The Birth Partner Toolkit w/Julia Blencowe! Now you can register!

Do you want to learn to be even more excellent to your pregnant partner? Come and learn:

  • Some basic but awesome massage techniques for common pregnancy woes and for active labor
  • Comfort measures for labor (use them at the hospital or at home!)
  • Positions for labor and birth
  • Self-care for partners

I'm excited to be teaching this class with Julia Blencowe, a birth and postpartum doula in the community who has been providing emotional support to families around their healthcare choices since 2010. She became a doula in 2014 and focusses on helping families stay emotionally and physically healthy during labor, birth and the entire perinatal period.

 

Where: Cambridge Health Associates, 335 Broadway in Cambridge, MA

When: August 15th 10:00am-12:30

How much: $85 per couple

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED FOR THIS CLASS

New Class coming in August!

THE BIRTH PARTNER TOOLKIT with Julia Blencowe COMING IN AUGUST

Do you want to learn to be even more excellent to your pregnant partner? In this class we'll learn and practice basic "bread-and-butter" massage skills and some excellent comfort measures to use during labor. We're still figuring out what we'll be teaching, how you can register and what the flyer will look like, but the class will definitely be August 15th, so save the date if you're interested!

Information for Massage On Snow Days

Hello Readers!

I hope you are weathering the snow and the cold and the narrow sidewalks and the endless digging. I know that trying to have a schedule-as-usual with the arctic vortexing around us is difficult, so I wanted to let you know how I plan to work with big snowstorms for as long as they keep happening this winter.

If You Have A Massage Scheduled On A Big Snow Day:

If you have a massage scheduled on a day that the weather forecast worries you, it's easy to cancel your massage online with no problem 24 hours before your appointment. In citywide-shutdown conditions (when they close the T and the government tells us all to really stay home), I will shut down too. For snow days when the T is still running, I plan to be at the office. If you don't cancel your appointment and  conditions are worse than you thought and you can't make it in safely, I can reschedule your appointments more last-minute for severe weather. Just call me at 617-797-6995 or email abi@abiharper.com as soon as you know you can't make it, and we'll find a different day for you when travel is safer. 

If You Live Close By And Want A Massage On A Snow Day:

For clients who are happy to be out on foot (or snowshoes or dogsled), I'm starting a snow-day massage standby list. Maybe you'd like some ease and relaxation and stretch for your shoveling muscles or your snowbank-vaulting muscles, or your falling-down muscles? I expect cancellations today (Monday) and if you'd like to be contacted for a last-minute massage appointment, please email abi@abiharper.com with your email address or phone (whichever you think you're more likely to notice quickly) and what kind of times you might be interested in. I'll contact people in order of response and whoever confirms first gets the appointment!

Be well, stay warm, and lift with your legs.

Gift Certificates are 15% off with discount code SUNSETISLATER

Hi readers! Here it is, my once a year massage discount. Get it while the gift certificates are hot off the press!

Looking for a last-minute gift that says "I care about your health and well-being this holiday season"? Give someone you love the gift of therapeutic massage! You'll get 15% off all gift certificates  purchased between now and December 24th 2014. Massage makes a great local-economy-supporting, artisan-supplied, fairly-produced and environmentally-sound gift that takes up almost no physical space in someone's home. The discount code is SUNSETISLATER because I'm just so excited to not be lighting candles in my office to cast out the gloom at 3:30 anymore.

Alternately, maybe your loved ones need a hint about what gift to give you for the holidays? You can forward this to them to let them know that massage gift certificates would make you really happy. It's an easy and thoughtful way for them to show you that they care, and I'm happy to include personal messages (include them in the "note" field as you're checking out and I'll use my best handwriting) and mail them directly to the recipient in an attractive blue envelope.

One last thing, it is completely legit to buy yourself a bunch of gift certificates at this more discount rate and use them through the year. Every year there's a handful of people who do this to make massage more affordable, and I'm so happy I can offer this once a year.

Click here to go to the gift certificate store.

One fine-print note: This offer can't be combined with any other discounts.

 

Free Resource: My favorite free guided meditation files online

I recommended using guided relaxation meditations for clients who have a hard time relaxing enough to fall asleep, or to have something to counter stress for people who don't have time to go to a yoga class or make time to exercise. A guided meditation is something you can do right now! Many are under 10 minutes! You can just put it on and play along if it feels good to do, and then it's over and you're done and maybe you feel a little more manageable, or more ready to fall asleep. Here are some of my favorites:

 

The MIT Center for Health & Wellness has produced a whole bunch. Some files are just relaxing music, some lead you through a visualization for performance or relaxation, some are gentle yoga or breathing instructions.

http://medweb.mit.edu/wellness/resources/downloads.html

20% off all gift certificates through the end of the year! It's already happening, people!

Hi folks! Here it is, my once a year massage discount! Get it while the gift certificates are hot off the press!

Looking for a last-minute gift that says "I care about your health and well-being this holiday season"? Give someone you love the gift of therapeutic massage! You'll get 20% off all gift certificates  purchased between now and December 31st 2013. Massage makes a great local-economy-supporting, fairly-produced and environmentally-sound gift that takes up almost no physical space in someone's home. 

