Been thinking about… Assessment time

Been thinking about… Assessment time

What does that even mean?

Doesn’t everyone do that?

Why does it even matter?

At élan Healing Arts, your assessment time is an important part of your care. Prior to your session, we’ll sit down and discuss your concerns and what appears to surface to you today, what comes into your awareness. Then we’ll analyze what your system is sharing by assessing your traps, shoulders, neck, sternum, spinal column, and hips. Often times, a client will comment, “I didn’t even realize I was tender there.” Many realize at this specific moment just how subtle, yet pronounced the body communicates through and with itself! (That in itself can be an amazing realization!)

I didn’t even realize I was tender there!

This assessment tells us much about your body’s holding patterns and areas of stress. From there, we can determine next steps on how we want to proceed. The layers of an onion are a wonderful descriptor. When ready, a client is able to focus on and deal with a specific tension and area of concern. Once that area or concern is addressed and as the body is ready, the tension may dissipate. The body notes a shift in its balance. Then and only then can the next layer or concern be addressed. Body and energy work and the subsequent healing involve addressing layer upon layer, recognizing differences in sensations and discerning levels of comfort and dis-comfort.

“Well, everybody does some kind of assessment…” Yes, this is true. I could listen to what you verbally share for the 45 second to two minute timeframe usually allowed at most establishments. Often, when we are put on the spot, we react by casually saying “the usual” or what’s on the forefront.

Yet by pausing, taking a few extra minutes assessing the muscles/tissue/structure and listening to what the body has to say, more information is gleaned, brought into awareness. We then can make better use of your time and resources, and direct the focus to allow your session to be more meaningful and useful.

Your body, mind, and spirit WANT to be in balance. We have that innate sense, below our conscious level, a desire to return to balance. I invite you to reach out… élan is here to assist you with your wellness goals! Call today to schedule your next session!

Next up:  Breathing/ Visualization

Sue is an experienced, intuitive bodywork (massage) and energy healer dedicated to coming along side you on your journey. You instinctively know when it’s time for a change, whether working with aches and pain in the physical body or resolving imbalances or discomfort in your energy BE-ing.
If you are hurting and ready to begin a new chapter in your well-being, call Sue at 605.254.3665. See more at

Sue Jacobs
élan Healing Arts

Bodywork for the Summer Enthusiast

Summer is a wonderful time of the year. I am guilty of holding off, waiting to complete some tasks and activities till the sunny days of summer. Now is the time of year we fill with outdoor activities: running, biking, softball, golfing, tennis, water sports – you name it, and it’s going on somewhere in the region! We don’t hold back, but enjoy every minute we can!

Sam L, Bike Enthusiast

Samson Laufmann, Bike Enthusiast

As we give it our all, we also feel the aches and pains of muscles that haven’t been challenged at this level and in this manner for some time.If you are an avid bicyclist, during your outing, your quads will be used in demanding, short extension durations, your neck will be arched for safely scanning your environment while biking, your arms and shoulders will have demands from the forward positioning of your body; your back, on down your hips and glutes, are working in very specific ways unique to bicycling.

Contrast that to a tennis enthusiast. The same muscles are firing, yet in completely different ways. The quads, calves, and knees are challenged in different twists and turns and abrupt start and stop patterns. Your neck and shoulders are posturing different for meeting the trajectory of the tennis ball and strategizing your return shot. Your arms and elbows are experiencing a completely different impact to meet and return your shot. Your back and hips are responding with a greater range of motion and holding pattern to return the volley and capitalize on your opponent’s play.

Scott J, Tennis Enthusiast

Scott Jacobs, Tennis Enthusiast

In both sports, many of the same muscles are used to complete their unique challenge. The interesting aspect is although the muscles are firing, each are being utilized in different degrees, ranges and durations.A massage session can relieve the aches and pains from overdoing your favorite sport or hobby and give you some down time for renewal.

Your session at élan is customized to your specific needs. When you arrive for your session, you will be greeted via a soft, low-key transition away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. You’ll encounter soft lighting, gentle ambient music, light aromatherapy (if acceptable to you), a glass of water to continue your hydrating, and most importantly, time to relax and share your needs and goals for today’s session. I will take time to ask questions relevant to our work today, and together determine a plan to help you renew and return to balance.

You are unique; your needs are recognized and treated in a caring, intentional, intuitive manner.

