Gentle Nudges Newsletter

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“I loved this newsletter. It's great how you break down us readers' resistances to taking care of ourselves, and do it with such a sweet and gentle voice with that touch of humor. Questions like those are excellent tools for re-focusing; getting back on track with what's important and letting go of what's not.”

- Ella Jolly, Social Worker
New York City

I am experiencing, and that's ok

“I am experiencing _______, and that’s ok.”

“I am experiencing anxiety, and that’s ok.” Recently, I shared this statement with a new mama who was struggling with insomnia and anxiety (a vicious cycle, especially when you’re already deeply sleep deprived). Turns out, the “simple” practice of repeating this to herself is what helped things shift enough so that she could fall asleep… → Continue Reading

Go easy on yourself

Please go easy on yourself

Please go easy on yourself. Go easy on yourself when you forget to go easy on yourself, too. Saying this to myself as much as you, dear human. 🍃 It took me many, many years to understand and accept that I am human (what?!), and being alive during this time is bringing that back up… → Continue Reading

Trauma-Informed Massage and Bodywork: What is it and Who’s it For?

Trauma has become quite the buzzword of late, with even Oprah doing a “60 Minutes” special in March 2018 on the effects of childhood trauma. Studies and impacts that have long been explored by many pioneers in the field are now finally bubbling to the mainstream surface. We’re beginning to understand that trauma encompasses more… → Continue Reading

Cut Yourself Some Slack

These last several months have opened up my perception of how the body can change, specifically the female body! As many of you know by now, I’m expecting my first child. Somehow in the last few weeks, I’ve gone from looking “most likely pregnant,” to “she’s definitely pregnant!” This process of expansion and change has… → Continue Reading

Feeling like a series of problems to be fixed? Try this gentle re-frame instead…

On this Winter Solstice, I wanted to say hello, and share this recent post I wrote that seems to have struck a chord with people. At a time of year when expectations and stress levels can sometimes run high, I hope you’ll let this be window in to harnessing deeper self-awareness and self-compassion. Your Gentle… → Continue Reading

Foam Rolling

3 Simple Foam Rolling Moves to Gently Relieve Back Tension

Foam rolling has been a self-care love of mine for many years. Foam rollers helped me through my professional dance career, alleviating muscle soreness and tension so I could get through classes and rehearsals (though I no longer roll out my poor IT bands. Yeow!). Now as a bodyworker, I use foam rolling for quick… → Continue Reading

Pain and Shame

“Ugh, I should’ve known better!”

“Ugh, I should’ve known better!” You lifted too much. Bent too far. Stretched too long. Went too hard. Sat too long. You should have known. Or should you have? I’ve heard this so many times in my practice (and I’ll admit to having said it myself). And then I feel that subtle layer of shame… → Continue Reading

How to be cared for: A guide for Highly Sensitive People

(Part One: Getting the right physical care for you) Google, ‘Self-Care,’ and you’ll be met with over 51 million search results (!) and article headings with everything from, “7 Steps to Exquisite Self-Care” blog entries to vulnerable personal narratives (“My painful and terrifying tell-all about what happened when I neglected self-care, grew two heads, and… → Continue Reading

Massage and Bodywork do not need to hurt to be effective! So, what can work?

If I had a dollar for every time someone comes to me because their last massage therapist went too deep, or heard they hurt somewhere and proceeded to grind away at that area for the better part of a session, I’d be a millionaire (well, almost). I’m happy, and honored, to be a safe haven… → Continue Reading


Is worrying about your pain and stress making it worse?

Have you ever caught yourself panicking when something that used to hurt terribly starts hurting again, even a little bit? Do you find yourself asking yourself things like, “How bad is this going to get? What if it’s as bad as the last time? What if it gets bad and doesn’t heal this time?” If… → Continue Reading

Rosen Method Bodywork

[VIDEO] Connecting Talk & Gentle Touch for Amazing Results with Rosen Method Bodywork

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with my friend and fellow bodyworker maverick, Karen. Karen’s been helping the fine folks of San Francisco feel better in their body for over a decade, and she’s truly a wealth of holistic wellness knowledge. Being the gentle bodywork nerd that I am, when she told me… → Continue Reading


Free your eyes and your neck will follow

(If you’re looking for a quick, gentle, surprisingly effective daily practice for reducing neck tension and eye tension, and increasing an overall sense of ease throughout your body, this is for you. It may seem too simple to work, but I urge you to give it a try : ) Three weekends ago, I packed… → Continue Reading

gentle massage therapist

Feeling misunderstood or alone as a gentle massage therapist & bodyworker? Read this. (You’re not.)

