School is starting back up for K-12 and college and universities. I am already seeing proud parents post about their student-athletes with pictures and accomplishments in games and tournaments.
For high school and beyond, student-athletes typically have access to school-appointed trainers and medical staff. But what can they do beyond the school to help with their athletic performance? What more can we do to give them a competitive edge without resorting to drugs are harmful practices?
Two things come quickly to mind. Massage therapy for student-athletes and manual manipulation therapy.
Here at All Body Kneads massage studio we offer many types of massage from relaxation to trigger point therapy, to supporting sore muscles, and promoting healthy sleep.
As parents, we want the best for our children at any age. When they become teenagers and college students, the competition becomes more intense. The commitment to their sport becomes more important. For high school, this could mean scholarships and opportunities they can’t get any other way. And yet, we want them to be safe, happy, and healthy while doing something they love.
I was talking with a friend the other day about her very stressful job. She had some really valid points about a situation at work that was complicated and unfair. Much of it was out of her control. I listened. I sympathized. I validated her frustrations. And then I asked her what she was doing to manage her stress. Her response: “Nothing.”
The conversation then took an unexpected turn. We started exploring the concept of stress management and self-care. We talked about the possibility that her work wouldn’t seem as stressful if she was doing more to counteract the stress. I made sure she understood that I wasn’t trying to put it back on her or blame her for stress. Her work situation was very stressful and not her fault. However, her stress related to it was spiraling out of control because she wasn’t managing it.
Too often we feel helpless or at the mercy of a stressful situation because the circumstances aren’t our fault or we can do very little to change it. It is easy to forget that we have 100% control over how we react to situations and how we manage our stress and frustrations.
When you manage your stress you can be a better employee, parent, friend, spouse, sibling, and general human being. And it’s not just you who benefits – everyone around you benefits. This is why self-care is not selfish. It’s necessary to get through life. Remember this every time you start to feel guilt or think you don’t have time to devote to yourself.
Self-Care Practices You Can Start Today
A lot of people will get one or two massages in their lifetime. Maybe it was on vacation or someone gave them a gift certificate. They think of it as a “treat.” In reality, massage can be one of your biggest weapons against fighting stress and promoting self-care. Regular massage – not just when you are really stressed and feel like you are going to lose your mind. Massage can help prevent you from ever getting that stressed out in the first place.
Massage therapy promotes blood flow, helps you sleep better, relaxes you, and gives you time to focus on yourself. The very definition of self-care.
Just like with regular massage, regular chiropractic care can help you maintain your body, stay in alignment, fight off allergies, colds, and other illnesses, and generally feel better. Don’t just go when your back hurts. Regular chiropractic adjustments keep your body tuned up and ready to face the world at your best.
According to the Mayo Clinic: “Meditation can produce a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind. During meditation, you focus your attention and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress. This process may result in enhanced physical and emotional well-being.”
There are a lot of apps and videos to help you get started. Start small with just a few minutes a day. Give it some time to see if it works for you.
Food is medicine or poison depending on what you put in your body. The better you eat the better you feel and the more equipped you will be to face obstacles.
Get your body moving and produce endorphins. Your body’s natural response to exercise is a great stress reliever. Exercise also helps you get out of your head and focus on your body. Start easy and work your way up. Exercise doesn’t have to be hard and unpleasant. It doesn’t even have to happen at a gym. Do something you like – walking, hiking, bike riding, swimming, find something you like to do and it won’t be “work” to get into shape.
Making time for your hobbies
If your main source of stress is your job you need to regularly get away from your job and focus on other things. You can’t be at work or thinking about work all the time. That is not living. Get back to your hobbies and the things you love to do, or start something new. Put time on your calendar for your hobbies. It’s important. Schedule “meetings” with yourself for proper self-care. Don’t break those meetings, you are your own most important client.
