The end of the year is a particularly rough time for our bodies. We hold our stress in various parts of our bodies as we prep for holiday festivities with friends and families. There are also the other kinds of end-of-year responsibilities we balance at the same time, with work responsibilities and school responsibilities demanding our attention. Whether you’re studying for exams or finishing year-end paperwork, much of our time is spent sitting at a desk, hunched over paperwork, or even leaning awkwardly over the steering wheel as we drive around town completing errands. This time of the year asks a lot of us, and we feel in in our bodies.
This is when we start prodding at our neck and shoulders and wishing for much needed relief! Massage is so good for overall wellbeing – giving your body a relaxing once over on a massage couch will physically de-stress and relax you, so that the calming hormones that you need for mental clarity and wellbeing come flooding in to help you prepare for the stressful times ahead.
While it is tempting to overlook yourself this time of the year as you give so much attention to people and things beyond you, it is so important to take the time to correct the tension and stress held in your muscles. At Revive, a trained professional massage therapist will know how to identify the source of aches and pains, which can sometimes come as a surprise. You might think you have a knot in your shoulder from hunching in your chair at work, but it might turn out you clench your jaw and a therapist can feel the knots that creates down your neck into your back. We will treat your stress related stiffness and aches and pains and know exactly what to do to relax you before any issues prevent you for accomplishing what you need during the coming month.
You should put your physical and emotional health first when you’re studying for exams, meeting the demands of family and friends, or putting final touches on year-end reports so that you can accomplish all that and more with ease! Try and ensure that you give yourself a break from demands, whether it’s for a massage or just to get out for a walk and sit in the sunshine (if we get some) or spend time with friends. Meet your year-end goals as your best self by granting yourself time to take care of your body.
Have you wondered if a painful massage is a better massage?
Many people believe that a massage has to hurt in order to be effective. It’s comes from the idea that if there’s pain, then that’s the sign that the massage is really working in the places that need it most. 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, then move on to deeper muscle work. This movement from light to deep this is important because 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, muscles 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.
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. But make sure you also are aware that if you experience pain during a massage that you feel is more than discomfort, you should let your therapist know because it could 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. But, if you want the massage to move deeper into your muscles than your therapist realizes, say so! We want to make sure you leave your massage having gotten exactly the experience you wanted.
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. Talk to your therapist and together you can decide the best way for your muscles to receive the treatment they need!
Massage and stretching are both really helpful ways to keep your muscles relaxed, reduce tension and 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, as well as stop the knots forming in them that take so much work to get rid of.
Regular massage boosts the impact of stretching by improving your flexibility and range of motion, therefore 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?
Stripped 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.
- Help strained muscles to heal faster
- Reduce swelling and scar tissue in injured muscles
- Relieve stiffness and tension in your muscles
- Reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and fatigue
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.
All of us have been known to put our hands on our back or shoulders and complain about a knot. Maybe we were lifting and carrying heavy things, maybe we’ve gone through bouts of stress, or maybe we are physiologically prone to them. Whatever the case, the concept of a muscle knot is probably something you’re well aware of, but what are they exactly?
Where do knots begin?
Knots in our muscles begin with something called a trigger point. Trigger points are simply tender spots on your body that ‘trigger’ or cause discomfort. These tender spots are common and many of us have them, but for some people they can become really troublesome. They are common in hot-spots like shoulders and neck, but they can crop up just about anywhere and cause a lot of pain.
A trigger point is like a ‘knot’ in your muscle, or the fascia (the thin wrapping around each muscle), which is why they are often referred to as a muscle knot. To a massage therapist it feels like a hard contraction on the on the muscle fibers connected to it, like a tight band around the muscle. Trigger points in muscles are ‘myofascial trigger points’ – and there are other types of trigger point that can occur around the body, on your skin, ligaments and tendons, and on scar tissue.
Do you have knots?
You’ll be able to tell where your own trigger points are. If you touch them with any kind of pressure, you’ll notice they start to hurt or hurt more. They are often situated close to problem areas for you as well, so if you have back issues, your trigger points are likely to be around your back, neck and shoulders, although this isn’t always the case. The range of sensations you might feel from a trigger point can be quite wide, too; anything from intense pain to a dull, throbbing ache. Some people feel ‘pins and needles’ or numbness.
So, what causes trigger points to flare up? One theory is that they are down to some sort of muscular overload – if you’ve been working out too hard or overdoing it, or just not been taking care of your posture.
