Sunday, April 9, 2017

The StretchRite

As an ambassador for Medi-dyne, I'm fortunate to be able to try their some of their products. I'm a huge fan of the Sports Shield Anti-Chafe Towelettes and my plantar fasciitis is essentially gone since using the ProStretch. It actually worked so well that recently I gave it to a friend whose boyfriend has been having severe ankle pain for years.

The product I chose this time around to try was the StretchRite. Why you ask? Well, because I cannot touch my toes, I honestly don't remember when I ever could! I grew up dancing ballet, tap, and jazz for about fifteen years and was always the most inflexible one. Ridiculously embarrassing.

I don't look particularly graceful either.....

When I started up running again in 2009, I was even worse shape. I hadn't done any type of exercising in years and I certainly wasn't stretching. I had always heard different arguments about stretching before and after a run, so after awhile I just stopped doing it. The only time I did stretch was when I was injured and if I'm being honest, even doing it then was rare. 

So, I truly hate stretching. I'm lazy, I get bored and I don't feel like I ever make any progress. I think the closest I've come to touching my upper shins (that's right, just a bit below my knees) was when I took yoga for a couple months while training for the NYC marathon. I am a firm believer that my legs are too long and my arms are too short. 

So, when I got the StretchRite in the mail I was excited to try it. I read the insert and it was super helpful. It has a coaching guide that shows which stretches are best for specific sports and for general fitness. It also has three grips so adjusting the tension is simple and you can easily see your progress. The strap and hand grips are strong and non-elastic. Being as inflexible as I am, I was a bit hesitant but there are some easy and comfortable stretches for me to try. 

I have obviously been working on touching my toes, but you can use the StretchRite on your hamstrings, ankles, inner thighs, hips, calves, shins, buttocks, lower back, quads, IT band, shoulders, chest, rotator cuffs, and deltoids. It helps relieve tightness, helps prevent injury, and recover from your workouts faster. 

The StretchRite would be beneficial for anyone looking to increase flexibility, student athletes, dancers, runners, and the list goes on and on. Hopefully, in the upcoming months I'll be touching my toes.....or least my lower shins-haha! 

So, check out StretchRite and Medi-dyne's other great products. Take advantage of my 20% discount and use code: AJH20 at checkout. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Make Up Must Haves

I LOVE make up and skincare and always wondered what my friends must have products are. So I asked a few of them and had them write up what their favorite products are and why. Let's get started!

Sara's must haves are L'Orรฉal BB Cream and Urban Decay Perversion Mascara.

I wear this everyday over my moisturizer and under my foundation. It comes out light in color but as soon as you put it on, it adapts to your skin tone. It is very light weight on your skin too- I have been using it for years and absolutely love it! On lazy low key days, I'll wear this alone with a bit of mascara and feel good. :)

I have tried many mascaras over the years and this is by far my favorite. I have very short, light colored lashes and this mascara really makes my lashes noticeable. This combined with the BB Cream is a great low key look. This mascara only comes in black but I don't find it overpowering at all. As an added plus, you can also use the Perversion Primer beforehand for that extra volume. ( I am not wearing the primer in the pic)

Andrea's beauty must have is It Works body wrap.

My beauty must have is the body applicator from It Works!. Also known as a wrap, this must have tightens, tones and firms my trouble spots. It also reduces the appearance of cellulite. Between having a kid and losing 70 pounds I definitely have a few trouble spots. Using the wrap helps to tone and tighten those areas. Do you have a function coming up that you need to look fabulous for? Using the It Works! wraps can help you look and feel your best. If you are interested in It Works, you can go to her website. 

Kathy's must haves are Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment, Rodan & Fields AMP MD roller and Redefine Night Renewing serum, and water.

I've used Clean & Clean advantage acne spot treatment for years. I still get at least one monthly pop up pimple and this nips it in the bud. I can't be without it.

I've been using Rodan & Fields AMP MD roller and Redefine Night Renewing serum for at little over a year and I love them. Although I haven't seen amazing results with other R & F products, these are worth the splurge. I notice a difference in my skin tone and texture when I use them and even more so when I don't use them. For me, they are worth the money.

Even with all my faves, without proper hydration, I don't feel like my skin looks it's best. I'm not always good about staying hydrated but I know it's my skin's best ally. Water is essential. 

Natalie's must have is Jamberry nail wraps.

