Comparing Stress

One beautiful generous soul agonized, she felt so guilty getting a massage because there are so many people who needed it more. The woman couldn’t lift her arm up over her head, couldn’t think straight, and had numb fingers.

Stress running your day?

Stress running your day?

What do you say? I want to help so I shut up, but inside I am hurting. I understand that watching anyone in pain or weakness is impossibly difficult. You want to help, you want to do anything in that moment to relieve, to help, to show they are not alone.

A care-giver can not see the forest through the trees.  A care-giver is trying to shove 7 more things into this 15 minute slot before the next round of duties emerges, he or she has no time to even read these words.

But you know right? You know everyone deserves an hour. Putting your-self this far back on the shelf does no one any good? That one stress cannot compare to another?

When your care gets to be so far back on the priority list, our body starts to weaken. The suffering we endure, without awareness, makes us breakdown in some way. It always does. What helps? Massage of course, but other things too. I bet you know one or two.

I remember when I first discovered massage as a career. I had been rubbing feet for years, but it was only after school, in my studio apartment on the upper east side that I really fell in love.

I incorporated stretching and Shiatsu and some deep breathing I had learned at the acting conservatory. I added a bit of this, took away some of that, failed, succeeded, rubbed. It was so much fun, I would massage for

Photo on 2011-05-06 at 10.25

Aromatherapy can give a needed pause in the day.

hours and hours. It was the discovery! The creativity gave me that stamina. I was taking care of myself, feeding my soul and opening new ways to see massage. Win-win.

Recover just a bit right now. Find 10 minutes to be creative. Or get a massage, or drink a glass of water. Move you up the priority list. No one can but you.

Macular Degeneration and Acupuncture

JMP_9178_9439Sandy Camper continues her passion to help those with Macular Degeneration!

Sandy Camper is out of town April 17-20 because she is traveling to Arkansas to study with acupuncturist Liz Ryan. Liz specializes in the treatment of eye diseases such as Macular Degeneration, Retinitis Pigmentosa, diabetic retinopathy, Stargardt’s disease, Glaucoma, vision loss from thrombosis, and other retinal diseases.

Sandy was motivated to travel to Denmark several years ago to begin a specialty in acupuncture treatment for eye diseases because her father has Macular Degeneration. She will be deepening her understanding of the whole process of treating eye diseases with acupuncture during this trip.

For more information, contact Sandy at or call 413-458-0321

Focus on You, Thank you!

It is difficult to complain about pain, discomfort, or being so overwhelmed you can’t feel anything, when a dear friend is rushed to Dartmouth for brain-stem surgery for a likely tumor.

Such was the case for the crew here at Tsubo last month, when Christina, our beloved office coordinator, was told she needed emergency care and to hot foot it to Dartmouth ASAP.

It turned out to be a bundle of nerves that were easily removed, but until that diagnosis was made, we were all counting our blessings and praying pretty hard for our friend and her fate. JMP_8989_9251

The good news is she is in great shape, the surgery went well and Christina is home recovering, taking the summer to be with her little ones while we manager here at Tsubo without her.

It was so striking to me how much love you can have for someone, and not really know it until something drastic happens. A friend of mine is fond of saying, we don’t change until our necks are against the wall. I am resolving to feel more love I have the great opportunity to experience and not the dwell in the pain and anxiety.

My job is about all the stuff that keeps us from feeling and acting with as much vitality as possible. I believe we can all improve in some way. Dealing with pain and anxiety does require action, positive steps to mend and heal. It doesn’t always require dwelling, and I think I may dwell more than necessary.

In as much as I can consciously shift focus on my blessings -and you, my lovely friends, clients and family -I am going to do that.

Thank you Christina for the lesson you taught me, and thank you friends for the lives you share with me.

Take Your Office Mate to Lunch

Last year my arms went numb in the middle of my work week. On the one hand, it might be a work hazzard, I rub for a living. On the other hand (the one that was numb) I need my arms for more than work. Besides, most of my fun comes from some use of my body from the elbows down (shhh don’t tell, but I have a great job.) I knew I needed a fix and quick because I had plans.

Turns out, I work with some incredibly gifted therapists. We have a whole office full of seasoned professionals, who were all more than happy to have a stab at fixing me. No kidding, our acupuncturist actually stabbed me, she said they are therapeutic needles, it didn’t hurt, but that is not the point.They are all so interested and eager to help. It was heaven, I healed and am back doing the thing I love most.

