Barb Brender, LMT, Massage Therapy in Iowa City: Planting my Roots in a New Studio!

Root Chakra Art

Root Chakra Art by Candida Maurer

Elephants are among the most grounded of animals with their huge bodies and great weight and they express earthiness to me. Since the color of the root chakra is red, I included the reddish trees and their roots in the drawing in order to symbolize the necessity of connecting deeply into the earth to find our ground. There are four petals on the lotus of the root chakra to again symbolize the steadiness of the earth energy.

 

 

 

This is an exciting time for me. I am plantng new roots in another location for my practice. I am sharing the space with one other extraordinary practitioner, Jenny Wolffe, LMT. Jenny and I have opened a beautiful studio on the east side of Iowa City. We call ourselves Integrative Practice: Bodywork & Massage Therapy. Our studio is at: Eastdale Plaza, Ste. 27, 1700 S. 1st Ave. Iowa City, IA 52240.

Here are the styles of bodywork and massage therapy we offer.

  • Swedish
  • Shiatsu
  • Integrative
  • Heated Sone
  • Seitai Shiatsu (Say-Tie)
  • Thai Yoga
  • Structural Integration (Rolf Method)
  • Chi Nei Tsang
  • Cranial Sacral
  • Reiki

Both Jenny and I have created a peaceful and healing space for our clients. The atmosphere is bathed in beautiful earth tones that remind us of our root and the benefits of being rooted to Mother Earth.

If you ever feel you are too much in your head, just take off your shoes and stand in your yard. Feel the support of Mother Earth and the soft coating of grass under your feet. Imagine growing roots from your feet through the earth. Become the tree, strong, rooted and connected both to earth and air. Reach up and let the air enter through your crown and down through your central channel, ending up at your feet, rooted to earth.

Our intention for our new studio is to mindfully and respectfully offer exceptional bodywork and massage therapy to our current clients and welcome new folks to come and see what it is we do.

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have, we will help guide you to the care most appropriate for you.

Happy new beginnings in your life too, however they may be manifesting. And remember, our root chakra is our anchor to the earth and will support us through this incredible, ever shifting journey we are on.

Stay tuned for the announcement of our opening gathering in the month of July!

 

Geriatric Massage for the Young at Heart!

Geriatric Bodywork For Life's SeasonsProviding massage therapy to geriatric clients is a true pleasure to me. I have years of experience massaging my own mother and others. I was mom’s caregiver for six years and one of the things that always made her more comfortable was having a massage. It was nearly a nightly event at our house. I would get her comfortable in the massage chair and work out the stiff and painful spots in her neck, back, arms and legs. I quickly felt stress and discomfort leave her body, replaced with peaceful breathing and wonderful sighs. When the massage was over mom would be very calm and relaxed and often took a nice nap, waking to feel refreshed and quite happy.

As we age, and I know this to be true from my own experience, little and sometimes not so little aches and pains crop up. Being able to work with a population who experiences this frequently is very satisfying to me. Just like with my mom, I quickly notice them calming as their breathing gets more quiet and less strained. As time goes on they report feeling better in their daily life experience.

Some of the benefits of massage therapy for geriatrics include:

  • Receiving compassionate touch
  • Reduced pain in joints and muscles
  • Increased serotonin, a feel good hormone which lifts the spirit and calms the nerves
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Improves circulation, which nourishes cells and improves waste elimination
  • Relieves tight muscles (knots) and other aches and pains
  • Releases nerve compression (carpel tunnel, sciatica)
  • Increases flexibility, tight muscles and range of motion
  • Enhances overall energy and vitality

If you visit me for a massage I will do everything I can to accommodate any physical limitations. We will find a way to make you comfortable and relaxed and focus our work on your needs and expectations. I have a great appreciation for folks who have lived through many years of life and feel very rewarded and honored to work with them. I look forward to working with you.

Massage Myth: It’s Only for the Rich & Famous!

Okay that’s a bit dramatic, but my point is there are lots of people out there who think about massage therapy as a luxury, not as a part of taking care of their own health. In Iowa City,   a city of great diversity and higher education, we think differently. We know that massage therapy and other similar health care modalities are essential to our overall health and sense of well-being.

My clients have come to feel and see the benefits they receive from having regular massage therapy. They tell me they have a higher tolerance when things get stressful and feel more comfortable and at ease in their bodies. They have learned to listen to their bodies and have found the optimal interval of time that works best for them to receive massage therapy. Whether it’s twice a week, once a week, bi-monthly or once a month, they know what keeps them at the even keel they’ve come to appreciate and count on.

Did you know that many employers offer flex health spending programs that include massage therapy in their list of modalities they will reimburse? Check with your employer and see, you may just have a gold mine waiting for you to tap into.

The University of Iowa, our largest employer in Iowa City, includes massage therapy in their health flex spending program. This forward thinking employer even has a Mindfulness Class which they offer to their employees and the general public.

It’s time to let go of that old myth that massage is a luxury only for the rich and famous and join the growing group of us who realize the significant impact massage has in keeping us healthy in mind, body and spirit.

Pregnancy Massage: Mama’s Little Helper!

Pregnant Henna Belly

Beautiful Henna Baby Belly, Fannie and twins

Whether you are in your first trimester, second trimester or coming up to your third and awaiting the big day, pregnancy massage, from a certified therapist, will help you get in touch with each transition in relaxed comfort.  Tell me where you’re feeling discomfort, where you feel the baby is resting and how it’s impacting your body. During this incredible transformation and creation of life your body is changing…literally, in every single moment. Every incredible moment.

