5 Reasons Why You Should Never Feel Guilty Getting A Massage

People everywhere, especially women, seem to feel guilty about taking time out to look after themselves. It’s OK when it’s a gym session, because that’s virtuous and ‘hard work’ – but if all we’re investing our time in is an hour or so of being relaxed beyond belief at the hands of a massage therapist, it’s as if we’re committing a deadly sin by prioritising our own wellbeing.

Well, we have news for you. Your wellbeing is important and self-care is a vital part of looking after that wellbeing. Even if you’re a busy parent, worker or career, you need to take time to do something good for yourself because if you are depleted and tired, you’ll have no energy to do anything for the other people who need you.

You know it makes sense.

Sometimes, though, other people can try to make you feel as if indulging yourself in a massage is a waste of time when you could be doing something else (usually what they want you to do). We’ve come up with five good reasons you can give to other people if they ever give you a hard time for getting your regular massage.

  1. A good massage will help relieve muscle tension. Muscle tension can lead to headaches, which put you in a grouch. Nobody wants a grouchy parent/coworker do they? Therefore, tell them you’re going for a massage and that they will thank you for it when you return with a sunny disposition.
  2. It helps you sleep! If your insomnia is starting to irritate your family – and wake them up too – tell them you’re going for a massage because you don’t want their sleep to suffer along with yours. It’s true that a massage helps to boost serotonin levels (which have been proven to help with sleep). Obviously, being tired makes you so much less productive at work too, so a decent massage helps you work smarter…
  3. Suffering from chronic pain? It’s an expensive business isn’t it? If the cost of your pain meds is starting to mount up, see if getting a massage on a regular basis might help you to reduce the amount of drugs you need to take. Then you’ll be saving money and not using so many drugs, both of which put you at an advantage.
  4. Are you constantly getting olds, coughs and infections that you end up passing on to everyone else? Avoid becoming the office pariah for your germspreading and try massage instead. Deep tissue and Swedish massage have been proven to support the lymphatic system which is your body’s defence system against illness.
  5. They want you to be happy, don’t they? This has to be the #1 reason for a massage, because the happier you are, the more other people will benefit from your improved mood and general relaxed demeanour.

So – you don’t have to make excuses for scheduling in your next massage appointment. Remember, as they say in the commercial – “You’re worth it.”

Using Essential Oils in Massage

Otherwise known as aromatherapy massage, a massage using essential oils is a real treat, and has many positive effects that make it a treat worth investing in.

There are two main reasons why a massage therapist may use essential oils in their treatments.

  • The essential oils used in massage can have beneficial effects on different areas of your body and health.
  • They smell nice – but the aroma isn’t just a pleasant addition to your treatment. Aromas are well known to trigger emotions in the part of your brain that deals with memories, which is why the smell of your mom’s cooking or your grandma’s favourite perfume can transport you back in time and make you feel good. Some scents, like citrusy or lavender oils have a very similar effect and just inhaling them as you’re enjoying your massage makes you feel good.

Essential oils and pregnancy
If you’re pregnant, you should always tell your massage therapist before an aromatherapy massage because although essential oils are safe in the vast majority of cases, there are a few specific essential oils that are best avoided in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Essential oils and pain relief
Using essential oils in a massage is ideal if you’re experiencing symptoms like inflammation or pain. The aromatherapy adds an extra layer of benefit to a soothing massage and seems to magnify the effects of a treatment which can give you even more relief than a basic massage.

Essential oils and stress
Just breathing in the gorgeously relaxing scent of lavender essential oil can calm you down if you’re having a stressful time. Lavender essential oil is great for pain relief and widely used in stress-busting massage treatments.

So what is an aromatherapy massage like?
The first thing you’ll need to do is have a talk with your therapist about what you are hoping to get from your massage, and tell her all about any existing health conditions so that she can choose the best combination of oils for you. There are pre-blended mixes of essential oils for general use, but many therapists also make up their own mixes for each session.

When therapists are putting together a custom blend, they will often ask you to pick a fragrance that makes you feel good. There’s not much point in creating perfectly-blended massage oil for you if you can’t bear the smell of it and can’t wait to get off the massage table!

