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Posts Tagged "#relaxation"

The right amount of sleep is necessary for maintaining a healthy, functioning body. However, an estimated 50 to 70 million Americans experience sleep issues that affect their health, which often leads to low work performance, slowed reaction time, obesity, higher risk of longtime disease, and substance abuse.

According to certain studies, massage therapy has found to be beneficial for:

  • Insomnia-related stress
  • Anxiety
  • Digestive disorders
  • Headaches
  • Soft tissue strains or injuries
  • Myofasical pain syndrome
  • Sports injuries

Massage therapy can reduce fatigue and improve a person’s sleep. Massage has also been shown to improve sleep in infants, children, adults, and the elderly alike, as well as individuals with fibromyalgia, cancer, heart disease, lower back pain, cerebral palsy, and breast disease.

Good facts to know:

The “Body Clock”

Many people report that they fall asleep easily, but wake up at the same time in the middle of the night. This can be incredibly frustrating, especially is you can’t fall back asleep and wake up tired the next day. The concept of the “Organ Clock” in Chinese medicine is a useful tool in understanding why this occurs. In Chinese medicine, energy or qi, moves through the body’s meridians and organs in a 24 hour cycle. Every two hours, the qi (or energy) is strongest within a particular organ and its functions within the body. The body, mind and emotions are inseparable in Chinese medicine- meaning that if you have disharmony in your physical body, it is tied to your emotional state. So if you wake up at 3 AM, when Liver energy peaks, you may be suffering from Liver Qi stagnation, which could be related to an unhealthy diet- excess alcohol consumption, unresolved anger or high levels of stress. If you consistently wake up at 4 AM, it could be due to an imbalance in your lungs, which is related to grief and sadness, fatigue, and reduced immune function.

The most important time to sleep!

Many people are night owls and think nothing of it, especially if you get a decent amount of sleep each night. However, according to Chinese medicine, it’s not only how much sleep you get that matters, but also when you get it. A bedtime of 10:30pm (at the latest) is advised so that you are asleep by 11pm when the liver and gallbladder start to regulate qi, process emotions, balance hormones and detoxify the body. The window from 11pm-3am, which correlated to the liver and gallbladder, is the most important in terms of maintaining health, especially as you age.

The deepest part of sleep, or Slow Wave Sleep (SWS), is the most restorative part of our sleep. During these hours the stress hormone cortisol is reduced and parasympathetic nervous system activity increases, which allows us to fully rest and move away from the fight or flight responses that dominate during waking hours. SWS is associated with memory or learning. A lack of this type of sleep can lead to reduced daytime functioning and alertness as well as waking feeling unrefreshed. Human growth hormone, which is essential to repairing our bodies from daily injury and maintaining health, is released from 9pm-7am, making each hour of sleep during this time critical.

Check out the guidelines below to learn about why you may be waking up at a certain hour at night:

9 PM-11 PM–Triple Burner (related to the heart and pericardium) Emotion: Joy or lack of joy, depression, hopelessness. Functions: The triple burner is not a distinct organ but is related to our endocrine and lymphatic systems. It controls metabolism within the body. Symptoms of imbalance: Mania, feelings of guilt, depression, adrenal fatigue, hormonal imbalance, sluggish metabolism, frequent headaches, fatigue, earaches. Tips: Consider going to bed earlier, establish a calming nighttime routine, avoid artificial light after 9pm.

11 PM-1 AM– Gallbladder (strongly tied to the liver) Emotion: Indecisiveness Functions: The Gallbladder stores and excretes bile to facilitate proper digestion. It also rules the decision making process, controls the sinews and tendons and governs dreams. Symptoms of imbalance: Indecision, frequent sighing, rash decisions, poor judgment, difficulty making decisions, shyness, high cholesterol, resentment, dream-disturbed sleep, weak tendons. Tips: Avoid alcohol, trans fats and spicy food. Eat a smaller dinner well before bedtime and avoid snacking before bed.

1 AM-3 AM–Liver Emotion: Anger/Irritability Functions: The liver is responsible for detoxifying our bodies and processing emotions each night. Think back to a night when you had too much to drink or a period of intense frustration at work. Did you wake up between 1-3am unable to fall back asleep? From a Chinese medicine perspective your liver was overloaded with and struggled to do its work. Symptoms of imbalance: Explosive outbursts of anger, bottled up emotions, resentment, irritability, moodiness, frustration, high blood pressure, PMS, bitter taste in mouth, red face, blurred vision. Tips: Make sure to drink alcohol in moderation and eat your last meal a few hours before bed. Consider a whole foods cleanse. Cut out coffee for a week and replace it with green tea. Get regular exercise.

3 AM-5 AM– Lung Emotion: Sadness/Grief Functions: The lungs govern the respiratory and immune system, regulate the sweat glands, and moisten the skin. Symptoms of imbalance: Feelings of sadness or grief that have not been dealt with, shortness of breath, sweating easily, weak voice, fatigue, cough, headache, asthma, chest pain, dry skin. Tips: Try breathing exercises, meditation or yoga to improve your lung capacity. Consider getting counseling or talking to a friend about feeling of sadness or grief.

The different types of massages that help improve your sleep:

  • Swedish massage—This is a gentle form of massage that uses long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibration, and tapping to help relax and energize.
  • Deep massage—This massage technique uses slower, more-forceful strokes to target the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue, commonly to help with muscle damage from injuries.
  • Sports massage—This is similar to Swedish massage, but it’s geared toward people involved in sport activities to help prevent or treat injuries.
  • Trigger point massage—This massage focuses on areas of tight muscle fibers that can form in muscles after injuries or overuse.