It occurred to me, what do you do when work and life make your arms numb or head throb or feet ache? Is everyone suffering? You can tell when your office mate asks you to rub his toes. Does your office manager offer to jab her sharp pencil into your acupuncture point, if you do the same for her? Of course not!* You probably suffer in silence until you get home and work that shoulder knot with edge of the door frame.

You probably wait until it is so bad you either miss work or double up on the Advil. How bad does it get before you start eyeing your office mates shoes, or making deals with your neighbor to just ram an elbow into your back?** Are you are losing perspective on how good your body is supposed to feel?

*Office managers should never jab you with a pencil, sharp or otherwise.

** Elbows can be dangerous implements, LMT’s are licensed to use them safely, your next door neighbor is not.

While we can’t do the thing you are amazing at, and even though we can help, we can’t until you call. We can make you feel like yourself again, full of jokes, and hugs and special holiday gifts just to thank your office mate for keeping his shoes on.

If you want access to the amazing resources we have at Tsubo, I invite you to try our low-cost clinic, our CranioSacral or Myofascial services, and the Acupuncture offered by Sandy Camper. This corral of care is waiting to bring out their best for your joyful body.

If you have Flexible Pay benefits or Aflac they will make this an even more affordable offer. As the year winds down and holiday stress mounts, it may be a good option to ring every ounce of joy the holidays provide.

Every Service is available at lunch and after work. We offer 30 minute and 60 minute sessions in the low-cost massage and low-cost Cranio/reike work. We have a new Service 30 minute hands, feet and head. 30 minutes of all the best spots, you will jump and clap and shake your head with happiness.

The Low-Cost Clinic is a deeply discounted massage program we set up to initiate new therapists to the style and approach of Tsubo Integrative Wellness. Tsubo Strives to make each session a custom client experience. More senior therapists partner with new LMT’s to offer coaching on specific approaches to discomfort and dysfunction as a result of posture and injury. 30 minute and 60 minute sessions available. Group discounts, yes! Bring in your whole department and you will get even more money off, and co-workers will stop asking you to rub their feet.

The Navy Seals of Dance

How lucky am I? All this past week I have had the chance to work with these amazing dancers as they prepare for “Available Light”, a remounting of Lucinda Childs 1983 collaboration with composer John Adams and architect Frank Gehry. “Available Light” is a gorgeous dance, different from “Einstein on the Beach” pictured above, but equal in beauty and grace.

Dancers work incredibly hard. For long segments of rehearsal they have to be mentally focused and physically adept while repeating a leap, then a turn, then a dash. Until all 7 people on stage are leaping, turning and dashing in unison. Next come the lights and, again, leap, turn, and dash. Now the costumes and take it from the top! Watching such inexhaustible skill and grace is thrilling. I am wildly enthusiastic about supporting or helping these machines of flight! They are professionals for whom hard work is the unspoken code that makes their wear, exhaustion and stoic push to perfection possible.

I am with the dancers immediately after rehearsal, working on muscles in spasm, misaligned toes and compression in one or more joints. During the allotted 15 minute massage sessions, while they get hands-on work from me, they grit their teeth and swear that the sensations are “fine.” They consider the level of abuse they absorb to be one of the hallmarks of a professional dancer. I never work more aggressively than I do when I am with these Navy Seals of the art world. Any one of these dancers will, without a second thought, allow me to manipulate a toe swollen with pain until it is straight, cheerfully thank me and rush back onstage to map out the last leap, turn, dash again with delight.

Stress has a different taste in this environment. Here stress is respected as part of the learning process. Fatigue, lack of focus, and edginess aren’t seen as negative signs to these folks but, instead, recognized as signs to take action. A dancer might drink some water to fight fatigue; might stop and stretch to regain focus; might take a deep breath to combat edginess in order to be present, calm and ready to dance at the highest level. In the same way we must have our own toolbox full of techniques for recognizing and dealing with our own stress.

Check in with your relationship to stress, look through your anti-stress toolbox ready discard old tools that don’t work and eager to look for some new tools. Ask yourself which three things make you feel better quickly. I know some that work for me: a particular shoe website, a funny friend to text, and a sun salutation that can trump any chaos. When I can view stress as a motivator, not a weakness, I know I am on my way to a solution that will lead me to feeling more myself. The dancers with whom I’ve worked this week live a life of rigor and self-care that can be an example to all of us. Let’s remember that each of the rest of us regular folk can learn to treat ourselves with care, too.

