Tag Archives: massage

Neem and it’s Benefits

Neem and its benefits

An average Neem tree is 15 meters high with th...
An average Neem tree is 15 meters high with the crown’s diameter up to 15-20 meter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Neem and its benefits are a well kept secret if you are not familiar with Ayurveda.

So, lets start with a little back ground on Ayurveda.  Ayurveda is a 5,000. year old art of traditional  healing in India, their medical system. Ayurveda deals with the balance of you and your environment, you and nature. Working to balance your daily routine, sleep patterns, eating and digestion, with meditation, herbs, yoga,and massage. Ayurveda has been made popular by people likeDeepak Chopra, M.D, and in recent news, Dr Oz has introduced several Ayurvedic Physicians(recently Dr. Chaudhary).

With Ayurvedic medicine herbs are used to help balance the system, this is where you will find things such as ginger for digestion, or holy basil for stress reduction and relaxation. Herbs have a benefit in the  overall plan of Ayurvedic healing, weather it be added to your food, to  massage oil, or taken by the spoonful, it is used in the forms needed.

This is where neem and its benefits come in as one of the many great kept secrets of India and Ayurveda. Neem is native to India and Burma (Myanmar), the neem oil is derived from the seed of the neem tree, but the whole plant can also be used for medicinal purposes. Neem and its benefits can found in many forms in Ayurveda products, such as teas, or pastes due to its anti fungal, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Neem is often found in products used to help relive itchy, dry scalp, tooth decay and acne. You will often find it added into a product due to the strong, seemingly unpleasant scent. I often will add neem oil to a base of sesame or coconut oil and apply to the skin to help nourish the cells and decrees blemishes. So a word of caution, when looking for a great neem oil, maybe start with a product that has neem added, or a neem capsule( http://www.Mapi.com).

Heather Small  http://www.mettaspa.net

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Winter Tea

Winter Tea

winter herbal tea

My main focus in staying healthy is with massage therapy, along with that I add herbs, meditation, and a balanced daily routine to help maintain a healthy self.

People that are close to me and come to me as clients, know that I work to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  One of the many ways I work to keep healthy during the winter months is with herbs, and making winter teas is simple, warming, and relaxing. Winter teas are a great way to balance the immune system , relax the mind and warm the body. When I look at putting together a batch of winter tea, I start with a few base questions

  • 1) when do I plan on drinking my tea
  • 2) what is the focus of this tea,
  • 3) who is drinking this tea

Looking at a few basic questions helps me plan my tea, example: I would like to drink my tea in the late afternoon – so no caffeine. Focus is on health immune – nettle, oat-straw, ginger, elderberry and so on. The last question is important, I have 4 kids, and some herbs kids love – I don’t want to form a long term hate for herbs, so I work to keep softer, fruiterer teas with the kids(our older two kids drink any tea, the younger two are rather picky –  find that I may add the herbs into a soup in place of tea sometimes). Right now we are drinking rose-petal lavender infused green tea in the morning, for a light calming from the lavender, soft smell from the rose, and energy from the green tea. As our morning rolls into afternoon we have a cumin, coriander fennel tea to help flush and move things through the system, to decrease a buildup of toxins in the system. We will drink winter tea throughout the day , and adjust our teas as needed, if we have a cold, or a very busy work week, etc.

Weather you chose to buy your teas from Metta Spa, or find that tea that is just the right balance for you, or experiment with your own blends at home, take you your time and enjoy. Herbal teas are a great addition to a balanced daily routine, give them an average of three weeks to start to notice the benefits( some people are more sensitive and see changes quickly, others need a little more time.

The power of Jewelweed

English: Flower of Jewelweed, showing spur

English: Flower of Jewelweed, showing spur (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


What a great start to my day, this was my morning! After making breakfast and getting everyone off to school or work, stopped at the Raw milk farm, and then spent my morning harvesting jewelweed.

If you are not familiar with jewelweed, it is a great one to get to know! i can remeber as a girl my grandmother would send us out to collect and bring back as much jewelweed as we could, partly to keep us busy, and partly due to the great benefits of this plant. My grandparents had a house at Gillen Pond, in Lebanon, NY, we would spend our summers outside, and the jewelweed would grow all along the side of the road where little streams or brooks would flow. Once picked we would lay them out on cookie sheets to dry,  as a child I had no idea of the power of this small golden flower, as by its name looked like a jewel.

My grandmother would dry the jewelweed,and then later make a tea from it for when we needed it for poison-ivy or other skin irritations. I have come to us it in my work, sometimes drying and adding to a herbal boluses for relief from bruising, sore muscles, and on a visual level the color is very calming in massage.

