Monday, September 21, 2009

B.R.E.A.T.H.E. -- Combining Massage Therapy Skills with the Writing Life

I recently completed my fifth manuscript, and while I’m so excited about this book, mentally, my body is no longer speaking to me.

I’m literally in traction. My chiropractor says my back muscles are in spasms. What causes this, I asked him? Innumerable problems he said: poor posture, improper ergonomic setup, nutrition, life stresses. And trust me, with both my mother and my mother in law living with me this summer (another blog topic), while trying to finish my novel, I fall into every one of the above categories.

So rather than trying to figure out what I've been doing wrong all these many months, I contacted fellow Colorado Romance Writer member Tiffany James, who in a former life, was a massage therapist. She shared some great advice and it's my turn to share it with you.

DB: Tiffany, first thanks for being here. Are you still a working massage therapist, and if not, why did you give it up?

TJ: Thanks for having me, Donnell! I’m an avid Five Scribes reader, and I’m thrilled to be on the other end this time around.

Two years ago I decided to give my newly discovered dream of becoming a published author a go. As I tried to manage a handful of roles, I realized I was spread too thin. I wasn’t doing anything well and experiencing a lot of stress – more than normal. That’s when I knew I had to give something up. After almost ten years of working as a massage therapist, I made the difficult decision to let it go and really focus on my writing (furious nail biting).

DB: Knowing when to say when--you sound like a very wise woman. What techniques did you bring from your massage training background and incorporate into your own writing?

T.J.: Great question! I’ve been writing since I stumbled upon National Novel Writing Month ( in the fall of 2007. I completed that year’s challenge as well as contracting a serious case of I-have-to-write-itis (a potentially debilitating condition in which the person afflicted has to write or risk turning into a cranky, chapfallen, just plain creepy freak. It’s not pretty – take my word for it!).

At first, I didn’t bring anything from my MT background into my writing practice. I thought they were two completely different worlds until I had a very enlightening conversation with my husband.

One day last year I was whining to him about how my back and neck hurt, and how that pain seemed to be moving into my shoulder. “Well, you have been sitting at the computer a lot lately,” he answered, oh so helpfully.

It was a “light bulb” moment for me. Nothing we do happens in a vacuum. We can always take lessons, techniques or thought processes from other vocations with us into our next adventure.

To make a long story even longer (sorry, Donnell), I started applying my MT skills to my writing life. Eventually, I developed a little system I called “Just B.R.E.A.T.H.E”. It’s an acronym that reminds me of the things I need to address in order to create a physical foundation for my writing.

B – Breathing
R – Rest & Relaxation (which addresses stress relief)
E – Ergonomics
A – Atmosphere
T – Timer (Use it!)
H – Healthy eating
E – Exercise (Ugh, yuck, ewwww!)

For more information, check out my “Just B.R.E.A.T.H.E” page on my website: .

D.B. LOL, I knew I'd come to the right place, Tiff. When you worked on people in chronic pain, what would you say was their number one complaint?

T.J.: They had a myriad of complaints: tight necks and shoulders, low back pain, headaches, wrist pain and tingling fingers (carpal tunnel-like symptoms). But I believe that, in most cases, those complaints related back to one thing…working at a desk for eight, ten sometimes even twelve hours a day.

D.B.: Were any of their ailments preventable?

T.J.: I’m no M.D., but I do believe that, with basic changes in their daily routine, those problems could be significantly improved, if not completely resolved. These changes are simple, but don’t get me wrong, they are never easy!

D.B.: I appreciate the tips, and plan to incorporate them. As for massages, they're expensive. Any suggestions on where we authors on a budget can get one?

T.J.: Oh, yeah! Massage schools are an excellent resource. Before massage students can receive their certification or licensure (depending on their state’s regulations), students have to complete a specified number of client contact hours. Many massage therapy schools have a student clinic available. The students are usually in their last semester of study and the rates are reduced, often by fifty percent. Some schools even have professional clinics where the teaching staff treats clients, again at reduced rates. Make sure the school or professional clinic you attend is associated with an accredited massage therapy school.

