Corporate Chair Massage and SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

When I do corporate chair massage in the winter months I often find that my clients suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder due to lack of sunlight.

Having written a book on depression I had an interest in combining my chair massage techniques with tools that could reduce depression caused by sunlight deprivation.

Let me tell you more about SAD. Today, many people suffer from sunlight starvation. As winter approaches and there is less daylight, some people experience a form of depression that disappears during the spring and summer months. It is known as SAD. SAD is most common in temperate climates where people spend so much time indoors that they are unable to get their daily requirements for sunlight! People need the full spectrum of light that comes with sunshine. It's vital to life and health. Deprivation of sunlight is not just a winter phenomenon. It can be caused by many factors, including some ordinary behaviors.

One way to avoid sunlight starvation is through full spectrum indoor lighting. This type of light simulates the full color and beneficial ultraviolet spectrum of sunlight. The full visible and ultraviolet spectrum of natural white light promotes healing benefits and reduces depression symptoms as no artificial light can. Look for full-spectrum light bulbs at your local health food store, hardware store or light fixtures store. For extreme cases of use a high intensity “light box” to get the amount of light required to be healthy.

Although the cause of SAD has not clinically proven, many treatments seem to have a positive effect on the condition including; including amino acids, vitamins, light therapy, negative ions, color therapy, and magnesium supplementation. We combine these approaches with Onsite Chair Massage.

Michael Terman, Ph.D., director of the winter depression program at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center states, “Using bright-light therapy to shift the internal circadian clock is the most effective intervention we know about. But proper timing is critical.” (Psychology Today, Nov. / Dec 2002). Dr. Terman has demonstrated that the best time to use bright-light therapy is approximately 2.5 to 4 hours past the midpoint of sleep. By timing the light in this manner, the anti-depressant response can be doubled as compared to the effect of using light therapy at any other time of the day.

I want to note here that SAD affects men and women differently. It is hard to specifically define the level of depression in certain gender, age and cultural groups. Depression involves many factors and different segments of the population have different ways of relating to and expressing feelings of depression.

Recent research re-establishes the belief that not only is there a difference between men and women physically, but emotionally and mentally as well. Men and women use language, react to stress, seek out leisure activities, express feelings, respond to stress and even respond to mental health issues differently.

Since we offer chair massage in a corporate environment where the clients are clothed the easy way to integrate the two approaches is to have our clients visualize pleasant images, tell them positive aphorisms and use light boxes during a corporate chair massage session.

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The Benefits of Shiatsu Massage for Pregnancy

Many women find it beneficial to get a shiatsu massage during their pregnancies. The overall benefits of shiatsu are good for any individual, but there are a number of ways that shiatsu massage can also promote comfort and well being during pregnancy. Here are some facts about the use of shiatsu for pregnant women.

What is Shiatsu Massage?

Shiatsu massage is an ancient Eastern traditional massage that works to restore the flow of energy in the body. Chinese tradition teachings that the life force, or the qi, is composed of energy that runs through the body and allows energy to function. Energy runs in channels through the healthy body, but sometimes the channels can become blocked. Disturbances in the flow of qi can be caused by stress, illness, or improper body care. When the energy is blocked, a person experiences disruptions in bodily function and decreased health.

A practitioner of shiatsu massage works to correct problems with the qi. Through the use of skilled touch, the masseuse is able to identify areas of blockage in the qi and focus attention on the blockages. Pressure techniques allow the practitioner to clear the blockage and restore a good flow of qi within the body.

Shiatsu for Pregnant Women

Shiatsu massage can be very beneficial for most individuals. As the stresses of daily life build up and health concerns begin to pile, many claim that this massage is a quick way to release illness and bad energy in the body. It also has some particular indications for women who are pregnant.

During pregnancy, many women experience aches and pains, especially in the lower back and legs. Women who receive shiatsu massages during pregnancy report that it eases these daily aches. Many women choose to get frequent treatments during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy in order to relieve discomfort. Note that shiatsu is contraindicated for the first trimester of pregnancy; women should consult a doctor to make sure that they are good candidates for shiatsu massage treatments.

Constipation and heartburn are also relieved by shiatsu massage. The additional bloating that can come with pregnancy can be reduced as well. Pregnancy is a time when the body is flooded with hormones, and the body is not used to coping with large amounts of these chemicals. When the body is simply feeling off or having a hard time dealing with the changes, shiatsu helps restore a feeling of well-being.

Massage as a technique for relaxation is an important tool for pregnant women. Women have fewer complications in their pregnancies and deliver healthy babies when they are able to remain calm and happy during their pregnancies. This is why it is important for women to develop strategies for keeping relaxed in the face of stressful experiences. Frequent shiatsu massage keeps women calm, comfortable, and well.

The use of shiatsu massage for pregnancy has many benefits. It can improve general energy and well-being as well as relieving symptoms of pregnancy such as aches and pains, bloating, and morning sickness. For these reasons, many women are choosing to incorporate shiatsu into their second and third trimesters of pregnancy.

Finding a good massage therapist is important. Someone who has experience working with pregnant women will know how to deliver the best care. The massage therapist should understand the limitations and needs of pregnant women. When looking for a good massage therapist, it's important to ask about special treatments for pregnant women and the therapist's experience. Once a good massage therapist is found and a massage program is established, shiatsu can have wonderful effects on the ease and comfort of a woman's pregnancy.

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Why You Should Get Massaged During Pregnancy

Infant massage has so many benefits for new parents, massage has been shown to encourage bonding, alleviate constipation, and even reduce stress for both parent and child! However massage can aid Mom while baby is still in the womb. Several studies have shown the wide range of benefits prenatal massage provides. This includes combating prenatal depression, which is an issue affecting pregnant mothers all over the world.

