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.
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:
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 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.
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!
Spring is coming our way with warmer weather, blossoming flowers, and pollen! As excited as you may be to welcome spring, seasonal allergies can be a considerable part of the season for many. Around 40 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies with a range of symptoms such as runny nose, congestion, watery eyes, and sneezing.
Allergies are caused by the body detecting pollen or other triggers and defending itself from the allergen by releasing histamine, a chemical which causes irritating symptoms such as watery eyes, itchiness, and redness. Remedies include daily medications or avoiding the outdoors, but a more natural approach is to try out essential oils. Get on top of spring allergies with essential oils that can keep annoying symptoms at bay.
Peppermint oil is a great remedy for allergies. Inhaling diffused peppermint oil helps to open up the sinuses, relieving painful pressure and congestion. It also provides relief to scratchy throats and acts as an expectorant, breaking up phlegm. Research has shown peppermint oil can work to exhibit antispasmodic activity, which helps you to cough less. This makes it a great treatment option before sleep!
Use peppermint oil in a diffuser. Five drops of peppermint oil added to a diffuser can give you great relief from allergy symptoms. Peppermint oil can also be taken internally to reduce inflammation. Add 1 to 2 drops to your favorite tea. You can apply peppermint oil topically but it can be irritating to the skin, particularly to people with sensitive skin. Dilute the peppermint oil with coconut oil and test in a small area before applying it to the chest, back, temples, and feet.
Eucalyptus oil opens up the lungs and sinuses, helping to improve circulation and reduce allergic symptoms. Eucalyptus oil produces a cold sensation in the nose that helps improve air flow. Eucalyptus oil has a powerful ingredient, known as citronellal, which has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It also is known to work as an expectorant, helping to break up the phlegm that can trap harmful microorganisms that may lead to infections like bronchitis or pneumonia.
Use eucalyptus oil in a diffuser or apply it topically to the chest area for treating respiratory issues. For severe symptoms, you can also pour a cup of boiling water into a bowl and add a few drops of eucalyptus oil. Place a towel over your head, lean over the bowl, and inhale deep breaths for up to ten minutes.
3. Basil Oil
Basil may certainly be familiar as a cooking spice, but it also comes in powerful essential oil form. Basil reduces the inflammatory response of allergens, helping your body react appropriately to a threat rather than the overreactive immune response that causes allergic symptoms. Basil oil can also help detoxify the body, fighting harmful bacteria and viruses that can be especially opportunistic when the body is overcome with allergies.
Take one drop of basil oil internally to fight inflammation and regulate the immune system. Add a drop of basil oil to soup or other dishes. Dilute 2-3 drops of basil oil with coconut oil and apply topically to the chest and temples.
4. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a powerful antiseptic agent, exhibiting antimicrobial properties. Tea tree oil can fight off a wide range of bacteria, fungi, and yeast. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can be used as a household cleaner to eliminate allergens from the home.
Use tea tree oil topically, applying 2-3 drops to a cotton ball and gently applying to any rashes or hives on the skin. You can also use tea tree oil with water as a household cleaner.
You may hear regularly in the news or from celebrities about a cleanse or other technique meant to eliminate toxins from the body. This phrase sounds beneficial but what does “removing toxins” really mean? What are the toxins that build up in our body that need to be removed through special diets or rituals?
A “toxin” can really be anything that does our bodies harm. Many specialty cleanses or diets consider alcohol, sugar, carbohydrates, meat, or tobacco products to cause a build up of toxins in the body. Any substance could technically be a toxin, especially if not consumed in moderation. Cleanses and special diets focus on following a plan for a short amount of time that focuses on not ingesting any toxins while also flushing them from the system in a special way. Flushing toxins may be done by drinking certain teas, beverage concoctions, nutritional supplements, water with lemon, or vinegar.
Many people claim that they feel more energetic, sleep better, think clearly, and lose weight after following a cleanse. You may be rushing out to try a cleanse after being someone rave about their experiences, but there is a flip side to following one of these special programs. If you follow a cleanse and then return to your same poor diet or habits, you will no longer feel more energetic or sleep better. You did not “reset” your body with a cleanse but rather gave it a break from a lifestyle that was more than your body could handle, such as a high fat diet or consuming too much alcohol.
A cleanse to flush toxins may also not be a healthy option, since a cleanse typically involves consuming very little calories, particularly from protein sources. While it is usually done in the short-term, going without protein is detrimental to your body’s natural cell renewal process. Cleansing may also negatively affect any chronic diseases you have such as diabetes which requires more careful regulation of nutrient intake.
Luckily, you really do not need to cleanse or do anything special to flush toxins from your body. Your body has many systems already in place to handle toxins in our body. The digestive system actively eliminates anything our body cannot use from food, while the kidneys filter our blood and excrete the filtered waste products in urine. Even our skin can sweat out impurities!
