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holiday stress

Tips for Holiday Stress: How to survive the season

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about holiday stress and ways to keep calm during the season.

David Weintraub


It’s that time of year. And if you are like most NYC’ers, you’ll want these tips for holiday stress.

This year we are sharing our favorite tips for holiday stress to help you identify and plan for the things that usually send our clients into the land of back, shoulder, and neck pain. With so much more on your plate, it’s easy to rush, over do it, carry too much around, etc. Then one or two mornings on a bad pillow and suddenly you wake up to shooting pain. If you read and practice our tips, then maybe we can see you come in for a happy maintenance massage, rather than battlefield triage.

Here’s just a short list of that “stuff” that is adding to your stress levels:

  • Shopping while fighting through tourists
  • Traveling on crowded trains, planes, and buses
  • Crazy traffic if you are driving
  • Sleeping on less than awesome guest/hotel beds
  • Sitting down to a family dinner entirely made from things that you are trying not to eat
  • In fights with family over who’s giving to whom this year and how much you are “allowed” to spend

How can you DEAL??!!

Step 1: Let’s all just actually admit to ourselves that this time of year is stressful. If you are telling yourself that it’s just you and that everyone else seems to have it together…stop. Ask around. We see hundreds of clients who face holiday stress…trust us, it’s everyone.

Step 2: Identify what your stressors are and where/when they are likely to push your buttons. Make a list.

Step 3: Make a plan to lessen the impact for each of the things on your list and practice self-care. If you accept that it’s going to be stressful instead of trying to kid yourself, then you get to do something about it. Choose some ways to handle the stress from our tips list and schedule them in your calendar like you would an important meeting at work.

Top on the list of self-care practices that most people avoid: negotiating with family to create a better experience that everyone can enjoy…including you.

Step 4: Find ways to do more with less. What if we all chose to have the goal this year that everyone gets to have a good time, relax a bit, and enjoy each other’s company?

“My family usually gets into full throated political arguments when we get together….and we are all of the same party!? This year at Thanksgiving we have a new in-law who belongs to the ‘other’ party. So we decided to institute a ‘no politics allowed’ rule to avoid making him uncomfortable. It was fantastic. We had a great time.” – David

To help you make a plan, here’s some of our go to tips for holiday stress

General Tips for Holiday Stress:

  • bring your own pillow
  • pack a rubber ball to use for stress squeezing and for self-massage
  • plan ahead to make sure food is available that is on your diet
  • if you are staying multiple days, plan some “me” time to yourself
  • go with the flow rather than get caught up in arguments…then take that “me” time to de-stress

Check out our recommendations for travel size pillows and stress balls:

Tips for Holiday Travel

  • avoid driving if possible, driving is one of the worst activities for your lower back and neck, and you’ll do more of it than normal with heavy traffic
  • when flying, stick to a carry on bag and pack light…several of our clients always throw their backs out around the holidays trying to deal with a way heavier suitcase
  • pack your own snacks for longer waits at the airport or train station
  • download several episodes of that tv show you’ve been meaning to watch
  • learn a simple stretching routine to do while you are waiting or sitting on the plane/train
  • take vitamin C to boost your immune system
  • spend a little extra and take a car service to the station rather than leave your car in parking or taking the subway

Tips for Staying with Relatives

  • book a hotel or Air BnB instead of staying in the guest room on an old mattress
  • if the bedsprings are old at either the family guest room or a hotel, consider putting the mattress on the floor for better support
  • make a trip to the grocery store yourself and pick up food that you can eat on your diet, especially snacks in case food isn’t going to be served when you get hungry
  • decide ahead of time what time you’ll have breakfast, lunch, dinner and have a family agreement on it to avoid getting “hangry”
  • pack earplugs and an eyemask to help sleep in an unfamiliar room

Tips for Holiday Shopping

  • unless you are getting something that needs to be seen in person, shop online
  • pay to have it gift wrapped and shipped to the relatives house…it’s a small luxury you can probably afford that saves a lot of time/effort/back pain
  • buy small stuff that has meaning to avoid carting heavy packages around (yes, there is a theme here)
  • consider giving experiences over “stuff” (museum memberships, tickets to a show, a class on cooking, etc.)…again, it fits into a card, and is super memorable

Have a happy holiday season 🙂

We are sure some of the tips above caught your eye and went ding ding ding in your mind as something to take on this year for your holiday stress. Even practicing just a few new self-care tips this year can make all the difference.

Our favorite last tip. Book yourself a post holiday massage for the last week of December or the first week of January! 

Happy Holidays and we look forward to seeing you at the studio!

NYC Marathon tips 2018

NYC Marathon Tips: How to Heal an Injury That Makes You Want to Drop Out… and Finish Strong

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about marathon tips and gives detailed session notes about a client’s marathon recovery.

David Weintraub

Here we are again about 6 weeks before the NYC marathon. Our medical massage therapy practice is getting flooded with new clients who are in pain training for the marathon. Each year we get an influx of folks worried they’ll have to drop out and desperate to get back on the road. We can’t guarantee that our NYC marathon tips will get every single one of them through the race. That being said, we have a great track record of helping runners rehabilitate quickly from an injury. And get back up to stride even this close to race day. Having learned a few things over the years, we are happy to share our best NYC marathon tips so that you can have the best day ever on November 4th!

My First Marathon Client That Almost Dropped Out

I’ve been in practice for close to 12 years now. Each year I routinely work with a several dozen NYC marathon runners in all phases of their training. However, my first, was way back in 2009, just a couple years after graduating massage school. A friend of a friend was training for his first ever marathon as a first time runner. (He was not a runner before starting training in spring).

NYC Marathon Tips 1

Start training long before you think you need to: My current advice for folks who aren’t already runners is to start training for a marathon 18 months before race day. (Most people start 6-8 months beforehand). He had started in April, just 7 months before the race. And yes, lots of people start training for their first NYC marathon in the spring of the same year and do fine. However, some folks have older injuries lurking in your history. These will tend to come out and wreak havoc on your training somewhere around September/October.

My client, let’s call him Sven (not his real name), came to me with a golf ball sized knot of seized up muscle tissue in his left calf… 4 weeks before race day. It had been getting progressively worse over the prior 3 weeks. It had gotten to the point where he could no longer run a single mile without debilitating, cramping pain.

He was obviously distraught and unsure what to do. Sven was worried about letting all the people who donated to his race down (a common concern). But he thought that he was beyond help. He had been to a physical therapist 3 times with no relief. Sven was highly skeptical that I could do anything to help him but our mutual friend assured him I was “miracle worker.” (no pressure there or anything!)

Ethically, I’m not allowed to make a guarantee that I can help clients. There are always going to be some cases that are beyond what massage therapy can relieve. Sometimes, surgery and physical therapy are a client’s best recourse. And sometimes all of the best NYC marathon tips you can find won’t matter. So I want to get that out there lest folks think that I actually go around touting myself as a miracle worker (no faith healing here, just straight up science at work). I told him this, and that I’d try my best but I thought I might be able to help.

How we got the client through race day in 3 medical massage therapy sessions:

Session One

I spent most of that first massage on the back of his legs. This included some truly intense deep tissue work directly on the bunched up calf tissue (with his permission of course). We also worked to open up his right hip which was not moving well due to an older injury. I theorized that the hip injury resulted from an even older right ankle sprain. This was confirmed by the client, so I also worked to get the right ankle moving with better alignment.

At the end of the session he said the whole area felt better than it had in weeks and he hoped that this would get him back to race form. At which point I gave him some of the best injury recovery advice I’ve ever come up with…

NYC Marathon Tips 2

Start Over Again – When recovering from an injury DO NOT try to jump back into the same level of training you were at before the injury. That is a sure fire recipe for the injury popping right back again and keeping you down. For Sven, I told him to do the following:

  • Wait two days (agonizing for a runner) before running, spend time stretching
  • Run only 1 mile as long as you aren’t in sharp pain
  • Then stop and call it a day
  • If you are in sharp pain during that 1 mile stop
  • If that went fine with no pain, rest the following day
  • On fifth day, try running only 3 miles as long as there is no sharp pain
  • Rest the following day
  • Book a follow up session for the next week on the 7th day after our first session

I can hear your teeth grinding just reading that list. “But, but, but….it’s only 4 weeks to race day and you are saying I should only put in 4 total miles this week?! What about my big 18 mile long run coming up?!?!?!?!”

Trust me, Sven wasn’t going to make it on that long run in the condition he was in. Thankfully, he did trust me and followed the NYC marathon tips to the letter. He emailed me after each of the 1 mile and 3 mile runs. Sven let me know that there was no sharp pain, just a “bit of tightness that opened up during the run and stopped bothering me by the middle.”

Session Two

Sven came in a week later for session number two. His calf still had a ball of seized tissue but it had shrunk down from golf ball sized to marble sized. We worked on it again, then focused more on quads and hip flexors including the all important psoas muscle. We also worked on opening up his ribcage, and diaphragm. In order to bring his upper carriage into a better alignment with his legs, we worked on his neck.

So many runners come in and request that I work on their legs over and over again. What they don’t realize is that their upper carriage tension in the neck and shoulders is a huge factor for why their legs are always so tight.

