Why A Massage Makes the Very Best Gift

Massage might be something that’s always on your to-do list, but here are some people who just never seem to get around to me time, and they need to know the restorative powers of a good massage session.

If you’re looking for a gift for someone who seems to have it all, or even just someone close to you that needs spoiling, here’s why a massage is the best choice for a gift!

It shows that you’ve put a little thought into the gift.

You could wander around the gift selections in stores or just order something online, but if you treat a friend or a love done to a blissful massage, it says “I really thought about you, and I thought you needed a massage.”

Flowers and chocolates can be uninspiring, even if we all enjoy them, but for a truly unique gift, search for a massage treatment that your recipient will adore. If they have had massage before, why not give them a type they’ve not experienced; a hot stone, Reiki or Thai?

It might be the nudge somebody needs towards trying massage for themselves.

Some people have never had a massage, and it’s people like that who need one the most, so why not think of their well being and find them a lovely, relaxing massage center local to them? They might have thought massage wasn’t for them, or that it’s something people treat themselves to spa trips, but once you’ve introduced them to the joy of massage, they’ll be hooked. Everyone loves massage; some people just need to try it.

Everyone needs a little time out.

Some people never seem to make time for themselves. Everyone is too busy. Treat someone special to the gift of “paid for” me time, and give them a massage voucher so that they can have an hour, at least, where they don’t have to put everyone else first.

One of the best gifts that you can give anyone is time. Why not give someone who’s eternally busy the gift of time out. Some space to breathe and disconnect from everyday stresses? An hour or so of blissful quiet and relaxation could be the best present anyone gets this year!

How Often Do You REALLY Need A Massage?

We’re often asked about how often people should get a massage, and it’s a really difficult question to answer properly as there are so many different factors involved. If you’ve already got a great massage therapist who knows you and your lifestyle, it’s a great idea to have a chat with her and come up with a guide to how often massage would be good for you personally.

The main things you need to consider are your overall health, stress levels, whether you’re in any kind of pain and also whether you are a regular exerciser or athlete. You’ll certainly be able to get the best from your massages if you have them regularly to keep up the benefits. Massage helps in so many ways; it relaxes you, improves your circulation, relieves pain and can even help to manage long term pain conditions like arthritis.

When You’re Stressed

Whether the stress is coming from your everyday work, or a life event that’s knocked you for six, a massage can be a real tonic. If the stress is long term and ongoing, it figures that your massage therapy should be the same.

If your job involves frequent travel, it’s also a good idea to get a massage more regularly as this can put a lot of stress on your body on top of the inactivity from driving or flying. A weekly or bi-weekly massage is ideal if you are really feeling the pressure, because the tension can build up when you’re dealing with stressful situations and before you know it, it can get on top of you. Just scheduling in that bit of weekly me-time can go a long way towards relaxing you and helping you deal with the things that are stressing you out.

When You’re in Physical Pain

Massage can be a very good pain reliever. If you are in chronic pain and don’t want to keep taking higher and higher doses of pain meds to try and alleviate it, it can be worth trying a regular course of massage therapy to get on top of the pain and manage it better.

Find a massage therapist you trust and tell them that you are dealing with a chronic pain condition. If they are able to help they might also suggest techniques like deep tissue massage and craniosacral therapy to try alongside a massage on a regular basis. For chronic pain, at least a weekly massage is recommended – more if the pain is severe, at least to start with. You can then reduce to weekly, or bi-weekly, depending on how you feel.

When You Exercise A Lot

It’s important to make sure that your muscles and joints are kept in the best possible health when you’re an athlete or do a lot of exercise. Higher levels of physical activity are great for your fitness but can put strain on joints and leave you prone to injury. If you’re very sporty or an athlete you could consider a twice-weekly massage - even more if you’re training for an event. Once or twice a month is fine if you’re not in training. Massage is a great way to give yourself a competitive advantage as you can train harder without having to worry about injuring yourself.

In General

If you just want to have a massage for the health benefits but don’t have any medical or physical needs, a massage once or twice a month should be all you need to get the benefits of regular massage. Scheduling in a relaxing massage treatment for yourself on a regular basis means that you can build on the effects of each session, whereas if you only have a massage occasionally you have to start again from scratch every time! Just talk to your massage therapist if you’re looking for great advice on how many sessions you need – it’s what we’re here for!

