It's been a long time since I've written here but I'm glad to say I'm back! Honestly I haven't known what I wanted to say or share. Not that I haven't been inspired, I have, but my experiences have been on a more personal level and didn't seem suitable to put here. However, earlier today I had a brief conversation with someone I want to share with you now. First off the person's comments did not come from a place of malice or judgement, but true non-understanding; and it got me thinking how their view is probably more widely held than the opposite. They started off by saying, "I've never had a massage in my life, I've always thought it was all hype. Does it really actually help people?" My jaw practically hit the floor. Does massage actually help people? But I had to step back. They literally have never come across a situation where they felt like therapeutic contact of any variety would benefit them. Now, after having lived almost 8 years in Boulder and 3 in Denver, and having the friends that I do I find this line of thinking unconscionable, but then my friends and where I live definitely do not represent the whole. We barely represent anything outside of our bubble. So I took my time before answering this question. And not because I didn't have a quick response, but because I didn't want to leave them with more questions than my answer could satisfy. I wanted to give them the kind of answer that could shift their internal thoughts and change their perspective, allow space for more critical thinking in areas they wouldn’t have considered otherwise. 

My reply: 

Taking care of the body in how we eat, sleep, and exercise is deeply rooted in how the body is able to move. The heart is a muscle, the diaphragm muscle and the muscles between each of the ribs help move the chest so that the lungs can expand; cells breathe and literally never stop moving, and then of course there are the muscles around the bones that allow physical movement through space. Not moving or being able to move well affects energy flow and from that a series of negative effects can occur. All types of massage and acupuncture help people move, and stay moving. Movement of the body is as vital to life and living as is receiving oxygen. The only time when our bodies are truly at complete rest and stop moving is when we die. So yea, it helps. And it's necessary.

Their response? “That was an extremely good answer.” 

Of course it was! Twenty years ago physical therapy is where massage therapy is now; viewed as an unnecessary luxury that has no “proven” benefit; an idea developed by cult hippies who believe Western doctors are Satan incarnate (ok, maybe a slight exaggeration). Most of my massage therapist colleagues have experienced more than once having to defend their careers, what they have chosen to do with their lives, and a lot of that comes from most people not having the awareness to put two and two together; the two pieces being their bodies and the relevance of taking care of it. Our society has a a disconnection epidemic. We take better care of our MacBooks and Dyson vacuum cleaners than the vessels that carry and protect our vital organs. Many still want to believe that it's normal to take pills to repress the side effects of other pills that repress side effects of other pills taken to treat a disease in the body. Disease. that's an interesting word...dis-ease. 

Ease - the absence of rigidity

Or, the presence of fluidity, the allowance of movement, the ability to move freely. Dis-ease, therefore, literally translates to the prevention of movement, the presence of rigidity and eventual causation of illness within the body. 

Movement people. Keep moving. By any means necessary. 

Fascia! Fascia! Fascia!

I talk about this fascinating tissue in every session, with every client. If you haven't seen me yet but want to understand how your physical body connects and integrates with your emotional self, and then how that affects everything we think, how we feel pain or discomfort, and how we move, I HIGHLY recommend this article. I'll be learning even MORE about this crucial tissue at this year's Bodywisdom Spain Congress. So many things to learn and so little time! But hey, can't blame a gal for trying, right?

Bodywisdom Spain Congress

"Walking may be the most characteristic movement we humans make. The way each of us walks reveals our unique integration of neuromuscular patterns; the quality of our gait reflects the qualities of our entire body, and our entire being. 
It is this theme that united the distinguished speakers at the 2016 Bodywisdom Congress: “Walking Throughout Life," with all its varied connotations. Living connective tissue behaves in accordance to the qualities of its constituent cells, which move, bind, sense, and respond. In the same way, we as people respond to specific physical manipulations and techniques, and to practices like expressive movement and mindfulness. These methods can often immediately and visibly shifting the way we walk, and the way we walk through life itself."