After session 2, I gave him the following to do:

  • Wait two days (again, totally agonizing for a runner) before running, spend time stretching
  • Then run 6 miles as long as you aren’t in sharp pain
  • Then stop and call it a day
  • If you are in pain during that run stop
  • If that went fine with no sharp pain, rest the following day
  • On fifth day after session 2, try running 12 miles as long as there is no sharp pain
  • Rest the following day
  • Book a follow up session for the next week on the 7th day after our first session

Sven followed the NYC marathon tips we gave him, emailing me to let me know that his whole running form had opened up. This was likely due to the upper carriage work. He felt not just fine but even better than before on the 6 and 12 mile runs. He wondered whether he even needed the third session. I told him to keep it just in case and that we might be able to shave some time off his run by working on his external hip rotators. He kept it.

Session Three

He came in for session 3 feeling good but a bit worried that he was getting to his long run a bit close to the race. The calf knot was almost non-existent. We spent the session working on his side body, bringing the left and right sides into better symmetry. This session is great for getting the ball and socket joints of the hips and shoulders free again which allows the rest of the body to ease up and relax. The session was on a Thursday.

I gave him the following homework:

  • Wait two days before running, spend time stretching
  • Then run the 20 mile long run as long as you aren’t in sharp pain
  • If you are in sharp pain during that run stop
  • If that went fine with no sharp pain, rest the following day
  • After that take it easy in the lead up to the race doing no more than a few short runs just to keep limber

Sven did fine on his long run and took it easy. Race day went swimmingly and he actually shaved a bit of time off his intended pace! He then followed our NYC marathon tips for race recovery and booked a post race sports massage. He came in for a post race recovery massage a couple days after the race and felt 100% normal by day four.

NYC Marathon Tips 3

Book a post race recovery massage: Some experienced runners book a recovery massage for the evening of race day. Unless you have run several marathons and are sure you’ll react well to that, we don’t recommend it. You could wake up the next day feeling like you had been run over by a tank. However, any time between the day after race and 4 days after the race will be super beneficial. Especially if you have to work at the office and sit in a chair all day. For our studio, we tend to book out the week after the NYC marathon in advance, so book early.

In support of all you runners, we are offering 10% off all sessions from October 1 through November 11th for anyone who is an official participant in the NYC Marathon. Simply bring in your entry approval when you come in for a session and we’ll happily apply the discount 🙂

What we have learned since then:

In a way, Sven was lucky that he was so sidelined. He was willing to go against all instinct and take it easy for a few weeks, even with race day approaching. Had he been in slightly better shape than he was, he might have pushed too hard after the first session. And re-triggered the injury.

Most of these repetitive stress running injuries are due to two main factors. One, an older injury that creates an asymmetrical running form. And two, the slow steady pressure that builds up in the muscles compensating for the older injury. As you start piling on the miles, there comes a tipping point when the system can’t handle what you are asking it to do. It starts complaining loudly. Then boom, you are sidelined.

Correcting the form towards a more symmetrical alignment means less work for muscles to do to get you moving forward. Which in turn means an easier run and faster times.

If all of your muscles are working towards propelling you forward you’ll go faster. If some of them are pushing you sideways or up (or even backwards) instead, you’ll lose efficiency and slow down. Other muscles will have to work harder to fight that movement. You’ll also increase the impact with each stride creating the potential for stress fractures in your feet, shins, hips, or spine.

Ideally, we would work with you when you first start training so that you already have an improved running form. Before you pile on the miles. My NYC marathon tip for Sven after he completed his first successful NYC marathon was to cross train over the winter. Then come in for a few sessions next spring to work on his form. And to go celebrate his first completed NYC marathon  in style 🙂

However, as you can see from above, coming in for medical massage work at any point before race day is likely to improve your day. If you are injured, follow our NYC marathon tips and book a session. Also coming in for a post race recovery massage can get you back to normal quickly!

Good luck to everyone running this year!

sports injuries cartoon

Sports Injuries After Age 30

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about sport injuries and how to prevent them as we age.

David Weintraub

How to readjust your routine to avoid pain

When were your first sports injuries?

If you are into sports now, odds are you started playing team sports when you were young. I remember my first soccer tryout at 9. I also remember my first sprained ankle from getting slide tackled at 11.

There were a lot more sports injuries where that came from between then and now...
Soccer, track, cross country, cycling, swimming, and later aikido (and that one ill fated parkour class during which I sprained my ankle).

Along the way I’ve sprained both ankles more than once, severely torn a hamstring muscle twice, smashed fingers and toes, and torn a rotator cuff. I've gotten a bone spur on my wrist, had shin splints, plantar fasciitis, hip pain, low back pain, and herniated a disc in my neck.

If it weren’t for all the bodywork, acupuncture, physical therapy, and chiropractic work I received since my mid 20’s I’d be taped together with duct tape just to function. And probably would have needed a few different surgeries (currently surgery free at 46).

Like most of you, I’ve got the scars to prove my sports history. Unfortunately, as I get older, all of these old sports injuries make it even more likely that I’ll re-injure myself. So I’ve learned the hard way to be more cautious and create a regular self-care routine.

How scar tissue gets formed:

Each time we sustain sports injuries (or any other injuries) our body has to make a decision. It has to decide whether it has time to heal itself with properly functioning replacement tissue or with scar tissue. The more severe the injury, the more likely the body will use scar tissue.


Building replacement tissue takes time. If you are bleeding internally (or externally) time is a big factor. Your body has to make a choice:

  1. replace the tissue with beautiful “good as new” skin or muscle and risk bleeding out, infection, death….or
  2. plug the hole with scar tissue and save itself.

We all have scar tissue in our bodies. Those of us with a sports background likely have a lot more of it. Can you list all the injuries you’ve had?!

What makes scar tissue such an issue:

Our bodies are basically a bunch of functional pieces glued together. The glue is called “fascia.” Fascia is non-living tissue that our body makes to stick stuff together. It’s made of mostly water and collagen fibers.

Scar tissue is also non-living tissue that sticks stuff together. And it’s also made of mostly water and collagen fibers.

If they are both water and collagen fibers...what’s the difference?!

In healthy fascia, the collagen fibers are woven together in a cohesive way like fabric. It has structural integrity that allows for some movement and stretching in certain directions and also limits movements in others. When healthy, it acts like an ACE bandage already built into your joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

In scar tissue, the collagen fibers are thrown into place like a pile of pick up sticks. The body has to stop the bleeding from an injury quickly. It doesn’t have time to carefully arrange the collagen fibers for structure and healthy movement. If you have any noticeable skin scars you can attest to the difference. Healthy skin moves and stretches, while a scar feels hard and immobile.

Scar tissue can show up in big ways and also in little ways. Push things too hard and you end up with tiny “micro” tears in the muscle tissue. Most of these will be healed with properly functioning muscle but a few may be just too much for the body to handle without plugging it with scar tissue. Over time these micro-tears add up to restricted movement.

You can’t get rid of scar tissue.

The more scar tissue we have the stiffer and more limited our movements become.

And once scar tissue is formed it’s there for life. The idea that you can “break down scar tissue” and that the body gets rid of it is a modern wellness myth. However, a good massage therapist can help to work into the scar tissue and make it more pliable.

With bodywork and regular stretching the scar tissue can form a better alignment and act more like healthy fascia. So you can usually get most of your range of motion back.

Here’s the really important thing:
The older we get, the slower our body gets at healing, the more likely that injuries are going to be plugged with scar tissue instead of healthy tissue.

Check out this Washington Post Wellness article if you want to read more about this: Click here! 

What can I do to prevent sports injuries as I get older?

The first bit of advice I can give is that we all need to readjust our definition of “injury.” I ask hundreds of clients every year about their injuries and many will say, “oh I’ve never really gotten injured….” Which is interesting considering that they are coming to me because they are in pain.

We think of sports injuries as broken bones, torn ACL ligaments, sprained ankles that lay us out for weeks, etc. These absolutely are sports injuries, and major ones. It’s the minor ones we gloss over.

Pushed too hard at the gym yesterday and are feeling a little pinchy “tug” in you hip when you walk up the stairs? That’s an injury; it needs time to heal. But hey, you’ve got to keep to your exercise schedule or you’ll (insert self judgement here). So you go right back to the gym and do another hard workout.

At the beginning the hip is screaming at you, but it “warms up” during the workout and actually feels a bit better now.

The next day it’s yelling at you even more….. And wouldn’t you know it, but your shoulder feels a bit “off.” Yet most of us go back to the gym again anyway.

When you use your emergency systems just to get through everyday life, what’s left for an emergency?

Your body has some amazing tools to be able to function while injured. These include a handy couple of internal drugs called adrenaline (you know and love this one) and cortisol (it numbs pain).

These tools were designed by evolution to make sure that you could keep running or fighting the bear that was chasing you even if it had already injured you. They gave our species a fighting chance and likely saved your ancestors from a bad scrap or two.

Unfortunately, most of us are overusing and addicted to these life saving internal drugs. We mostly use them to bolster our ego and to avoid dealing with the emotional impact of growing older.

So here’s the unvarnished truth: the older you get, the harder it is for your body to recover, the more likely it is that you’ll injure yourself, the more important self care and good maintenance becomes. You can still go hard. However, you'll need a bit more effort on recovery and maintenance.

