Posted by: Rhett Hatfield | February 9, 2015

Could a Hug a Day Keep Infection Away?

A recent article from Dr Mercola one of my favorite contributors to the health field lauds the value of hugging in avoiding infection.  Of course as a Massage School I immediately related getting more hugs to the value of receiving massage!  More on that in a moment.

A hug a day keeps the doctor away












A quote from Dr Mercola’s article:

More Hugs Might Help Keep Infections Away

It’s been shown that people who are under stress and in conflict with others are more susceptible to viruses like the common cold. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University set out to determine whether social support, as gauged by hugging, might in turn be protective against such infections.

It turns out their hypothesis was right. Among 404 adults, those who had greater social support and more frequent hugs during conflicts were less likely to “catch” a cold after they were exposed to the virus.7 The hugs, researchers said, were responsible for about one-third of the protective effect.

According to the study’s lead researcher:8

This suggests that being hugged by a trusted person may act as an effective means of conveying support and that increasing the frequency of hugs might be an effective means of reducing the deleterious effects of stress…

The apparent protective effect of hugs may be attributable to the physical contact itself or to hugging being a behavioral indicator of support and intimacy… Either way, those who receive more hugs are somewhat more protected from infection.”


He goes on to say …

What Might You Gain from a 10-Second Hug a Day?

If you’ve ever needed an excuse for more hugging, let it be this: hugging increases levels of the “love hormone” oxytocin. This, in turn, may have beneficial effects on your heart health and more.

One study found, for instance, that women had lower blood pressure following a brief episode of warm contact with their partner.9 A 20-second hug, along with 10 minutes of hand-holding, also reduces the harmful physical effects of stress, including its impact on your blood pressure and heart rate.10

This makes sense, since hugging is known to lower levels of stress hormones like cortisol. Hugging also activates the orbitofrontal cortex in your brain, which is linked to feelings of reward and compassion.11,12 But research suggests there’s even more to it than that.

As reported by Mail Online:13

The skin contains a network of tiny, egg-shaped pressure centers called Pacinian corpuscles that can sense touch and which are in contact with the brain through the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve winds its way through the body and is connected to a number of organs, including the heart.

It is also connected to oxytocin receptors. One theory is that stimulation of the vagus triggers an increase in oxytocin, which in turn leads to the cascade of health benefits.”

A 10-second hug a day can lead to biochemical and physiological reactions in your body that can significantly improve your health. According to one study, this includes: Lower Risk of Heart Disease, Stress Reduction, Fighting Fatigue, Boosting Your Immune System, Fighting Infections and Easing Depression.

Later in the article he goes on to say that alternatives that other touch activities such as a back rub and getting a massage have similar value.   Apparently a hug needs to be 10 seconds long to achieve the maximum benefit.  I’m thinking a massage lasts a LOT longer than that.

Four hugs a day are considered maintenance, 8 hugs are better and 12 hugs are said to achieve real psychological growth.  Add one massage per week to that and I think we would be well on our way to vibrant, drug free health.

See the full article here


Rhett Hatfield, Director of Education, Body Wisdom School
750-1500 Hour Massage Certification Program, 5 Different Career Tracks


Posted by: Rhett Hatfield | October 12, 2014

The Single-Leg Stance Test for Orthopedic Massage Therapists

Body Wisdom’s Orthopedic Massage Moment
“A Moment to Inform Yourself Can Be Priceless for Your Practice”

Static assessments done in front of a posture grid are certainly valuable and every Orthopedic Massage Therapist should do them prior to working. Taking it a step further are “functional assessments” such as Gray Cooks “Movement Screen which can take your assessments to a whole new level. 

The Single-Leg Stance Test is One Example (not Gray Cooks)

READ-LEARN-APPLY …. Constant research and application of Orthopedic Assessments and Massage Techniques are what will keep you energized and your practice vital!!

For Body Wisdom’s Perennial Students:
It’s been stated (apparently by those who know) that reading for an hour a day in your field of expertise will make you an international expert in 7 years!! You’re education at Body Wisdom with 100 Hours of Orthopedic Sports Massage, 50 Hours of Myo, 50 Hours of Positional Release, 50 Hours of Deep Tissue etc. was a good start but now you need to continue to take it further every day!! (((End of lecture))) Sorry I couldn’t help myself …..