My must have beauty product is Jamberry! The easy to apply nail wraps, available in over 300 colors and patterns, make me feel polished and put-together. I love that they are inexpensive and don't require a lengthy trip to the salon. Nail art is something I would never have had done because my nails chip within hours and then just look a mess. With the wraps I get an awesome manicure that lasts about 2 weeks! I also like that Jamberry lacquers and gel polishes are 5-free, free of the five most common chemicals in standard polish. The gel system also uses LED instead of UV light. The kit has everything you need to get the perfect gel manicure without ever leaving home. I can always find the perfect wrap or color to suit my mood and I never have boring nails! Check them out here at my website

My favorite changes frequently, but right now I have to choose Butterfly Bliss!

Julie's make up must have is L'Orรฉal Voluminous mascara. 

I have tried a ton of different types, both super expensive and super cheap, and I always come back to this one! If I wear no other makeup I put this mascara on and I feel made up and just a little prettier.

Christine is Younique presenter and her must haves at Younique's Detoxifying Mask and Instant Firming Serum.

My name is Christine Crawford and ever since I turned 30 I have been looking for better skin care products. I want products that show results but aren't expensive!!! I found two that I cannot brag enough about and think every woman should check out!
The first one is Younique's Detoxifying Mask. With my sensitive skin this was perfect. It's 100% chemical free and hypoallergenic. It only takes 5 minutes! You just dab some warm water in your face, apply this mask and let it sit for a few minutes! The mask will foam and lightly make tiny bubbles while it's working, it tickles and feels like unicorn kisses lol! The main ingredient is bamboo charcoal, and it absorbs all of the impurities from under your skin and brings it all to the surface so when you wash your face you wash away all the toxins and crud that had been hiding under your skin. It also exfoliates all the dead skin cells so when you wash the mask off,
Your skin will feel like a million bucks! It's only $49 which is so much cheaper than some I had tried from Sephora!
The second skin care product I think is a must have is Younique's Instant Firming Serum! Also made from all natural ingredients this product does what it says.. Once you apply it to your skin within 10 minutes it begins to tighten and firm fine lines and wrinkles! I have been using it every morning and night and I have noticed some of the results are becoming permanent ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ Like I said at age 36, I want to stop the aging process in anyway I can! The serum is $65 and worth every penny! I looked into one that Rodan and Fields sold but it was wayyyyy more expensive than that. Both products you can't find in stores but you can get from my website!

Dwania's skincare must have is the Is Clinical line. 

I love Is Clinical Line because you get fast results with this product. It's a pharmaceutical grade skin care line that has instant and long term effects on anti aging. Contact Family Wellness Clinic for a consult to find out what products you would benefit from.

Vennessa's must have is Boots Simply Sensitive Refreshing Gentle Toner.

As someone barely clinging to her mid-30s, I decided I really needed to start doing more for my face than just washing it at night. Specifically, I wanted to add toner to my wash/moisturize regimen, but I wanted something affordable that I didn't have to go a specialty store to find. My skin is normal, so I was looking for something light and not to astringent-like. I found Boots Simply Sensitive Refreshing Gentle Toner at Target for less than $7! My skin feels so fresh after using this. It doesn't dry me out like other toners have, and it feels clean.

Venessa right after using Boots Toner

Angie's must have product is the itCosmetics CC+ cream.

About a year ago my friend Jen told me about the itCosmetics CC+ cream. I had tried about every foundation that I could get my hands on that I could afford and always found an issue with it. Color never matched right, way to thick or thin, made my face greasy etc. I tried the CC+ color correcting full coverage cream 1 time and that was it! I was hooked and have worn it on a daily basis ever since. I'm fair skinned so of course I went with the fair shade and it matched my skin perfectly. I can wear just that and absolutely no other make up and you can't tell I have anything on. It covers my red splotches that most people don't even know that I have. Through the years I've never thought about SPF coverage let alone anti-aging products but I don't really have to worry about it now because this has it in it! 
Angie's left side has CC+ cream and right side doesn't

Finally, my must have beauty products are Front Row Cosmetics Concealer and Quebella's moisturizing gel eye masks.

Front Row Cosmetics concealer is the best concealer that I have ever tried. It goes on smooth, covers evenly and blends beautifully. It is perfect for covering up my under eye circles and blemishes. Melissa at Front Row Cosmetics matched my skin to concealer 2 perfectly! Melissa will help you color match if you email her two pictures to 

Quebella's moisturizing gel masks are fantastic. They are super hydrating helps visibly reduce fine lines and wrinkles, plus I've noticed brightening around my eyes. I've tried a few of their masks and thought they are great as well. I'm really looking forward to their new intense hydrating seaweed hydrol gel mask coming soon to Target near you.