We aren’t going to “bounce back” like we used to. We can either accept this or break ourselves against the wall of reality. Your choice 🙂 

New Rules for Preventing Sports Injuries as we age:

  1. If you experience any sharp pain beyond regular soreness and muscle fatigue during exercise, STOP. No really, just stop. Do some cool down walking, then light stretching and/or foam rolling (as long as it doesn’t activate the sharp pain area). Then hit the showers and call it a day. Give your body at least 24 hours to heal itself, then try some light exercise again. If you can exercise pain free, great! If not, stop and give your body another 24 hours.
  2. Don’t do any exercise that involves those specific muscles while you are experiencing pain. All you are going to do is rip up even more tissue in the area. However, if it’s your hip that hurts you could do shoulder presses if it doesn’t activate your hip pain.
  3. Practice good post workout self care. This means a minimum of 10-15 minutes of cool down (walk around until your heart rate decreases) and stretching. This is super important as the fascia get heated and more fluid during exercise but the muscles get shorter due to repeated contraction. If you don’t stretch out after you work out, your fascia cools down and hardens around the contracted muscles making everything tighter.

Helpful Tips:

  1. The newest science proves that for cardiovascular health, 3-4 HIT (high intensity training) workouts of 30 minutes each with at least 48 hours in between is just as effective as 1-2 hour long runs 6 days a week. Bonus: less time needed, and more recovery time for healing!
  2. Variety is healthiest which is why you are starting to hear about major football and basketball athletes doing pilates, yoga, ballet, etc. Create a mix of different activities that you like. Or if you are a dedicated runner or cyclist, mix up the speed or distance of your exercise with short sprints, hill workouts, etc.
  3. A hot shower or bath after a workout is a great idea! For bonus points, douse yourself with cold water for 30 seconds at the end (in the shower you can try going back and forth between 2 minutes hot, 30 seconds cold a few times). The heat opens up the blood vessels allowing more blood to wash the fatigued muscles out. The cold squishes the vessels tighter, squeezing out lactic acids. Going back and forth acts like a pumping system for your muscles and speeds recovery.
  4. If sharp pain persists beyond a few days get thee to either a sports massage therapist who’s experienced with injury recovery work. A great practitioner should be able to get you back to the gym (or class or road, etc.) after a session or two. The longer you wait to have it checked out, the more likely it will need multiple sessions to relieve it. And the more likely that you’ll have injured yourself to the point where you need to take weeks to months off from training to fully recover. And nobody wants that!

If you start following the above and incorporating more self-care into your exercise routine, you’ll feel better overall and be far less likely to experience pain. You’ll also find that a less is more approach will save you time while still meeting all of your exercise goals. Good luck!

Here at Bodyworks DW Advanced Massage Therapy, all of our therapists are highly trained to handle sports injuries in their many varieties. We’ll be able to look at your form and see if an older injury is throwing your alignment off and really find the source of the current pain so that you can get back to it quickly, with more knowledge of how to prevent a relapse. We’ll also be able to assess when you have a more serious injury that may require seeing a physical therapist or orthopedic doctor.

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physical therapy meets massage therapy

Doing Physical Therapy? Massage Therapy Can Improve Results!

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about the benefits of supplementing your physical therapy plan with massage therapy treatment.

David Weintraub

7 Reasons why this powerful combination works

Pain sucks. As a massage therapist, I would know. Almost everyone who comes to see me does so because they're in pain!

Most of the time, my clients have such a powerful response to massage therapy they don't need additional therapies. However, that isn't always the case. I always look for clues that indicate I need to refer a client to another practitioner, such as a physical therapist. 

Physical therapy and massage therapy are both powerful methods for treating pain. By focusing on correcting the underlying muscular imbalances that have caused it in the first place. When used together, they can help clients achieve faster and better results.  

There are several reasons why massage therapy is effective for anyone who is already receiving physical therapy.

Here are the top 7:

  1. Providing pain relief, often times after the first session
  2. Increasing range of motion so that the body can move better
  3. Decreasing local inflammation by working above and below the area
  4. Lessening the pain clients may be feeling during or after physical therapy exercises
  5. Decreasing the pain clients may feel post-surgery
  6. Bringing faster results than just physical therapy alone 
  7. Motivating clients to stick to their physical therapy treatment plan

That's the short version of why massage therapy and physical therapy are a powerful combination. If you're interested in a more detailed explanation, read below! 

The Breakdown: 

1) Massage therapy helps by treating short and overused muscles. 

The goal of many physical therapy exercises is to help strengthen any weak muscles that are causing pain symptoms. The goal is that by strengthening weak muscles, the body will move & feel healthier. But that's only half the picture. 

When it comes to muscles, imbalance happens when one muscle is weak and long while another muscle is overused and short. In order to correct this, BOTH of these problems need to be addressed. This means following the exercises provided by a physical therapist teaching clients how to engage and strengthen muscles that are weak. It also means using massage therapy to address the muscles that are chronically overused.

The right massage therapist will focus on releasing these tight muscles as well as lengthening them when they've gotten short. This can help effectively decrease pain while also improving range of motion and helping the nervous system learn how to move better! 

2) Massage therapy will help with physical therapy. 

Studies show that one major obstacle to physical therapy treatment is that many will stop coming in if the exercises are painful to do, or if their pain doesn't decrease right away. (Source: Read this article) Basically, if the work is too hard and painful, people are a lot less likely to do it. Massage therapy can decrease pain often with immediate results, which will help provide motivation to stick to the physical therapist's treatment plan.  

3) Massage therapy can help post-surgery.

Sometimes people will experience new aches and pains after their recovery from a surgery, even while doing physical therapy. This can happen due to a change in the body alignment and how the body moves after the procedure. If clients are already doing regular physical therapy and still experiencing pain post-surgery, I suggest asking a doctor if it’s medically safe to try massage therapy.

For more detailed information on how massage therapy can help post-surgery, please check out this in-depth article: Click Here!


In summary, we see that combining physical therapy and massage therapy help clients move better and feel better by working on correcting any muscular imbalances that can be causing or contributing to pain. 

Want to read more about how we work at Bodyworks DW? 

Click to Learn More about our Massage Therapy
Vacation Goals

Vacation: 7 Ways to Plan Your Way to Relaxation

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about ways to destress during your vacation and what to do when you get back.

David Weintraub

Sounds counterintuitive I know, planning to relax. Afterall, a vacation is supposed to be “time off” and a reset for our overworked brains and bodies. And yet…doesn’t if often seem like we come back more tired physically than when we left?!

Often mentally we are able to recharge and refocus. But, physically, our bodies can be just as beaten up from a vacation as when we left. If not more so.

So, what can we do? First, let’s define the goal of the vacation - is it to:

  • Recharge and relax?
  • Visit family?
  • Sightsee and learn about new culture?
  • To accomplish a bucket list goal... Mt. Kilimanjaro anyone?

Take note which of these ideas seem relaxing to you and which seem mentally or physically challenging (or both).

Challenges tend to add stress, not relieve it.

If you want to come back from vacation both mentally and physically rejuvenated, (and that’s not what you are currently getting out of your travels) you are going to have to plan differently.

To help and support you in planning an actual relaxing vacation, here are some of our top tips for what to take into account so that you’ll be able to relax, have a little adventure, and come back with a full tank of gas-in you!

Don’t workout.

To workout or not workout, that is the question. As long as you make a solid commitment with yourself to get back into your exercise routine when you are home, my advice is to skip the workouts. You are going to walk a lot more than normal on most vacations, or if you are just relaxing on the beach, you’ll swim a bit. If you really must workout, try something different than normal like a yoga class on the beach, or a bike / walking tour of the area. The point is to recharge from your routine life, not engage in it while away.

Take your pillow.

Pillows and mattresses in most places you stay are going to range from awful to just okay. Even if your hotel has a super fancy mattress the pillows will likely be huge and fluffy which is actually terrible for you neck. Although you can’t transport your bed from home, you can bring a pillow from home that you know is right for you, or a travel size Tempurpedic (my pick while away) which fits nicely in a carry on.

The right tools.

A sleep mask, earplugs, and/or white noise app to play through your phone might help sleep in a new place with uncertain noise and light. I like finding rain storm lists on Spotify.

Sleep in. Duh.

You totally deserve at least a few days to sleep in! Bracket rest days around adventure days so that you get the best of both. When I travel, I usually like to schedule 3-4 half day sight-seeing tours inside of an 8-9 day vacation. I don’t do them on consecutive days and keep other days to light sights. Some days, despite being someplace fantastic like Rome, I still take a 1/2 day to sit in bed and read a book. Again, this is a break from normal life!

Come back early.

After a long flight, schedule a staycation day to recover rather than try to eek out the longest vacation possible. Traveling is tough on the body and arriving home late in the evening only to wake up the next morning and truck off to work is asking a lot of it. Take a day to recuperate and collect your travel photos into a nice post. You’ll thank me on Monday.

Throw money at the travel headache.

How you get there sets the tone for the stay. Travel is usually a lot of headaches. Once you’re there and settle in it’s great, but the trip itself?! Packing, getting to the airport, getting through the airport, being stuck in an airplane seat for a long time, then getting through the other airport and to your lodgings all take a toll and create lots of stress. Give yourself any small favors that you can afford:  taking a taxi to the airport instead of the subway, spending an extra $25 on extra legroom seats if you are tall, arranging for a car to pick you up and take you directly to your hotel from the airport. You won’t be able to take away all of the stressors but every little bit counts!

