5 Steps to Knock Out a Headache

Headaches are frustrating and can interrupt an otherwise great day. With a mix of work, family, friends, traffic, big projects, and stress, life can take a toll and result in a raging headache, usually at the worst possible time. But do you have to lock yourself in a dark room and take painkillers to get it to go away?

Probably not!

Before you reach in the medicine cabinet, try these 6 steps to knock out a headache fast. Be sure to do them all to get the best results.

#1: Drink Water

Sometimes we can get busy throughout our day and forget to keep up our water intake, but dehydration is no joke; and one of the first signs is a headache. Drink at least 16 ounces of water and let your body process it while you go through the next steps.

Your water intake varies depending on age, body size, and activity levels. To figure out how much you need in a day, take your body weight and divide by two. That’s how many ounces of water you need a day with general activity levels. So if you weigh 160 pounds, you would need approximately 80 ounces of water a day. If you are more active, you’ll need more water. Don’t freak out; remember that your food, including all fruits and veggies contain a lot of water so you may not need to drink as much if you’re eating a lot of fresh foods.

#2: Ice or Cold Compress

If you have an ice pack handy, great. If not, grab a hand towel or even a few paper towels, dip in cold water and wring it out. Apply to your neck and forehead for at least 3-5 minutes. If the towel starts to get warm, dip it in cold water again and reapply. While you’re letting the cold compress or ice pack work its magic, move on to the next step.

#3: Breathe

It may seem obvious and simple, but taking a minute or two to just breathe deeply can calm the nervous system and regulate oxygen levels in the body, diminishing the pain of a headache. We often hold our breath or breathe shallowly without even realizing it.

Try this…

Sit or lay down comfortably
Close your eyes
Take a deep breath in until your stomach rises as high as it’ll go
Slowly breathe out and let your stomach fall
Repeat this for at least 2-3 minutes

#4: Move

Oftentimes headaches are a positional problem; we sit at our computer in a posture that isn’t so great for our spine, or we hold ourselves in a tense position for too long. Whatever the initial cause, some general movement can often alleviate a headache pretty quickly. So even though you may want to just curl up and sleep, getting up and moving your body may have much better results. So if you can, take 5-10 minutes to walk, even if it’s just a leisurely stroll around the office to chat with coworkers, visit the break room, walk a lap around the building, or whatever might work for your day. Take a few minutes to just get your body moving, get the blood flow going as it should again, and allow your spine to adjust to its natural position.

#5: Stretch

Some simple stretching and mobility of the neck and shoulders can greatly reduce any restrictions in blood flow that may be causing your headache.

Lateral Neck Stretch

Drop your ear to your shoulder
You should feel a stretch along the side of the neck. To intensify the stretch, be sure your other shoulder is staying low.
Hold for 30-60 seconds and repeat on the other side

Chin to Chest

Tilt your head forward until your chin is as close to your chest as you can get it.
You should feel a stretch along the back of your neck.
To intensify the stretch, place your hand on the back of your head and pull down slightly.
Hold for 30-60 seconds

Chin Retractions

Tuck your chin as much as you can (think about creating a double chin effect)
Most of us keep our chin jutted out in front, exaggerating the curvature of our neck and putting undue stress on the structures there. This chin tuck can help to take that pressure off.
To intensify it, extend your head back (like you’re looking up), and keep your chin tucked at the same time.
Hold for 10-15 seconds, repeat 5 times
You may feel pressure in the neck, but this shouldn’t be painful. If it is, stop immediately.

Doorway Stretch

Standing in a doorway, place your hands or forearms on either side of the door frame. With your feet outside of the doorway, lean forward until you feel a good stretch in the chest and front of the shoulders.
You can affect different fibers within the chest and shoulders by lowering or raising your hands/arms at different levels.

What to expect during the COVID-19 outbreak

Blue Skies COVID from Kurtis Gilbreth on Vimeo.

How are YOU doing?

As I sit here today waiting for direction from the Dept of Regulatory Agencies, Governor Polis, and Boulder County, all I can do is do the best I can. Every day lately has had its ups and downs. I, like you, or people you know, was not cut out to be a homeschool mom and still feel like a good mother/ father/ spouse/ friend/ child. Our daily conveniences have been challenged. This past week was a special challenge for me. I want to get back to work doing what I love, but I want to be safe. One set of information comes from one direction, and different information comes from another source. How do you process it all? I have wanted to reach out to communicate with you sooner; however, once I set my mind to do so, another set of challenges or directions came at me. I’m sure you are all feeling the same way right now. To that I say, just do the best you can right now. Allow yourself some grace (I might need that same reminder in another week). Just take things one day at a time. If you are reading this, we at Blue Skies, likely call you our friend. Let’s be there for each other and not transfer our frustrations out to those who are also trying to do the best they can.

