Adding This Method of Cupping Decompression Aids in the Treatment of Scoliosis

By: Anita Shannon 

Soft tissue manipulation has proven itself to be beneficial for scoliotic conditions, and vacuum manual therapy is providing a valuable missing link in treatment protocols.

Adding this method of decompression aids the tissue by releasing deep patterns that hold the bony structure in a forward or sideways twist associated with conditions such as hyperkyphosis, hyperlordosis and scoliosis.

Soft Tissue Memory

Neuromuscular function creates soft tissue memory from trauma, which could include trauma from an injury or repetitive movements. The three dimensional fascial system, as seen in “Strolling Under the Skin” by Jean-Claude Guimberteau, M.D., can also get stuck in position from the same causes.

The strands of fascia become tangled and dehydrated from inflammation, and vacuum decompression helps draw fluids into the area while it gently pulls the strands apart.

The Diaphragm

One of the most critical areas to address in working with spinal curvatures is the diaphragm. If all or part of the diaphragm is elevated, the surrounding structures have no choice but to accommodate the abnormality.

The diaphragm can be affected by so many life experiences, such as compression during birth, a multitude of other childhood injuries and illnesses, falls that “knocked the wind out” of the lungs, asthma or chronic bronchitis, pregnancy with a large child and even traumatic experiences such as car accidents or physical abuse.

One case that stands out for me is a young man who was beaten and robbed in his home. His spine had curved into the position he took to protect himself and would not release.

While it was a challenge to access his diaphragm, it proved to be the main cause of his dysfunction. Once it was released to return to its normal position, the upper body structures could revert as well.

Vacuum manual therapy makes the process of releasing the diaphragm so much easier, and if manual techniques such as massage therapy are added in, accessing the diaphragm is much more comfortable after the vacuum has been used to pull it down.

Hypertonic vs. Hypotonic Tissue

Once the diaphragm has been addressed, the next step is to release hypertonic tissue and strengthen hypotonic muscles. For most spinal curvatures, anterior and posterior muscle groups must be included to address all compensatory patterns.

Neck

For the anterior neck, use the vacuum cup to release the contracted sternocleidomastoid and platysma, with special attention to the clavicular attachments.

Use a smaller cup to soften scalenes. For the posterior neck, use a smaller cup and deeper vacuum pressure to tone splenius capitus and splenius cervicus, along with levator scapulae.

Anterior Torso

Release anterior deltoid and pectorals, especially the attachments along sternum. Then release serratus anterior, anterior intercostals, rectus abdominus and obliques from their locked and contracted positions.

Posterior Torso

Tone erector spinae, posterior intercostals, latissimus, serratus posterior, along with rhomboids, obliques, trapezius, levator scapula and posterior deltoid.

The vacuum cup may be parked over the belly or attachments of any weak muscle just before the muscle is activated to contract the tissue while it is elongated up in the cup.

Rotator Cuff Muscles

It is vital to address the forward rotation of the shoulders that occurs with most spinal curvature conditions. Assess restrictions and treat subscapularis, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and the upper bicep to tone hypotonic and release hypertonic tissue.

Working with Rods, Plates and Cables

Many people have had corrective surgeries and appliances implanted after being diagnosed with scoliosis or other spinal curvature disorders, while others are told to simply live with the condition.

Vacuum manual therapy can help relieve soft tissue issues, and this gives appliances the ultimate opportunity to assist the structure to stay in place.

One very fascinating case presented itself recently, a young woman who has had multiple surgeries since late childhood that included implantation of Harrington rods, plates and cables. We began work on the diaphragm and lower intercostals, and discussion began about childhood injuries.

Due to her posture, I began work on the anterior torso and then moved up to release the anterior neck. As the session progressed to the posterior of the body, evidence of some kind of trauma showed itself in the clients’ shoulders and neck.

As it turned out, she had found out from her mother that she suffered a very serious fall down cement steps when she was 3 or 4 years old. She had basically fallen down the stairs on her head.

Patterns showed up in her tissue indicating compensatory patterns and restrictions. I followed them around her body with the vacuum cup. By the time her session was done, her shoulders were lying flat on the table and her posture had changed considerably. Now the appliances can work even better to keep her structure in place, and a series of treatments will be required to recondition the soft tissue.