A fellow gentle massage therapist recently reached out to me to voice her struggle around feeling misunderstood at her work place, and asked how I might advise navigating this, as well as figuring out a way to do more of the gentle, powerful work she loves. Having worked with clients professionally for five years now,… → Continue Reading

Self-awareness + Two super quick ways to simmer down stress & overwhelm

Have you, like me, ever wondered… Self-awareness: friend or foe? Self-awareness is something that has intrigued, perplexed, delighted, and infuriated me for years. Both the topic itself, and the experience of it. In my last Gentle Nudge to you, I wrote about the mind/body connection and how viewing my mind as part of my body… → Continue Reading

You Are Your Body

The little mindset shift that changed EVERYTHING

I want to let you in on a major mindset shift that has amplified my health and the ease with which I navigate life. Perhaps more than any other mindset shift I’ve made. First, a little back-story: I’ve spent a lot of time researching human physicality and the mind/body connection. I’ve spent a lot of… → Continue Reading

Highly Sensitive Person

[AUDIO] I’m a Sensitive Revolutionary

I’m excited to share with you my very first interview! I had the great pleasure and honor of being interviewed by Ane Axford of Ane has been a mentor and role-model of mine in the last few years through her teachings about being an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) and learning to strengthen and lead… → Continue Reading


Feeling “ho-hum” about your body? Try this.

A friend of mine recently got their eyes scanned and shared the photo of their retina with me. Holy wow! As if I needed one more reason to be fascinated by the body. (Is it me, or does the inside of the eye kind of resemble one of those lightning balls?!) I am a self-proclaimed… → Continue Reading

[VIDEO] Got Jaw Tension? Try this easy Self-Massage for Relief in just 2mins!

One of the most frequent complaints I hear from my clients is about jaw tension and jaw tension related issues. It seems we’re clenching our jaws at our desks, with our clients, in our sleep, on the train, when we’re focusing and thinking hard, or doing a tough yoga pose or a set of Pilates… → Continue Reading

Strike while the iron is COLD

I value honesty and transparency, and I refuse to be a bodyworker who pretends to be perfect and never feel pain or discomfort, so I’m going to be upfront with you: I’ve spent the past month dealing with pretty gnarly back spasms. They’ve jumped around from place to place, presenting in different symptoms, getting better… → Continue Reading

Gaga Movement Language

[VIDEO] Gaga Movement Language: Develop Your Self-Awareness & Find Your Inner Groove!

Today is a VERY special edition of Gentle Nudges because it’s an INTERVIEW! On VIDEO! Whoa… I had the pleasure of chatting with my pal, James Graham, who teaches something called Gaga Movement Language. No no, this is not the creation of Lady Gaga, but rather of acclaimed Israeli choreographer, Ohad Naharin, of Batsheva Dance… → Continue Reading

Muscle Monday: Supraspinatus

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be covering the four muscles of the Rotator Cuff: the muscles that stabilize your shoulder joint and help move your arm up and down, and rotate, as well. Without the ROT cuff muscles, you wouldn’t be able to do a whole lot with your arms. We’ll start with the… → Continue Reading

My simple 6-step process for shifting anything (a.k.a. start where you are)

I’ve been thinking a lot about pain recently — how we experience it, why we experience it, how to use it to our advantage, and how to transmute it. There’s a whole lot I could share about this, but for now, I want to talk about starting where you are, and learning to accept and… → Continue Reading

Highly Sensitive Person

How being a Highly Sensitive Person has shaped my approach to Massage and Bodywork

I’ve given and received a lot of Ortho-Bionomy in the last several days and had some interesting conversations with colleagues and clients and it’s gotten me thinking a lot about WHY I do this work and about SENSITIVITY. Some of you may know that I identify as an ‪#‎HSP‬ (Highly Sensitive Person). I’ve lived in… → Continue Reading

Muscle Monday: Trapezius

It’s time for another edition of ‪‎Muscle Monday‬! Today’s special guest is the long, multi-talented Trapezius muscle. The trapezius is a large, flat muscle found on the back that runs from the base of the skull, out towards the tip of your shoulder, and down to about the mid-back, forming a diamond of sorts. It’s… → Continue Reading

Muscle Monday: Wrist Extensors

Welcome back for another ‪‎Muscle Monday‬! Today’s special guests are the Wrist Extensors. Ooooooh. The three muscles that act to extend your wrist are the Extensor carpi radialis longus and brevis, and Extensor carpi ulnaris. They originate from the tendon on the outside of your elbow and run down the side (more or less) of… → Continue Reading

Muscle Monday: Pectoralis Minor

It’s time for another Muscle Monday! Today’s special guest is… Pectoralis Minor (pec minor for short). This tiny muscle runs from the scapula to the 3rd, 4th, and 5th ribs, and lies underneath and bigger, broader Pectoralis Major muscles. This is another muscle that gets cranky with (you guessed it) a lot of computer work,… → Continue Reading

Muscle Monday: Muscles of Mastication

Welcome back for another edition of ‪Muscle Monday‬! Today’s special guests are the Muscles of Mastication (aka chewing). Beyond chewing, they also assist us in speaking (kinda important) as well enable jaw clenching and teeth grinding; two very common and troublesome problems that can contribute to neck tension, headaches, dental issues, etc. Three muscles comprise… → Continue Reading

Muscle Monday: Psoas

Time for another ‪Muscle Monday‬! Today’s special guest is the Psoas (pronounced ‘so-as’) The psoas lies deep beneath your abdominal muscles. It originates from all your lumbar (low back) vertebrae, as well as the the lowest thorasic vertebrae (T12). It then attaches way down at your femur (thigh bone). That means it’s involved in hip… → Continue Reading