Your session will begin with quiet connection, breathwork, and visualization as we invite the body to return to a state of balance. I will never “force” a technique, but always lead with a soft introduction to the muscle or tissue being worked on. Does this mean there is no deep tissue work? There IS deep tissue work, if needed, but all work and techniques are done in a caring, intentional, intuitive manner.

Especially if this is your first time at élan, I will quietly add insight to what is occurring, so the body-mind connection becomes a part of you. Learning to listen to your own body is an asset that will serve you well your entire life! Clients who have come on a regular basis have a deeper understanding of what their body is telling them and can make decisions in their best interests.

A client was in earlier this week, aware of the tightening in one side of her jaw and the tension in the back of her scalp and on down her left shoulder. She connected this to specific stressors occurring in her life at this time. Observing and acknowledging what is transpiring is a wonderful attribute that helps in every situation in life. It’s one more facet of living in the NOW. I feel privileged to see this in action in my clients’ lives.

I invite you to take some time for your well-being this busy time of the year. There’s no time like the present to become the best you there can be!


Sue is an experienced, intuitive bodywork (massage) and energy healer dedicated to coming along side you on your journey. You instinctively know when it’s time for a change, whether working with aches and pain in the physical body or resolving imbalances or discomfort in your energy BE-ing.
If you are hurting and ready to begin a new chapter in your well-being, call Sue at 605.254.3665. See more at

Sue Jacobs
élan Healing Arts

What Should I Expect During a Massage Session?


Bodywork for the Body, Mind, and Spirit ∞ Image courtesy of Ambro /

What should I expect during a session?
If this is the first time you’ve contemplated a massage or if you received a gift certificate, you may have questions on what to expect. I hope the following clears up any “mystery” or nervousness about the session!

What’s the difference between massage and bodywork anyway?
The terms are very similar. I tend to consider more of your session bodywork, as a broader range of techniques are used: massage, gentle stretches, gentle range of motion, gentle rocking, reflexology, guasha with a jade stone, tennis balls to relax areas, trigger point therapy and intuitive touch may be used.

Where will my session take place?
My studio is in a quiet residential area, away from the hustle and bustle.
Your session will take place in a warm, comfortable, quiet room. Soothing, ambient music and soft, dimmed lighting will welcome you to help you relax.

How will the therapist know what to do for me?
If this is your first time at élan, I will ask you to complete an intake form where you can identify your applicable medical history, medications, current concerns, and your objectives. Before your session, we will take time to discuss your needs and answer any questions that may arise.

Do I have to completely undress?
Most massage and bodywork techniques are traditionally performed with the client unclothed (under a sheet and blanket). For a full body session, I encourage you to disrobe to your level of comfort; a female is encouraged to also remove her bra, so long strokes and techniques can be completed on her back for the best results. Removing panties/briefs is optional. If left on, and work is done on your lower back/hip area, the top border of your underwear will be tucked down slightly with the sheet, always maintaining your privacy.

Will the therapist be present when I disrobe?
I will leave the room while you take a sip of fresh water, undress, relax onto the warmed bed, and cover yourself with the clean sheet and blanket. I will knock and await your response before opening the door and returning to begin your session.

Will I be covered during the session?
You will be properly draped (with a sheet and blanket) during the entire session to keep you warm and comfortable. As a legitimate, professional massage therapist, I assure you, your genitals or breasts, and any other areas you identify, will remain covered. Only the area worked on will be exposed, then re-covered.

What parts of my body will be massaged?
A typical full-body session will include work on your back and hips, neck and shoulders, arms and hands, legs and feet, and head, including face, scalp, and occipital.

What will the bodywork feel like?
We begin your session with breathwork and visualization to encourage relaxation for the body, mind, and spirit. Relaxing Swedish massage is often the beginning technique, with broad, flowing strokes that help calm your nervous system and relax muscle tension. As your body becomes more relaxed, and based on your needs expressed in the pre-session interview, pressure and techniques will be incorporated to relax specific areas, relieve areas of muscular tension, and recalibrate/ balance areas of imbalance .

A light oil or lotion is used to allow your muscles to be massaged without causing excessive friction to the skin. The oil also helps hydrate your skin. Whatever is placed ON your skin is absorbed INTO the skin, so quality, organic lotions are used.

Let me know right away if you feel any discomfort so that another approach may be taken. Bodywork techniques are most effective when your body is not resisting. Our focus is on balance, allowing, inviting the muscles to relax and recalibrate.

