Monday, March 12, 2018

The Importance of Proper Recovery

It’s all in the massage technique you use. When it comes to complete arm muscle relief, it’s all technique.

The motion of rolling back and forth while using your favorite therapy tool, (often it’s a lacrosse ball) feels superficially good but that technique can only give a circulatory flush to muscles. Frankly, it feels good to start to loosen up tight tissue.

But that technique alone can’t get back the all important Range of Motion in your muscle movement.

It’s all about getting back full ROM that defines your recovery time and readiness for new muscle loading, training and overall use.

Maintaining full muscle ROM means three things:
1. Your muscles return to their natural levels of strength
2. Your muscles return to their natural levels of endurance
3. Your fascia remains pliant and lengthy

Ask any pro athlete why they get a massage every time they can. Their therapist uses two types of techniques: circulatory and ROM-regain. Circulatory massage flushes out the waste products effectively but you need to apply the ROM technique to maximize your recovery and mobility.

There are several names given by medical and sports therapists for what is basically the same technique. Call it by any name, it’s the absolute best to maintain full ROM. Tack (Pin) and Stretch, Active Release, Trigger Point Therapy, Myofascial Release, these are the most common names.

Three steps to doing the ROM technique:
1. Find the sore spot (trigger point) while rolling a ball slowly and deliberately over tight muscles, searching for the most painful hidden spots while applying pressure
2. When you find a trigger point, stop rolling and hold direct pressure on that spot to the point of “it-hurts-good” kind of useful pain sensation.
3. While maintaining that feels-good kind of pressure, fully and slowly stretch the muscle that has the trigger point. Your lips should pucker with the pleasant “Ooooo, hurts good” sensation.

If you are massaging your forearm muscles, then the stretch movement will be fully flexing and extending your hand at the wrist, in circular and back-and-forth movements. If you are doing your biceps and triceps, then you’ll move your arm at the elbow to full extension and 45 degree contraction, slowly back and forth.

Become your own therapist by finding an easy-to-use tool to comfortably and accurately apply the ROM technique to yourself. Your arms, hands and elbows will thank your for the rest of your life.

Friday, February 2, 2018

What We Do After Work at Armaid

Terry - Inventor
On Saturday mornings, I make it a point to spend some time at the Farmers Market in Blue Hill. There’s a huge glass greenhouse on the grounds of a home and garden supply shop in town. Organic farmers and crafters from miles around come to sell their produce and products in the heated comfort of the greenhouse during the Winter months.

It’s a great time to visit with friends and neighbors, meet new folks and watch the kids run around eating baked goods and having fun. Someone brings a guitar, a fiddle and voila, there’s music. Freshly roasted coffee beans made into espresso helps fuel the fun.

My evenings are spent catching up with email and phone conversations with friends, scanning the news headlines and making a monster salad. Stoking the wood stove and reading from a pile of books that patiently wait their turn to be enjoyed.

Lately, I’ve been reading a series of books about the history and culture of Mexico. What an amazing country! Just finished Neil deGrasse Tyson’s book Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. Great synopsis of what we do and don’t know about the universe. Reread a great novel, one of my favorites, by Mark Helprin, A Soldier of the Great War. Incredible imagination mixed with the misery and absurdity of the first world war. The protagonist never disappoints in unveiling beauty within the horrors and insanity of wartime.

Maura - New Accounts
I revamped my life's flow last year. I wasn't living authentically. I kept telling the artist in me to Be quiet and Get lost and she responded by screaming. I now listen to her above any other voice inside myself. Evenings, during the work week, I prepare myself and my physical space for weekends of creative time. I spend weekends in solitude, for the most part, except for time with my kitty, nature, and walks with my granddogs and daughter. On the weekends, I wake before dawn, eat, meditate and then write and paint. I take a break for lunch, go for a walk, and return to 'the work.' This work I do is its own reward, but I hear from readers that they are getting to the place I hoped I could carry them, and I have sold more art work in 2017 than I have over the past decade. All of this happening, in my first year of change, is amazing.

