Info From The Oasis

Give Dad the Gift of Massage!

Father’s Day is the perfect time of year to show Dad just how much you appreciate all that he does for his family. This year go above and beyond the typical gifts of a neck tie or a pack of golf balls by treating him to a relaxing massage from Medical Massage Specialties.

Dad is always working, paying bills, fixing things around the house, cooking meals, taking care of the kids, and more! With such a busy schedule and so many things on his to-do list, taking care of himself might seem impossible.  Give him the space outside of the home to relax in a calm environment alone with a massage benefits his health and his wellbeing. Massages reduce the stress inducing hormone cortisol and elevate relaxation. Let him know that his health and well being is super important by giving him the gift of time out of his busy schedule along with a rejuvenating massage.

While a new necktie, or another knick knack might be nice, will they really be used? When you get Dad the gift of massage at Medical Massage Specialties, he will get an experience that will reduce stress, decrease pain, and improve his health. We’ll take the guess work out of choosing the right massage for Dad. His massage experience will be tailored to him with many different types of massage to choose from, including Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, sports massage and hot stone massage.

Fathers work hard to provide support for their families in many ways. A massage is such a great way to let Dad know that his hard work is appreciated and that he’s allowed to take a break now and then to take care of himself as well!

Relieving Congestion with Aromatherapy

Spring time in northern Virginia is absolutely beautiful! Flowering trees and plants are everywhere and its finally time to get outdoors and enjoy the warmer weather. Unfortunately, the warmer weather and blooming plants can also lead to allergies and congestion. Sneezing, puffy eyes, sinus pressure, runny noses, headaches, and continual pressure get in the way of our ability to enjoy the Spring and can be debilitating.

The pressure of congestion can feel so bad that it feels like your head is in a vice, or a heavy weight is placed on your face. If the congestion is left untreated, it can lead to sinus infections, which are even more painful in the long run. Modern medicine can provide relief but can often leave you feeling lethargic or weighted down with the strength of the drugs, along with other side effects. You can get relief the natural way with aromatherapy. I’ll highlight some of the top essential oils to relieve congestion!

When picking an essential oil to treat congestion, you’re looking for oils that have antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antimicrobial properties. Peppermint essential oil is a tried and true oil for relieving sinus pressure and congestion. It has all the above properties and more. The main ingredient that makes it so effective is its organic compound, menthol. Menthol works to relieve congestion while also having a mildly sedative effect. It’s perfect for mixing with a carrier oil and applying topically when going to sleep at night. Eucalyptus oil is another great treatment for congestion that acts and smells just like peppermint oil.

Lavender essential oil is a go to oil for many ailments and can really help to reduce anxiety and stress. But did you know that lavender can also ease flu symptoms and congestion by calming the lungs? This one is best used in a diffuser, but we’ll talk more about methods for getting quick relief when congested a little later.

Another one of the best essential oils to ease congestion is tea tree oil. This oil is great at tackling cough, nasal congestion, and a sore throat all at once. Tea tree oil can be used topically in spots that need the most attention, like your chest for chest congestion and cough, or under the nose for sinus congestion. You can also mix tea tree oil with a bit of water to gargle and soothe your throat. Check out each of these essential oils and see which one best suits your symptoms and your tastes. You may prefer the aroma of one oil over the other.

Now that you’ve picked the essential oil of your choice, it’s time for aromatherapy! There are many ways you can use your essential oils to treat your congestion. The easiest way to get some aromatherapy into your living space is to use one to three drops of your chosen oil in a diffuser. If you use a humidifier, put about ten to fifteen drops of essential oil in because the oil will be diluted with water.

You can go about your daily activities or spend some time relaxing and breathing deeply. Mixing essential oils with a carrier like jojoba oil (or other oil that has little to no aroma) will allow you to rub the oil directly on your skin for a topical effect in targeted areas.

Lastly, mixing your essential oil with hot water in a bath, or in a bowl of hot water will give you a concentrated burst of aromatherapy. When using a bowl of very hot water, place a towel over your head to catch all the steam. Breath slowly and deeply and repeat this as many times during the day as necessary to ease your congestion. Use any of these aromatherapy methods at the onset of congestion to ease symptoms and carry on with enjoying life without the side effects of strong medication!