The results in her first appointment were a great indication of the positive outcome from a customized treatment protocol.

Childhood Injuries

As seen in the case above, there can be a logical event in childhood that could begin the development of scoliosis, hyperkyphosis and hyperlordosis. Working with the extra-large cups and observing the tissue can offer big clues about the origin of dysfunction in the form of restrictions and discolorations.

These can clearly be seen through the vacuum cup as it is moved over the area, and restrictions look like large dents, while the discolorations can range from black, brown, yellow, gray, red and even green. All of this is old blood and other substances that became trapped at the site of injury.

The truly interesting part is helping the person being treated to remember what incident or activity could be showing itself in their tissues.

Childhood events such as falls in gymnastics and ballet, equestrian pastime injuries, car and bike accidents or even years of mucking out horse stalls can clearly show themselves in the restrictions and colors under the skin.

It is an amazing moment to realize that even experiences so long in the past can still have an effect on our current posture and movement.

Vacuum manual therapy provides a new window into assessment of spinal curvature conditions, as well as aiding in the release and re-patterning of the tissues to maintain optimal spinal health.

The addition of powerful micro-cup magnets into the treatments can also help produce positive results.

Effective Treatment

There is so much to learn about scoliosis and other spinal curvature disorders, and truly effective treatment incorporates a team of professionals that often includes medical doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, exercise physiologists and massage therapists.

Specific exercises, some of which involve a special “ladder” or even particular yoga movements that are designed to help support correction of curvatures, are also a big part of an effective treatment regimen.

"A Healthy Thing That Is Pleasant To Do, and Involves No Sacrifice"

By: Nicholas Bakalar 

A Finnish study suggests that regular sauna visits can reduce the risk for high blood pressure.

The study in the American Journal of Hypertension, included 1,621 middle-aged men with normal blood pressure who were followed for an average of 25 years. During that time, 251 developed hypertension.

Compared to those who reported one sauna session a week or less, those who took two to three session were 24 percent less likely to have hypertension, and four to seven visits a week reduced the risk by 46 percent. The study controlled for body mass index, alcohol consumption, resting heart rate, smoking, family history of hypertension and other variables.

The study is observational and does not prove cause and effect, but the senior author, Dr. Jari A. Laukkanen, a professor of medicine at the University of Eastern Finland, suggested several possible mechanisms. The warmth of the sauna, he said, improves the flexibility of the blood vessels which eases blood flow, and the warmth and subsequent cooling down of a typical Finnish sauna induces a general relaxation that is helpful in moderating blood pressure. Also, sweating removes excess fluid, acting as a natural diuretic. Diuretics are among the oldest drugs used to treat hypertension.

"This is good news," he said, laughing quietly. "A healthy thing that is pleasant to do, and involves no sacrifice." 

 

What Are the Benefits of Cupping Massage?

Cupping is a massage modality that finds its roots in traditional Chinese medicine. The practice uses glass cups to create a vacuum seal on areas of the body. The suction created by this seal brings blood to the surface of the skin and is thought to help expel negative energies from the body. Although cupping is not painful, the recipient commonly walks away with circular bruises on the areas where the cups were applied.

Improved Energy Flow

In traditional Chinese medicine, cupping is used to improve the energy flow throughout the body. The bruises caused by the procedure are thought to be the negative energy elements coming to the surface and exiting the body. The cups can be placed over the traditional energy collection points, which are also stimulated during acupuncture and shiatsu massage. A healthy energy flow is thought to improve both the physical and mental well-being of the client.

Pain Relief

“Massage Magazine” reports that clients who received cupping sessions found that it relieved chronic pain and helped improve range of motion to injured areas. The clients who experienced this pain relief reported that the effects lasted longer than the pain relief associated with other massage modalities.

Loosen Muscles

Fribromyalgia-symptoms.org reports that cupping is an effective way to reduce the muscle stiffness associated with the disorder. Cupping loosens the muscles and brings an influx of blood to the area and softens the underlying muscle tissues, leading to increased flexibility and a better sense of mobility.

