Cincy Chic: What was your inspiration behind starting R&R: Rescue and Relief?
Gini Maddocks: Self-care is dear to my heart. I had Polio when I was two and my parents did not agree with the prescribed treatment so they carried me out of the hospital to care for me at home. I think that influenced the rest of my life. Home-remedies they used ranged from massaging life into my legs, to rubbing banana peelings on poison ivy!
Then, growing up in the 60s – with its self-empowerment and a back-to-nature consciousness – led me from social work to holistic health, including medical massage therapy where Ilearned what it takes to feel better.
I decided that I could help more people by writing and speaking about it. And, as an added bonus, I get to travel!
Cincy Chic: You are recognized as an award-winning author, educator, columnist and speaker. Of the four, what do you enjoy doing the most?
Maddocks: I love all the aspects of my work but I get the biggest charge from writing self-care tips. But if you ask me just after I’ve delivered a talk or workshop, I’d probably say “educator.” I love the energy of workshops and never present the same one twice, designing them to be pertinent to each audience. That’s how I become better at what I do.
Cincy Chic: What tips do you have for people who travel?
Maddocks: Move, move, move. Blood and lymph (immune system) and muscles need circulation. Tissue becomes cold and stiff when inactive for 12 minutes or more. Micro-movements are better than sitting still.
On the Plane:
It’s ok to squirm in your seat and re-situate during the plane ride.
- Bend your elbows and knees back and forth for circulation and to avoid clots.
- Do neck rolls, slowly and deliberately, three times. Reverse and repeat.
- Arch your back, gently dropping your neck backwards, thrusting chest
- forward and squeezing shoulder blades together
- Thump the center of your chest to stimulate your immune system.
- Hydrate. Sure you’ll have to make bathroom visits, but it’s good to move.
- Turn your head from side to side as far as you can, often, then gently let your head drop, ear to shoulder, back and forth. Make bobble-head movements.
- Tuck in your chin and flatten your neck against seat’s head rest, to eliminate “turtle head” syndrome.
- Exaggerated yawn, open mouth WIDE while releasing jaw. Repeat often.
- Breathe out to relax, eliminating toxins. Breathe in to increase energy.
- Use the air vent above you to generate negative ions INSERTEMDASH which are good for you.
- Prevent jet lag, using Progressive Relaxation, relaxing toes, upward. Use this if you have trouble sleeping.
In the Car:
Tools for the road:
- Tennis balls for self-massage: Situate the ball on that knot in your gluteal muscles, allowing sciatic nerve relief. Place ball between the seat and those knots between your shoulder blades, releasing tension.
- Small pillow or neck roll to support your neck.
- Rolling pin: this is a gem! Roll your calves and thighs when you stop. Have your travel partner use it on your back and shoulders.
- Move every 12-15 minutes: shrug your shoulders, stretch your fingers, change your foot position, etc.
- Crack the window for fresh air and negative ions, which are healing.
- Prevent headaches by keeping your tongue on the roof of your mouth to avoid jaw tension This can save you from headaches!
- Release shoulders and neck tension by pulling them up under your ears and holding for 6 seconds, then release with a plop. Repeat often.
- Use music deliberately: When traffic is making you anxious, listen to slow, soothing tunes. If you’re tired and need to wake up, find something lively.
- Beware of head-banging music, it can contribute to irritability on the highway.
- Posture check: Avoid tilting your chin upwards, align it with your breast bone.
- Hold the steering wheel — don’t grip it.
- Don’t take other drivers’ actions personally; they don’t know you!
- Avoid holding your breath. If you’re feeling tired, inhale more. If you’re feeling stressed, breathe out slowly.
- Stop often.
- Back saver! Every time you get out of the car, arch backwards slightly to lengthen the muscles.
- Stiff legs? Rub them before you get out of the car (use the rolling pin). Then, march in place, 3 or 4 times, until you feel strong and secure.
- Stretch thighs and legs when you stop.
- Bend forward, rolling down slowly, stretching each segment of your spine. Raise up just as slowly and breathe deeply.
- Enliven your muscles and remove swelling by pumping them back and forth rapidly. Take a brisk walk AFTER you’ve warmed them up a bit.
- Take off your shoes and rub your feet for a few minutes — it’s like starting all over!
Cincy Chic: What made you write Travel Tips to Go?
Maddocks: Sciatic pain. Necessity drove me to invention! As a muscle therapist, I understand how to relieve discomfort and began applying that to traveling, writing easy-to-do techniques. Rather than give up our pleasures, we can find comfortable ways do them.
Cincy Chic: Do you travel a lot for work?
Maddocks: Yes, living in the small town of Oxford makes that a necessity. And I love using time in the car for thinking, listening to instructional CDs or enjoying the outside environment. It’s an opportunity to be alone. Often, I use music intentionally and am reminded of having anxiety while driving on 75, sandwiched between 2 semi-trucks. The Mama and Pappa’s, California Dreamin’ came on and I sat back, relaxed into a grin and held my position without effort. How we deal with stress depends on the attitude we have.
Cincy Chic: Your years as s a massage therapist and stress management strategist has been about educating people to “Feel Better!” What advice do you give to people in accomplishing that mantra?
Maddocks: First of all, we need to believe that we have power over our circumstances. I use positive thinking as a defense mechanism. When we eliminate, “I can’t” or “I never,” we give ourselves more room for different responses to stressful situations.
Second, take nothing personally. You don’t know the other person’s situation or thinking process, so you might as well choose to take the high road; look for the silver lining in every situation. What if my mother had told me that I’d never walk when I had Polio? I shudder to think…
Cincy Chic: How do you make it become a reality in your own life?
- I try to find ways to make everything I do, contain an element of fun.
- I start the day gently, giving myself time alone to organize my priorities for the day.
- I make sure that I spend time with people who make me feel good.
- I read inspirational material and only watch the news every other day or so.
- I count my blessings often, having had breast cancer is a great awakener to the beauty of being alive.
- I take a few minutes, several times a day to clear my mind. I’ve gotten better with practice and can even do it at traffic lights now!
Cincy Chic: How do you like to spend your free time when you’re not traveling?
Maddocks: Exploring local areas with my special guy, dancing, grand-parenting, time with my women-friends; walking, reading fiction is my dessert!
Cincy Chic: What’s your favorite thing about Cincinnati?
Maddocks: When I was a little girl, Cincinnati was “the big city,” a special place to shop, eat and overlook the river. We would all pile into the car and go to the airport to watch the planes come and go. Living in Oxford, I still feel that way. I come to the city to work and play. I particularly love the parks and how the communities upriver, such as New Richmond and Ripley are upgrading. I love the festivals, such as the ones in Blue Ash, and the music and art opportunities. Did I mention the skyline at dusk?
Photo: Courtsey of www.holisticmatters.net