What should I do during the session?
Prior to the massage, feel free to ask me any questions about techniques or the upcoming session. During the session, make yourself comfortable. As we proceed through the session, I will either gently move you or tell you what is needed (such as lifting your arm). Many people just close their eyes, focus on their breath, and completely relax. You are always welcome to communicate if/when you need more or less pressure, another blanket, or anything else relevant to the session. If you have any questions regarding the session or about the particular technique you are receiving, feel free to ask.

How will I feel after the session?
Most people feel calmer, relaxed, more open. Some experience freedom from long-term aches and pains developed from tension or repetitive activity. After an initial period of feeling slowed down, people often experience increased energy, heightened awareness, enhanced body-mind connection, and greater productivity that can last for days.

What are the benefits of bodywork?
Bodywork can help release chronic muscular tension and pain, improve circulation, increase joint flexibility, reduce mental and physical fatigue and stress, promote faster healing of injured muscular tissue, improve posture, and reduce blood pressure. Bodywork may also promote better sleep, improve concentration, reduce anxiety and create an overall sense of balance and well-being.

Relax… this is YOUR time

Are there any medical conditions that would make bodywork inadvisable?
Yes. That’s why it’s imperative that, before we begin your session, you provide your health background via the intake form, and subsequently, with updates to your health before each session. It is very important that you inform me of any health problems or medications you are taking. If you are under a doctor’s care, it is advised that you receive a “green light” for massage or bodywork prior to any session. Depending on the condition, approval from your doctor may be required.

In a future post, I will discuss what makes élan different than the chain or spa settings.
Tune in, there’s more to come for your well-being!

I look forward to talking with you about bodywork and what it may do for you! Call soon to schedule your session!

For more information, visit:

Renewal Massage

Your Time for Renewal

Sue Jacobs, élan Healing Arts

Phone 605.254.3665

Image courtesy of Ambro /


Earthing – Not Just For Summer!

What can Earthing do for you?

Walking Barefoot

Absorbing the earth’s energy

  • Look better
  • Feel better
  • Sleep better

Earthing connects us back to the earth’s natural energy. Check out

When we use earthing products, our bodies are re-connected to the earth’s natural energy. This in turn can re-energize, re-balance, and re-new our beings. I began with the Earthing Starter Kit

In our locality, this winter has turned into an endurance race. The ice storm experienced by West River (South Dakota, USA) in October 2013 began the season, and there’s been nary a warm day, or even average day since then. Weather predictions continue with below average temps and wind chills for much of March as well. Needless to say, this is not conducive for sitting outside in the sunshine, with bare feet. Even the Polar Plunges are quickly completed and the participants re-covered and protected from the severe cold!

I’ve been able to thoroughly appreciate my earthing bedding and mat during this long indoor season. These are improving my meditation time and quality of sleep. Sleeping in the earthing bedding may be reducing inflammation in joints (hubby’s testimony), and helping us cope with the stressors of compromised indoor air quality and seasonal affective disorder.

If you don’t feel well, for whatever reason, just make barefoot  contact with the Earth for a few minutes and see what happens. Of  course, if you have a medical problem, you should see a doctor. There is nothing that comes close to Earthing for quick relief. You can  literally feel pain draining from your body the instant you touch the  Earth

If you have questions or wish to discuss, please call – I’d love to discuss the benefits for YOUR well-being!

photo credit: Lone Primate via photopin cc</a

The Virtues of Epsom Salts

The perfect soak

Schedule your relaxation and renewal time!

The Virtues of Epsom Salts

With the change of seasons, it is the time of year for shifting gears into colder weather and holiday mode. A wonderful treat to help your body and mind adjust to winter and all the demands placed upon you is a good old-fashioned Epsom salt soak. Your grandmother was right – an Epsom salt soak is sometimes exactly what is needed!

Epsom salts are magnesium at its finest, magnesium salts. Interestingly, magnesium is one of the first minerals to deplete when food is processed (rather than real). It is also one of the first to leave the body when stress is experienced. (Have you had any stress in your life lately?)

Whatever is placed on the skin (or soaked in this case), is absorbed into the skin (considered transdermal).  When you place healthy ingredients on your skin, you are assisting your body to relax and recalibrate.

Our bodies are so amazingly designed!

Magnesium is one of the essential minerals for your body’s chemistry. This can help with sore, fatigued, cramping muscles, stress and fatigue. The main symptoms of magnesium deficiency are insomnia, muscle cramps, anxiety, constipation and heart palpitations.