Relaxation

Like other massage modalities, cupping can be incredibly relaxing. The work is usually performed in soothing setting and the therapists touch is very light. The therapist might move the cups around the body, mirroring the strokes that you would receive during a standard relaxation massage. While the goal of the session is to target different areas of the body, a cupping treatment can improve your general sense of relaxation.

Massage for Pain Management

Written by: American Massage Therapy Association 

https://www.amtamassage.org/research/Massage-Therapy-Research-Roundup/Research-Roundup--Massage-Therapy-for-Pain-Management.html

New Research Analysis Indicates Massage Therapy Strongly Recommended for Pain Management

Based on the evidence, massage therapy can provide significant improvement for pain, anxiety and health-related quality of life for those looking to manage their pain.

This is the conclusion of a collaborative meta-analysis of research on massage therapy for pain conducted by the Samueli Institute and commissioned by the Massage Therapy Foundation, with support from the American Massage Therapy Association. The first part of the three-part review and analysis has been published online by the journal Pain Medicine.

Pain is a major public health concern, affecting approximately 100 million Americans.1 It is currently recognized as the most compelling reason for an individual to seek medical attention, and accounts for approximately 80 percent of physician visits.

Not only are individuals affected, but also their families, the national economy and health systems. It is estimated that chronic pain accounts for approximately $600 billion in annual health care expenditures and lost productivity. This annual cost is greater than the cost of other national priority health conditions, highlighting the significant economic burden of pain.

Research Supports Massage Therapy for Pain Management

Based on the evidence, massage therapy, compared to no treatment, should be strongly recommended as a pain management option. Massage therapy is conditionally recommended for reducing pain, compared to other sham or active comparators, and improving mood and health-related quality of life, compared to other active comparators.5

Pain is multi-dimensional and may be better addressed through an integrative approach. Massage therapy is commonly used among people seeking pain management and research has generally supported its use. But, until now there has been no published, rigorous review of the available research and evidence for its efficacy for people with various types of pain.

About the Study

Pain is multi-dimensional and may be better addressed through an integrative approach. Massage therapy is commonly used among people seeking pain management and research has generally supported its use. But, until now there has been no published, rigorous review of the available research and evidence for its efficacy for pain populations. 

This systematic review and meta-analysis is the first to rigorously assess the quality of massage therapy research and evidence for its efficacy in treating pain, function-related and health-related quality of life in cancer populations. It is the first of a three-part series of articles which assessed research on massage therapy for various aspects of pain.

 

Lymphatic Draining? Infrared Sauna? Cupping? What I've Learned

 

Written by Alexa Roberts

All my life I have been health conscious but had no idea how much there was still to learn until I set foot in Longevity Wellness. For the past month, I have been a new employee here at Longevity working the front desk, booking appointments, learning about massages, and becoming a part of the team. Being constantly surrounded by therapists who are so knowledgeable about the body is an eye-opening experience to say the least. 

A huge factor that sets this business apart from other bodywork places is the professionalism and education that the therapists put forth each day. Every therapist is familiar with her client on a level that encourages growth and wellness. Not only are they licensed massage therapists but receive additional credentialing in techniques like lymphatic drainage, cupping, trigger point massage, Thai yoga and much more. 

I've learned that progress is a goal here. Before starting my job at Longevity, I thought massages were simply a way to relax. However, in addition to relaxation, massages reap many benefits. The team here is committed to working alongside clients' healthcare providers to ensure progress and growth towards whatever the goal may be. Take an example, the lymphatic drainage massage. I've learned that this type of massage is used to help guide lymphatic fluid towards the lymph nodes and in turn aids to dispel toxins. Lymphatic drainage massage is known to increase energy levels and promote weight loss. The ability to feel confident when discussing massage and techniques is a gift that Longevity Wellness has provided me with. 

One of my favorite aspects of this practice is the infrared sauna. Not only is it extremely relaxing, wonderful for sore muscles, and aids reducing stress, but the sauna works to improve skin tone and reduce acne, something I personally struggle with on occasion. As I look to the future and consider my position at Longevity, I am eager to learn about new techniques that the therapists are practicing. Currently, cupping is a buzz word here as the therapists train and I learn. It is exciting to learn alongside skilled therapists as they perfect techniques and add new ones to the wealth of knowledge we have here. 