At MASS MoCA I’ve been introduced to many amazing people and, once again, I am humbled by a group of performers. I hope you have a chance to go to MASS MoCA to see “Available Light” this week. You’ll observe individuals whose dedication to dance shows in every gesture and look. Watching them reminds the soul of our human possibility and beauty. They are also very nice and eager to for you to witness their talent. Call now before this opportunity leaps away.

Who Needs to Change?

How did you do with your New Year’s start? Did you take a few minutes to imagine the traction you wanted for yourself this year? I was thrilled to watch the clock tick midnight. I was eager to put another year behind me, knowing that I have better visions for myself today, and a whole lovely winter in which to stew and hone how they can serve my highest self.

I am always tipping each idea on its side with the question, is this good for my body and mind? Are your ideas and visions ones that inspire you to treat yourself better? When you stop and drop into the place where you feel yourself to be powerful, vital and happy, do you want to take action now? Creating a healthy vital picture, one you can feel, smell, and enjoy wakes up your body. I have an exalted image that radiates health, spiritual connection and joy, it is so alive to me, that when I remember to connect, my number one desire is to run through a field singing show tunes. It is much easier to do sit-ups singing “The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music” than mumbling about my creaking back. The image is so powerful. I wonder, how come I don’t remember to connect 24/7?

If you want a change, it’s likely you have habits that don’t serve you. Choosing a simple consistent plan is where your power is. How does your best self behave that is different from you in need of change? Manifesting great health can be as simple as a plan to stretch while waiting in the Starbuck’s line. You might look crazy, but you will feel empowered. If you buy coffee everyday, that is an additional 7 stretching sessions. “Health” includes many components; I am focusing on taking actions that support my body. Eating whole foods, drinking water, knowing which exercises serve you, being in nature, laughing, taking time to sleep, all of these things are building blocks of an enriched physical experience. You know what feels triumphant so why is it so difficult to stick to the plan, to act on our best behalf? Why can’t I be as eager to run a 5k as I am to eat the left over brownie crumbs? Well we can, we just have to step back, take a look at our beliefs and see if we can make some room to reframe, so we can stick to our guns when we are tempted to weaken. Let’s take a look at some of the beliefs that rob us of our visionary victories.

1) Are you putting others needs ahead of your own? 2 weeks after you have given up sugar, you suddenly feel obliged to have some birthday cake with the rest of your family. Or maybe you have a glass of wine after you have decided not to consume carbs after 3:00 because your partner will feel uncomfortable drinking alone. It is only one glass; come on! Why be so selfish! STOP! You might THINK everyone’s welfare depends on you sacrificing yourself but it doesn’t. Remember everyone does better when you choose for you. There is a surprising irony when you realize no one can alter your chosen path if you don’t allow it. It is beautifully liberating. I recommend it.

2) Do you make excuses? I am too busy to make a healthy lunch, if only I had more time, I wouldn’t have to drive through the fast food joint. I have a routine, and every Tuesday is Taco Tuesday! I would miss my friends if I didn’t eat nachos!
We have all kinds of excuses about why we cannot do, be, or have what we want. It is the all or nothing sabotage that leaves no room for compromise. You can be healthy and go through a fast food drive through. You can skip the soda, and drink water with your fries (Have the fries now, we can work on those next month.) You can eat with the crew on Taco Tuesday, but notice the camaraderie is the important piece and not the extra guac. Baby steps, softening the rules and not turning the situation into the belief “I failed because I want friends!” Tease out what works in those all or nothing situations, and ask yourself “is there anyway I can turn this on its side so I can get the part I want and still walk away empowered?”

3) Is your life so full of stress that you barely have room to breathe let alone make room for change? Sometimes in the midst of a change for the better, we are waylaid by a life-event, a job challenge, or a family crisis that throws us off track. When I was young, I believed that I was broken and destined to fail. As long as I believed that there was a broken experience waiting for me, I found it. It took a lot of searching to finally realize that life happens and my greatest thermometer of health is my ability to respond to change. Have you thought about what you can do when your neck is up against the wall? When you feel alone and unloved? You can take action right now and make a list of the people you can always turn to when you need a shoulder. Keep that note, carry it and let yourself feed your heart and soul while the stress is high. When you start to tip the scales and feel more alive, reach out even more and add the tool that connects you to others and your highest self. Can you take guitar lessons or cooking classes? Organize dinners and trips to the park? Indulge in funny movies and massages? I get back on track by belly laughing, planning tomorrows victories and being involved with my friends. When I want to eat that frozen snickers in my fridge because I can’t face my Mother-in Law’s Sunday night phone call (the one where she lists all the reasons she needs more thank you notes), I call my friend instead of the snickers. She loves to suggest thank you note ideas. They are fairly undignified and always funny. I laugh, call my Mother in Law and go back to planning tomorrow’s victories.

