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Tag Archives: massage and stress relief

How Regular Massages are Better than Peanut Butter and Jelly!

It seems too good to be true, but getting regular massages can actually improve your health! Below we’ll look at the many benefits of massages and the science behind them. Reduce Anxiety By stimulating the nervous system, massages have been shown to reduce cortisol levels, a hormone that is released in response to stress, by up to 50%. Massages also increase the levels of neurotransmitters that reduce depression. Relieve Digestive Disorders Massage therapists are trained to feel tightness and abnormalities in your muscles throughout the body. By massaging the abdominal area, they can also feel firmness and tightness due to congestion in the digestive tract. By massaging these areas, massage therapists can relax muscles to let the material flow naturally through the system. These massages can reduce symptoms such as: gas, bloating, cramping, and constipation. Headaches Proactive massages can help prevent migraines and tension headaches by relaxing muscle spasms in the head, face, shoulders, and neck. These are common trigger points for headaches. For those who are suffering from severe headaches and need immediate relief, massages can help reduce the existing pain and make the headache easier to cope with. Reduces Blood Pressure Studies show that a program of regular massages over an extended period of time helps reduce diastolic and systolic blood pressure. By reducing cortisol levels in the blood, massages help people reduce stress, which is a leading cause of high blood pressure. Nerve Pain A pinched or damaged nerve can cause a lot of pain. Though massages don’t treat the nerve itself, they can be used to relax the areas surrounding the nerve to reduce muscle spasms that may cause the pain to flare up. Soft Tissue Strains Muscle strains are caused by too much tension on a muscle, resulting in a tear. During the period of inactivity that is required for the muscle to heal, scar tissue forms and may cause adverse effects on the muscle, reducing its range of motion or decreasing its physical capabilities. Massage therapy can help keep the surrounding tissue stretched and active during this recuperation period so that your body heals correctly. Sports Injuries Massages greatly improve blood circulation. For those who suffer a sports related injury, massages of the effected region can help increase the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the recovering organs and tissue, assisting in a more rapid recovery. Strengthens the Immune System Stress and anxiety can take a heavier toll on your body than many realize. Stress tends to affect the sleep quality and dietary well-being of those plagued with it, which reduces the immune system’s ability to combat bacteria and infection. Getting regular massages provides more benefits than just immediate relaxation, it increases your white blood cells and reduces the number of T-cells in your system. In other words, massage helps increase the activity of your body’s fighting cells and improve your immunity overall. There are many physical and mental benefits to receiving massages. They can be one-time massages to help you through isolated incidents, or a series of massages to work through stress and anxiety related problems. One thing is clear though, this alternative medicine is tried and true and is a risk-free alternative to drugs and other, more permanent, procedures.
Article Author: Shelly Jackson is a Registered Massage Therapist and owner of Buena Vista Massage Therapy Clinic in Vancouver, BC. On a daily basis we deal with: resolving muscle and movement stiffness and pain; injuries from vehicles or sports; post breast cancer rehab; pregnancy related discomfort; repetitive strain and overuse injuries. We work with clients to reduce their anxiety and stress, improve joint movement, sleep and quality of life. Working with qualified massage therapists is necessary for your continued health. Contact us at 604-538-7166 and we would be happy to answer any questions you have. Photo Source: courtesy of Ambro / Free Digital Photos