Integrating myself into the health and wellness community through Longevity Wellness has forced me to reflect upon my preconceived notions on massage and address the actual facts behind it. I like to think of this first month as a point of origin in terms of my health and wellness knowledge. From this point, I am able to envision all that I will be learning about massage, the various systems in the body that massage touches upon- no pun intended, and the latest developments in the world of health and wellness. 

What is Cupping?

 

A wonderful ancient tool has found its place in the modern world of healing. ACE Massage Cupping™ evolved from the common practice of cupping therapy, and the incredible results that this simple treatment produces have truly impressed those who experience its subtle power. By creating suction and negative pressure, ACE Massage Cupping™ therapy is used to soften tight muscles and tone attachments, loosen adhesions and lift connective tissue, bring hydration and blood flow to body tissues, and drain excess fluids and toxins by opening lymphatic pathways. ACE Massage Cupping™ bodywork is versatile and can easily be modified to accomplish a range of techniques, from lymphatic drainage to deep tissue and fascial release. This complements many health modalities ranging from spa treatments to medical massage.

ACE Massage Cupping™ is fun and result-oriented … and the treatment FEELS GREAT!
How is ACE Massage Cupping™ therapy accomplished? The cup is positioned over the area of the body to be treated and suction is created using a vacuum gun or bulb. The more traditional method involves inserting a flame into a glass cup to create the vacuum. The suction level can range from light to heavy, and the movements performed by the therapist can be stimulating or sedating.

Benefits:

ACE Massage Cupping™ therapy is not an irritant to the skin or body. It draws the inflammation out, yet does not add to it. The skin will turn red with strong movements, indicating that circulation has been brought to the surface. Application of liniments, analgesics, plant hydrosols and essential oil blends immediately after ACE Massage Cupping™ bodywork will enable absorption of the product deep into the tissue. Increased local blood supply to the muscles and skin will bring nourishment and allow for toxins to be carried away via the veins. Conditions of chronic and acute pain can be relieved with minimal discomfort and tense muscles softened quickly and easily. ACE Massage Cupping™ therapy is wonderfully effective as an addition to a massage or other therapeutic service.

Another effective application of ACE Massage Cupping™ is in the treatment of cellulite. A very light suction provides drainage, while heavier application can be used to stimulate circulation and loosen adhesions or “dimpling.” The thighs and hip region should be treated prior to a wrapping procedure to enhance the absorption of product. Enjoy the feeling of warm, energized skin being painted with soothing algae, mud or gel before being enveloped.

Treatments using ACE Massage Cupping™ therapy include a revolutionary face lifting and drainage treatment and magnetic micro-cup reflexology for the feet and hands. The magnetic equipment is showing great results in the treatment of injury sites, neuropathy and pain.

https://www.amtamassage.org/articles/3/MTJ/detail/3648

Stand Out: Branding Your Massage Practice

Michael Chazin, February 28, 2017

Many people start businesses because they are passionate about a product or service, says Tiffany Han, branding strategist and founder of Say Yes Creative, LLC, in San Francisco. “But being passionate about something isn’t enough to sell it,” she says. “You need to communicate the value.” A strong brand enables you to do that. “To me,” she adds, “the brand is the foundation upon which you build everything."

 

What Is Branding?

According to Alana Long, owner of Longevity Wellness in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, branding is how you establish the views and mission of your business, which helps you better define your space within the marketplace. “I want massage therapy to be part of everyone’s health care,” says Long of her own business’s branding message. “Our goal is to educate on best practices and the benefits of massage therapy.”

Nicholas Bodkin, co-owner of Massage Works, LLC in South Glen Falls, New York, has worked with a marketing company for the past year. “When I talk about branding, we look at our service, our message and our visuals,” he says.everything. “We try to incorporate those three different pieces into our branding.”

“Your brand tells people who you are, what you do, the benefits you provide and why you should be selected over the competition,” says Bob Gagauf with brandwerks3 in Kinnelon, New Jersey. For branding, think in broad strokes, not just your logo, your name or your tagline, which help to define your business’s identity. “Your brand is actually your reason for being and what makes you better or different,” he says.