Work/Authors that encourage and settle me:

Jessica - Fullfilment
After work every day, I do mom stuff. Different mom stuff on different days. Here's a snapshot:

Monday - Pick up kids from school, drop 10-year old at home and take 7-year old to gymnastics. Because I live in rural Maine, gymnastics is a 45-minute drive away. (Actually, almost everything is a 45-minute drive away.) Come home, make dinner, leave the dishes for tomorrow, go to bed with 7-year old.

Tuesday - Pick up kids from school, take them both to music lessons (trumpet and ukulele). Possibly drop off 10-year old at basketball practice.* Possibly wait at basketball practice until it is over. Home, dinner, bed.

Wednesday - Go to kids' school and manage the bench for the 7-year old's peewee basketball practice, whilst 10-year old is at Coding Club. Argue with children for a solid half hour about leaving school after basketball practice. Home, do dishes, dinner, bed.

Thursday - Mom's day off! Work until 5, and then go to the LIBRARY! and LOOK AT BOOKS! Then join 7-year old and my parents for dinner whilst my husband takes the 10-year old to soccer practice. Home, bed.

Friday - Pick up kids from school. Go home for a severe case of the Fridays (which really just means dinner will be exceptionally lame). Bed.

*There may be a basketball practice or game on any of these days.

Next up, Mom's Morning! See you at 4 AM!

Alix - Marketing
I work as a subcontracted staffer at Armaid, so actually Armaid is my "other".

I am a Integrative Nutrition Health Coach as my primary work. I left a Marketing Manager position at a publishing firm 3 years ago to focus primarily on helping people with their gut health. Indentifying and learning how to heal from unknown food allergies, chronic inflammation and autoimmune disorders. I work 1-on-1 with clients and also I lead a 5-month long group class, funded by a local non-profit called Health Island Project.

In the summer my Health Coaching extends to a Farmers' Market organic, local and vegan fresh-made juice and smoothie stand. We started last year and are really excited about our upcoming year. Follow our journey on Instagram @juicemecca.

I also work with another non-profit program, Ready by 21 Mentoring. We work with the local high school, matching each junior student with an unbiased, trained and background checked adult 1-to-1 mentor. We offer group activities monthly, including movie nights, cooking organic meals, sex education, fun trips to big cities like NYC and Chicago, trips to go tubing or skeet shooting, community service hours, pick-up basketball games, gardening and building a compost pin for our newly developing Growing and Learning garden, and so much more. Learn more at The program has been in existence for 6 years and I have had the great honor of being a mentor for 5 of those years and part of the staff for the last 3 years as the Program Coordinating, organizing all our fun activities.

During my free time, of which I actively have to make time for, I love working out and trying different modes of movement. I spend a lot of time with my 2 dogs, walking them on a lovely beach down the road from my house daily. I love cooking and trying new food with my significant other. I am actively learning about meditation and applying Buddhist practices to my every day life. I am also an avid reader, loving my mornings by the stove, cuddled up with my Frenchie, a cup of tea and a good book.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Peace on Earth

“Of the past 3,400 years, humans have been entirely at peace for 268 of them, or just 8 percent of recorded history.” - Chris Hedges

That’s not a great record for humans, especially those last two world wars. What triggers such conflict? What is the foundation that begets war? I feel it is a lack of imagination, understanding, empathy and altruism.

Where are the philosophical maxims in everyday life that define a more noble understanding?:
  • “There but for you go I.” 
  • “Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.” 
  • “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” 
  • “Walk a mile in another’s shoes.” 

These sayings all exhort us to imagine, understand, acknowledge our mutual dependencies and common fate, while the myth-creation of “Us versus Them” separates us and leaves us with our prejudices and inclination towards violence.

My solution to human relations? Travel. Yes, to be subsidized by governments and donations. When traveling, people wouldn’t stay in hotels, they’d stay with families, on farms and in residences, where interaction is the point. This would be a world-wide program involving people of all countries.

Why? Everyone who travels in this program would have several days or weeks to be immersed in a completely different culture and see life and society and family love at play from a new perspective. An opportunity to embrace the understanding that we are all the same with the same needs, only the details are different.

