I'm going to Vietnam in Dec2010!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

human connection and friendly touch

On my way to work one day last week, I caught a segment on NPR that was of great interest to me. It was about touch and interviewed someone I'd heard of before. They interviewed Dr. Tiffany Field, the director of Touch Research Institute, University of Miami, Florida. She's a leader in the field. In a culture where touch is commonplace yet commonly misunderstood, she's a person who's trying to figure it all out.

I thought I'd shared the link to the NPR transcript.

Human Connections Start With A Friendly Touch


Hopefully you take the time to read that. It isn't very long and is very insightful. But in case you don't it is all about how touch can reduce stress and increase connection between individuals. They explain how touch can stimulate the vagus nerve which in turn can decrease the heart rate. Also explained is how touch releases oxytocin, the cuddle hormone. Oxytocin can also increase trust behaviors in humans. Much of this I've heard before but is still fascinating to me. The segment rounded out in a way worth quoting...

"Prof. HERTENSTEIN: A soft touch on the arm makes the orbital frontal cortex light up, just like those other rewarding stimuli. So, touch is a very powerful, rewarding stimulus - just like your chocolate that you find in your cupboard at home.

TRUDEAU: So the surging of oxytocin makes you feel more trusting and connected. And the cascade of electrical impulses slows your heart and lowers your blood pressure, making you feel less stressed, more soothed - all initiated by a simple, supportive touch. So the next time a friend is stressed or worried, give them a hug or a shoulder rub. It'll make them feel better. Their biology practically guarantees it."

I love that touch can be thought of as rewarding just like chocolate! It really is. Just think about it....Hugs, gentle touch, and massage make us feel better and there's scientific proof behind it!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

infant massage

My friend and fellow massage therapist ,Tania, has been instrumental in helping me spread the word of my outreach trip and knowledge about infant massage. She collaborated this information though web searches. I asked if I could share it in other forums and she was happy to let me. I am certain that I will share much more on benefits of infant massage in future posts but here's some to get us started!

Infant massage is massage given to a young infants involving tactile and kinesthetic stroke and rubbing stimulation as a therapy to enhance their cognitive and physical development. Such contact is also found in other mammals where the mother provides tactile stimulation as part of their care through licking, grooming, and physical contact

Did you know that with infant massage:

Full term infants receiving massage therapy show

- more weight

- greater length

- less irritability

- better sleep

- reduced crying and improved ability to regulate their stress hormones

Mothers with postnatal depression that massage their infants reduce their own depression and improve the quality of their social interactions with their infants.

Preterm newborns receiving massage in neonatal intensive-care units:

- gain more body weight than those that do not

- show increased bone mineralization, bone density, bone length, and head circumference

- show higher psycho-motor development and significantly higher Mental Development Index scores

The body temperature of preterm infants increases when given massage compared to controls "even though the incubator portholes remained open during the 15 min massage therapy session but not for the control group over an equivalent time period". This has been suggested to be due to better control by the infant's brain of its body state and its blood circulation.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Since a part of this blog is dedicated to my fundraising efforts I figured I should share a way to donate and give ways to let you explore the cause.

A good number of you who will be reading this will have already been to the firstgiving.com page that has been set up for online donations. A great BIG THANK YOU! to all of you who have been there and hit the Give Now button. It really is awesome to see friends, family, and even a few friends yet to be met share in this adventure by giving. I'm show casing what the site looks like with a little screen-shot-ditty to the upper right side of this script. Anyone who wants to go to that and follow my fundraising (before it gets mentioned in this blog) or to donate can go to http://www.firstgiving.com/beckilogan1

So about the cause!!! The Liddle Kidz Foundation has the goal to share the benefits of nurturing touch around the world! (please embrace the creative spelling as I already have). Here's the link to Liddle Kidz' website http://www.liddlekidz.com I first heard of Liddle Kidz in 2007 when I was about to finish massage therapy school. We were required to do a marketing project and I first came across the Heart Touch Project based out of L.A. which benefits those people who are least likely to be touched in our society: elderly, chronically sick, children with health issues...
Since that was in L.A. and I was in Chicago, I did a bit more research and came across Tina Allen's name and her non-profit foundation. (she had her start with Heart Touch). Liddle Kidz certifies individuals in pediatric and infant massage. In 2009 I took the Pediatric Massage course, and in 2010 I took both the Infant Massage Instructor and the Advanced Instruction on Massage with Autism courses. All the classes were very informational and practical. And at these times I also learned about the Global Outreach Programs Liddle Kidz organizes. To find out more on that check out. http://www.liddlekidz.com/vietnam-global-outreach.html From there I applied to go to Vietnam! Amazingly out of over 700 applicants I was one of 24 chosen. I'm sure you can tell, but I'm super excited for this. Can't wait to tell you more.....but not until next time.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It was suggest to me to write a blog. I was suggest to do this because I am going to go on an adventure- for a good cause- an outreach trip to Vietnam. While there I'm sure to have many interesting stories and experiences to share. However, for now I'm fundraising for this major trip and will constantly be learning new things about what we will be doing there. So in the coming weeks, I'll start by blogging about that.

Let me back up a bit and explain why I'm going to Vietnam for those of you who don't already know. I will be a part of a 24 person team teaching care-givers massage and providing massage/nurturing touch to orphans in orphanages and other child care facilities. We'll be a team of nurses, massage therapist, child educators, etc. from across the U.S. and Canada. We all have the passion of taking care of little ones and spreading knowledge of healthy therapeutic touch. Our team will be lead by Tina Allen, the founder of the Liddle Kidz Foundation, a non-profit organization. I'm sure I'll write much more about the benefits of infant/pediatric massage as I keep this blog, so you the reader can look forward to learning about that too!
For this first entry I'm going to also post my little bio. We were asked to provide a bio for promotional/educational/organizational purposes with Liddle Kidz. Here's what I've got...

Becki Logan has a diverse background working with children and providing therapeutic bodywork. She is a licensed massage therapist and a developmental-preschool teacher in Chicago, IL. Becki graduated from The Soma Institute in March of 2007, and holds a degree in psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a concentration in Deaf studies. Since 2006 she has been a member of the LEEP Forward Inc. team where she works closely with other specialist to teach preschool children with sensory processing, speech, emotional, and/or social skill disadvantages. Becki has been trained in and implements: Kinetic Bridging (an exercise/body work technique based on developmental patterns), pediatric massage and teaching infant massage to caregivers through The Liddle Kids Foundation, and techniques for working with children on the autism spectrum including Floortime/DIR and SCERTS. Currently she also works at Arrandt Health, an inclusive chiropractic and rehabilitation clinic, providing clinical massage.
Becki gathered many unusual skills such as how to use a pulaski, drive a 15 passenger van, and teach four-square while Team Leader for AmeriCorp*National Civilian Community Corps in 2004-05. Ms. Logan loves to serve the community, remain young at heart, find time to play, and enrich the lives of children.