Saturday, January 28, 2012

When Should You Get Massage Therapy?

When should you get massage therapy or bodywork? The question comes up a lot more than you might think. People ask whether they should get massage therapy in the morning, afternoon, or the evening. They want to know if they should come in for massage therapy before they start hurting, or wait until their muscular pain is unbearable. Some ask if it's better before, during, or after a workout or sporting event.
In my San Antonio Massage Therapy and Bodywork practice, Massage By Ben, I answer each and every one of these questions by saying "You should come in every day". My answer is, of course, tongue-in-cheek. I then explain that getting massage therapy everyday would be nice but unnecessary and maybe cost prohibitive. Further, when and how often you get massage therapy is based on the goals you would like to achieve with massage therapy. How we achieve your goals with massage therapy is a little more involved than just a simple Q&A in this article. That should be a live discussion between you and your Massage Therapist or Bodyworker, but what about the basic questions? Let's answer those:
Q1. Should I get my massage therapy in the morning, afternoon, or evening? I don't want to fall asleep at work, but I'd like to feel better during the day.
A1. A lot of people are concerned about this one, but you shouldn't worry. Massage Therapy is relaxing and some people do fall asleep during the session, but that doesn't mean you're going to be sleepy afterward. In fact many people feel more energized as well as relaxed after their massage therapy session. Still, no matter what time of day you get your massage you'll probably sleep better when you do finally go to bed. So, get your massage therapy when it's convenient for you.
Q2. Should I get my massage therapy before my muscular pain starts, or should I wait until it really hurts before I get massage therapy?
A2. In my experience it's much better to get massage therapy to prevent muscular pain or prevent a recurrence of muscular pain. Some Massage Therapists and clients believe that waiting until you're experiencing moderate pain allows them to find the source more easily; however, this is seldom true. Get help early.
Q3. Should I get massage therapy before, during, or after a workout or sporting event?
A3. Yes. There are specialized massage therapy techniques that are designed to assist you in your fitness and athletic endeavors. Sports Massage is often broken down into pre-event, inter-event, and post-event techniques to improve performance and aid in recovery. If you don't have access to massage therapy during each phase of your activity just pick what's most important to you - performance or recovery.
I still believe you should come in everyday if you can because if an "apple a day" is good then a "massage a day" is really, really good. Of course the benefits of massage therapy and bodywork are available to you even if you receive it only once.
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Benefits of Massage for Arthritis

Massage for arthritis is nothing new. More than two thousand years ago, the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates wrote that "physicians must be experienced in many things, but assuredly also in rubbing that can bind a joint that is loose and loosen a joint that is too hard."
While the cartilage degeneration of arthritis cannot be reversed, massage is helpful to reduce muscle spasm and decrease compressive forces associated with the joint disorder. Beyond the damage to joint tissues, there are several factors involved in the pain of arthritis, most of which massage addresses directly. These include tense muscles caused by the body's natural response to protect a painful joint by tensing the muscles around it, fatigue, which can make your pain seem worse and harder to handle, and depression or stress resulting from limited movement or no longer being able do activities you enjoy.
Tense Muscles
Massage addresses your tense muscles by gently coaxing your tissues to relax and lengthen. When the muscles relax, pain and stiffness decrease, and joint mobility increases. Gentle passive joint movements, a technique which is part of traditional Swedish massage, will remind the body of the full potential range of motion in a joint. The long strokes (effleurage) and kneading strokes (petrissage) of Swedish massage increase circulation of blood and lymph in and around the joint. This cleanses tissues of irritating by-products from arthritic inflammation and improves nutrition to tissues. Better oxygenation and less stagnation combats fatigue, and swelling often lessens as excess fluid enters the circulatory system where it can be eliminated. With regular massage, natural joint lubrication is also likely to improve.
Fatigue and Stress
Massage relaxes the mind as rhythmic motions sedate the autonomic nervous system and engage the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is the "rest and digest" system, which is blocked when we are in the "fight or flight" stress mode of the sympathetic nervous system. Stress hormones, such as cortisol, are lowered after a massage session, while the body's production of natural pain-killing endorphins, such as dopamine and serotonin, is increased. The quality of restful sleep usually improves in the days following a massage. This gives the body a chance to further repair and restore energy levels.
Should I Get My Doctor's Permission?
"Massage is free of any known side effects and according to our results, clearly shows therapeutic promise," says David L. Katz M.D., associate adjunct professor in the Department of Epidemiology & Public Health at Yale School of Medicine and director of Yale's Prevention Research Center. "So-called 'alternative' treatments like massage are most important when conventional treatments are far from ideal. Currently available non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are often not well-tolerated by older adults with osteoarthritis. Cox-II inhibitors like Vioxx were developed as substitutes for traditional anti-inflammatory drugs, but pose highly-publicized toxicity problems of their own."
Generally, if you are healthy enough to exercise, you are healthy enough to receive massage. If degeneration of joints is present, you have rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis or osteoporosis, it is a good idea to get your doctor's permission, and get specific cautions to pass along to the massage therapist. Because of the profound effects massage can have on the flow of blood and lymph, some health conditions involving the heart, kidneys or liver can make massage inappropriate. Don't have bodywork or massage on "hot" inflamed or infected joints or if you are having a flare, have a fever, an infection or are coming down with an acute illness. It may make them worse. Tell your therapist if you are taking painkillers, and if you feel any pain during the session.
How Often To Get Massage
The therapeutic value of massage lies in its regularity. According to Dietrich Miesler, founder of the Day-Break Geriatric Massage Project, "a regular, weekly massage is the best prevention to most of the problems of aging."
Try it for a month. "I like to compare it to the melting of a big pile of snow," states Miesler. "How long does it take to show obvious and lasting results? If you do localized massage for 10-15 minutes once or twice a week for a few months, you will notice obvious improvement and the process is self-accelerating."
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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Day Spa: Focusing On Body Treatments