Mark Twain has a great quote:

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s life.”

If peace always follows conflict, then let’s find the shortest distance between these two points and bypass the nasty middle part. If the international citizenry is enlightened about other cultures and ways of life, then the chance for Peace on Earth is so much more than a wish. It’s peace from the individual on up.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Self-Care is Essential for all Massage Therapists

Massage Therapy as a profession can be brutal on the joints of your fingers, thumbs and elbow. These joints usually suffer the most abuse. Excessive joint compression can be a factor but most often the cause of problems is simple: chronically over-used and over-tight arm muscles that pull on where their tendons attach at these joints, causing inflammation (tendinitis) and functional misalignment resulting in pain and dysfunction. When your arms and hands don’t work, you don’t work. When I worked as a sports massage therapist, my lack of a daily maintenance routine stunted my career and limited my effectiveness.

By the time the pain in my own arms and joints became obvious, the latent, building tension already had been there for months. Silly me for thinking I was somehow immune… Ahh Youth! Just because your muscles don’t obviously hurt yet doesn’t mean they aren’t already tight and restricted with ‘under-the-radar’ tension and limited ROM.

That’s the professional downside of being a hands-on therapist and also the irony…your own muscles get tight while you provide relief to your client’s tight muscles.

So if you use your arms and hands every day, you ideally need maintenance every day to get back full ROM. And just like daily brushing your teeth is virtually mandatory for oral health, it’s best to have a daily maintenance routine to regain ROM in your arm muscles, simply and easily. But how to deliver effective technique without fatiguing yourself or without taking the time and expense of going to another MT for relief?

Here’s how I suggest to D.I.Y. Arm Massage without special tools:

You need two things to successfully maintain arm muscle ROM: the right technique and a tool to apply the technique easily and efficiently without fatiguing the free hand and arm that’s doing the applying.

The technique I suggest has many names, it depends on what therapeutic discipline you may have trained in. This technique is widely regarded as the absolute best to relieve the muscle fiber adhesions that limit ROM. Here’s a few names you probably have heard of: Myofascial Release, Trigger Point Therapy, Active Release, Pin (or Tack) and Stretch and several others. No matter the name, they all have this in common: finding the sore (trigger) spot, hold pressure on the sore spot, and slowly and fully stretch the muscle that has the sore spot while maintaining pressure. All the while maintaining a level of pressure that feels like “useful pain” or “hurts good".

You already know that most tight muscles are only revealed through touch, and that’s why an every day maintenance routine is vital for the active therapist.

Now that we’ve established the technique, time to describe the tool. You’ll be able to save wear and tear on your applying hand and digits if you can amplify your efforts with a tool.

You can use a ‘found’ object as your tool…. It can be anything that has heft, weight and mass, has slightly pointed aspect and well as a rounded feature and can fit into your hand easily. I find that using a tennis ball, lacrosse ball or golf ball just doesn’t have the heft and mass to easily put pressure on those trigger points. So I prefer to use a small 2 lb. dumbell, a rounded rock, a large food can … anything that can offer pressure through it’s weight and mass instead of you having to exert enough muscle pressure onto the spot with your upper body.

Place your forearm on the edge of a table and allow your hand to drape over the edge so you can stretch the muscles in your arm by moving your hand at the wrist. Roll slowly and gently over your forearm muscles, looking for those pesky trigger points then apply the Myofascial Active Release type technique described above.

Find sore spots anywhere from your thumb to your upper arms and apply the same technique of “find a sore spot, put pressure on it and move the muscle that has the soreness."  A few maintenance minutes a day will mean all the difference in the quality and length of your career.

Terry Cross, Holistic Health Practitioner and founder of The Armaid Company. 
Terry invented and manufactures the self care tool Armaid and lives and works on the coast of DownEast Maine.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Why Do We Give?


The opposite of taking is giving. It just feels good to give to someone who needs what you have. For us, as a company, and as individuals it's a wonderful aspect to being in our business that we can make a difference in someone's life without needing or wanting to exchange money in every instance.

