Health Benefits Of Massage

Using Massage To Improve General Well-Being

Did you ever wonder about the health benefits of massage, or did you think it was just a luxury item for self-indulgent rich folks with lots of time on their hands for pampering? There are several different types of massage and many ways that massage can help to increase your general well-being.

Some of the most commonly known types of massage are Swedish, Thai, Shiatsu (Japanese finger pressure) aromatherapy massage, and reflexology.

A quick definition of these types follows below:

• Swedish massage typically uses oil on bare skin and long sweeping, or circular, and rhythmical strokes that induce a sense of relaxation, peace, and calm.
• Thai massage may be done with the recipient either naked or clothed: the practitioner uses various stretching maneuvers along with deep finger pressure to reduce tension. It is usually performed on the floor and famously the practitioner walks along the back!
• Shiatsu is typically performed through clothing on a mat known as a futon on the floor. Deep pressure on acupuncture or acupressure points using thumbs, hands, elbows, and even feet may be used. Some stretching but generally less vigorous than Thai massage. Shiatsu works by balancing the distribution of energy throughout the body.
• Aromatherapy massage uses oils blended with essential plant oils whose properties are known to have medicinal qualities. The beneficial molecules get absorbed into the bloodstream via the skin and aid in healing.
• Reflexology is an ancient form of foot massage. Points on the feet relate to various parts of the body and are pressed and massaged to bring about healing in the related body part.


You probably know that massage is incredibly relaxing. If you are into natural highs, or just want to feel better overall, then massage is probably a good choice for you. It can also help you sleep better and relieve stress. So, how does it work? You know that when you have a massage your body quickly softens into a deep state of relaxation. Massage works by relieving muscular tension, increasing blood flow to an area and promoting relaxation.
From a Traditional Chinese Medicine point of view, massage helps to alleviate stagnation in the flow of vital energy, or Qi, and improve the circulation of energy. When energy in the body is in flow, health ensues. When energy is stuck, disease is the result.

Massage Benefits

Various studies have found massage to be helpful in reducing symptoms in the following conditions:
• Anxiety
• Depression
• Insomnia
• Back pain
• Sports injuries
• Stress
The benefits of gentle caring touch should not be underestimated in and of themselves.

Contra Indications

There are a few contra-indications for massage, which include deep vein thrombosis, cancer, blood disorders, open wounds, severe osteoporosis, and fractures. If in doubt, consult your physician before trying massage.

Benefiting From Massage

A good massage usually lasts about an hour but length of sessions can run from half an hour to up to two hours. A recommendation by word of mouth is usually the best way to find a great practitioner; however, you find them you should check out their credentials and make sure they are certified by a reputable school.
All in all then, massage is much more than a superficial and luxurious way to pamper yourself. Massage can have far-reaching effects on your overall health and general well-being and can be a valuable tool in your self-care regime.
Regular sessions can increase your quality of life by enhancing your mood, reducing the tension you carry, and alleviating an array of physical symptoms.
If you can manage a session, a week you will really notice an improvement in how you feel about yourself; and your motivation and outlook on life will improve, as you feel more comfortable inside your own skin.

Big Life Lessons From Small Events

Harvesting ripe apples
Harvesting ripe apples

I was picking apples from the tree a few days ago, before the autumn winds turned them all into bruised windfalls. There is something soothing and relaxing about being out in the garden alone, picking the fruit and carefully putting it in a bag or box to store or share with neighbours. Concentrating on fruit picking and climbing up and down a ladder or on a chair every couple of minutes, rather than worrying about other things can give you a perspective on strategies to deal with other aspects of life, without having to think about specifics of any one problem and I realised that I was learning a lot of valuable lessons about life.

When Birds come calling – get picking

One of our apple trees (we have 5) is a magnet for birds. When they start flocking to that tree, it’s time to pick the fruit, before it’s all spoiled by peck holes, letting rot in. The birds are a good indicator that the fruit, especially at the top of the tree, is ripe and ready to eat, even if that lower down is not quite ready.

Life lesson 1

If you have a regular or annual job or even a big job to do, what are the “birds” that can signal to you that it’s time to do something? If you regularly run over on your credit card for instance, maybe an email or letter from your bank should be dealt with immediately, rather than ignored, before your card gets declined. If you try to watch your weight, maybe the “birds” are your waistband getting tighter. Think about what happens just before something has to be done. If you can pick up on those signals early enough, you will have fewer problems.