How are Trigger Points treated?
If you notice a sore spot and want to see a massage therapist for advice, we’d advise having a word with your medical adviser first just to make sure that any swelling or soreness is just down to muscular stress and nothing more serious.
Once you’ve been checked over, we can start to look at the problem and help you to heal it with massage. During your massage, your therapist will work on your trigger points and muscle knots, gently but firmly releasing them. We can also help you with in-between treatment massage techniques to try at home that will ease any discomfort and help to prevent the muscle knots building up again.
Trigger points and tender spots can cause a huge amount of pain and discomfort, often restricting your movement and your ability to do the activities you want to. You don’t have to put up with this pain though, with massage you can be pain free!
You know, before I became a massage therapist, I had no real idea how one massage differed from another. Obviously, deep tissue was going to hurt and Swedish massage sounded like something fancy that happened at a spa, right? No, I was so wrong. There are a number of different styles of massage, and they aren’t just marketing lingo to make your experience seem fancy. Instead, each kind of massage offers a specific kind of touch with different health benefits and outcomes.
May you’ve only tried the most common massage, a Swedish massage, and you’re curious about others but have no idea what to choose. 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, we can 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. We don’t offer every type of massage at Revive, but we are pleased to share our knowledge with you!
This is one of the most popular massages – it’s sometimes called the relaxation massage, which might clue you in to why people gravitate to it. 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. If you’ve got tight muscles and aches and pains, we can increase the pressure where you need it more, adjusting the massage as it unfolds. 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.
Deep Tissue Massage
This is more of a remedial massage than a relaxing one and 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!
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. It is kind of like hot yoga for the massage table! This one will leave you feeling calm and relaxed.
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 is so much more than just a foot massage. It’s based on a holistic therapy based on the idea that there are pressure points on your feet that correspond to different areas of your body. 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.
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.
The benefits of prenatal massage
All of the changes your body goes through while you are pregnant can mean that (along with the obvious things like an ever-growing belly and some sleepless nights) you can suffer from unexplained and unusual aches and pains.
The last trimester in particular is well known for being uncomfortable as baby grows and your body must accommodate the rapid growth rate. Massage can be a great way of easing the discomfort that growing another human being can cause! Being pregnant is a unique journey for every mom, but massage has universal benefits. So, if you’re sitting down at night with swollen feet or walking around during the day holding your lower back, consider coming in for a beneficial treatment.
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.
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.
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.
Massage in pregnancy – warning
You should always make sure that if you are booking a prenatal massage, because it allows your qualified therapist time to set up the massage space to properly accommodate your physical needs.
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
- 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! We are looking forward to providing comfort, support, and relaxation during your prenatal journey!
Massage for back-pain relief
Back pain is no joke! So many adults suffer from twinges, spasms, or slippery back discs. And the reasons for the back pain are across the board, from injuries to sneezes. (My dad threw out his back sneezing once!) My younger sister had a rib slip out of place because of bad posture while breastfeeding and now, three years later, still finds herself suddenly in pain. What’s really important to remember is that any back pain needs attention – don’t wait to get relief until you can’t move or can’t sleep! Not everybody realizes that massage is a powerful painkiller with long-term benefits.
Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain and if you’re one of the 31 million Americans who suffers with back pain at some point in their life, you’ll know how miserable it can be. If you are dealing with chronic back pain – which is pain that’s lasted more than three months and less than six – it can impact on your daily life, and stop you doing things you want to do. You could be reliant on drugs to keep you mobile or help you sleep.
The vicious pain cycle
If you can no longer exercise pain-free, you might end up in a vicious cycle of inactivity which makes your pain worse, which stops you being active. Or you could just increase your meds but that just masks the problem. Also, some strong pain meds contain painkillers opioids like codeine which can lose their power over time as you build up a tolerance to their effects. They can also have unwanted side effects.
What you need is a way to manage your back pain that is effective but doesn’t have the side effects. Wouldn’t you know it, research has shown that regular massage along with your prescribed medication and any other advice from your healthcare supplier can be so powerful that you might be able to decrease the number of painkillers you need to manage your back pain and start to live a more active life.
How massage can help beat back pain
A massage session doesn’t just relax you, it can help to promote tissue repair, improve the blood circulation and does wonders for your stress levels and mood. Recent research showed that regular massage therapy combined with exercise helped people suffering from chronic back pain to feel less anxious about their condition too. The study, which took place at a pain management clinic in Western New York, involved sixty chronic low back pain patients who were split into two groups. One group received regular massage therapy, twice a week for four weeks, along with their regular treatment, and one group only carried on with their prescribed treatments.