Simple Stretches To Combat Office Bod

Office and computer work are hard to avoid, no matter what business you’re in. While you might think that sitting for long periods of time is better for you than being active every day, sitting at a desk for many hours can cause muscle aches and pains as well! Often times, the repetitive motions of typing or writing can cause severe problems in the wrists and elbows. Lower backs and hips can also suffer. It’s important to get at least 5 minutes of exercise every hour. Here are some simple stretches that you can do at or near your desk.

When you stay seated for a long time, your lower muscles are disengaged, and your hamstrings tighten, straining your lower back. Try the forward bend stretch to decrease lower back pain. Stand up. Bend over at the hips until your chest touches your thighs. Your head and arms should hang loosely. Hold this for 10 seconds while breathing deeply and evenly.

The majority of stress in desk work falls to your hands, wrists and elbows. While you may only be doing tiny movements, many of them are repetitive and can cause damage. Use this very simple wrist and fingers stretch to give them a break. While standing, place both hands on your desk or another flat surface. Your palms must be flat with your fingertips pointing to your body. Lean forward into the desk to deepen the stretch. You can hold the stretch for 10-15 breaths, or when tension reduces.

To end our simple office stretches, we’ll tackle one of the biggest sources of Neck stretch – Sit up straight with your feet flat. Lower your chin all the way to your chest, then slowly roll your head to the right, then back, left, then back down. Bring your right ear to your right shoulder. Intensify the stretch by placing your right hand on your head just above your left ear. You can also put your left hand on your left shoulder. Apply gentle pressure if you feel comfortable doing so. Breathe in and out slowly for about 10 breaths, then repeat on the left side.

If you have trouble remembering to do your stretches, set a timer to go off once every hour. Take a lap around your office to get a drink of water, then end with your stretches, which should take as little as 5 minutes. While they are very simple, they will go a long way to combating that dreaded office bod!

Using Massage To Treat Postpartum Depression

Welcoming a new baby into the world can be a time of joy, but it also brings a lot of changes in a mother’s body, both hormonal and physical. After 9 months of diverting the body’s energy to growing a baby, mothers can experience pain, swelling, fatigue and much more.
Approximately 10-15% of mothers experience a condition known as post-partum depression (PPD) which is a severe form of depression that occurs after the birth of a child. Symptoms of PPD include feeling sad, hopeless, guilty, and a lack of a desire to bond with their baby. Increased awareness about this serious condition has led to more research and improved treatments. When combined with other treatments such as psychotherapy, antidepressants or estrogen therapy, researchers have discovered that massage can treat symptoms of PPD.
Mothers can receive massages as soon as they feel comfortable after giving birth. After giving of their own bodies, and then adjusting to life with a newborn, it’s hard to find time to practice healthy self-care skills. Setting up a solid block of time for self-care can make a huge difference in the body’s physical and emotional repair from child birth.
The benefits of massage for everyone are undeniable. Massage provides relaxation, stress reduction and pain relief. Many women who received massages while experiencing symptoms of PPD reported that massage reduced their cortisol, which is the body’s stress hormone, by over 30%. They also reported a decrease in back and leg pain, a decrease in anxiety, and a decrease in feelings of depression. Massage can also improve hormone regulation, reduce swelling, improve sleep, and improve breastfeeding.
Practicing infant massage with your new baby can help to provide a safe and dedicated space for creating a bond with each other.
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression, it’s important to reach out for help from trained professionals. Let us help you on your journey out of postpartum depression with massages targeted to speed the body’s recovery, reduce cortisol levels, and decrease anxious and depressed feelings. We’ll be happy to set up a plan of care that will fit you and your needs!

Massage Therapy For Diabetics

For diabetics, it can be a dizzying array of strict diets, supplements, and drug therapy depending on the stage of diabetes. One thing is for sure however, Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics can benefit from not only the relaxing effects of massage therapy; it’s also an effective tool in regulating the disease as well.