How Massage Therapy is a Weight Off Your Shoulders

Have you ever seen a line of dominoes fall? It only takes one domino to fall out of place in order for the whole line to follow in a downward tumble. One change in the system affects the rest and continues to create more change. In a human body, there are many triggers that may cause one problem that will create a series of other negative issues for the body. Stress is one trigger that can negatively affect mental, emotional, and physical health. Stress Effects According to knowledge from PositiveMed, the head, stomach, skin, pancreas, heart, and many more organs of the body are victims of mental stress. Stress also creates aches, pains, and tension in joints and muscles. When muscles are sore or damaged in any way, this can create serious problems for the body and mobility, in other words, creating a domino effect. Learning to manage stress mentally is key to releasing a lot of stress, but it is not always so easy to accomplish. So how can you help yourself physically when the weight on your shoulders is too much? How Massage Helps with Stress Medical research shows us that, in fact, getting massage therapy is one of the best ways to improve not just physical health, but mental and emotional as well. Research completed in the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles shows that when massage therapy relaxes muscles, many chemical changes occur. When muscles relax, levels of the main stress hormone cortisol are reduced. Even more fundamentally, there is a decrease of arginine vasopressin, which controls the release of cortisol, as well as adrenal corticotropin, which is the actual stimulant of cortisol. The number of lymphocytes, or white blood cells in the immune system, increase as well as the hormone oxytocin, which is related with happiness and contentment. Essentially, massages will literally eliminate stress and make you happy person! The physical healing will bring mental and emotional healing, which simplifies the burden of stress management. In the study at the David Geffen School of Medicine, the Swedish technique in massage therapy was used on the clients. This is not the only technique used and certainly not the first. In fact, techniques vary and change between different massage therapists. Still, there are methods widely known and used. Massage is one of the earliest known forms of psychical therapy with the use of massage as a healing technique dating back centuries. Because massage therapy has been in practice for so long all around the world, it should come as no surprise that it has the power to provide physical, emotional, and mental healing. Through studies performed with modern science on massage therapy, it has been proven that our ancestors were right and massage therapy has extremely beneficial uses with regard to stress and overall health. Don’t let stress affect your health, take a load off your shoulders and experience massage therapy.
Article Author: Shelly Jackson is a Registered Massage Therapist and owner of Buena Vista Massage Therapy Clinic in Vancouver, BC. On a daily basis we deal with: resolving muscle and movement stiffness and pain; injuries from vehicles or sports; post breast cancer rehab; pregnancy related discomfort; repetitive strain and overuse injuries. We work with clients to reduce their anxiety and stress, improve joint movement, sleep and quality of life. Working with qualified massage therapists is necessary for your continued health. Contact us at 604-538-7166 and we would be happy to answer any questions you have. Photo Source: courtesy of Ohmega1982 / Free Digital Photos

Why Should You Choose a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT?)

Getting a massage can be very helpful, especially if you see a Registered Massage Therapist who has the training to truly understand your condition and what you need. Many people do not know the difference between those massage therapists who are registered, and those who aren’t. However, it can make quite a difference in the services received during a massage. The following will help you understand what a Registered Massage Therapist is, and why they are so helpful. What is a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT)? A massage therapist has to meet certain requirements in order to earn the professional designation of a RMT. The first is that the he or she needs to have graduated from a program. The second is that they spent a minimum of 2 years at a school which is recognized. Recognized schools offer two year programs in Canada which include a minimum of 2200 instruction hours. The programs follow the competencies established nationally in Canada in 2012. Thirdly, therapists must be registered as a member of a Regulatory College, or association of Massage Therapists (in some cases). Benefits of Paying for the Services of an RMT The benefits to choosing a RMT over a massage therapist include the following. RMT’s have been trained in nutrition, human anatomy, human physiology, musculoskeletal anatomy, kinesiology, pathology, therapeutic exercise, massage theory, massage techniques, ethics, clinical assessment, clinical treatment planning and the treatment of various conditions. Due to this extensive training, RMT’s have a wide range of knowledge they can apply to the treatment of their clients. Patients, and other healthcare professionals, can trust that a RMT meets the practicing standards, therefore creating a sense of trust in their services. Specialized Health Conditions The education and training received by RMT’s, also enables them to handle specialized cases, specifically those that require special attention to a health condition. Note that the goal of massage therapy is to alleviate pain, cure a number of health issues and promote well-being. RMT’s have studied different subjects related to health, so have more knowledge to properly identify problems. Injury and Ailment Rehabilitation RMT’s are also trained in terms of identifying the root causes of injuries, so they can play a major role in treating and facilitating recovery from injuries and ailments. The fact that they have completed the number of clinical hours they have, as well as passed the exams required by the law, is an indication that they are capable of assessing their client’s needs and concerns. Expert Treatment Plans Additionally, they can perform a variety of muscle and motion tests as a means of identifying the best treatment plan for their clients. RMT’s are well-trained in terms of administering various massage procedures and curing damages to soft tissues and joints. They do all these through their expert knowledge on soft tissue manipulation, trigger point therapy, hydrotherapy, relaxation techniques, remedial exercise programs and lower grade and joint pain mobilization. Posture Improvement Registered massage therapists can also offer suggestions on how to improve posture. They can recommend the most effective rehabilitative, relaxation, strengthening and stretching exercises that work suitably for each unique case. Is your Massage Therapist Registered? With this in mind, you may be wondering how to find a RMT. There are about 22,000 massage therapists in Canada, and about 60% are RMT’s. They are typically found in the legislated provinces, where they are allowed to use the title “Registered Massage Therapist”, under the Massage Therapy Act. Section 9 of the Trademarks Act of Canada considers Registered Massage Therapist an “official mark”, so you can ask potential massage therapists if they have been registered and certified. If you want to get the most effective treatment when undergoing massage therapy, then finding a Registered Massage Therapist is a must. Your chosen RMT will be fit to help you deal with concerns affecting your health, muscles, tissues and other problematic body parts from an expert’s point of view.
Article Author: Shelly Jackson is a Registered Massage Therapist and owner of Buena Vista Massage Therapy Clinic in Vancouver, BC. On a daily basis we deal with: resolving muscle and movement stiffness and pain; injuries from vehicles or sports; post breast cancer rehab; pregnancy related discomfort; repetitive strain and overuse injuries. We work with clients to reduce their anxiety and stress, improve joint movement, sleep and quality of life. Working with qualified massage therapists is necessary for your continued health. Contact us at 604-538-7166 and we would be happy to answer any questions you have. Photo Source: courtesy of imagerymajestic / Free Digital Photos