Link to article;

Press Release
Jimbaran, BALI, March 3, 2011

AYANA Resort and Spa Bali, which has just added the Best Resort Spa in Asia-Pacific to its list of accolades, has launched four new signature treatments created exclusively for its guests.

The new treatments coincide with the announcement at an awards ceremony in Hong Kong last month that AYANA was voted the Best Resort Spa in Asia-Pacific in the 2011 Destinasian Readers’ Choice Survey– adding to a host of other awards recently, including #1 World’s Best Spa in the 2010 Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Survey.

AYANA’s Spa Director, Michi Sonoda, thanked guests for once again voting for the resort’s Thermes Marins Bali Spa and supporting its objective to be the pioneer of unique and innovative treatments available only at AYANA.

“We continually strive to be the best, and these new treatments are not just about relaxation and pampering, they elevate the concept of wellbeing to a whole new level,” said Michi. “They use the earth’s natural resources to specifically target our body’s seven energy centers to counter the negative influences of modern living, and restore our inner balance. Seashells are warmed for use as unique and effective massage tools, herbal blends are bundled and warmed to deeply relax the body, lava stones known for their healing properties are used for reflexology, and Ayurveda-inspired methods are used to open your chakras. Each treatment is exclusively available at AYANA, and is an experience not-to-be-missed.”

The treatments were created by wellbeing coach Rhett Hatfield, founder of Body Wisdom Coaching which focuses on ‘coaching from the inside out’ and owner of Body Wisdom Massage School in the USA. Each treatment provides a completely holistic experience to balance the energy centers in the body, with innovative approaches to ancient healing remedies. Rhett spent months developing the treatments and training AYANA’s spa therapists in the art of holistic healing.

Hot Shell Massage

For centuries, cultures around the world have honored seashells as a source of food, decoration, trade and for their spiritual connection to the divine feminine. Now you can experience the magic of these gems of the sea through a deeply relaxing Hot Shell Massage to melt tired muscles and soothe your spirit. Shells and sand are used to exfoliate your feet before a massage using dozens of warmed shells sourced from around the world, to specifically target different parts of the body. The types of shell used ranges from spiral shells such as ‘cowries’ and ‘nautilus’ (which targets the heart chakra) to clams and coral, each naturally smooth from the ocean. The high note of your experience is a unique seashell layout on your body to balance your energy centers, and a refreshing shell facial massage.

AYANA Fusion

Steamed herbal pouches containing AYANA’s fresh herbal blend of three gingers reputed for their healing and rejuvenating properties are used to relax tight muscles, making way for the long, flowing, deep tissue strokes, acupressure and gentle stretching techniques that follow. The herbs are chopped fresh before the treatment by your therapist and placed in a 100% bleached cotton bundle which is steamed and used as a massage tool to tap, twist, knead and deeply penetrate the whole body. The pouch delivers deep medicinal heat to relax the muscles, open the pores, stimulate blood circulation, and relieve tension and joint pain. A nourishing face massage with warm herbal face bundles will leave you feeling relaxed and energized.

7 Chakra Dhara

For unbridled luxury, opt for AYANA’s one-of-a-kind Seven Chakra Dhara Journey. Your experience begins with an authentic Ayurvedic massage using long flowing massage strokes and pressure on key marma energy points to relax tired muscles and open the pathways in the body through which energy flows. Then seven synergistic aromatherapy blends attuned to the energy of each of the seven chakras are used together with a precious gemstone and a note from a chakra tuning fork to unblock and balance each individual chakra. Your journey ends with a relaxing marma face and scalp massage and a chakra tuning fork rhapsody to transport you onto a cloud of sound healing currents. Balanced and cleansed anew, this treatment leaves you in an optimum state of well-being.

Lava Stone Reflexology

Not to be missed is AYANA’s signature Lava Stone Reflexology treatment combining Chinese meridiens massage, Thai ‘sabai-sabai’ hand techniques, and European pressure points. Your experience begins with a ceremonial footbath followed by an energizing leg massage and therapeutic foot reflexology with a custom set of Lava stones from the mountains. To complete your treatment, a deeply relaxing hand, arm, neck and shoulder massage will release the burdens of everyday living and brighten your mood.

