Massage therapy can help athletic performance and recovery. Athletes may go through muscle fatigue or experience anxiety while training for a big event, but massage therapy can help manage these conditions, while also increasing flexibility, endurance, and minimizing the risk of injury.
Here are four types of massage that may benefit athletes the most:
1.Deep Tissue Massage
A deep tissue massage is a therapeutic treatment effective in relieving severe tension in the deeper muscle structures and the connective tissue. This therapy is recommended for athletes because they experience stiff muscles and potentially consistent pain as a result of heavy physical activity and training. This type of massage technique is more intense than other methods but will apply deeper pressure on the affected areas. Many athletes find that this type of massage helps them to recover more quickly.
Swedish massage is one of the most popular massage methods and is comfortable for most people. Swedish massage technique involves rhythmic stroking of one’s abdomen, lifting and pressing the skin in a gentle way to relieve tension. This massage is very effective on muscle knots and if there is pressure or pain in a certain spot or area. The therapist may also rhythmically tap the body with varying finger movements.
3.Active Release Technique ( ART)
This massage technique is used for various conditions that lead to overworked muscles, which may cause pain and impeded movement. The ART relies on a technique called “pin and stretch”, which involves applying pressure to muscles as they are elongated. The therapist will use their hands to assess muscle tightness and movement. This type of massage may be particularly beneficial to runners since regular sessions can increase the flexibility of your hamstrings. It can also prevent the buildup of scar tissue as well as treat sciatica.
4.Trigger Point Massage
Trigger point massage, or tender point massage, is a technique which uses the fingertips to conduct a concentrated kneading process. The pressure points are triggered and massaged in the right way in order to reduce the sensitivity and vulnerability of the muscle tissues during athletic activities. It can also treat muscle spasms which may lead to continual throbbing pain.
Schedule a treatment today to boost your athletic performance and recovery!
Pain can be felt acutely such as when we stub a toe, fall down, or get a cut. It can also be a lingering, underlying feeling that may be hard for even the person feeling pain to pinpoint or identify. Massage therapy is not a substitute for care from a physician and serious pain should always be evaluated by a doctor. Here are some signs and symptoms your massage therapist may use however to help identify whether you are feeling pain and to help you feel better through massage.
Verbal Signs of Pain
A client may use words or phrases that can clue in a therapist to types of pain their client may be feeling. Phrases like, “I haven’t been sleeping well lately” or “I have had a lot on my mind”, may clue in a therapist to possible feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression in the client. A client mentioning nausea, diarrhea, or stomach upset may also indicate extra stressors that are causing these troubling symptoms. Indicating how you are feeling to your massage therapist can help them plan your massage treatment in a way that will be the most beneficial for painful symptoms.
Non-Verbal Indicators of Pain
Sometimes it is difficult to pinpoint where you are hurting, you just know that something is not right. Moaning, facial griming, constant repositioning to get comfortable, and tense muscles are indicators that a person is experiencing pain in a part of their body. Your massage therapist is trained to look for these indicators of discomfort, but if you are able it is also helpful to verbalize if a specific massage technique is uncomfortable or if the therapist has uncovered a source of pain.
Massage therapy can help relieve pain of all types, since massage releases soothing endorphins while also lowering the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. Exposure to cortisol over a long period of time can cause inflammation, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and insomnia so a massage can help you restore your body to a more relaxed baseline.
Roses, chocolate, and a romantic dinner are the typical way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. This year, think outside the (chocolate) box with the gift of massage! Massage therapy is pampering and feels extra special, so consider a massage gift certificate or a date to get massages as a couple for Valentine’s Day.
Here are some reasons to consider the gift of massage:
1.Massage is great for Stress Relief
Valentine’s Day comes at a time of year when many of us are under stress. The holidays are over but summer vacations feel very far away. Lingering cold weather, winter illnesses, and short days can leave all of us feeling stressed. Massage therapy relieves stress by reducing the levels of cortisol in our blood. Cortisol is released into our bloodstream when our bodies are under perceived stress, and while helpful in the short-term, an excess of cortisol over time can contribute to inflammatory diseases such as heart disease or diabetes.
2. Massage is great for your Heart!
The heart is not only a traditional symbol of Valentine’s Day, it is also an important life-sustaining organ! Along with reducing stress which is bad for your heart, massage therapy is shown to reduce heart rate and blood pressure, two contributing factors to heart disease. Give your loved one the gift of health with a massage!