Get a post trip blues massage.

Of course I’ll say this, but it really does help to book a massage for that staycation day at the end of the vacation to help recuperate and revive. Sure, most people go for the massage at the hotel while on vacation, and we wouldn’t say no to that. However, that one will be completely erased by the stress of the trip back home. Booking yourself a massage after you get back means that you can head into work the next day fully recharged, de-stressed, and ready for action!

text neck massage therapy neck pain shoulder pain

Save your text neck

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about "text neck," what it is and ways to prevent it.

David Weintraub

The perils of “always on” technology:

Okay, so your "text neck" probably won’t actually kill you (unless you are texting and driving). However, it’s becoming increasingly likely that at some point in the next 5-10 years of tech use, you’ll develop a repetitive stress disorder.

The phrase carpal tunnel syndrome (wrist pain) has been part of the collective conscious for several decades. It's so common as a disrupter of productivity that it has spawned an entire industry of ergonomics solutions. These range from special keyboards to Star Trek styled full desk/monitor set ups. All keep you at your desk longer making trades, typing contracts, writing legal memos.

And then the 2000’s came along. Most of us jumped all in with smartphones and laptops and tablets.

Suddenly we could be productive all the time.

Standing on the subway platform?

Let me check my email.

Taking the train in from CT?

Let me just go over those sales reports.

Date just went to the bathroom?

Let me text my assistant to make sure I’m set up for tomorrow’s board meeting.

Unfortunately, there are costs to constant device use that might change your mind about your phone and tablet.

Looking down at our phone, tablet, or laptop, pulls our head forward and down. This imbalances all the muscles holding up your head (ahem... text neck). These imbalances can cause any and all of the following:

  • neck pain
  • shoulder pain
  • TMJ
  • headaches
  • low back pain
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • anxiety
  • low energy
  • bone loss
  • depression
  • memory loss

Sound scary? Don’t believe it?

Check out this New York Times article: Keep Your Head Up: How Smartphone Addiction Kills Manners and Moods

Like many things that aren’t healthy for us, these costs are not going to suddenly show up tomorrow. They build up over time. In ways that make it hard to track what the changes are doing to your body. However, there is hope for us all!

What can I do about this?

I’m not some Luddite preaching that we should all return to farming. I happen to be a business owner with 20+ employees and have tech in so many screen sizes it’s getting ridiculous. I deal with text neck too. 

I’ve got a smartwatch, smartphone, an iPad for home and one for work, an airbook laptop, an iMac at my desk. Not to mention the 15 other devices I have at the office for the staff to be "productive" on. I’m just as tempted as you to go on my phone on the subway and read articles on Facebook or Twitter to pass the time. So I decided to try something out...

Experiments DW

Over the past 2 weeks, I’ve been running an experiment to see just how much I can lighten up my daily commute (see the last blog post on how much we carry around with us and tips to help with that).

I’ve gotten down to just leaving home with the following:

That’s right….NO BAG.

I had to get really clear on what my time is worth to me and what my long term health is worth to me. And I had to spend some extra cash to duplicate certain items at work and at home so that I wouldn’t have to cart them back and forth.

Is it worth it? For me this experiment has been a fascinating eye opener. It’s also reduced my daily stress levels by about 20-30%.

I have less issues with headaches at day end, my back feels better, and my overall mood has noticeably improved.

I’ve got new rules for my text neck, I count em:

#1: I am not allowed to look at my phone during my commute except to choose music.

#2: I am only allowed to work while at the office, or while at my desk at my home office. The couch is only for relaxing and the bed is only for sleeping (and well, you know…).

#3: If I need something both at work and at home, I duplicate that item rather than carry it back and forth. The value in stress reduction and ease of movement on my body is a long-term savings in health and self-care costs down the road.

#4: If I do have to look at a device, I hold it up to horizon level and keep my head up.

#5: When my arm gets tired of holding up the device to eye level rather than looking down, it’s time to take a break and put it away.

You may think I’m crazy for buying a second iPad to keep one at work and one at the office. Really the only reason for me to do that is that it has become my primary note taking device for my life coaching sessions. Sure, I could take notes on paper, but then I’d have to create a filing system for them. The iPad keeps all my notes for each client on the cloud.

Of course, you’ll have to do your own analysis of the following:

- what you can and can’t do without

- how much is your time is worth

- which work can be left until tomorrow or

- what work can be put on hold for the 45 minutes to 2 hours you spend on your commute

You’ll probably come up with different ways to reduce your load and stress than I have. (For instance, maybe it’s spending the extra cash on a monthly gym locker. You can leave your workout gear there most of the time.) Prioritize those ideas and see for yourself how helpful it can be. 

Are you willing to give lightening your load and keeping your head up a try? Yes? Your text neck will thank you.

massage therapy for diastasis recti massage case study

Massage Therapy for Diastasis Recti

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about treatment options and massage therapy benefits for Diastasis Recti.


David Weintraub

Getting to the core of the issue

First off, what is this strange sounding condition?

It’s most common among pregnant or postpartum women. About two thirds of pregnant women have it. So why have you never heard of it?
People don’t talk about.

The facts:

Diastasis Recti is a condition where the rectus abdominis splits down the middle causing a vertical gap in the abdominal muscles. It can cause lower back pain, constipation, and urine leaking. It can even make it harder to breathe and to move normally.

How to treat it if you have it:

Massage therapy for Diastasis Recti can be very helpful to rebuild proper abdominal tone as long as you’re also working with a physical therapist who specializes in this issue. An experienced massage therapist can open stuck tissues that are pulling the abdominal muscles outward. These stuck tissues are generally from previous injuries that have left scar tissue behind. In addition to this kind of bodywork, you’ll need physical therapy exercises to knit the torn muscles back together.


Why “ab” exercises don’t work for you now…


It’s counter-intuitive, but doing “ab” exercises such as sit ups, or pilates, can often make the problem worse. Without proper firing of the correct support muscles, these exercises often pull outwards on the linea alba (centerline where the gap develops). This can either increase the separation, or keep it from knitting back together.

A combination of massage and physical therapy can speed up the healing process considerably. In most cases it will open up the stuck tissues that would keep physical therapy exercises from working. The synergy between the two modalities is worth way more than the sum of the parts.


Because massage therapy is an “opening” practice. Our training is in releasing tissues that are either tight (ie over-firing) or stuck (ie glued with scar tissue). We also work to retrain the nervous system to allow muscles that are over-firing to relax and settle into a balanced tone.

Physical Therapy is a “closing” practice. It’s based in strengthening and tightening muscles that are weak (ie under-firing). The repetition of certain exercises draw blood flow to areas that need it, allowing the body to heal and reconstruct itself.

Ready to put in the work?

Diastasis Recti is not a one-time fix situation. It takes a coordinated effort, diligent homework, and focused effort for 8-12 weeks. It is next to impossible to self-heal without a minimum of a few guided sessions. Most clients will need the following:

4-7 sessions with a professional massage therapist

3-5 sessions with a physical therapist who specializes in working with Diastasis Recti

15 minutes a day of homework exercises

If you’d like to know if massage therapy for diastasis recti can help you, don’t hesitate to call us and arrange a phone consultation with David Weintraub. Or book an initial session online!


Stress Management for Commuting and Conferences: how to make the necessary evils less painful—for your body

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about stress management tips for injury prevention during commutes and conferences.

David Weintraub

Sitting at a desk for long hours in a workplace with poor stress management is probably the number one source of aches and pains for most workers. This professor goes so far as to say it’s the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S., ahead of kidney disease!

In our last post we covered some tips for setting up your desk at home to create little to no stress.

In this post, we’ll cover stress management tips for what to do when your job requires time outside of the office. For your commutes, off-site meetings, conferences, etc. All that time you spent optimizing your main work area will go out the window the minute you step away from it.

Here are some stress management tips for commuting without injury

First, let’s talk about how you are carrying your stuff around. I’ll admit that the aesthetic options for over the shoulder messenger bags, purses, and briefcases generally look better. However, they are poorly designed from an ergonomics standpoint. Don't buy into it? Check out this Time article on purses and bags...

You're likely to spend hundreds to thousands of hours hauling your things around. Investing in a good looking rolling suitcase or backpack will save you money in physical or massage therapy later on.

My list of must haves

  • A rolling briefcase/suitcase with a pull out handle (best) or a backpack (2nd best). Hauling your life around in an over the shoulder bag, large purse, or briefcase with just a handle is asking for a shoulder or low back injury.
  • Get both! If you're carrying enough stuff around to require 2 (or more) bags, get a rolling suitcase and a backpack. That combo will give you the same “carrying real estate" in the most body friendly package.
  • An iPad with a folding bluetooth keyboard and a light folding stand can handle most computing needs outside of the office these days. Unless you are doing heavy duty photography, graphic design, video editing, or crunching vast amounts of data, invest in an iPad. Your shoulders will thank you for losing the extra weight of the laptop.
  • The right footwear. If I had my way in the world, heels would be completely abolished as footwear. They alter your center of gravity, and do all sorts of nasty things to your spine. The long-term impact of wearing heels is a leading factor for back pain, knee pain, and neck pain. At minimum, switch to a comfortable, cushioned, pair of flat shoes whenever you are going anywhere outside of work. That includes the to and from commute as well. This is one of the few instances where carrying the extra weight around is well worth it.