A day spa is an establishment that offers a lot of services to people in connection with wellness, well being and overall grooming and appearance. There are many different treatments and services that they offer but the following are possible body treatments that are the most common all over the world.
There are so many different kinds of body massages from all over the world that are being tapped as an effective relaxing body experience. Some of these are therapies for the entire body in the sense that they revitalize or soothe it while others are more specifically focused on the outer covering which is the skin. Muscle massages benefit those who are tired and have tense muscles. These are commonly used to relieve stress and to promote a feeling of well being and relaxation in an individual. A day spa may offer about an hour's worth of stress relief and muscle relaxing. This is the average period of time that can help an individual achieve relaxation. The different techniques garnered from all over the world may make each therapeutic massage different from each other. The use of oils is sometimes applied during the period of an hour. This lubricant helps to minimize the friction that may arise from the contact of the hands and the client's skin.
Skin Treatments
On the other hand, skin treatments are often used to improve the state of a person's skin. Many men and women complain of dry skin or scaly skin all over their body thus prompting them to seek treatment. A day spa also offers a variety of treatments and services that focus on improving the skin. These treatments utilize all sorts of things that can be used to revitalize the skin and improve its appearance. Mud is just one of these things. A special kind of mud, infused with minerals has been used since the early times to promote beautiful skin. The body and the face will benefit from this kind of treatment.
Salt rubs are also focused on the entire body and these utilize special salts from all over the world in order to cleanse and smooth the skin. Salt is a mineral that can also include other beneficial minerals, which can be used on the skin. These are special kinds of salt and should not be confused with table salt or rock salt.
Wrapping treatments are also popular in a day spa. These use all kinds of materials to help the state of a person's skin. One common material is seaweed, which is known for its medicinal qualities. An individual can also be rubbed with moisturizers and other ingredients and then wrapped with cling wrap for better absorption. Sessions like these often last for over an hour and are most enjoyable for clients since they get the benefit of the wraps as well as some of the benefits of the massage as they are being rubbed with either salt or other ingredients.
A day spa can also offer facial, nail services and other grooming services. It is best to check out advertisements for a specific one to see what they offer.
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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ellen Giving Facials in Orlando - Part 5

Here's Ellen once again posing as a spa worker and tormenting another unsuspecting spa-goer.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Facts About Hot Stone Massage