With any oil, we know they are absorbed though the skin when used in massage therapy, and with the healing properties of the jewelweed, it is easy to say that we would see some reaction to this as an oil.So, in the past year I have started to take the jewelweed and create oils with it, finding it to be a very calming and effective oil for painful joints and skin aliments with my clients.

Jewelweed has great potential , as a healing plant for the skin, visually calming, and has been used as a digestive aid. As I came to work with jewelweed, and learn this importance of the plants around me, I have come to understand how important it is for all lf us to preserve our natural resources. I continually find and learn new ways to work within the plants around me.


Relaxing during the craziness of the new school year.


Relax (Photo credit: Creative Chusky)

 A new school years means many things such as new teachers, new classes, new friends, and as always new reasons to worry so what can we do to stop all the stress and worry of a new school year? Well we have a few tips that may be able to help you start with a do nothing day! Pick a day and don’t worry about anything, let someone else take care of dinner or the kid’s homework just do nothing. Taking a bath is also a great way to relax, put some bubbles in it, light some candles, or read a book! Put on some music and sing and dance like a kid again. Try some meditation, you’ll be able to get away from your problems and get rid of your stress. If these tips don’t help you relax then you can always see a professional. Take a spa day and get a massage, try a Thai massage or a deep tissue, these will definitely get rid of your stress. You could also get a facial or your nails done or hair done, really anything that makes you feel good. Relaxing is about focusing on you and how you feel and its different for everyone so just remember to take some time and relax during this busy time and remember to do something nice for you. Try a new coffee or muffin, buy yourself some ice cream and watch corny, sad movies just do whatever helps you relax and feel better because in the end you’re the most important person and it is even more important to make sure you love yourself and do things to help your body heal and stay healthy. You can also try eating healthy foods while your stressed so your body has the nutrients it needs to keep you going with everything that’s going on at the moment.

Keep your cool in Pitta Season

Summer is pitta season, a time for most of us to remind ourselves to relax and keep cool. Sounds easy, but if your pitta is out of balance, so may your temper. Pitta is fiery, so it is already hot, so this is the ideal time to put out the flame.
Good news, cool creamy foods, like ice cream are good for cooling pitta, its all about the moderation. Walking outside, taking a hike is a great way to cool pitta, pitta types love water, so if you have a stream near by, you can sit and meditate. Massage and yoga are also great ways to bring in balance, work with aloe and coconut for the body, and plan some relaxing yoga( no Bikram yoga for you).
So work in moderation, keep cool with foods(cucumbers, aloe, apples, watermelon) massage( Anti-stress Ayurvedic massage) and yoga( shavasana is great). during this pitta season.

Pitta recipe:

Cooling rice and coconut:

1c rice , 2c coconut milk, 1/2c raisins, pinch of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, turmeric

Add all ingredient to med  pot, bring to boil, then cover and bring heat down to low, simmer for 25- 30mins.

Ayurveda and Meditation

English: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi - Huntsville Ja...

English: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi – Huntsville January 1978 Français : Maharishi Mahesh Yogi – Huntsville Janvier 1978 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ayurveda is the oldest continuously practiced health care system.
Ayur means life and Veda means knowledge or science, so Ayurveda is the science of life.  Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of the Transcendental Meditation program,  revived Ayurveda around the world and worked with top Ayurvedic experts in India to restore the purity and ensure the effectiveness of the many areas of treatment that Ayurveda offers.
The term Maharishi Ayurveda signifies that the highest standards of Ayurveda that  Maharishi Mahesh Yogi placed are met. Ayurveda goes deep into massage, meditation, yoga, diet, herbs and daily lifestyle, we will touch on many of these areas each time, this month we are diving into Transcendental Meditation.