3. Massage is Pampering
A massage is wonderful for your body but also feels indulgent. You do not need to be part of a couple to indulge in a Valentine’s massage, nothing says “I love myself” in a more positive way than a pampering massage!
4. Massage Promotes Connection and Bonding
Couples massage is popular for Valentine’s Day since massage therapy promotes feelings of bonding and connection. Massage therapy increases the body’s levels of oxytocin, which leads to feelings of social bonding. Massage therapy also increases production of dopamine and serotonin, two hormones responsible for those feel-good feelings! Your bond as a couple will feel stronger after joint massage therapy.
Arthritis is a group of painful and degenerative conditions affecting the joints, causing inflammation and pain. Osteoarthritis, the most common type, is a degenerative disorder that worsens with age, caused by the wear and tear on the joints as time goes on. Anti-inflammatory medications, painkillers, and lifestyle changes can help manage the symptoms of arthritis.
Working with your doctor, here are some lifestyle changes you can make to help manage your condition.
1.Get More Exercise
Exercise can help you manage and maintain a healthy weight, preventing worsening symptoms of arthritis. Carrying extra body weight puts too much stress on your joints, increasing the wear and tear on them and limiting your movement. Exercise can also improve flexibility and increase your range of motion. Weight-bearing exercise such as running may be too much for your joints, but gentler exercise like swimming can be very beneficial.
2. Hot and Cold Therapy
Simple hot and cold therapy can help you immensely! A warm shower or bath in the morning can warm up stiff muscles and joints. Heating pads or electric blankets can also help. Ice packs wrapped in a towel can be helpful for swelling and inflammation related to arthritis.
3. Change Your Diet
Dietary changes can be made to help you manage your arthritis. Adding turmeric, a bright yellow spice common in Indian cooking, contains a powerful chemical called curcumin. Curcumin has been shown to reduce inflammation and pain. Add turmeric to vegetables, grains, or even a smoothie for these benefits!
Adding more omega-3 fatty acids to your diet can also help with inflammation and joint pain. Omega-3’s are naturally found in fish and other seafood, but you can also get extra Omega-3 from a fish oil pill.
4. Try Relaxation Techniques
Stress can increase the body’s inflammatory response, worsening symptoms of arthritis. Trying meditation or relaxation techniques can help decrease stress and improve symptoms. Try a midday meditation session to clear your head and cut out some time before bed to fully relax your body and mind before bed.
5. Get a Massage
Regular massage therapy can help reduce pain, stiffness, and inflammation in the joints, as well as increase your range of motion. Schedule a session with a massage therapist who is knowledgeable about arthritis and be sure to communicate to your therapist any painful areas.
Taking care of yourself may be something you think you prioritize, but for many of us, good self-care falls to the wayside when other things get in the way. Women tend to take care of themselves last, putting the needs of their children and family or job demands ahead of their health. Here are some tips to keep you on track and make 2018 your healthiest yet!
1.Remind Yourself Everyday that Maintaining Your Health is Necessary
Your health is essential to everything you want to accomplish! You should not feel guilty about prioritizing your health above other demands. Do you reschedule important doctor’s appointments due to work demands or your kids’ schedules? Do you skip exercising or pick up unhealthy fast food due to working late or driving kids all over town to sports practices? Skimping on sleep to keep up with housework is also detrimental. These things might seem like a daily small sacrifice but in the long-run they add up to a stressful life without good healthy habits in place to keep you going strong.
It is not selfish to prioritize your health. You must take care of your body and soul before you can adequately take care of anyone else.
2. Determine What You Need to Be Healthy
What do you need to do to eat healthy meals this week? If you need time on the weekend to plan out your meals for the week and shop for groceries, carve that time out of your schedule to get it done! Or divide and conquer these tasks with your partner so that you are not relying on fast food or takeout during the week. If you have many nights during the week where you are attending team practices or games with your children, plan some grab and go dinners to bring with you to the sports fields so you are not tempted to stop at a drive thru. Sandwiches, salads, and fruit are easy to pack and can be enjoyed on the go!
When will you exercise each day? Make your daily exercise a sacred time, don’t allow phone calls or other interruptions to get in the way of your routine.
Establishing a morning and evening routine can also help you tackle your day while staying healthy. Try to wake up at least 30 minutes before the rest of your family, giving you some time to get ready and spend a few minutes doing a quiet activity you enjoy like journaling or reading. This will also help your days begin less hectic.
Wind down at least an hour before bedtime by powering down technology. Spend some time reading in bed to help your body relax for sleep. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and get at least eight hours of sleep.