Low hanging fruit is easy but not necessarily the best

The low hanging fruit is the one you can pick standing on the ground. It’s easy to reach, it’s perfectly edible and probably less likely to have been attacked by the birds, who prefer the fruit at the top of the tree. If you don’t have an apple, then the low hanging fruit is the one to get. On the other hand, it may be smaller and not as red brushed by the sun and a bit more effort, using a chair or stepladder (careful) would get you a bigger, possibly sweeter apple.

Life lesson 2

Should you go for low hanging or the high fruit? How about both? If you are working on the internet, perhaps trying to rank a website, then the low hanging fruit is best to try for first. Get those easy keywords, find the quick sales, get the articles written and posted, because that low hanging fruit is what will lead you to the higher fruit. If you are picking apples on the other hand, it may be best to get out the stepladders and go straight for the high fruit, it is often bigger and sweeter and will provide you with a better return for your effort. Choose what is best for your circumstances – the easy wins or the longer term gains?

Low Hanging fruit
Low Hanging fruit

Find a Different Perspective To Get The Fruit

When you’re in the middle of an old apple tree, balancing on a chair or stepladder supported by an uneven grassy lawn, with gnarly branches poking at your back, it can be hard to spot all the apples. They may be hiding behind leaves or on the other side of a branch. Getting down from the chair or ladder to view from the ground, or climbing a bit higher can give you a whole new perspective and help you find fruit you had not realised was there.

Life lesson 3

A new perspective is very helpful when trying to solve problems. If you can look at a problem from a different point of view, or from a different angle you may find solutions that were not visible when you stayed in the same place and kept looking in the same areas. Standing back, taking a deep breath, asking for someone else’s point of view are all useful ways of gaining a different perspective. What do you need to take a different perspective on in order to find the fruit?

Find Your Strategy

Placing the ladder or the chair in the right spot to pick apples without getting poked in the eye or risking falling means looking at the situation to decide which set of apples to go for and the safest and best place for the ladder / chair BEFORE climbing up and picking. Looking for the right spot ahead of time gains you the most apples with the least amount of shifting around.

Life lesson 4

apple tart
apple tart

What do you need to develop a strategy for? Are you writing a report, finding keywords, researching something, selling goods on a stall, teaching your child to read or digging a garden pond? Each of these would benefit from developing a strategy to tackle it. What is your goal? What is your strategy to reach it? My goal was to make an apple tart! My strategy included first getting the apples.

Cultivate Curiosity

curious cat in tree
Keep on being curious

Curiosity Meaning

Curiosity is the name for a totally natural drive to learn something new or to find out about something. It is sometimes considered a bad character trait, with people being termed “nosey” because they are curious about other people’s doings. Curiosity may also have killed the cat, but on balance, being curious is a good thing to be and to continue to be throughout life: it keeps us engaged in life and keeps our brains active.

Curiosity Quotient

Researchers have defined the curiosity quotient (CQ) as how “hungry” your mind is to be inquisitive, to learn something new or to be open to having new experiences. Those with high CQ quickly get bored with the routine stuff and enjoy new experiences, always preferring the new over the tried and true, according to the Harvard Business Review.

Natural Curiosity

Curiosity is also a key component in lifelong learning. Natural curiosity is a trait that should be encouraged, and if you feel you have lost yours over the years, it can be brought back to life again!

Rekindle Your Curiosity

Here are some ways to cultivate your curiosity which can lead to a love of learning new things for the rest of your life.


Ask questions and remain a learner. Sometimes, as we get older we think we should already have all the answers, especially when a young person is asking us about something. But thinking this way could keep us from acquiring new knowledge and skills and even from changing our attitudes and learned preferences. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t worry about asking what might seem simple questions, after all, everyone has to start somewhere.

Wait Before Coming To A Judgement

Have you ever noticed that if you are having a conversation with someone and you disagree with something they have said, you tune out everything else they say until you get a chance to reply? Instead of listening to what they are saying (and meaning) you are thinking about your response. We all do it. But if you want to cultivate your curiosity, it’s important to actually LISTEN to what the other person is saying. Try being fully present when in conversation and use non-verbal noises to keep them talking like “uh huh” and “hmm mm” and encouragement phrases like “go on”. Just listening to what the person has to say will bring up natural opportunities to ask questions and learn from them, when they have finished what they wanted to say.

Start Anew

Avoid focusing on the past. Sometimes we want to do something, but if we have had a negative experience with something similar, we avoid learning about it for fear of failure or looking silly. Of course, we want to learn from past mistakes but watch out for those times when past experiences make you feel worried or want to resist the urge to try something new, assuming that it will have the same outcome as the last time.

