Essential Oil Remedies For Those Pesky Bugs!

Let’s face it, bugs are annoying! In the summertime, there are many more bugs outside that can get in your way. Bugs cause painful and itchy bites, illness, and even deadly disease. Many people tend to use chemical sprays to kill bugs. Chemical sprays can be harmful to breathe, harmful to our skin, and harmful to the environment. Luckily, nature has some great remedies for repelling those pesky bugs. Check out these essential oils that will keep bugs away!

Fleas – These pesky little insects are generally found in dark places and on animals, and flourish in warm weather. Although extreme heat will deter their numbers, the perfect temperature for fleas is 70-85 degrees.  The humidity is often high in northern Virginia, which is also another perfect birthing ground for flea larva. Fleas find their hosts by smell, so essential oils will mask the scent as well as repel them. To keep them away from your furry friends, make a spray with 30 drops of either eucalyptus, peppermint, cedarwood, lemongrass or citronella (or a mixture of all of them) combined with one cup of water. You can also mix these oils into a carrier oil and massage it into their fur.

Ticks – Ticks are often found outside in areas with tall grass. They are flightless parasites, feeding on animals and humans. There are many different types, including some so small that they are barely visible, and they can carry serious diseases, like lyme disease. You can reduce the amount of ticks that you pick up when outside by wearing long pants, but you can also repel them with essential oils. Ticks are like fleas in that they sense their hosts through smell, so essential oils are great for masking scents and giving a scent that will ward off the ticks. The top essential oils to drive away ticks are lavender, pennyroyal, lemongrass, eucalyptus, lemon.

Mosquitos – One of the most annoying summer bugs are mosquitos! These flying blood suckers hunt for their animal and human prey by searching out smells of carbon dioxide and sweat. Their bites create an itchy bump that irritates the skin, and can also carry deadly viruses such as malaria, West Nile virus, and Zika virus. Citronella is the most common essential oil to keep mosquitos away and can be used in candles and bug sprays. Other essential oil options to ward off mosquitos include lemongrass, peppermint, tea tree oil, witch hazel, lavender, eucalyptus.

All of these essential oils are a natural, safe, nonchemical approach to keeping bugs away this summer. Always make sure to test all of your ingredients on your skin before applying it everywhere. While these essential oils are safe and non-toxic, always make sure that you do not have a sensitivity or allergy to any oils by testing a small amount first. Once you find that your skin does not have any reactions, spray liberally or apply using a carrier oil. If you do happen to get a bit or a sting, mix together tea tree oil, peppermint, and a carrier oil to reduce irritation. Stay safe from bugs and bug bites this summer with these great essential oil sprays and repellants!

Should You Still Get a Massage If You Have a Broken Arm / Leg?

Massage therapy is very helpful for every day aches and pains, stress, back pain, and more. You may not know that massages are also extremely helpful for addressing injuries. Athletes often get massages before and after games to aid in repairing any damage done. The benefits of massage even extend to helping your body heal and repair after fracturing or breaking an arm or leg!

Whenever you have an injury, consult with your doctor about any treatments, physical therapy, or massages. Based on the type of fracture you have, you can start massage right away. Even if you’re wearing a cast, MMS can massage around the immobilized area.

Massaging the surrounding areas outside of the cast, will reduce stiffness and edema caused by the injury. As a result of reducing stiffness and swilling, you will increase range of motion in the surrounding joints.

Another great benefit of massage is to improve healing and rejuvenation. Relaxing the muscles surrounding the injured area will reduce pain and increase circulation of nutrients and oxygen to the muscles. Giving more oxygen and nutrients to the muscles will speed up healing and increase mobility.

Always remember to consult your doctor about how best to treat your broken arm or leg. If you’ve been given clearance to do physical movement and massage, the benefits are undeniable. A Medical Massage Specialists’ massage will take care of you by reducing pain and swelling, and increasing mobility and healing.

How Important is Massage For Young Athletes?

