May is mental health month so we think its important to discuss the positive benefits of massage for stress, depression and anxiety. Between the shut downs, quarantines and social distancing, people are more starved for positive healing touch then ever before. We also live a busy, fast paced, always on modern lifestyle and are searching for healthy ways to balance our work/life relationship. In our studio we have two primary focuses: Pain management and Stress management. We find that they are often if not always related and if we can relieve one then the other will follow. So in honor of mental health month...
So lets talk about massage, stress, anxiety and depression:
Many if not most people in modern society are in a state of fight or flight. Their nervous systems are in a constant state of go and because of this cortisol is released into the blood stream. Cortisol is the body's alert system, it says hey we are in a state of emergency so lets decrease the flow of blood to our torso and instead give it to the limbs, so we can run or fight. Cortisol isn't a bad hormone. Its necessary to kick into high energy to get away from danger. However, if the body is in a constant state of stress, keep in mind this doesn't have to be immediate danger, in can just be the stresses of daily life that never end, then cortisol becomes a problem. Too much cortisol can lead to a number of health problems including anxiety and depression, headaches, heart disease, memory issues, problems with digestion, insomnia, and weight gain.
Massage lowers cortisol, and as the cortisol lowers during a massage serotonin, the body's natural pain reliever and happy hormone increases. A relaxing massage triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the part of the nervous system that calms down the flight or fight response after the danger has past. Stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system through massage restores balance in the body and strengthens the parasympathetic response so it will function better in stressful situations, leaving you feeling calmer even with a busy schedule. The emotional balance massage provides can be just as vital and valuable as the physical benefits. Massage provides a safe and nurturing place for individuals to relax, refocus and find clarity. It can increase awareness of the mind-body connection. Massage can generate confidence and enhance self-image and self-worth.
If you are one of the many who experience depression or anxiety or are just overloaded with extra stress, massage can be an effective part of treatment supporting you to create a sense of relief, empowerment and mind-body connection.
Deep tissue massage has gained the reputation of being a no pain no gain experience. While extremely effective for relieving tension in the deeper layers of tissue in the body, it inevitably comes with the stigma of bite the pillow or breathe through the pain. That reputation of hurt so good or so bad causes many people to shy away from an effective, drug free therapy to relieve their chronic pain.
Deep tissue massage has been proven time and again to release chronically stressed areas deep inside the body due to misalignment, repetitive motions, or past lingering injuries. However, the fear of more pain to a person already in pain, is often too much which leads the patient to opt for medications despite the side effects of long term medication use.
On top of that, deep tissue massage is hard on the practitioner. The majority of massage therapists have careers lasting only 5 to 7 years. Performing deep tissue massage breaks down the therapists body and in a short time they are left with tough choices, to either change modalities or leave the profession they love.
So how do we save both the practitioner and client from the old school, no pain no gain deep tissue we have all grown to love and hate?
Like any good science or art form, massage therapy develops over time. By going deep into history, westernized massage has learned how to provide a deep tissue massage that is pain free, effective, and deeply relaxing.
The trick is, we shouldn't use our hands.
Let me explain:
The upper body alone cannot provide enough pressure to reach the deeper layers of the body. It doesn't matter how strong the practitioner is or how big. The therapist must resort to the use of thumbs, knuckles, and elbows to pin point the deep knots and triggers in the body to make up for the lack of pressure. This is where the pain comes in, from those bony joints being pressed into our most delicate and dysfunctional spots. No wonder people in pain shy away from a modality that by its very nature must bring more pain.
However, if the therapist uses her feet and her whole body for pressure, she can reach the deeper muscles with gravity alone. Better than a thumb or an elbow, the foot is soft, padded, and broad. So, the stroke of a full body foot is long, slow, and deep without ever having to press hard into a body that is already in pain. During an ashiatsu (foot) massage, space is created in the joints with minimal effort by the practitioner, enabling her to perform her beloved career for decades. Frozen shoulders and hips are opened and released by the use of deep yet long and broad strokes that only a foot can provide. The end result is an effective deep tissue massage that is enjoyable, some would say even luxurious, with long lasting results for both the client and the therapist.
It is important to point out ashiastu isn't for everyone. Persons suffering from osteoporosis or varicose veins should opt for a hands on Swedish massage. However if you are relatively healthy with chronic pain that you or your hands on therapist just can't reach then its time to try ashiastu.
We welcome you to experience the art and science that is deep tissue. We promise you'll never want an elbow in your back again.