Check with your local massage therapists as well. Many have reward programs that offer a complimentary massage if you refer clients or a reduced rate if you schedule your massages at regular intervals.

Speaking of regular intervals… in my practice and my own personal experience, I find that consistency is the key to effective massage therapy. It doesn’t necessarily matter how often you get a massage. What matters is that you stick with a regular schedule. For example, I’ve found that if I get a massage every six weeks (every four weeks during particularly busy or stressful times), I’m able to maintain the positive benefits. Experiment with your timeline and find what interval is best for you.

Visit for more information about massage therapy or to find a registered or licensed therapist in your area.

D.B.: After every massage I’ve ever received, I’m told to drink water. How important is water to the average writer sitting at a keyboard?

T.J: I don’t think there’s a yardstick long enough to measure the importance of it! ;)

Getting a massage gives your circulation a kick, revs it up so that toxins can be cleared from your body and nutrient-rich blood can be carried throughout it improving your overall health. Being well hydrated aids that process, which is why massage therapy clients are encouraged to drink water.

However, as most of us know, our circulatory systems are always working - even when we’re sitting at our desks. So drinking water all the time is important for the same reasons.

Here are a few more reasons to keep the water flowing:

* Water makes up 75% of our body, and we are constantly losing it through breathing, sweating and going to the bathroom.

* Not being properly hydrated can cause problems with everything from dry eyes to muscle cramps to decreased concentration and light headedness.

* In various studies chronic (over an extended period of time) dehydration has been connected to everything from constipation, headaches and allergies to asthma, depression, joint pain and premature aging (think of a plump grape full of water versus a dehydrated raisin)!

On a side note: The recommendation used to be 8-10 eight ounce glasses of water. I’ve recently heard that if your urine is clear, you’re properly hydrated. So take a peek at what you excrete!

D.B.: Here’s the next question: Does coffee, fruit juice etc. count? ;)

T.J.: It used to be that those things didn’t count, but I heard not long ago that we could count them. My personal recommendation would be to get most of your daily fluid intake from water. Remember, coffee and teas are diuretics so they increase the amount of water you lose, defeating our purpose. That’s not to say you can’t have your coffee and tea. I love my caramel lattes! I just don’t include that in my daily count. If you’ve had enough of the taste of water, you can add a slice of lemon, lime, or orange for a change of pace.

D.B.: How about exercise, and can you give us some tips about some stretches to do?

T.J.: Ugh! Just the word makes me want to hide under my desk. :)

Like many of you, I’m obsessed with my writing. It’s as essential to me as breathing. So I figured if I could apply that loathed chore of exercise to my writing I might be more inclined to do it. Guess what? It worked! Some of my best ideas come to me when I’m huffing and puffing up the hill near my house, and those nagging plot points that I just can’t figure out often work themselves out during my daily jaunts.

I’ve also found a way to get a little stretching in during the day without even realizing it. As you saw above (and probably wondered about) is that the “T” in my “Just B.R.E.A.T.H.E.” approach is my timer. Every time I sit down at my desk I set it for 30 to 45 minutes. I type madly as the minutes countdown then, when the timer goes off, I take about three minutes to stretch. By the end of an eight hour day, I’ve gotten a 24 minute full-body stretching workout! Not bad for a few minutes here and there. ;)

Here a few of my faves that I can do right from my chair:

FOR NECK & SHOULDER: Sit tall with your feet on the floor and hold the bottom of your chair with your left hand. Pull up slightly. Tip your right ear toward your right shoulder. Feel that stretch? It’s intense! Drop your chin to your chest then do a half circle to the right with your head, stopping at particularly tight spots for a few breaths. Now do the other side.

Shoulder and gentle neck rolls are great too.