How to Build Your Brand

“I didn’t know what branding meant a year ago,” says Saya Barkdoll, owner of Ohana Wellness in Bethesda, Maryland. “I had been working on a new website and took an online branding class to get a better idea what branding meant.”

What she discovered was that much of what she was doing was already in line with having a good branding strategy. “Ohana” means “family” in the Hawaiian language. “When you walk into our space, you feel like you are coming home to family,” Barkdoll says. “That is what our brand is.”

The Ohana Wellness space is designed to create a feeling of tranquility. “Twelve of us work here, and it is the energy that we give,” says Barkdoll. “Our office is our happy place. It is an extension of our home, and we consider each other family. This energy transmits to our clients and gives them joy and peace.” When customers enter the space, they experience an immediate sense of peace and relaxation, she says, and they leave their busy worlds behind.

Too many business people believe their logo is their brand, but the visual representation is just one element of your brand. Sarah Miller, founder and brand strategist with White Space in Minneapolis, uses a human body analogy to define brand. “When you meet someone new, you form a first impression based on their exterior appearance,” she says. “But the emotional connection really happens when you get to know someone’s personality. What makes up a company, or brand strategy, are the intangible components companies tend to overlook.”

Branding is the entirety of a business. “The brand is the heart and soul of the company,” says Miller. “It is how your customers think about you.”

Establishing a solid brand has never been more necessary than it is in today’s digital environment, where consumers are bombarded with endless advertisements. “Now with social media and our phones always in our hands, consumers are overwhelmed with options,” says Miller. “You need to make sure that your brand connects not necessarily with everyone, but specifically with your core customer.”

At WODbody Sports Massage in Raleigh, North Carolina, core customers are CrossFit athletes. Stacey Meek, co-owner, explains that the WOD in the company’s name comes from CrossFit’s use of Workout of the Day. “Branding for us is about familiarity,” says Meek. “People see our logo and they know exactly who we are.”

Meek explains that when she started her massage business, the goal was to let potential clients know what to expect. “There are so many massage places—we wanted to definitively describe what demographic we were going for,” she says.

“People have a preconceived notion of what a massage is,” adds Meek. “More of what we do is movement correction, corrections of musculature imbalances and range of motion improvement. When people get off the table, they feel something immediately—it is a relief of pain or a change in their range of motion.”

Related: Client Resources on the Benefits of Massage

Meek met her business partner, Vincent Bounds, when offering massage therapy at CrossFit competitions. They both find that their clients are more comfortable knowing that their massage therapist understands the issues they face. “We speak the same language,” she says. “They don’t have to explain what a dead lift is—we all know. Our clients appreciate not only the continuity and consistency of care, but the fact that we already know their sport.”

“A strong brand helps you stand out from your competition,” says Han. A lot of massage therapists talk about the importance of wellness and relaxation. “We all know that’s important, but when you infuse some personality into it and employ your own version of that conversation, immediately you rise above the crowd.”

In the digital world that surrounds us, more often than not the crowd can be found online. The first thing that most people do when they hear about a new business, says Han, is look at your website even when they hear about you through word of mouth. “Your website has become your calling card and your business card,” she says. “It doesn’t have to have all the bells and whistles, it doesn’t need to be more than a single page, but there should be something up there that you can be proud of.”

For example, Long regularly posts on social media and her company website to provide followers with solid information on the benefits of massage therapy, as well as other health and wellness tips.

She also works within the Charleston community to build and maintain her niche market of clients, including referrals from gyms and wellness facilities where she works as a certified personal trainer. To further establish her credibility, she has accepted a position to teach clinical massage therapy at Trident Technical College in North Charleston.

Long wants to be known as the go-to medical massage therapy provider in her market with a focus on evidence-based practice. “We specialize in massage to help athletes perform at higher levels,” she says, “and offer five-star therapeutic massage and education.”

At Massage Works, Bodkin works with people dealing with chronic pain. He specializes in orthopedic sports massage and has worked with a number of professional hockey teams. In addition to his hockey practice, Massage Works is about 80 miles from an Olympic training facility and attracts clients from there as well.

Visuals play an important role in building the professional image Massage Works wants to convey. “We dress professionally and make sure the office has a professional feel to it,” he says. “We try to have our website reflect that professional quality.” He reaches out to clients on social media to solicit testimonials that prospects can view online to determine whether they want to visit Massage Works.

