Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Should I Start a Gratitude Journal?

Why Start a Gratitude Journal?

by Kathleen Lisson

The past few years of my life have been life-changing for me. I turned 40, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, quit my job, moved cross country and changed careers. In the beginning of massage school I wanted to specialize in elite athletes. Around the time I was diagnosed with skin cancer at age 41, I realized my true calling is to help men and women with a cancer diagnosis, scars and/or lymphedema. At each of those crossroads, I found myself thinking 'who am I now and where am I headed?'

The answer to that question from that small voice inside of me has meant everything. I have discovered that I am more than just a reaction to what life is throwing at me. How I think about my situation can make a big difference!

Psychologist Shawn Achor "found there are ways that you can train your brain to be able to become more positive. In just a two-minute span of time done for 21 days in a row, we can actually rewire your brain, allowing your brain to actually work more optimistically and more successfully."

If you are traveling a path with a few crossroads of your own, I encourage you to explore the techniques that Achor suggests.

Learn how researchers got their results in this TED talk 'The Happy Secret to Better Work:'

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

How to Vacation in San Diego with Lymphedema

How to Vacation in San Diego with Lymphedema

Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage in San Diego

by Kathleen Lisson, CMT, CLT (CAMTC #70128)

lymphedema cancer massage San Diego
Massage for Lymphedema in San Diego

Traveling to San Diego on vacation? Here are some traveling tips for men and women with lymphedema. 

San Diego has so many opportunities to be active, from swimming in the ocean to walking or cycling raround Balboa Park. I can help men and women with lymphedema enjoy San Diego and reduce the negative effects that a fun-filled day may have one their lymphedema. Here is a testimonial from a San Diego tourist that booked a lymphatic drainage massage with me. I came right to her hotel room during her San Diego visit. 

Kathleen Lisson, CMT, CLT and Jessi after Jessi's MLD Massage

Jessi says -

I booked my appointment for MLD with Kathleen while visiting San Diego. I have lymphedema in my thigh and after airplane travel, extra walking in the heat, and some vacation food indulgences my thigh was swollen and heavy. 
When Kathleen showed up at my hotel on time with her massage table and friendly smile, I immediately felt comfortable with her. She asked all the questions that showed me she knew her stuff, and listened carefully to my answers. The MLD was excellent and some of the best I've had. The results were a leg that felt light, relieved, and back to its normal size.
It can be nerve racking and difficult to find the right CLT and I am so grateful that I was able to find her on my vacation. What a gift! I would whole heartedly recommend anyone who lives in or is visiting San Diego to book an appointment with her. When I am back in San Diego, I will definitely see her again.  
- Jessi Raymond, cancer survivor with stage 2 lymphedema on vacation in San Diego from her home near Seattle. Follow Jessi at @movingmylymph on Instagram

If you are in San Diego or planning to travel to San Diego on vacation or business, book a manual lymphatic drainage massage here:

Saturday, October 8, 2016

How to get the most out of travel experiences - Meditate

How to Learn from Travel Experiences

by Kathleen Lisson

The first time I traveled to India to visit my future husband's family, I knew it would take a few months before I would fully integrate the experience into my life. Being exposed to such a wide variety of foreign experiences takes time to sink in. I experienced the same feeling a few years later when I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa and experienced an African Safari. I could share photos and funny stories, but the true, deep meaning of these experiences didn't blossom until I spent time in stillness by myself and allowed my body to unravel its own understanding of what it had experienced. Travel writer Pico Iyer offers similar advice in the inspiring TED talk 'The Art of Stillness.'

Do you give yourself stillness after you travel, or jump right back into your day-to-day life?