FOR UPPER & MIDBACK: Sit tall in your chair. Place your right hand on the outside of your left thigh. Reach your left hand behind you, look to the left and twist your body gently to the left. Hold for a few breaths. Switch to the other side.

ARMS: Pull your arm across your body. Hold for a few breaths. Now reach up to the ceiling, alternating reaching higher with one hand then the other (great for all of those muscles running through the sides of your upper body). Next, bend one arm, letting that hand reach “down” the back. You can use your other hand to increase the stretch. Repeat on the other side.

WRIST & JOINTS: Circle ‘em! Roll your feet around in all directions. Do the same with your hands. Place your palms and fingers against each other then gently push your palms away from each other. This stretches out all of those hardworking typing muscles in your hands and fingers.

I try to alternate stretching breaks from my chair with stretches that require me to “get up off a’ that thing”. Do you hear James Brown?

One of the best full body stretches I’ve found is the yoga series “Sun Salutation”. It would take me forever to explain it so check out this site: . Be especially careful with hands up and upward dog. They can cause pain and injury to the back if you overdo.

*** Whenever you’re exercising, remember that pain is your body’s way of communicating with you! If it hurts, don’t do it or lessen the intensity.

D.B.: I can't wait to check out the site and try these exercises! I take my first hot yoga class next week. So, Tiff, how important are breaks from the keyboard?

T.J. If I could convince today’s readers to do one thing, it would be to take breaks from that keyboard! And not just to get up and move around like I talked about above – although those are really important. Even taking a mini-break and gazing out the window, at a favorite picture or art piece can relax your eye muscles and lessen eye strain.

D.B. And if you could sit down with a group of writers, what kind of advice would you give them regarding keeping their bodies healthy so they can have a successful career?

T.J.: I would encourage them to think about it like this: We’ve all heard the saying, “You can’t draw water from an empty well”. It’s the same with your writing. Your body is the well, your creativity and inspiration the water. If your brain can’t function because it isn’t getting enough oxygen because you’re not taking full, deep breaths; if you’re burned out because you’ve been working non-stop; if you’re in pain because your desk set-up doesn’t jive with your body; if you can’t produce because the atmosphere in which you’re working isn’t conducive; if you’re unable to concentrate because you didn’t eat or stay hydrated or exercise then you’re trying to draw excellence in prose from an empty, uninspired, creatively void well.

Fill it! Take some time each day to “Just B.R.E.A.T.H.E.”.

D.B.: Tiffany, my body thanks you, and I bet there's some sore writers out there who thank you, also!!! Before you leave, tell us about your writing, what you’re working on and how it’s going?

T.J.: (Clapping hands like an overjoyed child) I’m so excited! I just finished the final edits on One Season, a contemporary romance and the first book in my “Girls of Keegan-Bentley” series. Here’s the log line for One Season:

It’s said you can never go home again. But if returning means forgiveness and stepping back into the land of the living, is it worth the risk?

Hayden Questra is about to find out.

T.J. Thank you for having me, Donnell!

D.B. My pleasure, Tiff. Okay, readers. There you have it. Tiffany and I are going to award $25 to one lucky commenter that ideally you'll use for a massage. But here's the rub.... you must comment on WHY YOU NEED ONE IN THE FIRST PLACE. And "BECAUSE I'M SORE" doesn't count. Tiffany and I will review the responses and insert the creative ones into the drawing. Personally, I think I'm way ahead... A mother and a mother in law moving in with me??? Who can beat that? We're listening....And we'll announce the winner on Friday September 25th.

Here's to Happy Pain-free Writing!


Tiffany James said...

Good morning, Donnell, and all of you Five Scribes readers!

I just wanted to say "thanks again" for having me here today. I'm looking forward to reading your comments and answering your questions.


KL Grady said...

Thanks for being with us today, Tiffany! Excellent advice.

Don't enter me into the contest - I have two Spafinder certificates that have been sitting in my drawer for almost 2 years, unused. I love massages, but I can't seem to make the time to go get one. The pressure to spend another $25 would probably give me hives. That said, I know I need a massage because of the raging debate in my house: is that muscle or a bone?!