Additional stress management tips

  • Remember to switch sides when carrying your bag. Give the side you “lead with” a rest.
  • Store as many paper files in digital format that you can get away with. Pound for pound digital files weigh nothing. 
  • If you are hauling around gym clothes everyday, do they fit in a rolling suitcase/backpack combo along with all of your work stuff? If not, it might be time to rethink things. The extra bag is undoing many of the health benefits you are getting out of the gym in the first place. Look into a gym close to home instead of near work. Try switching workouts to first thing in the morning (pre-shower). This is often one of those “best is the enemy of good” situations. The gym near work might be nicer, but you would really be better off with a decent one close to home.

Conferences & Meetings are a Pain in the Butt

For off-site meetings and conferences, the main problem is lack of control over your seating and the expectations for how long you’ll have to sit in session.

Meetings in conference rooms usually have better chairs, so that’s a plus. However, if you need to get up and stretch or even stretch at your seat, you're going to feel a bit weird with people around.

Your best bet is to try the following well ahead of the meeting:

  • Do 5 minutes of stretching before you get to the conference room. You likely won’t have time during the meeting itself. If you don’t have a good place to do that, honestly, use the bathroom.
  • Request that the meeting take 5 minute breaks every hour (at the minimum) to be able to stand up, stretch, walk around a bit, etc. Best is to bake this into the agenda long before the meeting time. If you're attending someone else’s meeting, you can always request this at the beginning before it starts. If you feel uncomfortable asking, you can always “white lie” and say that you have a medically diagnosed low back injury and your doctor has advised this. The others in the meeting will probably thank you for the reminder for self-care.
  • Can’t do the above either because you won’t ask, or because the request was denied? Take 5 minutes anyway and go to the bathroom every hour.

At the meeting or conference:

  • When you arrive, play with the settings on your chair to adjust the height to a comfortable level. During the meeting, try adjusting the height slightly up or down whenever you get a bit sore. This will make you use slightly different muscles and give the ones you just used a break.
  • If you find that you tend to cross your legs only in one direction, try switching. Between not crossing, and crossing to the other side every 15 minutes or so you may find some comfort. This will help relieve your muscles from getting stuck into a habitual asymmetrical pattern (which leads to a repetitive stress disorder).
  • For the really bold, take your shoes off under the conference table and/or attend meetings with laceless shoes that are easy to slip on and off.

For conferences, try the following tips:

  • Pick a spot towards the back or the outside of the seating rows. You'll have an easier time moving around and won’t worry as much about disturbing anyone.
  • If you are in a larger group, less eyes will be focused on you. Feel free to practice some in chair stretching during the lectures. We have a number of useful quick tutorials for workplace stretching on our YouTube channel.
  • Check in with yourself during a lecture. Are you really interested in the topic and material or just going through the motions because someone else thought this would be “good for you?” If you feel like you're getting little out of it, dropping out and getting a quick snack would be a great self-care practice. Check the list of other available opportunities for something more interesting while you're out! Nothing is more stressful than boredom or feeling like you are wasting your time.

The more you can be a leader in the workplace and make small changes for your own health and stress management, the better you’ll feel. As people start to notice how much happier you seem, the more likely it will be that people will start following along and practicing their own stress management. Hopefully, over time, the whole culture around you starts to shift and you'll be dealing with far less stress overall.

In our next post, we’ll cover travel tips for planes, trains, and automobiles!

self care, entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs, Please Don’t Ignore Your Self Care!

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about the perks of working from home and good self care for the entrepreneur.

David Weintraub

Simple Tips for Making the Home Office Work for You

I’ve now been a 10 year self-employed writer, then a 10+ year massage therapist, a life coach, and most recently have grown my practice to have 20 employees. Including 15 massage therapists who train under me and see clients at my practice. In that time I've had to learn self care for the entrepreneur the hard way! 

I’ve seen entrepreneurship from a lot of different angles. Both from my own experience and from working with and talking to hundreds of self-employed massage and coaching clients.

Along the way we’ve learned good practices for keeping your business from feeling like it’s all consuming. And ways to actually get and feel the freedom you were looking for going in... And the stability you thought you might never see again.

So, for whatever stage of entrepreneurship you are at, whether just starting out, or building out your third 100+ employee company, here’s some of our best self care for the entrepreneur advice for de-stressing.

It was a scary leap of faith to quit my “real” job but the benefits were just too enticing to pass by:

  • working from home
  • controlling my own hours
  • making way more per hour worked than when working for someone else
  • different job experiences each time
  • major tax write offs

But with the rewards come stress that can take a physical toll on your body.

  • The feast or famine syndrome (either having too much work at one time or none at all)
  • Managing your own schedule. A skill that none of us realized we lacked since parents, school and “job” handled all of that for us.
  • Learning how to negotiate, create contracts, and stick to deadlines. At least if you want to get paid decently, on time, and keep clients...
  • Saving money for when the work is slow (no more steady paycheck)
  • Beating the learning curve for every new client
  • Doing your own taxes (and they are far more complex)

Unless you’ve got a major investor or a business savvy partner (and often even if you DO), the beginning phase of any new business is a pretty stressful wild ride. Especially if this is your first venture into working for yourself. There are whole sets of systems that are needed that you had no idea were necessary. Suddenly you are building the boat to cross the river to success…… in the middle of the trip.

So, how do we practice self care for the entrepreneur at home?

  1. Ergonomics (ie using the tools of your job in the most body friendly and efficient way) is a lot more important than you’ve given it credit for.

Glad to ditch the desk?…think again…

Desks were invented for a reason. Desks are designed to sit at and be able to write on at a height that is generally good for most people.

Work desks may not have been perfect. They are still light years better than typing at your kitchen table, the coffee table, or (god-forbid) on your lap on your couch.

If you spend more than 1 hour per workday typing,
I highly recommend investing the extra money in a real ergonomic workstation, meaning:

  • an actual desk (pro tip, buy a vintage desk rather than a cheap Ikea one and you’ll be able to sell it later with little to no loss of money and possible make a profit on it)
  • a desktop computer (either as your only computer or in addition to your laptop) with decent sized monitor and wireless keyboard/mouse
  • a good comfortable chair that has the ability to roll and easily change height, and has no arms
  • a convertible sit/stand desk unit to place on top of your desk (especially if you are typing several hours per day or staring at the screen for long periods)
  • a comfortable set of headphones with a mic for phone calls (holding the phone against your shoulder with your head while trying to type is a surefire way to give yourself a cervical spine injury)

However, if you are stuck with your laptop as your main computing tool, try these mods:

    • do at least get a wireless keyboard and mouse (you can find something halfway decent on eBay for $20-30)
    • stack the laptop on several books on your kitchen table (or the desk if you managed to get one) to bring the monitor height up to eye level
    • get the most comfortable chair you can find and get used to switching between typing on the wireless keyboard both on the table and on your lap (the table will be slightly too high and your lap slightly too low so switch every 30 minutes or so to relieve your wrists)

I’ve talked a lot here on at home care. Part 2 of this series will focus on self care for the entrepreneur when you have to leave the office (on-site meetings, travel tips, etc.)

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massage therapy for athletes

The 6 Do’s and Don’ts to Avoid Workout Injury

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about do's and don'ts during workouts to prevent injury.

David Weintraub

Massage Therapy for Athletes

It’s nearing the end of winter and we are all a bit tired of it! Everyone is recommitting to their health goals, trying to get in shape, keep in shape, improve, etc. Bodyworks DW starts to see a lot more injuries this time of year from pushing too hard at the gym. Here’s our top advice for when to push hard and when to take it easier to prevent injury. We’ll also discuss when massage therapy for athletes is worth exploring as both a preventative measure if and when you do get an injury. 

There are a lot of amazing fitness classes available in NYC. It seems like something new is popping up almost every month. And while the variety is fantastic for helping you zero in on something that really works for you, it also means exposure to a lot of different and opposing opinions on what is good for you and what is not. As massage therapists, we have a unique viewpoint on fitness. We get to see hundreds of different clients and track what activities lead to the injuries that we work on every day, and we get to see what you can do to prevent injury that really works.

Fitness instructors don’t know as much as you would think about injuries.

The instructor of your class has one job - push you to your limits and beyond. The training they have is on exercise routines, form, and leading a class. Most don’t get very detailed anatomy training. Few, if any, are trained to deal with injuries.

Only you can have an accurate read on what your limits actually are.