We have all experienced that feeling of life seeming way too hard when we are tired or completely exhausted. Everything is literally harder when you aren’t getting proper sleep. The best way to start getting better sleep is sticking to a schedule and routine – just like toddlers do. Go to bed and wake up at the same time – even on the weekends. Create a peaceful environment by hanging blackout curtains, having white noise or music, a comfortable bed, and whatever else makes you feel relaxed. Like I mentioned earlier, regular massage really helps promote good sleep.
Spending Time with Loved Ones
Your loved ones LOVE you. Spending time with them will help remind you who you are and what makes you special. We can lose sight of this when we are busy, working, and stressed out. Laugh with friends. Unwind with family. Do something fun together. It is so important to connect to other humans and have fun. You can even book a couples massage and really double up on your self-care.
Which Self-Care Strategy Will You Start With?
What are you going to do first? Do you have a suggestion that isn’t on our list? Let us know.
What can we do to help you with your self-care and stress management?
July is right around the corner and many people associate fireworks and celebrations with PTSD. While massage can help with stress and anxiety, it doesn’t make PTSD go away. It can make it easier to manage. If you, or someone you know, suffers from PTSD, a massage may be a great way to manage triggers and reduce anxiety.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychological disorder that occurs in response to an overwhelming or traumatic event. It is commonly seen in veterans, but sadly, 1 out of 11 people experience these severe, life-changing occurrences.
According to Michigan Psychological care, trauma can occur in various ways, but a few common experiences are generally known to be traumatic. These can include:
Abuse or neglect
Sexual or physical assault
Family or parental abandonment
Witnessing a crime, accident, or death
Massage for PTSD: How Can it Help?
The relaxation effects of massage therapy can be very beneficial to many types of anxiety and stress, including PTSD.
According to Psychiatric Times, massage controls pain severity through its effects on both physical and psychological symptoms. A significant reduction of PTSD symptoms has been seen in veterans after massage therapy. Moreover, findings suggest a reduction of substance abuse, anxiety, stress, depression, and dissociation.
Massage techniques range from a very light touch to a deep touch. Some use only pressure points; others use oil, rocking, stretching, petrissage, and cross-fiber friction with the patient either clothed or unclothed and draped. At least moderate pressure is required to stimulate vagal activity and induce parasympathetic response.
Types of Massage for PTSD
As a trained and certified massage therapist, I offer a variety of services to suit different needs. The following types of massage could be helpful.
This is one of the most well-known types of massage. When people talk about massage therapy, they most likely mean a Swedish massage. It is sometimes called a “classic massage.” A Swedish massage is characterized by long gliding strokes, kneading, and circular movements on the body. Massage lotion or oil is applied to reduce friction on the skin during a session. This type of massage helps ease joint pain, muscle aches and stiffness. It also improves circulation, and facilitate healing after an injury. It is highly adaptable, and could be very gentle and relaxing.
Chair massages are also known as seated or on-site massages. The fully-clothed client sits on a specially-designed chair, which facilitates the session. The massage is concentrated mainly on the back, arms and hands of the client. The therapist may use a variety of techniques, such as Swedish and Deep Tissue massages. An advantage of this type of massage is its versatility and portability.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massages, as the name implies, go deeper into the muscles than a regular or Swedish massage. It can help with rehabilitation after an injury, chronic muscle pain, and conditions such as arthritis and tendonitis. It is often combined with other types of massage.
Infrared Sauna for PTSD
Infrared spa treatments are a great way to rid the body of unwanted toxins and can be very relaxing. Environmental chemicals and any heavy metals such as mercury or lead that have built up in the body are excreted through sweating, and the infrared sauna is a way to comfortably sweat, relax, and purify skin.
Infrared technology allows treatments to be available at different heat levels: near, middle, and far. These levels refer to different infrared wavelengths and heat intensity. Testing has shown that near-infrared levels are excellent for the healing of wounds and increasing the function of the immune system. Middle levels are better for improving circulation as well as enhancing the relaxation of muscles. And the far infrared levels? Those are ideal for detoxification. Often new users prefer to start their sauna time slowly, working up to thirty-minute sessions from an initial five minutes to start, but if you use a standard Swedish sauna frequently or have a high tolerance to heat, it’s fine to spend a longer period of time initially in an infrared sauna.
