Monday, October 8, 2012

Headache help, questions answered

Recently, several people have asked me about headaches. So I thought maybe I should share my response. In good health, Tamar

Headaches generally fall into 3 categories:
  1. cluster headaches are the most rare, they are the most severe, and can last for 30 seconds in bursts up to days.
     2. Migraine headaches have several triggers, and the easiest way to control them (other than really great prescription drugs), is to find the triggers and eliminate them. I'll get back to that. But one of the triggers can be tension headaches.

    3. Tension headaches are caused by tight muscles. But here's the thing, tight muscles can come from SO many things:
  • sleeping/sitting in the wrong position (over stressing a muscle, knocking a vertebra out of line)
  • stress and literally tightening your muscles from not relaxing or breathing (extremely common in NY)
  • eye strain (which could be from staring at a computer, or TV, or reading in low light, or being in bright sunlight)
  • trigger points (super tight knots in any muscle which pulls on fascia.) NOTE: Trigger points can be latent or active. Active ones you feel from the outside and from the inside. They hurt when you push on them. Latent ones may be more buried and only flare up when they want to. To release a trigger point, you put direct pressure on it (with a thumb or tool) til there's a pain of about 6 or 7 (on a 1 to 10 scale) and simply hold it til the pain goes away. There could be many small trigger points on the scalp or in the neck/shoulders.
When tension headaches go on too long, they can cause migraines. Migraines are classified as any headache that lasts a long time. They're usually one sided and throbby. They can cause nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. I know. I get them.

Massage is extremely helpful to control headaches. If it's a tension headache, it's easily helped by the right massage. However, if it's a migraine headache, you generally don't want to massage because it may make it worse. The idea is to learn how to breathe, take care of yourself, and have relaxed muscles all the time, so you don't get tension headaches. That's where massage is preventative medicine. If you want to massage yourself, or a friend in pain, be sure to check out my blog entry: Massage For Loved Ones.

Also, I find different medicines will work for different kinds of headaches, and then only if you catch it early.  You may have to play around to find the right one.

Triggers: There are a lot of triggers for migraines, other than a tension headache that's gone on too long.
  • sunlight
  • lowlight
  • visual disturbances (video games, tv shows/films that are handheld camera are AWFUL)
  • riding in cars/trains, especially bumpy or twisty ones
  • caffeine (but can also help with migraines)
  • chocolate
  • milk of cow, sheep or goat.
  • bananas, strawberries, eggs, beef, pork
  • gluten, corn, soy, nuts

Some home remedies for migraines (again, you have to catch it early):
  • almonds
  • put the inside of a banana peel on your head (the potasium may help)
  • vitamin C (NOT to be taken with any other blood thinners like Advil/aspirin)
  • massage
  • putting your heads and/or feet into a basin of VERY hot water. It pulls the blood away from your head.
  • coffee or any caffeinated drink
  • a nap in a comfortable position
  • cold compress (or hot) on the forehead/over eyes
  • deep breathing of fresh air and looking at far distances.  

Some stories:
 The worst migraine of my life came when I saw the film, "The Wrestler". The film is shot handheld and extremely shaky. About 15 minutes into the film I thought, oh no, I'm getting a migraine. I took a pill. But it was already too late. Instead of leaving or averting my eyes (which I now do quite often in hand held films), I kept watching. That migraine lasted 3 days and I was really nauseous the whole time.

 My mom used to get migraines. Until she noticed that what she got BEFORE the migraine was a sort of aura/visual disturbance. So now, when she sees the aura, she drinks some caffeinated coffee, breathes, relaxes, and usually she doesn't get the headache.

 The best thing is to write down all food and activities so that when you get a migraine, you can find the pattern. And here's the rub: migraines can come as late as 4 days after the food trigger. Eg: I have a ton of food "allergies" (really intolerance, I don't go into anaphylactic shock). If I have one bite of ice cream, I'll probably be OK. If I have a bowl of ice cream, I may get a migraine 4 days later. And if I have a little milk for 4 days straight, then a few days later I'll be in so much pain, and it's going to last for days. It builds up in your system.