  1. Don’t work out to exhaustion such that you lose fluid balance and ability to perform movements cleanly and well (if you find your balance being affected, stop and rest for a bit then try again)

  2. Don’t overdo movement in one area of the body without also working on the opposing side for balance

  3. Don’t keep going if you feel any sharp pain

  4. Don’t forget to drink water and eat

  5. Don’t do any lift or movement that is so difficult that you can barely pull it off (you need to work up to these as this range of difficulty is a surefire way to injure yourself)

  6. Don’t let an instructor push you past a healthy limit


  1. Do challenge yourself to try different movements on a regular basis

  2. Do try to slowly and steadily increase your range of motion, run times, weights, distances, etc. The key here is slowly and steadily over dozens of workouts

  3. Do slow down and concentrate on smooth and easy form for movements. Getting the movement aligned and efficient from the get go prevents injuries later

  4. Do ask for guidance from an experienced and well-trained instructor on form as good form is essential and do your research on massage therapy for athletes! See for yourself how helpful it can be

  5. Do quit while you are ahead as it’s almost always those last few reps or pushing past that last bit that gets you injured

  6. Do know what the common injuries for your favorite class are and how to prevent them happening to you (scroll down for a list of what injuries are common in our experience). 

Common Injuries for Popular Exercise Classes:

We see hundreds of clients engaging in all manner of exercise. The repetitive motions of most forms of exercise lead to common injuries. While the following are by no means the only way you can get injured in class, they are far more common than you may realize.

If you know what the common injuries are to your activity, you can take it a bit easier when you start to feel anything “off” in those areas.

Basic rule of thumb for pain:

STOP exercising for at least 24 hours. Try exercise again. If you feel okay, great, if you don’t wait another day.

Yoga: hamstring attachment tear, SI joint instability, cervical disc herniations, mid back pain

Pilates: plantar fasciitis, mid back pain

Crossfit: rotator cuff tear, biceps tendonitis, hip issues, groin pull

Soul Cycle/spinning: cervical disc and lumbar disc herniation, hip issues, low back pain, shoulder pain

Swimming: rotator cuff tear, hip issues, plantar fasciitis

Running (distance): plantar fasciitis, knee issues, ankle sprains, low back pain

Martial Arts (striking heavy ones like karate or kung fu): ankle sprains, hip issues, wrist sprains

Martial Arts (soft styles like aikido): hip issues, rotator cuff tear

Ju-juitsu: cervical disc herniations, rotator cuff tear, finger injuries

Boot Camp Style Classes: plantar fasciitis, groin pull, biceps tendonitis

Tennis: tennis elbow, hip issues

Kettlebell: wrist sprains, hip issues

Barre: hip issues, mid back pain

Rowing: Shoulder pain, hip issues

Boxing: wrist sprains, shoulder pain, plantar fasciitis

Kickboxing: wrist sprains, plantar fasciitis, ankle sprains

How Massage Therapy for Athletes can help:

If you feel pain during a class or workout and follow the above advice, it will go away for small injuries. After rest with light movement and stretching, try exercising again. If you feel okay, awesome! You are good to go.

If the pain persists and does not go away, it’s not going to heal on its own without at least several weeks of rest. And that just plain sucks if you have specific goals such as running a marathon, losing weight, increasing your times, etc.

Working with our team of experienced and well-trained therapists can kick start your healing and get you back in action much faster. Customized massage therapy for athletes is different than your average spa massage as we target the problem areas and work with you to improve your form, body awareness, and exercise routine so that you can continue to progress without further injury.

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shoulder pain

Winter & Workouts — A Recipe for Shoulder Pain. Here’s How to Fix It!

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about preventative shoulder pain techniques to get you through the winter.

David Weintraub

Your Shoulders and Winter are not good friends…

Have you booked a massage therapy for shoulder pain session yet? If not, you’ll probably feel like we are psychics in a few weeks…

It’s that most wonderful time of year…okay, actually it’s not all that wonderful right now.
The holidays are over, it’s freezing cold, and it’s a new year at the office with new projects, stress, and pressure.

And the cold just started….we’ve still got 10-14 weeks to go 😬🤒

Add in indoor exercise to that (weightlifting, yoga, boxing, Crossfit) and you’ve got a perfect recipe for shoulder pain and injuries…..

Winter Shoulder Pain Recipe

  • 1/4 cup “lifting shoulders due to cold”

  • 1 cup “stressing at work” which engages our fight/flight response and lifts the shoulders

  • 1 tablespoon “indoor exercise” which impacts shoulders more intensely (due to the other above ingredients)…

This recipe leads to overuse injuries such as rotator cuff tears, biceps tendonitis, and bursitis. 

What you get when this cake is baked is “I don’t know what happened….but my right (or left) shoulder just started hurting…..HELP!”

Shoulder Pain in Winter: What YOU can do about it

If you haven’t gotten to the pain level yet, congrats!

If you don’t want to get there, come see us for massage therapy for shoulder pain (or any other pains you are dealing with). In the meantime, the following will absolutely help to prevent further injury:

Invest in a good winter coat, hat, scarf (no, really)

  • Fashion is cool and all…and usually cold too. You may not like wearing a parka, or messing up your hair with a hat, but your shoulders will thank you if you are warm enough.
  • Your body is dealing with cold that it’s not insulated against.
  • Our nervous system is hardwired to “protect the important bits” (ie your head and your trunk where all of your important organs are).
  • It raises the arms and shoulders in a self hug to bring more body heat to your brain (the most important bit) and lungs.
  • This is brain stem level instinctual….if your body is cold enough to be scared of hypothermia it will raise your shoulders no matter how much you want them not to.

Warm up inside for a few minutes before sitting down (Desk = Death)

  • After you get inside and take off your coat, hat, scarf, spend several minutes walking around your office or house before sitting down.
  • Give your muscles some time to warm up, acclimate, and loosen up before sitting and staying in one position. Otherwise, they will tighten up into a sitting position even more than during the rest of the year.

Stretch (Desk = Death: Part 2)

  • Do some light stretching and moving, especially hip stretching and twists. These tend to get super locked up walking around in boots and trudging through snow and wind.
  • Swing your arms lightly around and roll your shoulders to help loosen up. Normally this happens while walking, but in winter we tend to keep our hands in our pockets. This holds the shoulders locked in place. Hence your shoulder pain!
  • Check out our YouTube page! We have a bunch of self-care at the office stretches to help you out in quick, easy to watch videos 🙂 

Make sure to warm up properly at the gym before going hard

  • Again, when you first get inside at the gym spend several minutes just letting your body warm up. Acclimate after being outside in the cold!
  • It’s even more important during winter months to spend that 10 minutes doing light stretching and warm up exercises. Try light walking or jogging on the treadmill. Before going full out, try a few reps of lifts with much lighter weight than you intend to lift during your workout. (Of course, you SHOULD be doing this throughout the year 🤔).
  • Does your gym have a steam room or sauna? Take advantage of that! Just make sure to bring in water to drink as you’ll sweat out even more fluids in there.

Hydration is vital

  • Winter means heating, which means DRY AIR. It’s going to take more water and fluids intake than you are used to drinking to stay hydrated.
  • Muscles that are stiff from the cold and under-hydrated are WAY more prone to injury.
  • Do you own a humidifier at home? No? Get one (or two or three….). Fluid loss at night while sleeping under heavy blankets and dry NYC heat is guaranteed. And it’s a surefire recipe for muscle injury and getting whatever nasty little flu or cold bugs are floating around the office.
  • Book a massage!
  • Why not take care of yourself? Massage therapy for shoulder pain, hip pain, foot, pain, low back pain, and any other pains that crop up during winter months is a no brainer.
  • And no, it’s not going to just wear off the moment you step back outside 🙂  

What WE can can help you with: massage therapy for shoulder pain

Some of our clients disappear for a while during the winter months. It’s harder to convince yourself to get to the studio when it means extra time outside in the cold and snow. We take on a “this sucks and I’ve just got to make through until Spring” attitude in NYC.

Why suffer?

Getting massage therapy for shoulder pain every 3-6 weeks is even more useful in the winter. You are going to tighten up no matter what you try to do on your own. A few massages during the winter means that you’ll far more likely to enter spring training injury free.

And if you are feeling any sharp shoulder pain during exercise now, don’t ignore it and hope it will get better. We can work on it to keep it from becoming a full blown rotator cuff tear or torn labrum. Not to mention biceps tendonitis…

The advantage to working with our team is that we customize every session to meet your needs for wherever your body is at that day.

Also, we have heated massage tables and delicious ginger tea 🙂

health resolutions that stick in 2018

Health Resolutions for 2018 that Work Because they are Custom Tailored to You

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about ways to keep track and maintain your New Year's Resolutions.

David Weintraub

It's 2018! Where did the time go?! Have you made your New Year's health resolutions yet?

In the spirit of a new year, most of us make resolutions about our health. We are going to exercise more, eat better, walk more, sleep better, drink more water, drink less wine, eat less junk, etc.

Some of us do well with these and solidify them as habits that have us feeling happier and healthier on a daily basis. But, statistically, most of us don't!

What gets in the way? All of the excuses:

"It's hard to find healthy food near work...."

"I don't have a decent gym near me...."

"I’m stressed about money

“I can't sleep and I need to fix that first...."

"I sprained my ankle and now can't do my favorite exercises...."

(that one is mine btw)

However, if we go up a level the bigger problem is that we simply haven't developed a concrete personal system for changing habits in our lives yet. Without the confidence that one CAN change habits, it's very unlikely that one WILL change habits.

So, how do we make health resolutions stick?

And the answer is......I have no idea. Or rather, I don't know which specific kinds of support systems will work for you.

I'm not YOU.

But, I can tell you what has helped me. And how I’ve seen clients build the personal power they need to take responsibility for taking action to make their health resolutions stick. Don’t feel like you’ve failed if you hit a few bumps along the way.