If there’s any of your custom blended oil left after your massage, you’ll probably be given the rest to take home and use, which is a definite bonus. After an aromatherapy massage you’re likely to feel absolutely amazing – not only have you had the physical benefits of a relaxing massage but the psychological boost that you’ll get from all the delicious essential oils will keep you coming back for more…

What’s your favourite aromatherapy oil?

Strengthening Your Core to Prevent Injury and Stay Healthy

Your core is your center of balance and strength for almost everything you do.

Your core muscles are a group of muscles running down the center of your body. These include your abdominal muscles, back muscles, and your pelvis. These core muscles work together to help you
maintain balance, posture and strength.

A strong core is good for your overall health, but it’s especially important to work on strengthening this group of muscles if you suffer with any kind of lower back pain. Working on your core can help you to improve your posture, which prevents aches and pains.

If you’re sporty, it’s wise to keep your core nice and strong because a strong set of core muscles is vital for athletic performance and helps to prevent injuries.

Can I Strengthen My Core?
It’s easy to strengthen these important muscles with a few exercises you can try at home. They also have the added benefit of helping to tone your abdominal muscles, back, glutes, and legs.

Easy core strengthening moves:

1. Yoga and Pilates
Yoga and Pilates type exercises are very popular workout routines that are aimed toward building a strong and healthy core. You can find yoga and Pilates videos online, on DVD, or even learn poses from books and magazines. These are easy to do from home and most routines do not even require any sort of equipment.

Yoga Moves: http://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/6-yoga-poses-rock-solid-core

Pilates Moves: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QURr_ujngCg

2. Planking
The Plank is a classic core strengthening move that’s fiendishly hard at first but gets easier with practice. Planking is great for the whole body, from your arms all the way down through your legs, and is thought to be better exercise for your abs than crunches.

Start by getting into push-up position on the floor, but rest on your arms at 90-degree angles. Straighten your whole body out, through to your feet up on your toes. Use your core muscles to hold the position for as long as possible. Each day, hold the Plank pose for a few more seconds.

Here’s a tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dz0oFaVGuh4

For sharing options, click YouTube icon at bottom of video to view in YouTube, click Share below video title, and choose your option. To embed video in your blog post, choose the Embed tab in the Share options, copy the iframe code and paste into your blog editor.

3. Balance ball
Using a balance ball helps you to focus on your core muscles when doing certain exercises. You can use a balance ball to do push-ups, crunches, and more. Even simply sitting on a balance ball instead of a chair helps you strengthen your core muscles during the day.

4. Bicycles
Starting in crunch position with your hands behind your ears, reach your elbow to the opposite knee, extending the other leg out. Repeat the motion, alternating sides, and working your legs as if riding a bicycle. Continue the motion for an extended period of time, at least 30 seconds, before resting and then repeating.

Try to make time for a few core-strengthening sessions a week. Your whole body will thank you for it!

Which Is Better, Massage or Stretching?

Massage and stretching are both really helpful ways to keep your muscles relaxed, reduce tension and of course help recovery after an injury. Stretching helps to get the blood flowing to
your muscles, which is great if you’ve injured yourself, or if your muscled are stiff because they’ve contracted due to inactivity.

Giving your muscles a really good stretch can stop your muscles from going into painful spasms or cramps, and stop the knots forming in them that take so much work to get rid of when you
have a massage!

Regular massage on the other hand improves your flexibility and range of motion, keeping your joints more fluid and making them less injury prone in the first place.

What are the differences between massage and stretches – and how do they work together to promote muscle and joint health?

Massage
What is a massage? Well, stripped right down, massage is simply a word that’s used to describe the manipulation of muscles, ligaments and connective tissue. Of course there are lots of
different types of massage, and techniques that are suitable for different things, but when you go for a massage, this is what your therapist will be doing.

What’s massage good for?
We love a massage for general wellbeing, but medically massage is recognized for more than just making you feel good.

