Wellness Wisdom. A Conversation on the Table.

Wellness Wisdom. A Conversation on the Table.

Flu season is in full swing right now. Either you’re sick, or your kids are sick, or your neighbors’ kids are sick.

The cashier at the grocery store is sniffling.

When you recently went shopping at Target, every time you heard a sneeze or a cough, didn’t you twitch ever so slightly?

Today, I sit down with Massage Therapist Kendra McLean, and she provides some excellent wellness insight.

To be honest, I don’t sit, I lie down on Kendra’s massage table and ask her some questions.

She has some great words of wisdom to offer on the journey to wellness.

As I stare up at the ceiling, covered in a warm comfy sheet, Kendra starts working on a problem I have been experiencing with my left leg.

I take a deep breath and start complaining about how everybody is sick right now.


She responds, saying, “preventing illness starts with caring for yourself.”

“You can’t snap your fingers and have a great immune system.”

Of course, I hear, “snap fingers for a great immune system,” so, I’m really glad she wrote her responses down in an email after my massage!

Kendra goes on to say, “It often takes six months to build a good immune system if it is indeed in a poor state.”

Six months!

Oh great, so I’ll be in wonderful shape by August!

Kendra shares, “we should all start now to build our immunities for the next flu season.”

But, how does one do that, I question as she finds knot after knot on my left leg.

Have you ever had your quad worked on? It’s a tad painful, just saying.

In her lovely calm voice, Kendra tells me, “eat a well-balanced diet that include a lot of vitamin C.”

Essential Oils

“Turmeric helps to maintain healthy muscle, joint, or cartilage function as well as copaiba and black pepper oil.”

I have heard about turmeric, but I have never heard of copaiba oil, which also reduces inflammation. I didn’t know that black pepper oil is good for tendons and supports immune systems.

Heck, I just thought black pepper was for cooking.

As I lie there, I realize that we have so much at our fingertips to empower us towards wellness.

Kendra continues, “not all oils are safe to ingest. Young Living, a company that sells essential oils, has a vitality line that is FDA approved to ingest.”

Kendra uses Young Living essential oils in her practice and at home on her family and herself, so it must be good.

Not only should we focus on essential oils, but Kendra mentions that we should also take probiotics daily.

Working Out the Knots

“A good healthy digestive track aids in a good immune system,” she tells me as she finds yet another knot on my leg, but this time it is on my sartorius, which is on the outside of my quad.

Truth be known, I didn’t even know I had a sartorius, nor did I know it was possible for the sartorius to become irritable and cause knee pain.

I work on breathing while she works on the knots in my irritable sartorius. Kendra puts in a word of caution about using hand sanitizers. “Don’t overuse hand sanitizers. Better yet, avoid using it when possible. A good old fashion handwashing is the better choice.”

I have heard about the dangers of hand sanitizers before; although it is a good reminder, I’m not surprised by it.

I ask Kendra, once I’m sick, what can I do?

“You need to drink water, listen to your body and rest. Get a lot of rest.”

Our Complicated Bodies

I lie there on the table, arms by my side, taking big breaths while she finds knots on my abductor magnus because my muscle to the right of my quad must have felt left out. I work out with interval training three times a week and teach and practice yoga nearly every day.

Sometimes, when my body begins to get stronger, old issues flare up. For today, weak hips lead to a sore knee caused by my sartorius and abductor magnus pulling on my knee.

One issue leads to another.

It would be nice to think that my body was easy to fix, as in:

  1. My knee hurts
  2. I’ll get it fixed
  3. My knee doesn’t hurt anymore

That’s not how anyone’s body works, though.

When I was in a car wreck a few years back, I had a headache after the incident that lasted what seemed like forever. I had to get physical therapy and massage therapy on my neck to stop the headaches.


Wellness is the same way.

We can’t just drink a shot of orange juice and be on our way.

We have to incorporate different modalities to help fix what ails us.

Luckily, there is a lot that we can do to help us move towards wellness.

She asks me to relax and breathe as she works on my ankles and my other leg. It’s so easy to tense up and hold my breath when I’m getting a massage, but that’s not going to help direct me towards wellness.

