Should I get a massage when I am sick?

Should I get a massage when I am sick?

Bummer, you woke up with a sore throat and the sniffles on the day of your monthly massage appointment and you are asking yourself “should I get a massage when I am sick?  Your body is cold and achy and part of you thinks the massage will make you feel better, the other half of you is screaming to put the blankets over your head and sleep it all away.

Should I get a massage when I am sick

The truth is that it is best to stay home when you feel an illness coming on, have a full blown issue, or could in any way be contagious.  How massage will effect your body when you are sick will vary for each person.  For some it shortens the life span of the sickness while making it worse for a time, for others it has no effect at all.  Instead of venturing out and possibly sharing your illness with your therapist and other clients, stay home and allow your immune system to be the boss and do what it needs to do to make sure you get well as quickly as possible. This means resting and drinking plenty of fluids.  Your body, your therapist, and all of those that could be exposed will thank you, even if it means you have to cancel last minute.

Tis’ the season for many things and unfortunately virus’s are one of them.  Here are a few tips for prevention:

  • Get plenty of rest

  • Wash your hands often

  • Eat a variety of fruits, veggies and whole grains

  • Exercise regularly

  • Get acupuncture to support your immune system

  • Keep stress to a minimum! (massage helps reduce stress so get massage while you are healthy!)

Thank you for reading and have a great day:)


Two tips for a great life: eat healthy and get massage

Just sayin….

            Making the commitment to eat healthy and get massage regularly might just make your life great:)  Who can argue with that?

We just updated our menu to make it easier for our clients to get the most out of their massage and acupuncture treatments by highlighting the unique training and skills of each therapist versus the generic deep tissue or relaxation massage.  The truth is that each of us come with our own set of issues that need a combination of techniques and focused attention in order to be resolved.  We wanted to give our therapists the freedom to help shape each clients experience without the confines of upgrades and appointment types.  So now here we are offering personalized sessions where your appointment is defined by the therapist you have chosen and their specific talents as well as the many facets of you:  your stress levels, pain levels, needs, desires and more at each session.

To book with us please:

  • go to our website and read about each therapists offerings and skill set
  • Choose the “book” link
  • Choose the therapist and  length of the personalized session you would like to book ie.  if you want to focus on one area of the body or you would just like an all over relaxation massage an hour might work great but if you need to address a couple of area’s you might want to choose a 75 or 90 minute session
  • Choose the day and time for your session and you are all set!

Need help? Have questions? Text us at   email us at  or give us a call at 503-473-8515 and we will be happy to help! Interested in more regular treatments or prefer a more standardized massage type?  Go to our packages page to find out about memberships and packages.  Want to learn more about how often you should get a massage?  Read our blog post on that very topic:)  No matter what we are pretty certain that choosing to eat healthy and get massage will improve your overall quality of life and that is why we are continuing with our fall series on healthy recipes for “the dark time” of fall and winter.  Enjoy!

in the mean time Eat healthy with this Caribbean style stew pigeon pea recipe!

eat healthy and get massage

Stewed Pigeon Peas

*originally posted on the amazing website for all things Caribbean please visit this site to see amazing pics of this dish: 


1 Can Pigeon peas (I used 2 cans, you can find these near the Hispanic foods section in any grocery store)
2 scallions
1 tablespoon olive oil (I used 2 tablespoons of coconut oil)
1 med tomato (chopped)
1 cup diced bell pepper (I used 2 red bell peppers)
1 scotch bonnet pepper (keep whole) (Habanero pepper is a great substitute, I like a lot of spice so I broke mine open half way through cooking)
1 med onion diced
2 cloves garlic
3 sprigs thyme (I like a lot of flavor so I used about 8 sprigs of dried thyme)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon parsley (I substituted cilantro because that is what I had on hand)
1/2 cup diced celery
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup coconut milk (You can use low fat here if you prefer, I used one whole can of full fat coconut milk)
1/2 cup water

optional – grated ginger – diced carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato

