Archive for January, 2013

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

This past year I was happy to find a new product line that melds skin care with social responsibility: Out of Africa (No, not the movie with Meryl Streep!) Massage therapists wash and dry our hands multiple times  a day between each client. I was so happy to learn about shea butter for my hands to keep them from becoming overly dry, especially in winter. Shea butter in general helps keep skin moist and supple year round in general.

What is Shea Butter? According to Out of Africa, it is nature’s miracle moisturizer and I agree! When I use shea butter on my hands or skin in general, I don’t get a greasy feel. The butter is absorbed into my skin, keeping it moist and supple and smelling good as well! As a massage therapist, I have to wash and dry my hands multiple times each day between clients. Over the years, I’ve found shea butter to be the one type of skin care product that never lets me down! Shea butter is also often used in massage cream products for its moisturizing properties.


Common names: Shea, karité
Scientific name: Vitellaria paradoxa (syn/INCI Butryospermum parkii)

Shea butter is an all-natural product. It is a creamy-colored fatty substance made from the nuts of karite nut trees (Butyrospermum parkii or “butter seed”) that grow wild in the savannah regions of West and East Africa. While shea butter has a wide variety of applications, it is most well-known for its exceptional dermatological and cosmetic healing properties.

Check out the full line of Out of Africa Products here.

How Out of Africa Got Started–the Social Responsibility Aspect

Victor Lulla, a native New Yorker living in Los Angeles, has long nurtured interests in healthy lifestyles, the environment and social responsibility. After briefly considering an early retirement after the sale of his electronics firm in 2002, he instead created California Inside & Out, a manufacturing and distribution company that developed and marketed natural skin and body care products, based in Venice, CA.

Gilles Adamon, owner of Natura Sarl, headquartered in Benin, West Africa, attended the 2005 Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA hoping to find a distributor for his shea butter cosmetic products. As luck would have it, Victor was at the Expo looking for an interesting opportunity to help expand his product line.

The two men found that they shared not only an interest in natural products, but in social responsibility as well. A friendship ensued and Out of Africa was founded later that year as an exclusive joint venture.

The founders agreed that Lulla would purchase state of the art production equipment and raw materials, while Adamon’s team, in collaboration with a West African women’s cooperative, would supply locally-sourced pure unrefined shea butter. The company-owned factory in Benin now produces 200,000 bars of soap a month, along with an expanding array of other shea butter products. The products are shipped to California Inside & Out for distribution under the trademarked brand Out of Africa.

Out of Africa’s “other” mission: Producing premium quality skin care products is only half of our story. Lulla and Adamon’s partnership supports several women’s cooperatives and helps to create jobs in democratic Benin, West Africa. Out of Africa shea butter skin care also sponsors a groundbreaking project in Benin called SCHOOL CHILDREN UNITE. A portion of all sales is being donated to this global leadership initiative.

Purchasing Out of Africa products helps to support education and local enterprise in Benin, West Africa.

Note: Neither I, nor Working Well Massage has any affiliation with Out of Africa beyond buying their products! I do not receive any advertising dollars nor any other incentive to blog about their products or company. I simply like their products and mission!


Enhanced by Zemanta

Read Full Post »

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Humantech, offers a new webinar “Ten Common Workplace issues in Industry and How to Solve Them” from its Ergonomics Hit List©, a qualitative assessment tool used to help you identify awkward postures in the workplace.


The webinar will describe the most common problems that Humantech’s certified professional ergonomists see while on site, and highlight some of the many effective solutions that clients have implemented over the years. Examples will be shared from heavy manufacturing, distribution centers, pharmaceuticals, and office environments.

This 60-minute online course will provide visual, real-world fixes and will give attendees a chance to see many simple and creative solutions in various environments, some of which may trigger improvement ideas at your facility.

Who Should Attend? Anyone who is responsible for making changes in the workplace, from ergonomics team members, supervisors, and health and safety members, to those involved with continuous improvement should not miss this event!

Event Time: 2pm EST Thursday, January 24, 2013.