The hot stone massage technique, which is one of the most popular massage techniques in the world, uses a combination of traditional muscle kneading massage with the use of stones that are heated.
Although this massage has only been recently gaining in popularity, the use of hot stones has been featured in many cultures for many centuries. Many Native American cultures used hot stones in the sweat lodges during purification or detoxification rituals. The participants passed the hot stones among themselves. The stones are pressed on parts of the bodies that are feeling pain or discomfort.
In Hawaiian culture lava stones, called Pohaku, are heated and wrapped in special leaves and then placed on parts of the body that have discomfort or feeling pain. The stones then made the leaves that wrap around them release oil which help in pain relief. The Pohaku still features in the traditional Lomi Lomi massage in the present day.
Another massage variant uses heated Tiger-stripe shells instead of heated basalt stones. These smooth shells are not heated in a bowl of water. Instead they are filled with algae, essential oils and minerals that make them heat up.
The stones are basalt stones and are heated in a bowl of hot water. This type of stone is very rich in iron, so they are able to retain heat for quite a long time. The heated stones are then used in a variety of ways. They can be placed on the palms for a shallow massage that is known as the Swedish-style or they can be held between the massage therapist's fingers to reach deeper muscles and allow them to focus longer on knotted muscles.
This great massage provides relief from ailments like inflamed joints, loosen knotted muscles and relax tense or tight muscles.
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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Couple's Massage - Together Forever

Bringing couples together via a couple's massage is quickly becoming one of the hottest trends in massage therapy. Sharing special times together with a loved one doesn't get any better than a massage and coming together in this calming - and healing - experience inspires closeness, thereby heightening the experience for its participants.

So how does a massage for couples work? You and your loved one are given a massage in the same room - at the same time - by two different therapists. As far as couples massage etiquette, it's fine to talk to each other through the massage, as opposed to the traditional silence of a single massage. The choice is yours... it's your time together, but discuss this important topic together before you begin your massage.

Listed below are just some of the benefits that people are enjoying as the result of a massage.

• Relief from tension and stress that results from the ultimate level of relaxation your body enters during the massage.

• A couple's massage allows people to strengthen their relationships by taking pleasure in something together - with no one else in the room (except the massage therapists).

• It's a great way to remove the apprehension that some people (particularly men) feel about the nudity involved in a massage. Having their significant other in the room tends to remove the inhibition and heighten the pleasure of the experience.

• A massage for couples comes in handy as a wonderful gift for birthdays, holidays, anniversaries or "just because".

• It can also be a great way to spend time with your mother, aunt or best friend who you never seem to connect with as much as you'd like.

• Not only will a massage for couples fortify your mental health, but your body will also benefit from the healing properties it provides.

With all the various types of massage available, the only hard decision about getting a couple's massage is which technique to choose. Make the experience even more enjoyable by experimenting with different types of massages; you can both choose the same type of massage or pick two different ones and later compare the results. Some techniques to consider for your massage include:

• For relief from pain, many choose the Trigger Point couples massage, which targets your muscle tissue.

• One of the most popular massages - the Swedish massage - improves flexibility and circulation by utilizing long, smooth movements to relax the body.

• A slightly more forceful couples massage is the Deep-Tissue massage, which relieves tension and painful knots resulting from stress, by honing in on the deeper layers of muscle tissue.

• We all know the soothing powers of heat, so another very popular type of massage is the Hot Stone massage, used to relieve tension and kick up one's energy level.

• Many pregnant women are raving about the Prenatal couples massage... they can get the relief their body needs from the strain of pregnancy while their mate enjoys a deeper, more forceful technique.

• Men and women facing the next stage in their life are enjoying the Geriatric couples massage to battle the effects of aging.

As mentioned before, a couples massage brings together the best of both worlds... you get to share this intimate experience with someone you care about and in the process, you'll rid your mind and body of stress and improve your health at the same time.

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Top 5 Reasons to Treat Yourself to a Body Wrap

Body Wraps are one of the most commonly asked for treatments in spas and salons all over the world. They are not only a relaxing way to spend a couple of hours- they actually offer some REAL benefits. I'm going to talk about the top five reasons that absolutely everyone should treat themselves to a body wrap.

1. Inch Loss:

This is probably the number one reason for people getting body wraps. We all feel at one time or another that we could slim down a little bit. Imagine you have an event coming up- the perfect dress lined up in your wardrobe... Just one problem, you've packed on a couple of pounds and that zip gets stuck half way up. What do you do? Buy a new dress? Smart people turn to body wraps. They are an amazing way to slim down and lose inches off your whole body! There are people out there who are disbelieving of the process, claiming that any inches lost are just water weight. This is not the case. The active ingredients in a body wrap stimulate the body to undergo an intense detox. The circulatory systems (both blood and lymphatic) are stimulated to speed up the elimination of toxins from your body. The cells are compacted through the excretion of tissue waste- and your body is measuring inches smaller!