Instead of a cleanse, focus on ways that you can support your body’s natural processes. Eating a diet high in fiber with lots of fruits and vegetables will support a healthy digestive system. Regular exercise and drinking plenty of water also helps your digestive tract work best. Sluggishness may be the result of a slow-moving digestive tract, heavy meals, and poor diet choices that are not giving you the energy you need.
Drinking lots of water helps your kidneys to flush out waste products. Alcohol and heavy caffeine consumption reduce the ability of the kidneys to do their job, which may leave you feeling bloated and uncomfortable. A diet high in sodium, such as one that relies heavily on takeout and fast food will also impact the kidneys.
Getting enough sleep at night as well as reducing stress can also help your body work its best. If you are having trouble doing either, seek out ways to relax for stress reduction and better sleep. Spending time with friends, time with a good book and a warm beverage, or a pampering massage can all be wonderful stress reducers. Massage therapy is shown to reduce stress while also helping you sleep better. Massage also lowers blood pressure and improves circulation, helping vital blood reach the organs that eliminate toxins from the body. Choose a healthier lifestyle over a short-term cleanse in order to flush toxins from your system!
With St. Patrick’s Day almost here, you may find yourself making plans for a fun night out! As fun as that may be, you may need to have a recovery plan in place if you find that having a few drinks with friends leaves you feeling poorly the following morning. Make sure to drink responsibly, have a safe ride home, and take in plenty of water. If you still feel unwell though, try essential oils to get you through the hangover.
1.Fennel Essential Oil
This oil may help promote healthy kidney function and eliminate toxins from the body. It is traditionally used for extracting toxins from the blood, making it one of the best detoxifying essential oils to use to help for hangover recovery. To use this oil, combine 1 or 2 drops with a carrier oil and massage onto the skin.
2.Lavender Essential Oil
Hangovers can cause terrible headaches. Lavender essential oil may be able to reduce headache severity by about 50%, making it a great choice for hangover recovery. It has also been noted to have sedative and pain-relieving properties, which may make it helpful if you are trying to sleep off the symptoms of the hangover. To use this oil, add 2-4 drops into 2-3 cups of boiling hot water or into a diffuser and place in a well-ventilated space.
3.Ginger Essential Oil
Ginger is a natural hangover remedy since it works as a pain reliever, soothes abdominal pain, and combats fatigue. It also has liver-protecting properties, making it a great choice for recovering from a hangover.
4.Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon essential oil has fabulous anti-nausea properties and is considered to be one of the best natural remedies for hangover nausea. Lemon oil may also have anti-depressant properties, making it a great mood elevator and helping you feel better. Use lemon essential oil in a diffuser for the greatest benefit.
5.Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil is a powerful hangover remedy. It has natural anti-nausea properties as well as relieves digestive and headache pain. Applying peppermint essential oil to the temples of the forehead may help reduce headache symptoms, since the cooling effects can increase the blood flow to the head, alleviating the painful symptoms of a headache. Peppermint oil can also significantly reduce fatigue.
Mix 2-4 drops of a peppermint oil with a carrier oil and rub into the temples.
6. Black Pepper Essential Oil
Black pepper essential oil is natural pain relief. If it is applied topically, black pepper essential oil has been reported to relieve symptoms of an upset stomach like bloating or cramping, which may be very helpful if you are suffering from a hangover. To use this oil for stomach relief, mix 2-5 drops with a few tsp of a carrier oil, apply the mixture to the stomach area and gently rub until fully absorbed.
We may experience trauma directly in our lives or feel the intense burden of the trauma covered in the news. Terrorist situations, severe weather, or gun violence happen around the country and the world and the weight of these events in the news affects us deeply. We may minimize our experiences with trauma, particularly if the trauma is connected to media coverage of a tragedy. It may feel like you should not rightfully feel the way you do, since these events did not directly happen to you. Do not diminish your feelings, we are all humans and feeling upset by the horrible events experienced by others is a natural reaction.
Trauma can cause many emotional, mental, and physiological symptoms in our bodies. Some of the most commonly felt are anxiety, hopelessness, an upset stomach, and a tendency to neglect self-care. Trauma can cause a withdrawal from social situations, a rejection of intimacy, or disturbing dreams and flashbacks. Surprisingly, you may feel numb or a dissociation with your body after experiencing a traumatic event. Addressing the symptoms of trauma can help lessen the physiological burden of the experience and help you lead a better life. Untreated, these symptoms of trauma can easily lead to issues with substance abuse, relationship problems, or depression.
Massage therapy can be a helpful tool after experiencing trauma. If you feel comfortable, communicate what you are feeling with your therapist to help them develop a plan of care for you. Massage therapy can help you feel more connected with your body if you are feeling numb or a dissociation from the events that occurred. Trauma from a physical violence or abuse can lead to a general discomfort with your body or touch. Massage therapy is a positive form of touch that can lead to you feeling more comfortable with intimate touch like a hug from your friend or holding hands with your spouse.