The participants all recorded their own pain levels before and after having massage therapy on a scale of one to ten. There was a significant difference between the pre-and post-treatment pain rating in the group that had regular massage, but the control group who carried on as normal reported no changes to their pain levels.
If you suffer with back pain and want to try something different – book that massage session now.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m stressed, my jaw can go nuts! I definitely inherited any and all jaw pain issues from my dad. I can remember from a young age watching him work at stretching, strengthening, and massaging his face trying to counter the symptoms of an inflamed TMJ. Maybe you clench your jaw when you’re angry or stressed, maybe you grind your teeth in your sleep, or maybe you love to eat a cheeseburgers far larger than your mouth — whatever causes it, massage can seriously help relieve your pain!
If you’re experiencing pain, stiffness and clicking noises in your jaw, you might be one of the 15% of adults who are thought to have TMD or temporomandibular joint disorder. TMJ affects more women than men, and tends to affect people from the ages of 20 to 40.
Do you have these problems?:
- Pain in one or both of your jaw joints, face or neck
- Pain when you chew
- Stiff jaw muscles
- Difficulty with fitting your teeth together
A clicking noise, while it can be a symptom, doesn’t necessarily mean you have TMD – many people experience popping and clicking noises with their jaws, and it’s only likely to be caused by TMD if you have one or more of the other symptoms also.
The good news is that most of the pain you get from TMD can be treated without needing surgery, and massage can help treat the cause of the problem, which relieves the symptoms. Sometimes the pain can come from something as simple as grinding or clenching your teeth, and if this case especially, regular massage therapy can really help to make a difference by counteracting the stress that’s making you grind your teeth.
Back in 1981, a dentistry study found that the teeth-clenching and grinding which often leads to TMD reduced when the masseter facial muscles were massaged.
Stress Relief Can Lead to TMD Relief.
We all know of the studies into massage as an effective stress reliever and its role in reducing anxiety, tension and stress has been reliably proven over the years. Massage leads to lower cortisol levels and increases in the amounts of feel good hormones such oxytocin and serotonin. The feeling of total relaxation that can be induced by regular massage is the key to reducing stress-related habits like teeth grinding.
Home Massage for TMD
Specific techniques can help the symptoms as they flare up, too. Try massaging your jaw with a kneading type pressure – use your fingers to make a constant, circular motion against the joints and muscles that are most affected.
Find the masseter muscles in your lower jaw – these are directly behind your molars and sitting just below your cheekbone.Start the massage by touching the corner of your mouth, then working your fingers all along your jaw until you feel a flat plane of bone. Massage the area by pressing gently with two or three fingers in a circular motion. Massaging like this helps to warm up the muscles and also stimulates the lymph function, flushing out toxins at the same time. Keep going with the jaw massage until you feel some relief from the pain.
Massages are often sold as an indulgence 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. Many health problems can be reduced and even eliminated with regular massage! Discuss any issues with one of our massage therapists and we’ll cater your service to fit your health needs.
Here are a few conditions that can really benefit from massage; a few you might already know and some may surprise you!
Lower Back Pain
This is such a common problem, often caused by bad posture at work, so no wonder many employers bring in massage therapists to help their employees! Poor posture and sitting for too long can cause a lot of lower back problems, as can crouching while gardening, moving boxes around during seasonal clean-up, and simply getting older. Get one of our massage therapist on the case and you can hopefully wave goodbye to a sore back.
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.
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. Revive also offers paraffin dips, which can add additional healing benefits to your sore hands and feet.
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 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.
Nobody really knows what causes migraines, and there isn’t a cure, but if you’re a migraine sufferer know that your massage therapist can help! 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.
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. Talk to your therapist and we can make a treatment plan catered to any health issues you’re experiencing!
When it comes to our skin, we’re lucky that Seattle weather is far from dry. Even though our weather isn’t taking a dehydrating toll on our skin, the sun in the summer (along with the sunblocks and bug sprays!) and the cold of fall and winter do a number on our skin. Have no fear! We can revitalize your dry knees and elbows, hands and feet with a delicious body scrub!
We offer spa style services right here in the neighborhood and at neighborhood prices! Our most requested body treatment is our body scrub. After all the hours in the garden and out in the sun this summer, September is a great time to add a body scrub or back scrub to your massage schedule. Dry, flaky skin can be eliminated with this incredibly relaxing treatment!