I take a deep breath, and she continues, ”Young Living essential oils make a product called Thieves, which is an overall good immune boosting agent. The type of oil you use depends on the kind of sickness you have.”

“Your feet have the biggest pores, so applying essential oils to your feet will help the oils absorb into your system faster.”

“A good hot foot soak will help open the pores making the healing properties of the oils work even faster.”

Kendra asks me to roll over on my stomach. I place my face on the soft ring and stare down at the floor as she continues to talk working on my neck and back muscles.

“I use eucalyptus on my feet and chest to open up my airways and suport a healthy respiratory system.”

“Oregano is great to help support the body’s natural defenses and strengthen the immune system. When you use oregano oil, I suggest upping probiotics because oregano can kill all bacteria in the gut, bad and good, so it is important to replace the good bacteria that was killed off.”

“It’s also good to reduce the use of chemicals in your life.”

Young Living has a cleaning line, or you can make your own cleaning products.”


“There are many recipes available on the web.”

After I got home, I looked some recipes up with the help of my computer, and Kendra was right, there are many to be found. Here’s an interesting article from  MoneyCrashers.com entitled 11 Homemade Natural Cleaning Products.

While I was back on the table, Kendra tells me, “I use Young Living oils on my family of six and have had wonderful results. I recently used the oils to put a halt to a stomach bug one of my children had. Another child came down with a virus, and by using Young Living oils, her symptoms lasted a ¼ of the average longevity of the virus. I’ve also had great outcomes using the oils to heal wounds with no scar left behind.”

Here are two immune supportive recipes from Young Living

I am happy that my back isn’t as jacked up as my left leg. My neck is often an issue, but Kendra focuses more on my back to help settle me down from all the tensing I just did while she worked on my leg.

While I begin to relax, I asked her if the oils interfere with antibiotics from a doctor.

She replies, “If you are on an antibiotic, you should talk to your doctor prior to using essential oils. Most of the time, it’s safe, but you should never assume.”

Good Health

Kendra asks me to turn back over while she works on my shoulders and scalp. I stare up at the ceiling and ask, “What do you believe are the three top things we can do for overall health?”


  1. De-stress through

?  massage
?  yoga
?  meditation
?  exercise
?  and a good night’s sleep

Basically, live a balanced life! 

2.  Practice healthy eating habits

3.  Use essential oils when at all possible before reaching for medications or even before using  household cleaners that are full of chemicals


Since Kendra is a Massage Therapist, I ask her how her profession helps with overall health?



Regular massage helps with



  • Stress management
  • Pain management
  • Injury prevention
  • Detoxification of the body
  • Improving circulation



Kendra tells me our session for the day is over, and she quietly leaves the room. I slowly get up from the massage table and get dressed. My knee feels better, I’m breathing calmly, and I have an overall feeling of wellness. I glance in the mirror on my way out of the room and my hair is a poofy mess from the scalp massage and oil, but I don’t care because it’s all about the journey to wellness.





Kendra McLean is a Massage Therapist with a focus in pre and postnatal massage, raindrop technique, sports massage, trigger point therapy, and deep tissue massage.



She works with Sara Toogood for Bodywork Connections which exclusively uses all Young Living oils customized and tailored to the needs of clients.



To schedule an appointment with Kendra, go to http://bodyworkconnections.com/



If you’d like to learn more about Young Living oils, check out the resources tab at bodyworkconnections.com/resources


Win The Flu Flight

Win The Flu Flight

I was on the rowing machine the other day, and the guy next to me started coughing. I tried to wipe the look of horror off my face as I thought, “Oh my God, I now have the flu!”

Is it just me, or do others have the same fears?

As if that wasn’t bad enough, a person working out at the gym next to me today started sneezing, and I winced and thought, “Sweet Baby Jesus, I’ve been exposed.”

Am I the only one that thinks these thoughts?

The Flu

I got the flu shot this year, as I do every year…except that one year I didn’t and ended up getting the flu. Boy was that awful!

Then there was also that year I got the flu even though I got a flu shot.

Honestly, I don’t want to ever have the flu again. I bet you don’t want to get the flu either this year or any year for that matter.


Let’s face it. Germs are everywhere. Here’s the thing, we can sit in agony every time a sneeze crosses our path. We can ball our fists, roll our eyes, and hold our breath each time a cough occurs near us. We can keep holding our breath in angst until flu season passes, wishing hazmat suits were in style, or we can breathe and be proactive.

