Info From The Oasis

How to Boost Your Immune System in the Fall Weather

Everyone in Northern Virginia has a different reaction to the sudden temperature change this week. As time goes on, the seasons seem to move from gradual change to on/off switches. Our bodies are not accustomed to this change, and it puts our immune systems under greater stress.

You have already seen the effects. Employees in the area are reporting sick and staying home because of a cold (or worse, they’re working when they shouldn’t be). Illnesses like the cold or the flu are often brushed aside as something you can deal with until you get sick. Don’t play into that mindset when you can proactive and take action today to keep your immune system in top shape and avoid the next wave of colds.

Avoid Toxins

Toxins are everywhere. In our food, our drinks, the dirt we touch, and even the air we breathe. To avoid all toxins would be impossible, but you can greatly reduce your toxin intake. For example, the easiest advice we can give is to avoid smoking and avoid secondhand smoke. Limit your alcohol intake. Any drug puts a large number of toxins directly into your body and directly affects your immune system.

Eat a Healthy Diet with Lots of Fruits and Vegetables

The best diet is a balanced diet. Not restricting yourself to one food group or even counting calories, your best bet for a good immune system is an even diet with the right proportion of fruits and vegetables.

Nature provides us with the best resources for our health. Vitamins and nutrients such as Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Iron, Selenium, and more are in a variety of fruits and vegetables. Even adding steamed broccoli to your meals and having some fruit for dessert can do wonders for your body and your health.  

Get an Adequate Amount of Sleep

This country is in crisis mode when it comes to sleep deprivation. 33% of U.S. adults don’t get the recommended 7 hours of sleep per night. Sleep deprivation is one of the easiest and fastest ways to send your body’s immune system into a downward spiral. Remember the best advice for a cold is GET PLENTY of REST, and STAY HYDRATED.

For those of you with a busy schedule, you may not even notice that sleep deprivation is an issue. You may be overwhelmed with stress that won’t go away until you get a full night’s sleep. It bears repeating that if you are sleep deprived, sleep is your only cure. Nothing else will help.

Use Essential Oils

Aromatherapy is one of the most undervalued approaches to good health in the market. These oils, used either with a diffuser or sometimes applied directly on the body, can boost the vitamins and nutrients needed to strengthen your immune system.

Lemon, for example, is an effective essential oil for boosting your immune system and detoxing. In the fall a blend of oils known as Thieves Oil can help your body deal with all the bugs going around.

Get a Massage

A massage is directly correlated to your immune system by activating the lymphatic system. It can make the above methods much more effective. Particularly by releasing toxins and helping to get enough sleep.


Massage itself is a natural and ancient method of relieving the body of its toxins. Toxins like to gather around the fascia, and congregate there creating pain and stress on the individual. A good massage encourages blood flow throughout the body to push those toxins right out and replace them with beneficial biochemicals. The result is a detox of the body, and stress relief enough to help with any insomnia.

You owe it to your body to take the steps necessary to keep it strong and healthy. Don’t let your immune system fall this season, take action today and always make your health a priority.

Thinking of a Career in Massage Therapy? Here are all the Steps!

Massage therapy is a booming industry bringing worth more than $16 billion dollars and 335,000-385,000 new massage therapists into the market in 2017. These numbers prove that our ancient techniques work and that they are in demand. Massage therapy is an artform that requires mastery of technique, and a deep knowledge of anatomy. While individuals can get pretty good at giving quick, individual massages, a massage therapist provides something of an entirely different level.

You Have to Go to School

Not everyone can become a massage therapist. It requires years of practice and education. It is a trade based on a unique skill that is only taught in accredited massage therapy schools. Like anyone else, you must go to school to do the job.

In the U.S., there are more than 300 accredited schools in massage therapy. These schools can take a year or more to teach students the essential skills they need in massage therapy. It also gives them the tools they need to succeed in the massage therapy business as well.

Initial training is robust. On average, massage therapists have had more than 600 hours of initial training before becoming certified. And after their initial education, the vast majority of massage therapists take continuing education classes every year.

Get Certified

Standards of certification is the responsibility of the state and that means that standards are different depending on the state your in. A clear majority of the country requires certification. Even in states that do not require certification, their municipalities often do.

Certification requires a passing score in the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx) or one of two exams provided by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork. The state of Virginia requires a passing score on the MBLEx along with 500 hours of training from a certified massage therapy school.