How to Recover Faster After an Intense Run

You know that feeling you get after a nice, hard run or other workout. You feel great! You’ve accomplished something, you’re on the road to a better you. You lay down for a well-deserved night’s sleep, and the following morning…you can’t get up. Your body is screaming at you and you can barely make it down the stairs, let alone go on another run! There’s good news for you, there is a way you can reduce these effects and the time it takes to recover and get back to normal. Massages are one of the oldest forms of popular alternative medicine and are used to treat everything from anxiety to digestive problems. It is also a great way to reduce your recovery time between intense runs. In a study performed by Simon Melov, PhD to discover the molecular benefits of massage therapy, several people were asked to partake in an intense cycling workout. Samples were taken of the muscle tissue before and after the workout. Each of the study participants were then given a 10 minute Swedish massage on only one of their legs following the workout. Their muscle tissue was then tested after the massage and compared to the other samples that were taken. The study revealed that the legs that had received the massage had less of the protein NF-kB, which is the protein responsible for muscle inflammation after exercising. After intense exercise, the muscle fibers undergo small tears, activating this protein and causing inflammation. The massaged tissue also had more PGC-1alpha protein, which is responsible for triggering the production of mitochondria, which helps energize muscles and assists in conditioning muscles to endure different and more strenuous types of exercise. Mitochondria is what converts glucose into energy to power your muscles and assist in repair. This boost helps muscles recover quicker! Why not just take an inflammatory reducing pill, then? It’s certainly easier to pop an aspirin after every run than to get a massage, but you won’t get the benefits that a massage offers. The aspirin will reduce inflammation, but has actually been proven to slow the recovery of the muscle, extending the time it takes your muscle to repair itself. If you are an avid runner or are new to self-improvement, it is important that you understand the science behind your muscle recovery. Massages help reduce muscle inflammation and the pain associated with it by reducing the protein that is triggered by the small tissue tears caused by vigorous exercise. Not only does it help reduce pain, but it also helps you recover quicker by increasing the levels of the protein that triggers production of mitochondria, the little builders of your muscles. Don’t settle for popping a pill that may actually keep you down longer. When you work a regular massage into your health regime, you will enjoy quicker recoveries and achieve your goals sooner!
Article Author: Shelly Jackson is a Registered Massage Therapist and owner of Buena Vista Massage Therapy Clinic in Vancouver, BC. On a daily basis we deal with: resolving muscle and movement stiffness and pain; injuries from vehicles or sports; post breast cancer rehab; pregnancy related discomfort; repetitive strain and overuse injuries. We work with clients to reduce their anxiety and stress, improve joint movement, sleep and quality of life. Working with qualified massage therapists is necessary for your continued health. Contact us at 604-538-7166 and we would be happy to answer any questions you have. Photo Source: courtesy of tiverylucky / Free Digital Photos

