What Can You Do for Restless Leg Syndrome?

awake 5Before we launch into how to relieve Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), it is important to know you don’t have another condition. There are no test to find out if you have RLS, but there are tests your doctor can give you to rule out some other things. That could be important information because the treatment for those other conditions would be very different.

Some of the symptoms of RLS include:

~A creeping, crawling, jittery, tingling, burning, aching in legs at night or during inactivity

~Irresistible urge to move the legs

~Persistent leg movements during sleep hours

~Sleeping difficulty

~Not usually a muscle cramp or numbness

~Symptoms will have temporary relief with movement

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for RLS and they are not sure what causes it. There are a few treatments that have  provided some folks with RLS relief. If your physician suspects you have RLS check with them to see if you could try these treatments.

~Make sure you are eating a healthy diet.

~Avoid caffeine.

~Exercise has been known to help. Make sure you don’t overdo or excercise too late in the evening.

~Massage can help you relax.

~Try other relaxation techniques like yoga, a warm bath or meditation.

~Make sure you have a regular sleep cycle and are getting enough rest.

~Alternating heat and cold packs or just one or the other can lessen the sensations.

~Have your iron levels checked.

~Cut back on alcohol and tobacco and see if that helps.

Hopefully these ideas can provide you with some relief. The RLS Foundation is also a font of information. Thanks for reading PJ Harris, LMP http://www.pjharris.com/


Fun Massage Quiz


I wrote you all a little fun quiz. It is multiple choice to make it easy peasy. The answers are at the end of this post. Find out how much you know about massage and the body. Enjoy!



1. Do you need a Rx for massage to have it covered under insurance?
a. Yes
b. No

2. What is the longest muscle in your body?
a. Sartorius, a muscle in your leg
b. Latissimus dorsi, a muscle in your back
c. Abdominis rectus, in your stomach

3. What is the strongest muscle in your body?
a. Gastrocnemius, a calf muscle
b. Masseter, a jaw muscle
c. Gluteus maximus, your largest glute muscle

4. Which one of these is not a Swedish massage technique?
a. effleurage
b. petrissage
c. tapotement
d. isterband
e. all of the above

5. Is it legal to practice massage in the State of Washington without a license?
a. Yes
b. No

6. Does a massage increase your ability to kiss your elbow?
a. Yes
b. No

7. What is the most common cause of headache?
a. lack of sugar
b. too much television
c. dehydration
d. allergies

8. What part of your body does TMJD (temporomandibular joint disorder) effect?
a. wrist
b. stomach
c. knee
d. jaw
e. all of the above

9. Which one of these is a benefit of massage?
a. Helps relieve stress and aids relaxation
b. Helps relieve muscle tension and stiffness
c. Reduces muscle spasms
d. Promotes deeper and easier breathing
e. All of the above

10. Where does Lomi Lomi massage originate?
a. Burundi
b. Hawaii
c. Switzerland
d. Thailand
e. New Zealand (Maori)







1. Do you need a Rx for massage to have it covered under insurance?
a. Yes, in the State of Washington

2. What is the longest muscle in your body?
a. Sartorius, a muscle in your leg

3. What is the strongest muscle in our body?
b. Masseter, a jaw muscle

4. Which one of these is not a Swedish massage technique?
d. isterband is a type of sausage.

5. Is it legal to practice massage in the State of Washington without a license?
b. No, and a big NO at that.

6. Does a massage increase your ability to kiss your elbow?
b. No. The only thing that might do that is if you shoulder was dislocated. Dont try that at home.

7. What is the most common cause of headache?
c. dehydration.

8. What part of your body does TMJD (temporomandibular joint disorder) effect?
d. jaw

9. Which one of these is a benefit of massage?
e. All of the above

10. Where does Lomi Lomi massage originate?
b. Hawaii

Thanks for reading this week everyone. PJ Harris, LMP http://www.pjharris.com/

A Frequent Culprit of Shoulder and Upper Back Pain II

bad postureIn the original post “A Frequent Culprit of Shoulder and Upper Back Pain” we spoke to the issue of having a bound up Subscapularis and how that can pull your shoulders inward causing them to be rounded. There have been so many hits on that post. So, I thought I would write about another issue that is a culprit for medial shoulder rotation or rounded shoulders and sunken chest. I see so many people at my Seattle Treatment massage practice with this issue.back-bones-muscles

Often if you have a bound up or tight muscle pulling a joint in one direction out of alignment while you have another muscle on the other side letting it go. How does this happen? Usually, one of the muscles is weak and not pulling it’s weight, literally. Often with medial shoulder rotation the muscles that are weak are your upper back muscles.

