept secrets at Finger Lakes School of Massage is the beautiful bookstore/café/ gift shop, which is open to the public. Myra Oney, the retail manager at our Kisco branch, alongside our retail specialists, Rachel and Jeany, have transformed what used to be a quick stop for a coffee or afternoon chocolate pick me up for our students into a well rounded shopping experience!

“My vision for the store is that it is a place that reflects and supports the mission of Finger Lakes School of Massage as a place where people are called upon to discover and be their best selves in an atmosphere of joy, curiosity, respect and discovery. Whether you are a student, alumni, or a member of the community, we are here to help you on your journey”

While we still sell all the books and supplies that a massage therapy student needs for the program, you can also find fresh, delicious muffins and breads from “Baked by Susan” in Mt Kisco and Wegmans in Ithaca, as well as fresh fruit and gluten-free, raw and organic food choices. Great gift items abound at both stores, Mt Kisco has Himalayan sea salt candle holders, lamps and bath salts, handmade face and hand creams, and beautifully scented soy candles (including “massage candles” that melt into a yummy, warm massage oil!). Ithaca has beautiful note cards created by local artists, handmade mugs, and herbal remedies made by one of our own staff. A wide range of pure essential oils and accessories and self-care items such as Beastie Balls, Theracanes and Rumble Rollers to ease out the knots and tensions of life are available at both locations.

If you are a massage therapist please come in and visit for your business supplies as well. We carry pesticide-free 100% jojoba oil, organic shea butter (all unscented), Sacred Earth Vegan Organic creams and oils as well as flannel sheets, Serasoft blankets, towels and hot water bottles and covers. Used tables are also available for sale at a substantial discount.

Whether you are thriving in a busy massage practice, or in need of a gift for someone you love, you won’t be disappointed with the beautiful selection of items for sale. One of our favorite and most popular items at both locations are the shawls from Tibet. They are a huge hit with our yogi’s, especially for the shavasana pose! And check the store in the spring for lightweight pashminas and scarves, all supporting women and their small businesses in Tibet, India and Nepal.

The next time you are in need of anything from work supplies to beautiful gifts please visit one of our school stores and check out our new and improved gift shops! If you can’t make it in you can always check us out online at www.massageoutlet.com.

The FLSM stores are located inside the Finger Lakes School of Massage at 272 North Bedford Road, Mount Kisco, NY and at 1251 Trumansburg Rd, Ithaca NY. Hours are 8:30 am to 5:30 pm seven days a week or you can call Mt.Kisco at (914) 241-7363 Ext. 12 for more information.

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FLSM Community Service Site – Clarebridge Cottage

Here at FLSM, students learn very early in the program the physical and emotional benefits of massage and the importance of creating connection through healing touch. As a clinic supervisor, I have the privilege of seeing these benefits made manifest as students massage one another as well as the general public in their after school clinic sessions. Along with using their exquisite massage skills, our students must utilize the communication skills they learn here to connect clearly throughout each session and create a feeling of comfort and safety for their client. The focus students give to each client and how present they are each moment of the session reinforces to me not only how vital touch is to the recipient feeling connected with their own body, but also how imperative touch is in creating connection between people and therefore feeling connected them to the larger world.

I get to see this marvelous human connection happen on a regular basis in the classroom of the school, but I find that the time I spend with students while they work with the residents of Clarebridge Cottage to be the most clear insight into the power of touch. Clarebrdge is a home for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia and one of the sites where our students spend several weeks doing community service clinics. The residents of Clarebridge are at varying stages of their disease and many are unable to communicate with the same effectiveness as a client that our students would encounter in our general public clinic. Although these residents are loved and well cared for, due to their disease, their lives and interactions with the world are hugely different from when they were able to live on their own. Many are confused as to when and where they are, and those who are lucid and communicative still may have a tenuous relationship with reality; chronology and especially short-term memory are often affected. Regardless of where the client is in the progression of their disease, I am always blown away by our students’ willingness to dive in and be present with the client, whenever and wherever they may be in their own mind. By focusing on the present moment and giving the client the attention and loving care they have learned in the massage classroom, students are able to create connection almost exclusively through touch.