What are your beauty must haves? 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

10 Great Gifts For Athletes

The holiday season if once again upon us and if you are like me, you struggle with what to get your loved ones. I always want my gift to be well received, but I look for other details as well, for example, can I get it from a local business? Is it made in the USA? Would it be useful to them? Would they even want it? No wonder people say the holidays are stressful!

I picked out ten gifts that I think your favorite athlete would enjoy and secretly won't return behind your back.

Five1Five Signs

I stumbled on Five1Five Signs medal holders a couple years ago and am a huge fan. Their signs are unique because they are hand painted carved wood signs, not just vinyl letters like most other signs. I have one in my office and I have given out a few as gifts and people really love them. These signs aren't just for runners, but for swimmers, gymnasts, triathletes and more. Contact Andy and you can have it personalized so your favorite athlete can hang their medals proudly!


When I was a runner, I would do the majority of my running in the dark by myself, especially when the time changed in November. I was ALWAYS decked out head to toe in reflective gear, lights, and bright colors, but all that gear wouldn't have saved me from an attacker. Tiger Lady is safety at your fingertips. It is small, light weight, and needs no batteries or charging. I had no issues running with it and it made me feel A LOT safer no matter where I was. I carry it when I'm not running as well so instead of holding onto my phone in my hand, I replaced with a Tiger Lady. No one coming up to attack me would suspect that I had a self defense claw in my hand. To activate the three claws, all you have to do is close your hand and make a fist. The retractable claws protrude between your knuckles ready to meet your attacker. I feel confident and very Wolverine-like when I have my Tiger Lady. You can use my discount code HAUGHTIGER for 20% off!


The RangeRoller is no joke. It gives you a a deep massage that wouldn't believe! The roller gets in the inner and outer layers of muscles and tissue to help break up and eliminate scar tissue, increase circulation and is effective getting out those nasty knots from just about anywhere. My husband, myself and even our dogs love it!

Road ID

I think Road ID is probably the number one item that every athlete should have because it can save your life. They make these bracelets for adults and children and they make them in a variety of styles and colors. Your personal and medical information can be accessed from medical personnel through their website. They will be able to access your emergency contacts, your doctors, insurance information, medications, allergies, surgeries, and so much more. You can go online and update it anytime you want. If you don't have one, GET ONE! It will give you and your loved ones piece of mind when you are out on the roads.

CopyCat Yoga Mat

I came across the Copycat Yoga Mat on Etsy and I thought this was such a cool product. I was a disaster at yoga and never knew where to put my hands and feet for poses. I'd feel frustrated and miss instructions on breathing or other information. In class, I felt self conscious and I think this mat will really help adults and children learn yoga with confidence. Not only does the mat show foot and hand placement, but it shows different poses like Triangle and Halfmoon. The mat is non toxic, eco friendly, phthalate and latex free, SGS tested and certified. It is extra thick (1/4" which is twice as thick than a standard yoga mat), extra long (72" x 24" which is 4" longer than a standard yoga mat) and self adjusts to work with any height.

Pro-stretch Plus

If your favorite athlete complains of achilles tendonitis, ankle pain, back pain, calf strain and tight calf muscles, arch pain, plantar fasciitis, heel pain, ball of foot pain, tight hamstring pain, IT band syndrome, and/or shin pain, then the Pro-stretch Plus is going to help them. It helps give you an effective and comfortable stretch that will help prevent future injuries. You are going to save them so much pain, aggravation, and frustration, plus YOU won't have to hear them keep complaining about their pain every time you talk to them. It's a win-win!


I came across the Shwings a few years ago and immediately fell in love with them. They have over 150 styles in all different colors and will make all your shoes look unique and fun! They have wings, lighting bolts, skulls, butterflies, and even mustaches! They have been featured in magazines such as InStyle, UsWeekly, Parents and more. They are a perfect stocking stuffer for kids and adults of all ages. I have three pairs myself!

"The Long Run" by Matt Long

I'm constantly talking about Matt Long and his inspiring book, "The Long Run". While bike riding, Matt was hit by a twenty ton bus making an illegal turn and his bike "sliced him open like a can". He needed sixty eight units of blood 10 hours after the accident and was in the hospital for five months. Every bone in his left leg was broken, the right side of his pelvis was shattered, as well as his right shoulder and severed multiple arteries. He would endure over forty operations and the doctors weren't even sure he would walk again, let alone compete. Matt's book describes his intense and painful recovery and how he was able finish the NYC marathon three years after the accident. This story is incredible and I'm not lying when I say that I read it at least once a year.