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Move outside your comfort zone. The comfort zone is where you feel comfortable, not too hot, not too cold, not too taxing, not too easy. It often feels safer to just learn more about something you are already really good at. But it can be hard to stay curious that way. Try learning about something new, something you know nothing about. It doesn’t matter what it is. Psychological studies prove that the more we know about a topic, the more we want to know. So do some initial research on a subject you’ve always wondered about. A quick Google search is likely to start a whole new interest. This is how lifelong learning is born.

Make it Fun

Make learning a game. Games motivate people. They are fun and naturally cultivate curiosity, motivation and determination. When playing a game, we are often willing to try over and over to master something, without fear of failure. Making learning something new into a game can be an easy way to learn without feeling like you are learning. and without fearing failure.

Use a journal to develop your curiosity

You can use a bullet journal or a diary and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a physical journal or online. Asking yourself a question each day and answering it can help you develop your curiosity. Good questions to ask and answer are:

  • What did I learn new today?
  • How did I come to learn it?
  • What do I plan to do with this new learning?
  • What new thing would I like to learn tomorrow, next week, next month?

You could also try asking

  • what is difficult about this new learning?
  • What is easy and where might I struggle with this?
  • Which of my values are affected by this new learning, for good or bad?

These questions could also help you develop your empathy quotient, by considering your own feelings, those of others and how your own learning may affect others for better or worse.

Try cultivating YOUR curiosity and see where it takes you!

3 Ways To Motivate Yourself To Study

Get motivated to study
Get motivated to study

3 Easy Ways to Motivate Yourself to Study

Do you have an important exam to take? If you want to get the best grade possible, you need to spend time studying for it. However, you may be known for procrastinating and waiting until the last-minute to try to review everything you have learned. There are plenty of easy ways to keep yourself motivated so you can avoid the procrastination this time around.

1. Create a List of Reasons You Need to Study

The exact reason you need to study will depend on the type of exam you are taking. For example, you may need to receive a passing grade to receive a certification for something you want to do, such as nursing or cosmetology. One way to keep yourself as motivated as possible is to create a list of all the good reasons you should sit down, open up your textbooks and start reviewing the material.

Make sure your list contains at least 10 different good reasons and then hang it up in an area where you will notice it. If you spend a lot of time in your bedroom, simply hang the list right up on the mirror in your room. You could put it on the fridge or on the door to your apartment/home too. It is important to put it in the right spot to constantly remind yourself of what you need to do and why you need to do it.

2. Give Yourself a Reward for Reaching Milestones

Set a few milestones for yourself while you are studying. Some good ideas for milestones include:

-Read through five textbook pages
-Review flashcards for 30 minutes
-Give yourself a quiz on what you have read

Each time you reach a milestone, give yourself a small reward. You could eat a piece of your favorite chocolate, listen to three or four of your favorite songs in a row and then get right back to business. Small treats keep you motivated so you can continue studying for as long as you need to.

3. Come Up With a Schedule

Some people struggle to study because it feels like they never have enough spare time. If you tend to feel that way, it is time to start scheduling your study time. Create a schedule that works around the activities and tasks you have to do. If you are good at multi-tasking, you may even be able to squeeze studying in with some of your other activities.

As an example, you can review flashcards while walking on the treadmill. You can still spend time with your friends, but ask them to give you a pop quiz or help you review your flashcards for at least 30-45 minutes before you end up doing something fun. If you switch it up a bit, it is much easier to stay motivated.

The only way for most people to do well on exams is to study as much as possible. If you are struggling to stay motivated, try some of these different tips because they just might help you.

Why Do I Need A Bullet Journal?

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journalIn a world that is becoming increasingly digital and going really fast, it is becoming ever harder to keep track of your life.

“WHAT?” I hear you say! “I have a diary and a calendar on my phone, together with a time management system, a list of my favourite groceries on the local supermarket site, a reminder set up for things like feeding the dog and picking up the laundry and an emergency system set up for child care / elder care / pet care / watering the garden if I can’t be there. I also have a set of sticky notes on my computer screen to keep track of those important one off items. What more do I need?”

But is all of that together? Is it in one place, where you can easily access it and see EVERYTHING in one place?

Maybe digital isn’t always the best, unless you have something very complex (and expensive) created especially for you and even then it might not suit you or be flexible enough to cope with changes.

The Bullet Journal is described as a type of analog system: that is, it is NOT digital. It’s a journal that YOU design for YOU. It can track your past, organize your present and then plan well for your personal future. The system allows you to keep records on everything that is important to you in your life. You can use your journal for the purpose of an idea catcher, task manager, sketchbook journal and so much more. You can be as scientific or artistic, logical, minimalist, or whimsical doodler as you wish, with different styles for different things at different times.