I made this with brown rice, jerk tofu and roasted sweet potatoes

The process

  • In a large shallow pan or wok heat the oil add the celery, garlic, tomato, parsley, thyme, onion, black pepper and scallions. Turn the heat down to low and let it gently cook for about 3-5 mins.
  • Drain and rinse the peas and add them to the pan, turn the heat back up to medium
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and bring it up to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer (remember to add the scotch bonnet whole and try to NOT break it open) and let it cook for about 15 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  I did let mine simmer for a while because I was cooking other things but you can let yours cook to desired consistency. 
  • Serve with rice, tofu and/or sweet potatoes and enjoy!

I am having so much fun sharing my favorite recipes with you and it is defintinitley helping me stay on track:)  Thanks so much for reading and as my good friend from Dominica used to say “Good times always!”.

Acupuncture Fun Facts

Curious about Acupuncture?  Here are a few fun facts for you to explore:


  1. Acupuncturists feel your pulse and look at your tongue to gain information about your state of health and plan a course of treatment.

  2. Originally acupuncture needles were not made of stainless steel but of stone, bamboo, and bone.

  3. Studies have shown that acupuncture points have significantly more electrical conductivity than areas of skin without acupuncture points.

  4. Acupuncture can increase the success rate of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) up to 65%.

  5. Acupuncture gained attention in the U.S. after President Nixonʼs visit to China in 1972 when an accompanying reporter experienced significant post-operative pain relief after undergoing an emergency appendectomy and wrote about the benefits of acupuncture upon his return to the U.S.

  6. Acupuncture is over 5,000 years old and is one of the oldest practicing forms of medicine known to date.

  7. Licensed acupuncturists attend an in-depth four year program and obtain over 1,000+ clinical internship hours.

  8. Acupuncture is just one part of a broad system of Traditional Chinese Medicine that also includes Chinese Herbal Medicine, Tui Na (massage), Tai Chi/Qi Gong (movement) and Chinese Dietary Therapy (

  9. Acupuncture can help so many things! Pain, digestive issues, smoking cessation, depression and many other issues.  Wondering if it can help you?  Book an appointment with Terry or Richard at Written on the Body to find out today:)



Natural cures for insomnia

Tossing and turning all night, sleeping so light that every creek and cricket chirp wakes you up, your brain won’t stop no matter how exhausted you become…..Sound familiar?  If so this post is for you!

“Insomnia is defined as difficulty initiating, or maintaining sleep at least 3 nights per week, in addition to complaints of sleep-related daytime impairment.”-University of Maryland Medical Center

We need sleep to function properly, in fact most adults need at least 8 hours of sleep per night but hardly any of us are actually achieving this goal consistently.  There are many adverse side effects to not sleeping well including; memory loss, irritability, impaired abilities, physical ailments and more.  Causes for insomnia vary and may include; hormonal imbalances, health issues, stress, medication side effects and/or external circumstances such as noise1.  Getting to the bottom of the cause of your insomnia is an important first step in addressing the issue.  Take a hard look at your days, are there things that you could change that are causing you to lose sleep at night?  Your health is more important than anything and you may have to make major changes to create an environment that promotes optimal health.   Just remember that you will thank yourself later:)  You may also want to consult with your health care providers to make sure your medications, herbs, hormones and any underlying issues are thoroughly investigate as a source for your sleepless nights.

