About Me

Welcome to Radical Relaxation Central! My name is Eva and I love to explore all topics related to relaxation, including massage, meditation, deep breathing, and natural sleep remedies. I have found that relaxation techniques have been easy to incorporate into my life and have really made a difference for me personally.

My goal is to spread information about relaxation and various products and services related to relaxation and massage.

My Story

I have spent the past 10 years developing expertise in health and education. I graduated from college in 2009 magna cum laude with a bachelors degree in psychology and with honors in chemistry, my minor.  I have also taken various graduate-level health courses in subjects such as anatomy, physiology, immunology etc. (it is a mixed bag).

Studying psychology really gave me an appreciation for research and the skills to differentiate between good research that is both reliable and valid and research that needs some expansion. On this blog, I love looking at the reasons why a particular treatment might be effective and the research behind it. I also have a deep appreciation for the risks that a supplement might have.

It is amazing to me how some sources on the internet can just recommend a supplement without looking at the research, without considering the potential complications that the supplement may have, and without trying it out in real life. When it comes to supplements and sleep remedies, I only review the ones that I have actually tried. One of my goals is to provide information that you can trust.

I also have some experience in basic research (Which is odd for a psychology student, by the way. The ideal research experience for a psychology student would be clinical research). My projects centered around genetics and immunology. My research experiences were very humbling since it delved deeply into subjects outside of my main focus. It broadened my knowledge of the health sciences and gave me a deeper appreciation of my research design and analysis courses in psychology.

Another experience that changed my perspective on health was my work as a nurse aide. A few years ago, I became a nurse aide because I wanted to learn even more about health, to see how hospitals operated, and to communicate with medical professionals. It consisted of a lot of grunt work but I also got to see a lot of nursing work first hand.

My education did not stop just because school ended. Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

This experience really emphasized the importance of holistic care to me. Dedication to providing the best experience really made a difference for many of the residents that I worked for. It wasn’t just about making sure that the residents were fed and clean but doing so in a way that made them feel comfortable.

In addition to exploring the health field, I am also involved in education. I consider myself an introverted person which has put me off from being a teacher (working with a lot of students can be draining). However, I love to tutor and I love to sub. The main subject that I focus on when it comes to tutoring is Math. I have found that a lot of students struggle and become discouraged by math because they need to do things step by step.

The whole experience has really built a dedication to clarity in my writing on Radical Relaxation Central. Communicating with students has really helped me gain a sense of when I need to expand my explanations and the importance of writing in a clear manner. If there is a statement that you read on this website that you feel needs clarification, please leave a comment and I will be sure to get back to you.

Working with students actually transformed me in other ways too. I often work with multiple young students at once and I felt that I needed to improve my management. This came to a crisis level one year when I was working for a math camp one year. I had 12 students. Only one or two wanted to learn. They all wanted to go to the bathroom. It was basically a disaster. I hate to say it, but my group was one of the worst performing groups.

After that, I dedicated myself to learning classroom management. I became interested in the psychology of the classroom. I read books from experts such as Harry Wong. I watched how others worked with the students.

The next year was much, much better for me. In fact, my boss called me in to talk to others about what I did to have such a successful summer with the students. It really was an enlightening experience.

The whole reason that I mentioned to story about math summer camp on a relaxation blog is to show you how a dedication to lifelong learning has affected my life. I don’t just learn about education. I am always reading about neuroscience, psychology, and massage.

Some of the experts that have really influenced me and challenged my perception are:

Dr. Herbert Benson

Dr. Benson is the Harvard cardiologist that pretty much coined the term the relaxation response. He and his team have done fascinating research into how relaxation affects the brain. I love watching his speeches and learning about relaxation.

Dr. Jon Kabat Zinn

Dr. Jon Kabat Zinn has been a major influence in the realm of mindfulness. His tapes and books on mindfulness showed me that there is not just one right way to incorporate mindfulness into your life. I was fortunate enough to see him speak at a local college. Listening to him had a major impact on me and really influenced me to start this blog.

Dr. Edmund Bourne

Dr. Edmund Bourne wrote The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook. I started reading this book because I realized how much my anxiety was preventing me from communicating in an assertive way. Going through this book had a major impact on my day to day life.

Dr. Richard O’Connor

Richard O’Connor wrote the book Undoing Depression. I picked up this book when I was struggling with life. It caused me to realize that even though I have a background in Psychology, there were many things that I needed to learn about depression. For instance, before this book, I viewed depression as it is usually presented in commercials- sadness, gloominess, and loss of interest. However, this book introduced me to one symptom that is greatly overlooked- a loss of vitality.

Many more

I am constantly meeting people and discovering books that influence me and deepen my understanding of relaxation. I highly encourage you to check out the experts listed above. They all have books related to relaxation.

WHERE MASSAGE COMES IN

Basically, I am a person who enjoys a good massage. However, I also have a lot of questions and have seen a lot of questionable statements regarding massages. One of my goals is to look at the research on massages to determine when a massage may actually be helpful and when you need to look out. I also review various massage products on this website.

WHY I WANT TO HELP PEOPLE

I want to help people because I have struggled with stress in the past and I know that the most effective solutions are not always the most obvious ones. One of the worse parts about my stress was that even when I was in a relaxing situation, I could not feel relaxed. The one exception to this was actually massage.

Other than that, I could go on vacation, get away from work, chill out on the couch etc. and I would still maintain a basic state of tension and stress. It was incredibly demoralizing. It wasn’t until I created my own relaxation practice, looked at how I communicated, and started managing my time better that I started to notice a difference. Many sources tell you about self-care and you may know what you need to do.

However, knowing and practice are two different things. Many times, my students know what they do but don’t do it because they have something holding them back such as stress or negative beliefs. My goal is to help you eliminate common problems that may be holding you back from living your best life. Oh, and you may just happen to discover an awesome massage chair in the process.

If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,

Eva Smith

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Radical Relaxation Central