So, sit down and create your best you vision, right now! Get that vibe rocking. Now present it with those sabotaging ideas we have just identified, how does the vibrant you respond? Are there some consistent behaviors you can add that will bring clarity and resolve? Great! Now get fanning that flame of the best you ever and next month we will look at the specifics of how your body will respond to your cues.

Why You Should Dance.

After a certain age or stage in life, opportunities to dance dry up. Why don’t we dance more? Slapping the steering wheel and nodding my head is as close as I get. Would you like to grab that hairbrush and wail into it while jogging like an impatient 3 year old? imagesA national kiss of death came during an episode of Seinfeld, where Elaine is enthusiastically dancing totally convinced she looks amazing, while horrified bystanders wince nearby. So long electric slide, so long shimmy, hello humming, hello head nodding.

I know you look great when you shake your business. I have told all kinds of people that I can’t get enough of watching you work it out. So why do you listen to that voice in your head that says you look spas-tastic? If the voice in my head were actually able to see me undulate to I Melt with You, I might take some caution in my moves-but it can’t. As a matter of fact, I feel love for the whole world when I disappear in dance, so that has to be good right?

Here is the thing, when you dance you passively move your large muscle groups. Moving your large muscle groups passively increases range of motion and some other stuff. That is sexy right? It is sexy if you are into big fat oxygen loaded cells. When those muscles reach, contract and cabbage patch-this flush of happy oxygen floods exiting waste areas and makes repair opportunities right inside you!

Sam Rockwell shows you how to Lasso dance.

Sam Rockwell shows you how to Lasso dance.

Every time you raise your arm to lasso your spouse you heal! When you reel them in, you are actually squeezing out the days fatigue and allowing these beautiful chubby oxygen rich cells to enter deeply into your muscle belly. When you slap your rump you compress tissue and that is physically a slap of love. The more you get your freak on, the more you move your freak out.

I am not talking slow dancing to Rod Stewarts Great American Standards either. No one likes Ella Fitzgerald singing some Cole Porter more than me, but if you think she is going to pump that healing elixir into your stiff joints you are wrong. You are looking for music that pulls you out of your seat, music that when you hear it on the car radio you bite your lower lip and say “Oh yeah.” Music that as soon as it starts one of your children panics “mom don’t!” That is the music that will stir those muscles into their stress free jam. No build-up, no stress, just a fun easy exchange of old for awesome.

Dougie: This is a great dance move for shoulder pain

Wobble: Practice this if you feel dead inside

Elaine dance from Seinfeld: Confidence booster~ you know you can do better!

You can dance for health. You will enjoy it and your muscles will have more flexibility and strength. Next time you hear an outrageous tune that moves you, let it move you it’s good for you!

Berkshire Nursing Families Team Trivia

11 years ago, when Eric and I first moved up to this area from New York City, I was asked to teach infant massage to the teen age girls who were new mothers. I was eager to show off my skills and make some connections at the Haskins House where they met for socializing and workshops. I came in pretty confident that I was going to bring the amazing power of massage to these fresh young Moms, that after an hour with my magic they would leave having all kinds of hope and joy.

After 3 minutes of group time with these girls, I was so gobsmacked I couldn’t talk let alone instruct. I was shocked and terrified. In New York City I knew which areas were great for Indian food, or what days consignment stores stocked the good stuff. In New York I created my life inch by inch, I had several jobs and opportunities all around. 3 minutes with these teens was the most humbling time of my life to that point. There were 7 new mothers, cheerfully asking each other what they had heard about the prom last weekend, while the facilitator handed out diapers and encouraged the ladies to listen to the nice massage person. None of these overwhelmed, single, inexperienced moms wanted anything to do with the lady in the sporty sweat suit, believe me. I had never seen so much helplessness and in that moment, I had no idea how to react. I had nothing in my bag of tricks to prepare me for that moment. What I wanted was to run away.

I am not proud of that afternoon, and I only offered that massage class a few more times before I stopped. I knew I was too full of myself, too full of judgement, to treat them with respect and compassion, and to look at what they needed and not what I wanted to shove at them.

