Benefits of Massage Therapy

5 Tips To Improve Your Posture

5 tips from the experts at Real Simple (Oct 2018) to help improve your posture:

1. Get Moving! The human body wasn’t made to sit for hours on end. Set reminders to stretch or walk every half hour. Moving around helps blood circulate bringing oxygen to muscles. this improves mobility and strength, which are key components in good posture.

2. Practice breathing. Posture isn’t really about forcing your shoulders back, it’s about helping your spine find its most efficient shape. Force shouldn’t be part of the equation. Your skull should rest over your rib cage, directly above your heart. An easy way to fix your posture is to pay attention to your breathing: for you to take truly deep breaths, your spine must be in proper alignment.

3. Stretch it out. When the chest and neck muscles are too tight, they contribute to hunching. Open your front.

4. Choose the right pillow. An unsupportive pillow can cause neck pain and possibly play a role in poor posture. Stomach sleepers might find they don’t need a pillow, since this position can help keep the body aligned. Back and side sleepers may want to use a pillow to fill the space between the shoulder and neck. (When you sleep on your side your shoulder can be compressed by your body weight, straining your neck.) Since side sleepers have the largest gap to fill they’ll typically need the thickest pillow.

5. Talk to a Doctor. If you have persistent pain, and think it could be posture related talk to someone who can perform a physical exam to assess your posture and alignment. You should then be given techniques to help correct the issue and avoid further complications down the road, such as nerve related pain or other musculoskeletal discomfort.

Tips & Tidbits on Sleep

Sleep tips and tidbitsThree little tidbits of sleep related information for you:

1. You can build muscle overnight! Post menopausal women trying to maintain muscle mass might consider asking their doctor about casein a slow-digesting protein. Men who ingested 40g of casein at bedtime showed 33% more protein synthesis (which fuels muscle growth)overnight than those who took less or a placebo, according to a study in Journal of Nutrition.

2. People who make their bed are 19% more likely to sleep well, compared to those who don’t. (I’m a bed maker! Are you?)

3. If you’re plagued by persistent negative thoughts that may be triggering anxiety and depression, your sleep schedule may be to blame. Binghamton University researchers found that sleep- deprived people who were shown upsetting images had trouble getting them out of their head for hours after the viewing. More research is planned on the link between sleep disruption and the development of psychological disorders.*

Now that I’ve given you your 3 tidbits, here are 3 easy/quick meditations to help you sleep-Remember, a growing body of research shows that mindfulness meditation is an effective way to improve sleep quality:

1. Scan your body- start at the head and go to the toes, or vice versa, it doesn’t matter. What it does it take your attention away from the busy brain.
2. Time your breaths- Focus on your breath as you inhale for 4 counts, and exhale for 6. This triggers a relaxation response in the body.
3. Reflect on your day: Think about a GOOD thing that happened during the day. Taking a moment to feel thankful can help you relax, ward off worries, and get you in the right mindset for sleep.

Please feel free to ask me about how massage can work to support deep and restful sleep. Call me at (518) 744-2315 to schedule your massage session today, or purchase a Massage Gift Certificate!

*https://www.binghamton.edu/news/story/936/people-who-sleep-less-than-8-hours-a-night-more-likely-to-suffer-from-depre

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Keep Your Brain Young

brain young
Most of my clients are over 45, and as a result I have a lot of conversations with folks about caring for aging parents. And whether we like to think about it or not, the over 45 set are going to be those aging parents that their kids are now caring for sooner rather than later. And from what I hear, its much easier to take care of aging parents with physical difficulties than mental difficulties. So lets try to take care of our brains!
A recent article I read in Prevention Magazine cites the following common problems that can hurt your brain:

  1. Sleep deprivation: Too little rest not only leaves you foggy the next morning but also may make your brain more vulnerable to the buildup of proteins thought to cause Alzheimer’s disease.
  2. Lack of Exercise: Regular aerobic activity stimulates blood flow, including to the brain. Cardio can reduce insulin resistance and inflammation, both of which are linked to memory loss.
  3. Chronic Stress: Tension can shrink parts of our brain and trigger the progression of mild cognitive impairment to full blown dementia. Meditation, breathing exercise, and, of course, massage can help mitigate the effects of stress.

Give me a call if you want to treat your body AND your brain with a massage! You can contact me online or give me a call at (518) 744-2315.

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The Science of Touch and Massage

touch and massage
Lets talk about touch. For my entire career I have to deal with the “touchy feely” perceptions commonly held about us massage therapists. But, c’mon, is that really fair? It is literally ALL. WE. DO.

(Sidebar- I actually get frustrated with the stereotypical “touchy feely” massage therapists who talk about chakras and energy (yes, real, but…) without using the science behind such things for credibility, and… but that is an entirely different subject. Possibly for future blogging – or, if you see me, just ask, I love talking about it)

Onward! Touch is the silent language of connection. It is a bridge between two separate bodies, it is the vehicle of transmission. What is contained in the invisible transmission of touch is hugely diverse. Some intentional (a massage because your back hurts), some accidental (I sneezed, shook a hand, and gave someone a cold). As a language, it has to the ability to transmit both conscious and unconscious information from one person to another without having to be translated by the rational mind. Touch can have mixed messages (caring, impatience, neediness, fear). In the hands of a skillful massage therapist, touch has a “listening” capacity.