Tucker said...

Okay- KL sent me here because she is a dear. I need a massage because my husband has been deployed for 8 months and won't be home for good for another 4. I am trying to sell our house to the craziest buyer/agent combo with the least math skills ever known to man. I get to move to Texas by myself, leaving my career and friends/family behind because the Army told us we had to. And my dear, sweet grandfather just died rather suddenly. Oh, and I am going to be homeless and jobless for 3 months so I get to go move in with my parents... assuming the house deal doesn't fall through.

I think that's everything. I definately think a massage would help me chill out and relax and get back to writing, rather than venting, on my personal & group blogs. Anyway, that's all. Thanks for doing such a sweet contest! :)

Oh, and K-L Rocks.

Donnell said...

Oh, and K-L Rocks. Yeah she does!!!

Tucker, I just realized this is going to be hard ;) You are definitely entered in the drawing. Thank your husband for us for his service, and thanks to all the military spouses left at home to handle the equally hard stress!

Theresa said...

Hi Kids!
Tiffany, thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your wisdom. And I curse you for reminding me the importance of exercising regularly. I HATE exercising, but you all are right . . . it works and is necessary. I am SO undisciplined, but have great intentions, and you know what they all say abt intentions--none of it is nice.

I've been crazy busy lately, but not stressed. And since I have a darling husband who gives we wonderful, frequent massages . . .I guess I'll have to forgo the effort of making up some fantastic, totally illegitimate tale of woe to win the $25 massage. Besides, lying like that would bring untold amounts of bad karma my way!

Thanks again, Tiff. Now you've guilted me into braving this gloomy morning for a brisk sweaty walk. Thanks. I guess.

Tiffany James said...


Ouch! I hate it when I can't tell muscle from bone.

It is so hard to spend money on ourselves (especially when the money isn't there). Stretching and aerobic exercise can be an excellent stand-in for massage. Another option is an exercise called "bodyrolling". You literally roll on a ball which releases tightness in muscles. Yamuna Zake is the massage therapist who developed it. She has a book and a website.

Let me know what you think if you give it a try!

Thanks for joining the conversation today. :0)


Helen Hardt said...

Hi ladies -- wonderful post. I've read about your B.R.E.A.T.H.E. system before, Tiff, and I love it. I, too, suffer from low back pain which I oddly never had before I started writing seriously 2.5 years ago, LOL. I don't drink enough water and I don't make enough time for exercise. Bad me. Thanks for the nudge in the "write" direction ;).

Julie said...

Hi Tiffany, I teach day-long writing classes at my local college and have my students up and stretching every hour or so for two minutes. I've found that taking that short break to stretch keeps everyone from falling asleep during the Procedure Writing class.

As for me, I'm a mom so I'm constantly bending over backwards to get everything done that needs to be done. Needless to say my back would LOVE a massage!

Cheers, Julie

Gwynlyn MacKenzie said...

First, let me say I really enjoyed the blog.

Second, I live in plaid-shirt heaven. Message therapist or their schools aren't exactly thick-on-the-ground here. There is a store-front place in the mall, but I'm leary of trying it.

Third, I could really use a message.

With dh down, everything that needs be done gets done by me. Between housework, yardwork, doctor visits (he can't drive and the doc is over two hours away), physical therapy, and trying to keep writing, sleep eludes me because my mind won't rest. Add puppy sitting so son could be in a friend's out-of-state wedding last week, and puppy-sitting for daughter (a great dane whose back is above my waist and a husky pup---oh joy) this week, our own three dogs, one of whom is pushing fifteen and had bladder issues, and can you say stress?

However, despite all that whining, don't enter me in the contest. I couldn't go even if there were a place to go, and I know it could be worse; I could have my mom and my hypochondriac MIL here. (Donnell, you're my hero! Let us know when they release you from the asylum *g*)

Mary Marvella said...