 2Toms Sports Shield Towelette

Ah, chafing, every runners nightmare. Since I was bigger runner I had lots of chafing issues and after a particular run while training for the NYC marathon last year, I realized BodyGlide wasn't going to cut it. As I silently screamed in agony in the shower after a long run, I decided to try some new products. I came across 2Toms Sports Shield Towelettes during a Runchat, looked at their products and decided to try their towelettes and roll on. Since I've tried them, I haven't had any chafing issues.  NOT ONE. I'm particularly fond of the towelettes because they are small and portable. I had been known to unwrap one and stick it down my bra for long runs just in case I've missed a spot.

BackBeat Fit Bluetooth Headphones

I actually won a pair of these BackBeat Fit headphones and I'm a huge fan. When we joined Rex Wellness Center earlier this year, I wanted a pair of wireless headphones because my wires kept getting caught on the machines and weights, it drove me crazy. It was easy hooking them up with my phone so I was happily watching Parks and Rec while on the bike or listening to JT while using the weight machines.  I found they were easy to use, comfortable and the sound is fantastic. It definitely drowns out crying babies and overly talkative adults on airplanes.

What is on your wishlist this year? 

*This blog was originally written for Medi-Dyne as a guest blogger.  All my opinions are my own. 

Enell: Unshakable!

Many of you may know that I am an Enell Ambassador. Enell is the ONLY bra that keep my DD's under control. I got desperate while training for my half marathons and my marathon and spent a lot of money on sport bras that just didn't cut it. I came across Enell in one of my running magazines and decided to try it out. They are comfortable, available in a wide range of sizes, come in some great colors, and prevent my boobs from knocking me out when I'm working out.

Enell has an empowering campaign going on now. It is called UNSHAKABLE and they are celebrating with a bunch of giveaways for everyone.  ENELL's new UNSHAKABLE campaign is just in time to show the world exactly who we are as women and just who they are dealing with. We are unshakable!” says ENELL founder Renelle Braaten. “We are a strong formidable force, no question. And so is the ENELL bra.”

Here is what the UNSHAKEABLE campaign entails:

  • Giveaways: Throughout the month of November, there will be a set of Unshakable-themed giveaways of ENELL SPORT bras and Limited Edition t-shirts. There are multiple entry methods across the ENELL social media accounts and on, encouraging women to share why they’re UNSHAKABLE. Want to enter to win, head here

  • Free Shipping: ENELL is offering free shipping through 11/30/16 on their top-of-the-line ENELL SPORT and LITE bras at using code “Unshakable”
So, head over to the Enell website, find your fit and order one today! I have the sports bras in white, black and biscay green. The newest color, Rock It Red, is next on my list to buy!  They have some fantastic colors and more importantly, they are comfortable! 

Don't worry about suffocating during yoga class:

Stop wearing two sports bras: 

Don't worry about painful bouncing and holding your boobs when running:

Check out Enell and let me know what you think! 

What makes you UNSHAKEABLE? 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

One Year Sober With Comedian Nick Lavallee

I’ve known Nick since our days at Central High School. He is one of the most funniest people I know and has just accomplished something huge. Today it has been officially one year since he decided to get sober and live a healthier lifestyle. He has faced some challenges this year, for example, being a comedian and having to be around bars and nightclubs where the alcohol is always flowing. With the help of friends, his dog, Star Wars legos, and dreaming of looking fierce in a denim jacket, he is happier mentally and physically. Here is his story.

Tell us about yourself in a few sentences.

I'm a comedian from New Hampshire. My day job involves media production. I've met Justin Bieber, I've kissed Sally Struthers, and my high score in Ms. Pac-Man is somewhere around 80,000. Despite this, I had become over indulgent with alcohol while battling anxiety and depression. Over the past year, I have stopped drinking altogether and I have lost 60 pounds by choosing to live a healthier lifestyle.


When did you realize that you needed to get sober?