Continuing Education: This course meets the criteria for CEUs from a number of professional associations including ABIH. All registrants will receive a certificate of completion upon full attendance of the webinar.

Cost: The cost is $69 per attendee.

To register click here.

Who is Humantech? (from their website)

Humantech Team

Humantech Team

Humantech’s staff are experts in ergonomics—the art and science of reducing problems that might arise from the interaction between, people, equipment, and the environment. Humantech is the largest consulting team of Board Certified Professional Ergonomists in North America. Humantech consultants combine expertise in ergonomics with practical industry experience and the skills of professional services delivery. Their team of highly qualified professionals with skills in financial analysis, adult education, technical writing, industrial and graphic design, and information technology supports our consulting staff. Humantech was founded in 1979 with the single focus of improving the lives of the working population.  Over the past 30 years, their approach has changed how organizations use the science of ergonomics to improve workplace performance.

Note: Neither I nor Working Well Massage is affiliated with Humantech in any way. We do not receive advertising nor any services from Humantech for blogging about their services. We simply want to offer our readers good options for learning more about ergonomics!


Enhanced by Zemanta

Read Full Post »

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

I came across an interesting and, in my view, important blog today called KevinMD.com. (Founded by Kevin Pho, MD, KevinMD.com is the web’s leading destination for physician insight on breaking medical news.)

Kevin-Pho-MD, Founder of KevinMD.com

Kevin-Pho-MD, Founder of KevinMD.com

The blog is written by medical doctors and covers topics about health care in general from a doctor’s point of view. Sadly, as I read some of the posts, I realize that doctors are as frustrated with our health care system as we are. Many of them want to help their patients but health care billing and payment cause them to make some hard choices in order to survive. In the post, Why I decided to opt out of Medicare as a provider by Dr. Natasha Deonarain, it is clear why continuing to see Medicare patients is not financially feasible for many physicians. I also believe that relying on insurance companies and Medicare separates people from their own health care decisions. Health care can be costly, but there are other options for routine checkups and basic medical needs.

In another blog post, by Dr. Doug Olson, Primary care doctors may no longer be needed, he explains how nurse practitioners (with nurse practitioners complete 2,300 – 5,350 hours of education and clinical training during five to seven years, compared to physicians’ standardized path of 21,700 hours over 11-12 years) and physician assistants can see 80-85% of the patients medical doctors see. Dr Olson believes that “we need to develop systems that get that select the 15-20% of patients that need a physician.” In his view this is  a better use of primary care physicians training and expertise is to treat the more complex medical cases while the nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants treat the remaining 80% of less complex cases. as patients relatively healthy folks can self select our health care providers by only going to primary care docs if they need complex services, and using Walgreens, Target and other urgent care centers for simple colds, flues and minor injuries and illnesses. And recently in Chicago, there is a service that offers doctors making house calls, Chicago Express Doctors.

Chicago Express Doctors

Chicago Express Doctors

Massage Therapy and The New World Of Health Care

So where does massage therapy fit into all this? First off, I acknowledge that at least in the State of Illinois, massage therapy is not really a recognized health care option. According to the scope of practice for Illinois Massage Therapists, we are to provide massage therapy for the purposes of general health and well-being, but not to treat nor diagnose illnesses. Yet one of the most reported benefits of massage therapy is stress reduction (which can be thought of as pertaining to “general health”). The health effects of stress on the body include numerous illnesses and can even lead to injuries. KevinsMD has an article on How the stress of caregiving can lead to stroke. The Mayo Clinic reports that many health problems can be effected by stress including stomach pains, headaches, chest pains, sleep problem and anxiety. According to WebMD, “Seventy-five percent to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.”

So what does massage therapy do for clients with stress-related ailments? According to one research study at Duke University, massage therapy was shown to reduce self reported stress in patients with brain tumors. Another pilot study showed that stress levels of inpatient psychiatric patients were reduced after massage therapy. And, according to the MayoClinic, massage therapy can not only reduce stress, but lead to other health benefits as well.