49% of pregnant women experience prenatal depression which can be a significant threat to your unborn child. Potential complications of prenatal depression include prematurity, low birth weight and more incidences of intensive care at birth. This stress and depression greatly affects the infant both emotionally and mentally even causing motor delays during infancy. These emotional problems can follow them into childhood making the prevention and treatment of prenatal massage an important contribution to a healthy birth.

Pregnant women were randomly assigned a twenty minute massage or experienced relaxation therapy two times weekly. While both groups reported lower anxiety levels and less leg pain, only the collected group reported reduced anxiety, depression and back pain, as well as, better sleep by the last day of the study. The prematurity rate was significantly lower in the massage therapy group versus the relaxation control group (0% versus 17%).

In another study, pregnant women who were diagnosed as depressed received a 20-min massage at home from their significant other two per week. Throughout the course of the study, the massage therapy group had fewer symptoms of depression, fewer complications including a lower prematurity rate. In another study, pregnant women diagnosed with major depression were given 12 weeks of twice per week massage therapy by their significant other versus a standard prenatal care as the control group. A reduction in depression by the end of the therapy period and reductions in depression and cortisol levels during the postpartum period were some of the benefits seen in the massage therapy group in comparison to the control group. Their newborns had reduced rate of premature birth and low birth weight even performing better on orientation and motor scales.

While these studies focused on women who were currently depressed, the same benefits are transferable to all pregnant women. A great way to get ready for your bundle of joy is to practice massage before they arrive. You will be introduced to massage and be able to create a great tradition with your baby .. Luckily most massage therapists, are certified in both prenatal and infant massage making it easier to have a complete plan ready for you and your family!

Copyright (c) 2013 Liddle Kidz Foundation Infant and Children's Pediatric Massage

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Wellness Tips To Improve Your Internal Health

Wellness – physical, mental and spiritual – is the essence of my work as a massage therapist. Helping individuals find their own path to wellness, whether directly through a massage or indirectly by encouraging my clients to adopt a life of self-care, self-confidence and self-love, is very important to me. And there is no better time to embrace health and wellness than in the New Year.

Almost every January, health and body magazines are awash with diets, exercise tips and resolutions for the New Year. I love all this dedication to health, and I wish that it could keep the spotlight all year-round.

This year (Welcome 2014!), I'd like to focus on an element of health that many people are not aware of: The body's pH.

Most of us remember Ph (acidic vs basic) from high school chemistry. But you've probably forgotten that pH stands for “potential of hydrogen,” which is the measurement of hydrogen ions in a particular solution. In numerical terms, pH is measured on a scale from 0 to 14, 0 being very acidic and 14 being very basic or alkaline. 7 is neutral.

So what does this have to do with health and wellness? Well a lot, actually.

Our bodies are designed to function within a very narrow pH range – slightly on the alkaline side with a pH of 7.4. If your blood's pH fluctuates to a more acidic number, distress signals are sent out and you'll start to feel a variety of unwanted symptoms – everything from skin breakouts to arthritis, chronic fatigue to irritable bowel syndrome. A blood pH lower than 7 is especially dangerous because it weakens the immune system and may lead to disease.

In American culture, it's very easy to live with an acid pH due to all the processed food out there, not to mention stress. So how do you keep your body alkaline then?

Having regular therapeutic massage is one way to help reduce stress and then improve the body's overall pH. Emotional stress releases acidic hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Opting for a relaxing, full-body massage not only counteracts this process, but it gets the natural fluids of the body – blood, oxygen and lymph – flowing in a healthy manner. The body's adrenaline is slowed and cortisol is reduced.

Diet is another way to keep your pH alkaline. A diet high in natural vitamins, minerals and H20 will do wonders for your pH. In particular, you want to find foods rich in alkaline minerals such as:

  • Calcium (oranges, almonds, spinach)
  • Magnesium (kale, salmon, lentils)
  • Iron (olives, parsley)
  • Potassium (bananas, potatoes)
  • Sodium (shrimp, beets)
  • And avoid the acidic minerals ie sulphur and phosphorus

I would suggest adopting a diet high in leafy green vegetables, lean meats and low-sugar fruits. This will provide your body with the needed minerals, proteins and vitamins to keep pH within the healthy alkaline zone.

One of the best ways to embrace this diet is start each day off with a juice. I suggest having a green juice first thing in the morning – kale, green apple and parsley, for example. If kale does not sound particularly appreciate at 8 am (I hear you) then go for some low-sugar fruits such as blueberries, strawberries and blackberries. Or better yet – a sweeter vegetable such as carrots.

All of these options will pack your blood with the minerals needed to stay alkaline, not to mention essential antioxidants and blood builders such as chlorophyll.

The reason you juice the fruits and veggies instead of eating them whole is that the pure nutrients can enter your system more quickly via juice. (Imagine how long and cumbersome it would be to eat half-a-bunch of kale without juicing it.) By eliminating the plant fiber, juicing lightens the digestive process and gets the healthy stuff to your system more directly. And that means a happy, alkaline body!

So go ahead and try it! Juicers are easy to come by at any kitchen store or online. If you're not sure you want to commit just yet, you can always find a juice bar in the city.

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Brief Insight Into the Art of Swedish Massage

Massaging in brief

Massage is a technique adopted to treat the patient of the pain or any discomfort. By massaging the functions of the defect and also the beneficial layers of the muscles are enhanced. It also improves the functioning of the connecting tissues. Hereby, the patient gets relief from pain or discomfort. There are various types of massaging techniques and one such popular technique is the Swedish massaging technique.