Great article. I'm old and I could use tons of massages. Also some buttons on my keyboard are stuck!

Tiffany James said...


Oh my gosh! Talk about "when it rains, it pours"! I simply can't imagine trying to deal with all you have happening right now. I'm sending you a telepathic massage with lots of reminders to breathe.

I also solemnly swear I will not whine about the things going on my life.

Hang in there! And thanks for dropping by.


Tiffany James said...


I second that sentiment! I'm so grateful to our service people and their families.


Tiffany James said...


I hate the thought of guilting you into something, btu since it's something that's good for you, maybe it's OK! :0)

Remember, you don't have to go forever. A fifteen or twenty minute walk can make a big difference in your health, alertness and stress level. Plus, it's fifteen or twenty minutes more than you walked yesterday, right?!

Thanks for stopping by and saying "hi"!


Tiffany James said...


You're very welcome! And thank you for the kind words about my B.R.E.A.T.H.E. system. :0)

We all struggle with these things. There's just too much to cram into each day. That's why I had to develop a system (instead of just doing them). :0) Do a little today then a little more tomorrow and, before you know it, you'll be feeling better and writing like crazy.

Thanks for stopping by!


Tiffany James said...


Kudos to you for instilling in your students the importance of those breaks!

Kids wreak havoc on our bodies, don't they? (In more ways than one, too).

Thanks for taking some time out of your busy day to "Just B.R.E.A.T.H.E."!


Tiffany James said...


I can say stress and, hello, it comes out "Gwynlyn". Life is out of crazy for you right now!

When we are caring for others, it's especially important to take some time each day for ourselves.

Since I can't give you a massage, I'm willing you fifteen minutes sitting in the sun or soaking in a bubble bath or walking gently through your plaid-shirt heaven.

Fill your well!

Thanks for joining us today.


Tiffany James said...


Sticking buttons are a problem! :0)
Massage can help a lot of things but I don't know if it can help that one!

You certainly don't seem old, but you bring up an interesting topic. Massage is so good for elderly people! Things slow down as we age (or fall down in some cases) and massage can speed them up and improve efficiency (i.e. digestion, circulation). In addition, many older people are alone and don't have a lot of positive touch in their lives (hugging, holding hands, etc.). Massage can help fill that need.

Thanks for stopping by today!


Karen Graffenberger said...

Hi, Donnell and Tiffany. What a great and very helpful post Tiffany. I'm a big believer in exercise, but I have to admit I know I'm not drinking enough. Water that is. It's especially difficult for me when it's cold, and I'm always cold. I promise I'll do better. Your ideas about mini breaks at the computer and the stretches to go with the breaks are very helpful. The timer, too, to remind me to take a break. I hold my tension in my neck and shoulders and could really use a massage, but don't put my name in the drawing. We have an acclaimed massage therapy school here in Boulder, and I could get an inexpensive massage if I could erase the guilt of taking the time away from my writing to get one. I'm going to check out your B.R.E.A.T.H.E. Blog, and I'm going to tell my hubby about all your neat tips. He's the one with the stress, but no way will he get a massage. Men!

I, too, want to say thank you to Tucker and her husband and tell her to hang in there. -- Karen G.

Tiffany James said...


How fun to see you here! Thanks for visiting.

It is hard to take time from our writing, especially when we have so many other committments. However, I've found my massage time is a perfect place to immerse myself in my character's world and brain - must have something to do with shutting off my own brain. I write like a woman possessed after a massage! Maybe give it a try - and if you do, let me know how it works out for you. :0)

I could also try to guilt you into it...seomthing about all those amazing students over there in your neighborhood... :0) Hehehe, just kidding!

Have a great day ~


Kathy said...