Sports play a huge role in our lives. We go to live sporting events, we watch games on TV, and we introduce young athletes to the love of sport. Young athletes have huge potential to compete and succeed in sports. The best way to set your child up for success is to take care of their bodies through healthy food, rest, and a great massage from Medical Massage Specialists. Here are some of the reasons why massage is so important for your young athlete’s health.

Massage keeps a young athlete’s body in peak condition. Young bodies are constantly growing through puberty. This means that as their bones grow, their muscles will stretch and then grow as well. Even without the physical strain of regular use, young athletes can experience growing pains. Massage will soothe pain and reduce the stress of regular use.

Tight muscles are far more prone to injury. By getting a massage at least once a month, young athletes will reduce their risk of injury. Massage invests in your child’s performance by reducing the amount of injuries, and thus reducing medical bills and permanent damage to the body. It’s ideal for athletes to get a massage before and after sporting events.

Massage boosts a young athlete’s performance. It improves circulation and blood flow to the muscles, allowing young athletes to run faster, jump higher, have a greater range of motion and have better coordination. Attitude can make a world of difference in an athlete’s success. Studies prove over and over again that massage also reduces both physical and mental stress and anxiety. When your child is more relaxed and has less stress, they will be able to face their next game with confidence.

Young athletes strive for perfection in their physical performance. There’s always a game to be won, a tournament to play in, or a championship to conquer. The benefits of massage are huge for athletes! The benefits include conditioning and repairing the body, as well as boosting performance.  Help set your child up for success with soothing massages from MMS today!

How To Soothe Your Sunburn                 

The summer sun is here! It’s the perfect time to enjoy a day by the water or go on a vacation. This means that your skin is going to get far more sun exposure. It’s very important to put on sunscreen several times throughout the day if you plan on being out in the sun. Vitamin D from the sun is important to prevent Vitamin D deficiency but getting too much sun can lead to sunburns, premature wrinkles, leathery skin, and skin cancer. Sunburns can be painful, itchy and damage your skin. It’s best to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun if possible, but if you do get a sunburn, these essential oils and natural ingredients can help!

Briefly, there are three degrees of burns. First-degree burns are damage the outer layer of the skin, resulting in red, irritated skin. A second-degree burn is damage to both the outer layer and the under layer which presents as blistering, redness, and very painful skin. Third degree burns are very serious burns that cause nerve damage and destroy your skin, leaving skin looking either red, white, yellowish, or even black. Most sunburns are first-degree burns, but you can get both second and third-degree burns from the sun depending on the conditions you are in, so make sure to pay attention to the sun and how long you stay out in it.

 When treating a sunburn, you want to relieve pain and to help your skin to heal faster. There are many options to treat sunburn naturally by using essential oils and other natural items.  The best essential oils to treat sunburns are peppermint essential oil, eucalyptus essential oil, and lavender essential oil. Peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils are natural analgesics, reducing the pain and inflammation of the burn. Lavender is a great essential oil for healing because it reduces inflammation and reduces redness and scarring.

Create a mixture with these essential oils and aloe vera gel. Aloe vera is a widely used treatment for sunburns that is derived from the aloe vera plant. It contains polysaccharides and other natural ingredients that encourage healing and regeneration of the skin. If you’d like to spray your skin without having to rub the mixture in (which could be painful), add water and put the mixture into a small spray bottle.

Another method of soothing a sunburn is to take a bath in natural ingredients that promote healing and pain relief. The best choices for this are oatmeal, milk, and apple cider vinegar. Put a cup of one of these into a warm bath and soak for as long as you like. Make sure to use warm water instead of hot water, as hot water can make the pain of the sunburn worse.

Make sure to use sun cover ups, including hats and shirts, along with sunscreen this summer. It’s also important to limit the amount of time that you’re in the sun. Even exposure to the sun with sunscreen can lead to sunburns and damage to your skin. If you do happen to stay in the sun just a bit too long, treat your sunburn quickly with essential oils and other natural ingredients to reduce pain and heal faster.

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!