Caution: Bad Night’s Sleep – Have You Tried a Massage?

Insomnia is a condition in which a person has trouble falling or staying asleep. In North America, 30 percent of adults suffer from insomnia, and 10 percent suffer from chronic (long-term) insomnia. Insomnia can be caused by a number of conditions including: mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, stress, chronic pain, difficulty breathing, a change in your normal schedule, poor sleep habits, and medications. Insomnia can cause a person to become extremely fatigued, have poor concentration, and can dampen your mood. If you are having trouble falling or staying asleep at night, or even have normal sleep habits, a professional relaxing massage performed by your massage therapist could benefit you. Chemicals in the Brain Massage therapy has been proven to increase serotonin and dopamine levels in the body. Researchers in a 2005 article of a review of studies showed that cortisol levels decreased, while dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain increased after massage therapy. In the research reviewed, it was found that there was an average decrease of 31 percent in cortisol levels in participants. In studies where dopamine and serotonin levels were assessed, average increases were recorded, 31 and 28 percent respectively. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter produced by the pineal gland in the brain to make melatonin, the hormone directly related to sleep. Serotonin plays an important role in mood, behavior, body temperature, coordination, appetite, and sleep. When serotonin levels are low, the body can experience sleep disruptions and disorders, including insomnia. Stress has been shown to cause low serotonin levels. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter produced in your brain that plays an important role in movement, memory, pleasurable reward, behavior and cognition, attention, mood, learning, and sleep. When your massage therapist provides you with a professional massage, the pleasure center of your brain is activated, increasing levels of dopamine produced, therefore helping to reduce stress. Cortisol is commonly known as the “stress-hormone”, because it is activated in the body’s fight-of-flight response when faced with a stressful stimuli or situation. When levels of cortisol are high, there can be negative effects on the body including but not limited to: weakened cognitive performance, high blood pressure, imbalances in blood sugar, and increased abdominal fat. Cortisol need to remain within normal levels, in order for your body to return to a relaxed state after the fight-or-flight reaction is activated. Massage therapy can help you relax, and when your body and mind are relaxed, stress is reduced, which decreases the risk that sleep problems or disorders will develop. When your body and mind are at ease, you may notice that the quality of your sleep increases. Relieving Stress Massage therapy can also be a helpful aid in treating sleeping problems that stem from stress, migraines, pain, and muscle or joint stiffness. With the tranquility and soothing nature of a massage by your professional massage therapist, feelings of stress are reduced and muscles become much more relaxed. The calming effects of a good massage have the potential to aid in restoring your best sleep. Your massage therapist can provide you with a soothing massage that can aid in reducing stress and relaxing muscles. Not only will you feel rejuvenated after your massage, you may notice that you will feel less stressed and tense, and also get a better night’s sleep. This may be due to lower levels of cortisol, and increased levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain, released by the gentle and comforting touch your massage therapist uses while performing your relaxing massage.
Article Author: Shelly Jackson is a Registered Massage Therapist and owner of Buena Vista Massage Therapy Clinic in Vancouver, BC.  On a daily basis we deal with: resolving muscle and movement stiffness and pain; injuries from vehicles or sports; post breast cancer rehab; pregnancy related discomfort; repetitive strain and overuse injuries.  We work with clients to reduce their anxiety and stress, improve joint movement, sleep and quality of life.  Working with qualified massage therapists is necessary for your continued health.  Contact us at 604-538-7166 and we would be happy to answer any questions you have. Photo Source: courtesy of imagerymajestic / Free Digital Photos