I have never felt lethargic, complacent, or unmotivated, but in 2015 I became those three things and that's when I decided to chose sobriety. I stopped drinking on November 3, 2015. Externally, I didn't like the way I looked in photos and on stage. I felt my presentation didn't match the person that I was mentally. Also, I had always wanted to look great in a denim jacket. A skinny guy in a denim jacket is such a classic, rock n' roll, cool look. An overweight dude in a denim jacket just looks like he owes child support - not cool.

What was your initial plan to get started?

I knew quitting alcohol would only be effective if it meant a lifestyle change. I read how easy it could be to replace the alcohol with other vices, some smoke, others crave sugars and fatty foods. Day one, I made a point to eat healthier and take my dog, Sir Paul McCartney, on longer walks. After the new year, I began running at the gym, doing crunches, and lifting light weights. I never joined crossfit, I don't believe in a quick-fix, and I certainly do not believe in God. There was no religion to be found in my sobriety, be it Jesus or a crossfit cult. I'm 100% religion free.

What was your biggest obstacle when you first started to get sober?

The biggest obstacle was having idle hands. Previously, when the weekend would arrive, if I didn't have a gig, I'd find myself drinking anywhere I could. I replaced bars with bricks! I would stay home to build Star Wars Lego sets to keep myself occupied and it felt therapeutic. I also began playing music again, I am a guitarist and singer and was the frontman of a pop punk band in a previous life. Both of these things helped me overcome having those idle hands from sobriety.

What surprised you the most while getting sober?

The most surprising realization about my sobriety is recognizing how significantly ingrained drinking culture is in our society, especially in New England. Our recreational activities seem centered around drinking alcohol.

What motivated you to keep going?

Love has been my greatest motivator as I learned to love myself again. I fell in love with someone just over 8 months into my healthy lifestyle and I've been able to accept the subsequent heartbreak, because of sobriety. Neither of these things would have been possible if it weren't for having quit alcohol. Love continues to motivate me, before becoming sober, I didn't feel much of anything and now I feel everything. I'm motivated by the power of love and how valuable our time on this planet is. Coincidentally, time and love are the biggest themes in Huey Lewis' two most popular songs.

Weight loss has been a positive effect of your getting sober. Besides cutting out alcohol, did you change your diet and/or work out?

My diet consists of eating three meals a day and making sure I get at least an hour of exercise in daily. I try my best to avoid sugar and carbs, but I haven't given either up entirely.


Who have been your biggest supporters?

My biggest supporter is Sean Tumblety, a great friend, sober person, and fellow comic. My friend Desiree, who is the closest I've ever had to a sister, so when she chirps I listen. The guys I play music with been a big support, I'm not sure if they recognize how important playing music has been through this process.

What was the best advice you received while getting sober?

One day at a time!

What is the best part so far of getting healthy and sober?

The best part about getting healthy and sober is feeling 10 years younger. Second to that is having friends who now feel inspired to quit alcohol, followed by buying new clothes and old clothes fitting again.


Since you are a comedian and sometimes have to perform at bars and nightclubs, how do you keep yourself in check and avoid temptations?

The first 6 weeks were brutal, I produce a weekly showcase and everyone's IPA's would smell amazing. I would watch comics have a bad set and go for a beer, I would watch others have a killer set and celebrate with a beer. I would just perform and one way or another just have a Diet Coke. That was my treat, Diet Coke, sometimes a sugar free Red Bull.

Did other comedians help you with your sobriety?

I witnessed fellow comedians, Dan Soder, Joe List, and Will Noonan calm in conversation with others, comfortable on stage, and were coincidentally years into sobriety. I put those few things together and at some point decided I wanted to feel that way too. Their demeanor on and off stage was partially inspirational to my own sobriety and being acquainted with each, I've been able to express that to them.

Has your comedy changed at all since getting sober?

My comedy has changed since getting sober. I'm more present on stage and I live for the moment. Old material is delivered differently, I have a stronger sense of actual confidence, not fake, nothing feels forced. Everything feels more natural. I've written about 12 new minutes on how I "recently lost weight" and "recently quit drinking". I am looking forward to seeing what this next year brings now that I'm just living a healthy lifestyle, writing from the perspective of my new version of normal.


Do you get treated differently now that you are sober? Is it negative or positive?

Women look at my differently, which is a positive. Dudes are envious, which is a negative. I hope it stays that way, have you seen how cute I look in a denim jacket?

Have there been any dramatic changes in you, your attitude or life since becoming sober?

Yes, my attitude has changed for the better. I am a significantly more positive person. I no longer struggle with anxiety. Panic attacks are non existent. I smile way more. I get complimented on my laugh and positive energy.

