Hammocks: Between Heaven and Earth
For those of you who've ever got me started talking about the many benefits of "Mayan Hammock Therapy" for pain relief, you know that I think these soft, comfortable hammocks are a godsend to those of us who are in pain.
Last year, I thought I might have to consider giving up my massage therapy practice due to arm and shoulder pain. Then I did some research and bought my first Mayan style hammock. After about a month of spending a minimum of 15 minutes a day in it, my pain was gone. I now have hammock hook-ups in my house, my yard, and my garden shed. Now I can grab a "hammock relaxation break" whenever I want or need it, no matter what the weather or time of day.
Mayan hammocks differ from American hammocks in that they don't have spreader bars. This makes for a more versatile and stable hammock. It's virtually impossible for a Mayan hammock to tump you out, where as those American ones can behave as badly as a bucking bronco. (I know, I've used both. I'll never go back to the American style.)
The trick to the most effective pain relief is that you lie crosswise instead of lengthwise in the hammock. (Another drawback to the American style--they're not big or stable enough to lie crosswise in them.) This allows the fabric netting to conform to every curve of your spine and body, taking the pressure off all of your joints.
Research has shown that these hammocks can be effectively used to relieve muscle pain, improve vestibular (inner ear) function, and soothe autistic children. They make delightful relaxation and meditation spots, and you can squirm around in them until you find the perfect spot.
So, if you've thought about buying a Mayan Hammock, but would like to try one first, let me know. I'd be happy to let you try one out.
A hammock, someone said, is like being cradled in the hand of God between heaven and earth. I heartily agree!
Moist wipes. . .with a twist!
Another handy recipe, especially if you can't easily find wipes free of aloe and other ingredients you'd rather not have on your skin. (My skin's fussy, how 'bout yours?)
You could also use this technique to make a few "Don't Bug Me!" (see posts) wipes for the road. Just fold a few paper towels and saturate with "DBM!" mixture and place in a ziploc bag. Or perhaps just choose citronella as the essential oil for this recipe. Be sure to mark those towels as bug repellent, not cleansing towelettes.
20 to 24 Squares of white heavy-duty quality paper towels
1 cup Witch Hazel
1 teaspoon Glycerin
1-3 drops of essential oil of your choice
Combine the Witch Hazel, Glycerin, and essential oil. Mix well and set aside.
Next, separate and stack each of the paper towel squares from the roll; cut each square in half. You will now have rectangles. Fold each rectangle into thirds as if you would a letter. Now, fold each in half as if you were closing a book. Holding the stack of towels firmly closed, place in a pie pan and hold down with your finger. (Me, I'd just use those handy "Select-a-Size" rolls of paper towels, folding each narrow strip in half.)
Pour witch hazel mixture over towels. Let stand for a few minutes to absorb all of the liquid. Stack towels in an empty lidded plastic container or zip-lock type bag. Keep in your car, bathroom, gym locker, or other useful places.
Keeping the Bugs Away--Naturally!
If you're like me, you like the outdoors. But I don't like the bugs, and I don't like the heavy chemical laden bug sprays. So to my delight, I found this bug spray recipe that I'd like to share with you. Fox Farms in Joplin probably has the citronella oil, or you can order it online.
You might also want to test this on a small patch of your skin (and check it on your child, too) before using, just to make sure you tolerate it well.
DON'T BUG ME! INSECT REPELLENT
2 c. witch hazel
1 1/2 t. citronella essential oil
1 T. apple cider vinegar
Combine into a 16 oz spray bottle. Shake vigorously before using. Requires no refrigeration. Apply liberally.
Pain management with a tennis ball
Tennis, golf, and whiffle balls are great for helping you get in shape, and not just on the playing field! In this post, I'll tell you about how using these balls can help you relieve pain, stiffness, and tension at home, the office, even on the road.
Find a tennis ball and tie it in the toe end of a long sock or knee hi. You've now created a tool that you can use in several ways to work on acupressure points and tight muscles. Want to know more about pressure points? See my book list for suggestions. Don't worry about knowing specific spots, though, just work where it hurts!
Cup the ball in the palm of your hand to apply pressure to an acupressure spot or sore area and save your thumbs.
Dangle the ball between your back and a wall to work the muscles on either side of your spine, the muscles on the shoulder blade, and that pesky spot on your hip. You know, that one right in the middle of the back pocket of your jeans. Working this point means that you will have less low back and leg pain. This point is very helpful in alleviating sciatic pain.
Holding the knot and tapping the ball on pressure points or tired muscles provides relief. Use this bouncing motion only on soft tissues, not on bony areas. Go gently at first until you learn what your body wants. Tap the top of your shoulders, your forearms, the back of your neck. Or have your partner tap all over your back. (Avoid tapping directly on the spine itself!)
Use an old golf ball to give your feet a treat. Simply place it on the floor and use it to apply pressure to the soles of your feet. Try chilling the ball in the freezer to help cool down tired feet at the end of a long, hot day. Pay special attention to those sore spots.
Hold a tennis, golf, or whiffle ball between your hands. Squeeze and roll to give your palms and fingers a much needed massage. Keep a ball by your computer to remind you to take good care of your hands!
Most dollar stores carry small round or football shaped balls that have stiff spikes on them. (Look in the toy section.) Try using them for your hands and feet, too. Careful, though, these balls are delicate compared to tennis or golf balls. Squash your tension, not your tools!
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