2. Detox

As I mentioned earlier a major benefit of a body wrap is detoxing. The active ingredients in body wraps stimulate the body to eliminate toxins from the body at a much faster rate than it usually would. There are many benefits to having a really good detox. These include more energy, mental clarity, clearer skin and decreased stress levels. Not only that but it will also boost any weight loss program that you are on and help you achieve results much faster than you normally would. It is important that you do remember to drink lots of water to help flush out the toxins.

3. Firms & Tones the Skin

Body Wraps also firm and tone the skin. This is achieved through improving the elasticity of the skin. This is especially helpful if you are on a weight loss program and you are finding that the reduction in weight is actually starting to cause your skin to sag. A body wrap will help to smooth out the skin and even visibly reduce the appearance of cellulite.

4. Relaxation

This speaks for itself really- who couldn't use some time out for some R & R. Taking some time just for yourself, to get away from it all. A Body Wrap usually takes around 60 minutes. That is a whole hour just for you! You actually don't have a choice but to lay down for an hour and chill out! In today's busy society most of us could use an excuse to do just that!

5. Increased Circulation

This is an enormous benefit of body wrap treatments. Good circulation is vital to maintaining our overall good health. The blood contains nutrients and carries oxygen to our organs and muscles allowing us to function at our optimum capacity.

Body wraps provide many therapeutic benefits and are also a great way to slim down, look and feel great.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Key Facts about the Oak Tree

The Oak Tree is Considered to be one of the most significant and magnificent trees in the whole world. In all there are over 300 varieties of these majestic forest giants.
Some species of oaks include the Royal Oak and Quercus Robur (Common Oak), which are very popular in Britain. Another species of oak called the Charter Oak is very prominent in the United States. Among the rarest of oaks is the Cork Oak, and is so called because it is the tree that is used to make a majority of the finest wine bottle corks. The earlier-mentioned British Quercus Robur is one that is most often used in landscape architecture around an estate home.
Most oak trees take hundreds of years to reach maturity. In fact, one tree in Windsor is over 800 years old. This tree was planted during the reign of King John, and has lived through at least 35 monarch reigns. This tree has lived longer than most men, even the men of ancient times.
The oak remains a symbol of spiritual significance and serves as a valuable commodity for the creation of durable tangible goods. For instance, the bible uses the oak tree in reference at least 23 times. In addition, Romans, Greeks, Celts, Slavs, and Teutonic groups put the oak on a pedestal, higher than any other tree.
The oak tree is also referenced in many ballads, such as Major Oak in Sherwood Forest, which was also associated with Robin Hood. This is an actual tree that is still standing after quite a long time, and it measures to be 20 metres (64 feet) wide. The Major Oak is one tree that has reached its maturity.
Oak has also been used on British coins. The sixpence, which is one of Britain's oldest coins, has an oak tree engraved on it, and the shilling does as well.
The reason why the oak is such a well-revered tree is because it is one of the strongest woods in the world. In fact, it has been noted that the oak tree has five times the shearing strength of Scots pine. That is the reason it is used to make burial coffins for important people, such as the one of Edward the Confessor located in a shrine in Westminster Abbey.
Those who love to learn about the history of why certain names came about can read about the history of the Royal Oak. In brief, the Royal Oak was so named because King Charles II hid inside an oak tree after he was defeated by Cromwell during the Battle of Worcester in 1651. He lived in exile for at least ten years before returning to the kingdom. His birthday became a self-proclaimed public holiday, called Royal Oak day, and needless to say the Royal Oak was named after him.
Another brief moment in history pertaining to the oak tree includes the story of the ship the Mary Rose. The story of this oak ship does not have as happy of an ending as the story of the naming of the Royal Oak. However, it is very significant in many ways.
On July 19th, 1545 the Mary Rose sunk in the water as King Henry VIII's army attempted to cross from Spithead fight French invaders. Unfortunately the entire ship sunk, and over time the pieces, including the hull were located. The entire ship is now sits a short ways from Lord Nelson's flagship HMS Victory in Portsmouth's Naval Dockyard.
Again, the problem with the Mary Rose was not the wood that was used to create it, but rather the way it was constructed. Oak has long been a choice for many water vessels made in earlier times, and the Mary Rose just happened to be an unfortunate case in which the ship failed to protect the passengers. Ordinarily people had made it safe across the waters aboard a ship.
Overall the oak tree is a very strong and sturdy wood, and represents many things, including that of the concept of longevity, and of wisdom. This is a tree that stands the test of time.
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