Giving is an aspect of human nature that most of us share and are eager to do so when the opportunity arises. It ennobles us and makes a direct connection that satisfies the need for a socially loving connection. It's like my life matters when I give without taking.

One of my favorite maxims for living is take with one hand and give with the other...never take with both hands.

We have a personal and company policy to give Armaids to anyone in the Blue Hill Peninsula area who is in need. Payment in money is not encouraged, we love to barter. We have received organic farm-raised eggs, bacon, vegetable produce, lobsters, carpentry skills, tree pruning, house cleaning, firewood, dried sea-weed-vegetables, granite and stone building blocks and steps, gourmet meals and much else in exchange for Armaids from our neighbors.

Often we just simply give Armaids to those in need. Their relief and blossoming into self-care-autonomy is our joy!

We give Armaids away to local auction fund-raisers for the Blue Hill Library, Halcyon Grange and public supper auctions to raise money for persons in financial need locally.


I give because I am grateful to and responsible for the communities of which I am a part: The community of the Earth, the community of all living things, the community of humans, the community of my country, the community of my town. My gifts are an (incomplete and insufficient) expression of my love.


The sense of community in Maine is unparalleled, at least in my experience. The communities are small and incredibly supportive. When there is a disaster, illness or death in a family, the community rallies to collect money, make food, starting a donation system, taking in people who are displaced, offering temporary housing, etc. The sense of giving without taking, supporting without expecting and being part of a community where this is just a given, implores me to do and be the same. So, while I am not in the financial place to give monetary donations often, giving, supporting, encouraging and being part of a very giving community humbles me to the core and really ingrains the idea of giving the shirt off your back. While not a very wealthy community, it is pretty amazing that the 2017 graduating high school class, of only 20 students, received over $30,000 in donations and scholarships from local organizations and businesses.

Maine giving story:

There was a story that was shared around the office about two neighbors. One was better off than the other. The more financially comfortable neighbor learned that his neighbor and his family were struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table. Like many generous neighbors the wealthier neighbor went over to offer support. He told his neighbor that in the unlocked garage is a freezer filled with food and to please help himself. Days go buy and the hungry neighbor stops by to take a few items from the freezer as offered, consciously not taking more than he knew his family needed. His kind neighbor was not home. So he just went home, closing the garage door behind him. They next day the generous neighbor stops buy with two large grocery bags filled with more frozen food and says, "Don't you ever do that again!" "Don't you ever go hungry again, when I have a freezer full to share. Help yourself anytime. And take as much as you need."

Friday, November 17, 2017

Giving Guide

Below are the organizations we support individually, collectively and as a business. It is important for us to give back and support the organizations we believe in. As we start the holiday season we welcome the reminder to give to those who need our support.

Access Fund - Today, 1 in 5 climbing areas in the United States is threatened by an access issue—whether it's private land lost to development, public land managers over-regulating climbing, or climber impacts degrading the environment, the list of threats is long and constantly evolving. But they can be managed. At Access Fund, they are on a mission to protect climbing access and the integrity of America’s outdoor climbing areas.

American Civil Liberties Union - For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and the laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.

American Friends Service Committee - AFSC is vested in using peace-making and conflict resolution tools to effect long-term changes in society.

Ark Animal Shelter - The Ark is a no-kill animal shelter located in Cherryfield, in DownEast Maine. Founded in 1984, The Ark is committed to providing compassionate care and placement of homeless animals through the shelter operation, spaying and neutering pets to alleviate overpopulation, and promoting and improving the welfare of all animals through community education and outreach.

Blue Hill COOP - A belief in good quality, organic, local foods available to everyone on the Peninsula. Supporting a local cooperative grocery store supports the local farm, farmers, food purveyors and in turn nourishes us with the abundance that is around us here in Maine.

Blue Hill Heritage Trust - Conserving in perpetuity land and water resources that support the long-term health and well-being of the natural and human communities on the Blue Hill Peninsula. 