FOOD ALLERGIES:  (and see my THINGS I DON'T LIKE TO TALK ABOUT for more food allergy info)
My mom is allergic to corn, which is in EVERYTHING. White vinegar is made from corn. Baking powder,powdered sugar, vegetable oil, "natural flavorings". You name it. She has a TERRIBLE time eating out or finding products that are properly labeled. And if she eats something with a trace of corn in it, it sets off her allergic reaction and makes her react to many, many more things. Chickens are corn fed. Beef can be corn fed. Fish can be corn fed. Vitamins and...antihistamines for allergies...have corn in it. Awful. So...the more you read, the more you know, but the more frustrating it can be.

Generally, whatever you eat the MOST, is what your body may become allergic to. Wheat, corn, soy, eggs, milk are in almost EVERYTHING. So take some cooking classes, find some headache support websites, and learn to cook from the outside aisles of the grocery store. If it's in a box...don't eat it. It will change your life. The day I got my blood test results, I panicked. I literally couldn't think of one thing to eat or make that didn't have something I was allergic to. I threw out everything in my kitchen. I ate a handful of blueberries (which I now know...I'm allergic to). Then I started taking cooking classes to learn how to cook from scratch so that I can control what I eat. I travel with food. I stock up on food. I have lists of places I can eat when traveling. It's a pain. But it helps.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

London Olympics Take 2

Everyone has been asking if (and assuming) I had an amazing time in London at the Olympics.
The Olympics said thank you, and what would I have done differently (always a dangerous question to ask me)?
And one person mentioned that I have a unique ability to compare, considering I have worked at 2 other Olympics (Athens 2004: beach volleyball) (Salt Lake City 2002: various venues).

So I’m going to try to combine all answers, in an upbeat and concise format, while completing my Olympic journal.

I’ve already said why I love the Olympics (see Olympic Diaries: Part One). Why I do this crazy thing as volunteer to work at the Olympics.

Here’s the quick, most recent answer. Working on Olympic level athletes is beyond inspiring. This time, although I did not massage many athletes at all (yes, very sad about that), I did massage one tennis player in particular. I was working on his legs and noticed an enormous scar. Enormous. I asked what had happened. He said, “Car accident when I was a kid.” Now, I’m telling you, that guy is lucky to be walking, let alone playing top level tennis. This is remarkable. And inspirational. That’s the kind of thing I see that makes me get my butt off the couch and exercise.

If you read my post: Olympic Experience: Week one, you’ll know the first week, I saw no athletes. All in all, I did not work as hard as I’d feared I would, and I did not work as much as I would have liked. I didn’t feel needed at all, which is quite surprising. I was expecting to have been massaging about 8 hours of my 11 hour shift. That is one of the things I would change. All volunteers, especially the foreign ones, have taken time off of their work and away from their loved ones to donate time, and sometimes at great expense to be there, and be used. And that didn’t happen. That’s unusual I think. And was really a lack of communication, or finding the right people to ask ahead.

I also feared I would leave England not making it to any Olympic events. And that’s what happened, except for one exception: rehearsal for the Opening Ceremony. My boss gave the staff tickets, thank goodness. I got to see the Olympic stadium, and the new area, and be at an amazing event, with 80,000 other people. Very moving. Of course, I didn’t get to see the parade of nations, since it was a rehearsal, but it was still extremely cool and I am very grateful for that. Getting tickets was just too challenging. I couldn’t get tickets for the events I wanted, which was a very commonly heard complaint.

One difference between the 3 Olympics: transportation. In London, I was given an Oyster Card, which is a transit card for their subway/trains/busses. I was TOLD that this is ONLY to be used to and from my shifts. In Salt Lake and Athens, we were told that this is part of our thank you gift, and we may use this for all public transportation while the Olympics are happening. I could not believe that they expected us to have come from another country and that they didn’t even want to cover transportation for the length of my stay.

Food: All 3 Olympics made similar choices about food. You get a voucher for lunch during your shift. Very limited choices, very limited quantities, especially for someone with a lot of food allergies. (See my blog post: Things I Don't Like To Talk about: Food Allergies) Very frustrating. But hey, I didn’t gain any weight!