What is unique in Swedish technique?

Like any other massaging techniques, the Swedish technique also is based on strokes. This Swedish massaging technique is believed to have been invented by a popular Dutch practitioner by name Ohann Georg Mezger. The unique feature of Swedish technique is the type of stroke that is adopted to suit the ailment. The type of strokes applied in Swedish technique includes kneading, Sliding (also called as gliding), friction, vibration and rhythmic tapping.

The process of Swedish massaging

Before concluding the massaging, the technician will inquire about the general health of the patient. He will also inquire with the patient about his allergic reaction to any medicines. He will also inquire whether the patient has undergone any surgeries or has suffered any injuries. Only then, he will proceed the massaging process. The masseur will apply suitable pressure on the affected part so that the patient does not feel discomfort. Before applying the stroke, the masseur applies specifically prepared oil on the body of the patient. He will gently rub the oil on the body. This is a process of lubricating the body. After allowing some time for the oil to percolate into the body, the masseur applies appropriate strokes on the body.

By applying the stroke, the body gets warmed up. By warming up, the muscles and also the connected tissues get relaxed. By this process the blood circulation in the tissues improves and the patient gets relief from the pain and discomfort. The strokes adopted in Swedish massaging technique is so effective that even the muscle knots can be broken down to give much needed relaxation to the patient. The duration and frequency of massaging depends on various factors like the general health of the patient, the severity of the ailment and such other related factors.

Particularly designed massaging table

The massaging is done on a specially designed massaging table. The table is designed so the patient does not feel any discomfort during the course of massaging. Then masseur will have the option to adjust the height of the table so that he can apply the strokes comfortably. Most of the spas and massaging centers across Europe adopt Swedish massaging techniques.

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The Health Benefits of Prenatal Massage

This form of massage therapy is specifically designed for the pregnant women's needs and changes to their bodies. Professional therapists adjust the techniques being used according to each individual and which stage of pregnancy they are in.

Prenatal massage dates back to ancient times. References to it have been found in ancient ayurvedic medical texts, relating to the care of women preparing for child birth. They saw, even way back then, the need for the expectant mother to be in excellent spiritual, mental, and physical shape for this momentous occasion. All of these are key factors still today. The ancient texts tell how rubbing the mother to be with oils is vital during pregnancy and after the birth of the child.

Pregnancy Message Treatments

Studies show that massage treatments during pregnancy improve the outcome of labor, along with the newborn's health. The message technician does this by lowering anxiety, relieving muscle aches, and decreasing depression through specific techniques. In addition, there are several other problems associated with pregnancy that are remedied with pregnancy massage treatments.

  • Pregnancy causes a fluctuation in hormones. Regulation of these hormones is a huge benefit of message therapy. Hormones cause discomfort and mood swings for the mother. Massage alters hormone levels through reduced stress and relaxation. Having the hormone level regulated by a massage therapist also leads to fewer complications during birth.
  • Pregnant women often experience swelling. Massage therapy reduces swelling and edema caused by a reduction in circulation and an increase in pressure on the blood vessels. A message therapist can stimulate tissue, reducing the amount of fluid collecting.
  • The sciatic nerve can cause pain during pregnancy. Less Sciatic Nerve Pain is another result of pregnancy massage treatments. Sciatic problems occur during late pregnancy when swinging and weight gain puts pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing back and leg pain. A professional therapist will treat the pressure placed on the sciatic, meaning less pain for the mother to be.
  • An increase in the volume of blood can cause women to experience frequent heads while carrying a child. A professional therapist can massage the shoulders and neck to relate the pain.
  • Patients using a massage routine during pregnancy will find that they can get a better night's sleep. All of the problems commonly associated with pregnancy can keep the mother awake at night. Massage will alleviate many of these pains, allowing one to rest easier.

The Health Benefits of Prenatal Massage Therapy

The health benefits of prenatal massage therapy are numerous. Among them, reducing stress is of great importance. When the mother to be is free of stress, she can relax. This promotes an overall wellness for her and the baby.

This form of massage therapy also relieves several of the most common discomforts a pregnant woman experiences. Stiff neck, backaches, leg cramps, edema or swelling, and headaches can all affect one's overall health. Massage is a natural way of eliminating many of these problems by stimulating the blood flow and nerves.

Best of all, massage therapy relieves stress that appears on joints that bear the extra weight. This combined with the nervous system being soothed can allow the pregnant woman to feel less pain. Both the lymph and blood circulation will benefit as well.

All of these benefits help one sleep better at night. Massage combined with a good night's rest means relief of anxiety and depression. These symptoms are brought on by changes in the hormones, but they can be elevated when an expecting woman is sleep deprived. In response to massage therapy techniques, the body will release endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. All are natural chemicals that play a key role in relaxation and health.

Prenatal Massage Therapist

Becoming a prenatal massage therapist takes specific training to enable the therapist to have the proper qualifications. They need to have a strong ethical background, as well as a thorough education on positioning and massage treatments.

The advanced training a prenatal massage therapist receives includes an in-depth study of deep tissue, passive movement, neuromuscular systems, and reflexive position release. They will have studied methods of massage that are modified to handle the structural, emotional, and physiological changes the expectant mother encounters.

Massage therapists who specialize in prenatal care need to have a comprehensive understanding of more than just massage treatments. They need to have the knowledge to help a woman through every stage of their child bearing journey. This includes labor, birth, and even postpartum care. Their skills can help one successfully transition into each phases, resulting in a healthy and uncomplicated birth.

