Sunday, June 3, 2018

Dealing with Rotator Cuff Injuries

You’ve been doing Olympic lifting for a while. Or stocking tall shelves. Or cheerleading, throwing your partners overhead. Everything was great! Until suddenly, it wasn’t. Ice and ibuprofen didn’t quite do the trick, so you visited the doctor. And lo and behold, you’ve got a rotator cuff injury and two questions:

How the heck did this happen?


What on earth do I do now?

You and your shoulder: it’s complicated!

Dem bones

Despite it all falling under one general name, the “shoulder” actually consists of four (or maybe five) different joints. The sternoclavicular joint is where your collar bone connects to your breastbone. The acromioclavicular joint (which even doctors just call the AC joint, because nobody has time for all that) is where the very top of your shoulder blade connects to the far end of your collarbone. The glenohumeral joint is where the ball of your humerus fits into the bowl of your shoulder blade. And then there is another joint (or maybe two, depending on who you ask) that is a “false joint” as well.

The meat of the matter

Into this complicated mechanical mess go a host of muscles. There are chest muscles that move the shoulder. There are back muscles that move the shoulder. And there are even muscles of the arm that help move the shoulder, even though that sounds weirdly like trying to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.

But not everything is about movement, which is why you have a rotator cuff. These are the muscles that keep your shoulder stable. These four muscles (Yes, four. I told you it was complicated.) include supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis, and teres minor. If you feel like those all sound like fun spells you might learn at Hogwarts, you’re not alone. If they all sound very sensible to you, optime bene! Write your high school Latin teacher a thank-you note. These four muscles keep your arm from dislocating when you lift it over your head or move it around. Which is kind of magical, if you think about it.

How rotator cuff injuries develop

If you are building strength in the muscles that lift and move your arms at the shoulder, this allows you to lift more. But when this is done in a way that is too fast, or with poor technique, or when already tired, or without a corresponding amount of attention given to strengthening the stabilizers of the shoulder, this puts a lot of extra stress on those rotator cuff muscles. This can cause them to fail in their job, allowing the shoulder capsule to stretch (not good), the head of the humerus to start to migrate out of its spot in the shoulder (kind of bad), or the muscles of the shoulder literally shearing off from their bony attachment (DEFINITELY bad). Other injuries caused by overloaded rotator cuff muscles include tendonitis and nerve impingement. Ouch!

So... I messed up my shoulder.

Go see your doctor

For real. Ice and ibuprofen will get you some relief, but as mentioned earlier, shoulders are incredibly complicated. The chances of your being able to accurately self-diagnose your specific problem as a layperson are slim to none. And if you’ve got a serious tear going on, waiting to have it repaired will only lead to further degradation of the joint. If you don’t have arthritis yet, that’s like begging for it to start. Nobody’s excited about a trip to see their physician, but that’s what adults do. Sorry!

Okay, okay. But then what?

It totally depends on what kind of injury you have going on. It might be the sort of thing that taking a break from Crossfit for a while can fix. You might need injections. You might need surgery. There will probably be physical therapy involved, to strengthen your shoulder stabilizers and correct any outsized range of motion you’ve developed from lifting/gymnastics/swimming/pitching/etc. But regardless, you’ll need to be more mindful of how you use (and abuse) your shoulders in the future.

Actually, it turns out my shoulder is fine. But how can I prevent rotator cuff injuries in the future?

Get serious about form

Yes, if you work out, it’s fun to see if you can do things as quickly as possible (I’m looking at you, Crossfitters), but that’s also the fastest path towards injury. Working with a trainer or coach and really nailing down the details of form before increasing the intensity and speed of your exercise will help keep your shoulders working properly.

If you don’t really need to be reaching overhead, don’t do it

Climb up on a stool when you’re pulling down boxes in the garage. Get a good stepladder when you’re painting your dining room. Reaching overhead is the toughest movement on your shoulder muscles, and adding weight or resistance to that only increases the strain. It only takes a minute to be kinder to your poor shoulder joint.

If you’re working out your arms, make sure to address your shoulder stabilizers too 

Working with a personal trainer (or, if you’re already experiencing problems, a physical therapist) can help you get on the right track with a routine to gradually build up more stability in your shoulders.