Do you have sore muscles most weekends? Are you a weekend warrior trying to pack in too much on Saturday and Sunday? Spring and Summer in Michigan are so short. There are so many things we want to do cram into the beautiful weather. But come Monday, our bodies are paying for it.
Start off your week with a relaxing massage to loosen up those muscles and keep your body going all week. Schedule a massage today.
If you want to do more on the weekends and feel better throughout the week, follow these tips.
Relieve Sore Muscles Throughout the Week
Massage Therapy – All Body Kneads therapeutic full-body massage caters to your wants and needs with a specialized focus on problem areas, tension, stress relief, and relaxation. Deepen benefits with add-ons such as hot stones, aromatherapy, paraffin wax, and more. Add-ons are also available to enhance the experience and healing. Learn More.
Bamboo Fusion Massage – The technique uses warm bamboo sticks for deep tissue massage work. The bamboo tool allows the massage therapist to use more strength and stamina for deeper pressure. The smooth sticks allowed for more penetrating maneuvers and make deep-tissue work easier. Learn more.
Infrared Sauna – Infrared spa treatments are a great way to rid the body of unwanted toxins. The dry heat assists with increasing circulation and healing injuries. Learn more.
Epson Salt Soak – Soaking in Epson salts may relieve sore muscles. The theory is that when you soak in an Epsom salt bath, these minerals get absorbed into your body through the skin. This may help relax muscles, reduce swelling and pain from arthritis, and relieve pain from fibromyalgia and various causes.
Drink Lots of Water – Dehydration can make the recovery period from sore muscles feel even worse. Drinking water is beneficial in speeding up that recovery time and eradicating feelings of soreness – removing toxins from your body and keeping your muscles in proper working order.
Steam Sauna Therapy – Add a steam sauna treatment to your massage. You don’t even have to leave the massage table. Stay comfortable and enjoy. During the treatment, your head remains outside allowing the lymphatic system and organs to heal themselves. Learn more.
What can we help you with today?
All Body Kneads massage therapy has many options to help with sore muscles due to over exertion. We get it – the weekend may be your only time to get things done and have fun. We are here to help.
Have you ever experienced a hot stone massage? We use heated river rocks and gently massage your body in key areas including:
along the sides of your spine
on your stomach
on your chest
on your face
on your palms
on your feet and toes
As you can imagine, the stones melt tension, ease stiff muscles, and increase metabolism and circulation.
A hot stone massage is typically an add-on service as part of a full-body massage. Typically, it is only used during parts of the massage, not the entire time.
6 Benefits of Hot Stone Massage
#1. Relieves muscle tension and pain
Heat is commonly used to to ease muscle tension and pain. In combination with massage therapy, it increase blood flow. It can also help to reduce muscle spasms and increase flexibility and range of motion.
#2. Reduces stress and anxiety
The Mayo Clinic reports a 60-minute massage can lower cortisol, the stress hormone, by up to 30 percent after just one session. Stress is a huge part of anxiety and lowering stress is the key to managing anxiety. Add a hot stone massage and feel your anxiety melt away.
#3. Increases peaceful sleep
The best way to achieve healthy sleep habits is by natural medication-free means. Studies have shown that regular massage therapy reduces fatigue, promotes relaxation, and contributes to high-quality sleep. The benefits of massage are both immediate and long-term.
People who receive massages experience a more restorative type of sleep, both immediately following the massage and even several hours afterward. Their bodies are more relaxed, with reduced aches and pains, and able to fall more quickly into a deep sleep.
Parents who have given their babies gentle massages can attest to similar results. Infants who have been massaged are more relaxed and undergo fewer disturbances of their sleep.
