Why A Massage Isn’t Just To Treat Yo’self

Hey y’all, just a note from Valery! This is the first of MANY amazing guests posts to come – I wanted to start using Fiercely as a platform for other phenomenal women making strides in their field! Leslie is sooooo talented and I’m so excited she’s sharing some of her knowledge here. I actually had a massage/cupping session with Leslie a few months back and it was sooooo rejuvenating. Alright, enough chit chat, here’s Leslie!

Why A Massage Isn’t Just To Treat Yo’self

by The Bodywork Guru- Leslie Meis, BA, LMT, CYT

Self-care has become the latest trend, and as capitalism realizes that Millennials (the new target market) are becoming obsessed, it becomes more Instagram-able by the day.

I could easily write this entire post on the topic of self-care alone, and why it frequently isn’t a purchase or Instagram post, but not only has that been done, I also have a more targeted focus: Massage Therapy.

Thanks to the enormous ad campaign of Massage Envy and similar large franchises, the past few decades have seen a shift in the bodywork industry. These marketing efforts have successfully shifted massage from a lavish luxury of the wealthy to an act of self-care accessible to many. Yet, there’s still a long way to go.

Almost a decade into my career I am still surprising new clients with education on what Massage Therapy can really do! People are astonished when they come in as a birthday treat, and I tell them we can rehabilitate a shoulder injury from twenty years ago that still isn’t the same. Even those who do know some of the therapeutic benefits are still pleasantly surprised to hear that, yes I can do something for those menstrual cramps, or no surgery isn’t the only way to relieve that wrist pain.

It’s beyond time to start considering Massage Therapists among your health care professionals: doctors, physical therapists, occupational therapists, chiropractors. While not every MT performs clinical work, the right therapist can treat issues that have even been failed by an MD, PT, or chiropractor!

A massage just to relax is certainly still valuable beyond measure. Just do some Googling on the effects of stress on your health, and you’ll be immediately more appreciative of anything that helps you relax. However, massage is NOT just to #treatyoself.

Massage has been researched in many areas and proven to alleviate arthritis, asthma, high blood pressure, PMS, and even burn injuries just to name a few. For muscular and connective tissues, massage therapy can not only relieve those painful “knots” in your back but can also hasten recovery of strains or sprains, or with dedication can even completely retrain and repattern your posture providing increased short term wellness AND long term prevention of issues like bulging spinal discs.

Still, even with knowledge of these powerful effects, many people still don’t truly grasp the investment in your health that is regular Massage Therapy. Many times I hear people say that massage is “too expensive,” but you know what else is expensive (unfortunately)- healthcare!

So let’s look at just one example of massage as a healthcare investment. In the age of desk jobs and cell phones poor posture is something that affects most people to some degree. When your spine is out of alignment it can no longer distribute pressure and weight evenly through the discs. Think of your spinal discs like a jelly filled doughnut: if you squeeze just one side of the doughnut hard enough, the delicious pillow will burst open on the other side and hemorrhage jelly. This is exactly what happens to your spinal discs after years of unevenly stacked vertebrae due to poor posture. It will begin as a bulging disc which CAN be reversed through Massage, Physical Therapy, and/or Chiropractic care. If left unattended the disc will burst.

When this happens, it is then too late for alternative therapies, and surgery is required. According to healthcosthelper.com a typical spinal fusion to treat a herniated disc costs between $80,000 and $150,000. Keep in mind this doesn’t even include additional costs of post surgical care, time off work to recover, or medications. Now let’s say you get regular massages for maintenance on a monthly basis at $100 per hour. That would be $1200 per year. Which means it would take 66 years of that massage schedule to equal even the lower estimate of $80,000 for a spinal fusion. Now which would you rather get- 66 years of massages, or a spinal fusion that will likely still leave you with back pain? I’ll let you in on a secret: if you’re getting regular massage, you [probably] won’t need that back surgery. Plus, you will enjoy a boosted immune system, saving you more money on not missing work because you got the flu. If you’re lucky enough to have paid sick days, you can use them for something more fun, like an Instagram-able #treatyoself day!