Can massage help with rotator cuff injuries?

Well, it’s not going to magically fix your shoulder.

BUT, there is a small but growing body of research that shows massage can help with shoulder pain, especially in conjunction with physical therapy. So if you’re already recovering from your injury, getting a massage can help you to feel better while you regain your range of motion and strength.

If you’re an athlete or work in a field requiring a large amount of physical labor, it’s also natural to feel some degree of anxiety about being injured. This is an area where massage really shines, helping you relax and cope with the stress that comes along with injury.

How do I find a good massage therapist to help me with my shoulder?

Good news: you’ve already found one. Click here to schedule your next appointment, or contact us with questions.

Monday, February 26, 2018

How to Make Self-Care a Priority With Membership Rewards

So we've been talking...

The concept of a massage membership is nothing new.  But unfortunately, that means many people have gotten used to a 50-minute hour, a massage therapist who may be lacking in experience, and up-charges/ extra fees galore.

At Healing Hands, we have two goals for our clients: anxiety/stress reduction and pain/function improvement.  We like to use whatever tools necessary to achieve those goals - YOUR goals - without our clients feeling nickled and dimed.

Here's the idea:

Since we are always telling our clients that massage should be preventative instead of reactionary (meaning, don't wait until you have a problem to come in and see us), imagine a monthly membership where you get to enjoy all the perks you currently do, at a reduced price.  See below to compare our plan to what's out there now...

Those in the membership plan will get monthly access to one 60-minute massage to use in the next 30 days (or it can be given to a family member or friend).  E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G is now included in one low monthly price.

This includes: 
  • Swedish
  • Deep Tissue
  • Prenatal
  • Aromatherapy
  • Heat Packs
  • Himalayan Salt Stones
  • Therapeutic Stretching
  • Cupping

All massages include hot towels and essential oils before and after each session.  Want more than an hour?  We can do that too.

The massages will roll over for a period of 3 months (again, during which time you can either use them or give them to someone else if you are unable to come in).  Conversely, if you’re current on your massages and would like to come in for an extra session, you will always get the member price.  

Are you ready to ensure you are practicing self-care on a regular basis? Why not sign up for a membership today and start collecting your sweet rewards? Sign up today.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Easy Ways To Be Your Best Self and Share a Little Kindness

Did you know that Random Act of Kindness Week is February 11-17?

It's amazing how a few words and deeds can have a profound effect even many decades later.

One digital artist friend I know stopped painting two decades ago because her professor laughed (literally in her face) at her dream of one day studying painting as a graduate student at The Royal College of Art in London.

"Where do you get such high flying ideas?" he scoffed.

Well, I am happy to report that she is doing just fine, went to graduate school in NYC, travels the world, has screened her animations on five continents, and has won multiple awards for her work.

And she (just now) started painting again! But what would have happened if that one snarky comment twenty years ago had been replaced by a kind one instead?

Another friend of mine recently let me know that something as simple as giving away some Halloween candy years ago has stayed with her all these years later.

She writes:

"I don't remember my childhood in fine-grained detail, but I do still remember the year that my father grounded my little sister and I for forgetting to take the trash out to the curb (again) on our way to school on what happened to be Halloween day.  I remember my rage at the ridiculously out of proportion punishment of not being allowed to go trick-or-treating that night. And I remember my gratitude when two girls our age from a family at church brought us a big chunk (probably half)  of their candy the next time we saw them. That was the biggest kindness I can remember anyone paying me as a child. Thank you Anastasia Yecke Gude! And thank your sister for me please."

I had completely forgotten about this and haven’t spoken with her since 1991 or so.

I don’t mention this to toot my own horn by any means, just to demonstrate that it’s possible for a simple act of kindness to be remembered for decades.

Did you know that research backs up that you will boost your own happiness levels for a sustained period of time when you do small "happiness activities" such as listing a few things you are grateful for each day or writing someone in your support network (friends and family) to let them know how much they mean to you?

This being also Valentine's Day, I'd love to introduce you to a cool tool and website that makes all of this even easier. Check out

In particular, they have a Kindness Chain Tool which makes it easy and free to send someone you care about a quick compliment or message of support, delivered right to their email inbox. Start your own here.