Step 1: Rewire your thought process away from "failure."

True change of self and habits is going to involve a decent amount of "fails." This is a simple fact of nature, yet we judge ourselves harshly time and time again.

Example Health Resolution: I am going to wake up at 7 am each morning, meditate for 10 minutes, then stretch for 10 minutes.

You might do well for several days, then go out late one night, and BAM, 7 am shows up and you hit the alarm and go back to sleep.

Your internal monologue goes something like this:

"Argh! I can't believe I did that, I'm such an idiot....I'm never going to make this work. Forget it, I quit."

When this happens, you are making making this a problem with you, when in fact, the issue isn't with you at all. It's with the SYSTEM you thought you put in place. The system didn't account for your late night out for example.

So rather than feel bad about yourself as being flawed or incapable, you can look at the "fail" as an opportunity to update the system in a way that seems likely to improve it, and run the experiment again.

Step 2: Take action again, regardless of breakdowns, with the goal of creating a system, not just one new habit.

We all hear catch phrases like "never quit." But what does it actually mean to quit? One definition is that you stop taking intentional action towards a goal. The important word there is "intentional." Remember, the goal here is not actually to just get this one new healthy habit in place, but to create a system where you KNOW that you can build any new habit that you want.

So getting lucky with a few actions that just happen to work for you on one particular habit might feel great. But luck isn't going to help you build the confidence to tackle other things.

However, if you start getting wins based on YOUR OWN intentional choices and actions, that is going to feel far more powerful and reliable.

Step 3: Track and measure the results of your experiments

If you only had one goal to declare for 2018, declaring that you'll create your own system for personal change that is proven to work for you to change and grow would be an important first goal. This is the "teach a man to fish" part of the old adage. Except you'll be teaching yourself to teach yourself. How's that for "meta?"

Most of us subconsciously avoid tracking and measuring...getting the first batch of results in an experiment back can be a serious blow. You expected to see something like 60-80% on target and you wound up getting 10-30% instead!

Be a scientist who studies yourself until you find a system that works for YOU to produce the results that you want with a high degree of certainty!

In order to create a trustworthy system to track and measure, you'll need to set up several components:

a) What is the data that I'm tracking? This needs to translate to actual numbers. Examples: "How many times this week did I exercise and for how long?" or "How many hours of sleep did I get last night?"

b) How am I recording that data? This needs to be easy to input data into, and to read data when reviewing. Examples: excel spreadsheet, phone app, notebook, etc.

c) How will I review the data, observe results, and adjust my experiment to improve results? I suggest a weekly review for 20-30 minutes to go over the results. Preferably routine, scheduled in your calendar and non negociable except in cases of emergency.

Step 4: Keep going until you are satisfied with your results

Nobody has ever created anything of worth without running into major obstacles. If you attach anything at all to the fact that it's not "easy" (ie "I must be stupid if it's this hard") then you engaging in a toxic form of magical thinking. Every time you hear something like, "the idea just came to me," or "I just did it..." that statement is being filtered. It sounds cool, but doesn't match with what really happened. The reality is that hundreds to thousands of hours of study and hard work came before the inspiration.

But satisfaction is where this gets muddy-satisfied according to whom? Most of us have a broken satisfaction meter. We might objectively be making improvements and growing, but if we are not meeting some outside measure that was set by our parents, siblings, society, friends....enemies, etc., then we don't allow ourselves to feel any satisfaction.

Be willing to give yourself an A for effort, even when you don't get the results you want on the first, third, or thirtieth try. If you keep going, you'll get it. 

Then reward yourself 🙂 (maybe a massage hint hint?)

Step 5: Even when you start getting the results you want, keep evaluating and tweaking your system.

If you've stuck with the first 4 steps of this for several months, you are bound to start seeing the results that you wanted on your health resolutions and are starting to feel pretty good about it. Congrats!

However, don't quit while you are ahead. Even when you find something that works for you, there may be a more efficient, better suited, more satisfying way to accomplish what you want if you keep looking at your system. You never know when some new app or device, or some new book, friend, colleague, class, etc. could add to your system and make it even smoother for you.

Also, if your system is working and you are getting the results you wanted with your first simpler resolution, it's time to test it out on something more challenging!

Health Resolutions that stick: 5 step review

In summary, the 5 steps to creating a personal system for changing habits on health resolutions that will work for you are:

Step 1: Change has obstacles, obstacles involve "fails," rewire your thoughts on these

Step 2: Take action-regardless of inevitable breakdowns, your goal is creating a system, not just mastering one new habit

Step 3: Track and measure results

Step 4: Keep going until you are satisfied

Step 5: Continually tweak the system

Try it out, or as Yoda says, "There is no try. There is only do or not do."

NYC Marathon Recovery

NYC Marathon Recovery

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about tips, tools, and recovery for pre and post Marathon run.

David Weintraub

NYC Marathon RecoveryThe 2016 NYC Marathon is less than 4 weeks away...

Is this your first NYC Marathon? Taking on the training and then running a marathon is a big deal. Congrats!

Hopefully, at this point, you are feeling close to ready. However, it's normal to freak out a bit and get worried that you haven't run that many longer runs, and that none of them are a full marathon. Having worked on 100's of runners over the years, we can tell you to trust the process and stick to the training schedule.

Here are a few extra tips to make your first (or seventh...) marathon a great experience instead of a slog.

What to do in the next few weeks to prepare for NYC Marathon recovery

If you are feeling comfortable with the length of runs on you training schedule, great! Keep up what you are doing 🙂

If you are experiencing any consistent pains on your runs, book a massage therapy session and/or physical therapy session to relieve the pain. Mild to medium pain at this point in your training will add up to a real injury on race day. And make your marathon an excruciating experience. It will also mean a lot more work after the marathon to rehabilitate. Often these pains can be dealt with in a few sessions now with a good therapist. Suffering through pain until after the run is playing with fire.  

Some common pain types for runners:

  • runner's knee
  • heel pain and/or foot pain
  • hip pain and/or groin pain
  • shin splints
  • plantar fasciitis
  • neck pain and shoulder pain 

What to do to AFTER for NYC Marathon recovery

Book a post race recovery massage and have it scheduled 2-7 days after the marathon. Your body will be super sore and depleted. If can often take a full 2 weeks to recover and feel normal. A light to medium pressure full body sports massage will help you recover in half the time (or less!). You've put all of these hours into training, run 26.2 miles, raised money, etc. Why not treat yourself to a lot less pain and suffering after the marathon?

If this is your very first marathon, we suggest booking a marathon recovery massage about 3-5 days after. It will take several days for your body to process enough of the lactic acid to where a massage will have you feeling better. If you've run a marathon before, some seasoned runners book a marathon recovery massage for the evening of the race! Others book the next day or the day after that. 

For self-care, drink more water than normal for several days, and eat more protein. You'll need the protein to rebuild torn up muscle tissue. If you get hungry, listen to that and eat something. Take contrast, then cold, then hot, then cold. 

Your system will be working overtime trying to heal hundreds of small micro-tears, and trying to flush out way more waste than it's used to dealing with. Trying to live "business as usual" is a asking for grief. Sleep lots. Stretch lots. Don't run for 2-3 weeks! (For realz). 

massage therapy for ankle sprain

Massage Therapy for an Ankle Sprain: Advice for Runners

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about his personal ankle injury and provides helpful tools and tips on ankle injury recovery for runners.

David Weintraub

Massage Therapy for an Ankle Sprain: what to do from the moment you get injured...

Massage therapy for an ankle sprain wasn't my intended topic this week. Then I took a bad fall in a parkour class trying to jump a 12 foot gap. I've now got about 6-8 weeks of healing, before exercising again in any weight bearing or high impact capacity. Based on my own professional assessment, anyway.

It's also timely and useful for those of you currently training for the NYC Marathon or the Ironman Triathlon to know a bit more about treating ankle sprains.

I know that there is a lot of info out there about what to do and what not to do. And much of this info is confusing and conflicting. So I'm going to walk you through what to do based on the most recent science. Using my own injury as an example.

First things first: how bad is it?! (is anything broken)

Before you attempt to do anything at all, you need to figure out if you have a broken bone or an ankle sprain. The very very very last thing you want to do with a bone break is try to move it. So you need to assess visually before assessing whether you can move it.

Questions to answer:

  • assuming you are in excruciating pain, is the ankle hanging off at an extreme angle? (If so do NOT attempt to move it)
  • do you see bone sticking out? (Again do NOT try to move it)

If it does seem like a bone break, you need an ambulance. Call 911 if you are alone, have bystanders do it if there are people around. Do not skimp here and try and get to the hospital by taking a cab. It needs to be looked at by qualified professionals and splinted/immobilized before you are moved. If you try to load yourself in a car, even with help, you are going to smack it around with every bump. This will shred the soft tissue around it even more. More shredded soft tissue = even longer recovery. Not worth it.

Okay, it doesn't seem what? (no, not the RICE method)

First, gently test to see whether you can move the ankle at all. Small circles in both directions, flex and point, wiggle the toes. Even just a slight ability to move is a good sign that nothing is completely torn through. If you can make tiny circles, flex and point, and move your toes, then it's likely an ankle sprain. Of course it's still possible that you have hairline fractures in one or more of the bones or partially torn ligaments. So don't jump to conclusions.