But why choose to upgrade your massage to a spa treatment, or even possibly add a back scrub to your massage? Here are a few reasons to indulge in a back or whole body scrub.
First, body scrubs remove dead skin cells. A body scrub doesn’t just treat the surface of your skin. It removes dead skin through exfoliation, removing the dry, dead, rough layer to bring out the soft skin below. You’ll never feel more refreshed skin than after a deep scrub.
Second, body scrubs promote skin hydration. Although as your massage therapist my number one focus isn’t skin hydration, it is a benefit to a body scrub that should not be overlooked! After a scrub, your skin will be able to better absorb moisturizers, and I finish each scrub with a body butter massage application!
Third, exfoliating the skin removes dead skin that can build up and clog pores. This can help reduce the appearance of blemishes on the surface of your skin. Best of all, a calming body scrub can promote and increase your relaxation and stress reduction. So, book a back scrub with your massage or, even better!, treat yourself to a full body scrub, mud and body butter application because a massage is included!
Ready to indulge and benefit from the experience? Enjoy 30% off any one body treatment with BODY30 at booking.
This week, my kids started back at school. Jack is about to become (pinch me, it can’t be real!!) a teenager! I can hardly believe how fast life has flown by since he was born. Desiree and Lucille are third graders, each on their own unique path but also delightfully on those paths together. My little ones are three, but that didn’t stop them from demanding I pack them a cold lunch and take their back-to-school pictures! Whew! It’s hard to believe summer is over and I’m about to tackle head-on scouting, religion classes, school concerts, American Heritage Girls, community choir, childcare needs, and so much more! God, grant me patience and lots of time for sleep!
As adults, we feel the back-to-school pressures with new schedules, instilling routines, hustling kids to activities, making sure everyone is eating a balanced diet, keeping up on homework responsibilities, and… well, you get it! But, how often do we stop and consider how are kids are dealing with all of these new things? As a mom, I know that I get caught up in making sure everything on our schedule is happening that I often forget who exactly it is happening to! This is where a great resource can help us out.
When we take time for ourselves to wind down and provide our bodies with beneficial stress relief, we feel so much more able to meet the demands of our everyday life. This is something we can offer our kids, too!
This great book, A Modern Day Guide to Massage for Children, is a wonderfully illustrated guide to offering our kids productive, healthy touch. Using this guide, you can integrate massage into your home life with pockets of time for you and your kids to bond through relaxation.
Parenting is nothing short of a marathon in daily life and long-term. Even though I want to be the mom who never raises my voice and whose kids eat carrots and hummus while delightfully reading books of poetry, instead we often find ourselves couch lounging with frozen pizza. But! I really love and savor the moments when I entice them with massage, connecting with them one-on-one while also giving them loving touch that benefits their whole being. I hope that I can offer you, my clients, pockets of relaxation this school year and that in turn, we can all reach into our families with that same healing intention. Let’s welcome fall with joy and a good foot rub!
It will surprise no one that essential oils are available with massage. But, the benefits of essential oils might! Essential oils are derived from plants, flowers, and fruits typically either by distillation or using a press. This means that the oils from these plants will offer us benefits without any chemicals.
One misunderstanding people have about essential oils is their name. No, they aren’t essential to our existence! Instead, they’re called essential oils because they give us the essence of whatever they are derived from. I use the Bon Vital’ Essential Oils in my clinic and enjoy their clean fragrances and unique blends. Experience the aromatherapeutic benefits of essential oils with your next treatment!
I have two excellent blends that I use with my therapies. The first is great for anyone who would like to enhance the calming, anti-anxiety benefits of massage. The blend combines lavender, bitter orange, grapefruit, and ylang-ylang. The second blend is for relaxation and benefits you physically through helping your mind wind down during your treatment. This blend is more forward with ylang-ylang, and also has lavender, myrrh, rosewood, tangerine, and bergamot. Both of these blends share qualities since they are designed for aromatherapy in conjunction with massage.
Aromatherapy is something that you can also add to your everyday life for bursts of beneficial essential oils. A little bit of peppermint oil on your wrists can offer rejuvenation throughout your day. Burning a sandalwood candle can provide a focusing quality to your workspace. And, as we head into cooler temperatures this fall, consider reaching for a warm cup of chamomile tea to calm your body and warm up your digestive track!
