The Broken Pots – how a car accident hurts you

As a licensed massage therapist who works with people after car accidents, many times clients will come in, wondering why they are hurting so much.  Yes, there was damage to their vehicle, however they do not “see” how they were injured.  Yet, they are in pain – mostly back and neck pain – however many times they have on-going headaches, hand and wrist pain, as well as jaw pain.

People walk away from a motor vehicle accident, in shock and running on endorphins, and do not realize that they have sustained injuries, until the next day.  Then, it is sometimes human nature to take over-the-counter pain medicines, or prescription pain medicines, lay on the sofa, and think that the pain will go away in a few days.
I had a recent client who was in a fairly bad accident.  She was hit from behind, while she was at a stoplight.  She was driving her personal van, and was carrying a load of Talavera decorative planter pots in the back.
She remarked to me that ALL the pots were smashed as a result of the accident.
I commented back to her, that the same force that broke all those pots, also passed through her body.
And here was a visual expression of the un-see-able effect that the impact had – if the impact immediately smashed all those planter pots, imagine what it did to her body!
Many people do not have health insurance, and even when they do have health insurance, they do not realize that auto insurance will pay for medical massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic, as well as other expenses related to healing after the accident.
At Masterpiece Medical Massage, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, we specialize in helping people feel better FAST, and get their lives back, pain-free, after a car accident.


10,000 Hours – to gain Mastery

I’ve sat with, written about, and truly believe that it was not until I had exceeded 10,000 hours of hands-on massage therapy in my private practice, that I BEGAN to have some true mastery over my craft, skill and technique.  Now, as I approach 20,000 hours in this field, I’m sinking in deeper to the next level.
I love this quote that came through my in-box early this morning:
<i>”… ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert — in anything. In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, and what have you, this number comes up again and again. Ten thousand hours is equivalent to roughly three hours a day, or twenty hours a week, of practice over ten years. Of course, this doesn’t address why some people don’t seem to get anywhere when they practice, and why some people get more out of their practice sessions than others. But no one has yet found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time. It seems that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery. ”

— from the book <b>This Is Your Brain On Music, The Science of a Human Obsession</b> by Daniel J. Levitin

Maya Abdominal Massage

Arvigo Maya Abdominal Massage
Did you know that there is a very specific type of massage/bodywork for help with digestive and reproductive organ problems, back pain, healing after abdominal surgery, fertility challenges, as well as helping with general detoxification and well-being?
Many people have yet to hear of, or experience, Arvigo Maya Abdominal Therapy.
This work is done by either a licensed massage therapist, licensed midwife, nurse, physical therapist or occupational therapist, with a “license to touch” and specialized training in abdominal, chest and pelvic anatomy, as well as the techniques of Arvigo Maya Abdominal Massage.
Dr. Rosita Arvigo, ND, met her mentor, traditional healer and shaman, Don Elijio Panti, in Belize.  She trained with him, and other traditional Maya healers, and was able to standardize the techniques that had been handed down over generations, in addition to adding the Western science behind the traditional hands-on technique, and offer this lineage tradition to Western practitioners.
This comprehensive and therapeutic massage is designed to both be provided by a practitioner, and also taught to the client so that they can do a daily home care component on their own.  There is something very powerful and positive about taking one’s own healing and health maintenance into one’s hands, and the home care aspect of Arvigo Maya Abdominal Massage is an important part of that process.
Arvigo Maya Abdominal Massage can help with regulating the digestive system, the lymphatic system, and the reproductive system, as well as help with gently reversing organ prolapse, assisting with healing after abdominal surgery, reducing scar tissue and adhesions, normalizing body processes, releasing tight fascia, helping with structural problems in the deep abdominal area that might contribute to back pain, as well as accessing emotional, spiritual and psychic healing.
Generally, the first session lasts 2 hours.  During that time, the practitioner will review an extensive Health History Form, which the patient has been asked to fill out in advance, and provide to the practitioner prior to the appointment, so that the health history can be thoroughly and completely reviewed, with special attention to any contraindications.  The practitioner will explain the basis and background of ArvigoMaya Abdominal Therapy, explain how the treatment will unfold, as well as help the patient understand the important component of home care, and then teach the home care part to the patient.  The patient will leave the first session confident of how to perform the home care part, with a 3 page hand-out detailing that sequence.
Follow-up sessions generally are shorter, lasting around an hour.
Arvigo Maya Abdominal Therapy includes work on the back, neck, shoulders, hips, as well as the abdominal area from just above the pubic bone to the diaphram, under the rib cage.  This work is comprehensive and goes very deep, however it is also slow and gentle, and an experienced practitioner works with the patient’s breath, and at a pace that is comfortable to the patient.  This type of massage should never be painful or hurt, however it can be intense at times, and it is completely fine for the patient to request a break or to ask for lighter pressure if they desire.  The aim of this type of massage therapy work is to be fluid, for the touch to be comforting and firm, yet not create resistance or pain for the patient.  Most experienced practitioners are also very adept in working with emotional issues as they might surface.  The abdominal area is very vulnerable, and skilled touch to this part of the body can be extremely therapeutic, and at the same time it can be an exercise in trust for both the practitioner and the client.
For more information and to find a practitioner in your geographic area, go to:
In Albuquerque, New Mexico, please contact:

Karla Linden, LMT, NMT
Masterpiece Massage Therapy(sm) – 505-340-9454
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Holistic Herb Alternatives for PMS

When you’re feeling a little PMS-y, the relief you need may be found in Mother Nature’s medicine cabinet. Many plants contain compounds purported to help alleviate PMS symptoms. In fact, herbs have long been used as botanical remedies that are prevalent throughout Europe and Asia.