DI was fussing last night because my silly chair seems to be titling to the left. I do have visions of sitting in it leaning that way when I play games online. I have a little foot rest to put my feet on as the chair height and desk arrangement are above my leg length and I find putting my feet on the stool helps. When it is not in the car I have a pillow for my lower back. I have a herniated disk in my back at L5-S1 and IT will scream at me to move but I find I hurt more at work from standing for long periods if I can move out of my corner, I'm a cashier in a convenience store aka gas station I do better but if we are really busy and I cna't get out to piddle with the cups and stuff iI will hurt so bad. I do have to get otu of the corner to clean the bathrooms, sweep and mop the floor and gather up the trash, and clean all the glass doors. The latter is a hit and miss type thing I do good most days to clean the front doors. My TRICARE insurance with the military will not pay for chiropractic care which makes a lot of difference. When I was in a car wreck he helped me so much tens, unit and ice would relax those back muscles and reduce the swelling around the disk. Lately I've been spending so much time driving my knee is acting up on the LEFT leg too funny. It will almost put me onthe floor an dI am in the US so we use right one for driving last night I was wiggling left leg and twisting my foot trying to get knee to ease up I guess I'm tensing it up without realizing it. Thanks for the suggestions on sitting at the desk and writing it will help I'm sure.

Donnell said...

Julie: Way to go getting new writers off to a great start. If I would have known what I know then....

Gwynlyn, I think you should still enter the drawing. You can use the $25 to buy one of the balls Tiffany referred to. I'm going to!

Mary (I can't say how old she is, but my gosh, she's got a gorgeous complexion) Must be all that water she drinks...

Karen, what I said about Mary. Water, the one thing I do right, is before I sit down to write, I have a huge container of water. If anything if forces you to... how did Tiff say it... examine our byproducts :)

Thanks everyone for your comments! I'm feeling better already knowing I'm not alone!

Carol Kilgore said...

Thank you so much for this wonderful post. A few years ago, severe neck spasms almost ended a career that was just getting off the ground. I'm pretty careful now, but some of your tips here are fantastic. I've put this post at the top of my favorites list.

Tina M. Russo said...

Tiffany, what great information. I am printing it up. I find an ergonomic keyboard and stability ball are my best pals.

Leslie Ann said...

Hi Tiff,
Welcome to Five Scribes, and thanks for your kind words about our blog.

You make excellent points! This is a blog I'm printing out to read and re-read until it becomes a habit to BREATHE.

Thank you so much D and TJ for bringing us this info.


Tiffany James said...

My author friend, Renee Knowles, was having trouble posting so she asked me to do it for her! Here it is:

Hi Tiff,

As always, fabulous advice. And having had you as a massage therapist, I know you know your stuff!


Tiffany James said...


Herniated disks STINK! They are so painful and restricting.

You probably already know this, but be sure to check with your doctor before you try any of the exercises discussed in my post. Those herniated disks are persnickety things, and I don't want you to aggravate it!

You are so smart to make sure you're desk is set up well. A foot stool is an excellent idea. So is moving around whenever you can! Have you ever tried propping your foot on a low stool at work? Sometimes that alleviates pain and tingling (again check with your doc). If you try it, make sure you alternate propping your right and left leg frequently.

Great to hear from you! I'm sending you massaging vibes. :0)


Tiffany James said...


You just brought tears to my eyes!

I think your comment is an excellent take-away point:

Eventually it's going to catch up with us. If we don't take care of ourselves, we don't get anything done. We can't avoid all pain and injury, but we can give our bodies a fighting chance!

Thank you, Carol, for putting so succintly what took me roll after roll of the mouse to verbalize. :0)

Take care of yourself!


Tiffany James said...


You got it, sista! Support your wrist and go easy on your...well, what you sit on all day! :0)

Another excellent point too! Stability balls are a great addition to your office. For those of you who aren't familiar with them you can see a picture here: .

Sitting on this ball during the day is like an all day workout. It causes your body to constantly make small adjustments to posture with those all-important core muscles.

This comment made me think of another option as well. The walking desk! This is an apparatus that fits over the handlebars of a treadmill. You can walk (at a slow pace) while you work. Snow White would have a field day...she could whistle and walk while she works!