I do not think massage therapy is s substitute for medical care. And I do not think massage therapists should try to act as doctors nor prescribe nor diagnose illnesses. But I do believe that massage therapy sessions can be a source of relaxation, a time for our nervous systems to ramp down to parasympathetic mode versus ramping up to sympathetic (flight or flight) mode. Allowing ourselves to be cared for, relaxed and to spend time in an environment of reduced noise, stress and constant demands allows our bodies to better do what they do naturally: our hearts beat, our immune systems fight off infection and our lungs and muscles allow us to work, move and life. Allowing our bodies to stay healthy means less needs to visit the doctor so our medical providers can focus on us when we very sick, not for routine illnesses and injuries. For this reason, I think that massage therapists can offer stress relief BEFORE we get an illness, a stress-related injury or just plain get cranky from stress!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Read Full Post »

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Dear Working Well Resource Readers,

2013 has been an amazing year. First off, the world did not end on December 21, 2012 as some reported might happen. Getting to see 2013 is a huge success now that the Mayan’s have been disproven. Aside from this major hurdle, Working Well Massage has had a fantastic year, giving thousands of massages in the Chicagoland area, relaxing many Chicagoans (And out-of-town visitors to our corporate locations and chair massage stations inside Whole Foods Markets).

Chair massage is coming to Palatine inside Whole Foods Market!

Chair massage is our Working Well Massage specialty!

In 2012, we continued our partnership with Whole Foods Market in the Gold Coast and Lincoln Park stores in Chicago. I am very proud of our strong association with Whole Foods because I believe in their products and I am happy WWM can align with Whole Food Markets core values to provide healthy relaxation services inside two Chicagoland stores. Thanks to Rich Holley, Store team leader at the Lincoln Park Whole Foods Market ,and Mike Farmer, Store team Leader of the Gold Coast store for allowing us to operate our chair massage stations inside their stores!

Sue Shekut, Owner of Working Well Massage

Working Well Massage inside Lincoln Park Whole Foods Market

In 2012, Working Well Massage continued to provide excellent massage therapists to our retail and corporate clients–and we will do so in 2013 as well! We are happy to be able to provide high quality services at affordable prices. Notice, I don’t say high quality services at low prices. We don’t do that and we don’t recommend it. Paying low prices usually means someone is getting ripped off, either the massage therapist or the customer (because the low paid services are usually not high quality!). As 2012 came to a close, I admit I was happy to hear that the company “Groupon” has had massive layoffs and is losing investors. I have written about the negative effects of deep discounting and sadly, I am seeing my beliefs bear out. I know I am in good company when Peter Cohan, Contributor to Forbes magazine,  agrees that Groupon is a bad idea for small businesses–and I say it’s bad for small business customers as well. At Working Well Massage, we have always tried to keep our prices affordable, but we still need to make a living. By offering a living wage to our massage therapists, we can continue to provide quality services, stay in business (a very important goal for small businesses!) and treat our current and future clients with respect and care. We love what we do and we are happy to help people save money on our services..but not at the cost of our business and our personal health!

Lorian Bates, Working Well Massage Therapist inside Whole Foods Market

Lorian Bates, Working Well Massage Therapist as she prepares to provide high quality massage to WWM clients inside Whole Foods Market. Photo by Sue Shekut.

Working Well Massage corporate clients have been happy to have us provide our stress relieving services on a daily, weekly, monthly and periodic basis. For reasons of confidentiality, we do not broadcast our client companies names, but we can say that our clients include financial services, marketing companies, software manufacturers, manufacturing firms, schools, universities, police stations, private pampering parties and not-for-profits. This year Working Well Massage also donated time and money to local and national charities such as Climate Cycle among other groups.

Working Well Massage therapists give a small moment of relaxation to officers as they prepare to go out into the streets and as they come off duty after a long shift. Photo by Sue Shekut.

Working Well Massage therapists give a small moment of relaxation to officers as they prepare to go out into the streets and as they come off duty after a long shift. Photo by Sue Shekut.

Thanks to all our readers, Working Well Massage clients, Working Well Massage team members, and Chicago area police and fire fighters! We appreciate your business in 2012 and look forward to service you again in 2013!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: