How to Feel and Look Your Best This Season, with Massage

Everyone wants to look and feel their personal best, especially during the spring and summer months as swimsuit season approaches.  Consider this tip about looking your best from Allure Magazine’s current issue.

 

alluremass

 

 

Not only can massage help stimulate blood and fluid flow, but the use of lotions and creams can help restore the moisture that is lost from exposure to the sun and chlorine.

 

Call to schedule a Swedish Massage today! (864) 288-8593

 

30 Minutes – $39.00
60 Minutes – $60.00
90 Minutes – $90.00

 

Hot Stone Massage

A “Hot Stone Massage” can be one of the most relaxing and beneficial massages you can treat yourself to. Hot Stone Massage is a therapeutic massage that is beneficial in treating clients with insomnia, arthritis, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel, anxiety, muscle strain/sprains, and more. The heat of the stones  allow the therapist to work deeper and more effectively. Pressure ranges from medium to deep depending on your preference.

How a Hot Stone Massage Works

During a Hot Stone Massage the therapist will begin by warming the muscle tissue with flowing strokes. Then, the therapist will place heated stones on specific areas of the body and also use them to work into areas of tension. These smooth, black volcanic stones are used for their ability to retain heat. The therapist will monitor the temperature to ensure you are comfortable.

The massage, using hot stones, promotes a deeper muscle relaxation. The theory of using hot stone massage therapy is that the heat of the stones relaxes the muscles, which enables the therapist to work the deeper muscles.

To quote from WebmdFor this kind of massage, the therapist places warmed stones on certain areas of the body, such as acupressure points. The stones may be used as massage tools or be temporarily left in place. Used along with other massage techniques, hot stones can be quite soothing and relaxing as they transmit heat deep into the body.

Benefits of a Hot Stone MassageHot_Stone_Massage

  • Aids in detoxification
  • Improves circulation
  • Relaxes deep within muscle
  • Soothes aches
  • Increases range of motion
  • Promotes mental relaxation

 

 

So as you can see, there are many benefits to using a Hot Stone massage. Carolina Health Innovations is happy to now be able to offer our massage clients with this fantastic massage therapy.

 

***IMPORTANT NOTE***

   If you have any of the following conditions, please consult your doctor before scheduling a Hot Stone Massage. This therapy may be contraindicated.

 Blood clots –  Cancer or receiving cancer treatments – Easily bruised – Neuropathy – Diabetes – Fever – Pregnancy – Heat sensitivity – High blood pressure – Varicose veins***local contraindication – Cancer or receiving cancer treatments – Inflamed skin conditions – Weakened immune system (i.e.; lupus, mononucleosis, etc.) – Osteoporosis – Cardiovascular conditions -Recent surgery – Open wounds or sores – Epilepsy

 

 

Fascinating Fascia

Do you know what fascia is?  Most people have never heard of it, yet it’s literally everywhere throughout your body.  And the role it plays is an important one.

 What is Fascia?

The Dictionary defines fascia as “a usually thin band of fibrous connective tissue covering, supporting, or binding together a muscle, part, or organ; tissue of this kind.”  The word comes from the Latin fascia, meaning a band or girdle. Fascia, basically, is the thin, cellophane-like, clear yellow membrane, wrapped tightly around muscles and certain other internal structures.

Fascia surrounding muscle 

This connective tissue forms a continuous net throughout the body, from head to toe and from skin to the deepest levels.  “If all the other tissues were extracted, the connective framework alone would preserve the three-dimensional human form in all its details,” writes author and bodyworker Deane Juhan in his book Job’s Body.

 

All of the body’s components that we are more familiar with – the blood vessels, nerves, muscles, etc. – make their way through this maze of fascia.  And found in all the tiny spaces throughout the connective tissue is a fluid called ground substance, a viscous liquid resembling raw egg whites.

Ground substance is the medium in which all those cellular body functions – nutrients and hormones being delivered to cells, wastes being carried away, etc. – take place.

How Fascia Affects Your Body

So, what does all this have to do with massage and your overall health?  Because fascia is a continuous web spreading throughout your body, it can play a major role in how your body functions.

Since it’s a gel, ground substance can change in consistency.  When a body is active (through work, exercise, stretching, etc.), it generates heat that creates a more ideal condition for the ground substance – one in which it becomes thinner or more liquid.  This allows for better metabolic exchange to take place throughout your body, helping your body to better maintain proper health.

If a body is less active, the connective tissues are not as warmed or energized, allowing the ground substance to thicken; the tissues become sluggish and lose their ability to stretch, soften and flex.