What’s the Olympic day like? Briefly: I was working at the tennis event, held at Wimbledon. I work at the US Open in New York every year, so I knew this would be similar. My job is to massage the players and work with the physiotherapists. The treatment rooms are within the locker rooms. So that’s mainly where I was. It’s a big treatment room with lots of tables, and a few televisions to watch the matches or other Olympics. We hang out and wait for players to come in. Here’s the secret: In the Women’s locker room, it’s very quiet. No players hang out. They come in, they get treated, they leave. In the Men’s locker room: they come in, they stay, they sleep, they chat, they tease each other, they get massage, they eat. It’s almost always crowded and noisy, and I love it there. I mostly was working with the men.

Other than that, I spent a good part of my trip seeing friends and making new ones. I love London (and England). Love it. Great sites, great theater, great food, great people. I spent a ton of time in Borough Market and Covent Garden and walking the Thames. I spent 5 days in Amsterdam, Holland before returning to New York. I have wonderful friends there that I wanted to see, and it’s a very short flight, and much cheaper to fly back to NYC from there! I’ve posted a TON of photos on Facebook if you’re interested.

That’s the scoop! Will I do another Olympics? Probably not. But hey…you never know.
Thank you. Tamar

Massage for Loved Ones

Deviating from the present topic slightly. I was asked to explain the 4 basic massage strokes for people wanting to apply lotion to themselves, or for massaging a loved one. I thought it might be good to share:

The 4 basic massage strokes of traditional Swedish Massage (what we picture when we think of massage) are:

Effluerage: gentle to slightly firm stroking with your full hand or fingertips. Usually done from the direction of the tip of your toes/fingers towards your torso. Good for warm up/starting a massage/applying lotion.
Petrissage: more of a kneading of the muscle. Done with a cupped hand, or fingers grabbing, or one hand "feeding" the muscle into the other hand. This is what you see in movies a lot.
Compression: gentle to firm pressure of simply leaning on a muscle for anywhere from a few seconds to a minute.
Tapotement: beating on the muscle with the side of the hand/fingertips/cupped hand position/soft fist. This can be a final stroke to wake up, or done for over a minute is very relaxing.

Important tips:
1) you should NOT give a massage if someone is sick, especially with a fever. Or drunk. Or on any injuries. This will only make things much worse. Wait.
2) you should gently warm the muscles before going deeper. If you don't, you will bruise them, it will hurt, and they won't like you.
3) simply leaning in, gently, with a palm or elbow can feel very good, and be very effective. You don't have to constantly use your fingers to knead and push and prod. This is extremely tiring for the person giving the massage, and doesn't always help or feel best anyway!
4) Always ask your partner how it feels. it's THEIR massage, not yours.
5) if you need treatment, and not just a few minutes, leave it to the professionals. We're trained, we're licensed, we're legal. (see other blog entry: Massage FAQS)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Olympic experience, week one

 OK. Let’s get a few things out of the way.

I’m sometimes easily disappointed. No matter how much I think, ‘don’t set yourself up with unrealistic expectations.” Or, “Whatever is supposed to happen, is what’s happening.” Or, ‘Sometimes the goals you reach, are not the goals you set.”. I’m still disappointed. 

I’m also reinventing my UK experience. I’ll explain more later.

Yesterday was a very good day. I adore my coworkers. The Physios I work with could not be any nicer or more welcoming, for which, I’m extremely grateful. My boss, Liz Nicholls, who’s in charge of the medical dept at the tennis venue (and a bunch others, but we’re lucky enough to have her with us our whole time) is sincerely one of the kindest, more generous, patient women I’ve ever met. I feel incredibly blessed to have her as my boss. She could have made my Olympic experience awful or wonderful, and she’s definitely doing her best to make it as good as possible. I got to see the first dress rehearsal of the opening ceremony last night because of her (2 physios, another massage therapist and myself) and I’ll be eternally grateful for that experience. The only thing I missed was the parade of nations. The rest was like Cirque Du Soleil on steroids and if you increased the budget by maybe 20 times.