Every week spent at Clarebridge the students feel more connected to their clients. It can be tough when we return the next week and the client has no memory of the student, but is once again excited to be receiving their very first massage. It is a unique type of thrill to give a client what they believe to be the brand new experience of receiving their first ever massage, five weeks in a row, but it is a challenge to not be able to build the rapport that is the basis for most client/therapist relationships. Recently one student who had been providing gorgeous and healing massage work for weeks was elated as she told me “My client remembered me!” after their final session together. It was a triumph for the student, but moments like that are the exception. Mostly I get accounts from students saying they had the same conversation in a loop restarting every couple of minutes–and it was fantastic. Students know that they are making residents feel good in their body while remaining present and in the moment. Being present with a client is a practice that we teach our students from the very beginning of their time at FLSM, and at Clarebridge it is not just a good practice, it is essential to the work. Most clients won’t remember their therapists name, or even that they had a massage, but the students giving their focus, loving intention, compassion and understanding each moment they are working leaves an indelible mark on their client. Every client, every week creating connection, regardless of memory.

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Superfoods are Trending!

When you walk into any modern supermarket you’ll likely see thousands of labels shouting claims of good health: Superfoods! Powerfoods! Whole grains! No trans fats! Essential vitamins and minerals!

The term “superfood” is defined as a food considered beneficial to your health. In other words, a superfood is a food that when added to your diet is an easy way to turbo boost the nutritional value of just about any meal. All it takes is a sprinkle here or a spoonful there and you can seriously up the antioxidant ante on most anything you eat. It can be a bit overwhelming keeping up with the constant food fads and changes in “what’s in” in the world of nutrition. Learning all the “superfoods” can be a task within itself. However, with a little knowledge of the more accessible superfoods out there, anyone can enjoy adding these items to their diet.

Health and body conscious communities have been raving about and utilizing this nutritious grub for some time now. The benefits are countless. Massage therapists and other body workers may enjoy the benefit of increased energy, allowing them to see more clients with less fatigue. And for our massage clients, a healthier diet will mean less toxins in their systems to be released when they receive our work. Incorporating these vitamin packed foods is easier than you may expect! Some of these foods you may have heard about already and some may be completely new to you. As the trend towards healthy living and clean eating becomes more popular, keep a look out for these amazing “Superfoods”:

*Hemp Seeds: Packed with protein, heart healthy omega 3 fats and great for hair, skin and nails.

Gogi Berries: Contain more beta-carotene than carrot which helps fight inflammation and encourages new skin cell growth.

Quinoa: A rich source of plant based protein for non meat eaters. Full of essential amino acids.

Coconut oil: One of the healthiest fats around, coconut oil is antiviral, anti-fungus and antibacterial meaning that if you apply it to your skin it can assist with healing. When you eat it, it lubricates you internally and can even assist with weight loss (yes, you heard right!) Not all fat is bad, this fat could be considered your friend.

Broccoli – may help protect against various cancers, boost your immune system, beat off peptic ulcers, and is packed with essential vitamins and nutrients. Broccoli is an absolute fiber powerhouse.

Artichoke –like natural yogurt in the sense that they’re a digestive aid and provide health benefits to the digestive tract.

Cacao: Cacao or cocoa nibs can be ground. Mixing a couple of teaspoons full into coffee, almond milk, yogurt, or smoothies will give you much more antioxidant power than even berries.
Wheat Grass – restores blood alkalinity, helps detoxify the body, stimulate metabolism, helps reduce blood pressure and stimulates the thyroid gland.

Spirulina – boosts immune system and helps with detoxification, improves energy levels and helps build protein.

Acai – slows aging, reduces inflammation, regulates cholesterol levels

Blue Green Algae – helps lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol, sometimes used to control blood sugar levels and weight loss.

Learning about these power packed foods is simply the first step. Incorporating them into an everyday diet can lead to a life of increased wellness and better fitness. As a massage therapist and body-worker, improved energy, health, and stamina is extremely important to me. It can increase longevity in a career that at times can be physically demanding on the body. It’s kind of like taking supplements or vitamins but even better as these are whole foods. Increasing general wellness can help most everyone, but in the realm of massage therapy where body balance plays such a pivotal role, it is vital to remain healthy. With some minor adjustments to your diet, by adding some of the above mentioned foods, enhanced health can be achieved and you may also find that it can be quite delicious!

