Massage-shy? Simple techniques to relax before therapy



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There are many health benefits to massage therapy which some people are not able to receive because they are uncomfortable with being touched in certain areas. Many people report that they wish to experience a proper massage session but are unable to fully relax before the therapy. Massage therapists then recommend these relaxing techniques:

Read about the therapy beforehand: Some people are wary because they do not know exactly what is going to happen. For some, knowledge contributes to relaxation. Those who are anxious or nervous can speak with their massage therapist on how the specific session will proceed, how this addresses a root problem, the oils being used, and other pertinent information. The more information given, the more the patient will likely be put at ease.

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Take a deep breath: Many people complain about the pain massages give them. Patients should be aware that they can regularly ask their therapist to adjust their pressure at any given time. Unless it is for a physical injury, the purpose of the therapy session is relaxation. The pressure should suit the needs of the client all the time. Additionally, nervousness causes the body to involuntarily flex and tighten. This potentially causes more pain. A good trick is to take a deep breath. This forces the body to relax and makes the muscles more pliant. This soothes the massage pressure.

One must always remember that massage therapies are built to provide excellent alternative health care. Clients are rewarded with a relaxing and beautiful experience.

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Rough night: Waking up with a stiff neck


Most adults will experience stiff neck at least once in their lives. This condition usually occurs after a long day at work or sitting in front of a computer for more than five hours. Those who experience stick neck normally have soreness or difficulties moving their neck. The symptoms can last for only a few hours to a couple of days. They can be accompanied with a headache or shoulder ache.

Doctors have found that the condition normally worsens if one wakes up with a stiff neck. The exact reason is unknown, but it has become necessary for adults to understand why they potentially wake up with a stiff neck.

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Muscle strain: This comes from sleeping in an awkward position. Patients do not have control on how they sleep but if they stay in an uncomfortable position for an extended period of, the muscles around the neck will become fatigued and begin to spasm. It is crucial for adults to have proper support in their bed and create measures to protect themselves if they toss and turn in their sleep.

Spine disorders: Massage therapies can help with these conditions. Athletes or those who continually put their bodies in motion are more at risk of injuring their spine. Waking up with a stiff neck is usually the first sign of an underlying problem. Typically, these problems can be managed with regular massages, but if these treatments do not work, adults are suggested to visit their doctor immediately.

Infection: Some infections can cause someone to wake up with a stiff neck. If the stiff neck is accompanied by other symptoms such as headache, nausea, or vomiting, one should seek medical help immediately.

Muscle strain is the most common reason for stiff necks and can be addressed with regular massage therapies.

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Unraveling the health benefits of hot stone massage


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Hot stone massage is an ancient technique that has been revived in modern times, coming into recent popularity. Warm, flat, and smooth stones are placed on the energy points of a person’s body. The stones are also used to massage the body to achieve the maximum therapeutic benefits of the massage therapy.

The stones are usually made of basalt and since they are filled with iron, the heat from the sanitizing water stays during the duration of the massage. Aside from placing the hot stones on the client’s back, they could also be placed between the toes and in the palm of hands. A session usually lasts 60 to 90 minutes.

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The heat exuded by the stones penetrates deeper muscle layers, which helps the therapist give a more effective and thorough massage. Since the therapy can penetrate deeper tissues, clients who have undergone the therapy say that it effectively relieves pain. Some even go as far as saying that they experience greater relief in hot stone massage, compared to other types of massage.

When the hot stones are placed on the trigger points of the body, the blood vessels open, leading to improved blood circulation. The warmth of the stones also calms the nervous system, helps in rheumatic and arthritic conditions, and helps in detoxification. Just like other massage therapies, hot stone massage also helps in treating insomnia and decreases stress, depression, and anxiety levels.

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Studies show massage can help alleviate symptoms of gout


Around 10 million Americans suffer from gout, a condition characterized by severe swelling and pain. The inflammation is caused by an excess amount of uric acid and is indicative of a metabolic abnormality; normally gout accompanies other conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. There are many treatment plans for gout, but an increasingly popular alternative is massage therapy.