Ayurveda is all encompassing and does not refer to just herbal remedies or treatments for the body but also takes into account the mind and all aspects of the environment.  The key to Ayurveda is to restore and maintain balance internally and externally until permanent balance is gained inside and can no longer be influenced by outside circumstances.  Ayurveda respects the deepest level of intelligence of the mind and body and the intelligence that creates our environment.  By understanding the source of that intelligence and  how that intelligence functions within and without we can eliminate the blocks to its natural flow and restore balance and the natural healing abilities of our mind, body and environment.
One of the biggest threats to our health and enjoyment is stress.  Stress is rampant in our society.  It effects every aspect of our life and is considered by many to cause or complicate most disease.  Stress effects our brain physiology, our health and our relationships.
How do we dissolve it?
The TM (Transcendental Meditation) technique is a simple, natural, effortless technique that creates global EEG coherence in the brain and a deep state of rest in the body which translates into a major 4th state of consciousness called Transcendental Consciousness.   This unique state of restful alertness has many benefits that come directly from the dissolving of deep rooted stress that is not dissolved by sleep.  When we accumulate stress over a lifetime it can build up in our body and can adversely effect our mental and physical health, our behavior and relationships and erode the foundation for success, creativity, peace and happiness in our daily lives.  The good news is we can break this cycle with the twice daily practice of the TM technique.  If you want to build a skyscraper you need a strong foundation and if you want to have successful, fulfilling activity, you also need a strong foundation, and that is the deepest rest possible since rest is the basis of activity.  The unique quality of rest gained during the practice of the TM technique provides that foundation for successful, fulfilling, enjoyable activity.
There is a vast body of research on the TM technique that includes more than 650 studies, at 200+ universities and research institutes in more than 30 countries around the world.   The research points to such fundamental positive change in all aspects of a persons life that it can only be seen as a paradigm shift in the understanding of development of human potential.  This field of consciousness or unified field,as it is called in physics, is the most fundamental aspect of the mind.  The key to the TM technique is transcending, going beyond the field of activity or duality to the field of consciousness or unity. This state of transcendental consciousness is absolutely stable, blissfully silent and an unbounded source of creativity, intelligence and peace.  When we practice the TM technique these qualities become lively within and carry over to activity, enriching all aspects of our life.
One of the beautiful things about this technique is that you don’t need any special abilities to practice, as a child can practice equally as well as an adult. It’s uniqueness requires that it be learned from a qualified instructor who has been extensively trained.  If you’re looking to improve all aspects of your life, then why not enliven that area that enriches all aspects, much like watering the root of a tree enriches all aspects of the tree.
About the author: Heather Small works at Metta Spa in Shrewsbury, MA as a Licensed Massage therapist and Ayurveda Body-worker. She has studied Ayurveda and taught at the Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center, Lancaster MA, and Metta Spa, Shrewsbury,MA. In the past year she open Metta Spa where she offers massage therapy, Thai Massage, along with Ayurveda, Ayurveda Lectures, and Meditation.

My love for Yoga

So let me share my love for yoga with you.

I am a mom first( four kids at home), a partner, a self-employed Massage Therapist, an Ayurveda bodywork, you get it ,the list could go on. So my life can get busy, but I keep it balanced. How? I’m thankful for the life I have, the people, family, clients, everything that makes it the life it is.

I spend a lot of time with my clients, helping to create a daily routine that will work in their schedule to bring in a balance, so it is only fair that I work to do the same in my own home. The things that I have found to be the most effective is to make sure I am getting massages, eating well, my meditation, and yoga.

With four kids in the house we searched out yoga teachers that would work best for our family. The girls and I enjoy a fun, more energetic yoga( the girls are 12 and 17) this keeps them interested and wanting to come to class.  As we moved through our journey into yoga and including all the kids we came to a yoga program that has created so much calm, and bless into our home, http://www.learningfromtheheart.com. This program has become such a cornerstone for our family, I felt the need to share with you and my clients.

Last year my parter and I went to our first Kundalini yoga class ( I have been to many yoga classes, this was his first ever yoga class), and we meet so many incredible people, but one would become a gift to the family, Sat Nam Kaur. We quickly realized the work and patient for kids and yoga that she had, and as quickly joined her class. Since then we have enjoyed her class, our oldest son( 20 years old) is helping with the classes, and the difference we have seen in our youngest( 10 years old) who struggles with ADD/ADHA has truly convinced all of use of the power of yoga and this program.

If you have never had the pleasure, or gift of yoga, try it, look around, this program that we have found is a free program to families with children dealing with ADD/ADHD, anger and autism, we are blessed to find a teacher that believes in the power of her work, her gift.

With having kids ,we all have our struggles, and to find something that helps, it is a great please to share with others, with families dealing with the same or simular issues. I share this part of my life in great metta(loving-kindness).

About this Author:

Heather Small is an Ayurvedic body-worker and Massage Therapist at Metta Spa, you can contact her at www.mettaspa..com, or heather@mettaspa.com. Heather works  closely with her clients to help create a long-term goal of balanced health and well-being. To find out more about this yoga program: http://www.learningfromtheheart.com.