It turns out humans and plants have something in common. We both need and thrive under lights! Red light is able to penetrate deep into the skin at an inter-cellular level, triggering the mitochondria to produce ATP. That means it helps the cells create energy which in turn aids the body, including the brain, to heal.
This leads to faster injury recovery, less aches and pains, elevated mood and smooth healthy skin.
More formally, Red Light/Infrared Therapy, (also called photobiomodulation), is a full body size panel of light that emits wavelengths of Red LED light and Near Infrared. This technology is being utilized by NASA, professional athletes and cosmetic surgeons.
Not All Red Light is Created Equal:
In order to penetrate deep enough into the body to effect the cells, the wavelengths of the Red LED/Near Infrared need to be at a range of at least 640nm/ 850nm.
We worked with our manufacturer to ensure our light delivers wavelengths of 660nm/900nm for optimal healing!
Lets talk about Red light and skin regeneration.
Red light rebuilds the collagen in your skin which in turn reduces wrinkles, fine lines and age spots. Beyond that red light helps heal sun damage and even slow healing wounds like diabetic foot ulcers.
Follow link below to read the clincal study:
A Controlled Trial to Determine the Efficacy of Red and Near-Infrared Light Treatment in Patient Satisfaction, Reduction of Fine Lines, Wrinkles, Skin Roughness, and Intradermal Collagen Density Increase
Lets talk about Red light therapy and the brain
Red light therapy has no adverse side effects and is proving to beneficially affect cases of severe brain injury including strokes, degenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer, and psychiatric disorders of depression, anxiety and PTSD.
Many scientists believe that Red light Therapy as know as (Photobiomodulation) will become of the most important medical applications for brain disorders in the coming years and decades.
Despite efforts by "Big Pharma,"prescription drugs for psychiatric disorders are not generally regarded very highly (either by the medical profession or the public), and many of these drugs perform little better than placebos in different trials and more over can have major side effects.
Follow the link below to the source study
Shining light on the head: Photobiomodulation for brain disorders
Lets talk about red light therapy, chronic pain and injury recovery.
Reducing the severity of pain by simply applying red light is an exciting discovery with great significant clinical relevance!
Red light treatment is non-invasive, cost effective, and is able to significantly reduce the severity of pain and inflammation. Inflammation has long been implicated in increased neuropathic pain. Not only does red light therapy minimize the severity of pain to sufferers, it may also provide collateral benefits which include functional improvements to other sensory/motor systems.
Beyond pain management, red light is used in sports medicine to reduce injury recovery time. This happens by stimulating collagen production, which strengthens cartilage and tendons. Collagen is a protein most commonly associated with healthy skin tone, but it is also a key component of muscle and connective tissue.
Follow links below to clinical study by national institute of health:
Red LED photobiomodulation reduces pain hypersensitivity and improves sensorimotor function following mild T10 hemicontusion spinal cord injury
830 nm light-emitting diode (led) phototherapy significantly reduced return-to-play in injured university athletes: a pilot study
What a difference a year makes! Last year despite a global pandemic, we invited local acupuncturist Matt Leismer,MaAOM to join our team. Jenny continued her education to include barefoot massage for our deep tissue clients. Heather Godmar joined the team as a licensed massage therapist. Maryellen searched the globe and came home with red light therapy and dermablading for her facial clients. On top of that we decided our clients needed massage enhancements and so we add that to our menu too!
We sat home for three months with the rest of the world and formed strong safety protocols for Covid 19 with the guidance of the CDC, health department and the AMBP for our return to the studio.
It wasn't all good news though. Erin Fortune,LMT has been on medical leave since July 2020. She has not returned and the studio isn't the same without her huge smile, joyous laugh and strong bear hugs. She is hoping for good news about her health soon and still plans to return as soon as her body allows.
For 2021, we ask our clients to embrace the new and open yourselves to the experiences now available for you. Try the red light this winter to help with your aches and pains, winter blues, and skin blemishes. If you love deep tissue, try Jenny's barefoot massage. Are you ready to implement a sustainable skin care routine? Maryellen's passion for skin care knows no bounds. If your favorite massage therapist is booked, give Heather a try. We wouldn't have hired her if she wasn't one of the best. And please send Erin warm blessings, encouragementand support while she rehabilitates at home.
We love you Boyne City! In 2021 we plan to continue providing you stellar wellness remedies to help you change your lifestyle or continue down your wellness journey.