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Fun Benefits of Getting a Massage!

Massage is not just a luxurious treat to pamper yourself; there are many other healthful reasons to get a massage on a regular basis, including the big one – stress. Since stress can translate in different ways for different people, from aches and pains, to muscle tension, to both physical and emotional exhaustion, massage can actually help your body and mind de-stress, providing relief as well as, if not better than, medication for some of these ailments. Here are some interesting things that medical researchers have pointed out among the benefits of massages.

Here are five positive things a massage can do for you and your body:

1. Decrease chronic pain: Massage releases endorphins (the body's natural painkiller) into the brain and nervous system to reduce pain and discomfort without the use of medication. It also activates nerve receptor signals to temporarily block chronic pain signals from reaching the brain. For lower-back pain, try shiatsu, an Asian form of massage using trigger points to ease tension and release endorphins.

2. Strengthen your immune system: Massage increases circulation in your lymphatic system, which plays a major role in warding off infection and healing injuries. Lets prevent illness!

3. Improve nerve function: Massage relaxes contracted muscles, which can press or pinch your nerves, causing tingling, numbness, or pain. For athletes or those who just love a good workout, try a Swedish massage to less the muscle pain that comes with exercise. Each type of massage can be geared towards a specific situation, please make sure to consult with your masseus in order to see what types of massages may benefit you the most. Massages are a fantastic way to be stress free.

4. Sleep better: Since massage relaxes tense muscles and calms the nervous system, causing your body's rhythm to slow down, blood pressure is lowered, your heart rate settles and your breathing becomes deaf and more rhythmic, setting you up for a great night's sleep . Sleeping is crucial to anyone's health, as well as sleep is known to help weightloss!

5. Improve your skin: With so many factors taking a toll on our skin, including the sun, pollution, poor diet, and just the natural aging process, massage therapy can increase the uptake of vital skin-repairing nutrients and speed the removal of toxins. Improved circulation helps moisturize your skin, improving skin texture, while relieving dryness and itching. Massages are great accompanied with vitamins, and particular lotions / oils for optimum wellness.

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How Does a Hot Stone Massage Work?

When it comes to massage therapy, a number of different techniques are available to choose. The use of hot flat stones is an alternative kind of medicine that has been used since time immemorial. It is said that native Americans were the first using warm stones for therapeutic purpose and only about two decades ago the practice was rediscovered in the southwest. This kind of massage is said to be very relaxing and comforting.

Hot stone massage is different that it needs a more gentle touch and sometimes the therapist may just position the hot stones without even touch you. A nice hot stone massage can restore balance while giving you a luxurious experience regardless of you are seeking for a remedial treatment to address pain or a relaxing full body massage. It means working smarter rather than working harder.

Alternating hot and cold has been known as a working technique to promote the body's healing processes for long time. Heat can reduce muscle tightness, increase circulation that tissue repair, and increase connective tissue's elasticity. Thus, the use of the heat in the stones makes sense. In fact, such application allows the stiff muscles to relax and enable general muscles to loosen up. This is why people who suffer from daily fatigue or insomnia are often suggested to have a hot stone massage.

The process of hot stone therapy usually requires time between 60 and 90 minutes. In applying this type of massage selecting the right size and type of flat stones is essential. The size of stone usually shifted for the stone therapy may range from very small to large. smooth basalt stones or very smooth river stones are preferable because they are usually smooth and rich of iron that can retain heat. These characteristics are beneficial for warming and loosing the muscles. To help setting good mood, the use of soft aroma therapy, music and lighting is essential for the client.

A hot stone massage usually begins by immersing the selected stones in heated water at particular temperature range. After that, the massage therapist will apply oil to your body that later will allow hot stones to smoothly glide along your muscles. The stones usually are placed at specific points on your back (the seven energy zones, which are thought to be the centers of body energy), between your toes or in the palms of your hands. If desired, deaf pressure can be given by the massage therapist using bare hands once your muscles get warmed and relaxed by the heat. After that, the hot stones could be placed back on to your body for a short period of time.

The hot stone massage can work to heal the body because the stones used have a strong magnetic field due to their composition of minerals (calcium and iron). Both substances are efficient at restoring the natural energy flow of the body, which is called Qi (Chi). Unuttered flow of Qi helps to promote overall feeling of well-being and a healthy mind and body.

The use frozen or cold marble stones is sometimes incorporated into the hot stone massage too. This technique will help especially when there is inflammation or swelling. It is widely known that alternating hot and cold helps much with circulation and detoxification of the body.

Considering how the hot stone massage works, the therapy is suitable for those who have cold feet or tend to feel chilly. It is also suitable for people who suffer from muscle tension but prefer a lighter massage. The heat stones help to make their muscles relaxed eliminating the need to apply deep pressure to the muscle. Among the most widely accepted advantages of hot stone therapy include pain relief, circulation improvement, strain and tension relief, osteoarthritis and arthritis pain ease, toxin release, anxiety and stress reduction, depression ease, and insomnia alleviation.

Unfortunately, like other types of massages, the hot stone massage is not for everyone. There are particular conditions and life events that may bring a health risk for both you and the therapist. For that reason hot stone massage should be avoided if someone is pregnant, is late to blood clots, has recently undergone surgery, has recently undergone radiation or chemotherapy, has open wounds, or has has an infectious skin disease.

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How Painful Headaches Can Be Caused by Computer Neck

What is Computer Neck and why does it cause your head to hurt?

There are a number of reasons to get this type of problem, and working a desk job is one of the most notable. There are 8 small muscles under the base of the occiput (the big bumpy part on the back of your head). These muscles are called the suboccipitals because they are connected underneath the occiput.