Massage and Ayurveda at home

essential oils lavender, lemon and sweet orange

essential oils lavender, lemon and sweet orange (Photo credit: How to be Sustainable)

So I thought today would be a great day to share a bit about my house and how I combine the skills I have learned through massage and Ayurveda at home .
We have a combined total of 4 kids in our house that range from 9 all the way up to 19, everyone has their own unique quality, this is a great blessing, and sometimes a challenge.
So what have we found that works for us, I will do massage therapy for the kids, one like Thai massage, another facial so I work with each one to find the massage that is best for them.We do a lot of Energy-work together
as a group (the kids respond well and I just finished taking RYSE , it helps) . We go to yoga twice a week, we have been so blessed to finds some great yoga teachers in our area(I will share my amazing yoga experience with you in my next post). Always working on the eating(this is a challenge), and we have recently added in Essential oils. We do a lot in our house with herbs due to the Ayurvedic back ground, and the essential oils are just a bonus. If you have not tried essential oils yet, you should, it complements what you are already doing and once you learn even a little bit , you will find how easy they are to add in. We have lavender and frankincense that we add to our feet before bed, orange and lemongrass we place on our wrist for energy, basil and cinnamon for grounding, I can go on and on.
I was lucky to have taken an Essential oil class at Deep Relief Massage Therapy with Jess Weagle http://www.deepreliefmassagetherapy.com/ using the doTerra oils, you can find more information on how to order here:
http://www.mydoterra.com/heathersmall/ .
So stop in, or book your next massage with me at http://www.mettaspa.com, lets see how you can have massage and Ayurveda at home.

Ayurveda Everyday

Buddha, Kamakura, Japan

Buddha, Kamakura, Japan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I first started to learn about Maharishi Ayurveda, and all the different elements, massage, herbs, meditation, yoga, I found it overwhelming. Now, as time goes by, I am referring to it in my everyday life, who knew that Ayurveda everyday would be so easy.

We can take Ayurveda everyday, break it down, take the elements that we can work with everyday and add them to our life. No, I don’t live by a strict routine, I don’t wake up at 5am to start every aspect of the Ayurveda routine, but I do take it into my life, and look at the pieces that will work and benefit my health mentally and physically.

So, what aspects of Ayurveda do I take into my life everyday? I wake early,do some light yoga, meditate, eat a healthy breakfast(yes, I enjoy a cup of coffee), and then start my day. I add massage, meditation, yoga and herbs into my life. I don’t panic over my routine, I just keep it in balance. I am lucky enough to practice massage, and understand the importance, it helps keep the body and mind relaxed, rejuvenates the skin helps balance life’s stresses.I have practiced meditation off an on for at least 20 years, I enjoy the connection that I have with myself mentally and spiritually when I continue to build my meditation practice. Yoga is a great tool to add into your routine. I will add a relaxed simple yoga stretching to my morning schedule, and always exploring and trying new types of yoga. I love the connection with myself  body and mind with yoga, and the flow of my body when working, easy movement no pain or discomfort, keeps me coming back. This brings me to herbs, we all add them to our meals, and understand the enjoyment from the smell and the flavor that they add, but what about for healing? We use herbs for everything from poison ivy,sinuses or tired feet. Learning how to use them is fun, and always exciting when we find another us for an herb that we didn’t think of.

Start simple, maybe it’s your diet, or adding yoga into your schedule, don’t allow it to overwhelm you, bring it into your life in steps. Make it easy, and enjoy!

Massage and Meditation,part 2



Meditation (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

Massage and Meditation  is a great tool for relaxing the body, settling the mind, and helping the body to heal from stress or trauma. Many of us have over the last few years have heard about the benefits of massage and  meditation, and when you look at them, you see similarities,so why do they work so well? What if we take them and combine them into one massage?
Your body is working hard everyday, carrying you, protecting you, supporting you on the physical and emotional level.. Allow the body to rest, release the the tension in the body and mind, while being walked through a gentle guided meditation. The combination of massage and meditation can bring the body to a state of relaxation helping the body and mind settle down. The body is better able to work with stress,injuries, illness when the body is allowed to rest.

This type of massage modality came from working with clients that were post stroke or trauma(s after a car accident, another after the passing of a family member). I have been very  lucky to work with many different types of clients, and with my background in massage, Ayurveda,Thai and Reiki we came to working with massage and guided meditation. The outcome has been overwhelming, so I was able to bring this style of massage to my clients coming in from any aspect.

This massage and meditation is a very gentle relaxing massage, we focus on releasing negative energy and encouraging a positive energy flow. My clients are feeling a sense of strength mentally and physically, and the benefits only get better with each massage session. I recommend that you do this massage and mediation in a serious of three, this allows the body to relax and absorb the changes slowly.
Give yourself this time, and feel stronger mentally and spiritually.