Thanks for joining in the talk, Tina.


Tiffany James said...


Thanks for your kind words! I'm so glad you enjoyed my post...sometimes I worry I'm being too preachy. :0)

I love that you're going to keep this info close at hand...we all know how to BREATHE, sometimes we just need to be reminded.

Thanks for stopping by to say "hi".


Tiffany James said...


Thanks for the plug! I miss being a massage therapist so much...

And thanks for working so hard to post your comment. :0)


Tiffany James said...

The day is winding down, and I just wanted to say thank you to Donnell and the other four Scribes. I had a great time today!

Also thank you to all of you who commented. We all learned we're not alone and that often makes all the difference!

Enjoy your evening and be good to yourselves!


Misty Evans said...

Hey Donnell. Hey Tiffany. Fancy meeting you here, Tiff!

As Donnell knows, I have lower back and SI joint problems. I'm a regular on the MT's table. She's so good to me, I count her as a friend, and I swear, not only does she help my back, she helps my mind too. I get a massage therapist, psychotherapist and spiritualist all rolled into one person.

In fact, I have a massage scheduled for Friday and I can't wait. :)

Thanks for the tips and helpful advice, Tiffany.

Kristina said...

Great post! There were so many good reminders of the things I need to do but don't. Grrr.

Here is why I would looove a massage:

I have scoliosis in my lower back. In order to prevent my spine from being a royal pain, I sleep with a special neck pillow and knee pillow, and drive with a back pillow (which I use on airplanes and in movie theaters as well). I used to be really good at getting regular massages and walking on the treadmill five days/week followed by some hefty stretching before bed. BUT....this past year, life has interfered more than it should.

Now that I've sold to a publisher (yay), I'm writing on deadlines. And with juggling a three- and five-year-old, it's been hard finding time to walk and stretch, which I know I NEED to do. Also, my usual massage therapist just quit practicing (ugh), and after recently trying to show my youngsters how cool their mommy was, still being able to do my old cheerleading jumps....well, let's just say, although the jumps were rather impressive all things considered (if I do say so myself), it took THREE chiropractor appointments to realign my vertebrae. In other words, don't do what I did. Really.

Bottom line, I am suddenly wanting a massage, and soon!

Margie Lawson said...

Tiffany --

Love your 'Just B.R.E.A.T.H.E.' plan. So smart!

I'm big on every component -- but I need to honor sleeping more. :-)

I'll definitely send a gazillion people to your website to check it out!

Donnell -- Glad you survived your summer with your mother and mother-in-law living with you! Thanks for bringing this great blog to us!

All smiles.........Margie

Tiffany James said...

Hi, Misty!

That is kind of weird running into each other here. :0)But how awesome?!

Ugh! That lower back/hip area is a biggie...and so painful. You are a model BREATHer, getting massages regularly. Good for you!

I completely agree with you about massage therapists being all those things rolled into one. We store stuff in our cells and tissues (hello, brick-like shoulders) and massages help loosen that junk up so that our bods can get rid of it. Then we can move into the future a little lighter in the baggage department (emotional not those pesky bags on our thighs).

Best of luck, Misty. It was great to talk with you at Five Scribes!


Tiffany James said...


Congratulations on selling!

Ah, life...can't live with it and can't live without it! And boy does it get in the way sometimes!

I'm so sorry your therapist has stopped practicing. It's very frustrating! I hope you can find a new one you love even more.

Scoliosis is a tough one to deal with. Good for you for doing all the right things!

Oh, and I so get the "I'll show my kids I'm still young and hip" thing. Not three days ago I tried to do the same thing. My youngest is a gymnast. I told her I used to win the handstand competitions all the time. She laughed at me. LAUGHED! Well, I was having none of that. So I showed her...and crumpled to the floor before I even got my feet in the air... :0)

You're in the contest. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!