They are small but responsible for a lot of work lugging an 18-20 lb head around. When you tilt your head down to read something on your desk, or more so when jutting your chin forward to look at the computer screen, these muscles are hard at work. These movements are often over exaggerated in the work place and done repetitively all day long. This leads to strain and overuse. Often the tension or pain will creep down into the shoulders. Sometimes it finds its way up to the back of the head or even across the scalp to just above your eyebrows. By the time this happens, you're probably already in the grasp of a headache.

You mean there are more side effects?

As a side effect of these repetitive neck motions the muscles on the sides and front of the neck will often get sore and tight as well. These flat muscles are called the scalenes. Once they become tight, they tend to continue being tight until massaged out. Because of the location, it's really hard and impractical to try and stretch them. It's not uncommon to feel a burning or pulling sensation when a massage therapist performance deep tissue work and trigger point therapy on them, however, you'll probably be grateful when it's done.

Slumping can cause pain

This is by far the most common structural issue I have come across with headache clients. These 8 little muscles get so overworked that they can not help but end up in spasms and develop trigger points. Trigger points (TrP) can develop in tight or damaged muscle tissue and often show up as nodules (knots) of bundled tissue. When pressed and released, they can release the pain pattern across a whole muscle or muscle group.

Your spine can be twisted or injured which will trigger a headache

I find that my clients also store a lot of emotional baggage in the muscles of the shoulders and neck. By far and large, headaches of this nature are the most common ones mistaken for migraines, and much more frequently than you might think. Most of my “migraine” sufferers do not generally seem to have the symptoms of migraines and are “fixed” by tension head techniques within minutes.

What do I do to diffuse the headache?

I like to work the neck with my client lying on their back. With the head being as heavy as it is, I can use gravity to get good pressure into the muscles. I like to perform a couple of stretches like the one mentioned in # 2 above. The passive stretching is done much easier by someone else, which lets you focus on relaxing. Typically, I'll combine multiple techniques such as steady direct pressure, hot towels, and essential oils to address the problem from all the angles I can fit into a session. Muscles really respond to multiple techniques at once.

So what can you do right now for this pain? A slow series of exercises can treat headache pain.

1. Lie back in a tall chair or on a bed to allow your neck muscles to rest and recover at night.

2. From a standing position , drop your chin to your chest and let gravity stretch out those muscles for 30-90 sec. You can also make big, slow, full circles with your neck to loosen things up.

3. Get 2 tennis balls and put them in a long sock and tie it off so they do not roll around or slip. Lie down with the tennis balls nuzzled up under the base of your head on either side of your spine. Lay there (as long as it's comfortable) up to 2-5 min. Gravity will take your head and apply pressure to those muscles with the tennis balls. * hint – depending on your size / structure, you may need to hold the tennis balls with your hands to keep them from sliding under the weight of your head.

4. Use a tool such as a Thera Cane or an accu-massager to pinpoint tension in this area and release the trigger points (tight bundles of muscle, TrP). Find these bunched up “knots” and apply pressure slowly for up to 1-2 minutes at a time to get them to let go.

5. You can us Essential Oils to heal and relax Computer Neck. Use a drop or two of Therapeutic grade peppermint essential oil on the chin or under the nose and / or rub 2-4 drops on the base of the head under the occiput. The scent of peppermint has been shown to reduce or tie heads. The oil itself has been shown to absorb into the skin and relax musculature.

6. Use an ice pack. Put an ice pack or cool towel across your forehead and under the base of the head at the occiput.

So whether you work in a desk job or slip in front of a tv, you now have a solution for “Computer Neck” headaches.

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How to Relieve The Four Types of Headache Pain

Have you ever closed yourself off in a dark bedroom because of a headache, in the sheer hopes that the respite of sleep will continue when you wake up and you will be pain free? You hope the throbbing behind your right eye will go away, that the bright light will not bother you, and that every little sound will not intensify the stabbing pain shooting through your skull. This is not always the case, of course.

Mary's story

I have a client; let's call her Mary (not her real name). Mary gets persistent headaches. Usually they start as something small and stay with her for long periods of time, sometimes days or even weeks. Periodically they get really bad and end up like the situation mentioned above, but usually they're just more of a nagging thing.

She was under the impression that she suffered migraines … all the time. Her doctor cave her impression.

Mary is usually able to handle the headaches with over the counter (OTC) drugs and rest, but finds a lot of relief from massage. She even had some experience with prescription migraine drugs by her doctor's suggestion. The drugs and rest often do not fix the problem and tend to just prolong the time between her much needed body work.

One day, when the meds just were not cutting it, she decided to try massage. This is where I enter into the story. After some questioning and a little bit of assessment, I found a lot of structural issues including the scoliosis she had been diagnosed with as a child. I also pinpointed bad physical habits that has that contribution to a lot of muscle tension. This tension was responsible for tension headaches that sometimes developed into migraines, but usually did not.

These were the persistent tension headaches she was having, not migraines. Not only did this explain why the migraine drugs were not helping, but also because the headaches sometimes felt so different from each other.

Headaches are, at best, a nuisance, and at worst can be completely debilitating, to the extent of missing work or fun with friends and family.

Caring for your headaches

How do you get the help you need for your headaches? Lots of people rely on acetaminophen (Tylenol is the non-generic name) or ibuprofen. Over the counter headache meds will often work for a common simple head, but rarely address the undering cause and can barely touch the worst of headaches.