Another aspect of our sense of touch is, that when honed, it can be an access point to “hearing” with our hands. In my own experience, its as if my hands and fingers “listen to my clients bodies” as I’m working, and send a signal to my brain when there is something to pay attention to (not the other way around – y’know the way it biologically works). It is touch that enables me to decode what is going on with my client. Kind of like solving a puzzle.

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Natural Ways to Beat Fatigue

massage for fatigue

How tired are you right now? If the very question could make you weep, you’re in good company. A study done by researchers at the University of S Florida College of Nursing recently reported that nearly 60% of women in midlife struggle with fatigue, and that it is a problem that reaches its peak at this time of year, when the days are short and the weather dreary.

Now, we all know that it is impossible to function at top speed from dawn til dusk, there are plenty of ways to replenish yourself! And, you guessed it, massage is one of them! Though most of my clients report a strong desire to curl up and take a nap at the end of their massage, and complain vociferously that I’m kicking them out too soon, a 60 minute massage is the equivalent to the body of about 8 hrs sleep! And when I’m done, its just like you woke up in the morning. So, how long does it take you to get going on an average morning? 20/30 minutes? That’s about how long the “tiring” effects of a massage last. Then you perk up, and carry on refreshed and better than ever!

Here are some other great ways to beat fatigue:

  1. Exercise: Yes, it is a bit counter-intuitive, but exercising when you’re tired, energizes you rather than sapping more energy.
  2. Eat clean: What a pain in the butt….but it works!
  3. Breathe deeply: most of us don’t inhale all the way, but deep breathing for 2 minutes can wake us up quite nicely!

If the dreary winter weather has you feeling permanently sleepy, give me a call at (518) 744-2315 to book a massage appointment. Not only will it give your body the rest it needs, but it will help you sleep better too!

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Laughter Really IS the Best Medicine!

laughter is the best medicine

Is laughter really the best medicine? Yes!! Laughter, happiness, and a sense of humor actually help keep you healthy. And it’s more scientific than you might think.

Researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center found that laughter releases feel good beta-endorphins. They trigger the release of nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels and increases blood flow throughout the body – including to and from the heart. Nitric oxide also protects the heart by reducing inflammation and preventing the formation of cholesterol plaque.

The researchers say the effects of laughter on blood vessels are similar to aerobic exercise or the use of cholesterol lowering drugs. The difference is that laughter is spontaneous and has an immediate effect. Laughter has also been shown to reduce stress hormones including cortisol, while boosting the number of antibody-producing cells which help fight disease.

Why do you guys think I’m always trying (and sometimes succeeding!!) in getting a chuckle from you with these blogs? Nothing beats laughter for some natural healing!

Did you know that massage can also be good for your health? We all know a massage feels good physically, but it can also help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, improve sleep and more!

Contact me today if you want to learn how a massage can improve your health!

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Practice Gratitude for a Healthier You!

practice gratitude

Gratitude, it has been said, can do wonders for your health. Recent research holds that a thankful attitude can improve sleep and self-esteem, reduce pain, alleviate anxiety and depression, and increase your oval satisfaction with life. It has been shown that keeping a gratitude journal and writing about positive experiences can amplify happiness and optimism.

It’s interesting how this simple act can re-frame your way of thinking. For instance take the ever stressful example of a hot water heater not working. Instead of succumbing to the stress and letting it color your day, what about re-framing the situation (after you’ve got a plan to fix it in place, of course!) as “well, I’m grateful that is taken care of….thankful that I had the money to pay to have it fixed, or grateful that it didn’t happen when you had a house full of company…”

Try it this week! No matter what stressful situation comes your way, once the dust has settled try to find a way to be grateful. Then write it down. And then tell me where your stress level is at!

Did you know that massage therapy has also been known to help alleviate anxiety and depression, improve sleep and be great for both your mental and physical well being? Give me a call at (518) 744-2315 to book an appointment at my convenient Glens Falls location.

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Turn Around That Negative Self-Talk!

negative self-talk

I know I’ve covered the subject of negative self-talk before, but it bears repeating. You know how it works. You accidentally catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror, or a photo of yourself and you are struck with the thought “Whoa, I had no idea my butt was that big!” Or “Look at this disgusting stomach!” How about “ I’m never wearing a bathing suit again.” ? We’ve all done it. And we’ve done it in front of others. But would you ever say that to them? Not unless you’re a real jack wagon.