Feel free to take some time for yourself! Go for a walk, get a massage, or meet a friend for coffee! These activities refresh and restore us, letting us live more healthfully with a calm body and soul.
3.Learn to Say No!
Staying late at work, overcommitting yourself to volunteer work, and driving to children’s activities can be the little stressful details of our days that become detrimental to our health. Learning to say no to activities or commitments that will overwhelm you or that you do not enjoy can help you maintain your healthy lifestyle. Agree on a work schedule with your boss that is realistic with your and your family’s needs. Choose one or two volunteer activities per month but do not feel pressured to take on more. Let your children choose one or two activities to be part of but limit it to those since driving children to activities can place a lot of demands on your schedule. It is ok and healthy to say no!
If you are back to work after a break for the holidays, you may be remembering how stressful your job situation can be! Stress is a contributing factor to illness and chronic disease and lowers your satisfaction with your life! Consider making some changes in your workplace to relieve the stress!
Take Care of Yourself
Stressful work situations can involve long hours with too much sitting, skipping meals or relying on unhealthy fast food and excessive caffeine to make it through your day! A stressful work environment may mean you are unable to fully step away from your job, checking email late into the night or never feeling like you are fully off the clock! This is an area you can control, and it is essential to your well-being!
Plan and pack healthy lunches and snacks, drink plenty of water, and make sure that you are taking regular breaks from your desk! Get up and stretch, walk around the office and give your eyes a break from screens. Taking a break from your intense focus can also give you an opportunity to interact with other coworkers, building relationships and a stronger social network with colleagues.
Take care of yourself away from the workplace as well! Make time for regular exercise, healthy eating, and time with family and friends. Let your boss know that you are unable to check email after work hours. Schedule a relaxing therapeutic massage, read a good book, or go see a funny movie! Making more time for you makes life fun and can lower your stress level significantly!
Which parts of your job are the most stressful? Do you have a long commute, a demanding boss, or an overwhelming work load? Which changes could you make? If switching companies does not feel like an option, maybe being allowed to telecommute a few days per week or sitting down with your boss to have a serious conversation about your workload could make a positive difference. Nothing is likely to change unless you commit to making the changes necessary to preserve your health!
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a condition associated with wintertime, when less sunlight and more time indoors can trigger seasonal depression. This condition is recognized as a major depressive disorder and can drastically reduce the quality of life for sufferers.
There are many therapies available to help manage SAD, such as light therapy, exercise, and medication. Another possible treatment is massage therapy! Working with your care provider, massage therapy can be integrated into a treatment plan with positive results. Massage therapy can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Research demonstrates that massage therapy increases the release of neurotransmitters associated with lowering anxiety and decreasing the blood level serums of hormones associated with increased anxiety.
Massage therapy lowers blood pressure, decreases heart rates, and improves circulation to the entire body. Seasonal Affective Disorder can leave sufferers feeling lethargic, but massage therapy can improve mood and helps regulate circadian rhythms, leading to better sleep and restored energy.
A less severe form of seasonal mood disorder, commonly known as the “winter blues” is extremely common and may affect as many as 1 in 5 Americans. Symptoms may include less energy, difficulty waking up in the morning, and changes in the diet such as craving more sugar or starches. Massage therapy is an effective way to help our bodies respond to negative influences, such as reduced sunlight and harsh weather.
Book a massage today and reap the benefits of massage therapy! Even if you do not suffer from a seasonal mood disorder, the positive benefits of massage are great for everyone!
Happy New Year! Now is the time of year for new years resolutions! How can 2018 be a better year than the last one? Many of us are making ambitious plans for weight loss or lofty career goals, but the key to success in meeting many of our resolutions is to have a positive outlook and great mental health!
Better mental health and a great mindset are key to meeting our other goals! Here are some strategies for better mental health in 2018!
What triggers in your life bring on negative feelings or increase the stress you feel? Identify these triggers and how you can possibly avoid or reduce them this year. A negative work environment or bad relationship are factors you can try to change but other triggers like a chronic health issue may require better coping strategies.
2.Forgive and Forget
Do you have relationship issues that are holding you back? Has someone hurt you or you have hurt someone? Now is the time to practice an attitude of forgiveness, which correlates with better physical health and well-being. Holding on to grudges from issues from the past are not helping you move forward.