 To help with upper back muscle strengthening I have posted videos of a few great exercises below. Always consult with your physician before doing any new form of exercise.






Remember if you want to get rid of pain and stiffness in your shoulders and upper back from sitting, standing, walking or sleeping with poor posture, you need to make sure your upper back is strong enough to correctly hold your frame. Thanks for reading this post and watching the videos. PJ Harris, LMP

Can Massage Help Relieve Your Cold Symptoms?

noseYou wake up in the morning sore and stiff because you were in bed all day yesterday with a cold. You then realize you have a massage schedule today. Aaahhh, that will  provide relief to your achy muscles and give you a brief hour of feeling good instead of feeling terrible.

Actually, getting a massage when you are sick with the flu or a cold is a bad idea. Depending on what stage of the illness you are in, the massage can send the virus zooming through your body by increasing your circulation. Maybe you might get better faster, but it is more likely you will feel a lot worse. Also, when you go to a massage with a cold you put your practitioner at risk to catch your cold.

I was a child care provider for many years and would often get sick from being around the kids and babies. While I am not a doctor and can not prescribe cold treatments, I have found these natural remedies to be quite helpful.

Echinacea ~ This wonderful super herb stimulates the immune system and promotes T-cell activation. Remember when this herb was first available? It was in a horrible tasting tincture. Yuck. Some still swear that is the best way to take it but there are many other forms now found like tablets, capsules, teas…

Vitamin C ~ My favorite source of Vitamin C is Emer-gen C. Yummy powdered drink that helps hydrate you as well as give you lots of Vitamin C.

Zinc ~This is great to help with sinus type colds. Not so great for nausea. Be careful how much you take.

Drink lots of fluids ~ Water, herbal tea or any other clear liquid is best. They help replace fluids lost during mucus production or fever. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can cause dehydration, and cigarette smoke, which can aggravate your symptoms.

Chicken soup or Pho ~ The warmth of these soups helps to move that mucus out of your nose and on to your kleenex and provides nourishing hydration.

 Get lots of rest ~ Stay home from work, keep warm and sleep as much as you can. Your body needs all of its strength to heal and you reduce the risk of infecting others.

Gargling with warm salt water  ~ Not sure why this helps. It might be that the salt draws out the inflammation. Doing this several times a day can really help relieve your sore throat.

Saline nasal drops or Neti pot ~ Either one of these methods can help relieve nasal congestion. The drops are found at most local drug stores. Be careful when using the Neti pot and follow the provided directions. If you are not careful you can get water in your ears.

Thanks for reading and feel free to share remedies you might have in the comment section. PJ Harris, LMP http://www.pjharris.com/

How To Give a Great Shoulder and Neck Massage

I spent quite a bit of time reviewing online how-to-videos for neck and shoulder massage. Before I share my favorites, I want to give you some quick tips about giving massage.

1. Start with asking them to take a deep breath.
2. Breathe regularly and relax and it will rub off on your massage recepient.
3. Start gentle and work slowly and only work to a quicker or firmer pressure if your recipient wants that.
4. Check in from time to time, asking if they would like more or less pressure.
5. Be especially careful when working around the spine. Don’t use too much pressure in this tender area.
6. Have them sit facing a table or turned around facing the back of their chair and put a pillow in front of them so they can relax into it and not hold themselves up.
7. If you can’t do number 6 then make sure you are not pushing them to far forward.

This list of neck and shoulder massage videos is in order of preference.

Thanks again for reading (and watching) PJ Harris, LMP http://www.pjharris.com/

Can You Get a Massage If You Have Cancer?

50933_FullThere are so many ways someone with cancer can benefit from massage. Massage is incredibly nurturing. This is much needed by a person living with cancer. They often feel isolated, depressed and positive touch deprived. Many times their loved ones can not support them due to living far away or sometimes they are afraid of the stigmas attached to the disease.  Loved ones also might feel afraid that they might hurt the cancer patient if they touch them. Massage provides relief from stress and restlessness, sleep improvement and pain relief. Fortunately, there are many hospice and cancer support organizations that have massage practitioners who donate their time.

Old school beliefs were based on the opinion that massage increases circulation and can promote the spread of cancer. We now have seen many studies that state that massage does not promote the spread of cancer, though some types of massage are inadvisable for certain types of cancer. For example, we need to be especially gentle when touching people with bone cancer, so deep tissue massage is a very bad idea. Another example might be someone undergoing cancer treatment might have nausea and jostling their body or aggressive movement of their limbs could agitate their symptoms. So, as always, talk to your oncologist about whether or not massage is a good idea for you. If your oncologist gives you the green light, make sure you find out what parameters the therapist should work within. I also suggest you see someone who is trained in how to address the special needs of someone dealing with this disease.

