Massage Therapy: The Ultimate Stress-Buster

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We are winding down to our final benefit of massage (although we feel like we could go on forever), and this one is our favorite, and also the #1 reason people worldwide go to the spaMassage is a serious stress buster.

There are endless sources of stress in our daily lives and you may not realize it, but stress could be causing more than just a heavy foot on the gas. Poorly managed stress is one of highest causes of physical and emotional ailments. The signs and symptoms of stress overload can be almost anything. Stress can drain the joy from your life, lead to heart disease, cause inexplicable fatigue, and leave you less able to enjoy your relationships and the things you once enjoyed.

Massage therapy is one of the best antidotes for stress. Stress shows itself in the form of firmness and stiffness in muscles, and massage can remove this tension. Prolonged periods of tension weaken the muscles and can bring about a state of chronic fatigue and tiredness. Massage also brings in fresh nutrients and helps in purging the body of toxins accumulated due to long periods of stress and tension. It causes more oxygen to flow in the body, which helps the body to revive and rebuild itself. With this flow of fresh oxygen and nutrients to the entire system, the immune system is strengthened. Additionally, massage clears your mind of exaggerated anxiety and makes you capable of thinking with an unclouded mind. When you are bodily and mentally relaxed, you are capable of taking a more balanced and fresh perspective of your life situation.

This emotional release and improved balance in body, mind and emotions, will not only reduce stress, it will increase energy and improve your outlook on life. Coupled with modest changes in nutrition and activity levels, massage can be the start on your road to wellness.

Here are some final stories from Spa Week spas’ massage therapists and their love work of healing both body and mind.

“All clients have different needs and wants they seek from the massage. Helping clients relax for an hour, sleep or just forget about their stress is rewarding on its own. We all need R&R time.” — Rebecca Scallan, Rejuv Massage Therapy Center in Metairie, LA

“Being able to provide relief and renewal to stressed out Americans is very rewarding. Just the other day I gave a massage to one of our frequent spa visitors and was using her favorite essential oil, eucalyptus, giving her an aromatherapy face massage, she would breathe deeply and express relief. She then told me that every time I would apply more eucalyptus she could see colors. This simply is a testament to how massage and aromatherapy affect us physically and mentally.” Jennifer Robles, Rio Spa in Las Vegas, NV

“Recently I had a woman who was under extreme stress. After the massage she said the massage was like having a friend who listened to her whining and irritating complaining, but no judgment was rendered. For me whenever I hear something like that, it gives me a sense of relief. I know I not only fulfilled my job as a massage therapist, but also I was being human in the most compassionate way I could.” Dareyth Thornton, Rio Spa in Las Vegas, NV

“I love being a massage therapist very simply because I get to make people feel good…for a living! And to be a part of something that teaches people how to manage their stress and their health & fitness goals is tremendously satisfying! Bodywork has been an amazing journey for me.” Angi Kempken, Well Spa in Indian Wells, CA

All of these massage therapists will be massaging for $50 during Spa Week next week, so be sure to click through to each spa to see which massages are being offered, and take advantage of their magic hands!

Massage: Tame Your Thyroid

While some of us would like to have a cause of weight problems other than overconsumption and under-exertion, the thyroid is a source for many metabolic problems for many frustrated people. The thyroid gland is located on the front part of the neck below the thyroid cartilage and produces thyroid hormones, which regulate body metabolism, as well as regulate body energy, the body’s use of other hormones and vitamins, and the growth and maturation of body tissues.

Hypothyroidism is a disease in which the thyroid produces too little thyroid hormone. Signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism are often subtle but steadily progressive. The result of not being able to convert fuel into energy means that a person gains weight, feels fatigued and depressed, and has a sluggish digestive system with chronic constipation.

It can be a struggle to treat the symptoms of any thyroid condition, since thyroid conditions aren’t well-understood or easy to treat. There are many medical treatments to control thyroid symptoms, but it may be an uphill battle that you will be fighting long after your symptoms have been controlled with medication. Some people think of problems of the thyroid as a general problem of toxicity.

Alternate treatments like massage could be an appropriate choice for someone suffering with hypothyroidism, partially because massage can improve the quality of life of people who feel chronically drained. For many patients who are struggling to gain control over their weight, massage therapy can be extremely helpful. Massage therapy can help in the removal of toxins accumulated in a person dealing with a hypothyroid.