#4. May help relieve symptoms of fibromyalgia
Hot stone massage may help to relieve the chronic pain of fibromyalgia. The symptoms of Fibromyalgia can vary from mild to severe. Some patients find massage helpful even during severe flare-ups. Others prefer to wait until their pain is at a lower level to receive massage. Your health care provider and massage therapist may be able to help you decide, but ultimately you know what is best for you!
Call me today to discuss your symptoms and how massage therapy can help! 517.898.2899
#5. May relieve symptoms of cancer treatment
Massage therapy can be a very good and beneficial factor in boosting your energy and mood while receiving cancer treatment. Often, cancer patients experience drops in their mood, energy, and physical dexterity. With massage as a supportive treatment, most of these debilitating ailments can be lessened for the patients.
Hot stone massage as part of massage treatment can help with:
The breaking up of scar tissue
Loosening of mucus in the lungs
And relief from pain, arthritis, constipation, colds, and fatigue
Are you a current cancer patient, survivor or caregiver to a loved one who is battling cancer? Did you know that there is a non-profit in Mid-Michigan that provides discounted or free massage therapy services to those in need? It is not just for cancer patients, but for many qualifying people who are experiencing a hardship and cannot regularly afford the healing benefits of massage therapy and other techniques.
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a type of RSI (repetitive strain injury) that is more common now than ever before. RSIs are caused by overuse and repetition – such as typing, using a computer mouse, driving, video games, lifting heavy objects, and even sports and exercise if done incorrectly.
The pain from RSIs typically occurs in the upper part of the body. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome generally hurts in the wrists and forearms, but the problem actually originates from the shoulder area.
“Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on the median nerve. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway surrounded by bones and ligaments on the palm side of your hand. When the median nerve is compressed, the symptoms can include numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand and arm.”
Signs of Repetitive Strain Injury
According to Moore Life Health and Healing Chiropractors: Evidence of RSIs typically begin gradually and become constant and more intense. Pain tends to start in the wrists and hands, forearms and elbows, or neck and shoulders. If you ignore early signs you may not notice or be slowed down by it until it becomes really bad or unbearable. But there is no need to get to that point. If left untreated symptoms may limit your ability to perform your usual activities.
pain, ranging from mild to severe
tingling or numbness
sensitivity to cold or heat
Massage Can Help With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Massage therapy is an effective way to help relieve carpal tunnel syndrome-related symptoms. It can also be used to prevent developing RSIs. If you work in one of the professions or industries listed below you should consider adding massage therapy to your regular self-care routine. It could save you a lot of pain, medication, and surgery in the future.
Massage therapy helps treat CTS by reducing inflammation, pain, and numbness in the carpal tunnel. This happens by lengthening the muscles and fascia in the neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, and hand.
Deep tissue massage can be used to stimulate trigger points and reduce the tension in the soft tissues of the shoulder, arm, hand, and wrist. It can also help increase joint mobility in those areas.
Myofascial tissue massage is also a wonderful technique to help with this sort of pain. cupping on the hand, used in combination with massage therapy, is another effective way to reduce muscle tension that may be contributing to symptoms associated with CTS.
All Body Kneads provides several types of massage therapy including Deep Tissue, therapeutic, and myofascial massage.
We are deep into winter in the Mid-West and many people’s energy levels are waning. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), lower vitamin D levels, less exercise, and irregular sleep patterns can all contribute to lower energy. Oh, if we could all be like bears and hibernate through the winter.
However, life goes on through all seasons and even a global pandemic. Anxiety and depression can also make you feel tired and lethargic.
So, what are some natural and safe things we can do to boost our energy levels?
Massage therapy can help improve energy levels in several ways. First, it improves sleep, which is essential not just for physical health, but also for mental and emotional well-being. Anyone who’s had only 4-5 hours of sleep during the night can attest to the negative effect on an entire day. People who literally bounce out of bed in the morning, ready to take on anything that comes their way, are more likely to be those who have slept 8 hours or more.
Massage therapy also helps with anxiety and depression by helping to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Cortisol is often called “the stress hormone” because it is a naturally-occurring steroid hormone that plays a key role in the body’s stress response. If you lower your stress, you lower your cortisol levels which is a chemical byproduct of stress. Less stress = less cortisol = more energy.