Proudest moment so far?

My proudest moment is hearing from others with their desire to quit drinking as well.

What are your future goals?

My future goals are to find happiness in each day.


What advice do you have for people who are struggling want to get sober and live a healthier life?

Stop thinking or talking about it and instead take action.


Healthy snack: Fruit, nuts

Workout: Jogging

Hobby: Guitar, songwriting

Way to relax: Building Lego

Cheat meal: Pizza every Friday for lunch

Drink: Polar Seltzer (Orange Vanilla and Green Apple)

TV show: Saturday Night Live

Movies: American Movie (Documentary), Star Wars original trilogy, and the Back to the Future trilogy.

Book: Just finished NOFX's Hepatitis Bathtub, currently reading Ready Player One, and "Dice" Clay's bio.

Celebrity: Sally Struthers

Comic: I'm picking favorites that are people I've come to know through performing... Doug Stanhope, Brody Stevens, Andrew "Dice" Clay, Louis Ramey, Bob Marley, Dan Soder, James Adomian, Emma Willmann, Sam Jay, and Ben Kronberg.

Cities to perform in: Chicago IL, Portland ME, Manchester NH, Boston MA, and Providence RI

Singer/Band: Weezer

Sports team: Chicago Cubs

Body part: Eyeballs

Workout album: Andrew WK's "I Get Wet" LP

Quote: "If you put your mind to it you can accomplish anything." - Dr. Emmett Brown

Check out a youtube clip of Nick performing:


INSTAGRAM: WickedFunny
TWITTER: @TheOtherDude

Added by popular demand, Nick in his denim jacket:


Sunday, October 23, 2016

No, I'm Not Myself

It has been awhile since I've blogged and that is because I haven't felt well in awhile. My thyroid levels decided to blow up and my iodine levels are half as much as they should be. The result? An exhausted full-on demon named Jen.

I was diagnosed with Graves about ten years ago, had radioactive iodine treatment, and have had issues going back and forth between hypo and hyper every so often. In the past few years, I've felt hypo but my labs showed I was hyper, which could be because my iodine levels were low. I've done some medicine changes, some med dosage changes, added meds, taken away meds, and gone gluten free in the past. As of last week, I'm on Synthyroid, Cytomel, iodine, and still gluten free.

I always feel stupid complaining about being hypothyroidism because it is mostly internal and only you know how awful you feel. Most of the time, people think I'm just being a whiny bitch (no comments from the peanut gallery, thank you!). At least with Graves, my eyes looked crazy bugged out, so people must of thought something was wrong with me.  I feel stupid saying I don't feel well because I'm tired....yeah me and the rest of the world, right? Add in muscle weakness, feeling cold (especially top of my hands and feet) even on warm days, difficulty concentrating, memory loss (you have no idea how long it took me to remember how to spell "creature" the other day), brain fog, lack of motivation, poor stress tolerance, clumsiness, weight gain (no matter your diet or how much you work out), dry skin, irritability (to that put mildly), mood swings, depression, elevated cholesterol levels and you've got a major clusterf%ck in your puffy hands.

I noticed a major change when I was on vacation at the beach last month and it has only gotten worse. I got my levels checked and they were through the roof. I wasn't surprised at all because I was feeling like total garbage. My doctors changed my meds and added iodine a week or so ago, so hopefully it will kick in soon.  It hasn't been surprising to hear people say that I'm different or they feel that something is wrong with me.

It is very isolating when I'm hypothyroid because I choose (not that people would want to hang out with me in my state anyway -haha) to stay away from people as much as possible. Unfortunately, some people don't have the luxury of avoiding me. I don't have a lot of patience, I get frustrated very easily, I get angry about stupid shit, I whine, I complain and I get down because it seems to take FOREVER to feel normal again. I haven't worked out in forever (August 18th was my last gym check in) because I get so tired so fast and it is hard to recover from it. I've lost muscle in my upper body, so my back and shoulders are always hurting.  I don't hang out with my friends because, well, I can be a total bitch.  My coworkers probably feel my wrath the worst so I tend to stay in my office and eat a very quick lunch by myself. All my poor husband can do it hope he doesn't say or do anything that will make lose my shit.

I'm trying to make tiny goals for myself and trying not to be too hard (or too easy, gotta push myself sometimes) on myself, so my only goal this week is to get to the gym twice this week and workout for fifteen minutes. Gotta get back to being on a schedule and feeling normal again.