My last Olympics, Athens 2004, I was stationed at Beach Volleyball. The way our schedules work out, I was usually the only massage therapist, and the only American on duty. My #1 memory of working there is of the first few days when the Greek medical staff would  gather about 10 feet from me, and talk in Greek all day, completely ignoring me (and not knowing I understood a little of what they said). It was a spectacularly lonely experience, and one I was scared to repeat. I know it surprises friends of mine to know that I’m incredibly shy, and I don’t easily introduce myself to others. So it took about 3 or more days to begin to make contact with the staff there. And even though in England, I was fairly certain that I would be better at 1) understanding what they were saying (still debatable to an extent) and 2) making friends. I didn’t want that to happen again. Sometimes, no matter how you attempt to convince yourself that you’ve grown up and changed, you still have old fears that creep into your psyche and doubt your abilities. My coworkers have been incredibly gracious and inclusive to me, both professionally and personally and I am very grateful for that. Plus, they’re genuinely lovely people to be around, and of course, tops at their craft and educational to be around, which is one of the perks of working the Olympics. Considering that after 4 days of work, I’ve only worked on 1 athlete, it was fun to spend several hours watching the physios practice their athletic taping skills.

That brings me to the source of bitterness, so forgive me for a short moment. I’ve worked for 4 days and massaged 1 athlete. There were no nets on the courts at Wimbledon until yesterday. When I arrived for my first day of work and found that no players had been seen yet, or probably would be seen for days, I was quietly seething. Each year, when I work at the US Open, we hit the pavement running. Our first days there are full practice days and packed with massages. I was a little nervous that I was working 9, 11ish hour days and how that much work might take a toll on my body. So having little work is definitely a blessing, but frustrating none-the-less. I’ve come a very far distance, at considerable expense, and I am clearly not needed yet. I have spent the past few days enjoying meeting my coworkers, wandering the incredibly beautiful grounds of Wimbledon, and eating too much. Again, very lucky. And yet, very frustrating. And actually incredibly exhausting for my body.

SIDE NOTE: I am shocked and horrified at the lack of accessibility for wheel chairs or mobility impaired people in this city. This metro system, although amazing and everywhere, is not ancient like New York and I think there is NO excuse for not having elevators and/or at least escalators at every station. Some of the trains have up to a foot of gap between the platform and the train, or a foot step up. Dangerous and disgraceful. And for the Olympic venues, they’ve made access nearly impossible. The walk portion of my commute is about 30 minutes because that’s as close as we could get. Last night the walk from the tube station to the Olympic Stadium was about the same, and then 3 flights of stairs to get to our seat. They just built that stadium. Where was the elevator? Was there an elevator? Unbelievable. My body is killing me these days. My knees, ankles and back are being beaten to death. But thank goodness I’m not on crutches or worse. I have no idea how I’d get around this city.

 I also said I was reinventing my England experience. The last time I was here, I was 25 years old. Major changes were happening in my life, and I took my savings to come to England and start studying massage, look at a school, see some shows, travel around, etc. As most of you know, I have no sense of direction. I’m lost almost every day of my life, in every city, GPS or not. The last time I was here, I did a fair amount of standing crying on street corners knowing, “I’m lost/I’ve missed the train/I’ve missed the store I needed/I might miss the show/I’ve missed meeting someone”. This time I was determined to NOT do that and actually ask for help (always a good rule that I’m still working on). Also, I was lonely and depressed last time, and I was afraid that would happen again. Traveling by yourself is just, simply, lonely. Anything cool, you want to share it. Anything that sucks, you wish you had someone to lean on. At 25, I wasn’t very good company for myself. These days, I hope I’ve improved. I still find myself on a lot of wrong street corners wondering where or if I've gone wrong. It took me 3 days coming home from work before I got home correctly. I even missed my town on the bus. Yes, my TOWN, not just my stop. But by the next day, I was giving other people directions. Let's hope they got where they were going.

So what’s the lesson? The experience to share? The point?
I don’t know. Ask for help. Enjoy your own company. Reinvent the experience. And get a good GPS.

All for now.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Resources for actors/filmmakers

Periodically I get asked by new actors and filmmakers for recommendations on resources especially in New York. So I thought I should let you all know my list of favorites. These are almost all friends of mine, or people I have experience with. So I highly recommend all of them for getting started, focusing on what you want, where to start, how to keep track, and how to keep motivated. And my blog's pretty good too!

There are SO many great places. So please comment and share your favorites for LA and NY too!

For business/marketing and learning about the business:
The Savvy Actor (Guy has a blog and workshops.)
Dallas Travers (marketing)
Act Outside The Box (marketing)
Actors Connection (NYC mostly. for classes, workshops, casting seminars)

For coaching:
The Creative Seed (Penelope Brackett)
Betsy Capes Coaching (Betsy Capes)
Creative Calling Coaching(Rahti Gorfien)

How to keep track of contacts and auditions and things
Organized Actor
Holdon Log

My favorite is, of course, Maverick Sean Photography (FACEBOOK, Website)

 Acting Teachers:
Jack Plotnick is mostly in LA, but he comes to NY periodically. You MUST check out his website and youtube channel. MUST.
Charles Tuthill in New York.