This is a quote from Bibiana Badenes, the main organizer of and a contributor to the Bodywisdom Congress. Most of you have probably already heard that am raising money by enlisting the help of my community to make this a reality. Moral, emotional, and minimal financial support are all greatly appreciated. Your continued support for me, my career, and what I'm able to "bring to the table" - pun intended - make my work such a joy, and not work at all. I feel honored that you all trust me and, I continue to pledge to make myself a better massage therapist by pursuing opportunities like this. If you'd like to financially contribute even $1, here is the GoFundMe page!

Guest Blog from Nicole!

Stretching: Dynamic vs. Static and what that means with Thai massage

Nicole Greenhouse, LMT



There has been a lot of talk recently about stretching, different kinds of stretching, what is good - what is bad, is it good - is it bad, when is it good- when is it bad.

Oh my goodness! Who knows? What do I do? Well, here is what I know from a Thai massage therapy perspective (and some educated research).


Let’s start with what is most commonly known:

Static Stretching

This type of stretching is the most commonly known. The is when you stretch a muscle to slight discomfort and hold it for about 30sec - 2min.

When people want to be more flexible, usually this is the type of stretching they do.

Good for:

  • After a workout or athletic match

  • Increasing flexibility

  • Correcting functional postural issues (ex: pec stretches after a long day sitting in front of a computer)

In Thai massage, this type of stretching can be applied to the stretching techniques in the sequence. I use it to help reduce tension in tight fascia, when they want to increase their flexibility, and when a client feels really stuck because they are in a stagnant position most of their day (sitting in a car, sitting in front of a computer, hunched over work).


Dynamic Stretching

Dynamic stretching is becoming a more popular term, especially around athletes.

Dynamic stretching is when there is movement along with elongating a muscle group. For example: stretching your hamstrings while twisting your opposite hand to your foot while standing. There is movement happening in the body while the stretch is occurring.

Another example: having your leg brought to your chest in a rhythmic movement. The fascia and muscles of your lower back and hips is getting stretched, while the movement is causing more blood flow to the area. This motion can also be done by yourself while you are standing.



Good for:

  • Warming up before an athletic event

  • Keeping your muscles loose but active to start your day

  • Increasing fluid (blood, lymph) flow through your body

  • Helping to reduce athletic injury by elongating the muscles while keeping them active

  • Increasing heat (the degree of this can vary) in the body


In Thai massage, dynamic stretching is more commonly seen because of the rhythmic, rocking nature of the modality.

While an athlete is in training, it is important to keep their muscle tension about the same throughout. If an athlete trains for a while then stretches all the muscles out (deep static stretching), when the event comes they actually feel weaker (click here to read an article about this). Dynamic stretching helps keep the muscles supple, giving space for fluid and healthy joint function, but does not over stretch them.

If I am working with an athlete in training, dynamic stretching during the routine while in training mode - static stretches after the event is over to get all the extra adhesions or “knots” out.

If you have any questions about stretching, Thai massage, or self-care please reach out to me., or check out my website for blogs and tips

Have a great day!



If 2015 was the year of learning about myself - what was missing, what I needed, testing my limits - 2016 is the year of putting those lessons into practice. For me this means I am going to use this time to find out what self-care really means. 

Every new year most of us set expectations, some highly unrealistic, although they all have good intentions. Most "resolutions" don't last past January, and that's ok. But instead of just giving up, how can we shift our goals to make sure we are still trying to better our lives? Maybe try something different that makes you feel good for just a week, then something else the next week, and something else the week after that, so on and so forth. Sure, bad days are sure to come. It is in those bad days, though, where we can find the most love for ourselves if you're brave enough to go looking. 

I find it kind of ironic that after the 30-day surge of self-improvement that one of the most emotionally taxing times of year comes around: Valentine's Day . . . If you have a partner, there's a great deal of expectation about making one arbitrary calendar day exceptionally special. If you're single, it becomes an excuse to indulge in self-loathing thoughts or behavior, like eating entire pints of ice cream, boxes of chocolate, full bottle(s) of wine, or all of the Chinese take-out to numb any feelings of inadequacy or undesirability. Why does one over-commercialized day get to sabotage all of the efforts made in the past month to make you the best version of yourself? Once you strip away the heart-shaped candy boxes and overpriced flower bouquets, only one common theme remains: LOVE. 