Alternately, maybe your loved ones need a hint about what gift to give you for the holidays? You can forward this to them to let them know that massage gift certificates would make you really happy. It's an easy and thoughtful way for them to show you that they care.

You can buy massage gift certificates in person, either at my office or by running into me on the street, or you can use the internet here

 

ZERO BALANCING: It's something I do now!

Some of you know I've been continuing my education as a massage therapist by learning to do Zero Balancing, a style of bodywork that uses a routine series of fulcrums and traction applied to bones and joints to create openness, stability, balance and movement, as well as a deep sense of peace. I've been interested in this work for roughly a decade now, and I'm very excited to share it with you! I've completed my core training, and I am now able to provide full, not-just-for-practice Zero Balancing appointments. Because Zero Balancing is hard to explain but easy to experience, I'm offering your first treatment for only $20 (down from $50, which is what they'll cost while I work through my multi-year certification process for now). I want to make it easy to try it out and see what you make of it. I'm not offering these appointments through the online calendar yet, so call 617-797-6995 or email me at abi@abiharper.com to book.

Zero Balancing falls broadly into a massage-like category, but is very different from Massage Therapy. There's no oil, and there's no undressing. The actual work of Zero Balancing is a routine, a series of tractions and fulcrums to joints and bones with the intention of creating openness and freedom. This isn't traction in the chiropractic sense, using force to open joints, but a more quiet waiting traction that provides space for something to move and open in a new way, but will also allow anything that needs to stay stuck (if it is protecting an injury, for example) to do so. Instead of focussing on the muscles and tendons (which is what I've been doing for the past 14 years of my life), ZB looks at stuckness in the joints and bones, which we explore from a place of groundedness and ease, respect and trust. A lot of ideas from Zero Balancing about treating people this way, and little details of what treatment look like in this model have been part of my massage for years. The way I let there be pauses and space, the way I sometimes just sit with a still hold, the way I sometimes ask clients, with a few minutes left, if there's anything else that needs to be included in our work today, these are all things I learned from receiving Zero Balancing work years ago and immediately took back to my office. Some people who do Zero Balancing do it in a way that feels a lot like energy work, very light, but I learned from someone who did pottery for years, and, in the words of one of my Zero Balancing classmates, "Abi knows where she's going and just sort of takes you there." So this isn't light-nothing-feeling work.

Some advantages of Zero Balancing over Massage Therapy:

 

  • The client remains fully clothed and face-up through the appointment. There is a drifty relaxation possible, but if you are someone who easily dissociates or is uncomfortable with standard massage undress and draping, ZB can feel very different, and can be easier.
  • Can sometimes help with stuckness that massage can't. Massage can also do things that Zero Balancing can't do, but if you've gotten a lot of massage that hasn't quite entirely helped as much as you wanted it to, ZB might be a good thing to try.

 

A LITTLE ABOUT ZERO BALANCING & ME:

I first experienced ZB in 2003, when Eliza, a woman I sometimes hesitate to call a colleague (she's been practicing massage longer than I've been alive), needed some people to practice on, and I raised my hand and waved it in her face like a maniac, because anything she was offering I was signing up for. We did a number of sessions, about 10 weeks in a row. Zero Balancing is notoriously hard to explain (check out THEIR WEBSITE if you don't believe me), so I'll describe my experience of it instead. When I got there, we talked for a few minutes, to establish a frame for the session. A frame can be any intention or hope you have for something to shift or change or move during the session. It can be something like "less stiffness in my feet" or it can be something like "I'd like to feel more energy in my heart chakra" or it can be "I'd like to deal with my grief". You set the frame, and then you don't worry about it after that, whatever might come up in relation to it will just do so on its own.

Next, there's a brief seated assessment. I sat on the table while she felt along my upper back, moved my arms around and then felt movement at my low back while I bent from one side to the other like an old-school metronome.

After the seated assessment comes the hands-on work, tractions and fulcrums and holds, which starts at the feet and moves through the hips, low back, legs, feet, head, upper back, shoulders and arms. The fulcrums and tractions feel gentle but powerful, like deep restful stretches that at their best echo through the body like the little concentric waves from a very purposeful pebble tossed into a pond. To me they feel more like an opportunity or a question than an idea of their own. Receiving Zero Balancing feels super-gentle but powerful, not light or boring. The English language isn't really good at this sort of thing. There's a sequence that we usually use in Zero Balancing to work through the whole body, it has a very complete feeling to it, and the sequence means that after your first appointment, you have a good idea what comes next.

Zero Balancing is different from massage from a client's perspective mostly because you are always totally dressed when you are getting Zero Balanced. Also, you are always face-up, and these two things can make Zero Balancing feel more safe, and can help us communicate better during your treatment.

The path to certification will take me a few more years to complete; I still have a bunch of training and independent study to go, but I am already amazed at what is possible with the core training, the amount of depth and breadth and individualization that the standard routine can contain, the changes that I've seen clients experience in the treatments I've done so far. I hope you make it in for a sample treatment sometime!