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New studies have suggested that constant and regular massages – specifically those targeted for gout – reduce the severity of pain and inflammation that a patient suffers. It must be heavily emphasized that massages do not cure the condition, but help control the symptoms. A large part of the treatment of gout is a dramatic shift of lifestyle. Typically, patients are asked to change their diet and engage in more physical activities. Many patients complain that it is a vicious cycle: they need to move in order to relieve gout, but their gout prevents them from moving because of the pain.

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Massage therapy cuts the cycle by allowing the patient to begin exercising without the constant pain. Again, massage therapies are not a cure-all but are the first steps toward healing. Additionally, regular massages reduce the typical pain one may have after a normal workout session. There is also an emotional benefit to massages. Studies have concluded that massage therapies relax individuals, reducing the amount of stress felt and generally improving one’s immune system.

Individuals, who are still wary of seeking this alternative, should speak with their physician.

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The benefits of massage therapy for office workers


Sitting at work all day seems like a breeze, but actually, it can cause quite a lot of health problems. A good way to combat these negative effects is through massage therapy. Here are some of the benefits of massage for those with 9-to-5 desk jobs:

Reduces stress

Work is inherently stressful, especially when a tight deadline is coming up and your boss is breathing down your neck or when you have to prepare a big presentation to the higher-ups. Massage therapy will help lower your stress levels immensely by taking rid of muscle and tissue tension.

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Relieves pain

Sitting in an office chair and having to stare at a computer all day definitely takes its toll on your health. Headaches and back pain are some of the side effects of this daily grind. Visit a massage therapist to address these ailments so you can work better and more efficiently. Plus, less pain equals less stress.

Improves posture

The human body is designed for motion: walking, running, dancing, etc. So being stuck in a chair all day may result in slouching and poor posture. Massage therapy can remedy this by encouraging correct spine shape and back support.

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Better circulation and mobility

Staying in a certain position for an extended length of time can cause stiffness and slow down the flow of blood in your body. Massages can promote proper blood circulation and can restore movement to stiff and aching muscles.

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Unlocking knots: How trigger point therapy works


The body consists of intertwined muscles, tendons, and joints. Everyone has trigger points, but an area may have experienced overuse, injury, trauma or stress. When trigger points are activated, they can cause pain, irritation, lack of motion, or tension.

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For example: a trigger point in the back can produce referral pain in the neck. The neck acts as a satellite trigger point that may cause pain in the head. Activated trigger points result in different kinds of pain, and people who are experiencing such may not be able to point out the exact location of the pain.

Depending on where the pain is, the therapist will have the guest lie down comfortably, where other trigger points are not aggravated. The therapist will then assess where the trigger point is located. Then, the therapist will do different finger techniques to break down the knots. This method can be uncomfortable for the guest at first, and it may take several visits before the point is deactivated.

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Regular trigger point therapy helps with the management of pain and stress from chronic injuries. Once the trigger point is treated or deactivated, it is important for guests to keep hydrated. Trigger points may have toxin build ups, which could be released onto the blood stream. Drinking water and other healthy beverages will allow patients to be toxin and trigger point free.

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The ancient art of reflexology


Sometimes people need more than just a massage. They deserve a massage that releases stress and brings healing to the internal body parts. Reflexology is an ancient Chinese treatment of massaging a person’s feet to reach out to energy channels corresponding to different systems in the body.

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Practitioners of reflexology know more than just giving a good foot rub. By applying pressure to the foot using the thumb and forefinger, they target corresponding body parts such as the heart, brain or digestive system. Some reflexologists will ask for a person’s medical condition before starting the session and then target those points in the foot for the duration. If a person doesn’t want to a foot massage, he or she could opt for a hand massage, as the hand also has energy channels that correspond to some of the body’s functions.

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The Chinese believe in Qi or the energy channels in a person’s body. A blocked Qi causes negative energy, thus causing pain, diseases, and fatigue. As there are thousands of nerve endings in the feet, one way to take care of the rest of the body is through a foot massage. Most people might feel refreshed only after this kind of massage but a 10-20 minute session can improve circulation and improve one’s mood greatly.

On an ordinary day, wearing uncomfortable shoes or harried movement usually batters the feet. Reflexology is the best treatment for the body part that is most used but neglected. It is also a channel for both the mind and body.