In addition to lifestyle and medication adjustments you might try some or all of the following natural cures for insomnia:

  • Massage-The National Institute of Health has stated that Massage Therapy can improve sleep2.  Massage decreases the stress hormone cortisol and norepinephrine, which causes vasoconstriction and increased heart rate by safely relaxing the autonomic nervous system3.  Massage is a great way to relax and find freedom from pain so if stress or injuries are keeping you up at night this is an excellent option!  Feel free to book your appointment online today with us at or give us a call if you have questions:  503.473.8515 also check out these great self massage techniques to find relief now:

  • Acupuncture-“Some reports suggest that certain acupuncture procedures have a nearly 90% success rate for the treatment of insomnia. Through a complex series of signals to the brain, acupuncture increases the amount of certain substances in the brain, such as serotonin, which promote relaxation and sleep” University of Maryland Medical Center.  Acupuncture addresses each person as a whole which means it is working toward balance of the entire system.  This can be extremely important when working to cure something as complex as insomnia.  Acupuncturists also have many tools at their disposal such as herbs, lineaments, nutritional guidelines, traditional Chinese Massage techniques and more.  Feel free to book your appointment online today with us at or give us a call if you have questions:  503.473.8515

natural cures for insomnia

  • Melatonin-Melatonin supplements help induce sleep, particularly in people who have disrupted circadian rhythms (such as from jet lag or shift work), or those with low levels of melatonin (such as some people with schizophrenia). In fact, a review of scientific studies found that melatonin supplements help prevent jet lag, particularly in people who cross five or more time zones.  Speak to your health care provider to find out if melatonin is the right choice for you.

  • Diet and exercise-It is no secret that we are greatly effected by what we put into and how we use our bodies.  Our motto is everything in moderation unless it really doesn’t make you feel good and then maybe it is time to cut it out.  A foundation of healthy food is key to this idea, food is our fuel and it is so important that each meal has a good serving of a healthy protein and vegetables.  We are not saying that you should never eat potato chips again, just do your best to make the majority of your choices healthy ones so that when your body is processing the not so good stuff it doesn’t have to work as hard.  This goes for exercise too!  Our bodies were made to move in a variety of ways, make sure you are getting exercise most days and switch it up.  Walk one day, bike the next or find classes that you love such as yoga and weight lifting or boot camp and swimming.  Your body and mind will thank you and we guarantee you will sleep better at night!

The moral of the story is you have to put YOU first and choose a lifestyle that promotes optimal health.  This may require a good spring cleaning of you routines, especially when it comes to food, exercise, medications and stress factors.  We are here to help and can offer an objective insight on what might be contributing to your brand of insomnia!  If you have questions about this article or have found other natural remedies for those long sleepless nights please share, we are always open to ideas!  Thanks for reading and feel free to share.


1.University of Maryland Medical Center; Insomnia; January 2012;

2. AMTA; Massage Therapy Can Help Improve Sleep; October 2012;

3.  Massage Magazine;  Research shows massage therapy relaxes the autonomic nervous system; November 2011;

You are important: the necessity of putting yourself first

“For those of you who struggle with guilt regarding self-care, answer this question: What greater gift can you give to those you love than your own wholeness?”
Shannon Tanner, Worthy: The POWER of Wholeness

This post is to remind you that you are important…

It’s hard for some of us, remembering to prioritize ourselves among many things we give our time and energy to.  We have so much to give to the world and sometimes it feels like even when we give it all, we should be able to give more.  It is true that this may not apply to everyone but I know it will at least speak to a few of you.  It is time for you to spend a little of that beautiful energy bubbling inside of you on the most important being in your life-YOU.  That’s right you are important, as or more important than any other thing in your life.  What would your day look like if you spent an hour each morning just doing you?

We had our team meeting last night at Written on the Body and one of the topics of discussion was strategies for getting clients to rebook.  You may not know us that well yet and so I will tell you now, this team of ours is incredibly smart, talented and compassionate which always makes for an enlightening discussion, no matter what the topic.  When it comes to our clients we are each bursting with passion, when we talk about asking you to rebook with us what we mean is how can we convince you to prioritize yourself.  We KNOW that we can help you.  It may just be helping you find balance in a busy schedule by taking an hour a month to give back to yourself or it could be in finding freedom from a long time injury or pain, whatever the case we get excited about the opportunity to improve your life.