Building a Better Brand

A strong brand can be critical to a business’s success. If your brand is unclear and needs further development, consider the following: “Ask yourself how you want someone to feel when they walk away from an interaction with you,” suggests Han. Think about what that “after” might look like and about two or three of the best clients you’ve ever had. “What sort of personalities did they bring? What was it like to work with them?”

Use that information when you develop messaging or website content, says Han. “Have those specific people in mind and ask if they would respond to your messaging.” It’s not that you only want to work with these people, but that you want more people like them to visit your practice.

Massage therapists who want to improve their branding also might want to think about working with a marketing specialist. “If you are trying to establish your brand, I would find somebody who is credible and understands your business,” suggests Bodkin. “They can help focus your message in a clear, concise way.”

But, take your time when bringing on people to work with you, says Miller. “To find the best match, it is no different than if you were hiring someone to join your staff,” she says. Never forget that a brand is much more than just a logo. “Branding is much bigger than that,” she adds, “and it is ongoing. It doesn’t stop.”

Finding the RIGHT massage therapist. Not as easy as you think!

Finding the RIGHT massage therapist.  Not as easy as you think!

Does your massage therapist know the kinetic body chains and how to follow the lines of movement to release any restrictions? The Longevity Wellness massage therapy staff does.   Do you want a massage therapist you can converse with about fitness and what you can add to that program to help advance in movement?  Longevity Wellness can help.   Do you want a massage therapist that is constantly trying to do better, know more about muscular treatments, AND ACTUALLY KNOWS THE BODY'S ANATOMY and action of the muscles? Come see us at Longevity Wellness Massage and Bodywork.  

The benefits of using an Infrared Sauna

Infrared Saunas…To Your Health

Written by JNH Lifestyles

Man is no stranger to the healing power of the Sauna: from the Finnish, to the ancient Greeks, to Native Americans, the practice of thermal therapy has spanned generations and continents.

Unlike the traditional dry sauna, which relies on heating the body indirectly through warming surfaces within the sauna, infrared saunas emit heat that is directly absorbed by the skin. As a result, the heat waves are able to penetrate deep within the muscle and tissue, creating a rise in core body temperature at a much lower ambient temperature than the traditional sauna. It is this key difference in heating methodology that gives the infrared sauna its ability to create an environment that promotes a detoxifying sweat at a much lower temperature, unlocking a variety of different health benefits, such as:

ANTI-AGING EFFECTS: Infrared saunas offer a healthy, low-cost alternative to expensive skin creams for those of us seeking the elusive “Fountain of Youth”. Infrared heat penetrates deeply into both the epidermis and dermis layers of the skin, promoting both healing and collagen growth. The result? Reduced wrinkles, minimized pores, and an overall improvement in skin tone. See More

ARTHRITIS RELIEF: Since the dawn of time, heat therapy has been widely used by individuals suffering from various rheumatic disorders, including arthritis. Recent studies have found that infrared saunas provide relief from pain and stiffness associated with arthritis, as well as an increased range of motion in affected joints. See More

CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH: Much like exercise, thermal therapy can provide a wide range of cardiovascular benefits, including lowered blood pressure, improved circulation, and enhanced vascular function, to name a few. Clinical studies have also found that frequent sauna bathing is associated with a reduced risk of sudden cardiac death, fatal cardiovascular disease and fatal coronary heart disease. See More

CELLULAR HEALTH: Far-infrared therapy invigorates the circulatory system, allowing it to more efficiently provide oxygenated blood to our body’s cells. This nutrient rich blood optimizes cellular health and functioning, boosting our immune system and strengthening our ability to recover from muscle and tissue injures. See More

CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME TREATMENT: Those afflicted by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) can attest to the debilitating nature of the disorder, which is characterized by unexplained fatigue, muscle pain, fever and insomnia. Far-infrared technology offers the promise of a new treatment modality, as several studies have shown that fatigue, sleep disturbance, pain and low-grade fever are all dramatically reduced in individuals undergoing sauna therapy. See More