Self Care - Looking After Yourself Between Massages

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could have a massage every day of the week? Sadly, most of us don’t have the time or the money to indulge in quite such a regular massage routine, but we can make the most of massage treatments by taking care of ourselves in between massages.

First rule – drink the water!

There’s a reason why your therapist gives you a refreshing glass of cool water after a treatment; it’s to help hydrate your body and keep your muscles relaxed. Water is great for your skin and your muscles, plus staying hydrated can even help to prevent headaches.

Keep up the stretching

It’s a very common problem, but there’s a very simple solution…if you are one of the many people who feel achy and tight after a day at work, stretch!

If you make a habit of including stretching in your daily routine, it will really help you with any muscle aches and soreness, and will make the effects of your massage last longer. In between sessions, having a good stretch helps support the work that’s been done to relax your muscles on the treatment table. It doesn’t matter when you fit your stretches in, as long as you make a habit of it.

Stretches shouldn’t ever hurt, so don’t overdo it. Easing into stretches gently, and holding them for at least a minute will give you better results than shorter, deeper stretches.

Epsom Salts

Epsom salt baths are great for keeping any muscle aches and stiff joints at bay – they contain magnesium which is also good for relieving stress. To prevent soreness after a massage, add Epsom salts to your bath as directed and relax.

Feeling hot and cold

In between massages you might start feeling that tell-tale build-up of tension – nip it in the bud with heat therapy. Applying heat can help to sooth aching muscles and relieve any tightness and tension. Heat can also improve and stimulate blood flow to the area. Try a heat pad, or heat up a damp towel in the microwave using 30 second intervals to check the temperature.

If you injure yourself in between massage sessions, try using cold therapy to numb the pain. Cold therapy is good for strains, sprains and other minor injuries (if you’re unsure, or are in serious pain, see your healthcare provider).

For severe pain and/or swelling, take a cold pack (or you can use a frozen bottle of water, or even frozen vegetables in a bag) and wrap it in a towel to avoid cold burns. If you’re using a frozen bottle as a cold pack, a thick sock works well as a barrier, if you’ve been overdoing it and you have sore feet, try rolling the frozen bottle under your foot. You can alternate between hot and cold therapy but always leave a period in between for your body to adjust.

One last and very important tip; make your massage sessions part of your regular self-care routine. If you’re unsure about how often you need a massage, the best person to ask is your therapist. She will know if you need extra sessions or just maintenance care, and will make sure your massage is tailored to your needs.

Strengthen your core to prevent injury and stay healthy

Your core is your center of balance and strength for almost everything you do. Your core muscles are a group of muscles running down the center of your body. These include your abdominal muscles, back muscles and your pelvis. These core muscles work together to help you maintain balance, posture and strength.

A strong core is good for your overall health, but it’s especially important to work on strengthening this group of muscles if you suffer with any kind of lower back pain. Working on your core can help you to improve your posture, which prevents aches and pains. If you’re sporty, it’s wise to keep your core nice and strong because a strong set of core muscles is vital for athletic performance and helps to prevent injuries.

It’s easy to strengthen these important muscles with a few exercises you can try at home. They also have the added benefit of helping to tone your abdominal muscles, back, glutes and legs. One core-strengthening exercise is yoga and pilates. These are types of exercises that are very popular workout routines that are aimed toward building a strong and healthy core. You can find yoga and Pilates videos online, on DVD, or even learn poses from books and magazines. These are easy to do from home and most routines do not even require any sort of equipment.

Planking is a classic core strengthening move that’s fiendishly hard at first but gets easier with practice. Planking is great for the whole body, from your arms all the way down through your legs, and is thought to be better exercise for your abs than crunches. Start by getting into push-up position on the floor, but rest on your arms at 90-degree angles. Straighten your whole body out, through to your feet up on your toes. Use your core muscles to hold the position for as long as possible. Each day, hold the plank pose for a few more seconds.

Using a balance ball helps you to focus on your core muscles when doing certain exercises. You can use a balance ball to do push-ups, crunches and more. Even simply sitting on a balance ball instead of a chair helps you strengthen your core muscles during the day.

Another move that helps strengthen your core is the bicycle move. Starting in crunch position with your hands behind your ears, reach your elbow to the opposite knee, extending the other leg out. Repeat the motion, alternating sides, and working your legs as if riding a bicycle. Continue the motion for an extended period of time, at least 30 seconds, before resting and then repeating.