In our discussions on this I am always reminded of how easy it is to put ourselves last, giving all of our efforts to work, family and to do lists and leaving nothing or not enough for ourselves.  Now, you may be thinking about how being selfless, hard working and generous are all virtues, I don’t disagree.  But I do think that this should also include giving the same grace and generosity to ourselves.  You will be a better person if you are taken care of!

Do you have pain?  Trouble sleeping?  Anxiety? Stress?

If so then it is probably time to improve on or incorporate a self care routine, make yourself an “A” item on your to do list so that you can continue being the loving and generous person you are for a long time to come.  You are as important as your job, your tasks, your friends, your partner, your family members and it is time to treat yourself with kindness by setting aside time to rejuvenate, heal and relax.

Here are a few simple ideas on where to start, but whatever you do, make sure you love it, that it serves you and it makes you feel good:

  • Start your day off right:  Get up earlier, use your time more wisely or start work later and then use that time to give back to yourself with meditation, a quiet cup of coffee outdoors, a gentle stretching routine or a couple chapters of a good book.

  • Turn your phone/computer/tablet off for one hour a day and do only things that make you happier during that time:  Technology can be such a time sucking black hole.  Don’t get me wrong-I love it, but I know I have wasted hours looking at things I really did not care about.  Choose yourself instead.

  • Start an exercise routine that you enjoy:  If you have an exercise routine that is monotonous or that you dread then it is seriously time to reassess.  There are way too many options out there to exercise unhappily.  Sign up for something new, like Zumba or aerial yoga, or make a date with a friend to go for a nice long hike instead.  We have a precious few moments on this planet, use them wisely.

  • Let go of things that no longer serve you/practice self examination:  What patterns are you perpetuating in your life that are harming you more than helping you?  What situations keep coming up over and over again that bring you down?  It isn’t easy, I know, but it’s time to begin the journey of changing these things and making space for things that fill you up and make you feel great.

  • Spend time with people who make you laugh and won’t let you work:  I need friends and family that build me up and for me this means going with it when my sisters want to have an impromptu breakfast or committing to a weekly date with my BFF.  These guys take my mind away from it all and remind me to put my phone down and enjoy the moment at hand.  Having people in your world who are as committed to giving back to you as much as you give to them can be a major replenishing force!

  • Of course you already know that I believe establishing a routine of massage and/or acupuncture care can make a huge difference in your overall health and well being-why live with pain and stress when you don’t have to?  You are important to us! Book with us online today:  We hope to see  you soon!

I really could go on and on but I think you get the point, YOU ARE IMPORTANT!

Thank you for reading and if you have wisdom to share on this topic please do so in the comments, I would love to hear from you.

I leave you with some wise words to live by:

“You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”
Eleanor Brownn

What the heck is a crick in the neck?

Did you wake up with a crick in your neck?

What the heck is a “crick in the neck” anyway? You wake up with limited (and painful!) neck movement, usually on one side. Sometimes it just feels stiff, but other times it feels like bone-on-bone contact. Ouch.

Is it a pinched nerve? A slipped disc? While these things are possible (see your doctor if you have recurrent neck pain, or neck pain that includes other symptoms such as fever or shooting pain down the arm), neck cricks are usually due to an unassuming little muscle that runs from the side of your neck to the top of your shoulder blade. It’s called levator scapulae, and it’s responsible for raising your shoulder toward your ear.

crick in the neck

This muscle gets irritable when it’s expected to hold heavy purses and backpacks, when you tilt your head to one side a lot (ever use your shoulder to hold your phone?), and when your posture is slouched. When this muscle gets ticked off, it can act like a brick wall that no amount of stretching will fix.

What to do? Ice and heat can help. Start with heat (a heating pad or sock full of uncooked rice, heated in the microwave) for 20 minutes, then switch to an ice pack for 10 minutes. Repeat this a couple of times through your day. You may be tempted to try to stretch it out yourself, but remember that levator scapulae is angry! Anything other than rest and gentle movement might further aggravate the area, increasing the minor crisis that your pain receptors are telling you about.