One of the health benefits of massage is the positive effect it has on this process in the body.  “By means of pressure and stretching, and the friction they generate, the temperature and therefore the energy level of the tissue has merely been raised slightly.  This added energy in turn promotes a more fluid ground substance…in which nutrients and cellular wastes can conduct their exchanges more efficiently.”¹

The substance that gives connective tissue its strength is the protein collagen (derived from the Greek word meaning glue).  The collagen molecule is the longest molecule that has ever been isolated.  These collagen fibers derive their strength from their ability to form strong chemical bonds with each other.  Over the years, these fibers tend to pack more tightly and strengthen their bonds, especially in places with more compression and strain.  “These areas of chronic stress in the connective tissue thicken and rigidify, bunch up, lose their range of motion, and impose their limitations on the movement of the body as a whole…This unwanted bonding is one of the major factors in the stiffness associated with old age, repeated strain, or poorly healed injuries.”¹

How Massage can Help

Because fascia is continuous throughout your body, when one area is affected (becomes tight, for example), its effects can manifest in other areas as well.  Imagine pulling on a corner of your shirt and the numerous distortions this causes across the length of the fabric.  Fascia can react in a similar fashion.  Areas of restricted fascia can lead to various complaints, such as postural problems and restricted movement.

So, in addition to massage benefitting your tight or sore muscles while soothing and relaxing you, it also is playing another vital health role.  “The pressure, motion, and friction created by deep manipulation raises thermal…levels far beneath the surface.  In addition, the squeezing, stretching, and contorting of the connective tissues creates a cleansing, flushing effect, similar to that of rinsing out a sponge…Large amounts of toxins and wastes…can be thus moved out of the intercellular fluids and into the bloodstream, from which they can then be eliminated.”¹

This information only scratches the surface on fascia and the roles it plays in your body, but it should give you a better understanding of how your regular massage sessions can benefit you.  If you have questions, just ask!

1. Deane Juhan, Job’s Body,1987

Common Types of Bodywork and Massage

Types of Massage

I am often asked to help clarify what the differences are between varying types of bodywork.  Did you know that there are about 160 specializations offered in the field?  To both the novice and experienced a little guidance from the professionals can direct you to what most benefits your needs.

In spite of so many options roughly 10-15 comprise the most commonly sought massage and bodywork sessions.  They are:

  • Swedish Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Neuromuscular Therapy, Sports Massage,Hot stone Massage, Craniosacral Therapy, Lymph Massage, Thai Massage, Shiatsu, Reflexology, Reiki, Aromatherapy

 

Swedish, Deep Tissue, Neuromuscular, Sports, and Hot Stone Massage address the soft tissues of the body, comprising surface skin, muscles, fascia and connectors such as tendons and ligaments.

Flow of blood (capillary and peripheral) and lymph fluid is secondarily affected by these massage types.  In contrast, flow of lymph and craniosacral fluids through controlled movement of or pressure to specific body parts and tissues is the primary goal in Craniosacral Therapy and Lymph massage.  Thai, Shiatsu, Reflexology and Reiki incorporate Eastern philosophy to bodywork with emphasis upon specific points on the body or movement to the body which are identified centers of energy.

 Goals of Your Massage

Massage can relieve muscular distress, promote proper flow of bodily fluids (thus increase oxygen to tissue and release waste products from tissue), speed healing post–injury, and improve wellness.  Each type has a different approach and method toward achievement of specific of outcomes.

So…how does a person decide what type of session to choose?  First of all, do your homework. Read a bit about the different types of massage/bodywork to begin to target what service you are looking for.  Ask yourself some important questions:

  • What exactly is my goal? Relief from pain, injury, emotional stress, etc or to improve general body health and maintenance?
  • What am I expecting from a therapist? Do I want specific areas targeted or do I want the therapist to make the recommendations?
  • Am I more comfortable with traditional Western based ideas or am I open to those embracing Eastern philosophy, such as focus on energy release?
  • Am I looking for a single session or am I interested in regular sessions in the context of adding to my wellness program?  If so, how often am I willing to schedule appointments and what is affordable for me?

Also do your homework researching the provider.  Seek out a state licensed and nationally certified therapist to assure quality of care and that you receive treatment in accordance with the standards of the profession.  Make a list of questions to interview therapists which interest you and freely ask them.

Finally, approach your first session with an attitude of exploration.  You are seeking a service valuable to your needs and it is important to work with a person that feels like a good match for you.  I always encourage new clients to first experience my work and then see if it seems a good fit to continue together.  If not, that’s perfectly acceptable and I suggest other resources.

Massage/bodywork, especially added regularly to your health and wellness program, can produce amazing results in many dimensions such as pain relief, mobility and range of movement.  The following descriptions provide basic information about each of the most commonly sought therapies which can assist you in determining what might be a good fit for your own needs (see http://massagetherapy.com for additional information).