Tiffany James said...


Great to see you! Glad to hear you enjoyed the blog.

Yep, sleep is one of those that, for many of us, is easy to skimp on. Then the next night you skimp a little more...and before you know it, you're exhausted! Good for you for acknowledging it. You know what they say - that's the first step. :0)

Thanks for spreading word and thanks for stopping to chat!


Donnell said...

Tiffany: it's never a good idea to try to one up a kid who has five or ten years on you ;) Trust me, I know. My kids (ah, dare I say it 25 and 22) embarrass me every time I do.

Margie brings up an excellent point about sleep. (talk about a great blog topic). Sleep is vital to a writer's muse as well as well being.

To everyone in some type of pain or dealing with life's stresses, hugs. Isn't it great of Tiffany to share her expertise and know that there's hope?

Tiffany James said...


Oh sure, now you tell me!

I'm embarrassed to say this has happened before - rollerblading, baseball, swing & jump...

Oh, forget it, I can't continue.

You're so sweet, Donnell! I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to chat with everyone. We spend so much time in our heads these days. It's nice to get back "in" our bodies.


Marilyn Brant said...

Donnell, thanks for letting the 007s know about this post--I *really* needed to do those stretching exercises today!!

Tiffany, many thanks for your thoughts, reminders and helpful exercises. My debut novel comes out in 5 days and every part of me is stressed out :). I just tried out the neck and shoulder stretches (I've had lingering pain there for the past several weeks) and they've already proven helpful. Thanks again!

Donnell said...

Marilyn, thanks for stopping by. Interesting how we carry all that stress in our shoulders, huh? And I think I should tell you and everyone how much I'm enjoying *According to Jane* So cleverly crafted. I'm enjoying every word ;)

Tiffany James said...


Thanks for joining us, and I'm thrilled to hear the stretches are helping you out!

Congratulations on your looming release! No wonder your shoulders are killing you. :0)

Interestingly enough, in my massage practice I found that typically women carry stress in our shoulders and men carry it in their lower backs.


Christy Ward said...

Hi Donnell – congrats on completing your manuscript! Tiffany, thanks for B.R.E.A.T.H.E.

My need for a massage (or just mental help) is based on a dream I had the other night. In my dream I found the fountain of youth, complete with full service visitor’s center. There were people knee deep in water jumping for joy. I, on the other hand, entered the visitor’s center and started vacuuming. Hmmmmm.

Donnell said...

Christy, to me not that I'm a dream analyst by any means, means your knee deep in domesticity and you're on the crux of giving up your youth and entering ... dare I say it middle age ;) But those 3 adorable boys are worth it, wouldn't you agree! -- And this lady has a phenomenal book on her hands -- just wait and see gang. You read it here first.

Tiffany James said...


There's got to be some deep psychological meaning to that dream! :0)

Glad you enjoyed the blog.


Tiffany James said...

Hello, for the last time (at least this time)!

This was such a hard decision - if I could, I would give every one of you a nice, long massage. But I have to choose one, and that one is:


Congratulations, Tucker. Use it well and take good care of yourself in your trying times! Contact Donnell at bellson @ (no spaces) to find out how to claim your prize.

Thanks to everyone who read the blog and commented. If you ever have questions or would like to chat more, feel free to e-mail me through my website contact page.

Thanks again to Donnell and the Five Scribes for letting me take over for a couple days. It was great fun!

And always remember to: Just BREATHE!


Mary Marvella said...

Tiffany, you are a sweetie and Donnell rocks!

The sticking keys were just an aggravation!

I'm a senior citizen and a hugger!

Tucker said...

Oh Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am SO going to put this to good use as soon as the movers leave town with our stuff... it will put me in the right frame of mind for my husband's R&R and my 3 months as a nomad! And then maybe I'll be able to write about something other than pointless whining.

Thanks SO, so much! :)

Donnell said...

Our pleasure, and it looks like the massage is well deserved! Best of luck to you Tucker!