DEPRESSION: Symptoms of depression can be extremely varied, and range from feelings of anger and sadness, to a loss of interest in daily activities, to insomnia, fatigue, and trouble concentrating. Thermal therapy has shown great potential as a treatment for those suffering from mild and severe forms of depression, as multiple studies have confirmed that physical and mental complaints, hunger, and relaxation improved in patients suffering from depression and appetite loss. See More

DETOXIFICATION: The human immune system is based upon a series of biochemical processes, which is a fancy way of saying that the chemicals in our body can have a profound impact on our immune system. One of the most efficient and healthy way to remove unwanted chemicals from our body is through the process of sweating, which allows the pores in our skin to open and expel wastes and toxins. Infrared saunas stimulate the body’s sweat glands, promoting the release of a variety of harmful substances found in our cells. See More

DIABETIC SYMPTOM RELIEF: Decreased quality of life is prevalent amongst individuals suffering from Diabetes, and poor health outcomes often result from the various symptoms associated with the condition. Sauna therapy offers a promising new treatment, as a recent clinical study found that physical and general health, as well as social functioning, improved for participants who underwent treatment in a far-infrared sauna. See More

IMPROVED CIRCULATION: The heat that is distributed throughout the entire body during an infrared sauna session produces a dilation in peripheral blood vessels similar to that seen during exercise. As blood vessels expand in an attempt to cool the body down, circulation to the extremities is markedly improved. In fact, blood flow can be stimulated to nearly twice the speed experienced at rest, resulting in improved circulation with minimal exertion. See More

LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE: Far-infrared rays have the unique ability to penetrate deeply into our body, inducing a powerful sweat that elevates heart rate and increases blood flow throughout the body. This increase in cardiac activity, similar to that experienced during aerobic activity, has been scientifically proven to lower blood pressure. See More

WOUND HEALING: Infrared therapy has the power to not only heal injury to muscles, joints and tissues, but can also accelerate and enhance the healing of external wounds and burns. Studies have shown that far infrared heat encourages faster cell regeneration and reduces the risk of infection by bolstering the immune system. See More

WEIGHT LOSS: Much in the way in which it lowers blood pressure, clinical studies have shown that just one session in an infrared sauna can burn nearly 600 calories. As the infrared heat causes a rise in core temperature, the body will attempt to cool itself down by increasing the amount of blood the heart pumps to the skin surface. This increase in blood flow in turn creates a boost in metabolism, meaning that you are burning more calories and shedding pounds without having to exert yourself. See More

PAIN RELIEF: Infrared waves have the unique ability to penetrate nearly 2” deep into muscles, soft-tissue and joints in a way that even the most skilled masseuse cannot. In fact, studies have shown that infrared saunas are highly effective in treating everything from minor aches and pains to chronic pain and stiffness from conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, and other inflammatory diseases. Sauna therapy has also been clinically shown to speed up the recovery process in injured athletes. See More

RELAXATION: You are probably already aware that stress can have a major impact on your health and wellness, both physical and mental. Studies have shown that stress and anxiety can not only exacerbate certain pre-existing medical conditions, but can also wreak havoc upon the immune system, leaving the body and mind vulnerable to a wide range of new afflictions. Mitigating stress and anxiety is crucial to maintaining a healthy, balanced life. The gentle, soothing heat of the infrared sauna is a great way to relax the mind and body, setting the foundation for a happier, healthier you!

What Teaching Taught Me

I have always been passionate about helping others and making people happy.   All through my life I have enjoyed sharing the knowledge that I have learned over the years, however basic or in depth that may be.   I knew even while I was attending massage therapy school that I wanted to be able to spread my passion for this profession with those entering in the field and I was so happy to be able to explore that desire to educate this year with Trident Technical College's massage therapy program.  At my practice, Longevity Wellness in Mt. Pleasant, SC,  I approach and plan my massage sessions therapeutically and very technically and chose to treat the body through my massage therapy training of origin, insertion, motion, and action, joining the team as the the clinical massage therapy instructor was the perfect fit for me.   In my few weeks I had to plan lessons, I became so excited about what I could share about therapeutic massage and how I could help these new students with their new adventure. 

