How I Took Care Of Myself This Week- A Good Old Fashioned Rub Down

From Amber

Two words: oil and massage. The great thing about these two words/things is that you need no one but your own self to use them to facilitate deep nervous system relaxation, nourish and replenish bodily tissues, and improve your sense of well being. Probably my most used form of herbal medicine is oils for external use, and I spend much of the warm months making these oils. Among my favorites are St. John's Wort, mugwort, violet leaf, and pine needle oil. In fact, I recently posted about the uses of pine needles at my other blog Nourished Mother, including how-to-make instructions:




What I have (re)discovered these past few weeks is the wonders of belly massage for digestive health and overall strengthening and toning of the abdominal area (which many traditions consider the body's "seat of power"). I was first told about this by an old healer friend whose style incorporates many teachings from different Asian and Polynesian traditions. He showed me how to lie down and rub my belly gently but firmly in a clockwise direction (like, if the clock were lying on your back with the 12 near your head and the 6 near your pelvis, rub in the direction the clock's hands would be moving in). Without going into too much detail, let me just say that you may be shocked at how quickly this facilitates digestive action. (Works GREAT for fussy children whose mood is being dampered by sluggish digestion i.e. ate crappy food the night before and are constipated).

Despite my declaration in that second sentence up at the top there, we all know there's nothing like receiving some nice, relaxing loving touch from someone other than yourself. As Sasha and I have apparently already blogged about two times here, our friend and Violet Folklore model Lucia gives mind blowingly good massages (I was so relaxed after my last one that I could barely pull myself up off the table afterward). And are we the luckiest girls in the world or what?, when we can't afford it she trades us for, you guessed it, vintage clothes.


My husband Graham is currently designing some promotional materials for Lucia (he is responsible for most of our images here at the blog and at Etsy and MySpace too), so he brought along our camera to my most recent session. What I love the most about Lucia's massages is that she goes where most massage therapists dare not: into the belly, lower belly, and breast tissue. Or maybe she only does that for close friends and fellow breastfeeding mamas. Nevertheless, it's amazing:


Of course, my daughter got a little jealous and wanted in on the action. No prob because Lucia also does pediatric massage! Graham snapped some pretty cute pictures of us on the massage table together. It was really nice to have her lying next to me so relaxed yet... awake ;-) 
Massaging wound-up children with calming herbal oils is one of my most used secret mama weapons:



Whether from yourself, a friend, or a professional stranger, whether with homemade herbal oil, store bought olive oil, or even Jergens lotion (eek!), regular massage is a sweet, nourishing, and extremely effective health maintenance technique. Might as well make it a whole family affair while you're at it...