What else can you do? You guessed it: massage and/or acupuncture. While stretching and pressing on your neck might result in worse pain if you do it yourself, our skilled team at Written on the Body have a few tricks up their sleeves. We can focus on  your neck and the surrounding muscles, gently and methodically to help your neck realize it can stop holding so tightly.  In some instances adding hot stones or having an infrared sauna session prior to your treatment can facilitate even further healing.  If you aren’t sure what approach is right for you, give us a call at 503-473-8515 or email us at and we will be happy to help you choose the appropriate treatment path.

Follow this up your appointment with us with some more of that ice and heat, and you should be feeling pretty good by the next day. If you get cricks frequently, come see us regularly and we may be able to prevent them entirely!

Know someone with neck pain? Share this post and let’s get them feeling better!” Need help yourself?  Book online now!

*This post is an adaptation of an article written by Massage Sloth

Acupuncture for stress relief

acupuncture for stress relief

Acupuncture is an ancient healing practice that is good for more things than I can count.  Have you thought about getting Acupuncture for stress relief?  If not here are a few great reasons why you should:

  • Stress is really bad for your health and according to a recent study Acupuncture lowered stress hormones in participants after receiving treatments for 10 consecutive days.  The Huffington Post wrote an article on this study if you would like to learn more.

  • This isn’t to say that you have to commit to 10 days in a row, another study shows that you can begin to see results after only a few sessions.  In Chinese medicine Acupuncture is used to balance the flow of Qi in the body, in western medicine terms you can think of this like homeostasis.  Acupuncturists are helping to stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities, keeping in mind that your body is always seeking its natural state of balance or homeostasis.

  • According to Dr. Daniel Hsu, DAOM (Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine):  Acupuncturists insert each needle half a millimeter away from a nerve, Dr. Hsu explains. Depending on where the needles go, acupuncture can cause the nervous system to produce painkilling chemicals, jump-start the body’s natural ability to heal itself, or stimulate the part of the brain that controls emotions, including anxiety. All of these results, Hsu adds, can help people feel more balanced and treat a variety of illnesses. -quoted directly from’s article on Acupuncture and Anxiety read more here.

What else is Acupuncture good for?  It depends on the situation and the person but I can personally say that I have used it for everything from eczema to arm pain to good old fashion stress and it has been a very effective form of treatment!  Not to mention that I always feel so relaxed after a session.  If you haven’t tried it yet you should:) If a fear of needles is what is preventing you then try out these tips:  Take a friend with you, talk to your Acupuncturist-they usually have some tricks up their sleeve to keep things calm and gentle, close your eyes and remember these are pretty tiny needles.  Trust me, it will be worth facing your fears!

Book your acupuncture appointment online now!

Massage and Acupuncture at 2808 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd starting 3/9/15!

We’re Moving!  But don’t worry it’s not too far…

Our new address is 2808 NE MLK Jr. Blvd. Suite C, near Bridges and the Nike Store, less than a 10 minute car or bike ride, 20 minute bus ride on the #6 or 30 minute stroll from our Alberta street space.  You can get massage, acupuncture and sauna sessions from us at our new location beginning March 9th, 2015 and join us for an afternoon of wellness and grand re-opening party on April 12th!  Keep an eye out for our newsletter (text INEEDAMASSAGE to 22828 to sign up today) or follow us on Facebook to stay updated on our latest news and events.

In the meantime here are a few important things you should know about our upcoming move:

  • We will be closed this Friday 3/6-Sunday 3/8 to move to our new location

  • We will re-open with our regular schedule on Monday 3/9-check here for openings

  • We will be calling to remind everyone who is booked over the next month to ensure that you make it to the correct location

  • There is a parking lot behind our building which you are welcome to park in!  There is usually 2 hour parking available in front of our building as well as general parking on NE Stanton (our cross street).  We have a back and front entrance so wherever you end up it will be easy to get to us.  We are sharing this space with another bodywork studio called Thrive and though we will also have signage, if you see Thrive signs you will know you are at the right place.