After I was up and at it this morning, I started planning my list and just wasn’t feeling it today. I needed to rest. I needed a break today and needed to get outside. I sat on the porch with a beautiful cup of coffee and got distracted in my little garden out front. Perfect day for it. I put on some reggae music and started to soak it all up. Those who know me well know that I spent about 8 years working on private yachts and cruise ships in the Caribbean before moving to Colorado. Listening to some fun reggae brings me back to my younger days before responsibilities took over my daily thoughts. Carefree and fun — sometimes the kids and I will even dance around the house listening to it to lighten the mood and take the edge off. When I least expected it, the words of Bob Marley came on: “The noblest thing a man can do is do the best he can.” I heard you, Bob. I’m going to do the best I can right now.

Truth is, I really don’t know an exact date about when we are going to be allowed to open back up. As soon as we have set date, we will let you know. There are a lot of logistics to work through to ensure all of our safety when we do open our doors back up. We, like many small businesses, are going to have a lot of expenses that come with reopening, after being closed for so long. We are not sure what the new normal will look like, but it will come with a whole new set of challenges. Whatever we do, it will be with our hearts, and our code of ethics in the forefront. We are planning certain protocols that will be different from before, and we ask that when we do all come back, that we each try to be patient with one another as we sort through all the new regulations that will be required of us before we are given the go-ahead. We want to protect everyone so that after a few weeks we don’t have to repeat this whole process.

We love and miss you all, and look forward to seeing you again soon. We will keep you posted on when we have a better picture of the coming weeks, but I just wanted to touch base with you to let you know what’s going on over here.

How are you? Please reach out; we would love to hear your news. Are you in need of anything we can help with while we are still closed? Until then, just do the best you can, and let us know if there is anything we can do for you.

CLOSURE SUPPORT

Some of you have inquired as to how you can help us out during this time.  To that we say, please continue to help support local businesses however you may be able.  One of the non-profits that we stand behind and support is Realities for Children, whose mission is to guide and financially support young adults who come from a background of abuse, neglect and time spent in foster care so that they become empowered and positive contributors to our community.  We would like to share this donate button to allow those who may want to contribute to help out our small business and feel good about knowing that we will be ‘paying forward’ a portion to our friends at Realities for Children.

 



The Benefits of Prenatal Massage

The benefits of prenatal massage

All of the changes your body goes through while you are pregnant can mean that as well as the obvious things like an ever-growing belly and some sleepless nights, you can also find you suffer with unexplained and unusual aches and pains.

The last trimester in particular is well known for being a little uncomfortable as baby grows and your body must accommodate the rapid growth rate. Massage, once you know that any aches you’re feeling are perfectly natural and nothing to worry about, can be a great way of easing the discomfort that growing another human being can cause!

If you’re working through any of the following conditions, you might benefit from a massage.

Backache
A growing baby changes your posture, which can lead to lower backache and sometimes upper backache too. Massage helps to relax and loosen up tight muscles which reduces tension in your back and prevents backache.

Heartburn
As pregnancy progresses, you may find that your digestion slows down and you end up with complaints like constipation and heartburn. If you are stressed, it makes things even worse. Massage will help calm you and your digestive system back down, which may help to ease symptoms.

SPD or PGP
These conditions are caused by the ligaments and joints being softened, due to a hormone, called relaxin. This can lead to symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) and pelvic girdle pain (PGP), which can both be very debilitating, and massage helps the symptoms by releasing oxytocin and endorphins, to help relieve the discomfort.

Sciatica
Pregnancy can put pressure on your sciatic nerve which leads to pain down the back of the thigh, leg and sometimes the sole of the foot. Try a gentle massage if you’re suffering from sciatica, as it can sometimes help to release the pressure on the nerve that causes the pain.

Headache and Migraine
A common pregnancy complaint, headaches are often affected by hormones and made worse by stress or tension in the head, neck and shoulder area. Massage is well known for being excellent at headache relief, and can also be a Godsend if you can’t take any painkillers.

Stretch Marks
Massaging your belly with a nourishing oil helps to moisturise your skin and can help to prevent stretch marks forming. Be careful to use a blend that’s approved for pregnancy though – ask your therapist for advice if you’re not sure.

Massage in pregnancy – warning
You should always make sure that if you are booking a prenatal massage, it’s carried out by a therapist who is properly qualified.
If you are suffering from any of the following, please see a healthcare professional rather than your massage therapist:

  • Morning sickness or extreme nausea
  • Heavy, bloody or watery vaginal discharge
  • High blood pressure or/and pre-eclampsia
  • Diabetes
  • High temperature or fever
  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Unusual or identified pains you have not had before
  • Contagious illness

Massage is safe for anyone experiencing a healthy pregnancy and can help with common discomforts, as well as make you feel great!