Public speaking is not a strength or enjoyable for me, and even though my class was 11 students, the thought of leading a class, especially as a new teacher, for a 5 hour period was very intimidating.   After a few hours into my first class, my nerves subsided, and it was so rewarding to see the students absorb the information with an eagerness that I saw in myself.   Everything was so new to them and they were absorbing all my massage teachings!  They had questions, wanted to learn everything they could, explored the topics and the muscles that were taught.  The students loved the information I had to share and I loved keeping them on their toes as to what we were learning next.   My experience with my own studies and knowledge allowed me to bring techniques that I have learned through massage therapy and personal training that I forgot that I even knew!   Their newness to the profession ignited me to re-explore my past teachings, to revisit the skills I have learned, to use techniques in my tool box that have been stored away.   I found that I felt more passionate and in tune than ever when performing massage with my clients.  The day in and day out repetition was no longer on my mind, I am renewed and I have my students to thank for that.   

I have learned so much from them.  I realized that even when I decided to become a massage therapist, to opening my massage therapy business in Mt. Pleasant, to growing that business, and then to become a personal trainer and teacher, that I have constantly had to go outside my comfort zone and to put myself in situations that were scary, unfamiliar, and intimidating.   I saw that in these students as well when they entered into the next chapter in their lives, and it allowed me to connect with them and to reflect on my own accomplishments.   

Incorporate Massage to Perform Better Athletically!

The daily stress of life wears our bodies’ down; we are subjected to mental stress, prolonged positioning, and hectic lives.   As an active society we add to that breakdown of the muscle and body systems by engaging in all different forms of exercise.  We run, skate, jump, ride, surf, kick, swing, throw, and climb.  We pick things up and put them down; heavy things.  We are constantly trying to improve our performance; to run harder, lift heavier, throw faster.  We push our bodies to its limit, planning intense work outs, each harder than the next.  But how much planning goes into our recovery from these workouts?  Not enough.  Proper attention needs to be taken to allow for rebuilding.  We can’t expect our bodies to perform at optimum levels under constant stress and tension without helping our muscles and joints on the back end with a proper recovery plan.  Massage is a key element in body recovery that will allow you to take your training to the next level.  Maintenance and pre, inter, and post event massage is crucial, not only for the professional competitor but also for the recreational athlete.

Massage focuses on increasing the blood circulation; lengthening muscles fibers to enhance the flexibility and Range of Motion (ROM).  We constantly hear about the importance of increasing ROM and how muscle restriction can reduce the ability of the joint to move through its correct degrees of movement.  The athlete with limited ankle or hip flexibility and improper ROM can negatively affect the other joints in the body.  The squat-one of the most common and beneficial exercises-is a perfect example of how limited ROM in the muscles and joints can impede on performance; the goal is to have the muscle contract and extend throughout the movements of an exercise stopping before the muscle is at its full length while allowing it to still have tension.  If the muscles are restricted, shortening the length of contraction and extension, full muscle activation will not be present.  Proper massage work is needed to elongate the muscle tissue freeing it from adhesions allowing the athlete to have proper body angles and achieve better results.

Massage helps to reduce Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).  Any athlete is familiar with DOMS; the two, three, possibly four day tenderness following a session that pains and prevents you from using your muscles for anything more than lifting a pencil.  Post-workout massage will help to reduce muscle tenderness to allow you to be back on the playing field or hitting the weights sooner than without.  This massage promotes rest and recovery by relaxing the muscle tissue, ridding the body of wastes, spreading the muscle fibers, and increasing blood flow. 

Proper planning and utilization of massage pre, inter, or post event will help not only with performance but with your recovery.  Flexibility can be enhanced by your therapist with passive and active stretching along with muscle work.  Maintenance massage encompasses the full picture of the athlete’s needs and emphasizes prevention.  Massage supports healthy tissue by addressing common muscular holding and tension patterns, spasm, adhesions, and trigger points.  A regular massage therapy program with a knowledgeable therapist can dramatically improve your results and help you break through plateaus that you may be experiencing.  No longer is massage thought to be a luxury to pamper oneself but instead for what it truly is and was established over 5000 years ago for: an essential component in healthcare.  Take care of your muscles and they will not only take care of you but allow you to do things physically that you never thought possible.  Healthy muscles, happy life.