Since I’m not really that great at holding my breath, and I don’t think I would look good in a hazmat suit (They are not very slimming.). I like to be proactive and prepare for the big win against the flu during the season of germs!

Here are 7 easy steps in preparing for the big fight.

1. Get Your Flu Shot

Please get your flu shot. You can get the mist instead if you don’t want to get the shot.

Now I know I just told you that one year I got the flu after getting the flu shot, but here’s the thing. I was much less sick than I was when I got the flu several years back without getting the flu shot.

Be Responsible

It’s the responsible thing to do. You might not care whether you get the flu or not, but if you have the flu and go out of the house while you are contagious, which happens, then you could be exposing someone to the flu who has an immune system that can’t fight off the flu. You could be doing great harm to a weaker person by being near them when you are sick, so be responsible and get your flu shot.

2. Keep Your Food Supplies Stocked


During flu season, make sure you have plenty of frozen dinners on hand. Now, you might be saying, “Frozen dinners? What? That doesn’t sound healthy. How am I suppose to fight the flu with unhealthy food?”

Easy Food

Here’s the thing, if your child, or husband, or you are sick, you don’t have time to cook, and you won’t feel like cooking, trust me! But, hey, your family still needs to eat. Make sure you have some great tasting and as healthy as possible dinners stored away in the freezer for those days sickness has hit your house.

Stack up on instant meals like soup or macaroni and cheese. Simple meals that nearly anyone in your household can cook in a microwave will help you get through those days when illness prevails.


Buy extra boxes of healthy snacks like oranges, protein bars or dried fruit. Make sure you keep a protein bar in your purse during flu season. We all know what it’s like to be in a doctor’s office waiting room. You’re stressed out enough, and you don’t want to add “hangry” to the list of symptoms.

3. Have a Large Supply of Your Essentials


Go ahead and buy that large pack of toothbrushes. Now, I know it seems excessive, but when someone in your household is sick, you have to get rid of that germ carrying weapon. Changing out the toothbrushes more frequently during cold and flu season is a smart investment. While you are at it, pick up several new tubes of toothpaste.

Stay Clean

Of course, you will want to buy a few jars of hand sanitizers. Buy one to place by the door. Buy a travel-sized one for your purse and car.

Make sure that you purchase enough soap to get you through the season. You’ll be washing your hands more frequently.

Your hands may begin to get dry and chapped from all the handwashing, so make sure you have hand lotion sitting right beside your soap.

Soft Tissues

Keep extra tissue boxes on hand, and make sure they are the soft kind. Trying to blow your nose on a lovely thick paper towel, or walking around the house with a toilet paper roll tucked under your arm is not the way to go. Have many boxes of soft tissues strategically placed around your home so you can catch that runny nose.

Buy extra paper towels, and place a roll in each bathroom to help reduce the spread of germs. During flu season, I’m not a fan of drying my hands on a damp hand towel in the bathroom. I’m guessing you aren’t a fan of that either.


Stock on up laundry detergent because you will be doing laundry more often than usual, especially if your house gets hit by the dreaded stomach flu. Changing sheets more regularly becomes a must during flu season.

4. Maintain Your Pharmacy Supplies


Take vitamin C and Zinc daily when you start to feel ill, and make sure you have enough for the family to last through the season of sickness. Black Elderberry is a great supplement to take during the winter. If you aren’t familiar with it, you can check out information on Black Elderberry here.

Update Medicines

Go through your medicine cabinet BEFORE you or your family member gets sick and throw out any medicines that have past their expiration date.

If you are low on the staples (like ibuprofen, Tylenol, Immodium, antihistamine, cough syrup), then make sure you replenish your supply to prevent that 2 a.m. run to the store. As always, if you have children in your home, make certain that your medicines are out of reach. A padlocked tackle box is a great place to store medicines when youngsters are in the home.

Check Your Thermometer

Make sure your oral thermometer is working well. There’s nothing worse than struggling with the on/off switch of a thermometer that is not working during the wee hours of the morning when your child is sick.