Try to make time for a few core-strengthening sessions a week. Your whole body will thank you for it!

Three tips to quiet your mind

If you are not extremely busy in today’s society, you are the exception and not the rule. We are all in high gear; we overextend, overachieve, and overstress ourselves to the point of breaking. This can have lasting negative effects on our health! Here are a few ways to break the cycle:

Gratitude

It is so easy to be upset when things do not go our way. From the moment we spill our coffee, lock our keys in the car, and forget our lunch, a spiral of circumstances can set us off into a tailspin of negativity. We can choose to stay in a state of discontent and let that dictate our day, or we can be grateful for the other things in our lives even if they are not present in front of us right now.

Did you ever notice that when something nice happens, we tend to smile for a moment and then move on? However, when something goes wrong, we feel the need to tell everyone and anyone that will listen. It is in those exact moments that we need to focus on what we are grateful for, and that is how we can instantly change our perspective and attitude.

Keeping the focus on gratitude offers your mind something to smile about, regardless of outside circumstances. Focusing on people, places, and even things that make you grateful, gives your mind a break from stress!

Stillness

Everyone has a busy schedule; that is a fact. We all tend to create schedules that are overflowing and then complain that we do not have time for ourselves! Take a good hard look at your schedule and see what you can delete and what you can delegate. If you are going to have a healthy mind, you need to take care of it just as you would your body, and that means giving it some rest.

One tip for quieting your mind is to put it on your schedule. Put it in big red pen on your calendar, text yourself a reminder, and place it on your list of things to do this week. Take time for you.

Stay in the Moment

Being in the moment has become a cliché; however, if you really take the time to focus on what it means, you can start to practice quietening your mind. Focus on what you are doing at the exact moment you are doing it. If you are washing a dish, focus on the water, the soap bubbles and the dish in your hand. When you take time to do this, you will be in the moment and not two days from now when something big is scheduled.

Take time today to breathe, and clear and calm your mind. It may sound simplistic, but taking a moment just for yourself can have amazing benefits, both mentally and physically. Take care of yourself, so you can continue to take care of your loved ones

Using essential oils in massage

Otherwise known as aromatherapy massage, a massage using essential oils is a real treat, and has many positive effects that make it a treat worth investing in.

There are two main reasons why a massage therapist may use essential oils in their treatments. The essential oils used in massage can have beneficial effects on different areas of your body and health. And, they smell nice – but the aroma isn’t just a pleasant addition to your treatment. Aromas are well known to trigger emotions in the part of your brain that deals with memories, which is why the smell of your mom’s cooking or your grandma’s favorite perfume can transport you back in time and make you feel good. Some scents, like citrusy or lavender oils, have a very similar effect and just inhaling them as you’re enjoying your massage makes you feel good.

Essential oils and pregnancy

If you’re pregnant, you should always tell your massage therapist before an aromatherapy massage because although essential oils are safe in the vast majority of cases, there are a few specific essential oils that are best avoided in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Essential oils and pain relief

Using essential oils in a massage is ideal if you’re experiencing symptoms like inflammation or pain. The aromatherapy adds an extra layer of benefit to a soothing massage and seems to magnify the effects of a treatment which can give you even more relief than a basic massage.

Essential oils and stress

Just breathing in the gorgeously relaxing scent of lavender essential oil can calm you down if you’re having a stressful time. Lavender essential oil is great for pain relief and widely used in stress-busting massage treatments.

So what is an aromatherapy massage like?

The first thing you’ll need to do is have a talk with your therapist about what you are hoping to get from your massage, and tell her all about any existing health conditions so that she can choose the best combination of oils for you. There are pre-blended mixes of essential oils for general use, but many therapists also make up their own mixes for each session.

When therapists are putting together a custom blend, they will often ask you to pick a fragrance that makes you feel good. There’s not much point in creating perfectly-blended massage oil for you if you can’t bear the smell of it and can’t wait to get off the massage table!

If there’s any of your custom blended oil left after your massage, you’ll probably be given the rest to take home and use, which is a definite bonus. After an aromatherapy massage you’re likely to feel absolutely amazing – not only have you had the physical benefits of a relaxing massage but the psychological boost that you’ll get from all the delicious essential oils will keep you coming back for more.