Thursday, December 22, 2011

Heavenly Massage!

Stress relief is what we were looking for in the third week of “10 Years Younger in 60 Days, which also happens to be the week before Christmas, a time of stress for so many of us. Innkeeper Ilja had arranged for massage therapist Tamar Smookler, owner of Inner Truth Massage & The Healing Arts Studio in Littleton, and her associate, Gina Formeister, also a certified massage therapist, to introduce us to the benefits of massage.
Massage feels wonderful, and it also has health benefits, say Tamar and Gina. It’s good for the detox process that some of us are experiencing as we change our diets because it brings blood to the body’s muscles and tissues, and helps get rid of toxins. Drinking a lot of water after a massage helps to flush out your system as well.

Massage helps your body recover if you are sore from exercising, it can help improve your spirits, is good for joint health, and aids in digestion. Getting a massage can also reduce anxiety and help lower your stress levels.

Getting a massage, says Tamar, stimulates our “happy hormones,” the feel good ones that produce a natural high. “It feels good and you don’t have to do anything!”

Gina and Tamar also demonstrated some simple self-care techniques we could use on a daily basis to help relieve neck and shoulder stress, one of the most common complaints of those who spend a lot of time in front of a computer or do any kind of repetitive job. Stretching to open your chest can relieve tension in the back and neck, as can gentle necks rolls or squeezing the back of your neck with your palms. Massaging your scalp and temples feels good and also helps release mental stress.

The massage therapists hold complimentary chair massages every Wednesday at 11:30 at the Littleton studio, followed by a meditation time. The complimentary sessions are open to the public. Learn more about the benefits of massage or book an appointment at the Inner Truth website at

Following their introductory talk, we got to the fun part of the evening with Tamar and Gina – enjoying a chair massage. Each of us had a short session in the chair, with one of the therapists massaging our scalp, neck, shoulders, back and hands. Those who had never experienced massage were pleasantly surprised with how wonderful and relaxed they felt after just 10 minutes. And those who had had massage before really looked forward to their session. One person said she felt like her entire upper body had opened up and was lighter feeling.  

We were also excited to learn that massage can affect your blood pressure. A couple of people took their blood pressure before and after their massage and noted a marked decline in their numbers following their massage. A very positive ending to our introductory massage experience!

Week No. 3 Weigh In:

We’re starting to notice small weight losses when we step on the scale. A pound or two doesn’t sound like much, but it is if you’ve had trouble losing weight before. If we keep this up we’ll see 10-20 pound weight losses by the end of the eight-week program. And, it’s rewarding to get a high five from our “10 Years Younger in 60 Days” buddies for our accomplishments.

One person noted how eating the wrong foods can affect us. She had eaten a lot of chocolate-covered popcorn and said that it made her feel bad. Another person had made chocolate candies, but resisted eating any, deciding to make good food choices that day. Someone else has stopped eating chocolate all together (notice a theme here!), and has cut out late night snacks, leading to her modest weight loss. Chef Orlo reminded us that dark chocolate is good for us, but only in moderation!

Healthy Snack:

Brad’s Carrot-Pineapple Smoothie received a thumbs-up this week. While we could smell the banana in it, we had difficulty identifying the ingredients of the icy, not too sweet, pale orange fruit and vegetable drink. One of us thought it tasted of strawberries, but – surprise! – no strawberries.

3/4 cup fresh pineapple
1/2 cup ice
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup carrots
1/2 banana

Blend until smooth and frothy.

“That is the recipe,” says Brad, “but of course a true chef puts his touches on any recipe and unfortunately I am no different. I just increased the quantities. More of everything -- carrots, pineapple, and orange juice. I didn’t put more banana in it so as to NOT upset my wonderful bride (aka Innkeeper Ilja) as she hates bananas!”

We decided this one’s a keeper, but be sure to watch portion sizes if you increase the quantities. You’ll defeat the purpose of the healthy snack if you guzzle it all down at once.

Next Week:

This is crunch week for us – making the right food choices over Christmas, when there are so many tempting foods to choose from. Our goal this week is to stay steady, and not gain weight. The scales will reveal whether we’ve been naughty or nice next Tuesday evening.

Merry Christmas to all!


  1. We had so much fun with you guys! Best of luck with your health goals, we know you can do it! -Tamar and Gina

  2. I want to see the Before and After photo's, please!

  3. Oh !! this looks something very different and amazing !!!