Blue Hill Public Library & Brooksville Friend Memorial Library (our local libraries) - Beautiful, comfortable public spaces that offer a wide range of free programs and equal opportunity space availability.

Dress for Success - An international organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

Friends of Holbrook Island Sanctuary - Holbrook Island Sanctuary protects many different ecosystems, which visitors can explore and enjoy.

Human Rights Campaign - The Human Rights Campaign represents a force of more than 1.5 million members and supporters nationwide. As the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights organization, HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

MaryAnn Snow Bates Education Fund for Brooksville Residents - This is the Brooksville Education Fund flagship unrestricted fund. It supplies the bulk of their scholarships as well as grants to the Brooksville Elementary School.

MPBN (NPR) - Not an alternative organizational structure, but a wide variety of interesting and valuable news programs. Also, let's keep classical on the airwaves - it's good for the brain.

The Nature Conservancy - Supporting and sustaining the natural world is important. This organization doesn't exclude humans and human activities from Nature, but recognizes that we are part of the Earth and must be part of keeping the Earth whole.

Ready by 21 Mentoring - Ready By 21 Mentoring is a comprehensive mentoring program built to empower young people to live healthy, happy, productive lives. A joining of ages that is inspiring growth and possibility while fostering mutuality and wide spread collaboration. 

Red River Gorge Climbers' Coalition (RRGCC) - A group of volunteers dedicated to securing and protecting open, public access to rock climbing in the Red River Gorge area of Kentucky and promoting conservation of the environment on the lands where we climb.

Shambala Press - Shambhala Publications specializes in books that present creative and conscious ways of transforming the individual, society, and the planet. With that in mind, they have launched an initiative to minimize their environmental impact through responsible choices in their book production process, printing on responsibly forested trees and produced with 30% postconsumer waste.

The Simmering Pot - Simmering Pot is a non-profit entity under the umbrella of ROSC (Resources Organizing for Social Change). It provides weekly wholesome and nutritious meals free of charge to anyone, regardless of income, in the Blue Hill Peninsula community. Ingredients are sourced as locally as possible, supporting local farmers. More than one hundred dinners are served each week. On the first Monday of every month, volunteers from Blue Hill Memorial Hospital generously prepare the dinner.

Tree of Life Food Pantry and Turn Style - Tree of Life is a nonprofit, volunteer organization dedicated to providing emergency and supplemental food for the community, providing and selling good used clothing, and fostering self-help and education on the Blue Hill Peninsula. The Tree of Life Food Pantry and TurnStyle Thrift Shop work together as a unique, self-supporting organization.

WERU - Volunteer powered, "a voice of many voices", Maine Community radio, bringing an alternative organizational structure, independent news sources and Triple A music.

Wildlife Rehabilitation & Environmental, Education at ACADIA WILDLIFEAcadia Wildlife Foundation was founded in 1994 with the goal of caring for injured or orphaned native animals and releasing them back to the wild. The care of wildlife, or wildlife rehabilitation, is done by trained professionals with licenses from the state of Maine, and the federal government. Animals are brought to the clinic by game wardens, vets, police, marine patrol, and by many members of the general public from three counties of central, coastal Maine.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Trees in Maine

Inspired by nature this month, the changing leaves, and the apple harvest season, Terry M. Cross, took a walk through Blue Hill to observe and learn more about the trees around town with Blue Hill Tree Warden and dear friend, Phil Norris.

We're Surrounded by Nature - Our Commutes to Work

Maura's commute is about 15 mins to Armaid Central
This is only a small portion of the entire landscape. To the left of this photo is the bridge to the islands and more open sea. To the right of the photo is the remainder of Walker Pond. From this spot I like how far I can see and how the landscape and weather varies. Sometimes the fog blocks the view. Sometimes it's dark, cold and breezy at the water's edge, but up here, on the ledge, the sun is warm and the air is still.

Jessica's commute is about 30 minutes to Armaid Central
 View of the Bagaduce River from Greytown Rd., Sedgwick. This is a view that comes up on you suddenly, and gives a nice vista down the river.