Improved Sleep Routine
As mentioned above, good sleep habits are essential to maintaining energy levels throughout the day. We all know what it feels like to slog through the day on very little sleep. Everything seems harder. Are you aware of how much sleep you get on average? Ideally, we should be getting 8 hours of RESTFUL sleep. This does not mean that we can count eight hours from when our head hits the pillow to when our alarm goes off in the morning. If you toss and turn, wake up, get up to go the bathroom, etc. you are not getting eight hours. If this sounds like your sleep pattern you may need to go to be earlier or get up later in order to get a solid eight hours of restful sleep.
Maintaining the same sleep schedule throughout the week, including the weekends, can really help as well. Sleeping too much can also make you feel tired and lethargic during waking hours.
There are many apps and tools that can assist you in created the perfect sleep environment for your preferences.
Eating Healthy to Improve Energy Levels
Food is the fuel for our body so what you eat directly effects your energy. High sugar foods will give you a boost and then a crash. Too much caffeine could have the same effect. Many people feel really sluggish after eating a high-carb meal when the body starts processing the carbs into sugar. To figure out what your body needs to feel energized, start a food diary. Write down what you eat, the time of day, and how you feel afterward. After a few days or weeks of keeping track of this information you will see some patterns start to emerge. Also, getting some food allergy and sensitivity testing done will help you discover foods that are causing you problems.
Moving and exercise, even moderately, every day helps in so many ways. It keeps us active and our muscles moving so we don’t get stiff and sore. Typically, you will sleep better if you exercise regularly, and it reduces stress. These are all things that contribute to over all higher energy levels.
Before we can define trigger point massage, let’s talk about what a trigger point is. A trigger point is a spot that is sensitive to pressure, mainly in muscle tissue, and often associated with aching and stiffness. You might think of them as muscle knots.
The good news, in a way, is that almost everyone gets them. However, some people get more of them, and they range in degree of pain. They go by many names, but typically in the medical or massage word, we refer to them as myofascial trigger point (TrP).
What causes a trigger point to hurt?
There are varying medical opinions and diagnosis on this subject, which in turn creates varying advice on how to treat them (more on that later). For the sake of this article, we will report on common and more popular beliefs.
The cause of trigger points is typically believed to be that an area of muscles gets tightly conracted (like a mini muscle cramp). The “cramp” or “knot” restricts blood flow to that muscle area, which causes irriation and often pain to that area.
Other thoughts and diagnoses include a trigger point is a sensory disturbance. Or the pain is a result of irritated peripheral nerves, a type of peripheral neuropathy. Regardless of the true medical reason for the trigger points, they are painful and annoying. Depending on the severity of the pain, it could be mild discomfort at the site of the trigger point, or be more severe and include aching and stiffness that spreads out around the site.
If you have several trigger points grouped together this is referred to as myofascial pain syndrome (MPS). As you can imagine, this can be quite miserable and debilitating.
Signs and Symptoms of Trigger Point Symptoms
Sore spots in the muscle that are sensitive to pressure.
A dull, aching, pain.
The pain is deep and feels like it’s in the muscle (not the joints).
If your limb(s) are affected they may feel a little weak, heavy, and stiff.
The pain is in a specific area and has a center it radiates from.
The pain can not be associated with a clear injury or cause.
Flare-ups can occur in response to extremes of position, exercise, or temperature.
The pain generally comes in episodes or flare-ups, but these can last a long time (weeks or months).
The pain may move around a bit (for example, to the opposite side of your body).
The pain is not typically sharp and is not linked to movement or injury (like a sprain or strain).
Note: myofascial pain syndrome is not the same thing as Fibromyalgia, but they often have similar symptoms that can overlap and be hard to differentiate and diagnose properly.
Things that can help with Trigger Point Pain
There are many treatments available to relieve the pain caused by trigger points, depending on the severity and the individual patients and their preferences. However, the following things are easy to do and typically provide some relief.