Massage can:

  • Help strained muscles to heal faster
  • Reduce swelling and scar tissue if you’re injured
  • Relieve stiffness and tension in your muscles
  • Reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and fatigue

Stretching
Stretching does have a lot of similarities to massage, but its main benefit is to relieve the tightness and tension that’s built up in your muscles when you’ve used (and over-used) them. Having a really good, effective stretch can increase the blood flow to your muscles, and this leads to a better range of motion that helps your joints to stay in alignment.

What’s stretching good for?

Stretching properly can:

  • Improve your circulation
  • Boost your nerve health – a contracted muscle around a nerve can create pressure that can constrict the blood supply to the nerve.
  • Make movement easier
  • Improve flexibility

How can massage and a stretching routine work together?
Daily stretching – to a point where you can just feel it pulling on your muscles – can really help to increase your flexibility, and you can feel the effects in a matter of a few weeks.

Enjoying a regular massage helps to keep your body relaxed and flexible. Massage can release trigger points and muscles in spasm, making your stretching routine even more effective.

You could even opt for a Thai massage which uses stretches and massage all in one session to give your muscles and tendons a really thorough workout. You can also ask your massage therapist for advice if you have any injuries or are experiencing stiffness in your muscles.

What Kind of Massage Should YOU Get? Types of Massage

What’s the Best Massage for You?
Sometimes it can be confusing – you know you’re stressed and everybody tells you that you need a good massage, but what type of massage should you get? There are so many options available, how do you know which one will suit you?

That’s where your friendly massage therapist comes in – if you’re not sure, just call or drop in for a chat and we can help you find the perfect technique and style for your needs. If it’s your first massage, too, we can put you at ease and make sure you know exactly what to expect.

In the meantime, here’s the lowdown on some of the different types of massage and what they can do for you.

Swedish Massage
This is one of the most popular massages – it’s sometimes called the ‘relaxation massage’ which is a clue; it’s absolutely great for getting rid of stress and anxiety. It’s also a good one to try if you’re new to massage as it doesn’t work too deeply into your muscles and the techniques we use are all designed to relax and de-stress.

So what can you expect? Well, we use long, flowing strokes all over your body, combined with kneading, tapping and circular motions. We’ll also use oils or lotions to make the massage smoother, and feel great for you. If you’ve got tight muscles, aches and pains, we can increase the pressure where you need it more. Swedish massage is helpful if you’re experiencing pain from conditions like sciatica and arthritis, and it can also give your circulation a boost as all the techniques are designed to help get blood pumping around your body.

Hot Stone Massage
This is a supremely relaxing massage where the therapist uses specially designed warmed stones to increase its effects. This one is designed for pure relaxation and is an indulgent treatment that’s also great for first-timers. While you’re enjoying your massage, we carefully place the smooth, heated stones on different areas of your body. Sometimes they are also used as part of the massage to help get deeper into any troublesome areas; the heat from the stones helps loosen the muscles even more. This one will leave you feeling calm and relaxed.

Thai Massage
Thai massages can be like a mini-workout so they are best for people who have had massages in the past but want to try something different! Thai massage is an incredibly effective, energizing treatment where your therapist will use techniques like deep stretching, acupressure and yoga style positions to give you a really intense massage. Thai massage is really good for you if you have a lot of muscle tension, posture problems, or headaches caused by bad posture. It can feel a little uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t hurt. Always tell your therapist if the pressure is too much, or if you’d like more.

Reflexology
Reflexology is so much more than just a foot massage. It’s based on a holistic therapy which teaches that there are pressure points on your feet which correspond to different areas of your body, and if there’s something out of balance in your body, working on the area of your foot that relates to it can help to relieve the symptoms. It’s also very calming. When you have a reflexology treatment, your therapist will work on these different pressure points, paying attention to any where she feels a blockage. Even if you normally squirm when your feet are touched, the specific techniques and pressure we use are really relaxing and most people say they find reflexology enjoyable.