 

Massage is useful in reducing stress which is no secret, however for diabetics, lowering the heart rate and blood pressure while increasing endorphins. For many diabetics with poor circulation, a few different types of massage therapy will promote increased and proper circulation. Deep Muscle Therapy and Stone Massage are particularly effective.  A Swedish massage will help move the blood through congested areas of the body, flushing lactic acid from the muscles and allowing more oxygen-rich blood to flow in.

Stress hormones also contribute to chemical changes in connective tissue causing stickiness between the layers of tissue. Massage therapy along with stretching and regular exercise is important to help encourage flexibility and health.

Neuropathy is a painful side effect for some diabetics.  The burning, stinging sensation on the tops of feet and hands can be debilitating, and only grows worse. Massage has proven helpful in triggering endorphin release to raise a patient’s threshold. Also, Trigger Point Therapy along with Sports Massage releases serotonin and oxytocin in your body. Both of these chemicals are known to relieve chronic pain.

 

Massage works directly with the muscles and connective tissues in the body helping to facilitate greater mobility in the body. Because elevated blood sugar causes the thickening of connective tissue, a diabetic may be affected by mobility and elasticity of the myofascial system. Stiffness in muscles, tendons, and ligaments or a decreased range of motion will benefit greatly by a regularly scheduled massage.

 

 

It’s important to note however, that the deep, restful relaxation of massage may cause hypoglycemia. Talk to your massage therapist about your history if you have one with hypoglycemia and how you’ve dealt with it. Check your blood sugar before and after your massage to keep the calm and relaxing effects of your massage session continuing on long after you’ve left our center.

 

Along with all of the physical benefits of massage, massage will also give you a wonderful psychological boost; helpful to those who live and suffer from diabetes. If you would like more information on how we can plan a regularly scheduled massage therapy for you, please visit our center. Our massage therapists will sit down with you to discuss your diabetes, your aches and pains and choose the most appropriate therapy for you.

Show Mom You Care with a Massage

Mother’s Day is just a few weeks away and there really is no better gift than the gift of massage therapy. Mother’s Day gift certificates are currently 20% off, through May 14th! You can order a gift certificate online or over the phone, we are happy to email you the gift certificate for you to surprise your loved one!

Here are some reasons we think massage therapy makes the best gift for Mother’s Day:

Mothers in all stages of motherhood can benefit from massage therapy. If your loved one is about to become a mother, a prenatal massage therapy session can help relax her while bringing relief from the discomforts of pregnancy. Expectant mothers may also find themselves having trouble sleeping due to their discomfort, so a massage may help bring them the utter relaxation they need to sleep well. Low stress levels, good sleep, and plenty of relaxation are all important to growing a healthy baby so encourage an expectant mother to take care of her body during this demanding time with the gift of massage.

Mothers of babies and toddlers are new to the many demands of motherhood. Sleepless nights, worrying, and increased physical labor from carrying around small children can have a toll on her body. A massage can help her relax, sleep better, and reduce pain from lugging a heavy toddler or a car seat from place to place. Many new mothers also find themselves with lingering effects of pregnancy or delivery, such as low back and hip pain or swelling. Massage increases circulation and lymphatic drainage which can help facilitate the body in getting rid of the excess fluids. Stimulating the tissue also helps your body to shift fluid to the right places.

If your loved one is a mother to older children, she may have very little time to herself between the demands of her work and family life. School and sports schedules in addition to work and running a household can leave little time for relaxation or stress-relief. In our modern culture, it is easy to feel like you are not measuring up or doing enough as a mother. Indulge your loved one with a pampering massage session to help melt away stress and tension. Massage therapy has been shown to reduce the level of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the blood while also lowering blood pressure and heart rate.

You may be an adult who wants to show mom how special she is to you and how much you recognize her devotion towards raising you. Women as they age may encounter sleep difficulties due to fluctuating hormones as they enter menopause. Middle-aged and aging adults may also begin experiencing pain in their neck, shoulders, backs, and hips. Encourage mom to relax with a massage gift certificate that can help provide relief from any aches and pains. Massage therapy can also reduce the severity of hormonal fluctuations by lowering the levels of cortisol in the blood, since this stress hormone is tied with an increase in hormonal fluctuations.

Whatever her stage of motherhood, treat mom to a massage!