New York: Steps is still my favorite. Lynn Schwab, still the best tap teacher, (or any kind of teacher) ever.
Los Angeles: The Edge is the cheapest, with the most choices. But I find most of their teachers unreliable to show up. I also like the dance arts academy on La Brea. Nice for studio rental too. Favorite tap teachers; Garrett Minnitti and Steve Zee.

Listing online/finding auditions on your own:
Actors Access
mandy (also great for listing when you need crew/looking for crew jobs)
LA Casting
NY Casting

Who what's casting and the status of all of TV/Film:
Casting About 

How to run auditions:
Buy the book! 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Olympic Diaries part 1: Preparation, and a little history (mine and Olympic)

In 2004 I did massage at the Beach Volleyball venue of the Olympics.  During that time, I wrote an Olympic Diary for Massage Magazine (read it here) and 2 articles for the Valley News of New England. This go round, I haven’t found a place to publish…but now I have a blog! So I decided to write anyway, since people don’t know a lot about the work involved, and like to ask questions.

 First, some background. The Olympics is staffed by almost all volunteers. There will be 70,000 volunteers from around the world this time in London. The Para Olympics are always held in the same city, right after the Olympics. London was actually the first place to have the Para Olympics in 1948. London has hosted twice before, 1908 and 1948.

 I’ve worked at 2 Olympics before: 2002 Winter Olympics at Salt Lake City and 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. In 2002, all my shifts were before the Olympics started. I worked at the Olympic Village, the Olympic Family Hotel, and doing chair massage at the Main Media Center. I’d never been to Salt Lake before and I loved the diversity of being at 3 venues. I met amazing therapists from all over the world and I was hooked. In 2004, I sweated my butt off in Greece. That was a very different experience because I was stationed at Beach Volleyball and it was mostly an all Greek medical staff and myself. I’m not gonna lie, it was incredibly lonely and challenging for me. But I was treated to incredible generosity and got an amazing appreciation for life in another country…watching the US from afar.

 This summer is, again, completely different. I’m going to London, where I’ve been before. They speak English (kinda). And I’ve been assigned to the tennis event, held at Wimbledon. I work at the US Open tennis event in New York every year. So I’ll actually be working on the same players I see every year…except, I may also be working on male players. My shifts are almost all before the Olympics start. So I will see plenty of athletes, but not a lot of matches unfortunately. And there will only be 2 massage therapists on duty at a time, so meeting a lot of International therapists won’t be too possible either. I’m working 9 shifts, about 9-11 hour shifts potentially.


What’s the application process?

 I apply to the Olympics the day after the last Olympics ends. So right after Vancouver was over, was when the volunteer part of opened up. It’s a lengthy process of filling out forms, getting vetted, being interviewed, etc. And if I’d been a local, there would have been lots of training, more volunteering and other warm up events to work. As it was, a lot of my training was online and a little more will happen after I arrive. I’ve been getting updates for the past 2 years about where they were in the selection process, but I didn’t officially get accepted until, I think, early in 2012. I got my schedule/venue position maybe in April, and details were still coming in up til about June. Little scary trying to plan.

What do you get? Money? Housing? Free tickets?

 Nope. None of the above. I had to book and pay for my own travel and housing. The Olympics did not help at all. I get free local travel around London with my work pass. I get a uniform (which, in this case, seems to include a bag, hat, jacket and umbrella! Hello London). I get a meal on my work day. I hope I can eat it! (see Things I don’t like to talk about, Food Allergies blog). And hopefully I’ll get to see some tennis for free while walking around.  We don’t get any tickets to events. I know everyone thinks that’s unfair, but there are 70,000 volunteers and about 200,000 folks on staff. So giving out 400,000 free tickets seems like a bad idea to me, who used to do ticketing!

You get nothing?! Why on Earth do you do this?