So, if you haven't heard from me, if I don't answer your texts, give you a snappy remark, etc, don't worry. You are in good company and hopefully in the upcoming weeks I'll be back to my semi-demon self.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Healin' Feelin' Massage

It is almost my year anniversary of running the NYC marathon and while I was training, I tried to get at least one massage a month just to help with the intense pain I was having in my calves. It ALWAYS hurt like crazy, but the benefits were amazing. Between PT and deep tissue massage, I was able to get to that finish line and vow never to do another marathon again.

Since then, unfortunately, I'm unable to run because my knee needs replacing, but my muscles are still in need of some TLC. There is only so much The Stick, foam rollers, and my strong husband can do to get out those pesky knots. Whether your an athlete or someone who sits most of the day, you can benefit from massage and that is where Hannah from Healin' Feelin comes in! 

Hannah is a licensed massage and bodywork therapist from Raleigh, NC. She graduated from Wake Tech Community College in 2013. Being an athlete all her life, she has overcome several injuries, one of which was a broken back in 2007. She has always felt that natural therapies, such as massage, were the best remedies in her recovery. She has 7 years experience in the medical field and has always shown a passion for helping others. She uses her skills in sports and deep therapeutic massage to help relieve muscle tension, encourage relaxation and advance the healing process in each of her massage sessions. Hannah hopes to educate more people about the medical aspects of massage and although some may view it as a luxury, it is truly a vital component to your overall health and wellbeing. 

Why did you want to get into massage therapy? I have always wanted to help people like my mom who is a nurse. My original plan was to actually be a nurse but after a couple of years in school, I looked into the therapeutic massage program and decided to give it a try. Not even a month in, I fell in love with it. It's hands on and a natural way of healing. Whether it's focusing on one specific problem area someone has or giving them one hour to relax, I am helping them physically and mentally and to me, that's incredible.

Why do you think massage therapy is beneficial?I feel like massage therapy is underestimated in the medical field. It is seen by many as a luxury service instead of something that is medically necessary. Massage therapy is a holistic therapy that promotes healing to the body and I think any natural way to heal your body is significantly healthier and safer then using toxins and potentially addicting substances.

What type of massages do you offer? Do you specialize in a particular massage?I offer a variety of massages such as Swedish, sports and deep tissue massage. I also do hot stone massage and trigger point therapy. Just recently I learned a new popular modality, thanks to the Olympics, cupping. I have learned over the last 3 years of practicing that it's hard to say "I only did deep tissue during our massage today" or "I will only do trigger point during our massage today" because I incorporate a little of everything depending on what my client needs and what my client wants. I do not specialize in anything specific at the moment but I do a lot of deep tissue and trigger point therapy for the neck, shoulders and low back. 

What type of conditions and/or aliments, specifically, could benefit from massage?There are several conditions and/or aliments that could benefit from massage. A few that I have worked with are multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease, scoliosis, arthritis, chronic migraines/headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, and post cancer treatment. More common conditions I have treated are whip lash, plantar fasciitis, sciatica, frozen shoulder syndrome, and muscular strains/spasms due to athletic injury or overuse. Like I said, there are several conditions that benefit from massage and to list them all would take the whole interview! If anyone is interested in massage and has a specific condition, they should discuss this with their primary care physician before their first session. Also, athletic injuries that create swelling or deep bruising should be examined by a doctor before seeing a massage therapist just to make sure there isn't anything more then muscular injury. 

If I was someone who has never had a massage, what would you tell them to make them feel more comfortable?
I always ask my clients if they have had a massage before. If they haven't, I discuss briefly how the session will go. I ask them if they are experiencing any pain or discomfort. Then I tell them that because it is their first professional massage, I will maintain a lighter pressure and if at anytime they feel I am giving too much pressure just let me know and I will adjust for them. I then tel them that I will step out of the room so that they can undress. They can undress to whatever they are comfortable too, I usually say down to their undergarments. If it is a woman, they can leave their bra on if they are not comfortable taking it off but I always assure them that during the massage everything will stay covered and nothing will be exposed except the area I am working on. I have been trained on draping each body area so that my clients will not feel exposed. Lastly, I encourage communication. If at anytime my client feels uncomfortable or would like to end their session, they can.