5. Keep Your Phone Contacts Updated


Make sure you have an updated list of your family doctors’ names and contact information as well. There may be a time when you or your loved one will need a specialist during flu season. You may find yourself on a trip to the hospital, which may require your physician’s name and contact number. It’s best to keep that information on hand.

Pharmacy Number

Is your pharmacy’s number listed in your contacts? If not, make sure to add that. You don’t want to have to carry a prescription to the pharmacy and wait when your doctor’s office can easily call it in. Proving the office with the pharmacy contact information will prevent you from standing at the pharmacy waiting for your prescription to be filled.

6. Check Your Wallet

insurance card

Health Insurance cards should live in your wallet, that way you will never have to mentally struggle over where you put the darn card while you are feeling miserably sick.

Prescription Cards

Many times, your insurance will provide you with a separate prescription card. Make sure that card resides next to your health insurance card in your wallet.

7. Keep a Charger in Your Car


Keep an extra phone charger in your car. A quick trip to the doctor’s office or hospital is unheard of, especially during flu season. There is nothing quick when flu season is upon us. If you must spend hours in a waiting room, you want to be able to charge your phone if you need to so you can let the rest of your family members know what’s going on. If you keep the extra phone charger in your car, or in your purse, you can find an outlet in the waiting room and charge your phone. That will be one less thing you need to worry about while you wait.

Follow these simple steps, and you’ll be well armed to fight through flu season. Good luck, and (Did you just sneeze?) God bless you.

Click here for your FREE INFORMATION ORGANIZER to help you with the information you need to bring to your doctor’s appointment!


7 Questions to Ask Your Doctor

7 Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Flu season is over!


Well, it’s almost over.

God willing, over the last few months, you have managed to steer clear of doctors’ offices, but there will come a time when that nagging cough or a spring sore throat will force you to the doctor’s office.

It’s OK. You’re human!

We all get sick every so often.

Before you walk out of the doctor’s office with the prescription in hand, here are some helpful questions you should make sure your doctor answers.

These questions are meant to be non-confrontational. A good doctor loves a well-informed patient because she knows that patient will be more likely to follow the medical advice. Keep in mind; everyone would like you to be healthy. Go on and ask these questions:

the condition

1. What is the name of the condition I have?

  • Don’t frustrate yourself by trying to guess what the doctor thinks you have. The doctor is right in front of you, so ask.
  • Be sure to write down what the doctor says. Don’t leave the office with a diagnosis of “I have a cough.” You knew that before you went in.
  • Knowing your diagnosis will help you later if you get sick with the same illness.

the name of the medication

2. What medication are you giving me for this condition?

  • Never blindly accept a medication.
  • Ask what the name is and write it down.

the effect of the medication

3. What happens if I take this medicine?

  • Find out exactly what the prescribed medication is supposed to do to help solve your issue. For example, does it stop your cough or numb your throat?
  • What does it do specifically?

not taking the medication

4. What happens if I don’t take this medicine?

  • Find out what happens if you skip a dose.
  • Find out what happens if you decide you do not want to take that medication.

the medication not working

5. What happens if this medication does not work?

  • There is always the possibility that the medication will not work.
  • Find out then and there what the next step would be if the medicine doesn’t work. That way, you will be empowered with knowledge and won’t freak out if you need a stronger dose of the medication or a different one.

generic medication

6. Is there a generic form of this medication?

  • Prescriptions can be incredibly expensive.
  • Often, generic versions are much more affordable.
  • Ask up front if the doctor can prescribe the generic form of the medication.
  • If the doctor is unable to do that, make sure to find out why.
  • There might be a valid reason, and you should know. You don’t want to feel victimized by the price tag.


7. What is the best way to contact you?

  • What is the best way to contact the doctor in case your symptoms change or worsen?
  • Some doctors prefer email, others prefer phone calls, and there are some that prefer that you come in right away. Find out while you are in front of the doctor to avoid confusion later.

Remember after leaving the doctor’s office to breathe, remain calm, and focus on taking care of yourself so you can get back to life.

be well


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  • Coming soon: Yoga Wednesdays! I’ll be posting simple yoga poses that we can all do together to help move in the direction to calm down and let go.
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Coming this month, How to Survive the ICU Experience, an eBook to help you as you sit by the bedside of a loved one.