13 Things You Didn’t Know About Massage

 

Only 32% of adult Americans got a massage in the past 5 years. And only even fewer get massage regularly. So it’s not surprising that most people don’t know much about massage.

Here are some fun facts to build your knowledge:

Massage can help you sleep better. (Even if you don’t nap during the actual massage.)

When your back hurts, that might not be the only area that needs massage. Sometimes back pain comes from the hip, legs or even the abdomen.Likewise, sometimes hand and arm pain is caused by dysfunction in the neck and shoulder.

You can stop a massage session at any time. You never cede control of your body. At any time during a massage you can say “no”, “stop”, or even “can you just work on my neck for the rest of the time and skip everything else?” If you are uncomfortable or feel like the therapist isn’t hearing your feedback, or if you just feel like the table is too hard and you have to pee and gosh, this is awful. You can end it.

Massage can help your mood. It’s been shown to be helpful in treating both anxiety and depression.

Even small therapists can provide deeeeep pressure. It’s not about size, it’s about the techniques we use!

Massage doesn’t ‘detoxify’ your body. That whole thing is a silly myth!! It was taught in many schools and you may have heard me say it, back before I knew better. But we know now that it’s just not true.

Massage is safe in the first trimester of pregnancy (unless there are unusual health issues).  Some practitioners choose to not do it, but that’s a liability choice.

Deep tissue massage, or any massage, doesn’t need to be painful to be effective. For reals. Run screaming from any practitioner who insists there needs to be pain in a treatment.

Scars are living tissue that can be transformed with massage and other manual therapies, no matter how old they are. And they can be affecting you in places farther away from the visible scar than you’d ever suspect.

It’s OK to focus on certain areas of discomfort and not always get a full body session. If you only want your arms massaged, that’s fine, too.

Your massage therapist loves feedback. We like to know if you hate having your feet touched, and if you looove having your ears massaged. We like knowing your musical preference and if you prefer to start face down or face up.

We’re also cool if you just want to chill and let us use our judgement to design the treatment.

Do you have questions about massage? Contact me  or ask at your next appointment and I would LOVE to answer them!

Meditation and Massage

Improve your health with breath

Breath. Such a simple thing. It’s essential to life, but yet how often do we think about it? It ebbs and flows throughout our days and we barely give it a second thought.  We’re going to look at some ways our breath improves our health – including some techniques you can utilize today.

Deep breathing can reduce anxiety
Implementing a deep breathing technique when anxiety strikes can make the difference between a full on attack and an unwelcome blip in your day. Deep breathing lowers your heart rate, improves circulation and promotes clearer thinking.

You can use your breath to calm down
Let’s face it, when tempers flair it seems almost impossible to think about anything other than the current situation that set you off. Practicing simple breathing techniques can encourage calmness and help reverse the physical symptoms of anger.

    TECHNIQUE for Anxiety and Calm
Isolate yourself from everyone for 15 minutes
Inhale slowly for the count of 4
Exhale slowly for the count of 8
Notice the space in between the inhalation and exhalation
Repeat until you begin to calm down

Take breathing even deeper with pranayama
Pranayama is the practice of using the breath to soothe an active mind. If practiced right, pranayama can bring harmony between mind, body and spirit. It boosts your ability to be mentally and spiritually strong. There are very specific breathwork techniques that are outside the scope of this article, but we recommend reading up and finding a good teacher.

Use with meditation
Breathwork can be a fantastic addition to your mindfulness or meditation practice. It can allow us to open our hearts and our minds. It has been said that it can move stuck energy as well.

    TECHNIQUE for Pranayama and Meditation
Quiet your body and mind
Observe your breath as it is
Slow your breathing to a calm steady level
Concentrate on the air that moves in and out of your lungs
Focus on how your body feels and moves as you inhale and exhale

Much like massage there is no doubt that breathing can encourage relaxation and healthy habits. It keeps the body/mind functioning and curbs stress. Your muscles naturally relax and you can go about your day a little easier.

Breathing may seem insignificant. It happens naturally, so we may not think about breathing all that much, but maybe it’s time we should.