  Well, that’s a good question! I grew up with the Olympics. I jumped around the living room shadow boxing with Mohammad Ali. I did gymnastics on my coffee table with Olga Korbut. I crushed on swimmer Mark Spitz. I wanted to be an Olympian and be part of a team. I wanted to represent the USA. I love seeing all countries from around the world together and not fighting. Everyone competes on an even playing field and everyone gets along. I love seeing athletes who’ve spent their entire lives training for 1 moment, achieve their goals. As humans, when do we EVER get to see the exact moment and reaction when someone’s dreams come true? I find it incredibly moving every time. Every time. Watching athletes with gold medals listen to their national anthem played and seeing the moment they fully realize that that anthem is being heard by millions because of THEM. It’s priceless. There’s just nothing like the Olympics and getting to work on athletes that are the best in the world. In the world. Not the best volleyball player in your school, or the county, but THE WORLD. Talking to them a little about their life, their habits, their journey. It’s an honor and a blessing to be there and support them. I know I couldn’t do it. Not in any way, shape or form.

You’ve been losing your mind recently, preparing for the journey. Why?

 Oi. Well. I was watching the cost of airline tickets rise while waiting for my schedule to be listed. I got my work schedule about a month before getting the dates for my training…which I can’t attend because I will have already started my job 5 days before!
 I’m going from doing about 10 hours of massage a week, to 10 hours of massage a DAY…for 9 days (almost) straight.
 I’m trying to book tickets, travel, fun stuff to do, and a lot more, without knowing what anything means, because English in America is not English in England! I’m very much a planner, and then adjust accordingly. I like to do a ton of research beforehand. Eg: when I was preparing for Greece, I studied Greek for 4 months before I went. I’m SO glad I did. But it didn’t stop me from still getting horribly lost all the time (an almost daily occurrence in my life).
 The last time I went to England was 18 years ago. No internet, no cell phones, and no clue. I went to study Shiatsu at the European Shiatsu school in Devon, England and then travelled all over the UK, mostly by myself. I was really, really sad and lonely. I had some of the worst, “getting lost” experiences of my life. I don’t want to repeat that. So I’m thrilled that this time I have people to stay with, play with, and internet to help. But it also means I put a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself to do better this time.

 If you have more questions, I’m happy to answer them. Otherwise, my next entry may appear after I’m in England starting July 13th. Send good thoughts!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

No More Goals

No more goals.

What?! How can I say that?! Do I mean to not set goals? Do I mean to stop trying to achieve? Do I mean to give up hope for all my dreams?

No. That’s not what I mean at all.

Here’s what I suppose. I suppose that people make, “Goals” and what they’re really doing is making hopes, wishes, dreams and not actually setting attainable steps. You have to break each goal down into small subcategories and chores in order to get things done. I don’t have to elaborate, others can tell you how to do that better than I can. It’s pretty basic. If your goal is to, say…open a restaurant, you probably won’t get any closer until you make a few other basic things happen (cooking school, investors, locations, menu, hiring staff, etc).

But here’s what I see. I see people “setting goals” and not ones that they KNOW are attainable. They’re just what they want or hope will happen. You know who you are. You’re doing everything you think you’re supposed to be doing in order for miracles to happen. So you wait…and wait…for your miracle to happen, while doing things YOU DON’T LIKE because you think it’s connected.

Horse pucky. Yah, I said it.

I don’t do things I don’t want to do. And I don’t make goals. I make TO DO lists. Could step 1 on my list eventually lead to a wonderful miracle? Sure. But am I going to keep getting depressed every year when my, “goal” (aka a miracle) doesn’t happen? Well…that’s been the past reaction. But I think it’s a waste of my time.

Here’s my life:

Age 20, my “big goal” is to move to LA. My little goals to GET to LA were to:
1)     get a bi-coastal agent
2)     join SAG
3)     have $5000 in my bank account to help with the move
4)     have New York TV/Film credits, on tape
5)     hopefully have a job to move to LA for.

I figured it would take 5 years. It didn’t.

Cut to many, many years later. I had most of it, except the agent and the job. But I went anyway. And I’m SO glad I did. I finally realized that moving to LA was not a goal. It was a CHOICE.

What’s that quote? Life is what happens while you’re making plans. Or, Life is a journey, not a destination. Or, Life…get in the game. How about just, Life. Live it.