  • We have reception M-F from 10-2:30pm and the doors should always be open during those times, if it is outside of those hours the doors will be locked between appointments.  We typically leave 30 minutes between appointments so you shouldn’t have to wait but if you find yourself locked out try hanging out for a few and we should be right with you.  If something seems off please give us a call and/or send us a text at:  971-800-1171 so that we can make sure everyone is on the same page.

  • We will be offering the same attention to quality and care as well as the same great services in our beautiful new space.

What’s next?  Time to find freedom from stress, chronic pain and injuries with a massage, acupuncture or infrared sauna session!  Click here to book now.

We can’t wait to see you at our new location:)

Have a great week and thank you for reading.

massage and acupuncture can help you become pain free

massage and acupuncture can help you become pain free

Pain is no fun and can be so very frustrating when it limits your daily activities.  There is no need to suffer through it, regular massage and acupuncture can help you become pain free or at the very least make you feel much better!

How can regular Massage and Acupuncture treatments help you feel your best?

              let me count the ways…

  • Regular massage and acupuncture treatments will help you work through the many layers of tension and bound muscle tissue created by unbalanced movement patterns

  • An occasional one hour massage cannot possibly address the many places of restriction and pain you likely have built up over the years, having regular massage and acupuncture treatments will allow you and your therapist to make a treatment plan to help you become truly pain free.

  • Your therapist (or team of therapist’s) will get to know your body and can better address your specific needs.

  • You will most likely feel less stressed from taking better care of yourself and having something so wonderful to look forward to every week/month!

  • By committing to your health through regular massage and acupuncture treatments you will be taking a proactive approach in living a long, healthy and free from chronic pain existence.

massage and acupuncture can help you become pain free

What are you waiting for?  Sign up for one of our packages or memberships today and take the first step in staying healthy, flexible and pain free today!

Packages:  Packages give you the best deal by offering an amazing discount for paying for your treatments in advance! They are valid for 1 year and may be shared among as many people as you like.

Memberships:  Memberships offer a great way to commit to your health and the discounted services are billed monthly to the credit card you choose to put on file.  A membership can be 6 or 12 months.  With your membership you receive a massage per month and you will be added to our “happy hour” email list which means you will receive an email every Friday with discounted appointment times.  Membership benefits expire 60 days after their last billing, we do not auto renew unless a client asks us to.  Clients can cancel their membership early but there is a $100 fee for doing so.  Membership benefits can be shared at no extra cost.

Service Category

Name of Treatment

 Package Options

Click HERE to sign up for a package today!


Membership Options

Click HERE to sign up for a membership today


 Single 60 min. session price 60 minute Pack of 4/8/12: Monthly 60 minute 6/12 month Membership:


Focus!          $40

$140/$264/$395 $35 each month

Find Your Peace           $70

$228/$440/$659 $60 month

Hot Stone or Bamboo Fusion         $80

$268/$520/$779 $70 month

I’m In Too Deep       $90

$308/$600/$899 $80 month

Injury       $140

$508/$820/$1239 $110 month

Signature       $95

$328/$640/$959 $85 month

Massage for kids ages 4-17

30 minute kids table or Thai session     $35

$120 pack of 4


Acupuncture        $75

$248/$480/$719 $65 month

Mini Sessions:  30 min gua sha, cupping or auricular


$148/$280/$419 $35 month

Spa Add-On/Stand Alone Treatments

Facial rejuvenation massage       $60

$208/$400/$599 45 minute Facial Treatments

Sauna sessions        $25

5 pack $90/10 pack $150


no discounts on membership’s or packages except referral/birthday free 30 minutes

 *90 minute memberships and packages available as well *Looking for something you don’t see here?  Let us know and we can help you find the perfect fit for you!