Massage therapy is an effective stress reliever since it reduces blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is pumped out by your adrenal glands in stressful situations. In small amounts and for short periods of time, cortisol can help you power through a difficult event. Lingering stress caused by trauma causes an excess of cortisol to build up in the blood, wreaking havoc on your body and leading to sleeplessness, anxiety, and an upset stomach. Massage can help manage how stressed you feel by lowering blood cortisol, with an average of a 31% reduction in cortisol levels. Massage therapy also increases serotonin levels, by 28% on average and levels of dopamine increase by 21%. Serotonin and dopamine are associated with a better outlook on life, feeling calm, less anxiety, and better sleep.
Whether you suffered a traumatic experience directly or are deeply troubled by recent events in the news, it is important that you take your symptoms seriously. They are real and need to be addressed. Talk with your healthcare provider or a counselor and make a plan for incorporating other therapies such as massage into your path to recovery.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome, or IT Band Strain, is one of the most common overuse injuries experienced by runners and other athletes. IT occurs when the iliotibial band, which is the ligament that runs down the outside of the thigh from the hip to the shin, is tight or inflamed. The IT band attaches to the knee and helps to stabilize and move this joint, but when it isn’t working properly, movement of the knee becomes painful. This type of pain can be severe enough to sideline an athlete for quite a long time.
Symptoms of IT band strain include swelling and pain on the outside of the knee, causing many to think they have suffered a knee injury. However, with IT band strain, if you bend your knee at a 45- degree angle than the pain will be experienced on the outside of your knee. No changes will show up on an X-Ray but if for some reason you were to have an MRI on your leg than a partial thickening of the band will show up, indicating inflammation. MRI use for muscle injuries is relatively rare, so it is best to be familiar with the symptoms of this type of injury.
IT band strain can occur from any type of activity that causes the leg to turn inward repeatedly. It is slightly more common among women, since women’s hips tilt differently from men and may cause their knees to turn in an inward direction. It affects seasoned runners as well as beginners.
You can try to prevent IT Band Strain by:
-Be careful not to wear worn out shoes. Replace shoes in a timely fashion!
-Avoid running downhill too much
-Alternate directions if you are running on a track
-Running too many miles. Slow down your training schedule if you are experiencing pain.
If you begin to experience pain, take a few days off running or decrease your mileage. This pain can become chronic if you do not give yourself a break. If you are backing off your mileage you can still cross-train by adding swimming or another gentle exercise to your workout routine.
If your pain continues, consider massage therapy for some relief and healing! A massage therapist trained in sports massage can help release tension in the muscle and fascia and stimulate the blood flow. If you are in extreme pain, wait at least 48 hours after running before seeking massage treatment and keep in mind that a very severe strain may need to be left alone for a week or more. Always communicate your symptoms and comfort level with your therapist whose aim is to make you feel better and restore motion.
If you have difficulty sleeping at night, it could be for a number of fixable reasons, such as too much screen time or caffeine before bed, indigestion, or an uncomfortable mattress. But, if you have created a great sleep environment and still need help falling asleep or staying asleep, you may consider adding essential oils to your bedtime routine. Essential oils help with sleep since they can help calm your body and prepare you for sleep. Research also shows that essential oils can be just as calming and effective as a sedative or sleeping pill, but without the risks or side effects.
Here are some oils to try for a better night sleep:
Many people know that lavender is a peaceful, calming scent, but research confirms that lavender can improve the quality of sleep. Lavender has even been shown to help intensive care unit patients at the hospital have a more restful night of sleep, a big achievement considering the beeping and noise of various machines. Lavender calms the nervous system by lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and skin temperature, which are all processes that take place as the body transitions to sleep. Use lavender essential oil in a diffuser or spritz a spray made with lavender around your bedroom.
Chamomile should come as no surprise, since a cup of chamomile tea is associated with a settled stomach and peacefulness before bed. Chamomile essential oil has a light, floral scent and will create a peaceful atmosphere in your bedroom for falling asleep. Research connects chamomile with a reduction in nightmares. Add one to two drops of chamomile oil to lotion and apply to your skin before bed.
Bergamot is a citrus oil, and while most citrus oils are known for being stimulating, bergamot has a bright feel that is also calming. Similar to lavender, bergamot can help jump start the processes associated with sleep such as lowering blood pressure as well as reduces feelings of anxiety. Bergamot is photosensitive, so it should not be used topically before going outside. Bergamot oil can also be added to a diffuser.
4. Ylang Ylang
Ylang ylang essential oil is a fruity oil sourced from a tree native to Southeast Asia. It slows the heart rate and reduces blood pressure, helping to promote feelings of calm necessary for a good night’s rest. Ylang ylang Add a few drops of ylang ylang oil to an Epsom salt bath before bed, combine a few drops with a carrier oil and massage into skin, or add to a diffuser.
If a stuffy nose or allergies is keeping you up at night, try diffusing eucalyptus essential oil to help you breathe easier. Difficulty breathing due to colds, allergies, or sinus pressure can lead to frequent waking up, making your night unrestful. Eucalyptus is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce the swelling in the nasal passages and sinus cavities.
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!