Hot showers and baths.
Stretching and exercise.
Trigger Point Massage
Trigger Point Massage
Since trigger points involve muscles, massage therapy can quite effective in providing relief. A skilled massage therapist knowledgeable in trigger point massage will work with you to locate the source of discomfort. He or she will use alternating cycles of pressure and release to ease the knotted muscles.
Restricted muscles can be stubborn and have created patterns of pain. You will most likely experience relief and sometimes soreness (the good kind) after one massage. However, it may take a few treatments to eliminate the pain and “un-knot” the muscles, depending on the severity and time they have been restricted.
Are You Interested in Trigger Point Massage Therapy?
We at All Body Kneads would love to talk to you about the pain you are experiencing and create a service plan that can best address your issues. Please contact us at:
Business Phone (517) 898-2899 E-Mail: [email protected] 6910 South Cedar Street, Suite #4 Lansing, MI 48911-6912
You can also schedule an appointment online at here.
Stress is the root cause of many diseases and complicates our lives in small and big ways. Did you know that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for adults in the United States? Stress is hard on the heart, so anything we can do to lower our stress levels will help our hearts.
What Is Cortisol?
Cortisal is often called “the stress hormone” because it is a naturally-occurring steroid hormone that plays a key role in the body’s stress response. It also contributes to many of the body’s processes. Cortisol is secreted by the adrenal glands and involved in the regulation of the following:
What Happens when Cortisol Levels are too High?
As you can see, cortisol is important. However, when levels stay too high, you might experience a range of unwanted symptoms such as:
Blood sugar imbalances such as hyperglycemia
Decreased bone density
Decreases in muscle tissue
Higher blood pressure
Impaired cognitive performance
Increased abdominal fat
Slower wound healing
Suppressed thyroid function
In rare cases, very high cortisol levels can lead to Cushing’s syndrome, a rare but serious disease.
Natural Ways to Lower Cortisol and Stress
Luckily, there are several things you can do to lower cortisol levels. One of the most enjoyable and relaxing things you can do is get a massage. There are numerous benefits of massage, and of the main ones is relaxation and lowering stress. You can book a massage today and start lowering your cortisol levels for a great night’s sleep.
All Body Kneads is excited to announce we are now offering steam sauna treatments. We have our own Steamy Wonder portable steam sauna. Add a steam sauna treatment to your massage. You don’t even have to leave the massage table. Stay comfortable and enjoy.
During the treatment, your head remains outside allowing the lymphatic system and organs to heal themselves.
Health Benefits of a Steam Sauna
Steam therapy has been used for thousands of years to help improve health and beauty. You may have heard of (or experienced) Turkish baths, sweat lodges, saunas, steam rooms, or other forms of steam treatment.
Weight loss: A moderately conditioned person can easily sweat off 500 grams of sweat in a sauna-the equivalent of running three to four miles or 475 to 600 calories. While the weight of the water loss is regained by re-hydration, the calories burned are not.
Post chemotherapy therapy
Improved skin: hydration, and reduces acne and wrinkles
Improved breathing: Steam inhalation is an effective treatment in respiratory conditions and is highly recommended for the treatment of sinusitis, bronchitis, allergies, and asthma.
Detoxification: Regular sweating can help detoxify your body as it rids itself of an accumulation of carcinogenic metals (lead, mercury, zinc, nickel, and cadmium) as well as alcohol, nicotine, sodium, sulfuric acid, and cholesterol.
Improved Circulation & Reduces Inflammation: Steam therapy assists in alleviating inflammation and edema. The increased peripheral circulation provides the transport needed to help eliminate the edema which helps to end inflammation, decrease pain, and help speed the healing process.
Improved immune system: Traditionally, the benefits of steaming include increased energy, decreased incidence of infections, and fewer colds and flu. Many regular steam or sauna bathers have experienced that a good long sweat bath at the early onset of a cold or flu can help ward off the disease before it manifests as actual symptoms.