I hope that once this "Day of Love" and "Week of Kindness" ends you will consider making random acts of kindness a yearlong habit. And you can always start by being kind to yourself.

If you need a few ideas, come have a look at our pampering services over at Healing Hands. :-)

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

How to Get a Massage Without Being Touched by People (-Top 5 Ways)

Hate People? No Problem!

You'll have to excuse me. I'm in a rather silly mood and thought it might be fun to write a post about some of the ways you could get a massage or beauty and relaxation treatments without ever being touched by another human being.

So without further ado, here's my tongue-in-cheek list of...

Your best non-human alternatives for getting a massage or spa treatment

 1.) Cats

While most cat owners have experienced furry paws walking across their backs at one time or another, apparently this spa in Japan has harnessed the natural kneading skills of cats, to offer a back massage from a feline masseuse.

2.) Fish

In many parts of the world, it's the fish, also known as "Doctor Fish" giving the pedicures. These feet fish, who eat your dead skin are some of the weirdest beauty treatment regiments known in the world, originating from Bangkok, Thailand.

Would I ever try it myself? Nope! This practice is banned in many places due to the possibility of spreading disease. The fish also have to be really hungry in order to be coaxed into eating dead skin. I recently wrote a blog post on Why You Should Never Feed Your Feet to the Fishies.

Still, have a look and see these fish in action:

3.) Llamas 

OK. Maybe at this point you don't like people and you don't want animals massaging or eating dead skin off of you.  It could be time to send in the llamas.

Yes, Llama and Alpaca Therapy is gaining in popularity!

The first thing you see when driving up to the Life Center of Nashoba Valley, a nursing home in Massachusetts, is a pair of llamas. Around the country, homes like this are using animals—chickens and llamas as well as dogs and fish—in their therapy programs, brightening up their residents' days. 


But you don't have to wait until you're in the nursing home to kiss and cuddle a llama. Now you can also have llamas take part in your wedding. (Of course, this would be in Portland, Oregon... Where else would this be?)

4.) Robots

OK. I am getting off track now. Let's get back to massage, shall we? So, you don't like people and you also are repelled by animals? All right. It's time for a robot roll-call.

Meet Alex, the massage robot created by Massage Robotics.

5.) Weird Massage Products

Or, as Rhett and Link from Good Mythical Morning like to say, "Why get a massage when you can massage yourself?" Hmm. Why indeed?

Here they test some of the more odd massage devices on the market, with comedic results...


Well, there you have it, -some non-human alternatives to getting a massage or spa treatment.

If you think that people might not be so bad after all, I invite you to come and have an amazing and trans-formative massage experience at Healing Hands in Miami. Come see what our human customers have to say about us!

Then feel free to come on over to our contact page and book your appointment today
See you then!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Celebrating the Life of One of My Favorite Massage Clients, Mary Rife

Written by Healing Hands founder, Anastasia Yecke

Today marks a week since one of my very favorite massage clients, Mary Rife, passed away at the age of 90.

Mary was my very first regular massage client after I graduated massage school in 2010. In the ensuing 8 years, I went to her home every 4-6 weeks to give her massage, and I continued doing so long after opening my own place.

After every session, she would plop down on her sofa with a smile and say, “That was great. You knocked me out!”

I’ve been thinking of how to memorialize her and the amazing life she lived, and…it’s impossible. Mary was truly larger than life. Here are just some of the things she accomplished during her amazing lifetime:

  • Graduated from Berkley in the middle of WWII
  • Moved to Miami from San Diego by herself in the 1950’s
  • Opened her own market research firm in the 1960’s (imagine – in the age of “Mad Men”!)
  • Traveled around the world
    (*One of her many fascinating travel stories involves staying at a luxury 5-star hotel near the Taj Mahal and coming down to the pool in her bikini only to be greeted by several buff guys saying, “There you are, Mary. We’ve been waiting to meet you.” It turns out her trip coincided with a visit to India by President Nixon who was staying in the same hotel, so the Secret Service had already done background checks on all guests...)
  • Sold her company in 2007, less than a year before the Great Recession
  • Enjoyed a fabulous retirement, including multiple trips to Italy and Mexico, two of her favorite countries (mine too!). She and her partner had even booked a Caribbean cruise to celebrate the new year
  • Exercised daily (usually swimming in the Intracoastal Waterway behind her house, or going to the gym and lifting weights)

Mary was lucky to enjoy the finer things in life but she also worked hard to get them.