(*cited from nutrionist Catherine Saxelby)

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A loving tribute

The past two weeks at our Ithaca campus have been both sad and joyful as we remember FLSM instructor Sue Bissell, who passed away unexpectedly on the morning of Sunday, January 19, 2014 at the age of 66. Sue was a much-loved massage teacher at FLSM for 18 years, having previously taught elementary school for 25 years in Kenya, South America, and Ithaca. She graced the massage classroom with her deeply impactful teaching in several modalities, including Swedish, Kinesthetic Awareness through Movement, and Shiatsu.

Sue was a long-time member of the FLSM family, having graduated from the program herself. Her talent as a healer informed her well-rounded practice not only as a Licensed Massage Therapist specializing in integrative and Trager Approach® bodywork but also as a Certified Aromatherapist; in addition, she studied Shiatsu, Craniosacral Therapy, and Structural Integration. As a teacher, Sue strived to communicate her respect and passion for bodywork, emphasizing her love of play, which she noted as being central to her work.

Those who had the privilege of learning from her in the massage classroom admired the ease, relaxation, and playfulness she brought to her teaching and her bodywork. Her graceful guidance could loosen the tightest rigidity in both practicing students and her clients. Her warm smile made all feel welcome and at ease in her compassionate presence. Her nurturing demeanor led many to refer to her as the embodiment of the “Earth Mother.” She is remembered leading warm-up exercises accompanied by fun visualizations: rolling the neck to “stroke the soft bunny on your shoulder with your cheek” and swishing the hips to “wiggle your dragon tail.” Occasionally students and colleagues caught a glimpse of her funny, unexpected sass, calling out nonsense or putting her motherly foot down.

Sue’s imprint at FLSM was deep and the gap left by her passing is truly unfillable. We are deeply grateful to Sue for her unmatched contribution to FLSM, and we lament the fact that our future students will miss the opportunity to learn from her. She transformed the lives of all she touched, and in this way, her spirit and teachings will live on. She is and will continue to be greatly missed.

In celebration of her life and the precious time we all have on this Earth, we’ve been embracing the easy, the sassy, and the silly. We hope you will too.

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Reiki - A compliment to Massage Therapy!

No one can deny the powerful sense of healing one feels after a massage, and the incorporation of Reiki and energetic touch can enhance this blissful state of relaxation. “What is Reiki?” you ask.  Reiki is a Japanese word which translates to  ”universal life force”. In the late 1800’s Dr. Mikao Usui believed and taught that we all have an innate ability to channel this energy into ourselves, through our hands, and into others.  Reiki is easy to learn and once “attuned” by a Reiki Master, anyone can channel this pure white light into all living things, including pets and plants! An attunement is a ceremonial initiation which acknowledges the receipt of symbols and the participation in the practice. An attunement can be a very sacred ritual and often leads the practitoner down a path of spirituality.

A Reiki healing session is based on the Chakra system of  ancient Indian Ayurvedic medicine. Many chakras circulate energy in and around our body, but there are seven major chakras that run up the mid-line of the body from the groin up to the crown of the head.  Each color of the rainbow is associated with a chakra location. The acronym is  ROYGBIV and matches the order of the chakras from the base of the body to the crown: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green , Blue, Indigo, and Violet. See Chart below.

The idea behind Reiki is for the healer to place their hands either slightly above or directly on the chakra locations. With hands in place, thoughts and intentions are focused on pure unconditional love and white light energy. Some Reiki practitioners have a mantra that they may chant. Clients may also ask for work on a specific area of the body. Because Reiki or universal life force energy vibrates at the highest vibration,  it reawakens and elevates the person being touched. Crystals can be incorporated as well to increase the energy generated by the practitioner and client.

There is much more to Reiki, and there are many resources for those interested in learning. “Reiki, Hands that Heal” by Joyce J. Morris is a very informative book.  If you are interested in finding a Reiki practitioner in your area, please visit www.reiki.org for more information.

My Reiki master recommended I do a self treatment daily before getting out of bed , especially if  seeing clients later that day. Here are some simple instructions for a self -treatment:

Place your clean hands above your own chakras and meditate on the healing energy that is innately within you. As you breath and focus on your palms you may begin to feel a warmth and/or tingling in your hands. This is good. Imagine it to be a big ball of white light energy and with repeated deep breaths focus on sending healing energy into that chakra. Take several breaths and hum the sound ” OMmmmm….” You should feel much more centered and balanced throughout the day. Namaste!

Rose S.- Reiki Master

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