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Massage therapy: Treatment for tension headaches


Medical studies have shown that massages can relieve pain caused by tension headaches. The authors of these studies found that massage therapy should be used not only for relaxation but as an alternative means of treatment for certain conditions.

The most common condition that can be relieved by massages is body pain in areas such as the back, neck, and head. Tension headaches, in particular, are easily remedied by massages. As the term suggests, tension headaches are the most common form of headaches, triggered by muscle contractions caused by the stress of emotional problems. These types of headaches could lead to more severe medical conditions such as sleep apnea or even mental depression. Furthermore, health practitioners have found that constant and continual stress – including the symptomatic tension headaches – can wear the body’s immune system down, making an individual more prone to illnesses or diseases.

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Massage therapy can dramatically reduce the stress felt by the body and soothe tense muscles around the head area. Done frequently, tension headache massages have been found to decrease the perceived pan and tension and can reduce the frequency, intensity, and duration of the occurrences.

Some people, however, do not like having their head touched during massages. Massage therapy can then also be done solely on the body to relieve the tension headache. Body massages may have weaker efficacy with regards to tension headaches, but the goal is to reduce the amount of stress an individual feels and promote relaxation. Any form of massage therapy, then, helps in this area.

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The therapeutic benefits of massage for geriatrics

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While massage therapy can be performed on people of all ages, methods and techniques may differ somewhat as the recipient gets old. In fact, a kind of therapy called “geriatric massage” was developed specifically to address the needs of older adults. As such, this type of massage therapy offers some benefits not necessarily felt in a regular massage.

For instance, geriatric massage can be performed on the elderly who suffer osteoarthritis, a condition with symptoms such as joint pain and stiffness. Treating older adults to a regular massage keeps the stiffness and pain down as therapy helps lubricate the joints.

Geriatric massage is also recommended for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Because massage for the elderly is gentler than typical methods, it’s seen as an effective way of communicating with and relieving those suffering from the said conditions. Caregivers for the elderly are often trained to give soft and gentle hand massages to when their are patients agitated or upset.

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Yet even seniors without the said conditions may benefit from regular massage therapy sessions. The application of pressure and stretching involved in massage can help most elderly people improve their motion capabilities, muscle tone, body awareness, circulation, sensation and posture. Geriatric massage therapy also has positive emotional effects on depressed seniors as regular sessions allow them the pleasure of human company.

Generally, geriatric massage has many similarities with regular massage but massage therapists are expected to be gentler and more patient as the elderly body needs more care, and older adults aren’t as mobile as younger individuals. Sympathy and thoughtfulness are also great attributes to have as lonely seniors may respond positively to these.

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Skin deep: A look at how smog damages skin cells


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Many people are aware that regular sun exposure can damage the skin cells. But another lesser-known skin irritant is smog damage. Medical studies have shown that smog exposure is twice more likely to age the skin compared with other known skin factors. This is because smog is a mixture of several chemicals and particulates that are directly absorbed by the skin. Other pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and lead are also found in smog that may also lead to several respiratory illnesses and eventually result in duller, more lifeless-looking skin.

Unfortunately, smog damage is usually exacerbated by sun exposure as well. The ultraviolet radiation from the sun hits the smog and breaks the chemical cloud into free radicals that bounce and chip away at the walls of skin cells. A variety of diseases, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, have been linked to free radical damage. This continual exposure also decreases the supply of oxygen to the skin and many people can suffer from varying forms of premature ageing. Skin loses its elasticity and wrinkles begin to form. Mature individuals are more prone to high pollution concentration and are more likely to suffer from forms of eczema, rashes, acne, or other skin conditions.

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The good news is that these conditions may be lessened or reduced by embracing a good skincare routine. This involves washing the face regularly and applying moisturizer, sunscreen, and other products loaded with anti-oxidants. Another beneficial step is regularly getting facial treatments. These treatments can be done once a month, which dramatically improves skin elasticity and enables products to be absorbed more efficiently into the skin.

Massage Envy understands everything about skin care and body wellness. Aside from its massage therapies, it also specializes in comprehensive facial treatments that reduce the effects of sun and smog damage. Learn more about its services here.