I want to act in film. Well, I make more films in a year than almost anyone I know. Why? I don’t have an agent. I don’t have a famous parent. I don’t go to Hollywood parties. I only audition for films I WANT to do. I make movies because I CHOOSE to. I write them. I produce them. I made some amazing friends who also CHOOSE to make movies. Did it help my future desires? Yes. Did it add to my IMDB credits? Yes. And will it someday lead to a miracle? Sure. But in the meantime…I’m acting. I’m writing. I’m making films. I’m LIVING. I’m not hoping, wishing, dreaming about things that may or may not happen. I can NOT pin my happiness on that on a day to day basis. I have to enjoy the time I have on Earth if I can. And I can not look back on my life someday and think it was a waste of time if that “goal” didn’t happen.

Some other little secrets: You don’t have to be in Hollywood or New York to make movies. You don’t have to wait for someone else to propose to you or ask you out. You don’t need a significant other or a full time job to have security in your life. You can do it yourself. And you should.

So, I’m not setting goals anymore or waiting around for miracles. I’m…making TO DO lists.

Get it?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Massage FAQ

Recently, a friend asked me a few, really good questions about massage. So I figured I'd share my answers with you.

 Q: I usually wait to get a massage until I'm a mess. Probably not a good idea?

  A: Think of massage as gardening work. You have to tend to the garden (your body) on a regular basis. You have to feed it, water it, pull the weeds out, and nurture it. By the time it's overgrown with weeds, dry and dead, it's much harder to bring it back to life. Waiting til you're a total mess...not recommended.

Q: I've gotten really painful massages in the past, where I'm really sore afterwards. Is this normal? Healthy? Does a massage have to hurt to be beneficial?

A: For a massage to be beneficial, it does NOT have to hurt, not during and not after, although it is quite common. A lot of therapists (especially unlicensed, and untrained ones) think they can work knots and trigger points out in one, long session. I think that's not true and can be dangerous. The way I see it, if I have a knot for 10're NOT getting it out in an hour. Muscles can only handle so much pressure in any given session, and eventually the inflammatory response kicks in and you start to get swelling, bruises and irritation. Plus, if it hurts while receiving, then the client tenses up and actually fights the work. You may feel much better in a day or so, but there's a much better way.

 On a scale of 1 to 10, you only need to go the depth of a 6 to effect a muscle. And you can only do that for so long. So it's much better to have a series of massages, with at least 5 days in between, and go a little lighter. I personally believe that all massages should feel good. Once the surrounding muscles have started to release their tension, you can start to go a little deeper...but it won't hurt. You can do that, and should do that, in one session, but also in subsequent sessions.

  Every person has their own tolerance level for "pain". Also, there's a difference between "good pain" and "bad pain". "Good pain" is when you're thinking, "oh, man! That hurts, but I kinda like it, don't stop." "Bad pain" is when you're thinking, "this sucks, how long do I have to endure this?" You should NEVER have bad pain during a session. Not even for a moment.

 Please stick with the licensed massage therapists. You want someone who does a medical discussion first, and is easy to communicate with.  Knots are several things, Trigger points are tight bands of muscle tissue that are continuing to fire, even when they're not being used. If that knot gets inflamed, and starts rubbing against other tendons, it can eventually lead to scar tissue. But not ALL knots are, or will lead to scar tissue. Usually, that's only for areas of the body that have been injured/torn/strained at some point.

 Massage is a wonderful tool that's been around for years. When worked on by the right person (and the same therapist is NOT right for everyone, it's completely personal taste), massage is fantastic for relaxation, pain relief, faster injury recover, and a whole lot more. But there are some times when massage is completely inappropriate (fever, swollen glands, open wounds, recent severe injury, etc.). So please discuss all current (and major past) medical conditions with your therapist. And please don't go to the people on the street or in malls (unless they're licensed). You run more risk of being injured than helped.

And if you've NOT gotten a massage yet...what are you waiting for?

And lastly, some good news. I was accepted to do massage on the athletes at the London Summer Olympics. So I'll be working on the tennis players and stationed at Wimbledon. It's my 3rd Olympics, and I'm looking forward to seeing my US Open players in London. Very exciting! The Olympics are ALL volunteer. 70,000 of us believing in a peaceful world event and celebrating the realization of dreams coming true. There's just nothing else like it. Seeing the world's best athletes is always incredibly inspiring and humbling. So be sure to watch this July!