Cortisol is a stress hormone – the “fight or flight” hormone. Magnesium can be considered an anti-stress buffer, because it decreases the cortisol, aids muscles to relax after the muscle firing. For the sleep-deprived (that is, MOST of us!), it can prevent night time muscle cramps (Charley-horses) and stress-related sleep issues.

A safe, welcoming way to up your magnesium level is through the use of Epsom Salt (magnesium sulfate) Baths.

  • Start with half a cup (gradually increase up to two cups) of Epsom Salt in a hot bath.
  • Soak – Relax – Unwind
  • Repeat tomorrow if necessary!

Isn’t it time for some YOU time?

For more info on Epsom salts or if you would like delivery right to your door click this handy link!
Dr. Teal’s Epsom Salt Soaking Solution, Soften & Nourish with Milk and Honey, 48oz

Image courtesy of winnond at

Illusion of Connectedness

A couple weeks ago, our area had a massive ice storm. As the rain and sleet were falling, the ice kept building up. As the day progressed, the weighted down trees groaned under the stress. The sound of massive limbs snapping off our beautiful trees randomly echoed throughout the neighborhoods.

The trees look spindly now, off kilter, with the fullness of the tree limbs missing.  The clean up efforts have continued, with large piles of jagged big branches and stumps in the boulevards.Not realized unconnected from source

The amazing thing to me as I walk through the neighborhoods, is the limbs removed have actually started budding, ready to green out. The communication hasn’t been fully received yet at the budding ends, that the source is gone.

This made me reflect on my journey. Am I on auto-pilot through the day? Am I focused on only what’s in front of me? Am I self-absorbed, reacting to the moment by moment tasks?
I then realize without remaining connected to Source,  before long, my efforts are futile.

To move with intention, to live with purpose, I cannot do life alone. I need to ground, I need to return to Source.

What does grounding mean to you? Who is your source? Connection with community and with something, someone bigger than yourself is so important!

Consider an energy session / quantum touch session to increase your awareness of the present.
I look forward to working with you!

All Iced Over

Inch thick ice coating on everything!

Is It Time for Your Spring Cleanse?

Dry brushing for exfoliation and great skin!

Dry brushing for exfoliation and great skin!

Spring has sprung! Soon the white backdrop of snow will completely disappear and be replaced with the beauty of fresh tufts of green grass, trees budding, and bright spring flowers.

What does spring cleaning mean to you? Opening windows to air out the house? Mopping floors, shampooing carpets and washing windows? Packing away winter clothes?  Our homes feel lighter, brighter and cleaner after the process.

How about considering a similar cleansing and rejuvenation for your body? Now is a wonderful time to release what is no longer needed and clean out winter’s sludge. Often restful and revitalizing, cleansing and detoxing also help us create healthier lifestyle habits.

With the season change, it’s a wonderful time for your spring cleanse.

Review your wardrobe. Did any items in your wardrobe “shrink” since last season? What items can be released (shared, paid forward, or discarded)?

Review your food plan. Are you feeling sluggish? Is it time to recharge your body with quality fuel (healthy live foods)? The palate of seasonal foods is fresh and colorful once again.

Rethink your temple upkeep. A spring cleanse will release the waste and buildup from winter eating habits along with preparing the body, mind, and spirit for the fresh, new beginnings of the season.

Three Things to Consider for Your Spring Cleanse

Massage: a full body massage can help move the toxins out of the body, lengthen and relax muscles, release the knots and tense areas. A full 75 minute session dedicated to your well-being can bring the cortisol levels down, relax tense muscles, renew spent energy, and re-calibrate your inner balance.

Dry Brushing: This session utilizes a dry, natural bristle brush to stroke your skin, following the lymph drainage system. This moves toxins and waste out of your body and has the added benefit of exfoliating your skin, brushing away the dry, flaky skin, so the fresh, radiant skin can glow with the fresh air and sunshine.

Sauna: after your massage or dry brush session, enjoy a private session in the dry, infrared sauna. As the heat rises, your body’s temp mechanism is activated to maintain its balance. As a result, toxins are released, fresh nutrients are brought to the body’s surface, and the vasodilation relaxes the vessels, which can lower pain. The quiet, relaxing time in the sauna is a respite from the busyness of your day. As the infrared heat does its work, your body and mind can relax, focus inward, enjoy a time of quiet reflection.