Take a look at a bullet journal being created.

What You Will Need To Get Started On Your Own Bullet Journal

Your Mindset

The first aspect you will need to consider is why you are motivated to start a Bullet Journal. The majority of those who use a Bullet Journal do so because the system is flexible and allows them to operate the journal the way they like to work and because they see a system that will help them achieve what they most want.

It is for this reason that you should think about how you would like this system to work in your life before you begin. You also need to think about how you will access your journal. I keep mine at home on my desk but I am there a lot of the time, so I use a large A4 size journal. You may be out and about a lot, at work, taking photographs, travelling, or just out chatting, in which case you may prefer something smaller, that you can pop in a pocket or a bag. It needs to be something that will work for YOU and YOUR lifestyle, needs and wants. Below are some tips to get you started.


To be honest, just about any pen or notebook will suffice. My preference is for plain paper but if you would like to start with a journal that is already set-up with an Index and the page numbers, a good choice would be the Leuchtturm 1917 notebook, in whichever size suits you best. This notebook features an archival quality that allows you to keep what you have entered into the notebook safe and the writing doesn’t usually show through onto the other side (but you can use a page near the back to check all your pens, to see). The pages have a grid of dots on them, so you can draw straight lines, both horizontally and vertically if that is important to you but there is also plenty of space without feeling constrained by ready-printed lines.

The only other tool you need is a pen (or even a pencil). Many people like to use gel pens or colored pencils, some even use water color paints! But to start out, you only need a pen. You may also like to get some washi tape which is an attractive self adhesive product that you can use to decorate your pages or stick things in with.

How to Start

One good way to view a Bullet Journal is to think of it as a framework that you can move around and change to suit you, to help you organize your present and plan for your future, as well as motivate you to add or remove habits you want to change and helping you create a vision of things you want to do. For instance, you might want to lose weight, get more exercise, plan a holiday, or a bathroom remodel, learn a language, plan for a mountain climbing expedition, design a new gizmo or improve your intuition. The framework uses modules and these modules are the methods that help you organize the different areas of your life, as well as keep your ideas for your next novel, scientific project, personal achievements or great painting. One of the advantages to a Bullet Journal will be that you can mix and match modules that will suit your needs; and design or get ideas for keeping up your motivation. The four main modules suggested for beginners include your Index, Your Future Log, Your Monthly Log and Your Daily Log.

The Index

Dedicate the first 3 to 4 pages of your journal to your Index. As you begin to use the journal add topics into your Collections with the page number in your Index. In this way you can easily find and reference any topic.

The Future Log

This particular Collection can be used to store your items that are scheduled for a year or months in advance, or perhaps things you would like to tackle one day. The Future Log can be set up by graphing pages according to the number of months you need. For example 2 equally-spaced lines that run in a horizontal line across two facing pages can be used to create a 6 month calendar.

The Monthly Log

This log assists you in organizing one month at a time. To set up this log use two facing pages. The left hand side page will be called the Calendar page while the Right will be your Task page. Use the left hand side to number all the days in the month and the right hand side to schedule your tasks and events for those days.

The Daily Log

This log is for day-to-day use. The top of a page can feature a date. Throughout the day log Tasks, Events or Notes as they arise. Try not to set up Daily Logs too far into the future, but rather create them as the day progresses.

This gives you a start on creating your own bullet journal. I hope you enjoy setting it up and using it.

How To Overcome Laziness And Stay Focused

LazyAre You Lazy, Unmotivated?

Is this what people tell you? You’re not committed, you’re not listening, you’re plain lazy? I got all of those, oh, maybe not in those particular words but I knew I was a disappointment to many people. Is this you too? Maybe you keep losing jobs or borrowing money “just one more time”. It’s not too late. You CAN do something about it, if you want. Do you want to change those people’s views about you?

Do You Relate To This?

Have you ever found your mind wandering at school, at college, at work? Maybe you find it hard to concentrate on any one thing? I suffered from this in school. I was constantly being told off for daydreaming and I found it really hard to listen to the teacher, complete my homework or to study for exams. I just could not stay focused on any one task and often the view out of the window was much more intriguing!

Not Reaching Full Potential

All my school reports talk about not performing as well in exams as I did in class and any subject that required a bit of thought and application, such as maths? Forget it!

