Massage is a pampering treat as well as a therapeutic one

Massage is a pampering treat as well as a therapeutic one

On gray winter days, reaching for a chocolate bar or a glass of wine may seem like a quick fix for the blues.  A healthier antidote for the bone-chilling cold: a massage. The soothing aromatherapy, combined with a head-to-toe deep tissue massage, pampers dry skin as well as rejuvenates and refreshes the body. A massage can boost your immune system during cold and flu season

Benefits range from simple stress reduction to improved circulation, pain relief, and enhanced sleep quality.

More traditional massages, such as Swedish (which uses long gliding strokes and kneads individual muscles), sports therapy (focuses on overuse areas), and deep tissue (slow strokes and deep pressure on tissues and muscles), are all popular massage treatment options. Which one would work best for you today:

  • Hot stone therapy: In this, the therapist places smooth and water heated stones on certain parts of the body. The heat that is generated by the stone works fine on the body and is especially very effective during winter.
  • Traditional massage: It is a dry massage that incorporates stretching of body parts which improves the blood circulation of the body.
  • Shiatsu: It is another dry massage which only focuses on the release of muscle tension, which ultimately gives you deep relaxation. It is a Japanese technique, which involves working on back body with pressure.
  • Traditional Balinese: It is an oil-based massage – a combination of acupressure, reflexology, stretching and aromatherapy. It helps you during winters by stimulating circulation. The problem of joint pain is also taken care of.

The type of massage you choose, depends on the desired outcome you’d like to achieve. I use tools gained from my experience and education to treat clients. When you’re fighting harsh, below freezing temperatures day in and day out during the winter season, you may feel like your body is continually chilled to the bone. To help fight off the effects of the frigid weather on your body and your soul, I suggest implementing a regular massage therapy routine.

Ice Bath or Massage Therapy You Choose?

Ice Bath or Massage Therapy You Choose?

You have worked too hard, or worked out too hard, your muscles are sore, what do you do next? A long, hot bath is something you may look forward to in order to relax tight muscles, relieve stress and pain or is a cold shower?

Not all fitness experts race to jump into a hot bath or hot tub to sore their achy joints. Some experts such as Marty Jaramillo, CEO of the I.C.E. Sports Health Group, recommends taking an ice cold bath in order to numb really sore muscles. Soreness happens when lactic acid and other wastes collect in your muscles through your blood vessels. Cold water temperatures constrict blood vessels as opposed to dilating them to reduce pain. Taking a cold bath can be challenging, but try to use the coldest temperature you can tolerate. You can even add a bag or two of ice into the tub if desired.

Initially, a cold compress or cold bath will help numb your back and relieve pain. Days after your injury or workout, you may choose a hot bath for your muscle aches; the heat will penetrate and relax muscles, reducing the risk for spasms. A hot bath also reduces stress levels all over your body. You may not realize it but when you have muscle soreness in one area, the surrounding areas may tense up from working harder to compensate for the sore, weak muscle groups. The bath can relax the muscles and prepare them for stretching and your next workout.
When you exercise, your blood vessels open wider and stay that way for at least an hour afterward. Soreness occurs when waste products like lactic acid settle in your muscles through these dilated vessels. Colder temps constrict vessels, limiting the amount of waste product that accumulates, explains Jaramillo.

Cool the Pain

  • If you’re feeling brave, fill your tub halfway with cold water and add a bucket of ice cubes.
  • Gradually submerge your body into the water to your waist.
  • Don’t submerge your chest; the extreme temperature could cause injury.
  • Work up to soaking for 30 seconds to one minute

When does the warm or hot bath come in? After a therapeutic massage.  Here is an excerpt from “How Massage Heals Sore Muscles”

They found that massage reduced the production of compounds called cytokines, which play a critical role in inflammation. Massage also stimulated mitochondria, the tiny powerhouses inside cells that convert glucose into the energy essential for cell function and repair. “The bottom line is that there appears to be a suppression of pathways in inflammation and an increase in mitochondrial biogenesis,” helping the muscle adapt to the demands of increased exercise, said the senior author, Dr. Mark A. Tarnopolsky.

Dr. Tarnopolsky suggests that, in the long run, a professional massage may even be a better bargain than a pill. “If someone says “This is free and it might make you feel better, but it may slow down your recovery, do you still want it?” he asked. “Or would you rather spend the 50 bucks for a post-exercise massage that also might enhance your recovery?” read full article on NYtimes.com

warm bath after massage helpsI often recommend taking a Hot Epsom salt Bath after a massage because of several factors. One I have moved a lot of metabolic waste as I manipulated the muscle tissues. Drinking water will help flush these toxins out as well.