Bridge over the Bagaduce River, Brooksville. I love this view. Every day the water and sky are doing something different, depending on the weather and where we are in the tide. Today it was high and very placid, which actually, is pretty unusual.

Western County Rd., Penobscot - I am always drawn to the sudden contrast of the marshes appearing in the middle of the woods. This one is particularly vast. I also like the hint, to the left, of Blue Hill mountain in the background.

Alix's commute is a little over 30 mins to Armaid Central 
This is one of my favorite views just before the bridge. Sunrise offers some of the most amazing views and colors traveling off island. The sea fog first thing dancing across the water and the rainbow colored skies are my favorite.

I have to cross this bridge everyday. We often get to go under it too on our boat in the summer (just not on our way to work). The bridge is over 75 years old and there is construction on it constantly. When the winds blow down the Eggemoggin Reach, this thing gallops and jumps, you can sometimes feel the tires come off the surface!

This route is a back-way to Blue Hill, and this was taken last year. I don't take this route very often, but whenever I do I question why I don't take it more often. This day in particular there was an accident on the main road, so I had to go this way, which was fine by me, it was quiet and beautiful. A great excuse to drive slowly in a snow storm.

Terry's commute is about 5 minutes to Armaid Central and is filled with wonderful creatures to greet his day.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Climbing in New England by Mike Morin

Mike Morin is the Northeast Regional Director of Access Fund. He works with local climbing organizations, advocates, and land managers to protect and expand climbing opportunities in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware.

Here is Mike's list of climbing spots in New England:

New England offers the adventurous and dedicated climber a multitude of opportunities to get out and enjoy the outdoors. From the pink granite cliffs of Acadia National Park to the trap rock out crops of central Connecticut, opportunity abounds in every corner of the region. Here in no particular order, are some spots that should be on every New England climbers tick list.

Acadia National Park, ME – With seaside cragging and mulit-pitch trad climbing on impeccable pink granite cliffs, Acadia National Park, located on Mount Dessert Island is a true climbing paradise. Rappelling down to the churning seas at Otter Cliffs can be as exhilarating as the climbing itself and the views from the top of the South Wall of Champlain Mountain (aka-The Precipice) simply can’t be beat. While the island isn’t known for it’s sport climbing those looking to clip bolts can get their fix at Great Head where a few, steep, bolt protected routes that start at the waters edge have been established. Take note however, that the majority of routes still require gear.

Mount Washington Valley, NH – Home to the famous granite ledges of New Hampshire, the Mount Washington Valley offers traditional climbing, with easy access, and spectacular views. Cracks and slabs are the name of the game here, and the valley’s Conway granite can take some getting used to.  The massive White Horse Ledge with it’s broad east facing slab has routes at grades accessible to most climbers, however be prepared to run it out, as there is little to no fixed protection on most routes on the slabs. Those looking to jam and stem will find plenty to do next door at Cathedral Ledge, where beautiful cracks ascend steep immaculate faces. When topping out on Cathedral be prepared to be bombarded with questions from curious visitors that drove to the top to take in the view. 

Rumney, NH – Steep, technical climbing might be the best way to describe the style at Rumney, but the persistent and frequent visitor will find all styles of climbing on the flanks of Rattlesnake Mountain. Visiting climbers can show up with nothing but two fists full of quick-draws and a rope and have an amazing day on the mountain a rarity in the Northeast. Across the street, the idyllic Rattlesnake Mountain Campground is a true climbers campground, with camping in grassy fields and one of the best swimming holes in the region right down the road on the Baker River.  

Ragged Mountain, CT – This staunchly traditional area provides those in the southern part of the region with truly world class climbing on unique and interesting trap rock. Gear can be tricky on many routes here and climbers need to have solid anchor building skills as there are no fixed anchors on the cliff. A long static line is handy as many of the trees typically used as anchors are a considerable distance from the cliff edge.

