Massage Therapy and Reflexology - Promoting a healthy digestion can be possible with reflexology, an alternative to traditional medicine often used to treat a wide range of problems. It involves a trained reflexologist applying pressure primarily to your feet, hands, and ears, stimulating particular zones, or reflex areas that are instrumental in treating specific conditions and improving your overall disposition.
In most cases, one's lifestyle or environment can create a blockage in your Qi, the life force through which the body heals itself. The application of pressure to specific zones can unblock your Qi and allow the body to heal itself. While reflexology makes no recommendation to avoid traditional medicine, those seeking to address a particular digestive condition and promote a healthy overall digestion can benefit from the technique. From chronic constipation to irritable bowel syndrome, many people fail to consider that the solution lies in a consultation with a trained reflexologist.
By promoting the natural healing powers of the human body, reflexologists help the patient leave with a sense of calm and improved well-being. This is the side-effect of an unblocked Qi and the body re-balancing itself. Everyone responds differently to the techniques and it is important to follow the recommendation of the reflexologist.
If you have problems with gallstones, acid reflux or heartburn, you may be a prime candidate for reflexology. However, it is not a quick fix. After the sessions, the reflexologist often develops a treatment plan designed to keep all of your reflex zones working in harmony with one another.
Yoga and Massage Therapy
- When yoga became a mainstream channel for exercise, people flocked to it. An ancient art now had new meaning to soccer moms everywhere. As it became more popular, we could see the health benefits of yoga far exceeded the exercise aspect.
When coping with a physical injury or illness, there are many health benefits of yoga. Those with back problems find that through a spine-strengthening yoga class, they may be able to eliminate pain altogether. Awareness of the health benefits of yoga has grown in recent years. Studies are now being conducted to determine the health benefits of yoga to cancer patients.
Breathing is a huge focus for all yoga methods and can help with emotional healing. The health benefits of yoga at this stage are simple for anyone practicing; breathing deeply and methodically is therapeutic for the mind and body. You begin to see decreased levels of stress and are able to focus throughout the day.
Another health benefit of yoga is that a majority of those who practice are able to sleep better and have increased moods. Over time, the health benefits of yoga emerge through better eating habits and taking care of ourselves, our bodies experiencing less aches and pains and our immune system functioning better due to our yoga practice.
Can Massage Therapy Help Asthma?
Anyone who suffers from asthma knows that its symptoms are worsened with stress. Most people also know that massage therapy tends to lower stress levels. However, few people combine massage and asthma as part of an effective coping strategy.
Asthma and stress can be a vicious cycle. Although rarely the root cause of asthma symptoms or an attack, stress tends to exacerbate symptoms, sometimes leading to a full-blown attack. For someone with asthma, symptoms such as shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, and coughing can trigger anxiety, which usually causes an increase in heart rate and breaths per minute. This puts an added strain on a respiratory system that is already working in overdrive.
Combining massage and asthma can have the opposite effect on stress levels and symptoms. First, the massage atmosphere is itself usually calming. The mood lighting, soothing music, and burning of candles or oils can be a welcome respite from a lifestyle of constant stimulation. Second, a trained masseuse can use massage to help drain and relax the bronchial area, which will often reduce asthma symptoms, especially coughing and wheezing. Lastly, massage therapy releases tension in your muscles. Loosening the muscles of the upper body can be an effective way to reduce chest tightness caused by asthma.
A holistic approach to asthma treatment will seek to prevent and treat symptoms. Steroids and inhalers can treat symptoms, but combining massage and asthma can be an effective way to prevent them
The importance of massage therapy is impossible to contest. Not only do you derive physiological benefits from massage, you also see the emotional manifestations of being absolutely stress-free. A regular regimen of 30 minutes two to three times a week can decrease anxiety, improve your circulation, and decrease blood pressure.
Western medicine has advanced abundantly in our lifetime, but the technique of massage has existed for centuries with unwavering success. This time-honored tradition has proven reliable because it works. Massage is curative and preventative, an exceptional craft in the age of chemically-induced healing. Yet doctors also acknowledge the clinical benefit and importance of massage therapy.