Muscle Monday: Levator Scapula

I’m starting a Muscle Monday series! Each week I’ll be shining a light on a different muscle in the body: Where it is, what it does, and other cool things. We’ll start off with the Levator Scapula. Is it a shoulder muscle? A neck muscle? It’s both! The lev scap is a little muscle that… → Continue Reading

There’s something about feeling grounded…

Before I head into this go-around of Gentle Nudges, I wanted to say a special THANK YOU. Why? This May 2014 marks the 3rd Anniversary of my professional bodywork career and there’s NO WAY it would have happened or be happening without you. Your presence on my table, your support and feedback, spreading the word… → Continue Reading

Why lying on the floor is the new nap

If you follow me on facebook or twitter, or have been reading my newsletters for a while (thank you!), you know that besides bodywork, I take care of an awesome toddler. And in the past month, her 5mo old adorable, squirmy and hefty baby bro has been added to the mix. It is wonderful and… → Continue Reading

How often is often enough?

Today, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on one of the most frequent questions I get asked, and it’s a good one. “How often should I receive massage and bodywork?” The answer: It depends! It depends on the situation and it depends on YOU. Let’s start with the situation: 1-2x/week if: :: you’re dealing with a… → Continue Reading

Reinvent the Position

Today, I want to share a personal story with you about recommitment and reinvention that I like to remind myself of from time to time. In college and for several years after, I had the privilege of studying the José Limón dance technique with the venerable Risa Steinberg. There are many reasons I loved her… → Continue Reading

7 of my fav ways to help manage LWNB (Long Winter’s Night Blues)

It’s amazing how much that time change changes things, right? For me, the season of longer evenings, holidays, and chillier weather (though as a native New Yorker, getting away with wearing just a light sweater and a jacket in November is pretty awesome) means a desire to feel cozy, warm, and nurtured. Holiday stress and… → Continue Reading

If I had a quarter for every time I recommended…

Today, I’m here to wax poetic about one of my oldest, truest, most reliable and multi-talented friends. She goes with me wherever I go: work, overseas adventures, dance classes. She’s compact and fuzzy, and is always there for me after a long day on my feet or for a quick tune-up between clients. In fact,… → Continue Reading

Human vs. Machine: Do you ever feel this way too?

“Why doesn’t it just WORK?!” These are words I’ve exclaimed about everything from my phone to my computer to WiFi. If I had a car, I’m sure I’d say it about that, too. Machines and electronics — they’re just supposed to…do what they’re designed to do, right? They’re not supposed to ever break or malfunction… → Continue Reading

Curiosity, meet my body. Body, meet Curiosity.

I want to share something about curiosity and the body, because I’m in a sharing kind of mood, and I’m wondering if you can relate : ) Recently, I’ve watched myself want to KNOW and FIX what ails me or what I wish to improve. I’ve also noticed how tense cold constricted forceful my body… → Continue Reading

The secret to being present? This 2yr old has it figured out.

I have a story for you about the magic of Hide and Seek. And if you like cute stories about little kids, I think you’ll especially like this. When I’m not doing bodywork, I’m sometimes taking care of an adorable, exuberant, and hilarious toddler. My goodness, there is so much you can learn about the… → Continue Reading

Nasty Neck Spasm? 7 DIY Tips to Turn the Pain Volume Down a Notch

I’ve received a decent bunch of urgent calls, gchats, and emails from friends over the years saying, “Helena, I threw out my neck/shoulders and can’t get in to see my chiropractor/bodyworker/acupuncturist/trainer until _____. Blah! I’m in so much pain and I have so much to do. WHAT do I do?!” Let me start by saying… → Continue Reading

Why head holding is the new hug

I’m a huge fan of hugs, but sometimes, what I truly truly desire most is to have my head held. Not my hand, my head. Are you with me on this? In fact, that is often my favorite part of receiving bodywork; a moment (or two) to give over the never-ceases-to-amaze-me weight of my head… → Continue Reading

Silence is great and so are you

I’ve been thinking about silence a lot lately. As I write to you, it is an unusually quiet day in my San Francisco apartment. Save for the dull hum of the city and the sound of eating my bowl of oatmeal heated in coconut oil (try it, so good!), it is silent. I’ve had more… → Continue Reading

Livin’ on the edge

Have you ever wanted to move or position your body in a certain way, but thought, nah, this can’t be the RIGHT way to do it. I should be sitting/walking/sleeping/dancing/doing yoga/meditating/exercising like THIS! Think sucking in your stomach, rigid military posture, gripping your butt muscles, long bouts of seated, still meditation… More likely, there was… → Continue Reading

Suffering, and how to make the most of it

Can I just tell you, I am loving this wisdom quote from the founder of the Body-Mind Centering technique: “The things that we think are the problems can be the gifts. One of the advantages I have is that my spine was paralyzed when I was a child. So I have that sense of not… → Continue Reading