Receiving a pregnancy massage is to experience true nurturing and self-care. Something every expecting mom deserves to prepare her for the upcoming arrival of baby. Stop, relax and really check in with yourself and your baby. I guarantee you’ll feel a profound shift in your own well-being and quite a lot of happy activity from the baby. Babies love pregnancy massage, they seem to thrill from the increase of “feel good” hormones and become quite active. When mom is happy, calm and relaxed, baby is too!

Pregnancy Massage is a tremendous relaxer for every expecting mom. During pregnancy you and your body are on an incredibly expansive (not just your waist line) journey. You are the vessel for a new life and your health and well-being directly impact your baby. Every day, in so many ways, your body is changing as your baby grows.

I will partner with you along this journey, moving through the different stages, adjusting your session to accommodate your specific needs and preferences. Learn more techniques to calm and relax yourself while experiencing the physical transformation and benefits of certified pregnancy massage.

Thoughtful baby shower gift: As a single or group gift, a package of one pregnancy massage per month and two after baby is born, is a wonderful way to gift the pregnant woman in your life. Each month you’ll know you’re supporting her in her journey, even if your miles away.

 

 

 

Inspired Stories of Massage Therapy: A Woman, her Epilepsy and her Dog

Pawz For a Cause Pup

Amber as a pup, now she’s a healthy 11 yo.

Sherry and Amber come to me for massage therapy and Reiki energy therapy. While I massage Sherry, Amber lies quietly and expectantly for her turn. She knows what’s coming and she also seems to know how good it is for her mom to receive Reiki energy and healing therapeutic touch. When I have finished with Sherry and have put her in a restorative yoga pose to open up her heart chakra and lungs, it’s Ambers turn.

I met Sherry and her service dog Amber shortly after starting my massage practice. They came to our healing center looking for someone who would be willing to work on both of them. It was a perfect match for me from the beginning.

After all of these years, and sessions I have learned a lot about this woman and her love and respect and devotion to her service animal. This beautiful golden retriever who watches her every move, listening too for a familiar sound that tells her Sherry is starting to have an epileptic seizure. Amber was trained from a puppy to be ultra alert and sensitive to the tiniest of physical changes and verbal indications of a seizure coming on.

During Amber’s session I am on the floor with her. First thing I do is nuzzle her soft pretty face and tell her I love her and place my hands on her head for some Reiki energy. It’s as though someone has pulled the plug on an inflatable dog as she sinks slowly to the ground and exhales a happy relaxed sigh.

I am honored to work with these two brave souls. I can’t imagine being in either of their shoes, wondering constantly when the next seizure will come, where I might be when it does, how severe it might be, will Amber be ok if I have to go to the hospital, what will happen, what will happen. They are brave and I admire and respect their courage very much, this dynamic duo.

Thanks to both of you for adding such richness to my life. For showing, by example, the many challenges we each face. By sharing your story with me and for including me in it. I am happy to have you in my life.

 

 

Reiki Benefits: How do You see Energy?

Reiki energyIn your Reiki (ray-key) session my intention is to improve the flow of your life energy by detecting and alleviating issues of energy flow on the physical, emotional, and spiritual level.

During your Reiki session you will rest comfortably on the massage table, fully clothed. After assessing your unique needs I will place my hands on or above your body, for several minutes each, in a series of positions.

Reiki is defined as “universal life energy” and has a similar affect as massage therapy, to relieve stress and discomfort, and to improve symptoms of health conditions. We all experience energy in different, but similar ways. You will learn your own unique way of experiencing Reiki energy and the benefits it provides you

Energy is everywhere and is part of everything. You have experienced energy, even if you’re not aware of it. Think about a time when you were resting in the sun and could feel it’s warmth and see it’s color through your eyelids, like explosions of fireworks. You were experiencing energy.

Recently a client told me she’d experienced something she never had before. During an energy treatment she saw a brilliant red-orange color that took on the shape of a horse. Another client told me that when I was at her feet she saw an explosion of color and experienced an overall feeling of warmth and well being flowing throughout her body from head to toe.

Experience a Reiki session and experience the “universal life energy” that supports your precious and unique being.

Massage Therapy Myth: No Pain, No Gain!

 

Massage Therapy - PainIt is my personal mission to set the record straight about massage therapy and pain. Here we go: Massage Therapy does not have to hurt and be painful to be helpful and effective! Notta, no way!

Just like in Girl Scouts, I take on this mission with vigor and the promise to do my best to stomp out this untruth, one client at a time. My mantra is: Pain, No Gain! Take that Nike!

When someone new comes to see me there are a few things I like to share about therapeutic massage therapy. One is that the pressure, (light/medium/firm/deep) used in a massage does not have to be firm or deep to be effective, another is that massage therapy does not have to hurt to be effective and often has the opposite effect. You should see the looks I get. Deer in the headlights, questioning posture, but nodding heads in agreement and relief. What, it isn’t going to hurt?

I don’t know where it came from or how it got started, but the outdated reasoning behind pain is gain is just not true. On a mere emotional basis think about how you react when you are in pain or anticipate pain; your body tenses and tightens, your mind prepares you to be hurt and puts you on the defensive and your whole being begins to shut down. Nice way to start a massage, don’t you think!?!?!

 

Are there times when you might feel some discomfort? Yes, there are. But discomfort and pain are two different things. I tell my clients to let me know when their discomfort exceeds a 3-4 on a scale of 1-10. I find that taking things slowly and methodically is the best approach when working with particularly uncomfortable areas. This approach has served me well when I coax a tight and sticky muscle to release and relax.

So take a deep breath, relax and release and hold this thought in your mind….pain, no gain….pain, no gain….pain, no gain….Namaste.