So that's what I'm focusing on this year. I want to practice loving me, a little more each day, even if just with thoughts in my mind. Love isn't something we go looking for, it's already a part of us, naturally. Human beings aren't born with feelings of doubt and self-loathing. Why else are kids so damn blissfully happy (when they're not throwing tantrums)? The negative feelings we learn and adopt along the way. To take care of ourselves really is to love ourselves. The two are not wholly separate, in fact they are mutually inclusive. One does not happen without the other. 

So I challenge you to find ways to show yourself compassion and love, every day, big or inconceivably small to anyone but you. Your happiness is yours alone, you own it and you don't need to defend it. We only get this one vessel for an unknown amount of time, and the best thing we can do is treat the best we possibly can. 

Happy New Year

'Tis the Season

It is upon us once again, the holiday season. <dundundun> Faux garlands tangle doorways and restaurant patios, asbestos dust "frosts" windows, white plexiglass "snow" lines window sills, and The Nutcracker Suite score plus any of its remixes play on repeat in every department store. <blegh!> Sorry, I had a hairball. But none of this is a real surprise, however, as the Christmas decor has been slowly creeping into sight in the stores since mid-August. Starting January 1 our culture has us accustomed to counting down the days until that year's Christmas, 358 days later. #gross Whatever happened to recognizing Decorative Gourd Season?! I love that time of year... <sigh>

In all seriousness, though, I do love this time of year. Despite my appropriate level of disgust for the pushing of the next major "holiday" two months before it's even close to necessary to think about, most people around the holiday season take a little extra time to give, and it's usually those who can barely financially give to themselves. And that warms my soul like enjoying the first hot toddy of a pre-snowpocalypse. 

But that brings me to what I really want to write about: self-care. Our society has drilled into us that giving to the less fortunate, putting our needs aside, camping out side of stores at 2am on Black Friday to beat the person sitting next to you to the best discounted TV, is the most important at this time of year. I want you to consider this year, how you can find balance between serving others, giving to others, and also taking care of yourself inside and out. While dabbled with pretty things and waves of positive feelings, the holidays are also tainted by the stresses of: hosting, in-laws, cooking, gifting, traveling, reminders of those passed who are no longer able to be with us, sickness, weather... just to name a few. This time of year requires the most multi-tasking, the most awareness, the most time (which is already stretched thin). Maybe instead of shopping at 2am after over-eating and probably over-drinking, sleep in and enjoy Thanksgiving leftovers from your couch and go on a Netflix binge. Or if you have a real job that doesn't recognize Black Friday as a holiday, as they shouldn't, I would say feel eternally grateful that you're not out in the masses adding to the unnecessary chaos that would without a doubt ruin all of the good feels you acquired from last night's epic meal. 

And so you plea, but Jessica, I don't know what to do for myself! Where do I start? Well, I can't tell you that. What I can tell you is find ways, and it doesn't have to be obvious to anyone else but you, to do something nice for yourself once a week, or more if you can. Get a massage (duh, but I'm biased), buy a nice bottle of wine, sleep in and go out to get coffee if that's not something you do often, try a Yin yoga class, commit to a fitness program that will last the four weeks in-between Thanksgiving and Christmas and keep you motivated. It doesn't matter what it is as long as it makes you feel good. But Jessica, all of these things cost money! And so does buying gifts for people that they may or may not use (unless you're buying a massage gift certificate, everyone loves and uses those :) haha). If you can afford to make a gift list for your friends and family, you can definitely, definitely, definitely, afford to put yourself at the top of that list. Re-appropriate some funds and look at your time management and I know that you'll be able to pen, not pencil, yourself back into your life. 


#StressLess #TisTheSeason #GrumpyBugger

National Stress Awareness Day

I have been meaning to put a "blog" on this website for a while... like a couple of years... but better late than never, right? 