 

Chronic Pain and Why Education Matters

Advances in Pain Research

As a massage therapist, I am often asked why I follow research so closely. It’s all just sandals and candles, right?  The more I’m able to learn about the mechanism of pain and how the nervous system contributes, the more effective I am. Results matter!

This Q&A with Scott Fishman, MD is a quick read. Chronic pain demands a proactive approach. Therapeutic massage is only a part of the puzzle. Dr. Fishman highlights what’s working and what’s next in the field of pain relief.

Women’s Health

A simple way to jumpstart your health and fitness journey

If you google “women’s health and fitness” we are willing to bet your search would turn up millions (and millions) of results. Some are legit health articles with real research to back up their claims, while others are trying to sell fitness garments, sports bras, and gear.

If you’re new to the health and fitness world it’s overwhelming. Where does a newbie start? Is it the gear? Is it the food? Or is it the exercise? September 24th is National Women’s Health and Fitness Day and we are going to walk you through some easy tips for getting started on your wellness journey.

Move some.

First and foremost, it’s important to move. Stretch, walk, run, or hike – it doesn’t matter, just get out of the normal groove of work and couch surfing. Start with five minutes a day and stay consistent. Do this for about a week. When five minutes feels so easy it’s ridiculous to not do more, bump up your time or go a small distance further. The aim here is stirring up the boring routine and get that body moving.

Get the right gear.

Most people start with the gear. They go out and buy fancy trackers, hats, clothes, gloves, etc. Sure, it’s fun to buy stuff, but some people are dropping a small fortune on new digs and falling off the wagon a few days in. Why is that? Gear shouldn’t be the motivator. Sport/smart watches are merely tools to help you in your new chapter. The motivation needs to come from within. Get moving, see what you enjoy and then get the gear to match your new activity.

Eat well.

Once movement becomes a routine, you’ll find a natural progression into healthy eating. Fitness habits support good health habits and visa versa. It’s important to start small. Remove junk foods from your home (workplace, purse, vehicle, etc) that aren’t your favorites to avoid mindless eating. Swap out an unhealthy choice for a healthy one every time you grocery shop. Reduce your portions if you feel you’re eating too much and increase the amount of (small) meals if you feel you’re not eating enough throughout the day. Plan and prep your meals around your schedule one day a week and try to curb those impulse take-out orders.

Sleep well.

Sleep is essential to a healthy lifestyle. When you sleep your body goes into repair and restore mode. It aids digestion, stress levels, moods, and often times our patience with basic daily tasks. Oh and your memory! (Almost forgot that.) If you’re having trouble getting to sleep, find a time that you can start winding down every night. For example, have a cup of tea at 8PM each night to jumpstart your “getting ready for bed” process. Over time your body will recognize that tea as a trigger and start winding down as soon as you smell that cup of chamomile.

Have fun.

This is huge. No one wants to do things that make them unhappy. Don’t force yourself to run if you hate running. Walk or cycle instead. Or try yoga. Or massage at Oakwood Therapeutic Massage . Find activities that you love and it’ll be that much easier to keep up with.

You know what’s best for you.

Do what feels right. Take care of yourself. Seek guidance from a medical professional if you need it. Speak to a nutritionist, a personal trainer or your own doctor. Educate yourself on what it takes to achieve the goals and results you are after. No one can do this for you. It’s your journey, so take that step – one little bit at a time.

Exercise With Your Child Challenge

Physical activity is good for our bodies. There is no question about that. The benefits of a good workout are countless. When we break a good sweat, we reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease. Our bones and muscles get stronger. We gain mental clarity and relieve stress. But I’m curious, how much are we setting an example for our children?

Whether you exercise or not, your children witness your actions daily. This leaves an impression on them that could impact how they live their lives down the road. Seeing you leave for the gym or take to the streets for a good run is great but what happens when you include them?

August 6-12th, we are celebrating “Exercise with Your Child Week” and we want to challenge you to one full week of exercise with your kiddo. Don’t worry if you don’t have a child, you could always reach out to borrow a friend’s, neighbor’s or take someone who needs a break from “the norm.”