Post-Tax Stress Relief! Which Type of Massage is Best?

The federal tax filing deadline has passed, letting many of us breathe a sigh of relief that a hefty to-do is off our list. Business owners and individuals alike may have lost sleep, staying up later than usual to finish their taxes, or tensed their shoulders and necks while crunching numbers. Owing taxes is stressful, particularly if it came as a surprise. Finding all the documents you need, realizing you were missing something important at the last minute, or standing in a long line at the post office can all add anxiety and tension to a life that is already busy.

Luckily, massage therapy is a helpful and affordable away to melt away the stress of filing taxes! Try out one of these popular massage specialties for stress relief!

Choose Swedish Massage for moderate to light stress relief, as well as enhanced relaxation and improved sleep. Dull your headaches and forget about the hectic days leading up to filing taxes with this popular massage technique that features smooth, gliding strokes and kneading of the topmost layers of muscles. Swedish massage is a truly relaxing and reenergizing experience.

Try a Deep Tissue Massage for muscle tension from stress! This is a similar massage style to Swedish massage but focuses on deeper layers of the muscle tissue and fascia. It is used to release knots in muscles and adhesions. If you are carrying a lot of tension in your neck, back and shoulders and prefer a firmer touch, this may be an excellent choice for you!

Try a Hot Stone Massage for deep muscle tension and stress. Hot river stones help loosen the muscles and fascia with their heat, helping to melt away stress with gentle gliding pressure. This type of massage is a great choice for individuals who would benefit from a deep tissue massage but are more sensitive to the pressure involved with a deep tissue session.

Choose Craniosacral Therapy for stress relief, rebalancing, and improved nervous system functioning. If your brain feels fried after tax time, this may be the treatment for you. This whole body, light-touch treatment technique releases tensions felt deep within the body, improving the overall function of the central nervous system and immune system.

Choose our Signature Blended Deep Swedish Massage for deep stress relief! This signature 90-minute service combines a unique blend of massage modalities with essential oils for a therapeutic massage that will melt away stress, relax you, and release muscle tension.

If none of these sound like the perfect fit for you, talk to our therapists about which massage type may be best for you and your needs!

You Are Never Too Young for Massage! Massage for Babies and Children

Massage therapy is beneficial across the life span! While you may not find massage centers catering to babies and children, you can use gentle massage techniques on you children safely at home.

Touch is the first sense to develop in humans and is essential to our health and well-being. Babies without enough physical contact fail to thrive. Children who are raised with healthy views of touch and positive tactile experiences are more likely to grow up to be adults with healthy self-esteem and relationships.

Infant massage is an excellent way to nurture and spend time with your baby. Infant massage can encourage interaction between you and your baby, help your baby to relax and sleep, reduce crying, and reduce hormones that control stress. Further research is being conducted but studies have shown that massage promotes growth in premature infants. Premature infants may have developed a negative association with touch if they have experienced uncomfortable and painful medical procedures, so a new and positive experience with touch is beneficial.

It is best to avoid massaging an infant after a feeding since doing so may cause them to vomit. Your baby’s mood is also a great indicator of the right time for a massage. If he or she seems happy and content then go for it, but if the baby is turning their head away from you, it would be best to wait until later.

Your baby may enjoy a massage as part of their nightly bedtime routine, such as after a bath and before dressing them in their pajamas. Create a calm and warm atmosphere by making sure the room temperature is not too cold and lay your baby on a blanket. Use a gentle touch to massage your baby but avoid tickling them so that the baby does not become irritated.

Toddlers and older children can also reap the benefits of massage therapy. Try to make it a part of their nightly bedtime routine to help them relax and prepare their bodies for sleep. Stress may seem like simply a manifest of adult life, but children also experience stress and can benefit from the stress-reducing benefits of massage. Starting school, navigating friendships, struggling with school work, and illness are all potential sources of stress in your child’s life. Stress in the home such as an adult’s illness, job loss, or divorce can also lead your child feeling stressed. A nightly massage can help reduce the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, circulating in the blood. Use light but firm pressure and aim for the massage to last for 15 to 20 minutes since longer can be overstimulating.