Fun Fact:

Human beings have an intrinsic and powerful connection to sunlight that evolved over thousands of years. Before the advent of electricity, we were bound by the constraints of daylight, and our sleep cycles followed suit. But today, electricity and technological stimulation allow our minds and bodies to be active after sundown, which can wreak havoc on our health. Many hormonal processes in our body are literally hardwired to be orchestrated by sunlight and the absence of sunlight. It is no surprise that adhering to a normal sleep pattern is therefore highly important to maintaining optimal health.

When you schedule a service that is beneficial towards your health, typically, a pedicure is not on the mind. You may think of it as a treat yourself type of service that you get here and there. But a pedicure is so much more! You only get one set of feet in your lifetime, right? Then you must give them the proper care and yes, that means a spa appointment.

If you’re very physically active, or if you work in a physically demanding job, your feet absorb a lot of stress. They are probably your most strained, overworked body parts. All of that stress takes a toll on your overall health. During your pedicure service, your technician will massage your feet. Those massages reduce soreness, improve circulation, and release tension in your foot muscles. Your feet will thank you for the extra attention.

Exfoliation is not just for your face! Your pedicure technician will exfoliate your feet as part of your service. You can say goodbye to dead skin and calluses. Aside from leaving you with smooth feet, your pedicure doubles as a preventative service. Things like fungal infections are much less likely if you take good care of your feet.

Pedicures Prevent Infections

If you don’t moisturize your feet daily, a pedicure is an important source of moisture. Moisturizing your feet prevents cracks from forming, which can lead to infections. To get much needed hydration for your feet, continuing moisturizing your feet in-between appointments with foot lotion is important.

Pedicures Stops Calluses Right Away

The extra moisture also helps to remove and prevent calluses. A callus is the body’s way of protecting itself. Areas of friction will protect itself from forming calluses, but with repeated friction like walking or working out, inattention to those areas of the skin can break down and lead to sores or ulcerations.

Encourages A Healthier Lifestyle

When getting a pedicure, a mini foot massage is included. Foot massages improve blood circulation, which leads to healthier feet!

Pedicures=Healthier Joints!

When soaking your feet in warm water during a pedicure can help with joint health. With a foot massage, you are putting all of your joints through a full range of motion to help decrease stiffness. Soaking feet in warm water can also help relieve stress on joints and temporarily subside side pain.

Overall

Pedicures are obviously great for your feet, but did you know they help your mind too? When you get a pedicure, you release tension and feel relaxed. This kind of de-stressing releases a brain chemical called endorphins. Endorphins make you feel calm and happy, They also lower blood pressure, improve circulation and even relieve pain. So you shouldn’t feel bad about splurging. You’re actually doing your body a favor and giving your mind a rest.

As these two massage are typically the popular choices to choose from, there is quite a difference between the two. Swedish massage promotes relaxation while a deep tissue massage unknots the deeper stressed muscles. Swedish massage is executed in slow, circular movements with even pressure to enhance the circulatory system. Deep tissue massage, on the other hand, is more focused on specific parts of the body which experiences pain.

Swedish Massage

The Swedish massage is a form of massage done by long circular strokes. The Swedish massage is primarily used to induce relaxation for stressed and overly active muscles. The purpose of the Swedish massage aside from relaxation is to enhance the circulation of blood all over the body to increase the functions of the nervous system.

One of the biggest benefits of the Swedish massage is that it can boost your mood significantly. Studies have shown that massage can increase serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin, which all help to elevate your mood and general well-being.

The Swedish massage also helps to reduce stress and anxiety. With that being said, it can also improve your sleep. There has been a study that found that massage therapy improved the quality of sleep in breast cancer patients. Better sleep, in turn, reduces stress and anxiety levels.

Deep Tissue

Deep tissue massage is used to relieve stressed muscles, especially in the neck, arm, leg and thigh areas. This type of massage is aimed at the tissues that normal massages could not reach and the muscles that are usually stressed than the others. A hard pressure needs to be applied in order to obtain results with deep tissue massage. A deeper pressure should be expected with this massage, however, if you experience any pain, please consult your therapist.

This massage helps to break up scar tissue that forms following an injury and reduce tension in muscle and tissue. It may also promote faster healing by increasing blood flow and reducing inflammation.

Unlike the Swedish massage that focuses on relaxation, deep tissue massage helps to treat muscle pain and improve stiffness. But it can still help to you unwind mentally, too. Some people have reported that the deep tissues massage helps in:

*Sports injuries

*Fibromylagia

*Plantar Fasciitis

*High blood pressure

*Sciatica

*Tennis elbow

Key Differences Between Swedish Massage and Deep Tissue

*Intended use: Deep tissue massage is primarily used to treat chronic pain and muscle and sports-related injuries. Swedish massage is mainly used to promote relaxation and reduce muscle tension caused by everyday activities, such as sitting at a computer.

*Pressure: The Swedish massage is a gentler massage compared to the deep tissue, which provides firm pressure. Both types involve use of the palms and fingers to knead and manipulate your tissues, but the elbows and forearms may also be used to apply increased pressure during a deep tissue massage.

*Area of focus:  Deep tissue massage targets the inner layers of your muscles. It’s used to treat muscle and tendon injuries, pain, and stiffness in your major muscle groups and joints. Swedish massage targets the superficial layers of muscle and focuses on the parts of your body that tend to hold the most tension, such as your neck, shoulders, and back.

Overall:

Our massage therapists at Elements Salon and Wellness Spa are here to provide expert care on any concerns with your body. If you are still having a hard time deciding between the two massages, your therapist will consult with you on what the best massage is. Hopefully by reading this article, you are now an expert on Swedish and deep tissue massages!

Copyright 2020 Elements Salon and Wellness Spa
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