She was always smiling, with a quick wit and a generous heart for both people and animals. In fact, we met after she won my first-ever massage gift certificate that I donated to a silent auction for The Cat Network.

Through the years I helped her sterilize several cats in her neighborhood, and she in turn gave me advice on my growing company.

Through Mary, I was privileged to meet Wulf Treu, a dynamic modern artist and her partner of 20+ years. I also met their next-door neighbor Ines Doti-Pels, an animal rescue saint who adopted a dog to my friend Gayle Ramsey Marcellini thanks to Mary sharing Ines’ Facebook post. This is just a small sampling of the lives that were bettered thanks to Mary.

About a year ago, as I was leaving her house after a massage, instead of simply saying “Goodbye!” she said, “Goodbye, I love you!” I was pleasantly surprised, and responded with the same sentiment.
From then on, we said that to one another every time. In fact, those were our last words to one another, and I take comfort in that.

To my honorary Miami grandmother, Mary Rife: I deeply admire you, respect you, and love you. When I think of you now, nearly two weeks after your passing, there is still sadness but also envy (of the good kind). What a life you lived! And to have passed away in your sleep, in your own bed at age 90…I hope to be as lucky.

Thank you for your kindness, your generosity, and your wisdom. You will be missed, and I will toast to you every time I enjoy a glass of Bogle merlot…or tequila, your two favorite drinks.


Thursday, December 14, 2017

7 Reasons You Should Give (Or Get) a Massage this Holiday Season

It's that time of year again when the days seem to fly by and the holiday season is upon us for better and for worse.


I have a headache...
While we might not be able to control the hoards at the shopping mall, messing up that new holiday cookie recipe, or our obnoxious cat chewing through the third set of lights on the Christmas tree, we can blissfully focus on taking care of ourselves and our loved ones by giving and getting some massage therapy.

So why is the gift of a massage (for your loved ones or just for yourself) one of THE very best gift options around?

Let us count the ways....

1.)  Massage brings major stress relief.

This is usually the first benefit people think of when considering massage. Research shows that massage helps release tight muscles, releases toxins, and produces feelings of clam, relaxation, and even bliss.


2.) Massage helps take away pain.

A recent study published in The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery shows that massage therapy can significantly reduce pain, anxiety and muscular tension, as well as enhance relaxation and satisfaction after cardiac surgery. Full study »

3.) Massage makes us feel happier and more at ease.

Massage has been said to have an array of benefits, including alleviating symptoms of depression, anxiety, back pain, asthma, fatigue, and even HIV. A recent study shows there are sustained, cumulative beneficial effects of repeated massage therapy. The effects persist for several days to a week, and differ depending on the frequency of sessions. Results of the study were reported online in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

4.) You'll sleep better and get rid of pesky toxins.

Regular massage sessions have been found to decrease depression and anxiety levels and improve sleep quality, perhaps because they trigger the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that can help you feel calm. The technique has been found to benefit children and adolescents, as well.  Read more at

5.) Massage warms you up.

OK. I know we just happen to be in Florida so freezing temperatures are not normally a big complaint around here. But if you are the type who gets cold easily, why not add a little heat therapy to your massage? You might get started with a Hot Stone Massage. The stones release heat as they calm and relax the muscles, and are incorporated into the strokes of the massage. The application of heat provides a similar end result as a deep tissue massage, without the potential soreness that can result. Learn more here.

6.) Massage is not a luxury or only for a select few.

"The notion that massage is ‘just an indulgence’ is antiquated,” says Brent A. Bauer, M.D., director of the complementary and integrative medicine program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. "There are over 1,000 studies and published reports that offer scientific evidence on the health effects of massage therapy. There are certainly direct effects like changes that happen at the muscle level and pain pathways and a reduction in stress hormones, such as cortisol. But there are also indirect effects like being in a comfortable setting and a compassionate human presence that can all lead to profound effects on our stress levels and emotional state.” Read more at Dr. Why Massage is a Necessity Not a Luxury

7.) You work hard and deserve a massage! Really.