Decide Where to Work

Massage therapy is a popular career choice partly because of its flexibility. You don’t have to work within a business, or in an office or a spa. You choose if you want to be independent, if you want to work with a small group, a large business, or however you like. You also get to choose where you would like to work.

Of course, economy factors heavily into all of this. Clients may prefer you come to them instead of them coming to you, so you go to clients’ homes even if you prefer your own space. But even then, you control the location, you control the cost, and you control your career path. This field has an incredible amount of freedom.

Conclusion

If anyone came to this post thinking the process must be simple, we’re sorry to disappoint you. Training in massage therapy is robust. Like any other type of therapy, it requires nothing short of mastery to be effective. That means hundreds of hours of training, certification, constant education, and always striving to be a better therapist tomorrow than you were today.

3 Tips on Preparing for Your Prenatal Massage

Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful wonders of life…and the most painful. Anyone facing pregnancy knows that it’s a sacrifice incomparable to anything else. The stress it takes on the body is tremendous, and self-care is incredibly difficult. One of the most common effects of pregnancy is back pain, especially in the lower back, and expecting mothers may consider a massage to help with the pain and stress.

A massage is not a bad idea. Studies have shown that prenatal massages are safe and beneficial, as long as the massage therapist knows what they’re doing. When looking for a prenatal massage, finding the right therapist becomes much more important than usual, because you want the toxins to flow out of your body properly and to not affect the baby.

Talk to Your Doctor

Whenever you have a medical concern, please consult your doctor. Our massage therapists are masters at what they do, but that does not include clinical medicinal practice, especially when it comes to pregnancy. Be sure to talk to your doctor about everything regarding your pregnancy and share your concerns about any pain, stress, or fatigue you are feeling. And then ask if massage therapy will help. Your doctor knows what’s best for you and will recommend a proper solution.

Is your Massage Therapist Certified?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the massage therapist. Be sure to ask for credentials and experience with prenatal massage and look for any reviews from other pregnant women who have gone through his practice. The research will verify that this massage therapist can do the job and relieve any anxiety about the appointment.

Ask About Essential Oils

Remember that massage therapists use a variety of essential oils in their practice. Ask your doctor about essential oils and if any ingredients can potentially harm you or the baby. A certified massage therapist should know which essential oils are safe and which are not, but it doesn’t hurt to double check.

Pregnancy stresses the body to incomprehensible levels. You don’t have to sit there and accept the pain. Talk to your doctor, and ask about a prenatal massage. Then book an appointment with us at Medical Massage Specialties, and we can make your pregnancy at least a little bit easier.

Four Reasons Why You Need a Hot Stone Massage

Hot stone is a style of massage which combines the techniques of Swedish massage with the powers of hot volcanic rocks to ease muscle tension and improve circulation. The rocks are placed in specific pressure points around the body, usually in the back and shoulders, but it can be on your neck and head as well. They are heated using warm water and the volcanic rocks are chosen for their ability to keep heat. When applied to the right point, the heat loosens the muscles, allowing the massage therapist to do a lot more without applying too much pressure.

Muscle Relaxation

Muscles tighten up and stay that way whenever you’re stressed. This tightening hinders blood flow to the area, decreasing your overall health.

In classic Swedish Massage, friction is used to create heat enough to loosen the muscles. In Hot Stone, we do one better. By using a steady, sustained heat, we’re not only able to create more heat to loosen your muscles quicker, but we’re able to sustain those effects throughout the whole massage.

The result is greatly increased circulation. Much more than you can get with a Swedish massage.

Stress Relief

Stress is one of the leading causes of a surprising number of diseases. Your body needs to rest to work at its best. Stressors are everywhere and reducing stress should be a priority for everyone.

Studies have shown that Hot Stone greatly reduces stress on both your body and your mental health.

Ease the Pain

Hot Stone massage is not a cure for cancer, nor does it replace medical care. What it can do is help ease chronic pain caused by muscle related injuries and conditions. If you’re facing chronic pain, always visit a doctor first. But if you need some help with the symptoms, a hot stone massage can be an incredible relief and a valuable part of your medical treatment.

Sleep Aid

Did you know that Hot Stone can also help with insomnia? With lots of stress, tension, and limited circulation, your sleep cycle can get pretty messed up. Hot Stone has the unique ability to loosen the tightest muscles and warm your body up so that blood circulation is in top shape. This all helps your body reset to a normal cycle. Studies have shown that a Hot Stone massage is just as helpful as taking sleep pills.

