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Tapestry Life Resources & Body Balance II NewsletterNews for
Body, Heart,
Mind & Spirit
June 2011

All articles written by Suzanne H. Eller unless otherwise indicated.           Suzanne H. Eller, 2011

in this issue
:: Chronic Back Pain
:: Essential Blend of the Month...Ancient Wisdom's Inner Voice
:: Poison Ivy and Poison Oak Home Remedies
:: Summer Reading
Photo by Ali Taylor at www.stock.xchng.com
June is the month of the Summer Solstice, marking the first day of summer. However, if you live in this area, the recent 90 degrees plus heat-wave may have you wondering what August is going to feel like if spring is already a scorcher.


The hot weather and longer days may have you outside more. If that is the case, please read our article on poison ivy and poison oak. Joey Green gives some suggestions for protecting yourself from the itch that contact with the plants bring to those that are allergic to them.


We also have articles this month about chronic back pain and massage, a new essential oil blend by AWEO, and some recommended reading. We hope you enjoy this issue of Warp and Weft and will share it on Facebook or Twitter and forward it to your friends.


We've been pretty busy at the office, and we're all going to be out of town some this month and next month. Please remember to call ahead to schedule your massage appointments. We will try to work you in if you call at the last minute (we understand you're busy, too!), but we do work by appointment only. We apologize to those of you whom we haven't been able to see when you called. Don't give up. Call us back, and we'll try to make a spot for you as soon as possible.
Have a great spring/summer. We hope to see you soon.


Chronic Back Pain
Massage can help

back and neck painBy far, back pain and neck pain are the two most common complaints of clients when they come for a massage. In fact, many folks only schedule a massage when the pain in their backs or necks starts to affect their performance of day to day activities.


According to a recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the rate of chronic low-back pain in North Carolina has doubled since 1992 with over ten percent of the population experiencing chronic back pain. This number is typical of the national increase in chronic low-back pain complaints and does not include the numbers of people who suffer from occasional acute pain due to injury or overexertion.


The costs associated with increasing back pain are growing also. Back pain is second only to headaches as the most common neurological ailment for Americans, who spend an estimated $50 billion each year to relieve their back pain. One study cites back pain as a frequent work-related disability resulting in over $100 billion lost in productivity and health-care costs per year.


The most frequent cause of chronic back pain is poor posture. We live in a stressful society, and our bodies react to stress by pulling inward. Our shoulders roll forward and upward, shortening our necks and causing our backs to tighten to accommodate and adapt so we literally to not topple forward. This drawing inward is a protective posture, and over time, it creates havoc on our spine. It can even cause organ problems.


Similarly, we often slump while sitting and further exacerbate the stress on our spines. Working all day at a desk, in front of a computer, or behind a steering wheel rolls our upper bodies forward even more. Add to this repetitive movements at work, our lack of exercise, our excess weight, and other health conditions like osteoporosis, and you have a recipe for back problems.


Numerous studies cite massage as an effective way to reduce back pain. Indeed, one group who received weekly massage for ten weeks reported a fifty percent decrease in the severity of their pain.


Massage can help shortened muscles relax, release deep trigger points that cause referred pain, and it calm down the pain receptors in the superficial tissues. Furthermore, massage activates the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest), causing the brain to discharge anti-stress endorphins. These chemicals cool the pain response and promote better sleep and coping skills.


Massage increases circulation thereby reducing recovery time for sore, overworked muscle tissues, and it improves range of motion and flexibility.


Massage also works well with other treatment protocols like chiropractic and acupuncture. However, if you are experiencing numbness, tingling, unusual weakness or pain that does not improve with massage or rest, you should see a medical doctor as this could indicate a more serious problem.
(For more on self-care and neck pain, please see our October 2009 issue of Warp and Weft.)


Mueller, Beth. "Massage Therapy for Lower Back Pain." Back Pain, Neck Pain, Lower Back Pain | Spine-Health. Spine-health.com, 10 May 2002. Web. 12 June 2011.