The next step is often doctor's appointments, missed work, and prescription drugs. You have other choices. According to a study in the American Journal of Public Health , a study proved that headache frequency was “significantly reduced within the first week of the massage protocol,” and “The duration of headaches tended to decrease during the massage treatment period.” In other words, massage is more effective at treating and preventing headaches than any kind of drug. They are often a cheaper and more pleasant experience, and with little to no negative side effects.

Although there really is no substitute for a skilled and experienced body worker, there are some things you can do to help yourself.

The meat and potatoes

Let's first talk about headaches in general. Headaches are one of the most common physical problems for humans with up to 90% of adults in the United States experiencing at least one each year. Headaches are only rarely an indication of a serious underlying disorder, but can still be quite a hardship and can lead to problems in work, social life, family, or even love life.

Headaches can be classified into 4 categories: Tension, vascular, chemical, and traction-inflammatory.

  • Tension-type headaches are by far the most common type of headache people experience (90% or more). They are triggered by muscular tension caused by emotional or physical stress, bony misalignments, TMJ disorders, and other musculoskeletal imbalances. Lots of people misconstrue a bad tension head with migraines.
  • Vascular headways include the infamous migraine headache, cluster headaches, and possibly sinus headaches. About 1 in 20 heads is in this category. Triggers include food or smell sensitivities, alcohol use, shifts due to menstrual cycle etc. They can even start as a tension headache and progress to a migraine.
  • Chemical headaches are due to chemical fluctuations, the most common due to dehydration, low blood sugar (“hunger headaches”), or hormone shifts, but can also be caused by such medicines as painkillers or drugs like caffeine.
  • Traction-inflammatory headaches are the rarest type of headache, and the most dangerous. Sometimes they are called “secondary headaches” because they are a secondary symptom caused by something else that is undering such as a tumor, aneurysm, infection of the nervous system such as spinal meningitis, or even inflammation due to trauma like a car accident.

Of the 4 types of headaches, tension headaches are really the only ones quickly addressed after the headache has already started. The vascular and chemical headaches can be addressed to some degree, especially if they start as a tension head, but are typically treated on the preventive end of the spectrum. The traction-inflammatory types can be an indication of a serious or life rising problem and should be under the care of a doctor or other licensed health care professional. So, what can you do about the first 3 types of headaches?

The old headache “stand-by” is taking an over-the-counter drug. Those can do a lot for the average headache, but the drug has to be processed by the liver and kidneys and can have serious side effects, especially over time. According to www.painkillerawareness.org over 16,500 deaths in the US are caused by kidney failure each year linked to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen. Tylenol can damage the liver and contribute to cirrhosis (fatty liver that can cause poor health or even death).

Other drugs can be just as bad or worse and quite a bit more expensive not to mention requiring expensive doctors' appointments to prescribe them.

Instead of drugs, consider other methods of treatment such as massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, to name a few. I urge you to educate yourself and try alternative options. The benefits are vast as well as being enjoyable. Your body and mind will thank you – and spending time away from people in a dark room, hoping the pain will go away, will be a thing of the past.

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The Theory Behind Shiatsu Massage

Shiatsu massage has gotten quite popular in recent years. There are many benefits to this type of massage, which has its roots in the ancient Chinese theory of medicine. Shiatsu can help people with a variety of conditions, as well as promote relaxation and well-being.

What is Shiatsu Massage?

Shiatsu is a type of massage that's based on pressure points. The theory behind it is similar to acupuncture, except with Shiatsu there is no need for needles. The massage is done with the fingers, although in some cases the practitioner will use certain mechanical devices as an aid. This type of massage is also called acupressure, and it is similar to reflexology (where pressure points on either the hands or feet are stimulated).

The basic theory of Shiatsu, as well as acupuncture and reflexology, is that the human body contains many energy centers which are connected by channels known as meridians. The energy that flows through these meridians is called qi, sometimes spelled chi or ki. Qi is the universal life force, and in Chinese medicine illnesses where when there is a lack of qi, or qi is out of balance.

Another aspect of Chinese medicine is that for a person to be healthy, yin and yang energy, rough equivalent to masculine and feminine, must be balanced. By stimulating the body's energy centers in a precise manner, the qi is stimulated and balance is restored to the body.

Practitioners of Shiatsu massage must learn the meaning of all the energy centers so they can treat specific conditions. During a session, the massage therapist may use a variety of techniques. These can include rubbing, kneading or circular motions. The amount of pressure executed will vary depending on the purpose of the session.

Benefits of Shiatsu Massage

There can be many benefits to Shiatsu massage. Many people use it as a way to feel relaxed and rejuvenated, similar to why other types of massage are popular. This can be an effective way to loosen tight muscles, so it can be useful after a workout or strenuous activity.

Shiatsu can also be applied to help with certain health conditions. Although someone practicing massage can not claim any particular medical benefits or cures, people often seek Shiatsu massages for a variety of conditions, including arthritis, migraine headaches, high blood pressure, digestive problems and constipation.

Others use Shiatsu as a way to maintain a youthful appearance. Stimulating the energy centers can help keep the skin looking its best. It also improves circulation through the body.

Where to Get a Shiatsu Massage

There are many Shiatsu massage therapists practicing today. Some of these may be found in spas. Massage schools sometimes offer sessions at reasonable prices to customers, although in this case you may be getting sessions with people still in training.

You may be able to find Shiatsu by certified therapists in your area who work independently. If there is a holistic healing center nearby, you can inquire with them. Shiatsu massage therapists may also be found by looking online and doing a search for your area.

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Golfers and Tennis Elbow and Simple Remedies

Anatomical position is standing with feet planed forward, arms extended near the body with the palms of the hands facing forward. In anatomical position anterior is the front of the body with posterior being on the back side. The lateral side of the body is towards the outside edge. The medial side of the body is towards the inside edge. Moving up the body is moving in a superior direction while moving down the body is moving in an inferior direction.