The benefits of Hot Stone massage are huge. Unparalleled comfort, stress relief, pain relief, and a sleep aid? What more could you need?

What is a Swedish Massage?

The foundation of Western massage therapy. Swedish Massage has history as long and complex as its techniques. While some say that Swedish Massage is the most “basic”, it’s actually far from it. Swedish Massage requires a range of techniques that must be mastered to achieve full body relaxation.

What makes Swedish Massage different from any other massage? Where did it come from? What techniques does it use? What are the benefits?

Origin

While most people suspect that Swedish massage is Swedish, it’s a misnomer. The massage was invented by a Dutch man named Johann Georg Mezger, who was inspired by Per Henrik Ling’s (A Swede) Medical Gymnastics. Because Per Henrik Ling was a major influence, he was credited for the creation of Swedish Massage instead of Johann Mezger.

This misnomer exists only in the U.S. Other countries including all those in Europe refer to Swedish as “Classic Massage” but even that is a misnomer. Both Johann Mezger and Per Henrik Ling were heavily influenced by Eastern style medicine, gymnastics, and massage, which far predate the Swedish massage.

Swedish massage arose from Mezger’s and Ling’s study of Asian practice and has since evolved into the classic style we see today. It uses a variety of techniques

Techniques

A Swedish Massage uses a wide variety of techniques which work together to create a full-body experience.

  1. Effleurage: long strokes across certain areas. They follow your veins to push toxins out of your system and reinforce healthy blood flow.
  2. Petrissage: Sometimes you need to reach deeper muscles. This technique involves kneading with the thumbs and knuckles to relax the top layers of muscle and penetrate the intermediate and deep muscles.
  3. Tapotement: Also known as Rhythmic Tapping. Instead of moving the toxins out of your body through blood flow, tapotement is designed to find knots and relieve tension by applying pressure on area.
  4. Friction: Through rubbing the palms of your hands on your muscles, the masseuse creates enough heat from the friction to relax the muscles. This is often done as a warm-up or as a means to prepare for deep-tissue massage.
  5. Shaking: The goal of this technique is to shake the muscles until they are no longer stiff. This technique uses back and forth action with the fingertips.

Benefits

The goal of a Swedish Massage is full-body relaxation. It improves circulation over the whole body by focusing on the fascia. Our muscles work hard given the circumstances we put them through and tense up over time. By finding those knots, relieving pressure on the muscles, and then encouraging blood flow to wash toxins out of your body and bring in pain-relieving biochemicals, a Swedish Massage is the best choice for a relaxing experience.

Essential Oils for Children: A Safety Guide

If you search online for what essential oils are safe to use on children, you will find a lot of contradictory information. The truth is that not enough research has been done with essential oils to determine a single universally agreed-on list for children. While some studies have been done, and you can find different iterations of such a list online, we will provide something slightly different.

Your children’s safety is a top priority and we want to make sure you are making the best choices for your children. Please do not be allured by stories of essential oils’ effectiveness on children. No two children are the same and the risk for negative reactions could do significant harm to your children.

See a Doctor

Here is our first piece of advice. Do not use essential oils on your kids until you ask a doctor. Do not use essential oils on your kids until you ask a doctor. Do not use essential oils on your kids until you ask a doctor.

We cannot emphasize this point enough. Your child’s safety is much too important to depend on the trust of any blog on the internet. Essential oils are not covered by the FDA unless they are part of another drug, and each one has different ingredients, each one can impact your child’s health in different ways.

Like allergens, essential oils can have unusual and specific effects you don’t see on other children. Just because your child may not have a peanut allergy doesn’t mean you can safely give peanuts to every child. The same kind of caution on exposing your kids to potential allergens should be used for exposure to essential oils.

And while essential oils are natural, we have one important point to remind you.

Just Because it’s Natural Doesn’t Mean It’s Always Safe

Poison Ivy is completely natural, but no one will tell you that’s a good enough reason to rub it on your skin! In fact there are a lot of harmful substances that are entirely natural. And while essential oils are safe for adults, children’s skin are not as developed, and their immune systems are not nearly strong enough. A child’s growth requires critical supervision and care in what you expose them to.