Physical activity is awesome. Here’s why:

Combat health issues.
Conditions and diseases are drastically reduced with frequent workouts. Couple that with weight loss or preventing excess gain, and it’s all around a good idea. Starting your child on the right foot can lead to healthy lifelong habits.

You just feel better.
Exercise is a natural mood elevator. It boosts your mood – not only from the happy chemicals that have been stirred up, but the feeling of accomplishment that comes with a good burn. (Bonus: Going for a run or walk also makes an awesome attitude reset. When a child is in a funk, going for a run is a fantastic way to shake it off. And if that doesn’t seem to work, you could always loop the block one more time. That usually inspires a better mood!)

Sleep more soundly.
Right up there with therapeutic massage ( Book Now )   physical activity can be you (and your child’s) ticket to a quality good night’s sleep.

Relationship building.
Truthfully, working out together is a bonding experience. It opens the door to curious conversation, heart to heart chats, and the opportunity to grow as an athlete together.

By committing to working out with your child for one week, you are making a commitment to your health and your child’s health. Don’t worry if you haven’t worked out before. When your child sees your ability to try something new, learn, adapt and push through, you become a role model. It doesn’t have to be pretty and you don’t have to have a degree in health or physical education. You just need a desire to learn and want to spend time with a loved one. So go out there and try something new and bring along your child. We hope your new routine sticks for longer than a week.

 

Neck and Shoulder Pain

5 Tips for Neck and Shoulder Care Between Massage Appointments

People with neck and shoulder issues often have their pain return before their next massage appointment. Work, play and children all make demands on the body. A dull ache can quickly turn into a burning pain especially while folding laundry, doing yard work, playing on the computer or any of the other million things you do.

What can you do between professional massage appointments to take the edge off neck and shoulder pain? Here are some ideas.

Take a Break
Take short breaks as often as you can if you sit at a computer all day. Move your shoulders around and s-t-r-e-t-c-h. Ideally you can get up and move around a bit. But even if you’re chained to the desk, you can rock out a little Deskercise to stay loose.

Get the kids into it
Have a short yoga break together! There are plenty of videos made especially for kids, and the moves are just as beneficial for adults. Bonus: got a little one averse to naptime? Try the lying-down postures here and maybe you’ll get a short break.

Heat it
Just 10-15 minutes of moist heat on your shoulders can make a huge difference in how your tissue moves and feels. You don’t need a fancy heating pad, you can DIY that. And if you aren’t already among those I’ve mentioned this to: throw that heating pad away, please.

Choose the right pillow
You spend about a third of your time in bed, be sure it’s supportive for your neck. Side-sleepers have different needs than belly-sleepers. The right pillow at night can help you all day.

A few minutes of self care every day, little changes, can make a huge difference in how you feel. See you at your next appointment!

Massage Safe Zone For LGBTQ+

LGBTQ+ and Massage Therapy

I recently had a conversation with a friend that made me realize something. I’ve always assumed that my clients understood that my radical acceptance of their body, their pain, and their trauma extended to everything about their identity. I have come to realize that that was a foolish thing to assume.

A human who is marginalized will often assume non-acceptance until they are shown evidence to the contrary.

SAFEZONESTICKER

You are safe here. Oakwood Therapeutic Massage is a place of acceptance and non judgement. You are welcome.

Multiple Sclerosis and Therapeutic Massage

Massage Helps with Pain and Fatigue in MS Patients

A pilot study published in the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork measured the effects of massage therapy (MT) on fatigue, pain, spasticity, perception of health, and quality of life in people with multiple sclerosis (MS).
The 24 patients who completed six weeks of regular massage treatment showed significant improvement in pain, fatigue, and spasticity symptoms.

The study authors concluded: “MT as delivered in this study is a safe and beneficial intervention for management of fatigue and pain in people with MS. Decreasing fatigue and pain appears to correlate with improvement in quality of life, which is meaningful for people with MS who have a chronic disease resulting in long-term health care needs.”

Read the abstract at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27974947.

Call today to schedule your appointment at Oakwood Therapeutic Massage 937-668-9454