A skilled massage therapist can do much more than eliminate stress and work out knots; they can help boost the body’s natural healing abilities. Michael Greenspan of Massage Revolution in Manhattan Beach, CA shares his experience helping a patient heal from thyroid complications.

“One specific instance stands out when I helped a client lose 30 pounds. Her thyroid shut down after a whiplash from a car accident. All her neck muscles were so tight they caused her to become hypothyroid. Over a number of sessions, I released all her neck muscles that shut down her thyroid, which then allowed her thyroid to return to balance.”

While it’s vitally important that you adhere closely to the regimen of prescription medication your doctor has established for you, you may find that looking for other options to supplement your ongoing medical treatment can help you regain a sense of wellness. Make sure you tell your therapist about your thyroid condition before your first session so they can plan a treatment sequence based on your unique profile.

Coping with Touch

 

When faced with a terminal illness there are several dimensions of pain a person goes through. Besides from the physical pain, a person is faced with an equally challenging emotional battle. There is no easy way to deal with all the pain associated with a terminal illness and if your loved one is facing the final stages of life, it may be hard to know what you can do to help. Although someone may be accepting that death is near, this does not mean that they need to stop living.

A main concern for caring with someone with a terminal illness is to ease the pain. The quality of their days, not the quantity, really becomes the main focus. Holistic approaches are used as a way to help ease the mind, body and spirit. The physical pain needs to be acknowledged, but it just as important to treat the emotional pain. Massage therapy may have more power than we even know but here are some benefits of massage for a person who needs it most.

Behavioral Effect: When physical pain is eased, physical tasks are performed with greater comfort. Something as simple as being able to get dressed increases participation in a more active daily life. Doing normal things is one of the best ways to help you feel more like yourself.

Emotional Effect: Massage enhances positive feelings and mood. The ability to take a break from worrying and even smile can give the person’s mind a break from mental anguish. This cognitive effect, the interruption the cycle of pain and fear, can result in more positive thought patterns.

Social Effect: Touch and massage enhances the relationship between the ill person and the caregivers. Deeper relationships are formed and trust is established. Human touch creates a way for the dying person to interact and connect with others, decreasing feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Spiritual Effect: Human touch can enhance spiritual well-being. Feel like they had more of a desire to participate in life.

 

Massage’s capability to provide so many positive feelings in a person with a negative outlook is invaluable. Regardless of the condition of the body, the mind has control of the quality of life and massage can help encourage the mind and spirit.

“Several years ago, a tall quiet man in his late to mid 50s came to Bella Sante in hopes he’d escape from his worries or at least as long as the massage session would go. He wanted to feel human and have a safe place to himself. A place he would lay peacefully and be taken care of. The man just wanted his sore muscles to relax. He mentioned that he had a terminal illness and there weren’t many more days he would live. I mentioned to him that I will do my best to relax him. So I worked on him with gentle hands just as he wanted and spent extra time making him comfortable. And from what I could tell, he was. At the end of the massage, he thanked me with a hand shake and kindness in his eyes. A year later, a woman approached me in the spa lounge. She introduced herself as the man’s girlfriend and asked me if I remembered him. I mentioned to her of course, he was someone that I’d never forget. She also mentioned in our conversation before her boyfriend passed on he wanted her to come back to the spa and bring his twenty year old son. He wanted son to see me because I was his dad’s angel. From that day on, once a year and sometimes twice the son comes in for a massage with me.” — Ann-Marie Sevigny, Bella Santé in Lexington, MA

 

Massage: Dealing with Growing Pains

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We’ve all heard someone say that their [insert body part here] is not what it used to be. As we age our bodies feel the test of time and pain is, unfortunately, a common symptom of growing old. Almost 80-85% of people past the age of 65 experience some form of pain. Pain in the elderly is usually treated with drug therapy, but with the often complex combination of drugs a person can be on, seeking alternatives or aides for painkillers could be beneficial. Alternative therapies like massage is being more widely accepted and, in some cases, is replacing drugs to relieve pain.