So make room in your budget and schedule for regular Massage Therapy, just like you would any other important expense or meeting, because if your body fails, you have nowhere else to live. Besides, if you find a therapist with the right expertise you will likely be surprised by what other improvements to your health massage can make.

Hi, it’s Valery again! Thanks again to Leslie for taking the time to share more about the benefits of massage! Visit her website to learn more and be sure to sign up for her email list! She does offer an Exclusive Cupping Session for just $40, a perfect way to give it a try!


DIY Blog Photography – aka How to Teach Someone to Take Photos of You

I always swore that I would never be a blogger who blog about blogging. It’s just not for me. So I was a little hesitant to write today’s post, however, I got SUCH great feedback on my IG stories when I asked so I decided to go for it. Also, although I think Blogger can really benefit from this post, it’s something everyone can use! After all, how many times have you passed your phone or camera off to someone else, only to be severely disappointed by the photo when you take a look at it a few minutes later.

So today we’re chatting specifically about how to have a friend/significant other/family member take great photos of you. This doesn’t work as well for strangers because it is going to take some time! Ideally the same person (or couple of people) will be behind the camera for this method to really work. Okay okay, here’s how to get pro-level photos from someone who is NOT a pro.

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STFU Susan and the Damage of White Women

“STFU Susan.” A new feminist rally cry (hear me out).

In case you missed it, Susan Sarandon gave an interview at TIFF and said the most “significant” thing Trump has done is that he has inspired women to run for office. “You never saw that population running.”



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Saying Goodbye to this Blog (sort of)

It’s time for a change.

It’s no secret that I’ve been pretty disconnected from this space for….a while now. I pop on here and there with a post (and honestly I’ve only been posting stuff I REALLY care about) but I’m still so disengaged. I can’t tell you the last time I looked at my stats. It just doesn’t feel like my space anymore.

You see, over the last year I have fallen head over heels in love with Fiercely. My blog has always been about me, and for a while….I liked that! It was fun. But now, I am longing for something that creates more of a community. And even though Fiercely is still growing, it feels so much more important to me than Valery Brennan (the blog) ever was. Wow, it’s weird to say that.

Sooooo what does this all mean?

My blog is not going away. Let me be clear about that.

But things are changing. Yes there will still be fashion and beauty content, after all, that is still a passion of mine. But it’s also going to be laced with feminism, behind the scenes looks at Fiercely, styled products, news, guest posts (!!!) etc. This will be a blog that supports my shop, instead of vice versa.

When I rebranded Everyday Unicorns to Fiercely by Valery Brennan, I thought that was the best way to connect the brand to the blog. But I’m still realizing it’s not enough. So after a lot of deliberation…I’m renaming this blog. For a third time, actually, but most of you weren’t around for the “I’m Getting There” days (shoutout to my OG readers who were!!!)

Valery Brennan (blog) is now Live Fiercely.

Fiercely by Valery Brennan is simply Fiercely.


It feels so crazy to put that into the universe, but now it’s out there.

You can still go to valerybrennan.com (at least for a while) so don’t worry if you forget! But don’t be startled when you see a new header and new content. This isn’t final final, but here’s a little sneak peek…

The secret’s out and now it’s time to make moves. Stay with me while I make changes but don’t you worry, I already have another post ready for you next week…..how to teach your significant other/family/friends to take photos of you! So stoked to share this HIGHLY requested post.

Thanks for sticking around with me – now let’s live fiercely….together.


Feminist Apparel (For Real)

Oh boy y’all, this is a very weird post to write. I actually wasn’t planning on commenting on this story, but it’s been making the rounds on social media and I think it’s important that I say something. In case you haven’t heard, arguably the largest feminist brand out there, Feminist Apparel, has kind of imploded in the last few weeks. Now, I’m not here just to drag my competition. I have friends who are in the same field as me, and I really believe there’s room for all of us! But the CEO and founder of Feminist Apparel, Alan Martofel, completely crossed a line and I think it opens the door to a more important conversation that we need to have about where we put our money.

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