Diffuse Only

Some argue that diluting the oil to .25% and rubbing it on your child’s skin is safe, but unless you have an okay from your doctor (which you should have no matter what), we recommend staying safe and using only a diffuser. Risks of a reaction are greatly increased when the oil itself directly interacts with the skin, so we suggest diluting the oil and then diffusing it.

Store Carefully

Store your essential oil like it’s your medicine. Keep it locked away completely out of reach of your children. You want to avoid your child ingesting the essential oil at all costs. This means keeping it in a container, cleaning up any and all spills, and locking it away. If your child ingests the oil, call 911.

As your child gets older, and their skin and immune systems mature, more and more essential oils will be considered safe for them to use and can be wonderful with the proper medical supervision.

Essential Oils to Relieve your Back to School Stress!

The school year is about to start and the entire household’s a mess. With so much to prepare for, equipment to buy, schedules to work out, activities, clubs, sports, fees, books, it can get overwhelming on the parents. While we specialize in massage, we know a thing or two about essential oils and know which ones will be helpful in relieving stress in the home.

This blog is geared towards parents, for now we strongly recommend you do not use essential oils on your children unless you know and understand all the risks and requirements. Be on the lookout for a blog post in the future about how to use essential oils safely on your kids. We will say right now that you should treat your EO like medicine, meaning it’s stored out of children’s reach and children should avoid ingesting it at all costs. If your child ingests any essential oil, call a doctor. And if you see signs of poisoning, call 911. Bring the essential oil bottle to the emergency room.

That said, essential oils can be valuable for the home and as long as they are stored properly, you should be fine.

Essential oils come in all sorts of varieties each with their unique medicinal properties. You can use all of these essential oils in a diffuser and you can also add some of them to your bath! Here are our recommendations on essential oils for back to school stress!

  • Lavender – Lavender’s one of the most popular essential oils out there. It is proven to be one of the most effective scents in reducing anxiety. Lavender has been used in medicine for centuries across cultures all over the world and has been lauded for its healing powers.
  • Jasmine – Jasmine is a lot like Lavender. If you’re worried about getting too accustomed to one, switching off between jasmine and lavender can be effective for sustaining anxiety relief.
  • Basil – While the other two are good for anxiety, this one is great for stress. Perfect for ending a full day of errands.
  • Frankincense – This one promotes positive, good-will thoughts. Perfect for parents worried about being separated from their children for the day who need something to remind them that everything okay.
  • Sandalwood – Like frankincense, sandalwood promotes positively and optimism, and can help you open to new possibilities.

Other essential oils that would work well would be rose, chamomile, lemon, orange, and lemongrass.

The trick is to look for essential oils that can treat anxiety, fatigue, and stress. Use them with a diffuser, and you should have an easier time getting through the day and preparing your children for the school year!

Why Timing is Everything

The perfect massage is one that comes at the perfect moment. The amount of time since your last massage, the workouts you do before and after your massage, and the time you schedule your massage are all crucial to the massage experience. Here’s our advice on getting a perfectly timed massage.

Before Work or After?

There’s no perfect time to get a massage. Some people feel invigorated after a massage and want to use their new energy to start the day. Others see it as a way to unwind after a long day. What’s most important is for you to find out what you prefer and let your massage therapist know that. If someone likes their massage at the end of the day, that doesn’t mean you won’t prefer a different time.

Schedule a Massage After an Athletic Activity

If you have a major athletic event coming up, say a marathon, or a competition, you want to you have your massage after the event, not before. The reason why is that a tough workout will tighten your muscles again right away. They might give you more energy, but it will run out when you’re focused on your workout goal. You are much better off focusing on your workout and using a good massage to unwind and restart.

How Often Should I Schedule?

We recommend averaging at once a month, but it might be helpful to vary that a little. In times of stress, you may want to come in a little more often. You can make up for those extra times in your budget but leaving it open during the summer or times when you are not stressed. At the end of the day, we recommend going over all your concerns with a massage therapist so that you can get a customized schedule that is right for you.

The perfectly timed massage depends on the individual’s needs. Some people, especially those with back issues or chronic pain may find a regular massage extra helpful, along with tips on what you can do at home. Some may see it as a de-stressor and relaxant, while others use massage as an energizer. It’s important for you to listen to your body and figure out what’s right.

If you have any questions about your specific situation, give us a call, and we will curate the perfectly timed massage for you!