If you know someone with cancer, suggest to them to get a massage. They especially deserve some enjoyment from life. Thanks for reading, PJ Harris, LMP. http://www.pjharris.com/

Balance Your Body With A Simple Energy Exercise by Fred Krazeise

Fred is one of my favorite bloggers. I thought I would share one of his posts with you. You can read more of his work at his Empowered & Fit site or follow him on Twitter @empoweredandfit. Enjoy! PJ Harris LMP

Balance Your Body With A Simple Energy Exercise by Fred Krazeise

FredinUKYour body is naturally hard-wired to react to threats in a way that is meant to protect you (think of encountering lions, tigers and bears, oh my!). But your body and your mind may pay the price if your “fight-or-flight” reaction – a natural protective mechanism – is constantly “on.”

Stress today comes from different sources than that of our ancient ancestors. It may come from fighting traffic during the daily rush hour, the rush of getting yourself, your family off to work and school everyday, from pressures related to job and career and managing your workload, and from worry about making ends meet in this difficult economy. And while these daily stresses may not be immediately life-threatening, if left unchecked and uncontrolled, if you allow your body’s natural stress mechanism to be left continuously in the “on” position, you will begin to pay a price over the long haul.

When your body perceives a threat, and is under stress, it releases a combination of nerve and hormonal signals that prompts your adrenal glands, located atop your kidneys to release a surge in hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. According to an article from the Mayo Clinic, here’s what happens when these hormones are released:

Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies.

Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain’s use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues. Cortisol also curbs functions that would be nonessential or detrimental in a fight-or-flight situation. It alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes.

Fortunately, your body’s stress response is usually self-regulating. As the perceived threat goes away, blood pressure returns to normal, adrenal glands stop producing cortisol and adrenaline and your body returns to normal functions.

The problem occurs when levels of stress are constantly present in our lives, even at low levels. When this happens, the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and the other stress hormones begins to create health problems. Such problems include:

o Hypertension
o Heart disease
o Sleep problems
o Over eating, which can lead to weight gain
o Skin problems, rashes, eczema etc.
o Short-term memory loss

So, how do we cope with the stress that is a part of our daily lives? As the woman and primary care-giver in most families, you have to put yourself first. As I am fond of telling my clients, “If you are going to constantly write checks off of your wellness account, we have to put some deposits into the bank from time-to-time!”

It’s all about achieving balance in your life, finding the time you need to maintain your optimum health, while at the same time caring for your loved ones. Some of the things you can do include:

Exercise – finding 30-minutes a day, at least 3-4 times a week doing an activity you enjoy. Walking is a great form of exercise. Remember, exercise isn’t punishment! As human beings, we are meant to move, to walk, to run, to stretch, to jump, to throw. Incorporate simple, joyful activity into your life

Get plenty of sleep – this is one lifestyle factor that you can directly control, not just for yourself, but for your family. Turn off that TV early, and set a goal to get 7-8 hours of rest every night. Your body needs this time to recharge and re-energize

Find time to meditate or use other relaxation techniques – I lead a very busy life, but I’ve mastered the art of the “5-minute meditation!” Ideally, I will find more time each day, but I have also found that taking short, little meditation breaks, as short as 3-5 minutes, really help me become calmer, more grounded, balanced, and focused. Just find a quiet spot, turn off outside distractions like the TV or radio, focus on your breathing, and let your mind find that calm, quiet space it needs

Surround yourself with friends – there are few greater joys in life than good friends. Surround yourself with them and they will help you find comfort

Counseling – Talk therapy really works. If you find that you cannot manage the pressures of your life on your own, please do not be afraid to go out and find a professional that can help you. Start with your doctor and get a referral. If she can’t help, here is a good resource for you.

Finally, here is a simple energy medicine techniques that I think you will find helpful.

Connecting the Central and Governing Meridians

This is a technique that strengthens the Central Median, which will help you stabilize your body’s energy systems, and will help you to center and ground yourself.

1) Stand with your arms loose at your sides, feet comfortably apart
2) Breathe in through your nose, and then out through the mouth several times until you begin to feel a sense of calm taking over your body
3) Place the middle finger of one hand between your eyebrows and the bridge of your nose (this is the point of your third-eye chakra)
4) Place the middle finger of your other hand in your navel
5) Gently press each finger into your skin, pull it gently upward and hold for about 20-30 seconds while continuing to breathe deeply through your nose and out through your mouth.

You can repeat this technique 2-3 times or until you feel a sense of balance and grounding.