Deep Tissue Massage
This is more of a remedial massage than a relaxing one; ideal for anyone who does a lot of sport or has very tight muscles. It can feel uncomfortable as your therapist will work deeply into your muscles and connective tissues to release any tension in them. It can feel slightly painful although people tend to describe it as a ‘good hurt’ – and you may feel a bit of soreness afterwards, especially if it’s your first deep tissue massage. Most people agree that it’s worth it as you’ll feel amazing afterwards!

Shiatsu
Shiatsu is another type of massage that is carried out fully clothed, but using quite intense techniques designed to deeply relax you, and improve your wellbeing. Your massage therapist will use her fingers and thumbs, and occasionally knees and feet, to apply pressure where it’s needed. You’ll usually lie on a mat on the floor or a specially designed bench. Although it’s quite an intense massage, you shouldn’t feel pain or soreness afterwards.

With so many different massages to try, why not try them all?

Daily Quick Stretching

Having a good stretch once or twice a day feels good and can help prevent injuries (flexible muscles can do more), improve your posture (and as a result help with back pain), increase blood and nutrients to your muscles, and help you to feel less stressed.

Here’s what I do:
Spinal Stretch – lie on your back, bring your knee to your chest and then across your body. So your right knee will go over to the left side of your body. Hold this for at least 30 seconds. Then stretch the other side.

Forward bend – Sit with your legs straight out in front of you stretch your arms up to the sky and then bend forward as far as you can.

Spinal Twist- still sitting with your legs in front of you, bend one knee to your chest then twist your body and hug your bent leg.

Other quick stretches (you can do these at your desk)

Clasp your hands behind you and pull back to stretch your chest.

Hold your arm in front of your body and stretch it into your chest

Stretch your neck from side to side or do neck rolls

I bet you are feeling better already!

Also check out You Tube for some quick stretching routines:

5 Office Stretches

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2Q9AIMCj3o

Common Health Problems: What Can Massage Do For YOU?

Massages are often sold as a purely indulgent treat that you get when you visit a spa or go on vacation, but there’s so much more to massage than just a feel good treat. Did you know that the symptoms of many health problems can be reduced and even eliminated with regular massage?

Here are a few conditions that massage can work really well on; a few you probably know and some that may surprise you!

Stress
It’s no surprise that a regular dose of massage therapy is good for your stress levels, it works by helping to lower your blood pressure, improve your quality of sleep, and by reducing your stress levels, it’s also thought to help reduce the risk of heart disease. In 2008 the journal Psycho-oncology published a study which came to the conclusion “…a significant reduction in cortisol (the main stress hormone) could be safely achieved through massage, with associated improvement in psychological well-being.”

Lower Back Pain
This is such a common problem, often caused by bad posture at work, so no wonder many employers are drafting in massage therapists to help. Poor posture and sitting for too long can cause a lot of lower back problems, as can simply getting older. Get your massage therapist on the case and you can hopefully wave goodbye to a sore back.

Sports Injuries
Fitness and sport are great for your health but they can sometimes lead to injuries and overworked muscles. A regular massage can help to heal any wear and tear on your muscles and tendons, and can also help you manage the pain from a chronic or acute sports injury. Having well looked-after muscles may also help prevent future injuries – one more reason to book those regular sessions.

Joint Stiffness
Massage can be a blessed relief for people dealing with the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis and other joint problems. Research published in 2013 in the Complementary Therapy in Clinical Practice journal said that people with rheumatoid arthritis reported some relief from pain and stiffness after four once-a-week moderate-pressure massages, topped up with self-massage at home in between treatments. Massage can also help with your range of motion and flexibility, which can relieve pain in your shoulders, knees, and hips.

Circulation
There are a whole range of health problems that can be caused by bad circulation, so it figures that boosting your circulation will be a bonus for your whole body. Regular massage helps to get the blood moving, getting essential nutrients to where they are needed in your tissues and vital organs much faster. The squeezing and pulling actions involved in a good massage also help to flush lactic acid out of your muscles and improve the circulation of lymph – the fluid that carries metabolic waste away from your muscles and internal organs.

Migraine symptoms
Nobody really knows what causes migraines, and there isn’t a cure, but if you’re a migraine sufferer you’ll be pleased to hear that studies have shown that massage can help reduce the frequency of attacks, and lessen the severity of the symptoms. Some migraines, especially those triggered by stress, are especially receptive to massage treatment.