Spring Cleanse Package Specials!

Select two of the three options of *Massage*, *Dry Brushing*, or *Infrared Dry Sauna* for your Spring Cleanse Value Package! $100

Call 605.254.3665 today to reserve your session – or pamper your loved one!
You Are SO Worth It!

In Gratitude and Appreciation

Soul BirdBeing a member of this “human race” is such a privilege! Even though we all share this space, we each have different outlooks, filters, and gifts. I feel so grateful that I can wake up, get up, and work with clients who need help with pain issues, stress, or just recognize their need for personal time.

In dialog with clients and colleagues alike, I continue to be amazed at what drives each of us, what makes us tick. I am so grateful for the set of gifts and talents I recognize in you and am able to connect with. And as time progresses, I see the skillset and passions develop into more powerful attributes as contributions are made in the day by day landscape. Colleagues with savvy presentation and design skills, artists who know how to capture the moment in photography or paint or word or music, orchestrators who can take group input and bring a project together in a multilayer, cohesive frame of reference.

I am in awe when I reflect on the people who have shared today’s journey with me. Why do I share this?

Because the beauty of life and those around me bring me to an even greater appreciation for the gifts and passions that unfold each and every day.

I see in the human body and its integration only one multilayered aspect of a person’s being. I see the delicate layers of a friends’ passion and drive and realize my work complements their strengths. No one part is greater. No one area is lesser. Each has its part in that person as a whole being.

You have a unique, made just-for-you set of talents. Listen close, choose your own life’s path and quality relationships that you want to foster and cultivate! You truly have access to a vast inner power; you can move past anything that is not congruent with your beliefs and passion. You are unique and you are the best you there is!

Vivo bene!
(Live well)

photo credit: <a href=””>VickieHallmark</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>cc</a>

The Power of Connection

Being Present
Best Present is Being Present

Ah, the Power of Connection 

Oft times, even the mention of “connection” sounds “fluffy” and easy to dismiss. Yes, we all need connection, it’s just out of sight, off the radar most of the time.As we launch into the holiday season, it will be to our benefit to get our feet firmly planted, breathe calmly, and focus clearly. If we do not prepare ourselves beforehand, we just may get swept away with the stress, the frenzy and the hype.

Before leaving home, plan out your game plan. Keep reminding yourself what all this activity really means to you and your loved ones.

Consider: maybe the best present is to be present, to be in the moment, enjoying the time, laughter, and joy of relationship.

Maybe the best present is to be present

If that sounds too “It’s a Wonderful Life”, then bring it down a notch, into something more plausible, more relevant to your life.

Maybe it’s just limiting the gifts, and expanding the time and interactions. Maybe it’s having a quiet evening of soup and conversation, then going out together to view Christmas lighting in the area. Maybe it’s softening the lighting, listening to holiday music or watching your favorite holiday flick.

In the bigger picture, it’s the memories, the laughter, the connectedness that is remembered.

“The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.”  ~ Abraham Maslow

May the weeks ahead bring you joy, laughter, centeredness, connectedness. May you enjoy the present of presence!

photo credit: <a href=””>laszlo-photo</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>cc</a>

Dog Days of Summer…


Massage with aromatherapy

Bummed you didn’t plan a vacation this summer? Can’t take the time to work in even a weekend getaway?

Consider these reasons why scheduling a massage, reflexology, or healing touch session is one step closer, and may even be better than taking a vacation

(… then schedule your session!).

  • No sunburn, tan lines, or skin damage.
  • You’ll smell like heavenly essential oils afterward, instead of like salty sea water, pool chlorine, or stuffy airplane air.
  • It only takes an hour of your time & a short commute to get there. No long flights or layovers involved.
  • A session (or even several!) won’t break the bank.
  • You can squeeze a session in during your lunch break or after work hours. No requesting time off from work. (Okay, this could be a con as well as a pro…)
  • Your shoulders and back will feel nice and loose versus how they will feel after hauling luggage through an airport.
  • No stress of planning what to do on your vacation. Just lie back, close your eyes, and relax.
  • No delays or missed connections.
  • No confusing customs or overlooked details.
  • No hangovers.
  • No layovers.
  • No groping from airport security.
  • You won’t come back feeling like you “need a vacation from your vacation”.

Is it time for “you” time?

Call 605.254.3665 today to schedule your massage, reflexology, or healing touch session!