Osborn, Karrie. "Baby Your Back." Body Sense Spring-Summer (2010). MassageTherapy.com. Associated Massage and Bodywork Professionals. Web. 12 June 2011.


Essential Blend of the Month

Ancient Wisdom's Inner Voice
AWEO logo
AWEO's Inner Voice: $29
Inner Voice is a new blend by Ancient Wisdom Essential Oils that is equivalent to Young Living's Inner Child. It has the same ingredients, but it doesn't contain any carrier oils.
It is a sweet-smelling blend of pure, therapeutic grade essential oils. The fragrance is so pleasant that it could easily be used as a perfume scent, and its properties are amazing.
Emotionally, Inner Voice is often the choice of those who are trying to release negative programming from childhood, especially when childhood included abuse or trauma. As adults, these old memories can make us sick both physically (the body remembers) or emotionally. Using an essential oil blend can help the toxic memories release because it works on a physical and a vibrational level to dissipate the trauma.
Specifically, Inner Voice carries oxygen to the brain and calms the nerves. It also improves heart function and as with most essential oils, it is anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial.
The specific oils in the blend and their properties are as follows:
  • Orange has a great clean, citrus scent that lifts the spirits while providing a calming influence on the body. It is especially good for those who suffer from depression, and it helps promote feelings of security.
  • Tangerine contains esters and aldehydes that are sedating and calming. It eases nervous irritability and is good for reducing edema and flushing the lymphatics.
  • Lemongrass has been used historically to treat infectious illnesses and fever as well as for bladder infections and reducing edema. It is said to speed the repair of ligaments and other connective tissues, to wake up the lymphatic system, and to relieve respiratory problems. It is mildly sedative to the nervous system.
  • Spruce, with its anti-inflammatory properties, is a good choice for helping combat infection and the general feeling of malaise that comes from inflammation. It has a softer fragrance than other evergreen oils, and its aroma is said to release emotional blocks. Spruce is also grounding and releasing and promotes a feeling of balance and security.
  • Ylang-Ylang is calming and promotes relaxation. It is said to bring order to chaotic thoughts and to decrease hypertension. Its fresh, delicate, floral scent is used in many perfumes.
  • Sandalwood is one of the most precious oils in the world. It has an exotic, warm, slightly sweet, woody aroma that has been used in perfumery for over 4000 years and is said to be an aphrodisiac. It has a high vibration that is calming and is useful in combating depression. It can also be helpful for respiratory infections and for urinary tract infections. It relieves itching, hydrates the skin with moisture but also has an astringent effect on oily skin, making it useful for skin care and especially for conditions such as eczema, acne, aging and scarring.
  • Jasmine is another of the world's most precious and expensive oils. It takes over a thousand pounds of jasmine flowers to yield one pound of jasmine liquid concrete which then yields .2% aromatic molecule. Its scent, which is sweet and richly floral, is highly prized for perfumery. Like most of the oils above jasmine is a nervine; it calms and soothes the nervous system, eases depression and produces a feeling of confidence and optimism. It helps with sexual problems, eases childbirth, helps respiration, reduces muscle pain, and is beneficial for the skin.
  • Neroli is also known a orange blossom. It is very relaxing and relieves anxiety and has been said to reduce shock. It is particular helpful to the lower digestive tract, reliving colitis, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and flatulence. It is a good general tonic, but it specifically helps with headaches, heart palpitations, neuralgia and vertigo. It fights stretch marks and spider veins, and it excellent for general skin care as it boots the skins regrowth and cellular activity and minimizes scars.
Inner Voice is an amazing new addition the the Ancient Wisdom Essential Oils family. Rub it just under your nose to open the pathways to your inner self, or rub it just below your eleventh rib to disperse erratic energy and anxiety.
Ordering Information
To learn more about Ancient Wisdom Products and opportunities or to order from AWEO, please click here.
To Order:
  1. Click "Shopping" on the navigation bar.
  2. Sign in as a New Customer.
  3. You will be prompted as you go.