Massage Techniques

Swedish Massage – Massage involving the use of kneading, stroking, friction, tapping, and vibration techniques specifically designed to relax muscles by applying pressure to them, typically rubbing in the same direction as the flow of blood returning to the heart. Created at the turn of the century by Henry Peter Ling in Sweden the goal is to increase the oxygen flow in the blood, release toxins from the muscles, promote relaxation, and relieve muscular tension.  Pressure can be light or deep as requested.

Deep Tissue massageSometimes mistakenly interpreted as a ‘painful’ massage, deep tissue work employs techniques that affect the sub-layer of musculature and fascia to release tender points, trigger points and adhesions. It helps with chronic muscular pain and injury rehabilitation and reduces inflammation-related pain caused by arthritis and tendonitis. It is generally integrated with other massage techniques and when performed gradually should not be uncomfortable.

Neuromuscular Therapy – This soft-tissue manipulation balances the body’s central nervous system with the musculoskeletal system. Based on neurological laws, the goal is to help relieve pain and dysfunction by understanding and alleviating the underlying cause. It is used to locate and release spasms and – in the tissue, eliminate trigger points that cause referred pain, rebuild the strength of injured tissues, assist venous and lymphatic flow, and restore postural alignment, proper biomechanics, and flexibility to the tissues.

Sports Massage –  Designed to enhance athletic performance and recovery, therapy focuses on pre-event, post-event, and injury treatment and is often performed at the event site. Pre-event massage is fast-paced and stimulating, helping to establish blood flow and to warm up muscles. Post-event massage helps calm the nervous system and begin the process of flushing toxins and waste products out of the body. Post-event massage can reduce recovery time, enabling an athlete to resume training much sooner than rest alone would allow. Injury treatment can often speed and improve the quality of healing.

Hot Stone Massage – A type of treatment that uses warmed stones to relax muscles and induce a calming state of mind. Sanitized, warmed, smooth rocks (usually basalt, a type of volcanic rock that retains heat) are placed upon different parts of the body. Typically swedish massage techniques are used with applied pressure to direct and slide the stones.

Craniosacral Therapy – Craniosacral therapy is a gentle, noninvasive method of evaluating and enhancing the function of a physiological body arrangement called the craniosacral system. This system consists of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. It extends from the bones of the skull, face, and mouth–which make up the cranium–down to the sacrum or tailbone. The practitioner uses very light touch to assist the natural movement of fluid within the craniosacral system which enhances the body’s natural healing processes and has proven effective in treating a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction.

Lymph Massage – Lymph Drainage Therapy (LDT) involves palpitation of lymphatic fluid flow. Trained practitioners identify the rhythm, direction, and quality of flow and use light pressure to facilitate drainage. This type of massage has been associated with improvement of the immune system.

Thai Massage – Also called nuad bo rarn, Thai massage has been taught and practiced in Thailand for approximately twenty-five hundred years. Based on the theory the body is made up of seventy-two thousand sen, or energy lines, it focuses on peripheral stimulating, to produce specific internal effects. It is typically performed on a firm mat on the floor instead of on a table with the client remaining fully clothed and with the practitioner using hand and foot pressure as well as manipulation of limbs.

Shiatsu Similar to acupressure, shiatsu concentrates on unblocking the flow of life energy and restoring balance in the meridians and organs in order to promote self-healing. With the client reclining, the practitioner applies pressure with the finger, thumb, palm, elbow, or knee to specific zones on the skin located along the energy meridians. The benefits of this treatment may include pain relief and a strengthening of the body’s resistance to disease and disorder.

Reflexology – Based on ancient Chinese therapy, it involves manipulation of specific reflex areas in the foot, hands, and ears that correspond to other parts of the body. Pressure is applied to stimulate body organs and relieve areas of congestion. Similar to acupressure principles, reflexology works with the body’s energy flow to stimulate self-healing and maintain balance in physical function via reduction in pain, increased relaxation, and stimulation of circulation of blood and lymphatic fluids. It is especially useful in stress-related illness and emotional disorders.

Reiki – Reiki healing is an energy healing art. In a session the practitioner, trained to access and serve as a channel for the life force (ki or chi), places hands on or just above the client’s body in order to activate healing energy within receptive points on the body. The hands move progressively with a passive touch through twelve positions on the body, remaining in each position for three to five minutes. As the flow of energy is strengthened, within the client and practitioner, healing occurs through the return of physical, mental, and spiritual balance.

Aromatherapy – The use of essential oils (extracted from herbs, flowers, resin, woods, and roots) to aid in relaxation, improve circulation, and help the healing of wounds. Aromatherapy diffusers are utilized to fill the massage room with the scent of the oils. Specific essential oils are blended by the aromatherapist and added to a carrier oil to be used during the massage. Each oil has its own unique characteristics and benefits.

Carolina Health Innovations offers a variety of different massages that will be both pleasurable and beneficial.