I am excited to continue sharing the awesome benefits of essential oils with my clients, which is why I’m offering a promotion for the month of September. Anyone who’d like to add aromatherapy on to their visit will get $5 off the normally $13 service! I always give you the remainder of the 2 oz bottle of oils, and this promotional rate is no different! So, use the promo code ESSENTIAL5 and I’ll see you all soon!
When my oldest sister’s first baby was born it was my first experience of labor and delivery. She chose to labor at home for a significant portion of her birth, and I was lucky enough to support her during that experience. Her birth experience ended up not unfolding at all the way she planned because babies have their own plan for coming into this world. As I watched her path to motherhood unfold, I was amazed by how many people it took to support a woman in labor and I felt drawn to the web of love and knowledge that surrounded her.
Fast forward a dozen short months and I learned even more about pregnancy, labor, and delivery with my own first baby. As part of my web of support, I was blessed to have a Doula help me through Jack’s birth. Having her with me allowed me to labor comfortably at home for my entire labor. She supported me with massage, moving labor positions, and relaxation techniques, all while being excellent moral support during the 10 hours she was with me at home. At the hospital she stayed beside me, keeping me on track with all of these things as I was transferred into the care of the doctors and nurses on duty.
My doula and my labor partner (the same sister who inadvertently introduced me to the birth process!) were my voice at the hospital. While I was deeply focused on processing my contractions, keeping my breathing steady, and finding my inner strength, I was not able to communicate any of my needs or wants, let alone answer any questions that came my way. Instead, it was Sarah and Jennifer who listened to all the medical information, relayed it to me in ways I could process, and helped steer my birth experience as close to my birth plan as possible.
Even though I knew what to expect from birthing babies by my third pregnancy, I still chose to have a Doula with me. As someone who really doesn’t like needles or medical procedures, I really wanted to have a natural delivery of my second set of twins, just as I had done with the first. But, as I said before, babies have their own plans for coming into this world. These babies were no different and one of my twins was breech, so it was medically necessary that I have a c-section. It was my Doula who offered me calming techniques and reassurance as I went into a surgery I was not emotionally prepared for. My husband and I also asked her to be with us during that experience in case there was an emergency with me or with one of the babies. Because she was present, it would have given me continued support regardless of what my husband needed to do for our new babies. It was the continual support that really made me feel as though I had a rich birth experience with my last babies, even though their birth was so different from my others.
A few years ago, my sister-in-law asked me to be with her during her labor as a support person. Being part of her birth story by supporting her through labor and delivery was both humbling and so fulfilling! My deep appreciation of the birth support web grew, even more, when I was so central to it. It was at this point that I knew I wanted to train as a Doula and support more women through their journeys. In April 2018, I completed the BigBelly DONA training and am now a certified Doula. I am working towards completing my hours needed for full certification so that I can incorporate birth experiences into my practice. I’ve already supported mothers beyond my family and I’ve loved every moment of it! If you or someone you love is on a birth journey, I’d be honored to offer them Doula support!
Fix Or Repair Daily: that’s the corny acronym some loyal Chevy drivers ascribe to Ford trucks. I know this because I grew up in a somewhat rural area of Northern California, where one is apt to absorb such knowledge. Regardless of vehicular preferences, I find myself reflecting frequently on this acronym as a cheeky but useful reminder of how my body needs to be treated.
Health is a concept often presented as a static state; as homeostasis: the state our body prefers to return to if only we would get out of its way. If we could only eat enough antioxidants, do enough cardio, exert enough effort and control over our food, time, stress level… if we DO enough, we can be enough. We can have health once and for all. It’s a race we can never win.
This paradigm pits the individual against a myriad of forces outside of our control: time, our environment, those pesky genes. It leaves us striving for an ephemeral concept. And when we inevitably fail at achieving perfect health, we wind up with no one to blame but ourselves. My own experiences have shown me that control over my health drifts somewhere between tenuous and illusory. I held tightly to this idealized model of health until chronic back pain and the tumult of bearing children loosened my grip and opened my eyes to a new way of seeing it.
As a massage therapist, I offer you an alternative, dynamic view of health. One in which our bodies request and we respond; one in which we meet ourselves where we are today and develop a nurturing dialogue with our bodies. Health is a dance and a conversation. Endlessly changing, but constantly lending us the chance to know ourselves better. Massage is a way to bring a third party into that conversation between ourselves and our bodies.