Give Your Heart a Rest

BigShinyHeartRelaxation is perhaps the single most important key to health and well-being. It’s an antidote to stress, which is known to contribute to the development of disease. When we relax, our body can unwind. Unwinding makes healing more effective and strengthens our immune system. And our heart rate will slow.

A 2007 British study found that people who received an hour of massage therapy every two weeks had regular resting rates that averaged almost 8 beats per minute lower than when they went without. Dropping your heart rate will make you feel better. Blood pressure also drops. Your breathing will slow and be less labored. More blood will flow to muscles relieving muscle tension.

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Urgent: Winter Skin Care for Men & Women

For many people, the cold clear days of winter bring more than just a rosy glow to the cheeks. They also bring unexpected dryness to the skin of the face, hands, and feet. In some cases, skin gets dry enough to flake, crack or become inflamed (eczema).

You could go to your local drug store, but finding someone who knows skin care well is rare and the products there are typically less effective. That’s why going to an esthetician is a good investment. An esthetician is licensed and trained in skincare and will analyze your skin type, troubleshoot your current skin care regimen, and give you advice on the skin care products you should be using.

SVMTG has a great esthetician.

Massage for Migraine Headaches

Anecdotal evidence and several studies have shown that a massage can help reduce or eliminate the pain associated with a migraine headaches.

Millions of people, mostly women, suffer from migraine headaches.  Sometimes they are sharp and quick, other times they can last for hours or days. Sufferers are always on the lookout for relief that doesn’t make things worse or have side effects, and that’s why massage therapy is such an attractive option.

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The Link Between Acne and Stress

Stress does crazy things to us.  Stress can make us irritable and short tempered, put us in a bad mood and send us off for a fast food frenzy.   Stress can also have some pretty wide-ranging physiological effects too.  High stress has been linked to hair loss, memory problems, poor judgement, negativity, constipation, dizziness, loss of sex drive, moodiness, agitation, feelings of loneliness and isolation, eating too much or too little, procrastination, nail biting and and yes, acne outbreaks. Wow.

The good news is that if you focus on treating symptoms of the stress, and if that focus leads to taking steps to reduce the cause of the stress, you’ve taking the first steps to dialing down the stress in your life.

Are you stressed?

Stress is anything that adversely effects our emotional or physical wellbeing.  Emotional stress is very common, and very often triggered by life events like:

  • relationship problems
  • overwhelming workload or issues with your boss/manager/coworkers
  • loved ones who have declining health
  • a big event, like a final exam, wedding or presentation
  • being bullied
  • academic pressures

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Do Foam Rollers Work?

roamrollerassortmentFoam rollers come in all shapes and sizes and if you ask many fitness professionals, they are an effective way to restore lost range of motion and ease pain. Generally, they’re cylindrical in shape and varying lengths. Foam rollers also vary in firmness (density).

Foam rolling, in general, involves applying moderate pressure to a muscle or muscle group rolling the roller over the target area with your hands, or using your body weight against the foam roller, to compress and lengthen muscle tissue.  In some cases, rollers can help release trigger points to help reestablish pain free movement. During the slow roll movement, the muscle releases and after about 15-30 seconds, pain will decrease.

But like any tool, there’s a right way and wrong way to use them. And, like you don’t hammer a nail with a screwdriver, there are times when other tools are better. If used incorrectly, the foam roller can actually do more harm than good, and foam rolling is most definitely no substitute for manual therapy from a trained therapist.

Sometimes rolling works, sometimes, not so much.

How do foam rollers work? Continue reading “Do Foam Rollers Work?”

Six Life Hacks for Wellness

earbudmomLife hacks are a strategies or techniques adopted in order to manage your time and daily activities in a more efficient or more ingenious way. Here are six of our favorites, mostly because they’re so practical, so easy to do, and have such a great impact.

1. Eat an orange before your next workout or hike

Oranges are a quick energy source and are a a solid source of simple carbohydrates. They’re also packed with vitamin C, fiber, potassium and electrolytes. Research studies also suggest oranges are good for immune support and everything from protection against arthritis to preventing ulcers.

2. When you feel depressed, try housecleaning

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Fix Hunched Shoulders Before It’s Too Late

Ever catch yourself leaning forward while you stare at your computer display You’re back is curved, your shoulders rounded, your chin jutted out and your arms curled up like some kind of high-tech T-Rex? Welcome to “hunched shoulder” posture. Hunched shoulders, sometimes called “rolled shoulders” are very common, especially among office workers, and are a major contributor to the 80% of Americans that experience back pain at some time.

How you get hunched shoulders

Usually, a forward shoulder posture comes from incorrect posture while sitting for long periods of time. In today’s world, that likely means hunching (literally) over a keyboard all day. Incorrect posture while sitting is very dependent on the type and height of your chair, the height of your keyboard, and the height and position of your computer screen. There IS a ‘wrong way’ to sit. Continue reading “Fix Hunched Shoulders Before It’s Too Late”

Your First Couple’s Massage

A couple’s massage allows partners, spouses, mom’s and daughters, sons and dads, BFFs or anyone else to experience massage together in the same room as one therapist works with each person.  Couple’s massage is a shared bonding experience that can have many benefits beyond just the bodywork session.