Lincoln Woods, RI – Climbing in Rhode Island? You bet! Lincoln Woods is home to an amazing assortment of granite boulders, tucked on the outskirts of Providence and Pawtucket. While the climbing at Lincoln Woods definitely has an urban feel you can’t deny how good the rock is and for those living in or visiting Southeast New England, this spot should not be overlooked. Also, when the temps get into the 20’s and 30’s and you’re thinking about adding another layer, the bouldering here is just heating up as the friction on small crimps and slopers becomes impeccable. 

If you are visiting New England make sure you check out these beautiful spots.

Thanks Mike for sharing!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Love on the Rocks

Rock Climbers and Why It’s So Cool to Climb

I like to call the sport, art, passion and the yearning to climb the original anti-gravity experience. Three things are at play. There is gravity, the weight of the climber’s being, and finally the interface to bring the first two forces together.

Climbing combines many of the great metaphors for life because it’s all about efforting upwards, climbing to a new plateau, getting to the mountain top (and we all know there are many paths to the mountain top), choosing the path of least resistance, it’s not the arrival it’s the going.…

There is a purity about climbing that attracts the noblest aspects of us. It’s simple in definition: climb, upwards. But it’s infinite in expression of how to do it and the places and time to do it in. It fully involves the individual’s senses, effort, intention and ability. All these are improvable aspects of our nature. So it’s an unlimited activity with no boundaries of expression. The climber is always in a dance with the first and foremost element, gravity. The earthly dance we all embrace since birth but brought to new expression and awareness in climbing. Climbing becomes a performance piece of art for one - the climber. The climber’s buddies may applaud the crux move (the difficult pivotal moment of the route one’s climbing) but it is only the climber in the moment, facing the consequences of failure when gravity wins over technique and effort.

I believe it’s the consequences of climbing that is the ultimate fundamental of why people climb. If the climber doesn’t learn to use the gear and rope correctly to protect future chances… you will only have to fall once. Because if you don’t do it right, you fall. Period. If there wasn’t any element of falling/failing then what would be the point? It would then be an activity on par with lying in bed or sitting. Not very demanding and quite safe.

But people are born for expansion and achievement, a yearning for betterment and expression. Make it too easy, and interest is lost. Make it too hard and nobody will gain the confidence and the experience of growth. Climbing has the ability for anyone to meet themselves in a here-and-now expression of effort, no matter the level. We grow inside ourselves when we can just learn to attain the next upward fixed point on the rock face.

Climbing attracts all types of people. Great numbers of engineers and pragmatic souls come to climbing to express their ability to blend problem solving with movement. Romantics, who yearn for the essence of true life experience that blends danger with achievement, leaving the low-land modern mindset of safety and assurance behind to depend only on their gear, their willingness to stretch their soul and the acceptance of the possibility of failure. It’s an adventure every time one climbs, no matter if it’s in the newly prolific rock climbing gyms or the face of Everest. Climbers are usually not great golfers…the titillation of hitting a little ball into a small cup hundreds of yards away doesn’t offer the same rewards or wholesome demands that climbing offers. But, people being who they are, I’m sure that if the two sports could be combined there would be a market.

So for all of us, climbers or not, we applaud the beauty of vertical effort. Because every time we see someone climb, we are carried upwards with them, innately knowing and inspired to find ourselves ever higher, ever enjoying the endless achievement of moving through time and life, one motion, one consequential choice at a time. In that sense, we are all climbers dancing with time and gravity, heading upwards.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Preparing the Therapist: Stopping Exercise Routine and Soreness

As part of the customer service that comes with your Armaid purchase we offer 1-on-1 sessions with our therapist and inventor Terry M. Cross. He will address your concerns and questions and make personalized recommendations on what is the best course of treatment and use of Armaid in your arm health maintenance.

We save the transcripts from these sessions, maintaining privacy of our clients of course. We thought perhaps there may be helpful nuggets of wisdom for those of you out there with similar questions, ailments, concerns, etc.

We will have a new section of this blog that features these conversation transcripts in hopes of helping those who do not reach out.

Best of arm health to you all. Search more through the "Preparing the Therapist" label.