As a former runner, I always had aches in pains in my calves and back. How do massages help athletes enhance their recovery? 
Massages help athletes in so many ways. It increases blood flow to your muscles which helps the muscle relax and it also promotes the healing process. With moderate to deep pressure it stretches your muscles which will help relieve strain where the muscles attach and increase your range of motion in joints. With intense training muscle spasms are very common and massage helps calm them. Massage can also help athletes mentally. It gives them a chance to connect with their bodies and mind-body connection is key to success in any athletic sport.

What is the difference between a relaxation massage and a sports massage?  

A relaxation massage or Swedish massage uses very light pressure. It stimulates circulation to muscles and lymphatic flow. It gives you that sense of feeling good and does just what is says, relax you. A sports massage is a little deeper then Swedish massage but not as deep as a deep tissue massage or trigger point therapy. Sports massage is good for manually stretching the muscles to relieve strain at the muscle attachment sights and increase range of motion in joints. 

What is your philosophy on healing? 

Healing is more then recovering from an illness or injury. It is mental and emotional as well. I feel you have to be connected with your body in order to heal. We hide so much in our bodies and massage is a way for everything to release. When we continue to hold things in we disconnect from ourselves and by releasing those emotions we are able to reconnect. Think of a glass of water, the glass can only hold so much before it over flows. Our bodies are just the same. You have to maintain that balance in order to heal. 

What is the toughest part about being a massage therapist?  

The toughest part about being a massage therapist is the physical and mental limitations. I love what I do and I wish I could do more but my body can only handle so much. Each massage takes mental and physical strength and after three to four one hour sessions, I am tired. I have to block out my personal life so that it doesn't interfere with my work but then I also have to guard myself from absorbing the emotions that my clients release. If I am not feeling 100% present, I don't feel like I am giving 100% to my clients and that's not fair to them, so that can be challenging at times!

What is the best part? 

The best part about being a massage therapist is seeing the change in my clients. Sometimes it's after just one session and sometimes it's after several sessions but when I see it, it makes me so happy. I have had clients come in and you can just see the pain in their face and in their body language and then after our session they smile or they're standing up straighter and I can see relief on their face. At that moment, I know I've helped them and it feels amazing. What's even better is on those days that I'm struggling or I'm tired there's that one client that reminds me that I made a difference in all of my clients lives that day and that makes any frustration go away!

What should you do to prepare for your massage?

Drink plenty of water! Staying hydrated is very important. When we are dehydrated our muscles are stiff which makes it harder on your therapist and also increases your chances of being sore after your massage. If you are diabetic, please make sure you eat at least one hour before your scheduled appointment because during your massage blood sugar levels can drop and eating before hand lowers chances of dangerously low blood sugar levels. Always inform your therapist that you are diabetic! If you are taking any pain medication or medication that would decrease your sense of pain, schedule your massage at the end of one dose and before your next dose. Decreased sense of pain can increase chances of injury to your muscle tissue because your threshold of pain increases and the level of pressure may be more then what your body can handle. Always inform your therapist of medication you have taken and check with your primary care physician before scheduling your massage!

What should you do to after your massage to maximize your results?

You should always drink plenty of water after your massage. Massages will dehydrate your muscles exactly like exercise will do so replacing those fluids is very important. It will also help with any soreness afterwards. I usually show my clients stretches that will help any tight areas they have and doing those stretches at home can really help maintain the relief given from the massage. Depending on the type of injury or pain you are experiencing, applying heat or ice as needed will help as well. I always tell my clients that just because they are feeling better and their pain is gone, doesn't mean they should stop at home treatments they have been doing. You should continue the stretches daily and heat/ice application as needed to maintain it.

Do you offer any other type of services?

I offer pregnancy massage as well. Massage can be great for pregnancy. It gives them a chance to relax and it also helps relieve back pain from the pregnancy. Of course, their OB/GYN should give them the ok before scheduling their massage and they should wait until they are thru their first trimester before scheduling their first massage. 

If you had to give advice for someone pursuing this as a career, what would it be?

Therapists have to keep their body physically and mentally in shape. Know your limitations and trust yourself. You have to figure out how many massages you are capable of safely performing per day. You don't want to tire yourself out and have to end your career early because your body can't handle it anymore. 

Whether you are looking for a relaxing massage or want to enhance your recovery from your workouts, Healin' Feelin' can help. If you are interested in contacting Hannah, you can visit her Facebook page, contact via email at or call her at 919-971-9365. 

Everyone gets $10 off their initial visit, but if you mention this blog and you get an extra 10% off your service! 

30 minute massage: $40

60 minute massage: $70
90 minute massage: $100