Kathleen Lisson is a certified Meditation Teacher and Labyrinth Facilitator and teaches Meditation and Mindfulness at IPSB college in San Diego. Sign up for a private meditation lesson or labyrinth walk in the comfort of your home here:

Thursday, October 6, 2016

How to Meditate with Anxiety

How to Meditate with Anxiety

by Kathleen Lisson

I am a certified Meditation Teacher and teach Meditation and Mindfulness at IPSB college in San Diego, but I didn't always meditate. I began practicing meditation during a period of high anxiety in my life. I had just sprained my ankle, forcing me to cancel running a half marathon race which I had been training for for the past three months. I had moved cross-country that past summer for my husband’s job, which meant a career change and I was due to start massage school in a few weeks.

As I sat on the meditation cushion those first few times, I heard all my anxieties surfacing in the quiet of my mind. My sarcastic inner voice reminded me that if I wanted to sit around and be reminded of how disappointed and scared I was, I could do it with a glass of wine instead of paying hundreds of dollars to a meditation instructor. But I didn’t quit.  Soon I became more experienced at meditation. I was able to recognize those anxious thoughts before they turned into full-blown stories and let go of my focus on them.

Those first few times, I was feeling the effects of a major meditation misconception - that meditation is going to be like a day at the beach - just relaxing, not thinking, every care magically whisked away.

The reality is that meditation for beginners will always involve thoughts, and often exactly the thoughts we don’t want to think about. Meditation reduces anxiety not by ending anxious thoughts but by allowing them to pass - like a child learning to play catch with a ball. Have you ever seen major league baseball triple play? The ball is in and out of the glove in record time because the players saw the ball coming and were able to recognize it and then let it leave their glove. If anxious thoughts are like a baseball, the goal of learning to work with the ball effectively is to not hold onto the ball.

Watch some great baseball triple plays here: 

OK, so we’ll get the ball out of my glove. But first, let’s consider another major meditation misconception this one about the best way to let a thought pass - many beginning meditators think that thoughts during meditation mean they are a failure and that ‘forcing’ themselves not to think and berating themselves when they do is the only way to ‘win’ at meditating.

Watch this baseball fielding video to get an idea of how we should react to thoughts. Bill Ripken only has positive feedback for his young player learning a new skill.

Instead, we let thoughts pass by recognizing and naming them (“thinking” or “this is anxiety”) and returning to the breath. Name, return. Name, return. Name, return. Much like a player catches hundreds of balls during a baseball drill, this process can happen hundreds of times during meditation and it is an essential skill to develop. The magic part is when the skill of recognizing a thought starts appearing in our everyday lives. Instead of getting caught up in anxious thoughts, we begin to recognize them when the first thought comes to mind and are able to label it before it overwhelms us.

Kathleen Lisson is a certified Meditation Teacher and Labyrinth Facilitator and teaches Meditation and Mindfulness at IPSB college in San Diego. Sign up for a private meditation lesson or labyrinth walk in the comfort of your home here:

Monday, October 3, 2016

How to adjust your car seat to stop low back pain

Low back pain? Make sure your car seat is adjusted properly!

by Kathleen Lisson, CMT

As a massage therapist in San Diego, I see many clients who complain of low back pain.

I use a combination of myfascial release, deep tissue and trigger point work on their low back, sacroiliac joint, quadratus lumborum, gluteal and hamstring muscles to decrease their chronic pain and increase their range of motion.

During the massage I ask them about how they use their back. Here are just a few common triggers for pain in the low back area:

  • Standing more on one foot than the other
  • Sitting with a wallet in the back pocket
  • Carrying a heavy bag
  • Poor driving posture

I cannot walk out to clients' cars to look at their driver's seat, but this video can help you to make a few simple adjustments to your car seat that may reduce your back pain. Learn from Physical Therapists Bob Schrupp and Brad Heineck in their video 'How To Adjust Car Seat for Back Pain-ALSO Secret Car Feature REVEAL' here

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) for Lipedema in San Diego - Testimonial

Lynette is from just north of San Diego and has a lipedema diagnosis. It was a pleasure meeting Lynette and helping her to reduce swell...