Skin Cancer
Of course, we wouldn’t tell you that massage cures cancer; it can’t. But in some cases your massage therapist can notice abnormalities in your skin that you can’t see or just haven’t picked up on, and alert you to them. Regular massage can also be good for your skin as it gets the circulation going and the nourishing oils used in a treatment help to keep skin feeling soft.

Allergies
A massage helps to stimulate lymph flow around your body, which boosts your immune system and can help to reduce the severity of allergic reactions. Sometimes a therapist might be able to tell just from your lymph nodes if you are an allergy sufferer as they can feel tender or swollen.

Did any of those surprise you? Of course, you don’t need to make an excuse for wanting a massage, but if you are dealing with any of these health issues, it’s good to know that your regular massage habit is helping.

Three Tips to Quiet Your Mind

If you are not extremely busy in today’s society, you are the exception and not the rule. We are all in high gear; we overextend, overachieve, and overstress ourselves to the point of breaking. This can have lasting negative effects on our health! Here are a few ways to break the cycle:

Gratitude
It is so easy to be upset when things do not go our way. From the moment we spill our coffee, lock our keys in the car, and forget our lunch, a spiral of circumstances can set us off into a tailspin of negativity. We can choose to stay in a state of discontent and let that dictate our day, or we can be grateful for the other things in our lives even if they are not present in front of us right now.

Did you ever notice that when something nice happens, we tend to smile for a moment and then move on? However, when something goes wrong, we feel the need to tell everyone and anyone that will
listen. It is in those exact moments that we need to focus on what we are grateful for, and that is how we can instantly change our perspective and attitude.

Keeping the focus on gratitude offers your mind something to smile about, regardless of outside circumstances. Focusing on people, places, and even things that make you grateful, gives your mind a break from stress!

Stillness
Everyone has a busy schedule; that is a fact. We all tend to create schedules that are overflowing and then complain that we do not have time for ourselves! Take a good hard look at your schedule and see what you can delete and what you can delegate. If you are going to have a healthy mind, you need to take care of it just as you would your body, and that means giving it some rest.

One tip for quieting your mind is to put it on your schedule. Put it in big red pen on your calendar, text yourself a reminder, and place it on your list of things to do this week. Take time for you.

Stay in the Moment
Being in the moment has become a cliché; however, if you really take the time to focus on what it means, you can start to practice quietening your mind. Focus on what you are doing at the exact moment you are doing it. If you are washing a dish, focus on the water, the soap bubbles and the dish in your hand. When you take time to do this, you will be in the moment and not two days from now when something big is scheduled.

6 Incredible Reasons to Get More Massages

By: Jordyn Cormier

While regular massages may feel extravagant and indulgent, they are an excellent tool for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Here are 6 excellent reasons to justify your next deep tissue appointment.

Counteracts the sitting
If you work sitting down all day, odds are your posture has suffered. Shoulders and neck hold tension when stressed, while prolonged sitting leads to weak gluteals and a weak low back. These muscular imbalances can lead to pain and dysfunction. Getting a massage on the regular can correct these imbalances, encourage proper muscle function, and reduce pain. That means less muscular pain, less exercise-induced injury, and greater range of motion — all from something as simple and pleasant as massage.

Squashes anxiety & depression
Human touch can be therapeutic and relaxing. A study of women with breast cancer showed that those who received regular massages felt less depressed about their condition than those who didn’t receive massages. Massage also increases happy hormones dopamine and serotonin while reducing stress hormones. If you’ve been feeling a little blue, treat yo’self to a massage and reap the relaxing hormonal benefits.

Reduces blood pressure
Studies have shown that those who partake in massage not only have lower blood pressure in the hours following a session, but lower blood pressure in the days and weeks following a session. It has also been shown to immediately reduce heart rate by as much as 10 bpm. This is incredible. If you are struggling with high blood pressure, try incorporating massage into your life on a semi-regular basis. It could work wonders.