Okay, here’s a better question…Do you ever actually think that about them? Is their butt really huge, is their stomach disgusting, and, in a bathing suit, do they really look bad, or just like many people do? Many people who aren’t airbrushed images from a magazine that they set their image bar by? Stop with the negative self-talk people! When you find yourself apologizing for your body, don’t! Just stop!

turn around negative self-talkIf you’re one of the multitude who partake in this lovely habit, lets take 5 minutes right now to replace the trash talk with…How about all of the quirks that make you unique that all your friends, family and loved ones love about you? Try out “Whoa! My smile is contagious!” or “ Look at how many friends I have!” How about “I love my skinny jeans because they’re sooooo comfy!”? Trade it up folks!

Did you know that massage therapy can heal more than just physical aches and pains? Massage therapy has been proven to relieve stress, help with anxiety and depression and even start to repair damage that’s been done to your body image.

If you’re ready to see how a healing massage can help your body AND mind, give me a call at (518) 744-2315 to schedule an appointment, or contact me online!

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Massage for Better Posture

massage for better posture

A great little tidbit I found on the web this morning via a west coast massage school’s website, and I couldn’t have said it better myself!

Most people who choose massage careers are enthusiastic healers, passionate about relieving others’ pain through healing touch. But in addition to changing a person’s physical experience, did you know that massage therapy can also change the way the brain works? Fascinating new research from across the country shows that physical posture has a direct impact on brain functioning. Let’s review some of the research:

A Straight Spine Brings a Positive Outlook and Increased Confidence.

San Francisco State University professor Erik Pepper has found that people can more easily think of positive thoughts and memories when they are sitting up straight.

A Ohio State study published in 2009 found that sitting up straight reinforced confidence.

Change Your Posture to Change Your Mental Outlook.

Dana Carney, social psychologist at UC Berkeley has found something even more shocking: Standing in a “power pose” for two minutes can make a person feel less stressed and more confident. In this study, researchers showed that posture actually changes brain and body chemistry, resulting in increased testosterone and decreased testosterone. (You may have heard of this research through Ann Cuddy’s Ted Talk.) Power postures include the classic Superman pose, with hands on hips, as well as the laid-back pose with feet kicked up and hands behind head that we so often see CEOs adopt. In the study, even those who didn’t naturally feel confident had the same results—their brains were bathed in the chemicals signaling, “I feel powerful and confident!”

How Getting a Massage Improves Your Posture

A habitual posture, such as that of sitting at a desk, tends to load strain unevenly on the body, so that some muscles are overworked while others become weak with lack of use. By relieving muscle tension and pain, a targeted massage for better posture allows the body to settle more naturally into a stacked, evenly distributed position. Massage can also improve joint mobility, another contributor to proper posture.

Consistent, ongoing massage tends to bring more consistent results as far as improving posture goes, so if you’d like to see the physical and mental benefits of good posture, we recommend getting massages regularly.

Now c’mon, how many of you are standing like superman right now? Heheheheh!

Ready to take advantage of all the ways a massage for better posture can help you? I’ll have you standing taller in no time! Call me at (518) 744-2315 or drop me a message to book an appointment!

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The Benefits of Massage: It Feels Terrific!

 

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Busting Myths About Massage for the Elderly

massage for the elderly

“Getting old. It ain’t for sissies,” said a very elderly client of mine once. I laughed. After a moment of panic when I thought I totally blew it with this lady, I saw that she appreciated someone who wouldn’t pussyfoot around her and her 89 year old self.

The aging, this “undertouched” group of people are part of the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population–those over 75. The first baby boomer turned 65 in 2011, and 78 million boomers are “barreling towards old age,” says Ken Dychtwald in Age Power. By 2020, one in five Americans will be over 60, according to the Population Reference Bureau, a nonprofit demographic study group. I would like to dispel a couple of myths about massage for the elderly:

Myth Number One: Elders are shy about their bodies

NOPE. Not even close. If anyone is going to NOT be shy about their bodies it happens to be the over 75 set. Which is refreshing to say the least. At least they don’t apologize for fat, or unshaven legs, cellulite, or, well, anything for that matter.

Myth Number Two: Elders no longer experience sensual pleasure

“I feel this gorgeous music running down my skin, from head to toe, like a shower!” Or, as I’m working on the feet, “I feel that all the way up to the top of my head, all the way out my arms!”

Many elders have acute sensual awareness. “Undertouched” as a descriptive term for many elderly is very, and, sadly true. They might see their kids frequently, but often times, by the time one has reached their upper 70’s-80’s they’ve lost a spouse- the person who hugs them them most, sits with their arm around them, or just holds their hand. In addition, if they have lost hearing or vision, their sense of touch may be heightened. For those who seldom receive touch, massage may bring tears of gratitude or release somatic memories.

These elders, especially those who suffer from common troubles that come about with aging such as limited mobility or chronic pain, can benefit greatly from treating themselves to a healing massage. If you have questions about how massage for the elderly could benefit you or one of your loved ones, call Jennifer Madison at (518) 744-2315.

Know somebody who would want to learn more about the many benefits of massage for the elderly? Purchase a Massage Gift Certificate!

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