Golfer's elbow is a repetitive use injury of the tendon that directly affects the anterior portion of the arm below the elbow. The tendon affected is the one that attaches to the medial bone of the elbow. The tendon becomes infected with repetitive use. This more commonly occurs among golfers who maintain a tight grip on their golf club.

Tendons are extensions of the muscle belly. Muscles attach to bony landmarks of the skeletal system via tendons. Muscles that are overworked, tight and stressed transfer this tension into their extensions, the tendons. Therefore, tendons became inflamed as a direct result of tight overworked muscles. This is commonly referred to as tendonitis. Swelling, heat, redness and extreme pain to the touch are typical of tendonitis.

Tennis Elbow is just the same but opposite. Tennis elbow is a repetitive use injury of the tendon that affects the posterior arm below the elbow. The tendon affected is the one that attaches to the lateral bone of the elbow.

The repetitive backhanded grip of repetitive tennis strokes aggravates the muscles and tendons on the posterior portion of the lower arm.

Trigger Points, knots, easily form in overworked stressed tissues. Trigger Points place a painful pull on muscles, tendons and joints which can shoot pain down the lower arm. Over time this pain can become so debilitating that rest, massage therapy and hydrotherapy is necessary. It is imperative to healing to discontinue any and all aggravating activities as this condition will only become more debilitating with time. This will satisfy rest.

Other self-help tips:

Therapeutic massage should always be towards the elbow in order to prevent pulling the injured tendon away from that bone. Use a little lotion, just a little, to prevent pulling hair and tissue. Begin working the tissues around the wrist by warming up the tissues with gentle strokes and compressions. Use this technique all the way up the lower arm avoiding the attachment site and tendon. After your muscles are warmed up begin the next stroke by starting with a straight wrist then either flex or extend your wrist while stroking superior up the arm while placing traction on the wrist.

If you are relieving golfer's elbow then extend the wrist posteriorly while stroking the anterior portion of the lower arm superiority. With each stroke you want to flex the wrist back to a neutral position before repeating the massage up the arm. With each stroke up the arm you want to extend the wrist to create a deeper more effective deep tissue stroke. This maneuver uses the two opposing forces far more effectively than stroking an immobile muscle.

If you are relieving tennis elbow then just do the opposite. Begin with a straight wrist with the opposite thumb on the backside of your wrist. While stroking superiorly up the posterior side of your lower arm flex your wrist towards the anterior side of your arm. Repeat this stroking pattern using opposing forces for deep tissue manipulation.

While you slowly work your way up your lower arm look for knots. You will know if you have a knot if you find a noticeably tight spot that shoots pain through your arm like a bolt of lightning. If you find a knot then gently massage it to relax it. Keep this process up until you have relief. I will be posting an article specifically on Trigger Points, knots and how to properly release them. Be sure to work the palm of the hand as well as the fingers and thumb as the fascia and muscles connect to each other. You can gently pull on these digits as well as use compressions and deep strokes on the palm of your hand making sure not to pull and tug away from the site of inflammation and pain.

You can also use heat on this spot which helps relax the muscle and 'melt' the knot. Moist heat is very effective. You can use water as hot as you can handle without burning yourself or place a heating pad on that spot. You do not want to use heat on the joint or tendon at least in the beginning. Heat will further aggravate the tendon. Ice is better for this type of inflammation.

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Clinical Massage Therapy

Massage can manage chronic pain on many levels, and mostly works well in combination with other supportive measures, such as acupuncture, chiropractic treatments and physical therapy. Rest, exercise, and a healthy diet will maintain these results for a more considerable period of time, as well as helping you to maintain your optimum health.

There are some health conditions that may need a doctor's approval prior to treatment. Some may contradict clinical massage therapy. If you have a condition that you are not certain about, please consult your doctor or your therapist before your treatment.

You know yourself well and you can definitely determine how often you should receive a massage. If you are in good health with no specific complaints or problems, you would probably only need to receive a massage once a month. That is only for maintenance purposes. Depending on the severity of your pain and specifics of the problems that you feel, once or twice a week may be necessary to attend to your physical needs. Monthly follow up visits after the desired results are achievable would be beneficial to keep you maintained and keep the old pain from coming back. Your therapists will be able to inform you of your treatment recommendations at the conclusion of your session.

Clinical massage therapy is a highly specialized health care modality that focuses on both the evaluation and the treatment of soft tissue dysfunction through manual manipulation. The purpose of clinical massage therapy is to develop, maintain, rehabilitate, or augment the physical function of the massage patient.

How Clinical Massage Therapy Works

Helps Reduce or Eliminate Chronic pain

Clinical massage reduce or eliminate chronic chairs, neck and low back pains caused by sudden trauma such as unexpected accidents, sports related activities or from recurring activities such as working at a computer or doing labor intensive jobs that require a lot of bending, lifting and reaching . Massage can help by releasing the tight, shortened muscles and trigger points. When the muscles relax and become more pliable, the pressure on the nerve decrements and it improves blood circulation. By increasing oxygen and blood tissue, the pain is reduced and often eliminated.

Also a Big Help for Cancer Patients

Cancer and cancer treatments can cause great physical pain and anxiety. Women who have mastectomies report negative feelings about being touched and must fight a common problem of lymphedema (a buildup of lymph in the arm after their surgery). Clinical massage has been shown to less and treat lymphedema, to ease the pain and anxiety among hospitalized patients, and to help mastectomy patients recover from their referral to be touched.