3.Strengthen Your Support System
How do you handle the challenges in your life? If you have unhealthy habits for managing challenges in your life like excessive alcohol consumption or binge-watching television, it is time for a change! Surround yourself with positive family members, friends, or colleagues who build you up! If you do not know many people in your area, make it a resolution to join a group, take a class, or reconnect with someone you have lost touch with! Spending time with friends and family, along with healthy coping habits like exercise, reading a good book, or having a massage are some positive changes you can make with good mental health in mind.
4.Count Your Blessings
In the age of social media, it is easy to focus on the things you do not have in life, but having an attitude of gratitude is the key to positive mental health! It is easy to get caught up in the things you don’t have or the way your life is going differently than you hoped, but constantly focusing on the good and positive aspects of your life and force your brain to change, giving you greater joy in your life and your experiences.
5. Be Kinder to Yourself
We are our harshest critics, particularly true for people who struggle with depression or a negative outlook! Pay attention to your inner self-talk and the comments we say to ourselves. When self-compassion takes the place of negative inner self-talk, you become one step closer to bettering your health! Be kinder to yourself as well in understanding that you need time to recharge and rest! Eat healthy food, take vacations, schedule a massage, or spend an afternoon with a good book! You need to treat yourself kindly!
The Christmas and holiday season is a perfect time to add essential oils! Use them in an aromatherapy diffuser in your home or add some to your next massage! Essential oils can bring seasonal smells to your home, as well as ward off seasonal depression and increase immunity to the cold and flu viruses circulating this time of year. There are many wonderful choices that can be used on their own or combined in a custom blend.
Here are some great essential oils to try!
Pine essential oil makes a lot of sense for this season! Diffuse pine oil in your home to make your house smell like a freshly cut Christmas tree! A benefit of pine is that it can also boost your metabolism, which may help you handle all of the extra calories from holiday eating.
Peppermint is also heavily associated with the Christmas season, showing up in candy canes and other holiday desserts. Peppermint essential oil has a lovely scent, energizes, and promotes relaxation with its cleansing scent. Peppermint oil can also be taken internally to sooth the stomach, easing indigestion, nausea, and gas. Add a few drops to a glass of water and drink before a meal to aid with digestion.
Cedarwood essential oil has a rich, woodsy smell and will make your house smell nice when used in an aromatherapy diffuser. Cedarwood is also detoxifying, stimulates the metabolism, and soothes coughs from winter colds or flu.
Lavender is a summer floral that is not often associated with winter, but it is an excellent addition to an aromatherapy massage. Lavender is a balancing oil, helping the body with pain relief, stress, and insomnia. Its gentle scent is uplifting and may help ward off seasonal depression.
Eucalyptus oil is an excellent addition to a massage, particularly during cold and flu season. Eucalyptus is an antiseptic agent, it can help ward off germs, as well as eases chest and sinus congestion. Eucalyptus oil is also used during massage to ease sore muscles.
Winter time is cold, consider warming it up with a Hot Stone Massage!
A hot stone massage is a 90-minute therapeutic massage using perfectly heated stones. The volcanic stones are heated to the perfect temperature and applied to the muscles of the back. Other hot stones are applied to key muscles in the arms and legs and even between the toes.
Hot stones is especially effective for people who need deep tissue therapy. The hot stones loosen the muscles and fascia with their penetrating heat and gentle, gliding pressure. Hot stone therapy is perfect for people who could benefit from a deep tissue massage but are sensitive to the increased pressure that is usually associated with a deep tissue treatment.
Hot Stone massage is excellent for pain relief. Heat is a typical treatment for muscle soreness and the heat from the hot stones helps to relax muscles and tendons, making them more flexible. Heating the muscles of the back before beginning a deep tissue massage helps since massaging muscles that are too tight or strained can be painful. With relaxed muscles, your therapist can penetrate the muscles more deeply to relieve pain.
Hot stone therapy can also improve circulation by opening up the blood vessels and allowing more oxygen and nutrients to reach your muscles. Poor circulation in your extremities can lead to stiff muscles as well as lactic acid buildup. Your therapist will place the stones strategically to help improve the blood flow to your problem areas. Improved circulation also plays a role in cell renewal and lymphatic drainage.
Massage therapy in general but also hot stone therapy reduces stress and tension in the body. The physical symptoms of stress like tight muscles and poor sleep can be treated with massage. Relaxation from massage therapy washes away symptoms of stress while reducing blood pressure and fatigue. Restful sleep is also restored by massage therapy, helping you to keep stress at bay.
Prepare for your hot stone massage therapy by drinking plenty of water! Communicate to your therapist areas of your body that are troubling you. After your massage, drink more fluids to help with the restoration process.