This Magical Deep Belly Breath Will Change Your Life

Babies and kittens really know how to breathe, do you?

Babies and kittens both know how to keep their bellies soft when they breathe. Watch one sometime; you’ll see their small tummies balloon out with every intake of breath.

Chances are, you breathe like babies and kittens when you’re asleep. And like most adults, you chest-breathe during your waking hours.

If, while awake, belly breathing feels unnatural for you, as it did me not too long ago, you’re not alone. Most people breathe shallowly, from the chest and ribs up to the throat. It’s an unconscious transition from the belly breathing of a baby to the chest breathing of an adult, but it’s one a lot of people make. Whether from stress, the tension in your neck and shoulders, or being conscious of posture and a desire to “hold your gut in” for appearance's sake; it’s how most of us breathe.

I remember as a preteen when I learned how to suck in air to make my stomach flat. At the...

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Contraindications for Manual Lymphatic Drainage

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is a gentle and safe massage therapy technique. This protocol effectively reduces pain and soreness in tissues and joints, and mechanically reduces swelling and bruising of tissues after surgery. It's also effective in preparing you for surgery because it activates the lymphatic system before the trauma of surgery. As a general maintenance measure, regular MLD flushes the lymphatic system of toxins. On top of that, it's the most relaxing massage you can get!

There are very few contraindications for MLD. Lymphatic massage can be included in the treatment of an abundance of pathologies. However, a few absolute contraindications are worth noting before you schedule an MLD session with your certified manual lymphatic drainage therapist.

  1. Acute cellulitis is the inflammation of the skin, caused by bacterias staphylococcus or streptococcus, often located near surgical wounds or ulcers. It is characterized by redness, pain or tenderness, enlarged...
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What is the Vodder Technique for Lymphatic Drainage?

Lymphatic massage is surprisingly gentle.

The originators of the Vodder Technique

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The Beneficial Effects of Lymphatic Massage


I’ll never forget the first time I received MLD, otherwise known as Manual Lymph Drainage, Lymphatic Massage, or Lymphatic Drainage.

It almost felt like a dream state, where I was half awake and half asleep. At one point I may have drifted in and out because I remember something like talking in my sleep—only I wasn’t quite asleep.

I also know my digestive system became activated. My stomach started making those gurgling noises and I was a little embarrassed, but the massage therapist said, “It’s fine, That’s the effect I was hoping for.”

When I got off the table 50 minutes later, I felt like I was walking on air. Very light and ethereal. I went home and slept really well that night!

A meditative state of calm

The first benefit—I can guarantee this nearly 100%—is the experience of magical relaxation. You could compare it to deep meditation. As a practitioner of lymphatic massage, I have never known even my most talkative...

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Ready to Go Back to Your Massage Therapist?

Image by Microgen, Adobe Stock

Here’s what to expect in the age of COVID.

As people venture out after the lockdown, many are craving a massage

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The Mechanical Movement of Lymph

lymphatic system Apr 01, 2020

Thank your body for doing thousands of things without you even having to think about it. 

You take a bite of a sandwich, and after chewing and swallowing, your job is done. The digestive system largely takes over from there. You bang your head on the edge of the pool, and after a couple of stitches and a bandage, your circulatory system comes to the rescue to heal the wound. Your brain and nervous system receive information via your eyes, ears, nose, and touch, alerting you to environmental dangers, as well as pleasurable opportunities. You fall asleep each night and your body grows, heals, rests, recuperates, and stores energy for you to get up and do life again the next day. All without much conscious intervention on your part.

The lymphatic system also functions with or without your help. But if you want to increase its immunity-building capabilities, you can actually do something about it. Like a bodybuilder works to define her muscles, your behavior actually facilitates a...

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The Importance of the Lymphatic System to Inflammation

 

You just dropped an iron on your big toe.

After crumpling to your knees and spewing a curse word or two, you know what’s going to happen. Your toe will turn bright red, it’ll get very hot to the touch, it will be sore and puffy. You may not be able to move it for a while. These are all signs of inflammation, your body’s natural defenses coming to the rescue.

What you can’t see is the dilation of the blood vessels, which allow more blood to reach the tissue. This blood contains a gang of white blood cells rushing into the wounded tissue, ready to fight a battle against infection. Inflammatory mediators trigger immune system cells to pass out of the small blood vessels to prevent further tissue damage. Hormonal signals irritate nerves and cause pain. Inflammation, from the Latin “inflammare”( to burn), sounds an alarm to your entire body. If something hurts, you’re more likely to notice and protect that body part. 

Inflammation...

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Weeks After My Daughter’s Death, and I Still Don’t Know How She Died

grieving Mar 13, 2020

Grieving a 21-year old is complicated enough without dealing with an ongoing investigation.

I can’t talk about the particulars. Even though forming sentences about this agony is the only mental activity that gives shape to this bottomless grief.

Something took my daughter, yet I can’t speak of it. How can this be true if I can’t chew it and swallow? I figured out just now the reason my throat seizes up when I think of her. It’s because I can’t give voice to what I’m thinking, let alone feeling. It’s literally stuck in my throat.

There’s no turning back. And there’s no going forward. I am gagging on my existence, two and a half times her age, a travesty now that she’s gone.

But she was right here. She was right here, last I saw.

Last I checked, she was here in this world. She was doing fine, I thought. She walked among us. She was needed. She had two boxes of contact lenses in her bathroom drawer. She had a purpose, and...

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Convert Journal Entries Into Publishable Essays

writing Jan 21, 2020

Years ago, I attended the wedding of a friend’s daughter.

Ten months later, my friend’s annual Christmas letter informed her readers that the newlyweds were no longer together. In less than a year, the marriage had ended.

I was curious what had happened. And who wouldn’t be? I had sat in a small town’s Knights of Columbus Hall with hundreds of strangers, and watched this close-knit family dance to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” new groom included.

But I would never get the skinny on the breakup. The author (a.k.a mother of the bride) wrote, “ I won’t go into details because it’s not my story to tell.” I’ve never forgotten that small phrase, and have used it myself ever since.

As a memoir writer, learning which tale is yours to tell is no small responsibility.

I received a blank book for my eleventh birthday, and I’ve been journaling ever since.

For your eyes only, journaling is different from article writing, and...

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