Monthly Archives: March 2009

Benefits of Infant Massage

babyWhen we come into this world we are a blank slate, Tabula Rasa. So why not start out in life with the very best care? It is a wonderful way to model great habits to your baby. Infant Massage is so very nurturing and also has good health benefits too. Here are some of them:


~Helps increase blood circulation
~Improves digestion and helps relieve gas and constipation
~Aids in development of the Nervous System
~Increases alertness and a heightened awareness
~Helps with immune function
~Releases Oxytocin, the Nurturing Hormone
~Greater relaxation and aids sleeping
~Helps create greater parental bonding
~Promotes communication between parent and baby
~Can increase weight gain

When you are giving your baby a massage, make sure the temperature in the room is nice and warm and the lighting is low. Some believe it is best to pick the same time of day to massage your baby. It is a good idea to make sure that you use massage oil that will be gentle on baby’s skin. There is massage oil out there made especially for babies.

There are also classes and books out there to show you how to start this wonderful practice for you and baby. Enjoy!

Thank you for reading and be well, PJ Harris, LMP.


10 tips to avoid getting sick while traveling

suitcaseMostly I write this blog to address health issues that relate directly to massage. This week I am straying from massage topics while still staying within the parameters of health to share something I am currently experiencing. I recently came down with a terrible illness while traveling. I have heard that traveling is a common time for people to get sick. Your immune system is compromised by sharing air and touching objects with so many others in such tight quarters like a plane, train or cruise ship.

I have talked with a few naturopaths, doctors, nurses and wise ones in the last couple of days and here are some of the suggestions they have for decreasing your chances of catching something while you travel.

1. Get lots of rest. If you don’t sleep well on planes, try to avoid the red eye flights.
2. Bring hand sanitizer to keep hands clean or wash hands often. Packing sanitizing wipes keeps you within the airplane liquid restrictions.
3. Keep hands away from eyes and face.
4. Take lots of Vitamin C, A and Zinc to boost your immune system. I have heard that Airborne works for some and not for others.
5. Use a nasal moisturizing gel or spray, Vaseline or lip balm in your nose to keep sinuses moist. The airplane recycled air can dry out sinuses, leaving them vulnerable to infection or airborne germs. A little dab in each nostril will do the trick.
6. Keep yourself well hydrated by drinking lots of clear liquids. This does not mean alcohol, which can increase dehydration.
7. Some health care practitioners swear by the flu vaccine.
8. Don’t overdue the week before a trip. Keep your calendar as free as possible and minimize your stress before you go on vacation.
9. Bring your own pillow and blanket. How often do you think the airlines wash theirs?
10. Avoid sugar because it can decrease your immune system.

If you have any suggestions of ways to keep healthy during travel, feel free to share in the comments section below. Thanks for reading. PJ Harris, LMP

The Elderly Shuffle

walking-elderlyDo you notice that sometimes as people get older, they shuffle their feet when they walk? Many times this is due to fear of tripping and falling so they don’t pick up their feet. In actuality, they increase their chance of tripping by NOT picking up their feet. Sometimes, they have had hip or knee surgery and have not fully recovered from their surgery. After a surgery like that, it is very important that they work with a health practitioner to regain full or as close to full as possible range of motion in their hips and knees.

For the people who have not had knee or hip injuries, it is of vital importance that you continue to use your hip and knee joints to their full capacity. Muscle strength declines by 15 percent per decade after age 50 and 30 percent per decade after age 70. Elderly who are out of condition and sedentary, should be encouraged to improve their functional ability with strength and balance training before beginning aerobic exercise.

Working out in a gym or at home doing exercises to strengthen the legs and increase flexibility is a great way to keep your legs in tip top shape.  Other simple ways to keep your legs strong are climbing stairs or repeatedly rising from a chair. You can purchase exercise bands from many department stores or pharmacies. They are a great way to get those muscles into shape and keep them there. Many community centers are now offering yoga classes for the elderly. This is yet another great way for someone to work on their balance, strength and flexibility. Make sure before starting any exercise routine to check with your physician.

Massage is also beneficial in keeping your legs healthy as you get older. There are therapist out there that specialize in massaging the elderly. This modality is known as geriatric massage. It helps with the circulation and flexibility that keeps those legs and the whole body happy.

The American Academy of Family Physicians has a great article on the elderly and exercises.

The old saying of use it or loose it is true. Keep moving so you can keep moving. Thanks for reading, PJ Harris, LMP.


PJ’s Top 10 Relaxing CDs

headphones-painting1I admit I love top ten lists. So, since I am heading out to California this week to relax, I thought I would leave you all with a little relaxation to soothe your day. Enjoy!

10.Randy Petersen & Bill Mize – Going to the Sun
9. Dean Evenson and Li Xiang-Ting – Tao of Healing
8. Jason Falkner – Bedtime With the Beatles
7. Hildegard von Bingen – Canticles of Ecstasy
6. Center Pointe Research – Dive
5. Celtic Twilight 2 – Various Artists
4. Billy Holiday – Greatest Hits
3. Dave and Steve Gordon – Drum Medicine
2. Deuter – Reiki Hands of Light

and drum roll…..
1. Anugama – Shamanic Dream

Now, what I am most interested in is what are some of your favorite relaxation CDs? Leave them in the comments section so that others my benefit from your experience. Thank you and have a great day, PJ Harris LMP