Client Question: 
My PT brought up the idea that I stop my exercise routine.  Apparently it could fatigue my forearms further and interfere with my recovery. So I am taking a break. I typically use Armaid through tout the day. I didn't this morning but I did this evening. Now, immediately afterwards, I feel a lot of soreness. I am looking for advice and encouragement. I am aware Armaid can be "overdone."  Should I use it more or less than the recommended starting of 2-3 times per day?  What does the soreness mean? Do you have more advice related to tendon issues? 

Therapist Reply: 
I would agree with your PT about limiting or stopping the exercise. Your muscles are already getting 'exercise' with the daily demands it sounds like. Although stretching and using Armaid in a gently rolling and general circulatory method in this case might be very good.  I suggest you don't concentrate on one particular spot too long but rather patrol the whole forearm as well as the biceps and triceps.  Go gently rather than too aggressively in trigger point spots.  

Other factors to consider that have a powerful negative effect: Are you drinking enough water?  Are you eating mostly vegetables in your daily diet? Are you keeping the stressors in your daily life in perspective with meditation, walking, whole body exercise?  As it relates to sugar, alcohol, caffeine, processed foods are these being kept to a minimum or not at all?  The whole body must be considered when dealing with pain and repetitive strain issues. 

Tendon troubles start with too tight muscles.  And tightness can be caused from too much overuse as well as the inner cellular environment that bathes and replenishes the cells.  So concentrate on 'flushing' (rolling, Circulatory Therapy) with a softer Armaid (Grey or Black) attachment or use the attachment you have more gently. Do your gentle Armaid routine before you begin your work as well as after?  Even if for just a few moments, without doing major time and too much concentrated focus on one spot.  Learn your muscle-tightness patterns and focus on the 'repeat offenders' of which muscle groups are always the ones you find that are sore and overworked. 

I hope that helps. If you need more assistance I will be happy to help. Even Skype if you like.   

All the Best,

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Outliers… or how Elvis became Elvis

Outliers: Defined as something or someone that is outside or separate from the norm, be it behaviorally, statistically or geographically.

Let’s just regard a person for a moment who might be labeled an ‘outlier’ from what they have accomplished when compared to the majority of humans. There are many people who take up playing the guitar, but there are very few Eric Claptons and Jimi Hendrixes out there….or Elvis Presleys.

To be different from others is fairly easy to do on the surface. But to be effectively different in a pursuit, occupation or skill takes multiple factors. As Malcolm Gladwell states in his famous book Outliers, there are several components that constitute a successful outlier, or someone who is able to take things to a higher, rarified level of contribution and development.

Opportunity and timing - Being born at a particular time and place. For example, Elvis Presley growing up in the 40’s and 50’s in Mississippi with an intense early exposure to the type of music that was the precursor to Rock & Roll: Gospel, Blues and Country Western.

Early upbringing - Elvis’s family was poor financially but there were extended layers of family that poured love and support upon him, especially when he expressed interest in music after being involved in spiritual and gospel singing in his local church and community. Gladwell says that the quality of upbringing is even more important than pure IQ.

Enough time spent honing that skill - Researchers state that an approximate amount of 10,000 hours of experience, conscious development and practice is what it takes to ‘master’ something. By the time Elvis became a legend, he had his time in.

Meaningful work – If you feel there is real purpose to your work, it’s more likely you will work hard. Elvis knew that he could make others experience profound emotion and connection when he sang. He felt deeply the personal glow, glory and human connection of singing about God, love and the human condition, and what effect his music playing and singing had on his extended family, friends, community - and especially his mother, whom he deeply wanted to please. He could make a difference with his voice and guitar. It spurred him on to work harder and become increasingly better.

Values - Drive our behavior. Our values are often passed down from generation to generation. Elvis was learning to take his place among the many musicians who were venerated and had come before him. He felt there was a place for him if he worked at it.

It’s not just innate talent that sets someone apart from the crowd, but rather several factors when brought together creates a truly unique contribution and a raising of the bar.

Elvis may have left the building, as the old saying goes, but nearly everyone, even 40 years since his death, can still remember their favorite song from the King. That is one effect of an outlier on all of us.

- Terry M. Cross