In the old days, athletic coaches would tell you to walk off an ankle sprain at this stage. Unfortunately, this has the immediate danger of ripping apart the soft tissue even more. And potentially tearing a muscle, tendon, or ligament all the way through. Trust me, anything torn all the way through is going to take a LONG time to recover. So you definitely want to avoid the possibility of making things worse.

In 1978, Dr. Gabe Mirkin developed the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation). Since the, RICE has been king in sports medicine. The RICE method counteracted the "walk it off" method and prevented further injury to the soft tissue. However, as we are now learning, it also slows down the healing process. And potentially freezes clotted tissue to the ligaments. In the last few years, science has had a nearly 180 degree turn on RICE (in fact, Dr. Mirkin himself has refuted RICE on his own website). Several studies now show that Ice delays healing, as does anything that reduces inflammation.

Second step...flush the tissue with small light movements to a tolerable level of dull pain, but not sharp acute pain. 

In the case of my ankle sprain this meant:

  • lie on my back and raise the ankle up to elevate it
  • make small tiny circles back and forth with the ankle to a tolerable level of dull pain
  • also point and flex the ankle and the toes to a tolerable level of pain
  • use your hands to assist if needed
  • flush for a few minutes, rest,
  • then lightly (and I do mean lightly) stroke the injury area with your fingertips, moving towards the heart
  • repeat several rounds of flushing and resting
  • check in with your pain levels and your body for 15-20 minutes

If the circles get slightly easier to make and/or larger, and your body starts relaxing a bit more, move on to next phase. If the area does not start to move a little better and calm down a bit, go to a sports doctor to get xrays, there may be smaller hairline fractures or a torn through ligament or tendon. 

The point of the flushing phase is three fold: moving fresh blood with nutrients and proteins to rebuild into the area, break down ripped up tissue and old blood, move the broken down wastes out of the area.

The third step...very gently attempt to put weight on the area

In my case with an ankle sprain, it's best to try to come to hands and knees first, then either with assistance or by grabbing on to something, pull yourself up on the good ankle. Then, while holding on to something or with assistance, try to gently put weight on the bad ankle.

Assess the pain this causes (and it definitely will cause pain) it intense but diffuse, or sharply acute on one spot?

  • With intense but diffuse pain, you can attempt to slowly put weight on it and take a step while holding onto a wall or another person
  • With sharply acute pain, take weight back off of it and try flushing it for a few rounds while standing on the good leg, then try to put weight on it again

if putting any weight on it again causes sharp acute pain, such that you can't take a step at all, get to a doctor or hospital. You'll want to get xrays and an MRI to see if there are any hairline fractures and/or torn tendons or ligaments. We recommend a few great NYC physical therapists on our collegues page due to their high level of experience and their philosophy of doing full 60 minute sessions with each patient.

However, if you can hobble on it with tolerable pain, call a car and get yourself home, trying to keep the injured ankle elevated on the back seat. If you don't have a friend with you, call someone and have them meet you at home. You are going to need some help and support.

The fourth step...recovery

ankle sprain massage therapy
My ankle sprain, the day after

Once you are home, elevate the ankle, and make sure that you drink water and eat some food, preferably fruit. This will immediately raise your glucose levels and help keep you from going into shock. Have a blanket handy in case you get cold and start shivering. Absolutely try to get help from a friend, partner or family member to purchase a few needed items. Get a cane and a slip on ankle bandage that provides support and compression. Also an arnica based lotion to apply to help move the bruising through. My personal fav is Topricin:

Why a cane and not a crutch? A crutch will be much easier to move around on at first. However, it will create havoc on your shoulder. In addition, it will be too easy to get moving fast on it, which is a recipe for taking a quick wrong step and re-injuring the ankle. A cane is somewhat humbling, but you can't really move any faster on it than your bad ankle will let you, which is a good thing.

Recovery is all about getting blood to and from the ankle. Move it or lose it is the name of the game. Keep flushing it several times daily with rounds of circles and movement to a tolerable degree of discomfort. Too much and you'll probably just want to vomit. None, and the ankle will heal frozen in place and you'll just have to rip the tissue back open again to get it moving. Slow and steady wins the healing race.

Wear the compression brace whenever you plan to try walking on it. For now you'll need the stability and it will keep the blood pressure from feeling too awful. However, don't wear it 24/7. Take it off and elevate it at home when you can (and should) rest.

A simple brace that slips on like a sock is best. You can still move a bit in it and do recovery exercises and it fits better in shoes which are also going to give support. Here are some great braces:

Recover Faster with less chance of Future Injury

ankle sprain massage therapy
two weeks after injury
ankle sprain massage therapy
four days after injury
ankle sprain massage therapy
My ankle sprain, two days after injury

While it is possible to heal this type of injury on your own, you'll get far better and quicker results working with experienced wellness professionals. Work with an acupuncturist during the initial stages, and a massage therapist and physical therapist as it starts to heal and take weight better.

DO NOT attempt to exercise on it until you can walk comfortably, without pain or discomfort, without wearing the brace. (At least not without direct guidance from a physical therapist.)

The main reason I'm already walking without a cane and almost no limp at 2 weeks is that I've gotten treated 3 times with e-stim by acupuncturist Erika Prinz . I've also had massage therapy sessions from my staff. E-stim (or Electroacupuncture) is especially valuable at the beginning stages to promote healing in the damaged tissue.

Now that I am walking mostly without a limp, and able to take stairs up and down reasonably well, my next move will be getting advanced massage therapy sessions from my staff in order to keep the injury from adversely affecting my knee and hip on the right leg. Often the biggest impediment to healing an injury all the way through is locked up compensating musculature in the rest of the body. In the beginning, this compensation was necessary to keep you from further injuring the ankle. Now, it's just in your way. A physical therapist colleague introduced me to using a wobble board for ankle sprain recovery and it's a life changer. Highly recommended!

Last but not least...for NYC Marathon Runners

Our tendency is to want to dive right back into our exercise routine once we feel like we have little to no pain. This is just asking for re-injury. Take 4-6 weeks to slowly but surely add back in exercise. Act like you've never worked out before. Start small and steady. My first "rehab" exercise was walking to a cafe down the block with my wife for brunch after being stuck at home for 4 days. If you used to run 6 miles a run 5 times a week, start with a walk to the subway. Then walk a quarter mile a few days later. Then walk a half mile in week 2. Maybe by week 3 you try running around the block once. Maybe.

If at any point you step weird and it feels hurt again (and trust me this will happen), take it easy, continue daily flushing. It's all part of the process of rebuilding a solid working structurally sound ankle.

If you bite off more than you can chew at this stage, you may step wrong, roll the ankle again, this time worse, tearing through already weak ligaments. Do you like the thought of having to take 8-12 MONTHS to recover?! Don't push too hard!

Massage Therapy in Fidi: Bodyworks DW

Massage Therapy in FiDi: Bodyworks DW’s new Studio is now downtown!


Massage Therapy in Fidi: Bodyworks DWThe build out is done, the move in to Fidi is complete - David is tired 🙂

Opening our new studio in FiDi, NYC 's financial district, has been quite the adventure. I started envisioning this space 18 months ago. It's taken a lot of sweat, diving headlong into NYC commercial real estate. We looked all over manhattan to find a permanent home for our Bodyworks DW. If I had known a quarter of what I didn't know that I didn't know when I started, I might have chosen not to bother at all!

Now that it's a reality...WOW am I happy and excited to have stayed the course and seen it through. And I'm really starting to love Fidi as a neighborhood as well. There is so much to explore!

I've shared some photos of the space in progress along the way, and now I get to finally share photos of the finished studio. We moved in on August 16th and started seeing clients on the 17th. On the 26th, I ceremoniously unpacked the last box from the move 🙂 There are still a few little things to take care of, but we are already totally in love with our new home and know that you will be too!

A massage therapy studio designed completely around healing

The first thing you'll notice when you get off the elevator is how QUIET it is up here. We've created an oasis, despite Fidi being one of the busiest neighborhoods in NYC. A major part of this is having the top floor all to ourselves. You can quite literally hear a pin drop in the waiting area. I've found myself just hanging out after my work is done, because It's that peaceful.

The second thing you'll notice is that we've created this space as a place to CHILL. It's vibey and relaxing, so you can get away from "it all" up here. When you arrive for your massage therapy appointments, we suggest doing yourself a favor and leaving your devices in your pocket. Get some water and sit down in whichever seating appeals to you...we've got a hip mid-century sofa and some very comfortable vintage shell chairs. I often come out to see clients zoning out in the folding rocking chair with a child-like grin on their faces.

Breathe. Have fun and play with the vintage molecule model kit or the microscope. Take a look out the windows and remember what life was like when you didn't have that report to worry about 🙂

The third thing you'll notice is how spacious the new treatment rooms are. The vibe is still relaxed and inviting, but we didn't skimp on space for our therapists to stretch out and work in. The ceilings are high, giving you the sense that anything is possible, and that if you just relax, you can stretch outwards and upwards. Maybe you're actually a bit taller in here!? Your psyche will do amazing things in open space. 

Well, enough text. A picture is worth a thousand words and all that...