What to expect

For many couple’s massage recipients it’s their first trip to see a massage therapist. You may have been invited by a someone who’s experienced at receiving a massage who wanted to share the experience. Or maybe it’s a special occasion?  Or maybe a “surprise” gift? The good news is that qualified and professional therapists are used to massage “newbies” and will ensure you are comfortable, give you all the information you ned to have a great session, and be open to answering any of your questions. Our first priority is maintaining guest comfort and protecting your modesty while making sure that the specific therapeutic needs of each client are met.

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The Truth About Lactic Acid

Lactic acid molecule

Since the 1960’s researchers have known that the connection between delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and lactic acid is a myth.

Lactic acid is a continual product of carbohydrate metabolism.  It holds a position as a temporary product at the end of glycolysis and at the head of the aerobic Krebs cycle.  That’s a fancy way of saying that lactic acid is formed when sugar is broken down in your body and it’s produced whenever the body breaks down carbohydrates for energy.  The lactic acid actually helps generate energy. Lactic acid is not a toxin. Then why does it get such a bad rap?

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Why We Eat Junk Food

Why do we eat junk food so much?  It’s fast, convenient and comforting. It fills us up. But we weren’t born craving Taco Bell or M&Ms. We’re actually born craving simple foods, like vegetables and proteins.  So what happened?

Turns out, it’s literally our environment, where everyone gives in to wants instead of needs when it comes to food and that changes our cravings.  Those desires, which are most certainly learned behaviors, become habits, causing us to eat way more calories than we need and to choose fast food over a more nutritious home cooked meal.

Once we realize that a lot of what we eat is because of habit, not some innate need, and realize that it’s actually easier, and can be cheaper, to eat a more simple, more pure, more natural diet.  And it can make a MASSIVE difference in your overall wellness.

What is “junk food”?

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High Tech Worker: Sit or Stand?

Picture 066If you look around your office, there’s a very good chance some workers are using “stand-up” desk configurations. Besides feeling a little like an air traffic controller overseeing the runways, this ergonomic configuration works for some workers.  For others, not so much. So when should you sit or stand?

Sit, but Move

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Massage and Chronic Fatigue

Fatigue, also referred to as tiredness, exhaustion, lethargy, and listlessness, is a physical and/or mental state of being tired and weak. When somebody experiences physical fatigue, it impairs their ability to function at their normal levels of physical ability. Mental fatigue is characterized by feeling sleepy and being unable to concentrate properly.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is an illness in which mental fatigue presents itself with often debilitating results, for periods of 6 months or more (3 months in children or adolescents. Fatigue is a common symptom in many illnesses, but CFS is comparatively rare.

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Biofreeze or Ice?

bioiceAnyone who has ever suffered a bump, bruise, sprain, strain or other injury likely knows that ice works well to relieve pain. Modern day cryotherapy (cold therapy) offers more options than the traditional ice bag. So when is it appropriate to seek pain relief from natural cold therapy compounds like Biofreeze and when is a good old bag of ice called for?

The purpose of cold therapy is primarily to reduce swelling, to lower skin temperature, and to desensitize and temporarily deaden pain receptors around the muscles and skin involved in an injury.

What is Biofreeze?

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Levator Scapula: The Shrug Muscles

leavatorscapsThe levator scapula muscles are muscles in your neck, one on each side, that run between the upper part of each shoulder blades (scapula) and join with the spine at the top four cervical vertebrae. It is a thin, flat muscle located just below the upper part of the trapezius.

The elevator scapula muscle elevates the scapula when you lift your arms, or shrug your shoulders. It also assists many other muscles in your neck and shoulders with rotation of the scapula and steering your glenohumeral joint.

The muscle is commonly overly used as a result of asymmetrical carrying, lifting or reaching with your arm.  Things like carrying a bag or backpack on one shoulder, holding your phone between your head and shoulder, or using a computer mouse can all cause stress on the levator scapulae muscles.

How do I know my levators are stressed? Continue reading “Levator Scapula: The Shrug Muscles”

Five Minute Finger Massage

fingerkeyboardYour hands are amazing, hardworking body parts.  They suffer more stress and strain than you may know. From arthritis, to carpal tunnel to tendonitis, it’s pretty much inevitable that at some time you’ll feel some pain in your fingers. In fact, one fourth of athletic injuries involve the hand and wrist and one third of all acute injuries in emergency rooms involve arms and hands.

Luckily, massage can help. Finding a great massage therapist and letting them know of your discomfort will likely go a long way to pain relief.  They are well-versed in anatomy and kinesiology of the arm, wrist and fingers and know how to help. If you’re between appointments, though, here’s a five minute finger massage that’s a tried-and-true self-care hand treatment that’s easy to do and will bring welcomed relief.

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