Stress (along with its sister diagnoses depression, anger, and anxiety) causes lasting physical and emotional damage. The effects of stress expand to every imaginable human aspect, from sleep deprivation to gastrointestinal trouble to memory impairment. A life lived with minimum stress is a life longer lived.
Massage therapy is instrumental in inhibiting stress, thereby reducing symptoms associated with cardiovascular disease and respiratory disorders. The deeply penetrating touch soothes injuries and invigorates your body, leaving you refreshed, relaxed, and ready for the demanding activities of everyday life. Don't treat massage therapy as an indulgent luxury; treat it as a rewarding imperative.
Take care of yourself this summer by making healthy summer lifestyle choices. You can take several simple steps this season to care for your mind and body and become healthier.
Protect your skin this summer and make the single most important healthy decision you can make this summer by wearing sun screen. Skin cancer rates are on the rise and wearing sunscreen is a proven way to help protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun.
This season offers the perfect chance to add a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to your diet. Make the healthy summer lifestyle choice to add in season fruits and vegetables to each meal and for snacks and desserts. Farmer's markets, local grocery stores and even larger chains now offer a wide variety of locally grown, organic produce.
Get Out and Move
While the sunshine and great weather may tempt you to laze about in a lounge chair, the summer months offer the perfect opportunity to get outside for exercise. Working out wont' feel like a chore while the sun shines on a morning walk or jog. Or, take advantage of the great outdoors and try something new, like hiking, biking, or a new sport, like kayaking. A lot of what we do in the summer already like hitting the local pool, also counts as exercise, and of course don't forget receive regular massage therapy treatments.
In just a few simple steps, you can live a healthy summer lifestyle while still enjoying fun in the sun.
Massage therapists are excellent proponen ts of good ergonomics in others, but fall short when it comes to their own body mechanics. When therapists practice poor body mechanics during massage treatments, they create additional stress on their muscles and joints. Over a period of time, this can lead to inflammation, pain, and tenderness. If these symptoms go unattended, they will create further problems such as overuse syndrome of the thumbs and wrists, carpal tunnel syndrome, and tendonitis. Not only are these conditions painful, but they'll affect the quality of treatment, number of treatments given and overall income for the therapist. This is why it's imperative for students to choose a massage school that teaches good body mechanics and self-care.
Northwest Academy for the Healing Arts, is adamant in creating a solid foundation of self-care practices for students. Twice a week, students have the opportunity to take Yoga and Qigong classes. These classes emphasize the importance of deep breathing, grounding, good posture and balance. Benefits of these exercises carry to the treatment room making massage treatments more effective. As student Levin Pugsley from NW Academy claims, "I've noticed a great improvement in my body awareness, in addition to feeling more stable and confident in my stance I execute techniques without hurting myself or my client." Taking classes such as Yoga and Qigong improve body mechanics in therapists, ensuring quality massages and decreasing the likelihood of injury.
Students at Northwest Academy for the Healing Arts are also allowed monthly student wellness visits at Seattle Institute of Oriental Medicine (SIOM). SIOM is a clinically-based school that emphasizes the importance of integrating the philosophy and spirit of Oriental medicine into one's daily life. Students can choose from acupuncture, tuina and Chinese herbal remedies. Many Northwest Academy students enjoy receiving complimentary modalities such as acupuncture for both their own wellness and to refer clients to.
While looking at massage schools don't hesitate to ask about their self-care or student wellness programs, and make sure they take your health just as seriously as your future client's health. For additional information about massage self-care practices reference the book written by Lauriann Greene, CEAS & Richard W. Goggins, CPE, LMP called Save Your Hands! You can also find information about the Seattle Institute of Oriental Medicine on their website at www.siom.edu.
Greene, L., & Goggins, R.W., (2008). Save Your Hands! Coconut Creek, FL: Body of Works Books