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Health benefits of massage therapy

massage egyptSince ancient times, people have been turning to massage therapy for many reasons, but the most popular purpose of seeking out massage treatment is still the same as it has always been: Relaxation. People enjoy the feeling that comes after a good massage, but there are so many healing benefits that take place during these sessions that many people are not aware of. For example, did you know that an ordinary massage can trigger the brain in a way that can evoke memories and emotions from your subconscious mind? If you have ever heard the term “breakthrough” used in describing a massage experience, then you are getting warmer. As massage therapists, we have to be extremely careful and cautious with the power potential of massage therapy. The mental aspect can be so overwhelming that it is not uncommon at all to see a patient in tears. Fortunately, in my experience, these tears were part of positive emotional experiences. But if you combine that with the physical releases, like releasing the knot of a tightened muscle or adhesion, there are also psychological releases in which someone getting a massage could break down and cry uncontrollably.

Since a massage can have many health benefits, both physical and mental, it is extremely important for the massage therapist to have a great sense of their patient’s needs. What is their physical health status currently and historically? What are they going through in their personal lives? These things determine the course of a massage and it is very important to be open with your masseuse in order to have the best and most beneficial experience possible.

hot-stoneYou may have heard of Hot Stone massage. The origins of this massage are ancient and have roots in Ancient Chinese history when heated stones of various shapes were instrumental in treating disease. In addition, Native Americans used stones during rituals for physical and mental healing purposes. Thus, the benefits of heated stones live on to this day, particularly through massage therapy. This is currently one of the most practiced massage techniques in the world.

It is best to find smooth stones to use during hot stone massage therapy and these are placed along the client’s body based on energy points or chakras. The massage therapist will use the smooth stones as a tool to work on various parts of the body while the aforementioned stoned remain placed in select areas. The pressure that can be applied with a hot stone is significantly greater than regular massage which allows this form of massage to achieve certain things that other techniques cannot. Furthermore, hot stone therapy can therefore be considered a form of deep tissue massage, depending on how the service is conducted.

Another interesting technique with a surprising number of health benefits is aromatherapy. Given that athletes are one of the main beneficiaries of aromatherapy, you might already imagine there are ways in which this can help people. Essential oils are involved in this process and different oils can accomplish different things.

lavender oilFollowing are some of combinations of essential oils that can be used to treat different sports related injuries and issues. While you are doing pre-workout exercises and loosening up those muscles, rosemary, eucalyptus, and lavender oils are beneficial. Following the exercise, the essential oils of choice include juniper berry, sweet marjoram, and lavender. Lavender is also a great anti-inflammatory and tea tree oil can treat wounds. What about those sports related injuries? Helichrysum is effective in treating strains, sprains, and bruising and the combination of helichrysum and jojoba will help treat more chronic injuries.

Hot Stone therapy and Aromatherapy are two of my preferred massage techniques, but there are many others that yield great benefits. The most profound experience I’ve ever had actually came after a Deep Tissue massage that targeted adhesions in my body. Sometimes we go through our lives oblivious to the physical problems that have accumulated over the years. Since the relationship between masseuse and client is critical, it can take a few attempts until discovering a massage therapist that is compatible with your needs, but this should not be overlooked. A good therapist is also sensitive to each person’s unique energy field and aura. When a person experiences proper execution of massage for the first time, the resulting reaction is very memorable. My first lasting experience with my current therapist occured after a deep tissue massage at Walnut Creek Massage, a practice that is conveniently located in my home town. The first thing I remember was not phyiscal, even though I definitely felt that I had recovered a lot of flexibility, but the first thing that comes to mind is actually coming to tears after a past intimate memory had somehow resurfaced in the process. The time that I discovered the amazing benefits of massage for myself I became hooked for life.

Simple changes towards weight loss

Losing weight is not supposed to be easy, but it can certainly be easier than whatever you had in mind. It all begins with making little changes (baby steps) as opposed to major and dramatic changes to your habits. Here are some of the little things you can do towards your goal to start losing weight. These are all things that helped me along my personal journey.

working outWorking out

There are many people that swear by working out first thing in the morning. If you are one of them, I am sorry to tell you this, but your body does not appreciate it as much as you think. You are working out with your tank on empty and the grumbling noise from your stomach is trying to tell you something. At the very least, have a small snack prior to your morning workout or even a protein shake. Of course, you will want to have something healthy within 30 minutes of the workout as well.

Breakfast

I know we are talking about losing weight here, but if there is one meal you are going to skip during the day, it better not be breakfast. Your mind and body needs its fuel to get the day started and breakfast supplies that. Many of us are in a hurry every morning to arrive on time at school or work, but that’s no excuse for missing breakfast. You can always bring something to munch on during the commute.

Doctor

Your doctor is a trained and educated professional. If you are overweight or obese, you need to see your doctor before anything else. Most of us would think this is common sense, but sadly there are a lot of folks that will refuse to see a doctor, and there is never a good reason for it. Instead of blindly approaching weight loss, a doctor can establish a weight loss schedule or regimen specific to your situation. This will enable you to take the most efficient approach towards weight loss instead of wasting your time (and health) with an approach that will just waste your time and leave you feeling discouraged.

Water

Are you drinking enough water? I was drinking about three glasses of water per day and thought I was making very healthy choices, but then I learned that it wasn’t enough. You should be drinking around 6 to 8 full glasses of water every day. And your water intake should be distributed as evenly as possible. In other words, do not consume most of your water in the morning, afternoon, or evening. Your body needs to stay refreshed with fluids throughout the entire day. Water also helps your body eliminate wastes which is where this connects to weight loss. Above all, you will be amazed by how much better you feel when you start drinking enough water each day.

fiber barsFiber

In short, fiber helps you poop and the more you poop, the more weight is lost. But there is also a scare factor here. They say that death begins in the stomach and this is true. Studies on cleansing have revealed disgusting waste matter that is stuck in the colon for years. Fiber can help rid the body of the waste that has been living inside your colon for much longer than you would want to know about. The best source of fiber is from foods that contain high amounts of it, but you can also responsibly take a fiber supplement like Metamucil, just make sure your body does not become reliant on fiber just to pass stool.

Smaller is better

When it comes to losing weight and maintaining fitness, it is better to eat several small and healthy meals throughout the day as opposed to the three large meals per day that you might have been brought up with, as I know I have. The ideal number of small healthy meals to have each day is five. Two of the main reasons you will want to adjust your diet to smaller meals is increasing your metabolic rate which helps you burn calories more efficiently and also helps avoid over eating.

Planning and discipline

Set goals, plan on how you will achieve them, and then stick to it. It is true that change must come from within. And if you really want to lose weight, the first thing that has to happen is your dedication. There should be enough reasons to become dedicated and if you cannot find one, just ask yourself if you like being alive. Because if you do, you are taking years off of your life by continuing on this path and suffering through it on top of that because we all know being overweight feels like crap! Write down a specific amount of how much weight you intend to lose and when you plan to meet that goal. Next, create a detailed plan that outlines exactly what you need to do to achieve this goal. Dedication and discipline will take you the rest of the way.

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