This all helps to relieve pain. In your bathtub, you can add certain ingredients that may also help relax muscles. Consider adding sea salts or Epsom salts to your bath – this will help reduce swelling and calm your central nervous system. You may also want to use essential oils that can help relax you and help sore muscle groups such as eucalyptus, bergamot and lavender. These ingredients are often used in massage therapy as well.

Having a massage, especially a deep tissue massage, is a form of passive exercise, as hard as that may be to believe, and you need to take care of yourself as if you have just exercised.  You don’t want to ruin that relaxed high you’re on right now, do you?

Essential Oils and Aromatherapy Massage

Essential Oils and Aromatherapy Massage

Aromatherapy is a holistic treatment that aims to treat the whole person not just presenting symptoms. It offers a wide range of highly effective treatments for both acute and chronic stages of illness and disease. The oils have a psychological as well as a physical effect to restore balance and encourage the body’s own healing power, thus promoting good health and well-being.

A blend of oils is created to suit your individual needs which can be administered by massage (the most common method), inhalation, compresses or baths.

The benefits of aromatherapy are many and varied and so most people can benefit from a treatment. Some conditions aromatherapy can be effective for include:

  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Stress
  • Menstrual or menopausal problems
  • Insomnia
  • Muscular aches and pains
  • Digestive problems

Detoxification is a natural and constant bodily process. We are continually eliminating excess toxins through our digestive, urinary, skin, circulatory, respiratory, and lymphatic systems.

While we are designed to handle some toxins, our bodies can become overloaded when bombarded with too much processed food, drink, sugar, parasites, air, and water pollutants. This can lead to fatigue, constipation, gas, bad breath, low immunity, hormone imbalances, skin problems, poor circulation, mood swings, depression, and mucus build-up.

Entering the bloodstream through the pores of the skin, essential oils are carried to all parts of the body via the circulatory and lymphatic systems. They are chemically complex and their constituents have a direct effect on the body, mind, and spirit.

Aromatic essential oils can be used in a massage oil. We combine the relaxing, manual lymph drainage of a massage with the detoxifying properties of essential oils.  Have you booked your next massage yet?

The ingredients of Holistic Massage

The ingredients of Holistic Massage

The term ‘holistic‘ comes from the Greek word ‘holos’ meaning whole. The holistic approach to preventative maintenance massage aims to restore balance within the body, taking into account the person’s whole being not just their physical symptoms or ailments.

Massage is one of the oldest healing therapies known to man.. Holistic massage combines a therapeutic and systematic process of touch and response with each treatment adapted to the client’s needs, physical characteristics and unique personality.  It improves circulation in the body by assisting the flow of blood from the limbs back to the heart.  Deep stroking movements increase the flow of fresh blood carrying nutrients and oxygen to organs and muscles.

Aromatherapy literally means curative treatment using scent.  There are so many essentials oils derived from the various parts of plants.  The scent from these oils can have a beneficial effect on one’s well being.  When combined with massage, the benefits are increased.  

Specific oils are selected according to the client’s condition.  Massage is an effective means of ensuring that the essential oils (diluted in a carrier oil) penetrate the client’s skin.

Reflexology believes that the feet and hands are mirrors of the body.  By stimulating reflex points on the feet and hands you can relax the whole body, giving the client a sense of balance.  The reflex areas of the sole, top and sides of the right foot correspond to the right side of the body and the left foot to the left side of the body.

Originally used to treat disease, the ancient method of hydrotherapy is used today to treat musculoskeletal disorders and injuries as well as to soothe various aches and pains.

There are various techniques that belong to the family of hydroptherapy.  At Helping Hands we specialize in:

  • salt glow – a salt paste (with or without aromatherapy) is applied to your body as a vigorous skin scrub stimulating your circulation and nervous system.
  • parafiin wax – layers of heated therapeutic wax are applied to areas of chronic pain in conjunction with a massage treatment allowing your joints and muscles greater flexibility.
  • dry brushing – experience a gentle full body exfoliation with a soft bristle brush.

Massage may be defined as any systematic form of touch, which is found to give comfort and promote good health.  The basis of massage is touch, the most fundamental of human needs.  Massage relaxes the body and mind; stimulates the muscles and organs; soothes and relieves stress, anxiety and depression; alleviates pain and reduces symptoms of minor illnesses.  Basically, massage improves ones’ emotional and physical well-being, the ‘whole’ self.

 

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