Anyway, it came to my attention that today, November 4, is National Stress Awareness Day. Stress is a fickle, fickle creature that manifests in almost every way possible and affects every facet of our lives. There are two types of general, "external" stressors I'll call them: ones that make us less productive and ones that make us more or optimally productive. The less productive stressors are either not stressful enough so that we cannot be motivated to get things done (like, avoiding putting clean clothes away for several days even know you know it needs to be done but cannot be bothered), or they are overwhelmingly stressful and make it so we shut down and go into "ostrich mode". But everyone has an optimal stress level that makes them the most productive, like paying bills at 11:59pm before they are considered "late" or cramming for tests or taking on a lot of extracurriculars to keep the schedule full and organized at the same time. While the optimal stress is actually a good thing, and the un-motivating stressors are more of a self-starting issue and don't do immediate harm (unless they turn into a overwhelming stressor),  it's the overwhelming stressors that are doing us the most damage. 

Follow me down to the cellular level. Stress is something we interpret in the brain. The brain then sends a signal in high stress situations - fight or flight, experiencing/re-experiencing trauma, heightened anxiety - to release the hormone cortisol. In small doses, cortisol is very affective; think cortisone shots to treat injuries. It allows the body to respond to whatever is happening to it in a effective way. Over time, however, prolonged exposure to cortisol can damage the tissues and cells and make the body ineffective at dealing with stress. Did you know that over a person's lifetime they are only supposed to receive two cortisone shots in a single area? Many medical professionals will not give more than one.  Makes you wonder how all of the pro-athletes get around it... 

Stress is also a positive-feedback cycle. This means that when we are experiencing stress, we tend to focus on that feeling and the thing causing us to feel stressed, thus creating more stress, so on and so forth. And because every person deals with stress differently it can show up in a multitude of ways combining some, all, or acting alone in any of these ways and more: sleep disruption, night terrors, digestive issues, appetite disruption, increases in self-destructive behavior (drugs, self-inflicted harm, etc.), skin problems (acne, hives), depression, anxiety, blood pressure, hyperventilation, inflammation, and PAIN. So you can see how this singular hormone plays a critical role in affecting the release and balance of other regulating hormones in the body. Hormones control literally everything we do from telling us when it's time to eat to optimizing our physical performance in an event to bonding with partners to regulating our body temperature. If any one is out of balance for too long and the body cannot autocorrect, the whole system can be temporarily damaged; and if left unchecked long-term or permanent damage is a real risk. The stress felt throughout the body also has a memory attached to it, sort of like PTSD, where if we are about to be in a situation that has caused us physical/emotional/mental stress before, our body starts to pre-emptively respond before that situation even occurs. These memories lead to tension-holding patterns in the body, and that's where I come in

So, now that you know how pervasive "stress" is on the body, what can you do to manage it? Exercise? Meditation? Therapy? Ramping up? Scaling back? Diet cleanse? The common denominator in all of these comes down to self-awareness. What do YOU, does your BODY, need? Our body is telling us stuff all the time, but I would say more often than not over time we have learned to turn down the volume, if not totally mute it. If we aren't aware of the signals our body is sending us, how can we expect to feel much less identify the trigger of what is causing us stress? I feel like the best way to get in touch with your body is to have it actually be touched by someone else. And I don't mean a romantic partner, although positive touch from anyone in a non-sexual way could be very helpful in its own right. Feeling the body respond to touch, if any referral patterns happen, is a highly informative experience. It allows the person being touched to experience their body, and what goes on in their mind and body at the same time. There isn't another scenario where both the mind and body are consciously online at the same time, co-processing external stimuli. 

A massage therapist can help relieve the physical tension in the body. The tension-holding patterns I mentioned earlier can be un-leaned. We literally have to retrain our bodies how process stress differently and not hold on to it. This is by no means an easy or quick process, but for those who consider themselves "high stress", adding bodywork into their routine may prove to be very helpful in stress management and prevention.