Top 4 Massage Types for Digestive Disorders

Massage therapy has many known amazing benefits as well as new perks that are being researched. Many people suffer from occasional bouts of digestive disorders or discomfort such as constipation, heartburn, nausea, or bloating. Many others suffer from digestive disorders that are chronic, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s Disease.

Many of these diseases are accompanied by chronic pain and troublesome symptoms. Digestive orders often have periods where they lurk in the background mixed with periods of active symptoms. While massage therapy is not recommended during a flare-up of an inflammatory condition such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, it can help reduce the likelihood of an attack as part of good self-care. Massage therapy can also help reduce the anxiety, stress, and tension that can be part of these disease and may contribute to worsening flare-ups.

Here are the massage modalities that are used to help those with digestive disorders:

Swedish Massage:

Long strokes and gentle kneading movements are applied to the surface muscles to help release muscle tension. This type of massage is known to help remove waste products from various tissues and improve circulation. Swedish massage may help reduce bloating, gas, and constipation by keeping the digestive tract moving. Gentle pressure on the abdominal muscles may help relieve trapped air.

Deep Tissue Massage:

Deep tissue massage involves the therapist applying more pressure to the deeper muscles and connective tissues of the body. It focuses on releasing adhesion, or knots or scar tissue. It may be used alone or in conjunction with other massage techniques such as a Swedish massage. Some people find a deep tissue massage too uncomfortable but may be able to tolerate a little bit of deep tissue work. Deep tissue massage may also help to relieve cramping and bloating.

Trigger Point Massage:

In trigger point massage, steady pressure is applied to targeted areas. This can help release abdominal muscle spasms and tightness, helping promote blood flow to the area to promote healing. This can help with constipation, cramping, and bloating that cause significant discomfort.

Shiatsu:

Shiatsu is a form of Japanese massage in which the practitioner uses his or her body weight to apply pressure to acupressure points in your body in order to simultaneously adjust the flow of energy through the meridians in your body. This adjustment in energy flow can help the stalled digestive system to get moving again, bringing you relief from bothersome symptoms.

Clean Eating for your Health

If you struggle with your energy level, weight loss, or sleeplessness, it may be time to consider a lifestyle change to help you live your best life! Your body functions and health depend on the nutrients you are putting into it, so if your diet is not the healthiest, then you may have found the reason behind your low energy! Having low energy also lowers your motivation to exercise, but exercise can help you lose weight and sharpen your mental focus.

Eating “clean” has become a popular term in the nutrition and fitness world and can refer to a short-term cleanse or a long-term lifestyle change. While there is no strict definition, clean eating generally refers to consuming foods that are unprocessed and in their natural state. No one food group is typically eliminated, you can eat any foods you like as long as they are whole and unrefined.

Most people who are choosing to eat clean avoid sodas, sports drinks, baked goods, candy, and pre-packaged food like chips, frozen dinners, and canned soup. White bread, white rice, and other foods prepared with white flour are excluded from a clean diet since the grain has been refined, losing much of its nutritional value.

Clean eating offers many benefits, including fat loss, weight loss, increased energy, clearer skin, better sleep, and a sharper mental focus. When you are not consuming sodas and processed foods, you will need to replace those items with water and lots of fruit and vegetables, which are naturally better for your body than other types of food. Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins, which play a key role in your body’s metabolic processes. They are also high in fiber, which keeps your digestive system functioning well. A slow-moving digestive tract can make you feel sluggish and bloated, so you should notice the benefits of increasing your produce intake. Fruits and vegetables are also complex carbohydrates, helping sustain your energy for longer periods without the energy ups and downs that come from consuming processed foods made with sugar.

Clean eating has been around for a long time, but it may take some time to get used to making this lifestyle change since our hectic ways of life often have us relying on pre-packaged foods. You can go big and begin eating 100% clean right away, or you could plan to start small, choosing to eat clean for dinner every day while you learn to pack yourself clean lunches and grab a quick breakfast that is not processed food.

Clean eating can help you feel better and live your best life! Consider other lifestyle changes that have a positive effect, like taking more time for self-care activities such as getting a massage or visiting with friends. Try it out to see how it works for you!