To Boost Immunity

Your body's immune system helps you fight off infection and illnesses, and it helps you recover from injuries. When you are under high levels of stress, the immune system may not always work as well as it should. Various people in different situations have shown that clinical massage can increase the immune system's cytotoxic capacity and decrease the number of T cells. The result is an immune system that is working better. Massage does not cure ailments, but it has been shown to help the body function better in fighting ailments.

The Benefits of Clinical Massage Therapy

Increased circulation and lymphatic movement
Increased flexibility and range of motion, preventing muscle injury
Increased endorphin production (the body's natural painkiller)
Reduced or eliminated chronic pain, muscle aches, spasms and headaches
Preventing or reducing the pain of Repetitive Stress Syndrome
Increased endurance during physical activities
Boost to the immune system
Improved quality of sleep
Lowered stress levels
Comfort to pregnant women

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What Sports Massage Can Do For You

Sports massage concentrates on the muscles used in a particular sport. For athletes who train regularly, the aim is to develop endurance, allow for efficient strengthening, decrease recovery time from training / injury and reduce the chance of injury.

In this type of massage, you may receive multiple techniques such as trigger point therapy, hydrotherapy, deep tissue, cryotherapy and myofascial work. Prior to an athletic event, sports massage may be used with various stretching techniques in order to help athletes enhance the preparation of their muscles to allow for optimal performance. Following an athletic event, sports massage may be used to ease the pain and soreness, prevent stiffness, and return the muscles back to their normal state.

Benefits

This kind of massage therapy is geared towards athletes of every kind, from the most popular professionals to weekend joggers. The particulars of the sports massage technique are specific to the athlete's sport of choice; focusing on areas of the body that are overworked and stressed from tiresome and aggressive movements.

Features of sports massage therapy are attaining popularity as valuable mechanism in a balanced training routine. It can also be used to help enhance pre-event preparation and reduce recovery time for maximum performance through training or after event. Athletes have learned that some special designed sports massage therapy promotes flexibility, lessens fatigue, improves endurance, helps prevent injuries and prepares their body and mind for optimum performance.

In 2010, a study in the journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that even a 30-second massage improved hip-flexor range of motion. Another study conducted by Margaret Jones, Ph.D. of the American College of Sports Medicine, demonstrated a possible trend towards decreased muscle soreness in the athletes who received massage either before or after exercise. One of the key benefits of sports massage therapy compared to other modalities is its ability to target muscle-tendon junctions.

Sports massage therapy every week or two may be a great addition to normal routines for those who are participating in regular physical activity. It is best to consult with one of your chosen massage therapists to find a plan that will work best with your schedule, and considering the level of your budget.

Purpose

Sports massage is designed to prevent and treat injuries and conditions that are associated with exercise. It can often be quite strenuous and is meant to relieve and reduce the stress and tension that can build up within the body's soft tissues while exercising. It can be carried out before, during, or after playing sport or exercising and uses techniques that are designed to increase endurance and performance, to minimize the chances of injury and, if there is an injury, to reduce the recovery time.

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Deep Tissue Massage Therapy

Deep tissue massage is designed to relieve severe tension in the muscle and the connective tissue or fascia. This type of massage focuses on the muscles located below the surface of the top muscles. Deep tissue massage is often recommended for individuals who experience consistent pain, are involved in heavy physical activity (such as athletes), and patients who have sustained physical injury. It is not uncommon for receivers of deep tissue massage to have their pain replaced with a new muscle ache for a day or two.

This kind of therapeutic massage is mostly recommended by a lot of doctors as a treatment option. This is a particular kind of massage therapy that focuses on the deep layers of muscle and physical outlook. By means of finger pressure and slow, firm strokes, deep tissue massage is used to treat multiple physical illnesses.

Decreases Chronic Pain

Deep tissue massage increases the blood circulation in our body. In this matter, it lessens the possibility of inflammation that causes pain. This type of massage can also help improve muscle tension that is typically a side effect of chronic pain by way of releasing the tissues which are tightly clustered. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that deep tissue massage is more effective and inexpensive for relieving chronic pain than any other conventional medical therapies.

Helps Regulate Blood Pressure

People who encountered this type of massage have noticed that their systolic pressure fell down by an average of 10.4 mm Hg and their diastolic pressure fell down to an average 5.3 mm Hg, according to a study made by the University of Maryland Medical Center. Deep tissue massage can help improve the production of our body's serotonin, the hormone which aids in promoting happiness and positive outlooks in life and also it helps in decreasing stress and tension which can have an advantageous effect on blood pressure.

Splits Up Scar Tissue

Deep tissue massage therapy can help split up and in the long run, removes scar tissue in the body. This is done by improving lymphatic circulation and drainage to improve flexibility and range of motion in the affected area. Scar tissue is connected with constant pain and stiffness most of the time, and deep massage therapy can eliminate these symptoms. Also, deep massage therapy is highly recommended for people who are getting better from surgery.

Naturalizes Injured Muscles

Deep tissue massage can be an effective treatment for incapacitated muscles because it facilitates the movement of toxins from the muscles and helps stretch tight or twisted muscle mass. Deep tissue massage also helps in promoting healing. Because massage also helps relax muscles, it can moderate the pain caused by injuries, too. Deep tissue massage is commonly used to naturalize sports injuries.

Relieves Stress

Deep tissue massage can be a relief for people who undergo chronic stress, and all of its numerous, probable side-effects like severe headaches, unbending shoulders and constricted muscles. During the session, you can let it all go and give in to the healing. Whenever it is transformed and strengthened, you will be able to face your challenges more equitably.

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