In terms of physical benefits for the elderly, massage reduces stress, deepens relaxation and breathing, lowers blood pressure, stimulates circulation, relieves joint pain, reduces swelling, stimulates bowels and flow of lymph, improves sleep, releases endorphins, decreases fear and anxiety, and creates a sense of well-being and decreased isolation, which people may feel especially if they are living in an assisted living community. One of massage’s most rewarding benefits may simply be providing more physical and social interaction for elders.

Marika Eckhardt of Beyond Beaute Day Spa and Wellness Retreat in Clear Lake, TX shares her story of  woman who didn’t even come for a massage but that was what exactly what the woman needed.

“One day I was just about leaving in the evening when the front desk attendant rushed to me and asked me if I could give a 15 minute reflexology on a client’s back. I immediately went to meet her. She was an older lady with a cane in her right hand and appeared fragile. She told me she was in so much pain she could hardly walk. I instructed her to lay down and I noticed how tight she held her body and her breathing was extremely shallow. It was obvious that her body was under tremendous stress. After feeling her back I realized her back muscles were so tight that they were probably constricting all the nerves in her spine, which was the cause of all the pain. I started by asking her to breathe deeply all the way down to her diaphragm while giving her gentle friction with my thumbs along the sides of the spine. I was able to slowly release the tension even in her gluts. Thirty minutes later I helped her get up from the table and I noticed immediately how bright she looked, she looked at me and said she felt so good. There was hardly any wobble as she walked out of the room. She was back next day.”

Massage can even provide those with Alzheimer’s disease a way to relax. Massage has the ability to both relax and stimulate. Massage can alleviate some of the anxiety associated with Alzheimer’s and it can also stimulate the nervous system to maintain nerve passageways in decline because of the disease. People with Alzheimer’s disease also respond well to massage therapy as another form of communication, which can provide a source of strength and closeness. With Alzheimer’s the familiarity of touch may reach a loved one when nothing else has worked.A massage therapist needs to be sensitive to health conditions of a person in order to be effective. When a therapist considers elders’ unique needs, a massage can improve their physical and emotional well-being, and emotionally, a massage can become an anticipated and cherished part of their life.

 

Massage to Get Moving. (Again!)

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An object in motion stays in motion, but sometimes you can’t get the object moving! Being unable to do the things you once did due to joint and muscle pain is a frustrating limitation on the quality of your life. A decrease in mobility can occur for reasons including age, injury or illness. Some conditions that can contribute to joint pain include rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatic, lupus and gout. Massage therapy has shown much success in relieving pain and increasing mobility. Who knew laying on a table could get you up and moving?

Massage can eliminate muscle tension and improve joint mobility by stimulating the flow of synovial fluid. This also helps to free adhesions, break down scar tissue and decrease inflammation. As a result, massage can help to restore range of motion to stiff joints.Massage also helps to prevent and relieve muscle cramps and spasms and helps to the circulation of blood and lymph. Circulation carries oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and carries waste away. Improved circulation can result in decreased muscle tension and soreness, and reduced swelling from injuries or illness. Additionally, massage improves muscle tone and balance, which will also reducing the physical stress placed on bones and joints.

Physicians are increasingly prescribing therapeutic massage as a complement to traditional medical treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. As always, make sure your massage therapist is aware of the sjamie doughertyource of your pain and any preexisting conditions you may have. Here are some experiences with mobility from massage therapists from Spa Week spas.

“My most memorable client was a woman with spina bifida. Her previous treatment methods provided little relief. She could barely walk, but after administering deep tissue massage over time, she greatly increased her mobility while decreasing pain.” Dalesa Trent, Body Retreat Day Spa in Bedford, TX

“When you lose the ability to do something as simple as tie your own shoes, massage therapy may be your answer. My client came in and could hardly walk or tie his shoes. Forty five minutes on my table and he walked away with full mobility and great relief.” Jennifer Nolan, Spa On the Square in Southlake, TX

“I have received a lot of positive feedback from my clients who have suffered some kind of pain. I have healed some clients who have frozen shoulders and some who could not move their necks and some who could not straighten their lower backs, etc. Some clients even told me that my massages were more effective than physical therapy!” Hong Sun, The Women’s Club Fitness Center and Day Spa in Chatilly, VA