Here in the U.S., numerous pills, herbal teas and tinctures are marketed to help ease PMS. If you decide to try supplements, read labels carefully, take as recommended, and consult your healthcare professional. In many cases, you may have to consume a product beyond a single menstrual cycle before you begin to notice an effect.

Also, keep in mind that every woman is unique, therefore not everyone responds to herbal remedies in the same way. Effectiveness and potency can vary greatly between brand names.

Here are six of the better-known female-friendly herbs and plants that may help you feel better.

Chasteberry or chaste tree berry (Vitex agnus castus). This fruit of the chaste tree is considered the premier herb for premenstrual syndrome and is widely used as a general PMS remedy. It’s been reported to relieve painful menstruation and breast pain by regulating and normalizing blood flow and balancing hormonal fluctuations. The German Commission E—a European scientific council that reviews herbal medical studies—lists chasteberry as an approved herb for PMS.

Evening primrose oil (Oenothera biennis). Evening primrose is a wildflower that grows across the U.S. and has long been used as a botanical remedy. The oil comes from the plant’s seeds and is a rich source of an essential fatty acid called gamma linoleic acid (GLA). Women with PMS can be deficient in GLA making it a possible factor in their symptoms. Evening primrose oil is purported to alleviate breast pain, bloating, irritability, mood swings and anxiety associated with PMS.

Peppermint (Mentha x piperita). While peppermint is often used to flavor foods, it can also be helpful for the relief of bloating, gastrointestinal upset and headaches. Drinking peppermint tea can help relieve indigestion and eliminate gas, which contributes to bloating. Peppermint oil is also used for irritable bowel syndrome and could prove helpful with PMS-related bowel conditions. Additionally, rubbing peppermint oil on temples relaxes muscles and helps soothes headaches.

Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa). Generations of Native American women have used the root of the black cohosh plant to treat various female conditions, most notably, the relief of PMS discomfort, menstrual cramps and especially, symptoms of menopause.

Dong quai or angelica root (Angelica sinensis). This Chinese herb made from the root of a carrot-like plant is often referred to as the “female ginseng” because of its use as an overall tonic for women’s health in Chinese medicine. Dong quai has developed a reputation for helping with fatigue and premenstrual irritability.

St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum). The flowering tops of St. John’s wort are used to prepare teas and tablets containing concentrated extracts. Often prescribed for mild depression, St. John’s wort may aid in alleviating the “blues” and moodiness that can accompany PMS.

To learn more about herbal remedies and alternative therapies, start your search at the National Institutes of Health website for the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine at

Reprinted with Permission from:  6 Herbs for PMS – Articles & Information –�.

Following up on “Organic” Lotions

How important is it to you as a consumer that the massage therapy professional who works with you uses organic, pesticide-free products? After my previous post about how the FDA will allow body care products to be labeled “Organic” even if only ONE ingredient is organic (and others are synthetic!), I found these helpful links:

A link to Organic Consumers Association:

Cosmetic safety group may help, they explain ingredients and list them.

Is “Organic” really Organic?

As a Licensed Massage Therapist in a very busy practice, I am constantly buying massage lotions, creams, and oils.  I recently ordered 6 gallons of Jojoba oil from the Jojoba Company – 3 gallons that are “pesticide free” and 3 gallons that are “certified organic” to try them out and see the difference between the two (besides price).

I also am always looking for the highest quality and most appropriate body massage creams and lotions, and of course prefer organic.  However, I was very surprised to read this article in the Utne Reader – “The Lotion Loophole” – which talks about how a lotion or body care product may be labeled “organic” if only one ingredient is organic!

The Lotion Loophole
July / August 2006 Laine Bergeson Utne magazine 

Confusion over the ‘organic’ label extends beyond the food aisle to the realm of foot creams and toothpaste. In late 2005 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) broadened the range of products that could receive organic certification to include items like body care products, cotton, and cleaning solutions. Strangely, however, the USDA does not enforce the requirements behind the label when it comes to body care products.

‘A vast array of body care products labeled ‘organic’ . . . differ little from run-of-the-mill drugstore commodities,’ report James Hahn and Diana Kaye in Mothering (March/April 2006). The catch is a loophole in the regulation: If a company certifies just one product as organic, the USDA allows the company as a whole to market itself as ‘certified organic.’

What are concerned lotion enthusiasts to do? Hahn and Kaye recommend getting familiar with the labels. Watch out for synthetic chemicals that make their way into ‘natural’ products, including common additions such as surfactants and synthetic fragrance. And keep a close eye on the preservatives that are added to body care products; those known as parabens have been pegged as hormone disrupters and possible cancer-causing agents.

And be wary of the company name. There are no rules when it comes to naming a new body care products company. If Philip Morris started a new lotion-making division, they could call it Altria Organics, and no one would stop them.” – Laine Bergeson

Client Testimonial

Great massage therapist and great person
Written by Michelle S from Albuquerque, NM on Jun 24, 2010

Great technique and very flexible in scheduling

Karla is very professional. I chose to go to her out of anyone in Albuquerque based on our initial phone conversation. She was so informative and explained what she uses in her massages. We were in a car accident and she has worked with us and supported us through the entire process. She is very easy to talk to and the massage atmosphere is very relaxing and soothing. I would recommend her to anyone. She has tons of experience and really knows how to make a body feel good.
Would you recommend this business to a friend?   Yes

I’m always thrilled to read testimonials from clients – it makes me very happy!  Karla Linden, NMT, LMT