Years later when I was pregnant I stumbled on a breast-feeding class led by Rosalie Girard at the North Adams Hospital. She was demonstrating how to latch on with a doll and everyone in the room was riveted. She spoke with care, and compassion. I wanted as much of her help as I could get. I felt so held in her company. I realized how frightened I was, I knew that I was in over my head with this impending Mother-dom. Rosalie visited me after the baby was born, she came to my house, she spoke to me with the compassion and respect I couldn’t muster for those young ladies.

I know from my years in the community that because Rosalie treats every new mother this way, She visits all new mothers in the hospital after giving birth. What is amazing is the percentage of mothers who breast feed in Northern Berkshire county compared to the rest of the country. It shouldn’t be so high, but knowing Rosalie it is a no-brainer.

More than instruct she has saved lives. She has found babies who are jaundiced, malnourished, in dire situations that left unattended to would have died. Rosalie goes into the homes of teenages, Drug users, felons and the priviledged. Her whole life is devoted to these little new lives and the mothers that feed them. I am raising money to support her and her mission. They rely almost completely on this one fundraising effort, BNF Team Trivia. If you have experienced Rosalie or feel your support would be a good fit, please send it to me
Molly Kerns (make the check payable to Berkshire Nursing Families) 136 Water Street, Williamstown, MA 01267. The Event is this Saturday, March 1st and I look forward to including your name to those who have already contributed.

I thank you in advance for the future babies you will support with your generosity.
Molly Kerns

What’s 2014 Look Like to You?

Do you want a new car? A romantic get-away? Breakfast in Bed? Complete a marathon?


Last year Debbie and the biggest pile of magazines I have ever seen, led an amazing evening of discovery and unbounded creation.  It was such an unexpected delight to gather with a group of strangers, and cut up pictures, expressions and ideas and lay them out. The surprise was the true simplicity that emerged.  So satisfying is seeing our dreams laid out before us, that it is a wonder we are not cutting and pasting all day long.

What is a vision board? A vision board is a simple yet powerful visualization tool represented by a collage of the things that you want to have, be, or do in your life. It consists of a poster or foam board with cut-out pictures, drawings and/or writing on it of the things that you want in your life or the things that you want to become. The purpose of a vision board is to activate the law of attraction to begin to pull things from your external environment that will enable you to realize your dream. By selecting pictures and writing that charges your emotions with feelings of passion, you will begin to manifest those things in your life. From a new car to running a marathon, a vision board can be a first step in realizing your (5)Debbie


If you have longed to explore the vision board idea, or are just looking for a group to create your next one, join us Wednesday February 12th at 5:30, at TSUBO Massage, 136 Water Street. The space is limited and all supplies are included. $15 in advance~ $20 at the door. Call to reserve your place as this class will sell out quick.

Massaging with Care: A Thai Massage Workshop for Couples

Just-in time for Valentines Day!


We are so excited to welcome Justin Green’s amazing class in giving massage.  Justin’s gorgeous approach to body work is a gift to watch and recieve. In the upcoming class Massaging with Care, we can learn the basic intentions, movements and techniques Justin has honed for real connection through bodywork. Read on for more details, if interested call to register as space is limited.JustinGreenLR_031811-143

In this 2-hour workshop, couples deepen their relationship through the exchange of Thai
Yoga Massage, an energetic, dance-like form of bodywork practiced fully-clothed on the
ground. Through discussion and hands-on practice, couples learn how to give – and
receive – an effortless and nurturing massage sequence focused on the parts of the
body most often requested: neck, shoulders, back, and feet. The core concept of care
provides the foundation for this workshop as we emphasize quality of touch, joy in giving, and using massage as a way of cultivating more intimate connection.
Things to know:
– No massage or yoga experience needed.
– Wear comfortable, yoga-esque clothing.
– Bring a yoga mat (if you have one).
– Kneeling postures are used throughout the flow. If you have any questions about the
physical demands of the workshop, please contact Justin ( or Molly (
Couples will come away from this workshop having received, and learned how to give,
an accessible massage sequence – a new way of connecting – that can be practiced
virtually anywhere.
For couples of any sexual orientationJustinGreenLR_031811-146 or relationship. Bring your partner or your mom, your roommate or your best friend.

Workshop is Thursday February 13th from 5:30-7:30 at Tsubo Massage, 136 Water Street in Williamstown. Call for information 413-458-0321 $50 a couple in advance ($25 each) or $60 at the door. Space is extremely limited. Attention to everyone extremely available. Read More »