They Thought I Was Lazy

They all thought I was lazy, so did I. I couldn’t understand why and how I couldn’t do the work. I knew I was as smart as my classmates. My parents would have loved to have seen me do well, they would even have rewarded me financially for it but nothing worked. My classmates told me their parents just told them to “do their best” and they did, mine were constantly disappointed because they knew that what I produced was not the best they thought me capable of. But I just couldn’t get focused on getting the work done. On the other hand, I spent hours in the library, reading fiction and books on all sorts of subjects, which had nothing to do with what I was supposed to be focusing on. I was brought up in the days before the Internet, with parents who believed in “early to bed”. I used to spend the dying hours of daylight hidden behind the bedroom curtains (ruining my eyesight) reading any books available, including medical texts and biology books but they didn’t have anything to do with my subjects at school!

Searching For An Answer

I have been looking for an answer to this for over 50 years! I struggled through a bachelor’s degree and swore I would NEVER read a textbook again. It took me 10 years before I managed to even try an evening class in tourist Spanish and gave up after 3 sessions. But then computers started coming in and I had always wanted to use a computer. This was in the days before the first PC! I managed to struggle through 3 years of evening classes and got a qualification as a junior programmer – I have NEVER used it.

How to Stay Focused

I recently found a program that has actually helped me stay focused on what I want to do. It’s not cheap but I have learned so much from it that I believe it is well worth the price, so I am letting you know about it too. The cost is probably less than some of my friends would pay for a good night out!

Worse Than Me?

It is produced by a man who was worse than me! I didn’t believe that was possible but he explains how he lost so many jobs, he had to end up borrowing the rent money from his mother. His program told me why I was like this and the explanation made sense. It also showed me the reason why, using a great analogy that totally clicked with me and he then told me how to get this to work FOR me and gave me strategies for getting things done. I have now done a lot more of the things I WANT and NEED to do since getting this program, including finally finishing my education!

I have been on many courses in my life and found that if you could get two or three new ideas from them, then attending the course was worth the time and money. Just from the ideas and the understanding I gained, this course has been WELL worth the money and a LOT less expensive than many of those all day or all week courses I went on years ago. I currently have one of his tips sitting on the wall beside me as I write this, to keep me focused.

Get The Program In Ways That Suit YOU

The program is provided in several ways, so you can access it in the way that best suits you. You can get it on videos, as PDFs or as MP3s. All these methods are available to you, you can use them all, mix and match or listen or watch only the ones that suit you. He also provides workbooks for you to work through his ideas and get them to suit you. These are important. They don’t take long to do but they help consolidate what you will learn and understand so you can apply these methods and ideas. There is also support available, which some people make great use of because they may be social learners.

One last thing. The man who produced this program made a sales video about it. I don’t like videos because I am a fast reader but his video was so compelling, and meant to much to me in terms of how he went through exactly the same and worse than me, that I listened for the full 30 minutes, probably a record for me! You can get this program here. Thanks for reading.

Personal Development Advice For Long-Term Success In Life

Many people go through life feeling as if there is always something missing. No matter what they do, they always feel as if there is something important that remains just out of their reach. They are never able to really get as much out of life as they hope for. this sounds familiar to you, do not despair. You may simply need some advice about personal development. By focusing on this area, you can make sure that you do not lead a life that does not fulfill your hopes and dreams. The right tips can really help you get what you want so that you are able to achieve your potential.

The first step in this process needs to be working on your self-awareness. After all, if you do not have a good understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, it can be difficult to know where to begin. While this can be a painful process at times, it is vital.

You need to step back and look at yourself as objectively as possible. Do not flatter yourself or paint over your weak spots. Take a good, long look and figure out what areas really need to be improved in your life.

Avoid the temptation to blame your shortcomings on other people. If you are unwilling to take responsibility for your failings, you will never be able to improve yourself and achieve your goals. Accept that you are the only person who can change this parts of your life.

Work on developing a concrete plan of action that will tackle these issues one at a time. A steady, step-by-step approach is the best way to proceed. You need to focus your energy on one area at a time so that you can make as much progress as possible. If you try to do too many things at once, you will never get anywhere.

Maintain as positive an attitude as you can during this process. While some people are naturally more optimistic than others, even a natural-born pessimist can make real headway. Instead of focusing on what is going wrong in your life, pay attention to what is going right.

It may be hard at times to look on the bright side, but doing so is important if you want to stay motivated. Try to take as much solace as you can in small victories. If things go wrong, as they will from time to time, find something positive that you can focus on to keep yourself from giving in to despair.

Reach out to other people during this process. Personal development is not something that you can achieve in isolation. Humans are social creatures, and we need to be in contact with others. Having the love and support of your friends and family members will make achieving your goals a lot easier.

Achieving your full potential is an ongoing process with no fixed end point. You need to make these habits a part of your daily life. By doing so, you can ensure that you are always working on becoming a better person.