Three Reasons Why You Should Add BEMER to Your Workout Routine

To know about BEMER, you must first know about the body. Blood is pumped by our heart through veins, arteries, and micro-vessels. Like a tree, the micro-vessels are the smallest branches, the ones the last step before producing new life (as in the leaves of a tree). While micro-vessels don’t grow leaves, they do feed the majority of cells in our body. They are the smallest and final stop before feeding our cells. Thousands of micro-vessels keep us alive, but the heart may struggle to pump it all.

Cardiovascular health varies among all people for different reasons. Some may find their heart’s strength decreasing because of old age, a bad diet, or lack of exercise. While staying fit is the best way to keep your heart healthy, you can help it grow even stronger.

That’s where BEMER comes in. BEMER uses electromagnetic fields to encourage a healthy blood flow in your micro-vessels. Healthy blood flow means that your body is getting all the nutrients it needs and the effects of an aging heart are mitigated. Combined with a healthy workout plan, BEMER has the potential to greatly increase your health and reduce the effects of aging. Let’s break it down with three reasons you should add BEMER to your workout plan.

It Strengthens your Immune System

One of the benefits of healthy micro-circulation is improvement to your body’s natural healing process. As we grow older, we are more prone to injuries. And with our bodies slowing down, the tendency is for them to heal slower with age. BEMER counteracts that. What’s slowing your entire healing process is the availability of white blood cells due to poor circulation in your micro-vessels. Improve circulation, and your body will be more prepared to handle any small injuries. (This goes for anything that naturally heals on its own, please see a doctor or call 911 if you have a serious injury).

Healthy Microcirculation is key to Physical Performance

Not only does your health increase, but so does your physical performance. With improved Microcirculation from 15 minutes of BEMER therapy a day, you will be able to use the body in all ways it is meant to. Moving, walking, running, lifting. You can keep these abilities strong through regular BEMER therapy.

It Minimizes the Effect of Aging

Aging happens no matter what, but you don’t have to surrender to its side effects. You can slow the deterioration of your body down through improved micro circulation. Any effect of aging, whether it be fatigue, mobility, strength, mental function, they are all impacted by our blood circulation. When the blood is slowed down in your micro-vessels, all effects of aging are heightened. That’s why adding BEMER to a healthy workout is the best way to stay young and healthy.

Your body is the most important thing in the world. You want to take care of it as best you can. While BEMER and regular workouts will help your muscle system stay healthy, bring yourself one step closer to perfect balance with a regular massage. That way your body is in top shape and relaxed enough to keep any stress from harming you.

Self-Care tips Before and After Your Massage

Massage is all about relaxation. A good massage should make you feel brand-new every single time! That doesn’t mean you can make yourself as tense as you like and get a massage to fix it. You need to take good care of yourself before, during, and after the massage to really feel the benefits. Here are 4 self-care tips before and after your massage.

Schedule Your Massage at the End of the Day

Think of your body as a music box: when you’re stressing over your daily life, that’s your body winding up. When you stop winding a music box, you enjoy the music, you don’t wind it up again right away. A good massage will start unwinding your body, but the unwinding process can last for hours after your massage. You should let it keep going so that you can enjoy the benefits of your massage. Otherwise, you’re winding the music box up again before the music even finishes.

That’s what working after a massage is like. You let the music play for a second, and then you wind it up again. Instead of having a massage during your lunch break, try squeezing one in at the end of the day. That way, you can relax and unwind in peace.

Stay Hydrated

Having enough water in your system is vital for self-care and it makes your massage experience so much better! Water helps the toxins in your body flow out of your body and will prevent soreness after your massage. We recommend avoiding any coffee or alcohol for at least three hours after your massage because these drinks tend to cause dehydration. We also recommend drinking plenty of water beforehand so you’re most prepared.

Maximize your “Me” Time

The best self-care before and after a massage is doing whatever you need to do to relax. This means spending time away from anything or anyone that can cause you stress and giving yourself much-needed time to take care of yourself. We suggest lighting some scented candles, preparing a bubble bath, and turning on some smooth Jazz.

Use Essential Oils to get in the Mood

You want to be in the right mood for your massage. And that might mean taking a moment before your massage to rest a bit too. Stress can cause our minds to clutter and be distracted. We recommend using calming essential oils to get some of that stress out of your system.

With these self-care tips, you’ll be feeling more relaxed and energized than ever. Give yourself the care you deserve by scheduling a massage today!