Massage Boosts the Immune System

Recent studies suggest that a massage can not only help you relax, but may also benefit your immune system.

Researchers who provide massage therapy at the Outpatient Physical Therapy Clinic, UAB Rehabilitation Center, identified two reasons why massage can help you stay healthier: immediate changes in the body and cumulative effects of regular massage.

Changes to the body

Immediate changes in the body come from the stress reduction gained during the session. Your heart rate can decrease, your breathing can deepen and slow, your brain gets a few minutes of rest time. There are benefits long term as well:

“Over the long-term, the benefits of massage accumulate; massage can increase a person’s range of motion, strengthen the immune system and provide an improved sense of well-being” A. Kelly, University of Alabama, 2013

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Sore SCM?

Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle

Everybody has two of them and they’re very often the storage point for stress and strain. Say hello to your Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscles. The muscles are attached to the base of your skull just behind your ear and extend down your neck and toward the front of your body and attach to the clavicle (collar bone).

What does the muscle do?

The muscle is responsible for rotating and flexing your neck. The SCM also helps you breath in (inspiration). Interestingly, while the muscle seems to store stress, it rarely hurts. Instead it just causes strain on other muscles and tension can present itself in the form of headaches, facial pain, jaw tension and even dizziness, blurry vision and muffled hearing.

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What Causes Muscle Pain?

Everyone experiences muscle pain at some time in their life. Since virtually every part of your body contains muscles, aches are quite common. Usually, muscle pain goes away in a few days, but sometimes it can last months. The most common causes of muscle pain are overuse, minor injury, tension and stress.

Types of muscle pain

There are two general categories of muscle pain: localized and systemic.

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Don’t like to be touched? Try massage!

Touch is an interesting and amazing sense.  Unlike your other senses–hearing, seeing, smelling and tasting, your sense of touch is found all over your body. Your sense of touch transmits feelings of heat, cold, pain, and pressure. The primary function of your sense of touch is to warn your brain when something that can cause damage to your body, like a hot pan or a sharp object, comes in contact with your body, so you can respond by avoiding the threat.

While sense of touch is a defense mechanism, and it can also be a source of joy. Touch can, of course, be a pleasurable thing, it’s all about intent. In massage, for example, the intent is relaxation, or easing the pain in a sore muscle, it’s a pleasurable sensation in a therapeutic way. People get many things from a professional massage, they get relaxed, they experience reduced pain and soreness in tired or overused muscles, and they feel a huge sense of wellness and peace.

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Dealing With Phone Neck and Text Neck

There are more than 2.19 trillion texts sent each year by US mobile phone users. And massage therapists, chiropractors and medical professional are seeing a drastic uptick in the number of people seeking help for the “pain in the neck” texting, and sandwiching their phone between their neck and shoulder gives them.

More than 60% of Americans admit they might not talk to a medical professional if they were suffering from chronic pain. And according to AOA surveys, neck pain is number three most commonly experienced chronic pain (behind lower back pain and arthritis) with about 25% of experiencing the quintessential “pain in the neck”.

There can be many causes of neck pain, including poor posture while standing or sitting, using a crazy old/improper pillow when you sleep, hyperextended neck muscles due to injury or accident, or heavy lifting. And then there’s the phone.

The issue with phones

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Give Massage for Valentine’s Day

Ahhh…Valentine’s Day. A day to celebrate the ones we love and shower them with affection, chocolates, and massage. A relaxing and therapeutic couples or individual massage can be the perfect gift for spouse, partner, or BFF.

An individual massage can typically be customized to the needs of the recipient.  That means the person you reward with a massage can typically choose what type of massage they want during their session. The recipient can also schedule the session based on their own availability.

Couple’s massage takes place in a room large enough for two massage tables, with two trained massage therapists. Typically, you can each talk with your therapist to ensure you get the type of massage you need based on your goals.  Do you just want to relax and de-stress, or do you want work on a specific area of the body, or do you have an ache or pain you’ll like addressed. The choice is yours.

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Self-care for Massage Therapists

Like any profession, the day to day cycle of helping clients with expert massage therapy can take a toll on massage therapists. Since our hands, forearms and elbows are primary tools, those tend to be the trouble spots.

If you’re not a therapist, you might be surprised to learn that during your year+ school time, we learn proper form and body mechanics that allow us to work “smarter” (not harder) and protect ourselves from injury. By the time we’re through with more than 700 hours of class, internships, and other practice, we’ve built up the stamina to do a full day’s work with no problem.

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20 Things Happy People Do

Happiness really is a state of mind. Everyone defines it a bit differently. For some, it’s contentment, others satisfaction, some pleasure, some joy, some well-being, and for others just “feeling all right”.

Your happiness is influenced both by your perception of what’s going on in your life and actual environmental occurrences. Happy people actually do things that keep them happy.  In other words, they actively pursue happiness, sometimes instinctively, sometimes because they’ve learned good habits, other times because they feel the need to be even happier.

Think about Scrat, the squirrel from the Ice Age films. He’s oh so happy when he finally gets his tiny hands on his beloved acorn. But think also that Scrat goes to great lengths to move toward his goal. As long as he is moving toward the goal, actually taking steps forward, he’s moving closer to his nut every moment. Luckily, you don’t have to scale icebergs or slide off cliffs to be happy, but you do have to work at it. Here are twenty things, in no particular order, that you can do to help yourself move your brain toward a happier perception of yourself and your world.

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Oh No, Plantar Fascitis!

plantar fascitisYou get out of bed and take your first steps and OUCH! You have a sharp pain in your heel. Same thing happens after longer periods of sitting.  You “walk it off” and the pain subsides.  Welcome to plantar fasciitis (aka “jogger’s heel”).

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis the most common cause of heel pain. One in ten of us have plantar fasciitis some time in our lifetimes. The plantar fascia is a thick fibrous band of connective tissue that originates from the medial tubercle and anterior aspect of the heel bone. From there, the fascia extends along the sole of the foot before inserting at the base of the toes, and supports the arch of the foot.

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A Peek at Pecs

pec majorPecs (Pectoralis muscle group) connect the front walls of the chest with the bones of the upper arm and shoulder. You have two Pec muscles on each side of the sternum (breastbone): a pectoralis major and a pectoralis minor.

Pecs help you move your arms down (adduction), rotate your arm forward, and side to side (lateral). It assist your arms when they’re raised (as in climbing). Pecs assist in deep breathing, too, tugging on the ribs to help lungs expand.

Developed pecs are most recognized in males, because breast tissue typically hides the pectoralis muscles in females.

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Corporate Massage Works

corporate massageHere in Silicon Valley we work hard– we put in ridiculous hours, manage crazy deadlines, and co-exist in super competitive workplaces. As workloads increase and we reach our bandwidth limits, harmful stress can begin to take its toll. You feel tired all the time. You get cranky. You scream at the dog. You eat 4 donuts in 1 hour. Your spouse/partner/BFF thinks you’ve turned into another (not-so-pleasant) person. There’s only so much of this we can take as mere mortals, but we work ALL the time.  What to do?

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