Helps With Sleep
Massage encourages the release of certain hormones that aid in relaxation, like serotonin. It also helps people spend more time in deep sleep, the most restorative stage of the sleep cycle. A study of insomniac postmenopausal women showed that massage is an extremely effective treatment for increasing sleep and promoting relaxation. If you suffer from sleep disturbances, massage can become a positive force for encouraging sleep in your life.

Improves immunity
Massage actually boosts your white blood cell count, thereby improving your immune function. In fact, the benefits can be measured after only one session. Massage also reduces stress, which has a huge impact on immune function. Stress is the silent killer of a healthy immune system. Luckily, cortisol, the stress hormone which batters immune function, actually decreases with massage therapy.

Beats headaches
If you suffer from tension headaches often, regular massages can be key to thwarting them. It has been shown to decrease headaches in both frequency and severity, with many of the desired effects occurring immediately after the first treatment. And, hey, it’s way more pleasant and enduring than that Advil you were going to pop.

Massages can benefit almost everyone. From lymphatic to Swedish to rolfing, there is a therapeutic massage out there that can work for you. Yes, they can be expensive, but with all of these health benefits, even one session a month could indeed make all the difference in the long run.

Should Massage Hurt?

Have you been wondering if a massage has to hurt to be effective?
If so, you are not alone. Many people believe that a massage has to hurt in order to be effective. Well it doesn’t! You’ll be happy to hear that the saying, “No pain, no gain” doesn’t apply to massage therapy. Sometimes the most effective massages are the ones that don’t cause you any pain. Something that feels marvelous, and it’s good for you too? It doesn’t get much better than that!

Deep Tissue Massage might cause some discomfort….
A deep tissue massage is when the massage therapist manipulates the deeper layers of your soft tissue. Soft tissue includes your muscles, ligaments, fascia, and tendons (it’s pretty much everything that isn’t bones or organs). Usually your massage therapist will use lotions or oil, and will work lighter at first, this is important, it helps relax the top layer of tissue and muscle, meaning less pain for you. Then the deeper layers of muscle can be worked on more easily and with less pain. This will feel much better and you will get better results!

Typically, deep tissue massage is recommended for those with chronic pain caused by tight muscles or injuries. Deep tissue massage can be very therapeutic because it helps with relieving patterns of tension that have developed over time and helping with muscle injuries. With a good deep tissue session massage will feel more relaxed after the massage if no pain was endured during it. It’s hard (nearly impossible) to relax if you are in pain, and muscle tension will release in a state of relaxation.

Deep tissue massage is not for everyone! You are not a wimp if you don’t like it. It is one of the more involved and intense massage techniques. Some people simply like the feeling of more pressure, and a firm massage isn’t always deep tissue. Just be sure to communicate with your therapist about what you prefer and need. Speak up your therapist will appreciate your feedback, happy clients are regular clients, and your therapist wants you to love your massage.

Pain versus Discomfort
Muscles naturally react to any sort of pain. When your muscles feel that your body is about to be injured the reflex to deflect the pain is stimulated. If your massage therapist is ever applying too much pressure, your muscles tighten together to naturally counterattack the force, and that is not a great way to relax. A massage is meant to relieve the tension of your muscles so if you feel as though the massage therapist is applying too much pressure for comfort, just ask them to use less pressure. Seriously, they want you to.

Don’t go into the massage thinking there won’t be any discomfort at all though. Pain and discomfort are two different things. People usually describe discomfort as a “good hurt” – especially in reference to getting a massage. When you experience pain during a massage, it is more than discomfort and could even cause bruising or injury.

Everybody has different tolerances for pain, so a massage that is painful for one person may not be painful for you. If you find that your massage therapist isn’t working between your tolerance levels for pain, then it’s important that you say something. Massages should almost never cause you physical pain and very rarely is it okay for you to be left with marks on your body afterwards.

If you are booking your first massage, you probably don’t want to start out with a deep tissue session. Ease your way into massage therapy and start with something less specific, like Swedish or integrative massage. Most therapists combine massage techniques and will try to give you the best massage for you.