 'Nuff said. Do you really need more convincing?

Remember, if you are looking for the perfect gift that anyone will appreciate then head over to your favorite and trusted massage studio, get a beautiful gift certificate, and pop it into a holiday card.  If you are in the Miami, Florida area, look no further.

And if you also give a massage gift card to yourself along with a note of appreciation for all the wonderful things you have done this past year, well... there's nothing more merry than that!

Happy Holidays from Healing Hands in Miami!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

How to Sniff Your Way to a More Relaxing Holiday Season

Scents can be an extremely powerful memory trigger and certain scents can help you relax during this stressful time of year.


No, we're not talking about taking a big whiff of glue to put your troubles behind you...

This post is about aromatherapy and using your sense of smell to soothe away stress and get you through the chaos that can accompany the holiday season.

Healing Hands founder, Anastasia Yecke writes:

"In our practice we begin each session with lavender (calming), then when we ask the client to turn over we have them breathe eucalyptus (clears them out), and at the end it’s always peppermint (energizes and wakes you up).

In our aromatherapy sessions, the client can choose their own custom blend based on the mood/intention they’d like to set for their session: Power Up, Power Down, Just Breathe, Meditation, Aches & Pains, and Soothing Heat. Also, they get to take what’s left of the 2-oz bottle home with them afterwards, for use in the bath or for self-massage."

So let's have a look atsome of the scents Healing Hands uses based on client intentions for their  massage.

All products, details, and more information can be found  at  

POWER UP SpaBiotherapy BOOST 

This aromatic blend is an effective remedy for mental fatigue and excellent aromatherapy to lift spirits, remove boredom, and renew mental energy. It helps stimulate mental activity and increase concentration. This unique mixture aids circulation, helps metabolism, and elevates mental and physical energy and increased higher cognitive function.

Lavender, Tangerine, Ylang Ylang

​This special blend of essential oils promotes calming, restful relaxation while helping to alleviate anxiety and stress. The calming scent of lavender and yang yang helps decrease anxiety and nervousness. Tangerine oil promotes health in both muscle and organ systems and helps diminish inflammation. Its soothing aroma aids in alleviating headache, depression, and nervous tension. Lavander helps to induce deep relaxation and promotes fitful sleep while reducing emotional stress, exhaustion, and restlessness.​

Patchouli, Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Rosewood

This special blend of medatative oils work together to promote relaxation, calmness, concentration, inner vision, and positive energy. Patchouli oil works to uplift mood, drive away disappointment, and relax tension. Rosewood oil works as a mild analgesic and helps improve memory and keep cognitive processes active, sharp, and alert. Cedarwood and Sandalwood oils combine to help alleviate tension, anxiety, and stress.

Rosemary, Eucalyptus, peppermint

These essential oils work together to help decrease nasal and throat congestion and help provide temporary relief from cough, colds, asthma, and other respiratory problems. Peppermint oil, rich in menthol, helps open the entire respiratory tract promoting clear airways and easy breathing. Eucalyptus oil aids in decongestion and helps protect with antibacterial, anti fungal, and antiviral properties.

 Rosemary, Birch, Eucalyptus, Juniper

This special blend delivers targeted therapy for pain relief providing pain relief while decreasing inflammation. Essential oils combine to improve arthritis, back and neck pain, injured muscles, ligaments, and painful joints. juniper works to aid circulation and helps alleviate aches and pains and restore normal tissue balance.

Balsam fir needle, Lemon, Eucalyptus, Juniper Berry, Myrtle

Together these essential oils emit warming, soothing sensation and an enticing aroma of evergreen and eucalyptus. Balsam works to help decrease inflammation, boost metabolism, and remove mental stress. Oil of Lemon hops combat mental fatigue, exhaustion, and nervous tension. Eucalyptus acts as a gentle analgesic to help relieve stress and pain. Juniper promotes and improves circulation in the skin and muscles and helps emote toxins while essential myrtle relaxes and sedates.


If you would like to experience a personalized aromatherapy massage treatment custom-tailored to your own specific needs, please contact us to book your next treatment.