Clients are welcome to share their package or membership

Click HERE to Sign up for a prepaid package today!

Click HERE to Sign up for a membership today!

Our acupuncturist goes to Nepal!

Our very own Theresa Atchley, LAc is going to Nepal and we want to share her adventure with you!


If you don’t know it already we are here to tell you that we have an amazing team of people working at Written on the Body.  Our staff is full of talent, creativity, love and are just hands down incredible and compassionate people.  A great example of this is our Acupuncturist Theresa Atchley,  she is a gifted practitioner with a lovely smile and a huge heart.  Terry is heading out in just a few days to lead a volunteer group of acupuncturists to remote areas of Nepal through the Acupuncture Relief Project.  She has volunteered with the Acupuncture Relief Project in the past and has found her own life to be greatly impacted by her experiences treating the people of Nepal.  Terry will be continuing to update her blog with stories of her upcoming trip and we wanted to invite you to follow her journey as well as read about her previous adventures.  What I have read from the blog so far has been beautiful and soul touching and I am really looking forward to reading more myself:)

Here is Terry’s most recent post, as I said she leaves in a few days for Nepal and will return at the beginning of February, she will be accepting appointments at Written on the Body again at this time until then we hope you enjoy reading about her journey in Nepa (Richard will still be available to offer acupuncture at Written on the Body during Terry’s absence):

Thursday, September 25, 2014

“Travel is the discovery of truth; an affirmation of the promise that human kind is far more beautiful than it is flawed. With each trip comes a new optimism that where there is despair and hardship, there are ideas and people just waiting to be energized, to be empowered, to make a difference for good.”