AYANA Resort and Spa Website

Posted by: Rhett Hatfield | February 3, 2011

RSS for Massage Therapists

RSS for Massage Therapists and Why it Matters

What is RSS Anyway?
RSS stands for “really simple syndication” …. which allows you to subscribe to websites, blogs, news agencies and have the content delivered to you.  As one author said “it’s like having the news you want find you instead of you having to find it.”

Why it Matters:

1) RSS gives the massage therapist or other health practitioner a way to easily stay abreast of news, articles, events and more in the over all health, wellness and massage industry.  RSS feeds into an what is called an RSS Reader such as Google Reader ( the one I use), Yahoo Reader or many others.  This allows you to quickly SCAN down a list looking for relevant information.

2) SAVE your best finds to folders in your web browser OR better yet to an application like Evernote (free download for Mac or PC) where you can “clip” web pages in their entirety and drop them into relevant folders or what Evernote calls notebooks.  You might have a notebook for Massage Research, Health Tips or Sports Massage for example.

3) Once you have collected some “relevant information” …. in other words relevant to your niche(s) and of interest to your target market then the next step is to SHARE your gems along some of your channels.

For Example:

  • Updates to your Facebook “Page”
  • Mini-blog posts complete with links through your Twitter account
  • Status Updates on your Linkin Account
  • Inspired Blog posts on your company or personal blog
  • Interesting articles and tidbits for your Bi-Monthly E-Newsletter
  • Clippings that you can forward to individual clients via email to show how much you care

The list is endless!

4) Be known as the expert in your niche! A flow of relevant and timely information that you can pass on not only puts you in “the know” but more importantly establishes you as an expert in your niche and a leader in your field, two very important components of a comprehensive personal branding strategy.

How to Find Good RSS Feed Material
Having an RSS Feed Reader set up is only half the battle.  The other half is to find great material to feed it.  Google Reader has a search function which is pretty good for general purposes but for  the best material you’ll need to do a little web research.  I’ve listed a few resources below to got you started:

Alltop: One of my favorites sources of information and setting up feeds is Alltop.  Along with many other categories they have a huge cross section of information regarding health, wellness and fitness.  Although Alltop and some of the suggestions below are a kind of a feed in and of themselves, they are also a great starting place for setting up your own custom feed right into a web browser.

Other places to search for great sites to set up RSS feeds from are Digg,  Stumbleupon and and for more offbeat stuff  Reddit.

The Massage Therapy Foundation has a bank of interesting articles on research.

If this is all new to yoI urge you to take a few minutes to go through the excellent slide share presentation below to see just how easily you can put the RSS Genie to work for you.  It is easier to set up then you think!

Pay It Forward:
Find Relevant information of interest to your target market and pay it forward.  As a friend of mine sums it up …. SCAN, SAVE and SHARE …. you, your clients, colleagues and friends will be glad you did.

Note: If you find some other good sources please list them here under the comments section of this post.

Posted by: Rhett Hatfield | June 16, 2009

How to Give a Shirodhara Part 6: Traditional Shirodhara Technique

How to Give a Shirodhara Part 6: Traditional Shirodhara Technique

A Quick Note About Me:
My name is Rhett Hatfield and in addition to being the owner and Director of Education for the Body Wisdom Massage Therapy School I am am indigenous therapies researcher in Asia and South East Asia and normally spend several months there every year. You can read more about me and my travels in the Blog section Body Wisdom Global

Section 6 Overview:
Having covered all the preparations for Shirodhara in sections 1-5 we are now ready to perform the actual technique itself in the traditional way.  In truth the proper preparations for giving Shirodhara are just as important if  not more important than the actual treatment itself.  If you Rhett-and-Teacherhave not followed these posts up until now you might want to take a few minutes to review the background and preparations that have brought us to where we are now.

Links to sections 1-5
Link to How to Give a Shirodhara Part #1: “Intro.”
Link to How to Give a Shirodhara Part #2: “The Droni (table)”
Link to How to Give a Shirodhara Part #3 “Shirodhara Pot and Stand”
Link to How to Give a Shirodhara Part #4 “Preparations of Medicines”
Link to How to Give a Shirodhara Part #5 “Final Preparations for Treatment”

Read More…

Posted by: Rhett Hatfield | April 30, 2009

Aromatic Massage Oil Blends for the Chinese 5 Elements

Aromatic Massage Oil Blends for the Chinese 5 Elements

The Five Element Theory utilized in Chinese Medicine stems from ancient Chinese philosophy. The five elements are symbolic for the different phases, or primal forces withinSun Moon the universe, nature, and our bodies. Each element is also attributed to a certain personality archetype. Knowing which element(s) predominates our personalities can help further insight into our lives and relationships.