Thank you for your order.


Poison Ivy and Poison Oak
Home Remedies

poison ivy public domain photoAll the rain this spring coupled with the warm weather have produced a bumper crop of poison ivy and poison oak in my yard.
Some experts insist that once the urushiol- the oil that causes the itchy rash- is washed off your skin, it is impossible to spread the rash from one person to another; others swear that they have gotten a rash from an infected person.
As a massage therapist, I don't want to take a chance of giving the itchy bumps to anyone else, no matter what the experts say. In the past, I've canceled appointments when I've had a rash from poison ivy or oak.
Joey Green is a writer who gives simple, homemade solutions and remedies for everyday problems. His book, Gardening Magic, offers several suggestions for getting rid of the plants and relieving the rash caused by the urushiol. He lists name brands, but I imagine that any brand of the ingredient will work and so have been generic.
The following are some of Green's suggestions:
  • To get rid of the plants, cover them with black trash bags or wet newspapers. Weight the corners with rocks and leave in place for a week. By then the plants should be dead.
  • Another way to kill the plants is to go for the root. Pour salt or borax on the roots on a hot sunny day. If the growth is thick or there are other plants blocking the roots, mix one ounce of vodka with two cups water in a sixteen ounce spray bottle. Saturate the poison ivy plant; the vodka will dehydrate it. Boiling water will also kill the roots, but be careful not to splash the water from the plant onto yourself!
  • To remove the urushiol after it comes in contact with your skin, soak a cotton ball, washcloth or sanitary pad in either nail polish remover, vodka, or glass cleaner with ammonia and saturate the affected within thirty minutes of exposure. You might be able to prevent the rash altogether.
  • To soothe the rash, make a paste of a drying ingredient like corn starch, baking soda or Epsom salt and apply the the affected area.
  • Apply lemon juice or Listerine to the rash to stop the itching.
  • Make a cool compress for your rash by mixing ten ounces of nonfat dry milk with twenty-five ounces of water in a half gallon container. Fill the rest of the container with ice cubes and add two tablespoons salt. Saturate a washcloth or sanitary pad and apply to the affected area for twenty minutes, three or four times a day. You can also take a milk bath to relieve the itching.
  • Take a bath in an entire jar of instant iced tea mix. The tannic acid relieves the itching.
  • Grind oatmeal in a blender until it is a fine powder. Fill the foot of an old pair of panty hose with the oatmeal and hand under the tap in the bathtub to create a inexpensive oatmeal bath. Soak for thirty minutes to soothe the itching.
  • Pour vinegar over the affected area and sprinkle with salt. Let it dry and brush clean. Repeat if itching reoccurs or the rash oozes. This treatment is said to dry out the rash within two days.
  • Hemorrhoid ointments like Preparation H, which contains the chemical equivalent of the healing ingredient in jewelweed (see below), may relieve the burning and swelling as it clears up the rash.
I would be remiss if I didn't add two remedies not included in Green's book. The first is jewelweed, a member of the impatiens family that grows in the wild, often near poisonous plants like poison ivy and stinging nettles. Hikers know that if you get into a patch of poisonous plant, you can break off a stem of jewelweed an rub it on the affected area. Often you won't even get a rash.
I use a jewelweed tincture that I buy from Heritage Herbs on Kathy Road in Morganton (828-584-3429). They will ship it to you if you can't get to their store. The original recipe for the tincture comes from herbologist Wilma Cook, who sold her business last year. The new owners continue to prepare remedies using her recipes as well as stocking other pure herbal brands. I've used their jewelweed tincture on both poison oak and on insect bites with excellent results; it quickly relieves the itch.
Another remedy I recently discovered for insect bites and poison plant rashes is Swedish bitters. Using a medicine dropper, drop a couple of drops of bitters onto the rash and wipe away the excess with a cotton ball or tissue. Swedish bitters is cooling and instantly relieves the itching. It also helps to dry up the blisters.
Green says that urushiol oil is one of the world's most potent external toxins, similar to carbolic acid! It can stay potent on your clothes, tools, or shoes for up to one year. You can even get the oil on your skin from taking off shoes that have tramped through a patch of the plants.
Urushiol penetrates the skin rapidly and combines with skin proteins to produce the allergic reaction. I got a rash once from mowing a small patch of poison oak; the oil must have splashed back on me from the mower blades. Never burn poison oak or poison ivy. The urushiol can get into your eyes and throat and cause a severe systemic reaction.
If you know you are going to come in contact with poisonous plants, wear clothing that covers your entire body and be prepared to toss it in the trash when your activity is finished. Even people who have never experienced a poison ivy or poison oak allergy can develop one.
If your rash is particularly rampant, you may need to see a doctor. A steroid shot can reduce the amount of time it takes for the rash to heal although steroids have side-effects that you should consider.
Knowing how to prevent contact and treat the rash can make your summer more pleasant. Hopefully, these tips can help.
Summer Reading