I haven’t written in quite some time. My last blog post was about the final night in Kogate. That was a tumultuous night and the end of a very transformative experience. After leaving Nepal I traveled around SE Asia with my boyfriend (now fiancée). I’ve often wondered why I didn’t keep writing blog posts, it wasn’t for a lack of tales to share.
I’ve come to several conclusions. First, I experienced writers block. The minute I landed in Bangkok everything shifted. I still smelled like Nepal, but no longer felt connected to myself as I had there. Secondly, I wanted to keep several memories sacred, safely bundled away. This didn’t happen at first. When Nathan and I reconnected, most of the time I compared how Thailand was vastly different than Nepal and would share silly stories. By no fault of Nathan, I could see the glossed over look and the lack of understanding, like sharing a private joke with someone who wasn’t privy to the initial hilarity. He didn’t get it. I knew this would happen and was almost prepared. I created a wall around the memories. I smile to myself when reminiscing, but start sentences with “In Nepal” much less often. Why didn’t I share my adventures in SE Asia? Well, partial writers block, laziness and an unsubstantiated feeling that no one would read my writing anymore (don’t know why I thought this, but I did).
Here I am one year later. I’m working as an acupuncturist, betrothed and returning to Nepal. For those curious, I work at two clinics in Portland. One is a community clinic, similar to the set up of the clinic in Nepal. I’m happy to provide low cost care to those in my community unable to afford private treatments. On the flip side, I also provide private treatments at a clinic on MLK Jr BLVD. Business is slow in the private sector, but I’m hoping to learn tricks on client recruitment and marketing.
The proposal: Nathan carried around a beautiful ring for two months of travel before finally asking. I found the ring in his bag within the first week we reunited, but he did not know this (I secretly looked for the box in his pocket at every romantic sunset, there were LOTS of romantic sunsets). When he asked we were watching the sunrise over Angkor Wat, Cambodia. I’d talked about my excitement over seeing the temples for months prior to leaving and, unknown to me, Nathan planned to ask at this moment for months. Which explains why my mom asked on a daily basis if I had any news to share upon our arrival to Cambodia. It was a very private proposal and I look forward to eventually having a party to celebrate with friends.
I’m returning to Nepal!! I’ve been asked to lead Camp C of the Acupuncture Relief Project this year. I am honored to participate again and will be taking a much different role. I will lead/guide/teach/befriend 6 volunteers from various areas in the US and Australia. Only one volunteer visited Nepal 20 years ago, the rest have never been. I do not know what to anticipate, but if I learned anything from my previous visits it will have something to do with releasing attachments, maintaining malleability, remembering anything can and will happen, but it will be ok. My current mantra is “I can do this” because, let’s face it, this is an incredibly intimidating task. That is to say, I am more than excited to return. I think of Nepal on a daily basis. From the prayer flags hanging in my treatment room to my current patients to the chickens I see roaming around someones yard, Nepal surrounds me regularly. I am still wearing the glass bracelets we purchased at the end of the Langtang trek. Some have broken off, but they were squeezed onto my wrist and I cannot take them off without the glass cracking. Honestly, I thought they would have broken off by now. I also still wear a necklace given to me by a monk at Boudhanath Temple with a written prayer of protection intricately folded and wrapped with string. I cannot take this off either, it is tied in a knot too tight to fit over my head. I guess I still need some protection. Some might think I have a hard time moving on, but I prefer the idea that these talisman serve a purpose (guiding me back perhaps?). I don’t have to know what it is, but as I said, the bracelets are glass and the necklace is a tiny string. Both will eventually break, but until then I like having ’em around.
“No one tells you how hard it is to come back.” These words were spoken to me by a fellow traveler as we lamented the end of our travels. Granted, this was several weeks ago and our travels ended many months prior. Travel books just stick with the adventure part, who writes about the return? I understand why. Poetic prose aside, returning home sucks. Really sucks. I know I slipped into a depression like none other I’d had before. I am slowly on an upward swing, but my soul is still unsettled. A deep sadness creeped in, paid the landlord and loitered within me creating a yearning I cannot quench. Why sadness? You had a great adventure, you have a partner, things seems to be falling into place, what are you sad for?? My self judgement took over and I am my harshest critic. Do I know where the sadness came from? Not entirely, but I suspect I was grieving the loss of a life I thought I would have. The life of someone who embraced freedom wholeheartedly, up and moved to an unknown land, a person free of the banality of life. Not so. Perhaps some view this as naive and out right dumb of me to think, but I did. I drank the kool-aid all travelers share. The tasty and addictive beverage part adventure, part freedom. The urge to leave again resides within me, it is not as loud, but the whispers keep me awake at night. I know I am not finished exploring. I know I can always drop everything and go, but there is a strong force that says, eh, not really. Who knows what life can throw at me, what if that was the last time I could leave the country for so long? Ah, good ol’ what-ifs. Funny, but this was something I remember struggling with last year about this time. Seems the lessons from Nepal are always present. I also realize the “first world problems” described. But I am a product of my environment and I live in a developed country. I’d just like to acknowledge that things aren’t as bad as they could be and if feeling a desire to explore the world is the worst of my problems, then life ain’t terrible. I know, doesn’t stop the feeling, but I know. Also, going to Nepal IS travel, but it is also work, very hard work that I adore, but not the footloose and fancy free exploration following a whim of fancy. Nepal feels like a second home.To those who read my blog while I was away: Thank you so much for your support, attention and interest. It’s not easy to share with the infinite abyss of the internet and in a time of short attention spans, I was happy to know you cared what I said.
I must raise the money to return to Nepal, luckily not as much this time (thank the universe!!). I have to raise $1320. I deeply fear that everyone will incredulously gawk at my request for more donations, but I am hoping that those of you who know me and have read my entries will understand the necessity and altruistic nature behind my return and offer support.
DONATE HERE!!!!  -Theresa Atchley

Thanks for reading everyone and we hope you have the best holidays ever!