Prenatal Massage, Blue Skies Massage & Wellness, Longmont, Colorado

Visit Blue Skies Massage & Wellness for your next prenatal massage!

10 Reasons Why You Should Book A Massage Today

10 Reasons Why You Should Book A Massage Today

You know that massage is good for you, whether you’ve had one in the past and enjoyed the positive effects or you’re just curious about whether a massage therapist’s healing touch could help sort out your aches and pains.

So, what’s stopping you?

We have 10 reasons right here that will inspire you to visit your massage therapist today…

Massage helps to treat some health conditions
Massage therapy can help with several common health conditions, some that you might already know about and others that may come as a surprise to you. If you suffer with constant back, leg and neck pain; muscle tension and spasm, a good massage will send you on the route to feeing relief.

Some musculoskeletal conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome can also be helped by massage, as can the symptoms of chronic conditions like multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, arthritis and some digestive disorders.

Massage can help to improve circulation
Massage therapy is great for boosting blood circulation, which helps to deliver oxygen and nutrients around the body more efficiently.

Massage can increase lymphatic flow
Your lymphatic system is a system of tubes and lymph nodes running throughout your body which make up an important part of the immune system. It helps to fight bacteria and other infections, and a healthy lymph flow also helps clear toxins from your body.

Massage can speed up post injury healing
If you’ve overdone it or hurt yourself accidentally you’ll be glad to know that massage doesn’t just help reduce muscle soreness and stiffness, it can also break up scar tissue, freeing up movement and enhancing your recovery.

Massage can help to increase your range of motion
Another thing that a great massage therapist can do is use techniques that stimulate the production of lubricants between connective tissues, which improves flexibility and balance.

Massage can help you to improve your posture
Massage helps to train your muscles, which improves the posture of your body as well as correcting any imbalances caused by sitting for long periods – which are common in people who sit at a desk all day.

Massage can give your immune system a boost
Massage is known to boost production of lymphocytes – the white blood cells which help fight off disease. Although a massage can’t guarantee you’ll never get another cold, there has been research that suggests it helps the body to fight infections and reduce the severity and duration of bugs and minor illnesses.

Massage can make you feel happier
The action of massaging the skin stimulates alpha brain waves, which are associated with relaxation, and promotes the release of endorphins – the body’s feel-good chemicals.

Massage can help you to de-stress
Massage is known to help reduce cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone, so elevated levels are not good for your body at all. At the same time, massage has been shown to boost serotonin and dopamine levels, making you feel more relaxed and happy.

Massage could give you a better night’s sleep
If insomnia is your bedfellow, try a massage. Massage can help to balance out your sleep pattern and overcome insomnia and the fatigue that goes with not getting enough sleep.

Have we convinced you to book that appointment yet?

Three Tips to Quiet Your Mind

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.

The Importance Of Skin-To-Skin Contact

Humans love to be touched. It’s an undeniable fact, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a full on squishy bear hug or a massage, touch is one of the most important things you can give to your body.

The skin on skin contact from a hug, massage or even a session in the bedroom can be a potent way to support your health, from lowering your blood pressure and heart rate to boosting your immune system and giving you pain relief. As we all know, it also helps us to feel less stressed and anxious.

Babies and skin to skin contact
From a very early age, babies crave being held and touched. Studies have shown that without skin on skin contact as a baby, our immune systems can suffer. Babies who haven’t experienced enough cuddles, touch and general affection ca often be susceptible to illnesses. It’s thought that because lack of being nurtured leaves babies feeling stressed and vulnerable, the high levels of stress hormones can actually have an adverse effect on their developing immune system.

Adults need to be touched too…
It’s a sad fact of life that some of us can go many days without direct skin on skin contact – even if we’re in a relationship, we can sometimes be too busy or working odd hours and neglect this basic need.

It’s so important to get our fix of being touched, though. Anyone who has regular massages can tell you that if you’re feeling stressed and antsy a massage will soon calm you down. Sometimes it’s all you need, and the relaxation effect is a physical reaction to the contact you get from your massage therapist.

Being massaged makes your muscles unclench if you’re all scrunched up. If your blood pressure is high, it can actually drop after a massage and cortisol levels (a stress hormone) will drop. Because you’re lovely and relaxed, your body has the breathing space to start recharging your batteries so that you’ll feel much better afterwards.

Recent research backs this up; the immune function of healthy adults who got either a 45-minute Swedish massage or 45 minutes of lighter touch were measured and the group who enjoyed a massage were found to have significantly higher numbers of white blood cells – including the cells which help the body fight viruses.

So can a massage stop you catching a cold? The scientists stopped short of saying so but it does seem that regular skin to skin contact through massage could play a part in keeping your immune system healthy and fighting off bugs.

So, the evidence is mounting up that a massage helps you feel good, improved your wellbeing and boosts your immune system. Why not book one today?

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.”

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.