The massage blends below were formulated with TCM 5 Element Theory in mind.  As you may know essential oils have a direct effect on the limbic system thereby altering the emotional and mental qualities of the body mind. In TCM it is believed that emotions relate to different organs in the body and through herbs, oils, color and scents (in addition to acupuncture and other bodywork modalities) we are able to help rebalance.

Prepare the blends below and either choose your scent intuitively (works very well) or take the 5 elements questionnaire online listed at the end of this article.


Read More…

Posted by: Rhett Hatfield | April 29, 2009

How to Give an Awesome Neck Massage

How to Give an Awesome Neck Massage

In our modern world of stress and tension any massage therapist can tell you it mostly comes down to neck, shoulders and lower back.  Most people are either “neck and shoulders” OR “lower back” and a few are both (sorry for those guys).

In the videos that follow you will find a basic neck massage routine (Video #1)  followed by a somewhat more advanced approach (Video #2) from our Therapeutic Massage Series at Body Wisdom School.  Both videos are basic entry level techniques that should be within the capability of any trained massage therapist and are offered as a review and for informational purposes and not to replace safe, qualified instruction in a classroom environment.

Hope the videos below will help to make the world a more relaxing place .. heaven knows we all could use a little more relaxation … 🙂  Enjoy!!

Video #1: Superficial Layer Neck Massage Techniques


Video #2: Second Layer Neck Massage Techniques

Please let me know what you are thinking by commenting on this post


Rhett Hatfield, Owner/Director of Education Body Wisdom School
“750-1600 Massage Therapist Certification Programs, 5 Different Career Tracks.” Create your “custom massage certification program” of anywhere from 750-1600 hours of World Class Massage and Bodywork Education.  CEU Programs available



Find out about the Body Wisdom Career Track Program and our list of Program Electives and CEU Programs


Posted by: Rhett Hatfield | April 21, 2009

How to Give a Shirodhara Part 5: Preparations for Treatment

How to Give a Shirodhara Part 5: Final Preparations for Treatment

For those of you coming into this 7 part series a little later, allow me to provide a little context.  I am owner of the Body Wisdom Massage School here in Des Moines, Iowa and I have also opershirodharaated as a global spa trainer and indigenous researcher in South East Asia for a few months out of each of the past few years.  An up and coming spa treatment which you may not have heard of but is very, very popular in today’s destination spas in both the US and abroad is called Shirodhara.  Shirodhara is the pouring of warm oil on the forehead for an extended period of time.  Although is may seem quite odd to the uninitiated it is one of the most relaxing experiences that can be had along with a massage or other spa treatment.  The purpose of this 7 part series is to report on my documentation of this traditional Ayurvedic treatment during my trips to India and in parts 6 and 7 still to come to describe the traditional approach as well as recommended adaptions of the original for today’s spa community.  Part of my work in documenting this treatment is as the current Chair of the Asia Pacific Spa and Wellness Task Force on Indigenous Therapies dedicated to documenting and preserving traditional therapies in South East Asia.  See Body Wisdom Global

Read More…

Posted by: Rhett Hatfield | April 15, 2009

How to Create a Killer Elevator Speech in Minutes

How to Create a Killer Elevator Speech in Minutes

One of the exercises from our 58 Hour Business and Marketing Course for Massage Therapists

Everyone knows they need one, but how to come up with one? Here are three easy to do and FUN exercises.

An “Elevator Speech” is good for brief introductions such as when networking or meeting someone for the first time.  Answers the question “what do you do?”

Read More…

Posted by: Rhett Hatfield | April 15, 2009

How to Get a Great Testimonial

How to Get a Great Testimonial

Written testimonials can be a powerful way to spotlight your product, business or service.  The only problem seems to be that seemingly you need to rely on luck to get just the right relevant content.  This article discusses some of the traditional and non traditional ways of mining for testimonial gold

One of the exercises from our 58 Hour Business and Marketing Course for Massage Therapists

Read More…

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