girl reading in hammock
Original drawing by S. Eller
Summer is just around the corner, and you may be looking for something to read at the beach, the pool, or on the sofa while you try to beat the unseasonable heat.
The following are a few suggestions that may give you some money-saving tips on gardening, help you better cope with your mental and emotional health, or spark your imagination. No matter the season, there is nothing quite like a good book.

Joey Green's Gardening Magic

by Joey Green by Rodale Books
List Price: $14.99
Our Price: $5.95
Buy Now
I love Joey Green's books. This is the one with the tips for outsmarting poison oak and poison ivy (see above), but Green has a whole series of books with suggestions for creating homemade cosmetics and cleaning solutions as well as other interesting tidbits of information and cost-cutting tips.

Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance with Essential Oils

by Gabriel Mojay



List Price: $19.95
Our Price: $13.57
Buy Now
Gabriel Mojay's excellent discussion of aromatherapy and emotional healing is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine principles, which dovetails nicely with my Touch for Health practice. He covers over thirty essential oils and their benefit to the emotions and the mind. This book will be a nice addition to your aromatherapy library.

Roman Blood: A Novel of Ancient Rome (Novels of Ancient Rome)

by Steven Saylor
List Price: $15.99
Our Price: $5.50
Buy Now
I am nearly finished with this entire series of mysteries, set in republican Rome. The protagonist is Gordianus the Finder, a citizen detective who works for some of the greatest names in the history of ancient Rome. Author Steven Saylor is a history and classics major who expertly takes the reader into the hidden history of the Roman republic. I have fallen in love with these books. If you want a good summer read, start with Roman Blood and go from there.

Don't forget Father's Day, June 19!



fathers day family
Image from Marco Malka stock.xchng.com
Father's Day is just around the corner. If you think the special man in your life might enjoy a massage from Suzanne or Susan, try our online gift certificates.
You can choose your design and write a message, the email or print the gift certificate for easy gift giving.
You can also buy gift certificates in our office. Just let us know so that someone will be there when you come by to pick it up.
Regular One-hour Swedish or Deep Tissue Massage: $60
(For Online Gift Certificates from Suzanne Eller, Click Here)
(For Online Gift Certificates from Susan Smith, Click Here)



We hope you've enjoyed this issue of Warp & Weft. Have a great summer, and call for an appointment soon.
Body Balance II buildingSincerely,


Suzanne Eller, LMBT #7619


DBA Tapestry Life Resources


Susan Smith, LMBT #6579
DBA Massage by Susan
Laura Queen, LMBT #3224
DBA Queen Company


Body Balance II

318 2nd Ave. NW

Hickory, NC 28601